Then She Was Gone

By Lisa Jewell

Then She Was Gone: A Novel by [Jewell, Lisa]

5 out of 5 stars

This was my first book by Lisa Jewell and why I am late to the party, I will never know.  This will definitely not be my last!

When Ellie Mack goes missing, the police think she ran away. Her mother Laurel knows she could not have. She was the family golden child. She had everything going for her. She was a bit nervous for her Math exams but she had a tutor, Noelle, who had helped her. She was very creepy but she helped her.

Years have gone by and with more news, the family finally goes on with their lives. Laurel and her husband have gone their separate ways. Laurel meets Floyd at a coffee shop and immediately, there is something between them. But it is when she meets his brilliant daughter Poppy, that things go from zero to one hundred in this story. Poppy looks exactly like Ellie. But how could that be? A trick of the mind or something a lot more sinister?

I was so wrapped up in this book. I read with a deep feeling of dread. I read with tears in my eyes. I read with my mind working a mile a minute putting two and two (or three) together. Whatever the emotion, I read and I read and I read. The writing is superb. The storyline, with the four different voices, played out so perfectly. It gave us a look into everyone’s view of what happened and why. It was creepy at times. Okay, a lot of the time but how I loved the creepy factor. Just a perfect read. I will be picking up more Lisa Jewell books immediately.

Thanks to Netgalley and Atria Books for this fantastic read.

The Elizas

By Sara Shepard

The Elizas: A Novel by [Shepard, Sara]

4 out of 5 stars

Eliza Fontaine wakes up in the hospital after being found at the bottom of the pool. She swears she was pushed but the problem is, she has been saved from drowning a few times before. She doesn’t remember most of what happened the night of the pool incident and with the help of the guy who saved her, she tries to recreate what happened. Her family is walking on eggshells around her and as her debut novel The Dots is about to be published, they want it stopped. But why?

We go back and forth between what is happening with Eliza and excerpts of the novel, which worked really well.  The novel gives us great insight into what probably is happening. You know what you are reading and have it pretty figured out but why can’t Eliza remember anything?

I have never read Ms. Shepard before. I never read any Pretty Little Liars. But I have to say that I was drawn in from the start . I wanted to shout at Eliza about what was in the book. It was so obvious what was happening but we do see what we want to, especially when we care about a person. The more Eliza dug, the more she resembled Dot in her novel. I loved the character of Desmond and all his quirks. He added an element of fun to the mystery.  If you are a fan of Ms. Shepard, I am sure you will eat this one up.

Thanks to Netgalley and Atria for a copy of this book.

The Gunners

By Rebecca Kauffman

The Gunners: A Novel by [Kauffman, Rebecca]

5 out of 5 stars

A little group of neighborhood kids call themselves the Gunners after a name on the mailbox at an old deserted home. This becomes their go-to place over the years. It begins when they are quite small and into the teen years until one of them, Sally, cuts them all off completely. No one knows why. And now they are gathered together again for her funeral. Sally jumped to her death without a note, without anyone knowing really why.

Mikey has never left the town of Lackawanna, New York. He is slowly losing his eyesight from early onset macular degeneration. I think Mikey was the heart of the group. He was searching for a family because his father was rather standoffish and he never knew his mother. (Something that I figured out kind of early on but still got to me when I finally read it) He and Sally were very close as youngsters and she was protective of him. Alice is loud and funny and has a who cares attitude. (But really she does) She arrives with her young girlfriend. Jimmy was the charismatic, smart one. He too has his secrets. Lynn comes with her boyfriend Issa. They both run the AA in their town. Sam was the big, galoot of the bunch. All of them reunite for the night at Jimmy’s big cabin, which from the description, I want to live in. Stories are told, Truths come out. Memories are relived.

But the story also follows the afterward. We get to see them reunite again for a happy occasion.

I could not put this lovely book down. The story just flowed perfectly from person to person. Mikey, of course, had my heart. As much as I loved the whole story of friendship, my favorite two chapters were about Mikey and his dad together. They were quietly beautiful and had me in tears.

There was laughter and tears throughout. There were a few light bulb moments. It was everything the perfect story needed to be. A little reminiscent of The Big Chill, which is my favorite movie, so if you loved that, you will love this. Thank you Rebecca Kauffman for this beauty.

I received a copy of this book from Edelweiss and Counterpoint and I thank them.

The Wife

By Alafair Burke

 

The Wife: A Novel of Psychological Suspense by [Burke, Alafair]

5 out of 5 stars

This book reminded me of a hot, flaky, layered biscuit. You take that first bite and it makes you want another. You keep peeling off those layers and enjoying every little bit  and then you get to the end and just want to savor it. There is that last yummy taste and then you can’t wait for another one. I hope Alafair Burke is working on that next delicious book/biscuit.

Angela Powell has escaped a dark past and is living with her husband Jason in New York. Everything is looking up for them. Her son Spencer is (from her past) is doing well. Her husband is a professor who is on the fast track to fame and fortune until a woman accuses him of sexual harassment. Things seem to be going okay with that case until another woman accuses him of rape. Angela struggles with what it all means and then the woman disappears. This leads to so many different layers in the book that I won’t begin to even go into except to say, wow. Finding out about Angela’s past as it slowly comes out is the butter on the biscuit. Things are not always what they seem.

And the ending…..

You won’t want to put this down until you know exactly what has happened in everything, past and present.  I will now sit patiently until the next book.

What You Don’t Know About Charlie Outlaw

By Leah Stewart

What You Don't Know About Charlie Outlaw by [Stewart, Leah]

4 out of 5 stars

Actor Charlie Outlaw gives an interview that he wishes he could take back. He says some things that aren’t really what someone you were in love with would want to hear and his girlfriend Josie Lamar is understandably upset. Charlie decides to take off by himself to regroup on an island. When he joins up with a group for a jungle hike, things take a bad turn and Charlie is kidnapped. The kidnappers have no idea that they have someone famous on their hands and they are not quite up to par in the kidnapping game so things go from bad to worse.

Back in California, Josie has no idea what is going on with Charlie. Josie is just trying to get auditions and live her life. Josie was once very famous for playing the butt kicking Bronwyn Kyle. (Picture a Buffy type) Little does she know that she will need to come to the rescue of Charlie.

The whole story is told by a narrator and at first, it was a little off-putting to me but once the story started going, I was all in. I pictured a Morgan Freeman type every time I started a new chapter. I loved the way I totally got to know both Charlie and Josie as the story progressed. I also loved a little delving into the world of Hollywood and fan adoration, especially a look at how things go behind the scenes at places like a Comic Con. Leah Stewart had this wonderful way of giving us a peek at the outlying characters too. They weren’t just extras, so to speak.  But it is the main characters that you will fall in love with. If you have not read any Leah Stewart (and I have read all her books), this might be a good one to start with.

Thanks to Netgalley and Penguin for a copy of this book.

 

One of Us Is Lying

By Karen M. McManus

One of Us Is Lying by [McManus, Karen M.]

5 out of 5 stars

Netflix? Get on this right now!

Bronwyn, a brainy girl set on going to Yale, is given detention for having her phone in class. The thing is, it was not her phone but the teacher does not believe her. He also doesn’t believe Cooper, the star athlete, Addy, the beauty, and Nate, I guess you would call the classic delinquent. And then there is Simon. Simon runs a gossip app called About That. He spreads the high school gossip around like butter. When Simon has an allergic attack and things go horribly wrong, the four kids are all suspected of murder. Who is lying and who is telling the truth?

I loved these kids so much. As much as I loved the mystery and the twists, my favorite part was watching all four grow into the people they were meant to be. They throw aside the petty high school cliques and become real friends. Of course, in the back of your mind you are wondering if one of them is the murderer and I am not going to spoil that. I had a feeling that ended up being right, pat myself on the back, but there are a few things that were surprising.  The other characters are so thought out as well, the sisters especially. I loved Maeve’s chutzpah. I had a silly smile on my face at the end. I am sure you will too.

This is such a wonderful debut novel and I cannot wait to see what comes next from Ms. McManus!

 

Educated

By Tara Westover

Educated: A Memoir by [Westover, Tara]

5 out of 5 stars

I won this book from Goodreads and boy, am I glad I did.

Tara Westover took herself from being “home schooled” (and by that, I mean really not at all) to Cambridge and Harvard! How amazing is that?! And through all of this, she struggled with her family and how she was raised. Her father thought the end was coming soon and prepared accordingly. He was Mormon but his take on religion was his very own. He was bipolar and the way he raised his family was extremely hard to read at times. The torture he let one son put upon his daughters was so sad. I was in tears through so much of this book.  For Tara to take herself away and get as far as she has in life is one of the most inspiring, amazing stories I have read in a long time.

There were times you just want to wake her up to what’s going on but when you are raised a certain way, it is hard to believe anything different. She pays a price for trying to find herself and it is heartbreaking at times. But to find the courage and the boldness to finally pick herself up and live her life for her, left me in tears. The end left me with a happy heart.

This is such a great book. We tend to take our education for granted and this book will make you think twice about that. It is truly a blessing for our minds and our souls.