Book Reviews

Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell

Then She Was GoneTitle: Then She Was Gone
Author: Lisa Jewell
Rating: ★★★★

Ellie Mack was everyone’s favorite in the family. At fifteen, she had the perfect life: a hot boyfriend, excellent marks in school, and the happiness most dream of. That is…until one day when she goes to the library and never comes back.

That was how she’d once viewed her perfect life: as a series of bad smells and unfulfilled duties, petty worries and late bills.

Ten years later, Laurel Mack, Ellie’s mom is living the exact opposite life. Now divorced, she still clings on the thought of that Ellie may still be alive. One day, her luck does a complete one-eighty. Spending some time alone at a local cafe, a charming fella encourages Laurel to share a piece of cake and the rest is history! 

When I read a book it feels like the real life and when I put the book down it’s like I can go back into the dream.

Soon enough, Laurel becomes a part of his family and is introduced to his youngest daughter…oh and by the way, she happens to look just like Ellie! With Poppy sharing the same spirit, Laurel starts question her new perfect life.

Can any man be so perfect? What is he hiding? What really happened to Ellie? Is there any relation between Poppy and Ellie, and what does Floyd have to do with it? Who else is hiding something?

 

APRIL 2018 BOTM

Book Reviews

Not That I Could Tell by Jessica Strawser

Not That I Could TellTitle: Not That I Could Tell
Author: Jessica Strawser
Rating: ★★★

We’re trying to account for her whereabouts, Mrs. Tiffin. She didn’t show at work today, and Abby and Aaron never arrived at school.

Yellow Springs seems like a relaxing, family-oriented place. One Saturday night, six women from the neighborhood spend an evening enjoying wine around a bonfire. The next morning, one mom disappears with her two children. However, it seems like all women had too much to drink and don’t remember most of the night.

Ever wonder what your friends really think of you?

Clara, a close friend of Kristen, is concerned of her friend’s whereabouts. Kristen Kirkland lives the type of life most people imagine. She is married to a doctor, involved in her children’s school, and seems to have her life all in order. However, the more that is revealed about Kristen, the more everyone starts to question if they really knew her at all.

Neighbors are lying, people are sneaking around, and drama is roiling all amidst the disappearance of a mother and her two children.

Where is Kristen? Where are the children? Did they leave? Did something bad happen to them? Does it involve Kristen’s soon-to-be ex-husband? You’ll have to read to find out.

One positive thing about this novel is that it was an easy read. The characters were all relatable, which you don’t necessarily always find where there are so many involved. Probably what lowered my expectation is that I found it predictable. All of the clues were there, so the ending didn’t surprise me like I would’ve liked. Everyone else seems to like it, but it just didn’t do it for me, unfortunately (maybe I read too many mystery novels).

The expected publication date of this novel is March 27, 2018.

MARCH 2018 BOTM

Book Reviews

The Broken Girls by Simone St. James

The Broken GirlsTitle: The Broken Girls
Author: Simone St. James
Rating: ★★★★

What I liked about this novel is that it transitions between 1950 and 2014. The audience is taken through multiple perspectives throughout the story, all leading to a stirring finale.

Mary Hand Mary Hand, Dead and buried underland. She’ll say she wants to be your friend. Do not let her in again.

We are in Barrons, Vermont in 1950. Idlewild is a school for “troubled” or “broken” girls. Some believe it is haunted. Katie, Ce-Ce, Roberta, and Sonia share a bond over their painful experiences and come to a greater understanding of Mary Hand’s existence in their lives. In these chapters of the novel, we find out exactly why these four young ladies are “broken”and sent to this sorrowful place. 

What exactly are they hiding years later? Who was discovered buried in the well during the restoration of Idlewild? What is the secret surrounding all of these events?

It is now 2014 and Fiona Sheridan, a journalist, is still suffering from the devastating death of her sister, Deb, who died on the grounds of Idlewild twenty years prior. Not convinced that all was uncovered during trial, she sets her eyes on discovering the truth when rumor spreads that Idlewild is to be restored. Will discovering the truth put Fiona in danger? Did Deb’s boyfriend really murder her?

In a shocking ending (at least, I was shocked haha), Fiona uncovers the truth behind the murders from long ago and discovers the meaning behind Mary Hand’s haunting. Everyone is not as they seem and history seems to be repeating itself. 

Will Sonia and Deb receive justice? What will happen with Mary Hand? Can Fiona crack the mystery and put the town at ease?  

FEBRUARY 2018 BOTM

Book Reviews

Two Girls Down by Louisa Luna

Two Girls DownTitle: Two Girls Down
Author: Louisa Luna
Rating: ★★★★

Welcome one of the only mystery thrillers that I was unable to crack before the main characters did. Two Girls Down contains complex characters (Thank you, Louisa Luna!), a well-developed plot, and intriguing suspense.

On the way to a birthday party, while stopping to buy a present, Kylie and Bailey are abducted. With the help of “the Bastard” (a hacking genius), Alice Vega and Max Caplan (“Cap”) embark on a journey to discover the whereabouts of the two missing girls, while figuring out a connection behind multiple abductions in the area. 

Cap truly believed there was nothing harder than being a kid. You were always an alien trying to learn the earth rules

The above quote was in respect to how Nell took Cap and Jules’ divorce. Children believe some things are their fault, when they are just caught in the crossfire. We see how pure their souls are with Kylie’s actions alone. How reason sometimes isn’t a factor, but the well-being of those we love. I really enjoyed Nell’s character, probably as my favorite. She was direct, uplifting, caring, and highly intelligent. She reminded me of Vega. Surprisingly, I really enjoyed the detective’s personality, and as some of you may know, I generally loathe female characters. Vega was relatable, strong, confident, independent, and sure of her abilities. Her confidence in herself made her desirable as a protagonist.

Let’s get to the good stuff…was it romance between Alice and Caplan? I wanted this to workout so bad! They fit each other like pieces of a puzzle, one more rash and forthcoming, the other sensitive and calculated. What is even better is that they learn through each other as the story progresses. We are left hanging on the edges of our seats about what is to come of these two.

The ending…was it all a dream or did everything really happen? I still don’t know haha. The clock is ticking. Will Kylie and Bailey be rescued before time runs out?

JANUARY 2018 BOTM

Book Reviews

The English Wife by Lauren Willig

The English WIfeTitle: The English Wife
Author: Lauren Willig
Rating: ★★★★

When first beginning this novel, I immediately thought of Downton Abbey. Anne reminded me of Rose, Bay of Matthew, early Georgiana of Sybil, latter Georgiana of Edith, Janie of Anna (who always has been my favorite), etc.

Who are the Van Duyvils and who is the new English wife?

An aspect of the novel I really enjoyed was that not everything in the plot was resolved at the end of the story. You may be thinking, “What?! This girl is crazy!”. But, we weren’t totally left at odds. A little bit of mystery or imagination is always a good thing and that is exactly what we get when it comes to Georgiana (a.k.a. Annabelle…I’m sticking with Georgiana throughout the rest of this review).

Let me just vent here a minute… I thought I was actually going to like a female protagonist for once. At first, I enjoyed reading about Georgiana and dreaded reading about Janie (I found her to be quite boring). Georgiana seemed like a woman who knew her worth and was very independent. However, this changes as the novels proceeds. I was thoroughly disappointed in her mannerisms at the end of her story. She was no longer this fierce woman I came to admire, but rather, someone who couldn’t see her own value. Towards the end of the novel, I started to really adore Janie. We saw her transform from this quiet, reserved girl to this strong, confident woman and I loved that! I thought it was interesting that the roles were reversed and now I was enjoying a character who I before loathed.

George.

This was the word spoken right before Bay’s death. What does it mean? George, his law school friend, or short for “Georgie”?

Now, let’s get to the nitty gritty…the topic conveniently avoided…cheating. Am I crazy to think that all of the characters just brush this aside?! How? I don’t care if it was for love or whatever…that’s just rude! Really, it just made me angry that people were more judgmental of Georgiana for wanting a divorce than Bay cheating on her. Yes, I understand that in that time period, it was normal for a man to have mistresses. I felt bad for Georgiana, because not only did she have to go through all of that (and the other person living in her house…by her choice!), but she was ridiculed for the exact allegations that her husband was guilty of. I give her props because I couldn’t do it. I would blurt out the truth! haha

Aside from my two rants, I did enjoy this book. As you can see, some emotion rose out of me while reading this. The author did a fantastic job of really describing the attributes of the characters, both good and bad, so that the reader was able to feel the raw emotions of each character individually. While we may have some suspicions of who the murderer was, Lauren Willig does a nice job of not revealing this until the end of the novel. For those of you who love a little drama, relate to this time period, or want a little mystery in your life, then this is the book for you.

DECEMBER 2017 BOTM