Book Review: And Then You Were Gone by R.J. Jacobs

And Then You Were Gone by R.J. Jacobs

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BOOK INFO
Title: And Then You Were Gone
Author: R.J. Jacobs
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Publish Date: March 13, 2019
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Goodreads Ratings: Me 4.0 / Community 3.78

BOOK BLURB
from Amazon:
For fans of B. A. Paris and Mary Kubica comes a propulsive, twisting psychological thriller that asks, How can you save someone else if you can’t save yourself?

After years of learning how to manage her bipolar disorder, Emily Firestone finally has it under control. Even better, her life is coming together: she’s got a great job, her own place, and a boyfriend, Paolo, who adores her. So when Paolo suggests a weekend sailing trip, Emily agrees—wine, water, and the man she loves? What could be better? But when Emily wakes the morning after they set sail, the boat is still adrift…and Paolo is gone.

A strong swimmer, there’s no way Paolo drowned, but Emily is at a loss for any other explanation. Where else could he have gone? And why? As the hours and days pass by, each moment marking Paolo’s disappearance, Emily’s hard-won stability begins to slip.

But when Emily uncovers evidence suggesting Paolo was murdered, the investigation throws her mania into overdrive, even as she becomes a person of interest in her own personal tragedy. To clear her name, Emily must find the truth—but can she hold onto her own sanity in the process?


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MY REVIEW
While on a sailing trip, Emily wakes to find her boyfriend Paolo is missing. Since Paolo is a strong swimmer, Emily finds it hard to believe he could have drowned. As days pass, Paolo’s disappearance starts to lean toward murder… with Emily as a suspect. Emily struggles with managing her bipolar disorder, which she though was under control, while she searches for answers to what happened to Paolo.

Emily makes for an interesting unreliable narrator. She has been managing her bipolar disorder well, but when Paolo goes missing and she becomes a suspect, she no longer has control. In addition to that, her memory of the night Paolo went missing is very hazy. The fun thing about unreliable narrators is the reader never knows if they can be trusted.

When Emily looks into Paolo’s disappearance, she learns more about his work. Paolo works in medical research, and while Emily was aware of the virus he was working with, she learns a lot more about his research and coworkers as she questions what happened to him.

A fast-paced thriller. Intriguing, suspenseful, and twisty.

I received a free eARC of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: Call Me Evie by J.P. Pomare

Call Me Evie by J.P. Pomare

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BOOK INFO
Title: Call Me Evie
Author: J.P. Pomare
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Publish Date: March 5, 2019
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Goodreads Ratings: Me 3.0 / Community 3.97

BOOK BLURB
from Amazon:
In this propulsive, twist-filled, and haunting psychological suspense debut perfect for fans of Sharp Objects and Room, a seventeen-year-old girl struggles to remember the role she played on the night her life changed forever.

For the past two weeks, seventeen-year-old Kate Bennet has lived against her will in an isolated cabin in a remote beach town–brought there by a mysterious man named Bill. Part captor, part benefactor, Bill calls her Evie and tells her he’s hiding her to protect her. That she did something terrible one night back home in Melbourne–something so unspeakable that he had no choice but to take her away. The trouble is, Kate can’t remember the night in question.

The fragments of Kate’s shattered memories of her old life seem happy: good friends, a big house in the suburbs, a devoted boyfriend. Bill says he’ll help her fill in the blanks–but his story isn’t adding up. And as she tries to reconcile the girl she thought she’d been with the devastating consequences Bill claims she’s responsible for, Kate will unearth secrets about herself and those closest to her that could change everything.

A riveting debut novel that fearlessly plumbs the darkest recesses of the mind, Call Me Evie explores the fragility of memory and the potential in all of us to hide the truth, even from ourselves.


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MY REVIEW
Kate, a teenager, is living in a remote cabin with Jim. She has no memory of why she is being kept in the cabin, or who Jim is. She only knows that something terrible has happened. Jim says he’s trying to help her, but she’s not sure she can really trust him.

Told with alternating timelines – before and after. In the before timeline, Kate has some disturbing things from her past, but also some pretty normal teenage problems. In the after timeline, it’s clear something bad has happened, but the details are slowly revealed.

A story that combines memory loss and kidnapping into an entertaining psychological thriller. The main character is a teenager, and this book does read a lot like a young adult story rather than adult. Good for fans of YA thrillers. Suspenseful story of secrets and lies.

I received a free eARC of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: The Perfect Child by Lucinda Berry

The Perfect Child by Lucinda Berry

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. That means I may receive a very small commission, at no cost to you, if you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase.

BOOK INFO
Title: The Perfect Child
Author: Lucinda Berry
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Publish Date: March 1, 2019
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Goodreads Ratings: Me 3.0 / Community 4.21

BOOK BLURB
from Amazon:
A page-turning debut of suspense about a young couple desperate to have a child of their own—and the unsettling consequences of getting what they always wanted.

Christopher and Hannah are a happily married surgeon and nurse with picture-perfect lives. All that’s missing is a child. When Janie, an abandoned six-year-old, turns up at their hospital, Christopher forms an instant connection with her, and he convinces Hannah they should take her home as their own.

But Janie is no ordinary child, and her damaged psyche proves to be more than her new parents were expecting. Janie is fiercely devoted to Christopher, but she acts out in increasingly disturbing ways, directing all her rage at Hannah. Unable to bond with Janie, Hannah is drowning under the pressure, and Christopher refuses to see Janie’s true nature.

Hannah knows that Janie is manipulating Christopher and isolating him from her, despite Hannah’s attempts to bring them all together. But as Janie’s behavior threatens to tear Christopher and Hannah apart, the truth behind Janie’s past may be enough to push them all over the edge.


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MY REVIEW
Christopher and Hannah are a happy couple, but they long to have a child. When Janie, an abandoned six-year-old, shows up at the hospital where they work, Christopher wants to foster her. Despite the warnings about raising a child with an abusive past, they take her into their home and family. They are not prepared for the challenges they face.

Told with alternating points of view – Christopher, Hannah, and Piper, Janie’s social worker. Christopher adores Janie and finds it difficult to believe she is capable of the harmful behavior others warn him about. Hannah is more realistic about the difficulties they face. Piper is Janie’s social worker, and presents an outsider’s view of the family and their behaviors.

It’s no surprise that Janie suffers from physical and mental issues due to her abusive past. With their medical background, Christopher and Hannah do seem like the perfect couple to take care of Janie. Unfortunately, Christopher is blinded by his love, and Janie’s manipulation, to see how bad things are. My biggest issue with this book was Christopher’s disregard for Hannah’s concerns and the safety of their family. If Christopher hadn’t been such a dolt, this would have been a better book for me.

A disturbing domestic thriller. While it is clear something very bad has happened, the very bad thing isn’t revealed until late in the book. Makes for a suspenseful read. Good for fans of Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage.

This was my pick for Amazon First Reads in February 2019.

Book Review: Beautiful Bad by Annie Ward

Beautiful Bad by Annie Ward

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BOOK INFO
Title: Beautiful Bad
Author: Annie Ward
Publisher: Park Row
Publish Date: March 5, 2019
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Goodreads Ratings: Me 4.0 / Community 3.83

BOOK BLURB
from Amazon:
In the tradition of Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train comes the psychological thriller everyone is talking about, a twisted novel about a devoted wife, a loving husband, and a chilling crime that will stun even the cleverest readers.

There are two sides to every story… And every person.

Maddie and Ian’s love story began with a chance encounter at a party overseas, while she was a travel writer visiting her best friend, Jo. Now almost two decades later, married with a beautiful son, Charlie, they are living the perfect suburban life in Middle America. But when a camping accident leaves Maddie badly scarred, she begins attending writing therapy, where she gradually reveals her fears about Ian; her concerns for the safety of their young son; and the couple’s tangled and tumultuous past with Jo.

From the Balkans to England, Iraq to Manhattan, and finally to an ordinary family home in Kansas, sixteen years of love and fear, adventure and suspicion culminate in The Day of the Killing, when a frantic 911 call summons the police to the scene of a shocking crime.


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MY REVIEW
Maddie and Ian appear to have a wonderful life. After a camping accident leaves Maddie disfigured, she begins going to therapy. Maddie and Ian’s past is slowly revealed, along with their current situation – the day of the killing.

Told using flashbacks, this suspenseful novel covers two decades and a variety of locations. Maddie and Ian met when they were both living in the Balkans. Maddie was working as a travel writer and Ian was a soldier working as a bodyguard. They had a brief flirtation, but as their work took them elsewhere, their relationship was complicated. In the present day story, they are married and have a son, but their relationship still has difficulties.

A complex and intriguing psychological thriller. The novel opens with a frantic 911 call, which leads to the responding officer finding a bloody scene. The story then alternates between the events of Maddie and Ian’s past and the present day investigation.

A captivating read for fans of slow-burning domestic thrillers. Compelling characters. Complicated relationships. Unreliable narrator. Murder investigation.

I received a free eARC of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: Between the Lies by Michelle Adams

Between the Lies by Michelle Adams

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. That means I may receive a very small commission, at no cost to you, if you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase.

BOOK INFO
Title: Between the Lies
Author: Michelle Adams
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Publish Date: March 5, 2019
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Goodreads Ratings: Me 3.0 / Community 4.07

BOOK BLURB
from Amazon:
In the vein of Allison Brennan, Michelle Adams’s Between the Lies is an addictive psychological thriller with twists that keep the reader guessing until the last page, in which a woman who’s lost her memory is back home with a family she doesn’t know—who are keeping secrets of their own.

The truth is hiding between the lies.

~~~

What would you do if you woke up and didn’t know who you were?

Chloe Daniels regains consciousness in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.
She doesn’t recognise the strangers who call themselves family. She can’t even remember her own name.

What if your past remained a mystery?

As she slowly recovers, her parents and sister begin to share details of her life.
The successful career. The seaside home. The near-fatal car crash.
But Chloe senses they’re keeping dark secrets—and her determination to uncover the truth will have devastating consequences.

What if the people you should be able to trust are lying to you?


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MY REVIEW
Chloe awakens in the hospital after a terrible car accident. Not only does she not remember the accident, but she doesn’t remember who she is or anything about her life and family. Her parents and sister attempt to help her remember her life, but Chloe feels they are also keeping secrets.

It took me a little while to get into this story. Once I did, it was a thrilling ride. Complex and twisty story. Intriguing characters, with everyone seemingly hiding something. Chloe is a bit of an unreliable narrator. Her memory loss is clearly an issue, and her regaining of memories is, let’s say, suspicious. As Chloe starts to learn more about who she is, she questions everything about the accident and what really happened.

Good for fans of psychological thrillers, especially ones where the protagonist has memory loss. Dark, intense, and suspenseful.

I received a free eARC of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: Before She Knew Him by Peter Swanson

Before She Knew Him by Peter Swanson

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. That means I may receive a very small commission, at no cost to you, if you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase.

BOOK INFO
Title: Before She Knew Him
Author: Peter Swanson
Publisher: William Morrow
Publish Date: March 5, 2019
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Goodreads Ratings: Me 5.0 / Community 4.14

BOOK BLURB
from Amazon:
Catching a killer is dangerous — especially if he lives next door.

From the hugely talented author of The Kind Worth Killing comes an exquisitely chilling tale of a young suburban wife with a history of psychological instability whose fears about her new neighbor could lead them both to murder…

Hen and her husband Lloyd have settled into a quiet life in a new house outside of Boston, Massachusetts. Hen (short for Henrietta) is an illustrator and works out of a studio nearby, and has found the right meds to control her bipolar disorder. Finally, she’s found some stability and peace.

But when they meet the neighbors next door, that calm begins to erode as she spots a familiar object displayed on the husband’s office shelf. The sports trophy looks exactly like one that went missing from the home of a young man who was killed two years ago. Hen knows because she’s long had a fascination with this unsolved murder — an obsession she doesn’t talk about anymore, but can’t fully shake either.

Could her neighbor, Matthew, be a killer? Or is this the beginning of another psychotic episode like the one she suffered back in college, when she became so consumed with proving a fellow student guilty that she ended up hurting a classmate?

The more Hen observes Matthew, the more she suspects he’s planning something truly terrifying. Yet no one will believe her. Then one night, when she comes face to face with Matthew in a dark parking lot, she realizes that he knows she’s been watching him, that she’s really on to him. And that this is the beginning of a horrifying nightmare she may not live to escape…


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MY REVIEW
Henrietta, Hen for short, and her husband Lloyd have moved into a new home and are adjusting to their quiet suburban life. While visiting with new neighbors, Matthew and Mira, Hen sees something in Matthews’s home office that leads her to believe he is a killer. Hen’s past makes it difficult for her to be a reliable source, so she struggles with knowing the truth and finding someone to believe her.

Told with alternating points of view, both Hen and Matthew’s stories are told. Hen is bipolar and has had difficult times in her past. She seems to have things under control, but her past does lead her to be an unreliable source. However, Matthew is hiding dark secrets from his own past.

Hen has played armchair detective in the past, but that has never worked out to her favor. When she spots something in Matthew’s office that she believes connects him with a cold case she was once obsessed with, she gets a bit obsessed again. Matthew isn’t the innocent man he pretends to be, which leads to an interesting relationship between him and Hen.

An intriguing psychological thriller with flawed characters, dark pasts, obsession, and murder. Clever, suspenseful, and twisted.

I received a free eARC of this book via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: Pieces of Her by Karin Slaughter

Pieces of Her by Karin Slaughter

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. That means I may receive a very small commission, at no cost to you, if you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase.

BOOK INFO
Title: Pieces of Her
Author: Karin Slaughter
Publisher: William Morrow
Publish Date: August 21, 2018
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Goodreads Ratings: Me 4.0 / Community 3.81

BOOK BLURB
from Amazon:
The #1 internationally bestselling author returns with a new novel in the vein of her New York Times bestsellers Pretty Girls and The Good Daughter—a story even more electrifying, provocative, and suspenseful than anything she’s written before.

What if the person you thought you knew best turns out to be someone you never knew at all…?

Andrea knows everything about her mother, Laura. She knows she’s spent her whole life in the small beachside town of Belle Isle; she knows she’s never wanted anything more than to live a quiet life as a pillar of the community; she knows she’s never kept a secret in her life. Because we all know our mothers, don’t we?

But all that changes when a trip to the mall explodes into violence and Andrea suddenly sees a completely different side to Laura. Because it turns out that before Laura was Laura, she was someone completely different. For nearly thirty years she’s been hiding from her previous identity, lying low in the hope that no one would ever find her. But now she’s been exposed, and nothing will ever be the same again.

The police want answers and Laura’s innocence is on the line, but she won’t speak to anyone, including her own daughter. Andrea is on a desperate journey following the breadcrumb trail of her mother’s past. And if she can’t uncover the secrets hidden there, there may be no future for either one of them…


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MY REVIEW
Andrea (Andy) and her mother Laura are having lunch at a mall, when a man shows up and starts shooting. Andy sees a very different side of her mother during the attack. Andy soon learns her mother wasn’t always Laura. In fact, Laura has been hiding from her past for thirty years. Andy starts on a journey to find who her mother really is.

Told using multiple timelines, this novel flips between 2018 and 1986. The present day story opens with Andy realizing there is more to her mother than she ever thought. This revelation leads Andy on a search into her mother’s past. The past (1986) is Laura’s story about who she was and how she became the woman she is in the present timeline.

Laura has maintained a low-key lifestyle, but that changes when she and her daughter are under attack. It turns out, she’s pretty badass. On the flip side, Andy is insecure, dependent, and timid.

This story has plenty of mystery and action, but it also examines a mother-daughter relationship. The mystery is who is Laura, and what is she hiding. The action is bouts of violence and mayhem in both timelines. The mother-daughter relationship shows that Laura had a life before becoming a mother.

I enjoyed this book by Karin Slaughter, but it was different than others I’ve read by her. I loved The Good Daughter and Pretty Girls, but both of those novels are darker and more graphic than Pieces of Her.

An intense story that involves secrets and lies. Intriguing, suspenseful, and twisty.

I borrowed this book from my local library.

Book Review: The Suspect by Fiona Barton

The Suspect by Fiona Barton

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BOOK INFO
Title: The Suspect
Author: Fiona Barton
Publisher: Berkley Books
Publish Date: January 22, 2019
Genre: Mystery – Crime
Goodreads Ratings: Me 4.0 / Community 3.87

BOOK BLURB
from Amazon:
When two eighteen-year-old girls go missing in Thailand, their families are thrust into the international spotlight: desperate, bereft, and frantic with worry. What were the girls up to before they disappeared?

Journalist Kate Waters always does everything she can to be first to the story, first with the exclusive, first to discover the truth—and this time is no exception. But she can’t help but think of her own son, whom she hasn’t seen in two years, since he left home to go travelling.

As the case of the missing girls unfolds, they will all find that even this far away, danger can lie closer to home than you might think…


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MY REVIEW
Two eighteen-year-old girls, Alex and Rosie, go missing in Bangkok, Thailand. Kate Waters, a reporter, is working on the story of the missing girls. While Kate makes connections to stay ahead of the story, she is reminded of her son, Jake. He left home and went to Phuket two years earlier, and Kate rarely hears from him.

Told from alternating points of view – the reporter, the detective, one of the girls, and one of the missing girls’ mothers. The missing girl, the mother, and the detective all have quite a few chapters, but most of the book is from Kate’s POV.

Alex and Rosie are young and looking for adventure on their gap year. Unfortunately for Alex, Rosie has no desire to follow Alex’s well thought-out itinerary. Rosie would rather party than visit the places Alex had in mind for the trip. This causes conflict between the girls. Alex and Rosie also have very different relationships with their parents, as is shown after the girls go missing. The characters are from the UK, so the parents are in the international spotlight when the story breaks.

The reporter, Kate, and the detective, Bob Sparkes, were in the previous books in this series. The Suspect is the third book in the Kate Waters series by Fiona Barton. Kate Waters is a journalist who works hard to stay on top of headline stories. Bob Sparkes is a detective who works the cases Kate reports on. I’ve read the previous two books, The Widow and The Child, and enjoyed them. The books can all be read as standalone novels.

The Suspect is a slow-moving mystery with intriguing characters and a compelling story. This reads more as a police procedural rather than a thriller. I enjoy Barton’s writing style, and found this be an interesting and entertaining read. This one is good for fans of Fiona Barton’s other books and British police procedurals.

I received a free ARC of this book via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: As Long as We Both Shall Live by JoAnn Chaney

As Long as We Both Shall Live by JoAnn Chaney

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BOOK INFO
Title: As Long as We Both Shall Live
Author: JoAnn Chaney
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Publish Date: January 15, 2019
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Goodreads Ratings: Me 4.00 / Community 4.21

BOOK BLURB
from Amazon:
“My wife! I think she’s dead!” Matt frantically tells park rangers that he and his wife, Marie, were hiking when she fell off a cliff into the raging river below. They start a search, but they aren’t hopeful: no one could have survived that fall. It was a tragic accident.

But Matt’s first wife also died in suspicious circumstances. And when the police pull a body out of the river, they have a lot more questions for Matt.

Detectives Loren and Spengler want to know if Matt is a grieving, twice-unlucky husband or a cold-blooded murderer. They dig into the couple’s lives to see what they can unearth. And they find that love’s got teeth, it’s got claws, and once it hitches you to a person, it’s tough to rip yourself free.

So what happens when you’re done making it work?


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MY REVIEW
Matt and his wife Marie may have some issues, but they’ve been together for over 20 years. When they go for a hike, and Marie goes over the cliff, Matt is the first suspect in her death. In questioning if Marie’s death was an accident or something more sinister, the detectives discover Matt’s first wife was murdered. Either Matt’s a terribly unlucky guy, or he’s hiding something.

A twisty psychological thriller full of secrets. It seems everyone has something to hide. The main story of Matt and Marie is very engaging. In addition to their story, there is a subplot with an investigation into one of the police officers. This part of the book was not as interesting, and probably could have been left out.

The mystery seemed fairly straightforward, but then it got more and more twisted. This is not an obvious story, and I love that it kept me guessing. A page-turner for sure. Dark, intriguing, and clever. A good read for fans of domestic thrillers.

I received an eARC of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: The Perfect Liar by Thomas Christopher Greene

The Perfect Liar by Thomas Christopher Greene

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BOOK INFO
Title: The Perfect Liar
Author: Thomas Christopher Greene
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Publish Date: January 15, 2019
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Goodreads Ratings: Me 3.00 / Community 3.79

BOOK BLURB
from Amazon:
Susannah, a young widow and single mother, has remarried well: to Max, a charismatic artist and popular speaker whose career took her and her fifteen-year-old son out of New York City and to a quiet Vermont university town. Strong-willed and attractive, Susannah expects that her life is perfectly in place again. Then one quiet morning she finds a note on her door: I KNOW WHO YOU ARE.

Max dismisses the note as a prank. But days after a neighborhood couple comes to dinner, the husband mysteriously dies in a tragic accident while on a run with Max. Soon thereafter, a second note appears on their door: DID YOU GET AWAY WITH IT?

Both Susannah and Max are keeping secrets from the world and from each other—secrets that could destroy their family and everything they have built. Thomas Christopher Greene’s The Perfect Liar is a thrilling novel told through the alternating perspectives of Susannah and Max with a shocking climax that no one will expect, from the bestselling author of The Headmaster’s Wife.


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MY REVIEW
Max and Susannah seem to have a great life. When a mysterious note shows up on their door, they want to ignore it, but then a second note appears.

Told from alternating points of view, Max and Susannah both have secrets they don’t want getting out. When Susannah met Max, they seemed to fit together perfectly. They met in New York City, but with the success of Max’s career have moved to Vermont. Everything is going well for them, until the mysterious notes start to arrive.

The plot was interesting. The two main characters are both hiding dark secrets. Someone is leaving creepy notes on their door. It seems like a great read, but I never really connected with the story or the characters.

I’ve seen some great reviews for this one, and I imagine it will be a hit with some fans of psychological thrillers. For me, it was good, but not great. Best for fans of dark domestic thrillers with unlikable characters.

I received an eARC of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.