I’ll Never Tell

By Catherine McKenzie

I'll Never Tell by [McKenzie, Catherine]

4 out of 5 stars

A family tree can be a wondrous thing with it’s branches spreading out and leaves sprouting up. It also has roots, roots that can get twisted and tangled. Such is the family tree of the MacAllister family. The siblings have reunited at the summer camp their parents owned and ran, on the anniversary of their tragic deaths. The will is being read and a memorial service is being held. When their lawyer lays out the details of the will, the family has to deal with repercussions of an accident that happened years ago at the camp to a friend of Margaux’s, Amanda. Their father believes their brother Ryan was responsible and they have to vote on if they also believe him or not. The truth will be revealed but it might not be what any of them really want to hear.

I really enjoyed how the book was told in the different siblings’ voices and also Amanda’s version of what exactly happened that fateful night. There is also a timeline, a schedule of where each person was supposed to be at the time. Your suspicion will go back and forth between all of them until the very end. There were some surprising things uncovered along the way. It is a great whodunit with some family drama mixed in. Having a strained relationship with a few of my siblings, I really understood where they were coming from.

This is another notch in the ladder of Catherine McKenzie’s books. You will not be disappointed in any of them.

Thanks to Netgalley and Lake Union for a copy of this book.

The Favorite Daughter

By Kaira Rouda

The Favorite Daughter by [Rouda, Kaira]

5 out of 5 stars

Yowza!!! I just read about the most narcissistic , crazy  mommy dearest and I could not put it down!

Jane tells us her story. Her older adopted daughter Mary died a year ago. Her daughter Betsy  does not live up to Mary, in her eyes. Her husband David is having an affair.  So Jane sets up an elaborate trap for them. She thinks she is the smartest one in the room and she will tell you so. As you read, you begin to see the cracks in it all and you just know, Jane has done so many bad things and nothing will stop her from getting what she wants.

Jane’s lack of feelings gave me chills. It was like watching Psycho and seeing Anthony Perkins at the end, staring at that fly. Kudos to Kaira Rouda for writing a character that made me turn every page with a sense of dread. Makes you want to hug your mother. I loved the first person style with this book because I don’t think I would have been as terrified otherwise. I was just hoping throughout that it was going to work out the way it should.

You will not be able to put it down.

Thanks to Edelweiss and Graydon House for this deliciously creepy book.

 

Before She Was Found

By Heather Gudenkauf

Before She Was Found: A Novel by [Gudenkauf, Heather]

4 out of 5 stars

I have never ever ever been disappointed in a Heather Gudenkauf book and the streak continues!

!2 year old Cora Landry is found stabbed and bloody on the train tracks. What lead to such a horrible crime? Our story takes us into the life of Cora as we read her diary. We also are brought along by the doctor in charge of finding out what is going on in her mind and the minds of her friends and family. We also hear from her friends’ mother and grandfather as they try to sort out just what happened.  Jordyn, a classmate, has bullied Cora and yet she was spending the night with her that night. Violet is new to school and has been working on a project with Cora and Jordyn about urban legends. They are doing their report on a local man who supposedly killed young girls. Is he back? Who has Cora been talking to online?

This tale had some whopper twists! Finding out what happened to Cora was pretty darn shocking. I loved how we saw the happenings through the eyes of a few people. It made you look at it all with different perspectives. I felt so sorry for quite a few of them. I did wonder about how grown up the kids acted, being only 12, but kids grow up so fast these days (I sound old). The ending left me chilled. Heather Gudenkauf is always good for a good chill or two.

Thanks to Netgalley and Park Row for a copy of this book.

The Last

By Hanna Jameson

The Last: A Novel by [Jameson, Hanna]

4 out of 5 stars

Washington D.C. has been hit with a nuclear bomb. This message comes across everyone’s phones in a Swiss hotel. Jonathan Keller, an American academic, is at a loss. Everyone in the hotel is stunned. As news of other bombs occur, many decide to leave and some decide to stay. Jon starts keeping a log of their days, in part to leave for someone in the future to find if they never make it. They begin living in the hotel, people running things, rationing food, when on around the 40th day, a little girl’s body is found in one of the water tanks. Jon begins a quest to find out who she was and just who killed her. Was it someone among his hotel mates?

This is such an interesting premise. With everyone from different walks of life and different cultures living together, you get to see the interactions, the fear, the resolve. There is also an eerie aspect as Jon searches through abandoned rooms and their are stories about the devil and a strange boy. Paranoia sets in, as you would think it would. We learn of everyone’s past stories before they became this ragtag group of survivors. You see the change in people.

The  ending had me believing it went a certain way and NOTHING will make me feel any different!

This is a very interesting look at the nature and character of people. It makes you think about how you would react in this situation. I loved the different characters and I loved Jon, even with all his flaws. The hotel itself was a character. The descriptions of the rooms, stairwells, etc. were moody and dark. I felt as if I was walking around it with someone right behind me.

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

The Night Before

By Wendy Walker

The Night Before: A Novel by [Walker, Wendy]

4 out of 5 stars

Laura Lochner is back in her hometown and living with her sister Rose. They are a close pair and with Rose’s husband Joe and his best friend Gabe, they have always been a tight group. After a tragic death, Laura has tried to start her life over, away from home. Something happens that brings her back and she tries to get her life on track. She is going on a date with someone she matched up with online.  The story takes us between the present and the night before when Laura meets up with the mysterious Jonathan Fielding. When she doesn’t return home the next morning, Rose sets out to find where she is and just who this man really is.

I loved how this story took us between the actual date, the search for Laura, and her sessions with a therapist. You learn so much of the back story of how she got to be who she was and there are a few excellent twists thrown in. I cannot say I saw what was coming but it all made such perfect sense. I loved the character of Laura. The way she was written, you could just see all the wheels turning in her brain. You could see how she wanted to be so different than how she was. So much of what we are is a product of the past and not only our own past.

Definitely a page turner! It comes out May 14th so put it on your radar.

Thanks to St. Martin’s Press for an advance copy of this book. They are really one of my very favorite publishers.

My Lovely Wife

By Samantha Downing

My Lovely Wife by [Downing, Samantha]

4 out of 5 stars

If you are looking for something twisted and dark, well then step right up and read all about it!

Millicent and her husband seem like a normal couple. They are raising two teenagers. She sells houses. He is a tennis coach. He is also the narrator of this twisty little tale. After he kills someone  to protect his family, they think think all is normal. Until it is not. Why did they like it so much? They are setting up for another girl when a girl that he thinks has been long dead, turns up. The surprising factor, to him anyway, is that she was recently killed. His wife had kept her alive for a year. This is all a big setup because of a past serial killer from the area but things go way out of hand. He slowly starts to realize that he is in big trouble. They all are.

This is quite the sordid tale. I love that it was told with the husband’s POV. It gave the story a little different spin. He is not at all innocent in everything but he is in way over his head. Millicent is quite the character. I figured a few things out on my own, pat myself on the back, but there are more than enough twists and turns to keep you reading. And the ending……It was definitely one of those!

Thanks to Netgalley and Berkley Books for an advanced copy.

The Silent Patient

By Alex Michaelides

The Silent Patient by [Michaelides, Alex]

5 out of 5 stars

After the murder of her husband, Alicia Berenson stops talking. She is found standing by him, he being tied to a chair with his head blown off, holding the gun and covered in blood. Did she do it? It sure looks that way. Dr. Theo Faber is a criminal psychotherapist who is fascinated by this case. He takes a job at the hospital she is in to see if he can get her to talk, to see what she remembers. It isn’t an easy job but he seems to find a way to get to her. She gives him her diary and we read along as to what was going on in her head and life. We also read about Theo’s wife and her affair. Theo is consumed by that as well.

This book was slow-going for me at first but let me tell you, when it picks up, it will not let you go. I stayed up late to finish it last night and that ending! I had no idea where it was leading me but what a journey! This is an incredible debut and perfect for anyone who loves a good psychological thriller. As much as I felt it was dragging in the beginning, the slow boil was a perfect starter to all that followed. I think I might have even said “Holy crap” a few times. I look forward to many more books from Mr. Michaelides in the future.

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