Book Review | An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

The instant #1 New York Times bestseller (January 2019) everyone is talking about!

People Magazine’s Book of the Week • Bookish’s “Must-Read Books of Winter” • PopSugar’s “Best Books of Winter” • Cosmopolitan’s “2019 Books to Bring to Your Book Club” • Bookbub’s “Biggest Books of Winter” • Refinery 29’s “Best Books of January 2019” • Crime Reads’ “January’s Best Psychological Thrillers” • InStyle’s “7 Books That You Should Resolve to Read This January” • HelloGiggles’ “The 50 Most Anticipated Books of 2019” • USA Today’s “5 New Books Not to Miss” • Marie Claire’s “The Best Women’s Fiction of 2019 (So Far)” • Hypable’s “Winter Releases You Can’t Afford to Miss”

“Hendricks and Pekkanen are at the top of their game…You won’t see the final twist coming.” —People Magazine

“Beware strange psychologists…the authors know exactly how to play on their characters’ love of danger to bring them to the brink of disaster – and dare them to jump off.” —New York Times Book Review

“Slickly twisty [with] gasp-worthy final twists...major league suspense.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“For those who relished the creepy stalking in Hendricks and Pekkanen’s The Wife Between Us, this unnerving tale will have them rethinking what secrets are safe to share and if moral and ethics really matter when protecting the ones you love.” —Library Journal (starred review)

“Masterfully escalates the suspense.” —Booklist (starred review)

Looking to earn some easy cash, Jessica Farris agrees to be a test subject in a psychological study about ethics and morality. But as the study moves from the exam room to the real world, the line between what is real and what is one of Dr. Shields’s experiments blurs.

Dr. Shields seems to know what Jess is thinking… and what she’s hiding.

Jessica’s behavior will not only be monitored, but manipulated.

Caught in a web of attraction, deceit and jealousy, Jess quickly learns that some obsessions can be deadly.

From the authors of the blockbuster bestseller The Wife Between Us, Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen, An Anonymous Girl will keep you riveted through the last shocking twist.

UPDATE: FILM / MOVIE / ADAPTATION:

https://the-bibliofile.com/an-anonymous-girl-tv-series-movie-release-cast-trailer-film/

This book was amazing! I love psychological thrillers (obviously!) and this book led right into the suspense. The main character, Jessica Farris, in need of money for her family, and seeing an opportunity she couldn’t pass up, participated in a morality study for which she would be paid. The first hiccup, was that she wasn’t the invited participant to the study. She took the place of someone else. But she thought they would overlook it.

Slowly her story unraveled: her family history, her relationship issues, etc. And within the first few chapters, we came to realize the makers of the study were very interested in what she has to say and why. The psychology professor who created the study began to send Jessica on errands and after a few, they just didn’t seem to make sense, and then Jessica began to put it together.

Twists, turns, possibilities, and theories begin, and the story gets deeper and deeper with Dr. Shields. It’s so well written and thought-provoking, that I couldn’t put the book down, except to work and spend time with my hubby. I love books like this, that pull you in and make you wonder what on God’s green earth is going on.

One of my favorite things about the book was the switching of perspectives: one chapter would be from Jessica’s point of view, and the next chapter would be from the perspective of Dr. Lydia Shields. It was great to vacillate between the two and try to figure out the motives of both of them.

This is the second book I’ve read from this duo and I think they’ve got this down pat! They are able to coordinate and put together stories from multiple perspectives, with sinister plots and believable characters. I love reading their novels, can’t wait to read more from them and am really hoping a TV adaptation is made for this book. It’s definitely 5/5 from me!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press.  I was not required to write a positive review.  The opinions expressed are my own.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 (http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html): “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Book Review | The Burglar by Thomas Perry

Thomas Perry The Burglar cover

Book Description: From the New York Times bestselling author Thomas Perry, who can be depended upon to deliver high-voltage shocks” (Stephen King), comes a new thriller about an unlikely burglar – a young woman in her 20s – who realizes she must solve a string of murders, or else become the next victim.

Elle Stowell is a young woman with an unconventional profession: burglary. But Elle is no petty thief – with just the right combination of smarts, looks, and skills, she can easily stroll through ritzy Bel Air neighborhoods and pick out the perfect home for plucking the most valuable items.

This is how Elle has always gotten by – she is good at it, and she thrives on the thrill. But after stumbling upon a grisly triple homicide while stealing from the home of a wealthy art dealer, Elle discovers that she is no longer the only one sneaking around. Somebody is searching for her.

As Elle realizes that her knowledge of the high-profile murder has made her a target, she races to solve the case before becoming the next casualty, using her breaking-and-entering skills to uncover the truth about exactly who the victims were and why someone might have wanted them dead. With high-stakes action and shocking revelations, The Burglar will keep readers on the edge of their seats as they barrel towards the heart-racing conclusion.”

The main character, Elle Stowell, is meticulous, investigative, and swift. She knows how to pick locks, enter residences quietly, scout out homes and locations, and obtain wares from homes without owner knowledge – for the most part.

One day, she enters a home she’s been casing for a while. Thinking she’ll make out with some amazing objects, she assumes the owner is gone, but unfortunately finds him and two other women in an uncompromising situation in the bedroom and they are deceased. Elle panics a bit, realizes there is a camera filming and she’s now part of the footage. She takes the camera, goes home to study it, and returns it to the homeowner’s residence for the police to find after she’s wiped any trail of her presence.

Where she thought she was doing a good deed, tides begin to turn. Someone is aware that she was there and now they are after her. As she begins to research and study people associated with the murder victims, the lens begins to narrow to her. She doesn’t know who to trust and she doesn’t know where she’s safe.

Who is after her and why? And will she be able to get herself out of the situation alive?

I enjoyed this book. I liked the fact that after a bit of a backstory of Elle, even though many may disagree with her life choice of being a burglar (vocation passed down for generations), you begin to identify with her and want her to “win”.  There are a few intense moments of car chases, foot chases, and an urgency that was well written. She is smart, determined, and willing to outsmart those chasing her, so justice can be done.

I loved the pace, the intrigue, the suspense building up to an event with someone she thought would become a love interest. That was better than the ending, in my opinion. But this was well written and hooked me. And I certainly learned a lot about burgling! 🙂

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through Grove Atlantic Mysterious Press and NetGalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own and I appreciate the opportunity to receive an advanced reader copy to do so. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html>: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Book Review | Paradox by Catherine Coulter (Book #22 in FBI Thriller Series)

paradox

Book Description:

Opening this book, it started off great! An attempted child abduction at the home of two FBI agents, a witness to a murderer who dumps a body in the body of Lake Massey, locating a man trapped in a closet who is left for dead…
And I’ll admit, I’ve not read the twenty-one books in this series beforehand. So I am not familiar with most of the characters or the plot lines leading up to this book. But I was sadly disappointed by this book.
I really felt like the action was missing. Certain events did happen where there should have been thrilling emotions and reactions, but nothing super chilling or worthy of grabbing my attention.  There was a lot of redundancy regarding a belt buckle found in the lake, and the perpetrator and his girlfriend, but even those events and details felt lacking. I wasn’t really gripped, nor did it make me want to read any of the other books in the series. Maybe I missed the boat on this one, but it ended up in my least favorite books.  However, I will give Catherine Coulter another try. She’s a NY Times Best Selling Author. We all deserve second chances.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through Gallery Threshold, Pocket Books and NetGalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own and I appreciate the opportunity to receive an advanced reader copy to do so. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Book Review | The Exes’ Revenge by Jo Jakeman

exes' revenge

Book Description: A wickedly dark debut thriller about three women who’ve all been involved with the same man and realize the one thing they have in common is that they all want revenge against him…

Divorces are often messy, and Imogen’s is no exception. Phillip Rochester is controlling, abusive, and determined to make things as difficult as possible. When he shows up without warning demanding that Imogen move out of their house by the end of the month or he’ll sue for sole custody of their young son, Imogen is ready to snap.

In a moment of madness, Imogen does something unthinkable–something that puts her in control for the first time in years. She’s desperate to protect her son and to claim authority over her own life.

But she wasn’t expecting both Phillip’s ex-wife and new girlfriend to get tangled up in her plans. These three very different women–and unlikely allies–reluctantly team up to take revenge against a man who has wronged them all.

The book opens with a funeral for Phillip Rochester. And among the attendees are Imogen, Phillip’s wife on paper, Ruby, Phillip’s first wife, and Naomi, Phillip’s newest girlfriend who caused Imogen and Phillip to split. The contrast between these women gets revealed as the story unravels. Phillip is a very well known decorated policeman, but has a very dark side of him. And in his controlling demeanor, he is physically and verbally abusive to these women. As more and more women seem to fall for him, the worse he becomes. Imogen is the only one of the three women to have a child with Phillip, so Allistair becomes her saving grace and focus of protection. Unfortunately, she is unable to go to the police, so she weathers much of what happens on her own.

Without revealing too much, the three of them end up in a situation where they all have to go up against Phillip in order to save their lives, and it’s absolutely insane! Slowly over the course of the book, manipulation and control seethes from Phillip, pinning these women down and taking away their confidence. It’s easy to dislike certain characters and then agree with others. And much of the dialogue was believable, especially in certain conversations where emotions could hinder full on thinking. I enjoyed the book and felt like it drew me in. I read it fairly quickly and there’s a wonderful feeling of satisfaction at the end. If physical or emotional abuse is a trigger for you, you may tread with caution or avoid. If you can skip over parts that may be uncomfortable, I say go for the ride…

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through Berkley  Publishing Group and NetGalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own and I appreciate the opportunity to receive an advanced reader copy to do so. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Book Review | Lies by T. M. Logan

T. M. Logan Lies cover

Book Description:

WHAT IF YOUR WHOLE LIFE WAS BASED ON LIES?
When Joe Lynch stumbles across his wife driving into a hotel car park while she’s supposed to be at work, he’s intrigued enough to follow her in.

And when he witnesses her in an angry altercation with family friend Ben, he knows he ought to intervene.

But just as the confrontation between the two men turns violent, and Ben is knocked unconscious, Joe’s young son has an asthma attack – and Joe must flee in order to help him.

When he returns, desperate to make sure Ben is OK, Joe is horrified to find that Ben has disappeared.

And that’s when Joe receives the first message . . .

Love psychological thrillers and this one was part whodunit, part thriller.  I have to admit it didn’t take me long to read it, since I would read past midnight, not wanting to miss the next chapter.

This book started out with a dad named Joe and his son in their car. While driving, the son sees his mother’s car and mentions it to Joe.  They decide to follow her, and before they know it, they’re at a hotel, witnessing a family friend and Mommy have an argument.  Joe decides to approach his friend Ben while he’s walking to his car in the parking lot and the two have a conversation, but Joe ends up with more questions than answers.  Ben also ends up on the ground of the parking lot after their altercation and things just seem to spin out of control afterward.

Any book that has me asking questions throughout, especially about personalities, behaviors and motives, draws me in.  This book did exactly that! Well written, fast-paced and with events that keep you asking questions during the investigation, this book does not disappoint on the “what’s going on” scale.  And the ending twist was a nice finish, considering everybody seems to be capable of wanting something bad to happen to Ben.

One thing I have to give credit to the author for, is the realistic reactions of Joe.  Normally dialogue between married couples and other people sometimes never sound realistic, but as tension began to build, there were realistic questions asked, rational reactions and it made for a believable storyline, so well done on that!

In order to know exactly what happens, you’ll have to read for yourself. What if everything you’ve ever believed WAS a lie?  #lies #netgalley

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley.  I was not required to write a positive review.  The opinions expressed are my own.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 (http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html): “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Book Review | Every Time You Go Away by Beth Harbison

Beth Harbison Every time you go away cover

Book Description:

In New York Times bestselling author Beth Harbison’s most emotional novel ever, a fractured family must come together at a beach house haunted by the past.

Willa has never fully recovered from the sudden death of her husband, Ben. She became an absent mother to her young son, Jamie, unable to comfort him while reeling from her own grief.

Now, years after Ben’s death, Willa finally decides to return to the beach house where he passed. It’s time to move on and put the Ocean City, Maryland house on the market.

When Willa arrives, the house is in worse shape than she could have imagined, and the memories of her time with Ben are overwhelming. They met at this house and she sees him around every corner. Literally. Ben’s ghost keeps reappearing, trying to start conversations with Willa. And she can’t help talking back.

To protect her sanity, Willa enlists Jamie, her best friend Kristin, and Kristin’s daughter Kelsey to join her for one last summer at the beach. As they explore their old haunts, buried feelings come to the surface, Jamie and Kelsey rekindle their childhood friendship, and Willa searches for the chance to finally say goodbye to her husband and to reconnect with her son.

Every Time You Go Away is a heartfelt, emotional story about healing a tragic loss, letting go, and coming together as a family.

This book was beautiful. It definitely focused on grief in a way we’ve not seen in other books.  The story of Willa and Jamie takes a new turn as the two main characters go back to their summer home, three years after the death of their husband/father, to restore the place and sell it.  Willa begins to heal as she purges the house of items that were Ben’s and gives it a new makeover with fresh paint and furniture.  In the course of revisiting the location where Ben breathed his last, Willa begins to see him, after he’s passed.  She and he begin to have conversations and then late night rendezvous.  And they’re not tacky or inappropriate, they are sweet and realistic conversations that a widow might have, if she had the opportunity to reach out to her beloved, very much missed husband.

Jamie, Willa’s son, at the beginning of the book, has a dreadful girlfriend who is desperately in need of being let go.  It is just too much -it breaks my heart to read about a young woman who is so unstable and needy.  Mothers and fathers, spend time with your daughters, so they won’t turn into this hideous Roxy!  Her texts, phone calls and incessant pleas for Jamie were unnerving, but sadly realistic. Eventually, Jamie stands up to her and goes to visit his mother, which is so necessary to them both moving through grief.

Throughout the summer journey of revisiting and remembering, mother and son become closer, and healing begins, and it’s with the help of a wonderful friend, Kristin and her daughter, Kelsey.  And the direction that the kids take as a result of “fixing up the place” just opens doors for more romance.

I loved the pace of the book, the realistic parts that made sense regarding Willa wanting to reconnect and have some peace on moving on, and I really enjoyed the moments where the author recounted Willa’s memories for us.  Working through the death of a loved one is never easy.  And I felt her descriptions and imagery was believable.  It was a sad story that dealt much with healing, loss and grief.

Caution: If you have an event you are working through, this may trigger some feelings and heartache, but it was very well written and sweet.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley.  I was not required to write a positive review.  The opinions expressed are my own.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 (http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html): “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

 

Book Review | Bloody Sunday by Ben Coes

Book 8 in the Dewey Andreas series…

Ben Coes Bloody Sunday cover

Book Description:

North Korea, increasingly isolated from most of the rest of the world, is led by an absolute dictator and a madman with a major goal―he’s determined to launch a nuclear attack on the United States. While they have built, and continue to successfully test nuclear bombs, North Korea has yet to develop a ballistic missile with the range necessary to attack America. But their missiles are improving, reaching a point where the U.S. absolutely must respond.

What the U.S. doesn’t know is that North Korea has made a deal with Iran. In exchange for effective missiles from Iran, they will trade nuclear triggers and fissionable material. An exchange, if it goes through, that will create two new nuclear powers, both with dangerous plans.

Dewey Andreas, still reeling from recent revelations about his own past, is ready to retire from the CIA. But he’s the only available agent with the skills to carry out the CIA’s plan to stop North Korea. The plan is to inject a singular designer poison into the head of the North Korean military and in exchange for the nuclear plans, provide him with the one existing dose of the antidote. But it goes awry when Dewey manages to inject a small amount of the poison into himself. Now, to survive, Dewey must get into North Korea and access the antidote and, while there, thwart the nuclear ambitions of both North Korea and Iran. And he has less than 24 hours to do so―in the latest thriller from Ben Coes.

First of all, wow! I love political thrillers, especially from previous government employees who have intel we would never have! This author is very engaging, keeps the pace moving from the first page and never let me down.  Quite a feat! 5/5 for this book!

Ben Coes, the author, is a former member of the U.S. Special Forces Delta Force. Working for the Veterans Administration, I can concur that there are abbreviations and acronyms for everything we do, and reading this book, gave me a lesson in even more of them.  For instance, SOQ is statement of qualifications, THAAD stands for Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, and DARPA is Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. Felt like I was reading an email from a colleague with a va.gov address, but I digress…

The book has so much action, characters who are easy to follow who aren’t predictable or annoying, and a plot that could easily fit into today’s headlines. With Kim Jong Il found to be dying of pancreatic cancer that has spread, he’s determined to annihilate the western part of the US with nuclear warfare because he wants to go out strong. But what he doesn’t realize is that Dewey Andreas, though bordering on retirement, gets pulled back in to stop him.  And when the plan that’s in place goes off-course when one of Jong Il’s agents overpowers Dewey, the clock begins ticking and it’s a race to get him back to safety and to baseline.

If you like political thrillers packed with action starring a man who looks like Jason Statham (in my mind), these books are for you.  This book was a fast-paced read and since it was built on the previous seven in the series, it would most likely be wise to go back and read them in sequence just for fun.

Book One: Power Down, 2010

Book Two: Coup d’etat, 2011

Book Three: The Last Refuge, 2012

Book Four: Eye for an Eye, 2013

Book Five: Independence Day, 2015

Book Six: First Strike, 2016

Book Seven: Trap the Devil, 2017

Book Eight: Bloody Sunday, 2018

Thanks for reading! 😉

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley.  I was not required to write a positive review.  The opinions expressed are my own.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 (http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html): “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Book Review | The Dream Daughter by Diane Chamberlain

dream daughter

Book Description

Book Review | Bring Me Back by B. A. Paris

bring me back

Book Description

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through St. Martin’s Press and Netgalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own and I appreciate the opportunity to receive an advanced reader copy to do so. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Book Review | The Subway Girls by Susie Orman Schnall

subway girls susie orman schnall

Book Description: