Thank you to @duttonbooks and @netgalley for the #gifted digital ARC and @PRHaudio for the complimentary audiobook.
Summary: When Maya sees a video of a girl dying at a table in a restaurant, she immediately recognizes the man she’s with. In fact, that same man was with her friend, Aubrey, when she died. Maya needs to know what happened so she can finally get closer about the past.
Characters: Maya is a hot mess. From the first chapter, we find out she’s off her antipsychotic medication. She insists she doesn’t need it but the people closest to her (mom) and her family history indicate she does. She’s so unreliable as a narrator that I honestly didn’t know if I could believe anything she thought. Frank appears manipulative, but we only know of Frank through Maya’s viewpoint. Same with Aubrey.
Plot: The story was a bit all over the place. It seemed to be running in a linear way but once the flashbacks were introduced, I often found myself confused between past and present. The way new characters, and old ones, were introduced also seemed disjointed. The story itself was interesting, and I wasn’t sure where it was going although I had my suspicions. It was interesting to see those realized.
Pacing: The pacing was not overly fast, but things happened in a way that I felt I was always a step behind. The alternating between past and present happened at breakneck speed in some cases. But the narrative felt slower.
Writing: I really enjoyed Reyes’s writing style. There was a flow in it, especially in the flashback scenes that kept me reading.
Enjoyment: Overall, I am glad I read this book and know that I want to read more by this author because of her writing style.
Thank you to @stmartinspress and @netgalley for the #gifted digital ARC and @macmillanaudio and @libro.fm for the complimentary audiobook.
1974 – Mari, her married boyfriend Pierce, and step sister Lana, are invited to a villa in Italy by rock star Noal Gordon. During the summer, Mari writes a best selling horror novel, Lara records a platinum album, and Pierce is brutally murdered.
In present day, Emily and Chess rent the same notorious villa to write their next novels. But Emily is drawn to the history of the place and wants to find out what really happened that fateful summer.
This was a wild ride. Told in alternating chapters with Mari and Emily as narrators, the story of the two timelines weaves together. Honestly, the similarities of the events in both times sometimes made it feel like I was reading the same story twice. The way this was written was reminiscent of Taylor Jenkins Reid but not done as well. It wasn’t until the very end that I considered googling events to see if any part of this story was based in truth. The ending was not the payoff I had hoped for, but it was entertaining.
Stuck on an island with a killer, would you survive?
The Darker family gathers on a tidal island to celebrate Nana’s 80th birthday knowing that until the tide comes in they will not be able to leave for 8 hours. Years before, a fortune teller predicted that Nana’s 80th birthday would be her last, so she reveals the contents of her will. Each member of the Darker family has a secret they hold close, and when they start dying one by one, the secrets come to light.
💭 I will admit to being annoyed at first with the similarity in plot to And Then There Were None, down to the island and the poem. After all, who can really top Christie in locked room story telling?
As the story progressed and the secrets started trickling out, I became more intrigued by where this mystery was going. What I did not see coming was the twist at the end. It erased any annoyance I had about the plot.
Feeney is not always a hit for me, but this one was for sure!
To control or be controlled… that is the question.
When Shay hears about the death of her college roommate on her favorite true crime podcast, she is suspicious. Laurel’s death was ruled a suicide, but Shay thinks there is more to the story. Facing the sins of her past, and with the help of Jamie, the podcast host and friend, Shay is determined to find out the truth.
💭 Ashley Winstead… check. True crime podcast… check. Cults… check. Going into this book, I was convinced that I was going to love it. Initially, the story drew me right in. However, it wasn’t long before the subject matter took a turn to the… weird. From that point on, I waffled between cringing through and stopping altogether. I did finish because I needed to see it through. It was tough. I’m not ready to give up on Winstead though!
If you plan to read this, you should check out the trigger warnings. Feel free to message me for more details. There are some very sensitive topics covered in this one.
Thank you to St. Martin’s Press and @netgalley for the complimentary digital book for review.
When Molly and Jack’s eyes meet across a room in 2013, they fall madly in love. Molly is a barista who wants to be a writer and Jack is the lead singer of a band. Their love allows Jack to write a song that puts his band on the map and their fame is what finally tears Jack and Molly apart. Or so they think. Fast forward to the present, Molly is married to Hunter and a mother. Her dream of writing has faded and she’s lonely. Until she meets Sabrina. Sabrina relates to Molly over fertility struggles and yoga, and Molly is excited to have finally found a friend. Unfortunately, Sabrina has her own motivation for befriending Molly, and it’s not exactly friendly.
The structure of this book is one that really stands out. Molly’s chapters are told in third person, but Sabrina’s are in first person and refer to Molly in second person. Makes one wonder if we’re hearing Molly’s story or Sabrina’s. Which does the author want us to think is the protagonist? I found the writing style and the alternating voices fascinating. There is not much a reviewer can say without revealing too much because the first twist happens pretty early on. What I can confidently share is that Lovering takes you on a ride. The alternating emotions in the chapters keep you wanting to read more. I love the way the author’s mind works and I can’t wait to read more from her.
One of my favorite things about Riley Sager’s books is his use of classic films as an inspiration. So when I saw this was inspired by my absolute favorite Hitchcock film, Rear Window, I knew I was in for a great read.
Casey, a widowed actress with a drinking problem, takes an interest in her neighbors across the lake, Tom and Katherine Royce. When Casey saves Katherine from drowning one day, they become friends and Casey’s spying helps her realize that maybe not everything is as happy with the couple as it appears. Then Katherine disappears and Casey makes it her mission to find out what happened to her.
Unfortunately, there’s not much I can say about the plot without giving things away. I will say that I have seen many mixed reactions to the twist in the book. Some people found it to be mind-blowing and caused them to love the book! I thought it was a little hard to digest. Maybe my comparisons to Rear Window made it seem outrageous to me since I loved the spying part of the book. It didn’t take away the enjoyment entirely though!
Although Bernadette Dunne does have a distinctive voice, the narration didn’t seem to fit the main character’s voice in my head.
What Sager always delivers is a unique reading experience with surprises you can’t imagine. This delivered on that for sure!