Tuesday, July 31, 2018

The Pupil by Dawn Goodwin

Katherine gave up her identity when she married Paul. An aspiring writer, she was working as a waitress ( not in a cocktail bar, mind you). Some of you probably are not old enough to know what song that is from! Anyhow, she was working hard to make ends meet when she met Paul. Paul is 15 years older than her and very financially stable. He provided a comfortable life and together they had two children. The problem is that Paul is very demanding and controlling. He literally dictates every single thing Katherine does. He is very adamant that he does not want her to become a writer.

They live in a neighborhood where all the moms stay home and their lives revolve around their child's activities. None of the other mothers want to be friends with Katherine, in fact they are hostile with her and exclude her from everything. Something happened in Katherine's past that the entire town seems to be aware of, which has turned them against her.

When Jack is 8 yrs old and Lilly is 10, Katherine decides she needs to do something for herself. She enrolls in a writing course taught by a best selling thriller author, Samuel Morton. Now this is where things get interesting. Samuel takes a special interest in Katherine and takes her under his wing to help her write her first novel. Is he truly just interested in shaping her into an author or does he have some romantic intentions? Samuel seems to have more of a "working relationship" with his wife Viola and it makes you wonder if he is taking a special interest in Katherine to fill a void. Katherine has a big case of fangirling, which I am sure much of us can relate to!

The ratings are all over the place on this book. People either loved it or not so much. I did like this book and I thought it was very well written. I think that if you go in expecting a thriller type book, you may be disappointed. If you go in expecting to read about a woman chasing her dreams to be a writer and the emotional hurtles she has to overcome, than you will probably like it. I found it interesting that the author really focused on the the struggle an author goes through while writing a book. Katherine had a lot of self doubt that she had what it took. Would she be able to live with the people bashing her book in reviews? This book that she put her heart and soul into? Even the best selling author Sam worried about if he "had another book in him." I am not an author, but this all seems very plausible that this is the struggle that authors go through. So since I am interested in books this was interesting to me.

I did like Katherine and was cheering her on to write a novel. I did ponder if Sam and Katherine were going to end up together as a couple. So it did intrigue me to read on. I will say that the ending was a bit predictable and I never felt a ton of suspense. There is nothing wrong with that because I did enjoy reading it. There is mystery surrounding Katherine's past and Sam and Viola have some questionable actions that make you wonder. I gave this book 4 stars because I did enjoy it, but it wasn't the edge of your seat thriller that I had expected. Again, nothing wrong with that, it may be that I have just read so many crazy, twisty thrillers lately.

Thank you to Dawn Goodwin, Aria and NetGalley for this ARC to read and review!

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Lying In Wait by Liz Nugent

Do you ever finish a book and have so much to say, but you are so mind f*@*%# that you don't even know what to say about it? Well that is how I feel after this book. I am speechless. The dysfunction, the ending, pretty much everything about it. I LOVED this book.

A troubled girl named Annie Doyle goes missing.  Annie is not your model citizen, as a result, minimal effort is put into finding her whereabouts. Labeled as a prostitute and drug user, her family seems to be the only ones concerned of what has become of her.

Meet Lydia and Andrew. They seem like a perfect couple. They live in a very prestigious  area on an acre of land  with an estate called Avalon. Avalon was inherited by Lydia whom comes from a well respected family. Family is everything to Lydia. She grew up in this home and has never left. Married to Andrew who adores her and would do literally anything for her, life is just grand for Lydia. She wears the best clothes, eats the finest foods. Yet has not a single friend. As I said, family is everything for Lydia.

Meet Laurence, son of Lydia and Andrew. He grows up without a want in the world, spoiled by his parents to no end. His mother showers him with attention. So much so that he ends up struggling to create relationships outside of his family home. Until he meets the love of his life or is she simply an obsession?

A psychopath is someone that tends to lack normal human emotions, such as guilt. Yep, someone in this book is definitely a psychopath. Can you guess who? Even if you can guess who, you still won't guess how this book ends.

 Talk about a dysfunctional family. You have not seen anything until you read this twisted book. I was first drawn to the cover, which is a clear indication of what is to come. Perhaps one of the creepiest, most realistic looking covers I have ever seen. To sum it up, let's just say karma is a bitch. Let's also just say I will never look at someones garden without a little additional look, just to make sure.

5 stars from me! Loved it!

Monday, July 23, 2018

Blood Sisters by Jane Corry

A big fabulous 5 stars from me!!

Blood Sisters
Definition: A female bound to another in commitment and friendship by a ceremonial mingling of blood.

Vanessa and Kitty have taken the oath, they are truly blood sisters. Nothing can come between them. Friends until the end...right?

Alison and Kitty are sisters, to be precise they share the same mother so technically they are half sisters. Alison tries constantly to bond with her younger sibling to no avail. Kitty is very strong willed and extremely jealous of anything Alison does or has. Kitty makes this clear with her refusing to even be civil to Alison a great deal of the time and instead, insisting  her school friend Vanessa is her sister.

Tragedy strikes while the three girls are walking to school. Alison being the eldest is responsible for keeping the girls safe on the way to school. Instead, her sister Kitty and Vanessa are both hit by an automobile, killing Vanessa and leaving Kitty with brain injuries. Kitty now leads a life in a facility where she is not capable of functioning independently. She is unable to walk, speak or take care of herself. She is verbal but only in the sense that everything is garbled, often angry speech. Alison understandably lives in a world filled of guilt over the accident.

I really wanted to like Kitty, I felt that I really should since she was condemned to live such a difficult life after the accident.  Yet, I just could not bring myself to like her. She seemed a bit evil as a child and as an adult. I liked how the author had chapters that were completely from Kitty's point of view. We were allowed into her every thought. As a nurse, I found this very interesting and enlightening. It is so easy to assume that nonverbal people are not aware of everything around them, when in fact they may be more aware of things than you think. They may even notice more than a verbal person. How terrifying to not be able to speak what  you are thinking, yet I still did not like Kitty!

Jane Corry is quickly being added to my list of "must read everything they write" authors. I enjoyed My Husband's Wife and The Killing Type, both being 5 star reads from me. In my opinion this is her best work yet! The first half of this book was moving at a slower pace and then BAM! It suddenly turned into this book where I couldn't turn the pages fast enough. There were so many twists that I absolutely did not see coming. They were so well played out. I kept thinking that each twist and turn was the last one and then another clever little twist would play out. If you think it is starting out slow, hang in there because the author is just setting you up for one heck of a story.

Loved the book and now I have to get my hands on The Dead Ex!

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine

I have been wanting to read this book for so long. I kept letting my addiction to NetGalley get in the way. Well not today NetGalley, not today! I finally got to see what the hype was about. I loved this book! It has sat on my TBR pile for way too long.

Daphne Parrish has it all. She has a loving handsome husband and two perfect little girls. They live in a much envied zip code and belong to all the right clubs. She is cultured and surrounds herself with only the most posh group of friends, that all of course live in Bishops Harbor.

Amber Patterson is new to town. Amber does not travel in the same circles that Daphne does. In fact they have nothing in common. Except that they both lost their sister to cystic fibrosis.  So when they became best friends it caught people off guard. There were alot of suspicions raised about this outsider that had little to her name. The outsider that Daphne had let into her inner circle. Allowing her access to her home, family and lifestyle. Daphne sees Amber as the sister she has lost and confides in her very personal details. Are Amber's intentions legit?

Wow this was a book I just couldn't put down.  It has a little bit of everything, glass turtles and all. It is rather hard to explain because it wasn't a sit on the edge of your seat, who is going to die next type of book. Yet there was something really appealing to it. I really got wrapped up into the characters lives, wanting to know what they were up to next. Who was playing who? There was so much back stabbing and deceit going on. A very clever little web of lies being spun.  My favorite line of the book was "She was going to get a life sentence right here in Connecticut." I love it! Witty characters and a really fun read. I highly recommend it.

4 stars from me!

Sunday, July 15, 2018

The Affair by Sheryl Browne

How many things can go wrong in Justin's life? He is a dedicated husband, father and respected doctor. He was on the brink of a nervous breakdown after he walked into a crime scene at his parents home. His mother, father and sister were brutally murdered. Understandably he fell into a state of depression, finding it hard to function in daily life.

Then Justin meets with tragedy again. The unthinkable happens. You will get no spoilers here, so I will leave it unsaid, just know it is a big one. As he is trying to move through this latest life tragedy, he is comforted that he has his wife Alicia at his side. Or does he? It comes to light that Alicia has been having an affair. He begins to question if his daughter Sophie and son Luke are even his biological children.

Up until this point this seemed like a story of a family faced with many tragedies. Then the twists begins...Sophie disappears, did she leave on her own or did someone take her? The first few pages in the book had opened up with a person struggling with the decision to end someones life. Who is this person? Is the kind family man and doctor capable of killing someone? Even for revenge? The Affair ends with a bang and all your questions will be answered. You may be surprised as to what people are capable of when being put to the test.

Wow this book caught he a bit off guard. I was expecting a domestic thriller-which it ended up being in the second half, but the book touched on so many other subjects. Obviously, someone had an affair, hence the title of the book. It delves into the ways an affair can literally shatter the entire family dynamics. It takes you through the challenges that each spouse and child face in this situation. This book is about love, loss and the strength of a family put to the test.

4 stars from me!

Can we talk about this cover? This cover is fabulous. It is actually what initially drew me to this book. It defiantly has curb appeal. If you pay close attention towards the end of the book, you will grasp the importance of this cover. "The rose bush symbolizes immortal love, even through time or death." It will make sense to you after you read the book!

A big thank you to Sheryl Browne, Bookouture and NetGalley for this ARC.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Social Creature by Tara Isabella Burton

Get ready for a wild ride with this one. I am speechless. It is such a train wreck, crazy roller coaster ride. I guess that sums it up. WOW. I just finished this and I am having trouble thinking straight.

Lavinia is our social creature. She lives to be social. She hates to be alone, she is constantly seeking the attention of others, she chronicles her every move on social media. She is a selfie queen. Even though she has a very active social life and moves in all the right circles, she is -well a bit much. She is not a likeable character at all. She is a 23 year old wealthy Yale student, who has taken time off of college to "write" and find herself. She instead is not writing, but she is partying every night, with an excess of drugs and alcohol, living in her upscale apartment in New York. She is well known by everyone and simply tolerated by everyone. You either love her or hate her. I hated her.  Her personality is a combination of manic/depressed moods.  She is flamboyant in her dress and actions but pulls it off due to her looks and money. She not only can get into the best clubs but also has the best seats at the opera. She lives for the moment.

Meet Louise, a low key hard working "normal" person. Louise works three different jobs, barely making ends meet. She is anything but glamorous, she can't even manage to brush or color her hair half of the time. Then Louise meets Lavinia. Her life will never be the same. Lavinia as I have stated can't stand to be alone. She quickly makes Louise a permanent fixture in her life. The difference is Lavinia has the monetary means to live that lifestyle, Louise does not. Louise's life starts to spiral out of control. It appears she has it all but she in fact has nothing.

We know right from the start that Lavinia is going to end up dead. What we don't know is when and how. Is it her self destructive behavior? Or something more sinister?

Did I love this book? I did. I hated all the characters but it was such a clever book.  I am giving it 5 stars because it really deserves it. It had all the things a 5 star read require from me. It kept me up until the wee hours of the morning, because I could not put this book down. It was such an easy read, it never dragged. I can't even grasp how the author was able to come up with this stuff. She is brilliant to come up with such a dark, twisty read.

I am an ER nurse and not much shocks me. Literally I see and hear it all. This book made me uncomfortable at times so if you are offended easily it might shock you a little. But hey, isn't that why you are reading a dark, twisty thriller? Didn't you pick it up to be shocked out of your comfort zone a bit? Well this one will do it!

P.S. The cover is absolute perfection. The attention to detail, the beautiful eye perfectly made up in elaborate makeup but yet a smudge where a tear may be coming down. Captures our social creature perfectly.

5 stars from me!

Monday, July 9, 2018

The Sister by Louise Jensen

The Sister by Louise Jensen revolves around two girls that met in school when they were 9 years old. Grace and Charlotte (aka Charlie) became besties when Charlie took Grace, the new girl, under her wing. Neither had a sister and they latched onto each other and formed a brilliant friendship. Their friendship outlasted all others as they grew older and moved into a house together. Sharing everything and I mean everything.

Unfortunately Charlie is the girl that will be forever 24 years old. Her untimely death remains a mystery to us through most of the book. We know that Grace blames herself, but Grace also is someone with little self confidence that believes the worst in herself. We see several people around her take advantage of this and use it to their best ability to benefit themselves.

We watch Grace's life fall apart slowly as she spirals downward in a sea of guilt and grieving. It doesn't help that someone is stalking her every move. Or are they? Grace is the first to admit that she does medicate herself for anxiety and sometimes she adds alcohol to it. Is she just paranoid?

After reading The Date by Louise Jensen, I knew I had to read The Sister. The Date was a solid 5 star kind of book for me. It kept me turning the pages as quick as I could. This book was a slower burn for me. It was still good, but you had to wait a bit for things to pick up. There was alot going on in the last couple of chapters and all your questions will be answered. Even questions you didn't know you had. I have to add that I LOVE the cover of this book. Not only is it appealing, you will grasp the significance of it once you start reading the book. I enjoyed reading my second book by Louise Jensen and will definitely look forward to reading more from her.

4 stars from me!!

Thank you so much to Louise Jensen, Grand Central Publishing and NetGalley for allowing me the opportunity to read and review.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Snap by Belinda Bauer

Three young children are left in a car on the side of the road in the blazing heat. Their pregnant mother makes her way on foot in search for help after their car has broken down. She is never to be seen or heard from again. Eventually the family is informed that she has been murdered. It appears she had accepted a ride from a stranger. Doesn't everyone know you don't accept rides from strangers? It's the perfect way to end up dead.

Life begins to quickly unravel for the Bright family after Eileen Bright is murdered. Jack Bright, the eldest at a whopping eleven years old is forced to provide for the family. A little boy who has no choice but to grow up fast and learn a quick and dirty lifestyle. 

Fast forward three years. We meet Catherine and Adam.  Catherine is pregnant, expecting their first child. Many interesting events unfold in their home, such as death threats. Yet, they never report it to the authorities. A bit odd one would think. What do they have to hide? What does one need a four thousand pound knife for? A hefty price for a knife that you misplace or have lying around the house. So many unanswered questions.

Whew! Oh Snap! I know, but I couldn't resist, I had to say Oh Snap at least once. It was just there, I had to do it. This was one good book! I will be the first to admit that this book freaked me out a little in the beginning.  The first couple of chapters had me checking my door locks and feeling a bit uneasy. Creeped out would probably be an accurate description. The author is so precise with her descriptions that she transforms you into that place. I could feel the heat that those kids were experiencing while waiting in the hot car  for their mom. You could imagine your bare legs sticking to the hot seats. Not to mention I had to look over my shoulder while in my own house. Bravo to Belinda Bauer for making it real for me.

This was a suspense filled thriller that I didn't want to put down. It also tugs at your heart strings. Jack Bright deserved a better life. He would probably have gone down a much different path, if not for another persons disregard for human life. He appeared grown up but he was still yearning for a childhood as demonstrated with his Goldilocks lifestyle.

This is the first Belinda Bauer book I have read. I will defiantly be looking forward to reading more by her.

4 stars from me!

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Three Little Lies by Laura Marshall

Three little lies can change everything....

This story alternates between events that took place in 2006 and 2017, revolving around a group of teenagers/young adults who are neighbors.

Meet the new neighbors-the Monktons. You have Olivia, the opera singer who is famous in her own right. Her husband Tony who is a struggling musician, their sons Daniel and Nicholas and their god daughter Sasha. They live an unconventional lifestyle filled with glamorous parties and operas. Or is this just how it appears to an outsider? Or perhaps to a teenage girl wanting desperately to be a part of their life?

Meet Ellen and Karina. Two teenage girls completely and utterly obsessed with the new neighbors and their lifestyle. They are especially intrigued by the beautiful Sasha who seems to charm everyone in her presence without a bit of effort.

Everything changes. One of the Monktons are accused of rape and the glamorous image is shattered. The accused is found guilty and sentenced to prison.

Ellen and Sasha are best friends. Nobody knows them better than each other. Are we sure that is really the case? Lies are starting to surface from the past and even more from the present. Sasha suddenly goes missing. Is this revenge for the rape accusations? Is it just a coincidence that the convicted rapist is now free? Who has been lying all these years?

I enjoyed Laura Marshall's previous book Friend Request, so I was looking forward to reading her latest and greatest. I am glad I did, it was a good entertaining read.

The title says it all, but there were certainly more than three LITTLE lies going on here. There was jealously, competitiveness and the grass is also greener on the other side syndrome going on. It kept me guessing until the end. Be forewarned, be careful who you trust!

4 stars from me!

Thank you to Laura Marshall, Grand Central Publishing and NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to read and review Three Little Lies.

Fun with Barbara Copperwaite

Who gets a blurb written by Barbara Copperwaite? This lucky girl did! I had only written a couple reviews and  I had just started my blog. So  imagine my surprise when this talented author did this write up on my review! 

‘A whole bunch of lying & a whole lot of surprises!’
The first blog posted their review of THE PERFECT FRIEND. What did they have to say? Well, I’m very relieved to report that they loved it – giving it a fabulous FIVE STARS!
‘A whole bunch of lying and a whole lot of surprises in this book!’ writes It’s All About The Thrill.
I love that, as an emergency nurse, she appreciated how accurate my depiction of certain characters was.
She reveals: ‘Being an Emergency Room nurse myself, I deal with people going through major life events and I get to see how they cope with it. I felt the author really captured how people that are so consumed with anorexia function. Alex had to lie to cover up more lies. It was a way of life for her.’
So just who is behind It’s All About The Thrill. In the ‘About’ section of her blog, reviewer Kim reveals she ‘loves to read a good thriller. Just a little something to keep the adrenaline going while I am not at work.’
She adds: ‘I have been writing reviews on Goodreads and NetGalley for a while now and creating a blog seemed liked the natural progression. My goal is to connect with other readers that share my love of books. I want to share with others my thoughts on my favorite books and authors.’
So what makes the perfect read for Kim (although there’s a pretty obvious clue in the name of her blog!).
‘My favorite type of author is able to pull you into their story and then throw a twist in that leaves you shocked and wanting more!’
I’m so proud that THE PERFECT FRIEND has achieved just that. To read the review in full on It’s All About The Thrill, click here.
THE PERFECT FRIEND is published on 5 July