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 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.

The Good Liar

By Catherine McKenzie

The Good Liar by [McKenzie, Catherine]

4 out of 5 stars

This book comes out the beginning of next month and believe me, you are going to want to read it!

An explosion in a building in Chicago, causing great loss for so many people. Cecily Grayson loses her husband in the disaster and becomes a poster girl for the tragedy when a picture is taken of her being lead away. The photographer begins a documentary on the tragedy with Cecily being one of the main focuses. Cecily was late getting to the building that day and she is hiding a secret as to why.

Cecily is part of a coalition to divvy out the money that has been sent in to the different families involved. She is working with Franny, who is the daughter that one of the women gave away for adoption years ago. She had just met up with her mother, Kaitlyn, and no one had even heard about her yet. Franny is a little unhinged, to put it mildly, as we soon discover with her interviews.

We also follow the story of Kate, a woman who fled to Canada after the explosion. Running away from her family and starting over again isn’t as easy as she thinks, especially when she reads more about Franny.

So many lies. So many twists and turns. I was not expecting a few of them at all. And the then epilogue makes you go hmmmmm…. The characters are flawed, human, afraid. The line between hero and villain is a very tight walk.  You may wonder who is reliable, the lying will do that to you. I found myself drawn to Cecily’s struggle and when the truth comes out, my heart broke for her. A lot of weight was put on her shoulders.  Such a good read.

I received a copy of this wonderful book from Netgalley and Lake Union Publishing and I can’t thank them enough.

Look For Me

By Lisa Gardner

Look for Me (D. D. Warren) by [Gardner, Lisa]

4 out of 5 stars

I have never read any of Lisa Gardner’s books and this one has characters from past books which if I had read, would have made a lot more of some side stories  understandable. But I did enjoy this outing very much and am going to have to go back now and read the others.

A family is found shot dead. The 16 year old daughter and their two dogs are missing. Is she the suspect? Is she fleeing for her own life? These are the questions and so much more that are answered. Flora Dane, a survivor of a horrific crime, goes on the search herself since Roxanne, the teenage girl, had been on her survivor site recently. She matches up with Det. D.D. Warren again to solve the crime. (If D.D. likes it or not)

There were so many levels in this story that went to quite a few diverse places. Some I wasn’t expecting at all. Lisa Gardner can write about the devious mind in the same perfect fashion as a mind that is lost in sadness. I did not expect the outcome and found it to really complete the story full circle.

I will read more from Ms. Gardner. Thanks to Penguin Random House for this book.

Best Friends Forever

By Margot Hunt

Best Friends Forever by [Hunt, Margot]

4 out of 5 stars

I have been on a roll with the psychological murder mysteries lately. They seem to be checking off everything on my reading list. This one was no exception.

Alice meets Kat at an airport while she is tired and struggling with her two kids. They strike up an instant friendship and Alice is swept into the big moneyed world of Kat. Kat is very unhappy with her husband. And then one day, he seems to have fallen off the balcony. Kat was out of town and suddenly Alice is a suspect. Does Alice really know the real Kat?

As we read about Alice’s interrogation, she flashes back to all the time with Kat leading up to the murder. It was interesting to see the manipulation because it is all there in black and white. It moves at a very fast pace which was really an asset to the story. I felt like it all happened so fast anyway that it worked perfectly. Alice is a very interesting character, you think you have her figured out. She was a true friend to Kat. But this book definitely answered a question of “how well do you know your best friend”. And then there was the little one two punch at the end. I have to say I have enjoyed all the books lately that have that little afterthought that sticks in your head for days. This is one of them.

I received a copy of this book from Netgalley and Harlequin Mira and this review is simply my own humble opinion.

The Chalk Man

By C.J. Tudor


The Chalk Man: A Novel by [Tudor, C. J.]

4 out of 5 stars

Eddie and his little gang of friends are growing up in a little town in England in the 80s. Eddie and a teacher, albino Mr. Halloran, help to save a girl’s life after a freak accident at the fair. Mr. Halloran, who likes to draw in chalk, gives one of the boys a box of chalk for his birthday and this becomes their calling card. They all have a different colored chalk man that they use for messages to each other. But everything is not so idyllic in this little burg, when a young girl is murdered (among some other strange happenings), the chalk men lead the boys to the body, well, body pieces.

It’s now 2016 and Eddie is a teacher in town. Things have happened to separate the gang but when one of them comes back and tells Eddie that he is writing a book about the murder (he says he knows who did it), strange things start happening all over again.

I think I expected this to be a bit more eerie but it was an engrossing read with a few things thrown in that you don’t expect.  And that is not to say that it didn’t have a shadowy quality throughout. There is also a sadness that flows in the story, a sadness and a need for forgiveness.  I had my suspicions about a few characters and one of them was true. Kudos to me! I loved the going back and forth in time to really flesh out the characters. And the ending, well okay, that was completely eerie and unexpected. This is a really great job for a debut novel. I am looking forward to what the future will give us from C.J. Tudor.

This review is my humble opinion but a big thanks to Netgalley and Crown Publishing for a copy of this book.