Author: Alessandra Torre
Publication Date: October 2, 2017
Genre: Mystery, Fiction, Suspense, Thriller
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Four years ago, I lied. I stood in front of the police, my friends and family, and made up a story, my best one yet. And all of them believed me.
I wasn’t surprised. Telling stories is what made me famous. Fifteen bestsellers. Millions of fans. Fame and fortune.
Now, I have one last story to write. It’ll be my best one yet, with a jaw-dropping twist that will leave them stunned and gasping for breath.
They say that sticks and stones will break your bones, but this story? It will be the one that kills me.
The Ghostwriter is one of those books I’m kicking myself for not reading sooner. It has been on my Kindle since it was released, but I kept putting it off. I shouldn’t have. Honestly, I was impressed with everything about this book. It was my kind of thriller.
I have read one other book by Alessandra Torre (Moonshot). I was impressed with her writing in that book, but the writing in The Ghostwriter blew me away. It was so freaking addictive! The tone was so perfect. There was this air of mystery and darkness. I couldn’t get enough of how it pulled me deeper and deeper into the story. As far as thrillers go, this one can be a little sleepy and uneventful at times. That didn’t bug me because the writing kept me interested in those moments as the story built. And what a story it was! I can honestly say I didn’t see any of the twists coming. There weren’t a ton of twists, just a couple, but they had a major impact. I was so impressed with them.
I know I haven’t said much about the actual plot and characters of The Ghostwriter, but it’s one of those books you have to read for yourself. You don’t want any little thing to be spoiled for you. If you’re a fan of Tarryn Fisher’s books or Colleen Hoover’s Verity, I’m 99.9% sure you would appreciate The Ghostwriter.
Lowen Ashleigh is a struggling writer on the brink of financial ruin when she accepts the job offer of a lifetime. Jeremy Crawford, husband of bestselling author Verity Crawford, has hired Lowen to complete the remaining books in a successful series his injured wife is unable to finish.Lowen Ashleigh is a struggling writer on the brink of financial ruin when she accepts the job offer of a lifetime. Jeremy Crawford, husband of bestselling author Verity Crawford, has hired Lowen to complete the remaining books in a successful series his injured wife is unable to finish.
Lowen arrives at the Crawford home, ready to sort through years of Verity’s notes and outlines, hoping to find enough material to get her started. What Lowen doesn’t expect to uncover in the chaotic office is an unfinished autobiography Verity likely didn’t intend for anyone to read. Page after page of bone-chilling admissions, including Verity’s recollection of the night their family was forever altered.
Lowen decides to keep the manuscript hidden from Jeremy, knowing its contents would devastate the already grieving father. But as Lowen’s feelings for Jeremy begin to intensify, she recognizes all the ways she could benefit if he were to read his wife’s words. After all, no matter how devoted Jeremy is to his injured wife, a truth this horrifying would make it impossible for him to continue to love her.
I’m not sure what switched Colleen Hoover to the dark side, but I am worried that Tarryn Fisher might have figured out how to invade her brain or use mind control or some other magical junk. That’s the only thing I can come up with for how someone who writes romances so emotionally touching could write something this twisted. Okay, maybe that’s stretching things. Colleen Hoover is a talented writer, so there’s no reason she couldn’t go to the dark side on her own. (Still…)
Verity was a deeply disturbing, but extremely addictive psychological thriller. I had no idea who I could trust throughout the entire novel. All the twists surprised me, and made me question what I thought the moment before. The ending shocked me and kept me wishing for just another page. Verity was everything I like in a thriller. I hope Colleen Hoover will grace us with another book like this in the future.
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“What are you wearing?” Corey is staring down at my shirt, perplexed, just now noticing it despite having spent the last fifteen minutes with me.
I look down at my oversized shirt.For a moment, I forgot how ridiculous I look. “I spilled coffee on my other shirt this morning and had to change.”
“Whose shirt is that?”
I shrug. “Probably yours. It was in my closet.”
“You left your house in that? There wasn’t something else you could have worn?”
“It doesn’t look high fashion?” I’m being sarcastic, but he doesn’t catch it.
He makes a face. “No. Is it supposed to?”
Such an ass. But he’s good in bed, like most assholes.
I’m actually relieved when the conference room door opens and a woman walks in. She’s followed, almost comically, by an older man walking so closely behind her, he bumps into the back of her when she stops.
“Goddammit, Barron,” I hear her mumble.
I almost smile at the idea of Goddammit Barron actually being his name.
Jeremy enters last. He gives me a small nod that goes unnoticed by everyone else.
The woman is dressed more appropriately than I am on my best day, with short black hair and lipstick so red, it’s a little jarring at nine thirty in the morning. She seems to be the one in charge as she reaches for Corey’s hand, and then mine, while Goddammit Barron looks on. “Amanda Thomas,” she says. “I’m an editor with Pantem Press.This is Barron Stephens, our lawyer, and Jeremy Crawford, our client.”
Jeremy and I shake hands, and he does a good job of pretending we didn’t share an extremely bizarre morning. He quietly takes the seat across from me. I try not to look at him, but it’s the only place my eyes seem to want to travel. I have no idea why I’m more curious about him than I am about this meeting.
Amanda pulls folders out of her briefcase and slides them in front of Corey and me.
“Thank you for meeting with us,” she says. “We don’t want to waste your time, so I’ll cut right to the chase. One of our authors is unable to fulfill a contract due to medical reasons, and we’re in search of a writer with experience in the same genre who may be interested in completing the three remaining books in her series.”
I glance at Jeremy, but his stoic expression doesn’t hint at his role in this meeting.
“Who is the author?” Corey asks.
“We’re happy to go over the details and terms with you, but we do ask that you sign the non-disclosure agreement.We would like to keep our author’s current situation out of the media.”
“Of course,” Corey says.
I acquiesce, but I say nothing as we both look over the forms and then sign them. Corey slides them back to Amanda.
“Her name is Verity Crawford,” she says. “I’m sure you’re familiar with her work.”
Corey stiffens as soon as they mention Verity’s name. Of course we’re familiar with her work. Everyone is. I hazard a glance in Jeremy’s direction. Is Verity his wife? They share a last name. He said downstairs that his wife is a writer. But why would he be in a meeting about her? A meeting she isn’t even here for?
“We’re familiar with the name,” Corey says, holding his cards close.“Verity has a very successful series we would hate to see go unfinished,” Amanda continues. “Our goal is to bring in a writer who is willing to step in, finish the series, complete the book tours, press releases,and whatever else is normally required of Verity. We plan to put out a press release introducing the new co-writer while also preserving as much of Verity’s privacy as possible.”
About Colleen Hoover
Colleen Hoover is the #1 New York Times and International bestselling author of thirteen novels and multiple novellas. She lives in Texas with her husband and their three boys. She is the founder of The Bookworm Box, a non-profit book subscription service and bookstore in Sulphur Springs, Texas.
The Butterfly Garden
Series: The Collector, #1
Author: Dot Hutchinson
Publication Date: April 26, 2016
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Horror, Fiction
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½
Near an isolated mansion lies a beautiful garden.
In this garden grow luscious flowers, shady trees…and a collection of precious “butterflies”—young women who have been kidnapped and intricately tattooed to resemble their namesakes. Overseeing it all is the Gardener, a brutal, twisted man obsessed with capturing and preserving his lovely specimens.
When the garden is discovered, a survivor is brought in for questioning. FBI agents Victor Hanoverian and Brandon Eddison are tasked with piecing together one of the most stomach-churning cases of their careers. But the girl, known only as Maya, proves to be a puzzle herself.
As her story twists and turns, slowly shedding light on life in the Butterfly Garden, Maya reveals old grudges, new saviors, and horrific tales of a man who’d go to any length to hold beauty captive. But the more she shares, the more the agents have to wonder what she’s still hiding…
The Butterfly Garden is the tale of a deranged serial killer called “The Gardener” keeping the young women he hold captives in his butterfly garden until it’s time for them to meet their fates. It is told in the alternating view points of a FBI agent and the victim of a serial killer. Maya had not been murdered (yet), but she faced a horrifying ordeal. As Maya delivers her story of being held captive and the events surrounding it to Agent Hanoverian, he has to trust that she will give him the details he needs to solve his case. He knows she is keeping something from him, something big, but he’s not sure what.
If I had to sum up The Butterfly Garden in four words they would be creepy, disturbing, horrifying, and unsettling. Those four words pretty much say it all. I could barely stomach the events poor Maya and the other victims had to endure. It hurt my head and my heart. It made me feel disgusted and uncomfortable. I hated reading it, but I couldn’t stop. There was something so addictive to the tale. I had to know Maya’s story.
The weird thing about this thriller was that the story was told straight to the reader. There were twists and turns, but they didn’t really pop out at you unsuspectingly. They were delivered in the order you would expect. The biggest surprise was one that left me unsatisfied. I didn’t see it coming, but I think that’s because it didn’t make sense to me. It was too much of a coincidence. I actually felt that it ruined things a bit for me. That being said, it was probably a twist some readers would love.
The Butterfly Garden was a dark, horrifying story. If you like dark thrillers, this could be the book for you. It was on the verge of being too dark for me — even with how addicting it was. I had to read it during the day and then read a romance later that night so I wouldn’t have messed up dreams.
Dead Certain Author: Adam Mitzner Publication Date: June 1, 2017 Publisher: Thomas & Mercer Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Suspense, Fiction
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½
Ella Broden is living a double life.
By day, Ella works as a buttoned-up attorney on some of the city’s most grueling cases. By night, she pursues her passion for singing in the darkest clubs of Manhattan.
No one knows her secret, not even Charlotte, the younger sister she practically raised. But it seems she’s not the only one in the family with something to hide. When Charlotte announces she’s sold her first novel, Ella couldn’t be more thrilled…until she gets a call that her sister’s gone missing.
Ella starts investigating with the help of Detective Gabriel Velasquez, an old flame in the NYPD, and what she finds is shocking. If art imitates life, then her sister’s novel may contain details of her real-life affairs. And any one of her lovers could be involved in her disappearance.
Desperate to bring Charlotte home, Ella works through her list of suspects, matching fictitious characters with flesh-and-blood men. But will it be too late to save the sister she only thought she knew?
Dead Certain is a hard book for me to review. There were several things I really liked about it, but there were some I didn’t. Rather than write out a lengthy review about it all, I’m going to break this review down to what I liked and what I didn’t care for.
What I liked:
The mystery behind Charlotte’s disappearance.
The chapters of Charlotte’s book. They were the heart of the story for me, and the most interesting clues to her disappearance.
The unexpected narrator in the second half.
How the mystery of Charlotte’s disappearance wrapped up.
Ella’s double life. I wanted more of it. It wasn’t as big a factor as I expected.
What I didn’t care for:
Ella. Her character wasn’t one I easily connected to. There was something about her personality that annoyed me.
The amount of legal detail overwhelmed me at times.
The first half of the book was a bit boring, to be honest. The second half was so good. I don’t know how the author could have made the beginning more like the second half, but it would have made the book more entertaining.
The plot was somewhat predictable. I knew who did it early on.
Despite not enjoying the first half of this book, the second half totally redeemed Dead Certain in my eyes. Even though I didn’t enjoy that first half, I can now appreciate that part. It made the surprises that were coming in the second half even better.
Would I recommend Dead Certain? Yes. I did end up really liking how things played out, and I think others would, too.
The Twilight Wife Author: A.J. Banner Narrator: Cassandra Campbell Publication Date: December 27, 2016 Publisher: Simon Schuster Audio Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Psychological Thriller, Suspense
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½
From bestselling author A.J. Banner comes a dazzling new novel of psychological suspense in the vein of S.J. Watson’s Before I Go to Sleep and Mary Kubica’s The Good Girl that questions just how much we can trust the people around us.
Thirty-four-year-old marine biologist Kyra Winthrop remembers nothing about the diving accident that left her with a complex form of memory loss. With only brief flashes of the last few years of her life, her world has narrowed to a few close friendships on the island where she lives with her devoted husband, Jacob.
But all is not what it seems. Kyra begins to have visions—or are they memories?—of a rocky marriage, broken promises, and cryptic relationships with the island residents, whom she believes to be her friends.
As Kyra races to uncover her past, the truth becomes a terrifying nightmare. A twisty, immersive thriller, The Twilight Wife will keep readers enthralled through the final, shocking twist.
The Twilight Wife was a sleepy psychological thriller. It began with Kyra embarking on a new life with her husband, Jacob. They were moving to a Pacific Northwest island to help Kyra heal from an accident. She had amnesia and could not remember the last four years. Everything about her life felt familiar yet strange. Kyra was in a constant state of confusion over her current life. Even her relationship with her husband, Jacob. Dreams and memories plagued her until she couldn’t tell what was real and what wasn’t. Kyra searched for the answers to her questions about her life, but each revelation twisted what she thought she knew. The truth was more frightening than what she could have imagined.
When I first started listening to The Twilight Wife, I wasn’t sure I was going to enjoy it. The narrator’s voice was whimsical, almost dreamlike, when Kyra was talking. It took me a while to get used to that, but then I decided that it was perfect for this book because Kyra was in an almost dreamlike state. She was so confused. The narrator did an excellent job expressing Kyra’s thoughts and emotions.
I loved the setting of this book. Being a PNW resident, I could easily imagine Kyra’s habitat. The author did an amazing job describing the scenery. I felt like I was right there along with the characters. The setting felt like a character itself in this book.
The Twilight Wife was a great audio book, but I’m not sure I would have enjoyed it as much if I would have read it. The story unraveled so slowly. That would have bothered me if I had read rather than listened to it. The author does a great job of throwing out pieces of information that made me question where the story was going, but most of the action and excitement was left to the end. I would have liked some of that excitement and suspense felt more throughout the story. It would have moved the story at a faster pace.
What I loved about The Twilight Wife was the surprise it had in store. I felt like I knew where this one was going from almost the beginning, but I didn’t know all of the pieces. I really liked all of the pieces of Kira’s past that were slowly revealed. Her story was bigger than I expected it to be. The explosive ending and wrap up was really good, too.
Overall, The Twilight Wife was a great read. I loved the setting and how the story unraveled. I wish it would have moved at a quicker pace, but I know some readers will enjoy the way things slowly drift from dream to reality.
Genuine Fraud Author: E. Lockhart Publication Date: September 5, 2017 Publisher: Delacorte Press Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Contemporary
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½
The story of a young woman whose diabolical smarts are her ticket into a charmed life. But how many times can someone reinvent themselves? You be the judge.
Imogen is a runaway heiress, an orphan, a cook, and a cheat.
Jule is a fighter, a social chameleon, and an athlete.
An intense friendship. A disappearance. A murder, or maybe two.
A bad romance, or maybe three.
Blunt objects, disguises, blood, and chocolate. The American dream, superheroes, spies, and villains.
A girl who refuses to give people what they want from her.
A girl who refuses to be the person she once was.
Genuine Fraud was an interesting tale. E. Lockhart continued to give the reader the unexpected with it. Genuine Fraud began in the present and each chapter went back in time. The effect was that I felt like I was reading the story backward. The story continued that way all the way until almost the end. It made for a great guessing game. Each chapter divulged just enough to make me keep reading.
I have to admit that I got a bit bored in the middle of the book. I think it’s because I was frustrated. I just wanted to know what the deal was with Jule and Imogen! Once I got to that part, the story flew again for me. I loved the ending, and thought it was very clever.
Overall, Genuine Fraud was a fun read. It was a darker read, but light at the same time. It had great foreshadowing and a cool set up. It was the perfect book to read on my vacation.
Bad Mommy Author: Tarryn Fisher Publication Date: December 24, 2016 Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Fiction, Suspense
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
When Fig Coxbury buys a house on West Barrett Street, it’s not because she likes the neighborhood, or even because she likes the house. It’s because everything she desires is next door: The husband, the child, and the life that belongs to someone else.
Bad Mommy is a mind$#%^. I don’t know how else to explain it. It was everything I expected from Tarryn Fisher, but nothing like I expected. Every time I thought I had a grasp on what was going on, I would start a new section of the book and become completely disoriented. It was such a trip!
I want to go back and read Bad Mommy a second time. That’s high praise because it’s rare for me to re-read a book. I feel like I would grasp more from the story a second time, and enjoy it even more.
Anyone who loves a great psychologically suspenseful novel will enjoy Bad Mommy. It’s dark, deceitful and will keep you turning the pages long after you should have gone to bed.
And that’s all I’m saying because I’m not going to ruin this book for anyone. 😉
Marrow Author: Tarryn Fisher Publication Date: April 16, 2015 Genre: New Adult, Mystery, Thriller
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
In the Bone there is a house.
In the house there is a girl.
In the girl there is a darkness.
Margo is not like other girls. She lives in a derelict neighborhood called the Bone, in a cursed house, with her cursed mother, who hasn’t spoken to her in over two years. She lives her days feeling invisible. It’s not until she develops a friendship with her wheelchair-bound neighbor, Judah Grant, that things begin to change. When neighborhood girl, seven-year-old Neveah Anthony, goes missing, Judah sets out to help Margo uncover what happened to her.
What Margo finds changes her, and with a new perspective on life, she’s determined to find evil and punish it–targeting rapists and child molesters, one by one.
But hunting evil is dangerous, and Margo risks losing everything, including her own soul.
Um…I don’t even know where to start when reviewing Marrow. This book was just so…disturbing. There wasn’t one thing about it that didn’t get under my skin or make me uncomfortable. It disturbed me so much at times that I take breaks from reading it. This shouldn’t surprise me. I felt the same way while reading Fisher’s Mud Vein. Still, I wasn’t prepared for what this story had to give.
Marrow is the story of Margo Moon. Margo barely exists. She lives with her mother in a horrible neighborhood filled with horrible people and horrible things. The only bright light in Margo’s life is her friendship with Judah. Despite being in a wheelchair, Judah sees the good in life. Their relationship gives Margo hope she hasn’t had before. That hope lasts until Margo’s young neighbor girl goes missing. Margo takes it upon herself to find out what happened to Neveah. What she finds will force her into avenging the wrongs taking place around her.
Margo was an interesting character. In the beginning, I loved her because I felt so bad for her. Margo was stuck in a situation created by her birth. There was nothing she could do to change it. She was a child who deserved more from life. Margo just didn’t have any positive support until she became friends with Judah. He made her want things to be better. I loved seeing that change in her. As she grew older and horrible things began to happen around her, Margo changed again. Her new-found confidence created a person who felt the need to take justice into her own hands. That Margo freaked me out. The more Margo took on her role of punisher, the darker the story became — and it was already pretty dang dark to begin with.
I never saw the twists and turns coming in Marrow. There were moments where I was disgusted. There were moments when I was sad. There were moments when I was completely confused. When I got to the end, all I could say was,
What the heck did I just read?
I’m still not sure of the answer to that. My mind has been messed with in ways only Tarryn Fisher can accomplish. Once again, she’s written a beautifully disturbing tale. Marrow will suck you in, torment you and leave you thinking about it for weeks after you’re done. If you’re a fan of dark storytelling, this one is for you.
Top Ten Tuesday is an original weekly feature created by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s theme is Halloween Related Freebie. I am not a fan of scary novels but I do read thrillers every once in a while, so I decided to go with Ten Books That Put Me On Edge.
Dark Water Author: Sara Bailey Publication Date: October 3, 2016 Genre: Psychological Thriller Note: I received an ARC from Nightingale Editions in exchange for an unbiased review.
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Friendship doesn’t die, it waits…
A haunting and lyrical novel, Dark Water is a psychologically intense portrait of adolescent yearning and obsession.
When Helena returns to her childhood home in Orkney, she is forced to face memories that she has spent half a lifetime running from. Her best friend, the charismatic Anastasia, disappeared after a swimming incident. But what really happened that night by the wrecks?
I have mixed feelings about Dark Water. On one hand, it was an incredibly strong debut novel. On the other, it didn’t really feel like a psychological thriller.
Sara Bailey’s writing in Dark Water is exceptional. The pictures she paints in her novel are clear and concise. Her descriptions of Orkney were so beautiful and haunting. They took over the novel at times, but that was a good thing because the setting played a huge part in the story. I liked the characters and their dark history.
There were a couple of things that kept me from truly appreciating Dark Water, though. First, The story unraveled so slowly that it never truly pulled me in. I wasn’t truly invested in it until the last third of the book. That’s when the story felt like it really took shape and built toward an amazing ending. Second, I was interested in the characters and their present points of view, but not as much as I was interested in the past. The little bits of it I got weren’t enough. I wanted more of them. They were the only parts that made me feel like I was reading a psychological thriller.
Overall, Dark Water was a well written and interesting tale of the bond of an obsessive adolescent friendship. It wasn’t quite the psychological thriller I was hoping, but it was still a tale I think readers of the genre might enjoy.