Review: Little Secrets (Jennifer Hillier)

Little Secrets
Author: Jennifer Hillier
Publication Date: April 21, 2020
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Fiction
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

From the author of Jar of Hearts, a mother driven to the edge by the disappearance of her son learns her husband is having an affair with the woman who might have kidnapped him.
Four hundred and eighty seconds. That’s how long it took for someone to steal Marin Machado’s four-year-old son.

Marin had the perfect life. Married to her college sweetheart, she owns a chain of upscale hair salons, and Derek runs his own company. They’re admired in their community and are a loving family. Up until the day Sebastian is taken.

A year later, Marin is a shadow of herself. The FBI search has gone cold. The publicity has faded. She and her husband rarely speak. The only thing keeping her going is the unlikely chance that one day Sebastian reappears. She hires a P.I. to pick up where the police left off, but instead of finding him, she discovers that Derek is having an affair with a younger woman.

Kenzie Li is an artist and grad student—Instagram famous—and up to her eyeballs in debt. She knows Derek is married. She also knows he’s rich, and dating him comes with perks: help with bills, trips away, expensive gifts. He isn’t her first rich boyfriend, but she finds herself hoping he’ll be the last. She’s falling for him—and that was never part of the plan.

Discovery of the affair sparks Marin back to life. She’s lost her son; she’s not about to lose her husband, too. Kenzie is an enemy with a face, which means this is a problem Marin can fix. But as she sets a plan in motion, another revelation surfaces. Derek’s lover might know what happened to their son. And so might Derek.


Normally, I shy away from thriller involving missing children. It’s just too hard to read as a parent — one of my biggest nightmares. That being said, I couldn’t pass up Little Secrets. I loved Jennifer Hillier’s last book, Jar of Hearts, so I was reading this book no matter what. I’m so, so glad I did!

Little Secrets is a book about a mother’s despair after the abduction of her only child, Sebastian, and the depths she will go to find out the truth. This book unravels slowly, building up to the truth. Not that it’s slow paced. It’s not at all. It’s a page turner that gives divulges those little secrets at the perfect time and pace. You’ll be so wrapped up in the story, you won’t realize the end is near until it’s on you. At least, that’s the way it was for me and I loved every second of it.

Review: The Wives (Tarryn Fisher)

The Wives
Author: Tarryn Fisher
Publication Date: December 30, 2019
Publisher: Graydon House
Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Fiction
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Imagine that your husband has two other wives.

You’ve never met the other wives. None of you know each other, and because of this unconventional arrangement, you can see your husband only one day a week. But you love him so much you don’t care. Or at least that’s what you’ve told yourself.

But one day, while you’re doing laundry, you find a scrap of paper in his pocket—an appointment reminder for a woman named Hannah, and you just know it’s another of the wives.

You thought you were fine with your arrangement, but you can’t help yourself: you track her down, and, under false pretenses, you strike up a friendship. Hannah has no idea who you really are. Then, Hannah starts showing up to your coffee dates with telltale bruises, and you realize she’s being abused by her husband. Who, of course, is also your husband. But you’ve never known him to be violent, ever.

Who exactly is your husband, and how far would you go to find the truth? Would you risk your own life?

And who is his mysterious third wife?


What. The. Heck. No, seriously. What the heck?

I’m exhausted from reading The Wives. It is a great example of why I love Tarryn Fisher’s writing. She’s so crafty in her delivery. It may start out in a sleepy thriller sort of way, but when things start to go down THEY GO DOWN. I was on edge for the entire second half of the book. Surprises were lurking behind every corner, people! Just when I thought I had finally figured freaking Thursday and the story out, BAM! I was proven wrong again… and again… and again. I want to say I loved every minute of this thriller, but I can’t — only because my stress level was way up there. My nerves are frayed in the best way.

YA Mini Reviews: Eyes on Me & I Know You Remember

Eyes on Me
Author: Rachel Harris
Publication Date: March 26, 2019
Published: Entangled: Teen
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Look up the word “nerd” and you’ll find Lily Bailey’s picture. She’s got one goal: first stop valedictorian, next stop Harvard. Until a stint in the hospital from too much stress lands her in the last place a klutz like her ever expected to be: salsa dance lessons.

Look up the word “popular” and you’ll find Stone Torres’s picture. His life seems perfect—star of the football team, small-town hero, lots of friends. But his family is struggling to make ends meet, so if pitching in at his mom’s dance studio helps, he’ll do it.

When Lily’s dad offers Stone extra cash to volunteer as Lily’s permanent dance partner, he can’t refuse. But with each dip and turn, each moment her hand is in his, his side job starts to feel all too real. Lily shows Stone he’s more than his impressive football stats, and he introduces her to a world outside of studying. But with the lines blurred, can their relationship survive the secret he’s been hiding?

My thoughts:

I have had my eye on Eyes on Me since I read Lenore at Celebrity Reader’s review of it. It just sounded like such a fun and cute read. I am happy to report it totally was! There were so many great things about it. I loved the characters and their story. Lily and Stone were two very different, complex characters. They had issues like anxiety, stress, money problems, and living up to expectations. Despite those tough topics, the story was still able to be light and fun in the way I love YA contemporaries to be. My only little issue with it was that at one point it slowed down a bit for me. No worries, though. It picked right back up for a swoon worthy ending.

I Know You Remember
Author: Jennifer Donaldson
Publication Date: October 8, 2019
Publisher: Razorbill
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Thriller, Fiction

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

Jennifer Donaldson is back with another twisted thriller perfect for fans of One of Us Is Lying and Gone Girl.

Zahra Gaines is missing.

After three long years away, Ruthie Hayden arrives in her hometown of Anchorage, Alaska to this devastating news. Zahra was Ruthie’s best friend–the only person who ever really understood her–and she vows to do whatever it takes to find her.

Zahra vanished from a party just days before Ruthie’s return, but the more people she talks to, the more she realizes that the Zahra she knew disappeared long before that fateful night. Gone is the whimsical, artistic girl who loved books and knew Ruthie’s every secret. In her place is an athlete, a partier, a girl with secrets of her own. Darker still are the rumors that something happened to Zahra while Ruthie was gone, something that changed her forever…

As Ruthie desperately tries to piece together the truth, she falls deeper and deeper into her friend’s new world, circling closer to a dangerous revelation about what Zahra experienced in the days before her disappearance–one that might be better off buried.

In her stunning follow-up to Lies You Never Told Me, Jennifer Donaldson once again delivers a propulsive thriller with a masterful twist, skillfully creating a world where nothing is quite as it seems.

My thoughts:

I loved Jennifer Donaldson’s début novel, Lies You Never Told Me, so I was super excited to read I Know You Remember. I Know You Remember was a great YA thriller. It was complex in the way that an adult thriller would be with twists, turns, and things to make me question if my ideas were right or wrong. Even the suspicions I had that were right still managed to throw me for a loop. Stuff happened that I wasn’t expecting and it was awesome. Overall, it was a great YA thriller.

Top Ten Tuesday: Book That Put Me on the Edge (Halloween Freebie)

Welcome to Top Ten Tuesday!

Top Ten Tuesday is an original weekly feature created by The Broke and the Bookish and is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s topic is:

Halloween Freebie: Books That Put Me on the Edge

Here or some of books that were so intense and would be great Halloween reads.

1. The Weight of Blood
Author: Laura McHugh

2. Jar of Hearts
Author: Jennifer Hillier

3. The Butterfly Garden
Author: Dot Hutchison

4. Stillhouse Lake
Author: Rachel Caine

5. Mud Vein
Author: Tarryn Fisher

6. Sharp Objects
Author: Gillian Flynn

7. Those Girls
Author: Chevy Stevens

8. One Kick
Author: Chelsea Cain

9. Verity
Author: Colleen Hoover

10. Marrow
Author: Tarryn Fisher

Review: Wolfhunter River (Rachel Caine)

Wolfhunter River
Series: Stillhouse Lake, #3
Author: Rachel Caine
Publication Date: April 23, 2019
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Fiction
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

She can’t ignore a cry for help. But in this remote hunting town, it’s open season.

Gwen Proctor escaped her serial-killer husband and saved her family. What she can’t seem to outrun is his notoriety. Or the sick internet vigilantes still seeking to avenge his crimes. For Gwen, hiding isn’t an option. Not when her only mission is to create a normal life for her kids.

But now, a threatened woman has reached out. Marlene Crockett, from the remote town of Wolfhunter, is panicked for herself and her daughter. When Gwen arrives in the small, isolated rural community, Marlene is already dead—her own daughter blamed for the murder. Except that’s not the person Marlene feared at all. And Gwen isn’t leaving until she finds out who that was.

But it may already be too late. A trap has been set. And it’s poised to snap shut on everyone Gwen loves. Her stalkers are closing in. And in a town as dark as Wolfhunter, it’s so easy for them to hide…


Before I begin this review, I feel the need to mention that Wolfhunter River is the third book in the Stillhouse Lake series. You cannot just pick up Wolfhunter River and begin the series there. I mean, I guess you could, but you would be lost. Wolfhunter River begins where Killman Creek ends. There is some lapse of time, but the characters and their stories continue on.

It was good to be back in the Proctor world. There were still so many things to discover about Gwen, Lanny, Connor and Sam. I didn’t expect there to be so many leftover issues after the last book, but I liked the way the characters had to navigate them and continue to trust in each other. I did get a little feeling of “this again?” at times, but the story didn’t feel redundant.

What I really loved about Wolfhunter Creek was what I loved about the previous books in the series. The characters and their issues were so unique and still eye-opening to me. Rachel Caine’s writing was outstanding. She knows how to set the tone and pace for an intense ride. I was immediately thrust into the thick of the story. The tension was constant and had me wondering if I was going to need to take breaks and throw a romance novel in them.

I had some mixed feelings when it comes to the story. There was so much going on. Really. So. Much. There were two or more plot lines going on at once, and I couldn’t hep but wonder how they would tie together. I was interested in what was going on, but I didn’t always know what to focus my attention on. I guess I couldn’t always pick up on what mattered most in the story. In a way, that was kind of genius because when things did start twisting and turning and being revealed, I was genuinely surprised. Some things I foresaw, others I wondered what the heck? I don’t know how to explain it other than to say the ending was this giant mess that somehow tidied everything up too perfectly. I don’t know if that’s a complaint or positive.

I guess what it all comes down to for me is whether I enjoyed the book or not. I did enjoy Wolfhunter River. It might not have been my favorite in the series, but it kept me guessing and entertained. I was so enthralled with what was going on that I read it in one day. The ending left me wondering if I would be seeing the Proctor family in the future. I hope so, but if not, Wolfhunter River was a strong way to wrap up a great series.

Review: Jar of Hearts (Jennifer Hillier)

Jar of Hearts
Author: Jennifer Hillier
Publication Date: June 12, 2018
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Suspense, Fiction

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

This is the story of three best friends: one who was murdered, one who went to prison, and one who’s been searching for the truth all these years . . .

When she was sixteen years old, Angela Wong—one of the most popular girls in school—disappeared without a trace. Nobody ever suspected that her best friend, Georgina Shaw, now an executive and rising star at her Seattle pharmaceutical company, was involved in any way. Certainly not Kaiser Brody, who was close with both girls back in high school.

But fourteen years later, Angela Wong’s remains are discovered in the woods near Geo’s childhood home. And Kaiser—now a detective with Seattle PD—finally learns the truth: Angela was a victim of Calvin James. The same Calvin James who murdered at least three other women.

To the authorities, Calvin is a serial killer. But to Geo, he’s something else entirely. Back in high school, Calvin was Geo’s first love. Turbulent and often volatile, their relationship bordered on obsession from the moment they met right up until the night Angela was killed.

For fourteen years, Geo knew what happened to Angela and told no one. For fourteen years, she carried the secret of Angela’s death until Geo was arrested and sent to prison.

While everyone thinks they finally know the truth, there are dark secrets buried deep. And what happened that fateful night is more complex and more chilling than anyone really knows. Now the obsessive past catches up with the deadly present when new bodies begin to turn up, killed in the exact same manner as Angela Wong.

How far will someone go to bury her secrets and hide her grief? How long can you get away with a lie? How long can you live with it?


Wow. Just wow.

I’m a reader who loves a good thriller, but I’m always hesitant to pick one up. Sometimes they have this slow, dreary quality that drives me a little nuts. Jar of Hearts was not one of those thrillers. It was explosive from the start. I loved how the mystery and suspense of the story was set up. The plot was fascinating and just the right amount of disturbing. Every character had lightness and darkness in them that made it hard to know who to trust. I felt like I was discovering connections and twists right alongside them.There was never a slow spot or stall in the story. I was always wondering what was next until the very end. I really can’t put into words how amazing this thriller was.

Jar of Hearts was so well written. I haven’t read a thriller in a long time that has impressed me this much. I have to thank Stephanie and a bunch of other bloggers who reviewed this book. If I hadn’t heard such great things about it, I would have missed out. This book is too good to miss out on! It is definitely worth the hype it got.

Review: The Ghostwriter (Alessandra Torre)

The Ghostwriter
Author: Alessandra Torre
Publication Date: October 2, 2017
Publisher: DCA
Genre: Mystery, Fiction, Suspense, Thriller

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

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.

Review: Verity (Colleen Hoover)

Verity BT Banner.jpg

Verity, an all-new romantic thriller from #1 New York Times bestselling author Colleen Hoover, is available now!

Verity_Amazon_iBooks.jpg

Verity
Author: Colleen Hoover
Publication Date: December 7, 2018
Publisher: Colleen Hoover
Genre: Psychological Thriller, Mystery, Fiction

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

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.

VERITY AN TWO

Download your copy today or read FREE in Kindle Unlimited!

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2Tv0cZg

Amazon Worldwide: http://mybook.to/Verity

Add to GoodReads: http://bit.ly/2zksQUq

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Excerpt:

“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

ColleenHoover.jpg

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.

Connect with Colleen

Facebook: http://bit.ly/2FZ7GAI

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2L1LuoI

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/colleen-hoover

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/colleenhoover/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/colleenhoover

SnapChat: https://www.snapchat.com/add/colleenhoover

Join her reader group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/colleenhooverscohorts/

Email: https://www.colleenhoover.com


Review: The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchinson

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

Synopsis:

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.

Review: Dead Certain by Adam Mitzner

Dead Certain
Author: Adam Mitzner
Publication Date: June 1, 2017
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Suspense, Fiction

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

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.

Overall thoughts:

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.