REVIEW: Sadie by Courtney Summers

Sadie
Expected publication: September 4, 2018 by Wednesday Books

 

19 year old, Sadie and her younger sister, Mattie struggled to get by. Cold Creek is a small town with very few opportunities for employment. Many have to go to a neighboring town for work and school.

Mary Beth Foster was Mattie and Sadie’s neighbor and the manager of the trailer park where they lived. Mary Beth tried to look out for the sisters but basically, it was just the two of them. Their mother, Claire had been out of the picture for quite a while.

The bond between the sisters was very strong, but something horrific happens that severs that bond forever. Now Sadie is missing and Mary Beth Foster just wants to find someone who can help. Someone who will give a damn…

West McCray is a radio personality who just happens to overhear a little bit of Sadie and Mattie’s story. At first, he thinks what many others seem to be thinking…

“Girls run away all the time; girls go missing, there isn’t anything new here.”

West and his producer have been talking about West hosting his own podcast. His producer is the one who suggests he dig a little deeper into Sadie’s story. West doesn’t really want to do it at first, but finds that he can’t stop thinking about their story and ends up creating a serialized podcast called “The Girls

“when a devastating crime reveals a deeply unsettling mystery.”

After working on the story for awhile, West starts to get nervous. He’s scared of what he might find.

If you want the truth, I didn’t even want this story. And the more I have it, the less I want it because I don’t think it’s headed anywhere good. But I’m in this now, so I have to see it through.”

So where is Sadie? What or who is she looking for?

I thought this was an incredible read. A fantastic and powerfully written story. I was addicted and hated having to put the book down.

I thought the layout of the novel was interesting and the characters all very well developed. We get to hear from many people that knew Sadie and Mattie which was a great addition to the story. The story jumps back and forth between Sadie’s journey and “The Girls” podcast whose investigation retraces Sadie’s steps. The novel deals with some tough subject matter, but I thought the author handled these issues with sensitivity and respect. I was hooked from start to finish.

Sadie” is a compelling and riveting story about love, loss, revenge, and the power of a sister’s love.

I’d like to thank Wednesday Books for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my honest review.

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REVIEW – An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

An Anonymous Girl

Expected publication: January 8th 2019 by St. Martin’s Press

 

I really enjoyed Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen’s previous novel “The Wife Between Us”. So as soon as I saw the cover for this novel and read the synopsis, I knew I just had to read it.

I devoured this novel in just a few hours, ignoring everything and everyone as I read.

The book opens as twenty-eight-year-old makeup artist; Jessica Farris is heading to her last appointment of the day. She travels to her clients instead of them coming to her. Even though she doesn’t always know who will answer the door, Jessica doesn’t fear strangers. She’s learned that “more harm can come from familiar faces”.

Jessica enjoys what she does. Her appointment is with two young women who are going out to a club that evening. As she applies their makeup, she loses herself in her work, barely hearing the women chatting to each other. But then she overhears a voicemail message one of the women plays…

“This is Ben Quick, Dr. Shields’s assistant. I’m confirming your appointments this weekend, for tomorrow and Sunday from eight to ten a.m. The location again is Hunter Hall, Room 214. I’ll meet you in the lobby and take you up.”

Jessica doesn’t know that this message will change her life completely.

A psych professor needs subjects for a study on morality and ethics. Applicants will be paid to answer questions. Jessica could really use the money. So when she hears that her client likely won’t be attending, she decides to go in her place…

She’s accepted into the study and will be bound by a confidentiality agreement. Jessica is told there are no right or wrong answers, she just needs to be completely open and honest. The questions are personal and may trigger very emotional responses….

“Could you tell a lie without feeling guilt?”

But Jessica surprises herself and the doctor when she doesn’t shy away from the questions. When the sessions are complete, the doctor asks if Jessica would consider expanding her participation in the study. It would mean more would be asked of her…. SIGNIFICANTLY MORE. It would also mean more money.

Jessica really opens up to the doctor. She talks about the pressure she’s under and the secret she’s kept for so many years. “Guilt is always the heaviest thing I carry”. With Dr. Shields, she’s able to reveal things she’s never talked about before.

But as the project expands, Jessica starts to wonder what the doctor is doing with all of the information collected. What will the doctor do with Jessica’s innermost thoughts? Her confessions? Her mistakes? Then the assignments take a strange and unexpected turn. Is she just being paranoid or is something sinister going on?

An Anonymous Girl” was a thought-provoking and phenomenal read. It pulled me in from the beginning and wouldn’t let go. The chapters are a nice length and alternate between Jessica and the doctor’s point of view.

In my opinion, Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen knocked this one out of the park. This was a fascinating psychological suspense novel with a great storyline, excellent characters, and twists and turns that kept me flipping pages at a rapid pace.

A wonderfully dark and suspenseful novel about love, anger, betrayal, morality, and obsession.

I’d like to thank St. Martin’s books for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my honest review.

REVIEW – Rust & Stardust by T. Greenwood

Rust & Stardust

Expected publication: August 7, 2018 by St. Martin’s Press 

 

From the blurb, I read that this was the true crime story that inspired, Vladimir Nabokov’s “Lolita”.

But this is not a true-crime story in the traditional sense.   I was eager to get started but had no idea what to expect.  All I knew was that the book was based on a true story. I had to stop myself from Googling as I read. I wanted to wait until I was finished before I searched for anything about the actual crime.  

An excellent read! I was hooked right from the start!

 Camden, New Jersey (June 1948)

11-year-old Sally Horner is an inquisitive and happy child. She loves learning and even loves going to school, but she has a hard time fitting in. One day she sees the girls at school doing a blood sisters oath. Sally would do anything to be a part of that group. The girls know that Sally wants to be friends with them. They tell her she can be part of the group IF she steals something from Woolworth’s. Sally is hesitant but she follows through, slipping a five-cent black marble composition notebook into her sweater and hurries to leave the store. Sally doesn’t realize that stealing that notebook will change her life forever.

52-year-old Frank LaSalle is just out of prison. He sees Sally steal the notebook and decides to make his move. He claims to be FBI and tells Sally she’ll do as he says …unless she wants to be arrested and taken to jail. Terrified, Sally does as he asks.

The chapters alternate between Sally and many other characters. We read about Sally’s time with LaSalle, the places they lived, and the people Sally came in contact with.  There are chapters from Sally’s mother, sister, and brother-in-law’s point of view.  They all struggle with guilt, anger, and blame. So many things could have changed the outcome of this story.

“But the even greater mystery, she thought, was Sally herself. What on earth would have made her agree to go with him, this fiend?”

This is an extremely chilling, emotional, and heartbreaking story that had me by the throat. I had to take a break now and then, but it wasn’t long before I picked the book back up again.

“While the series of events and the settings in which they occur mirror history”, this is a work of fiction. She dreamed herself into Sally’s life. Events were dramatized, relationships constructed, the sequence of events changed.

Though disturbing at times, this was a brilliantly written and intense read that had me Googling for hours once I finished the book. I am really looking forward to reading more from this author.

I’d like to thank St. Martin’s books for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my honest review.

REVIEW – How to Walk Away by Katherine Center

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Expected publication: May 15, 2018 by St. Martin’s Press

 

“When you don’t know what to do for yourself, do something for somebody else”

Sometimes a book comes along that makes my heart skip a beat. This is one of those times. I may not have come across this novel but a friend had just finished reading it and loved it. She thought I might enjoy it too.

She was right. I loved it!

Margaret Jacobsen has worked hard all of her life and things are starting to pay off.  She’s dating an awesome guy, she’s going to be starting a great new job, and on a night out with her boyfriend, Chip, she has a strong feeling that things are about to get even better.

We’ve all heard that saying that life can change in a moment, or the blink of an eye. And for Margaret, nothing could be truer when the greatest day of her life quickly turns into the worst day of her life. Her life is forever changed.

 “They say your life flashes before your eyes, but it wasn’t my life as I’d lived it that I saw. It was the life I’d been waiting for. The one I’d never get a chance to live.”

How to Walk Away” really was a fantastic read populated with so many awesome characters. Some good guys…some villains…but all well-developed and entertaining! Margaret is such a great character. Her personality won me over instantly. Her habit of filling the quiet with very strange but hilarious comments was just one of the things I loved about her.

Heart-breaking one moment and laugh out loud funny the next (“Mes jambons sont eclatés” ). This was an incredibly inspiring read that made me look at a few things in my own life in a different way.

Katherine Center writes with honesty and includes all of the messy parts. For me this was more than just a good story….it was fantastic! Strained relationships and family secrets, many things were easy to relate to. A story about strength, determination, love and so much more. The plot held my interest from start to finish and the characters captured my heart. I may have been able to see where things were going but the journey was just so much fun. Witty, loving, and optimistic, I started reading slower because I didn’t want it to end.

 “Carry the sorrow when we have to, and absolutely savor the joy when we can”

I’m looking forward to reading whatever comes next from Katherine Center. She has written five other novels about love and family. You can bet I’ll be checking out those books out too.

I’d like to thank St. Martin’s Press for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my honest review.