Book Review: The Favorite Daughter by Kaira Rouda

The Favorite Daughter by Kaira Rouda


BOOK INFO

Title: The Favorite Daughter
Author: Kaira Rouda
Publisher: Graydon House
Publish Date: May 21, 2019
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Series: n/a
Goodreads Ratings: Me 2.0 / Community 3.68


BOOK BLURB

From the author of Best Day Ever, another gripping novel of psychological suspense set in an upscale Southern California community, for fans of B.A. Paris and Shari Lapena.

The perfect home. The perfect family. The perfect lie.

Jane Harris lives in a sparkling home in an oceanfront gated community in Orange County. It’s a place that seems too beautiful to be touched by sadness. But exactly one year ago, Jane’s oldest daughter, Mary, died in a tragic accident and Jane has been grief-stricken ever since. Lost in a haze of anti-depressants, she’s barely even left the house. Now that’s all about to change.

It’s time for Jane to reclaim her life and her family. Jane’s husband, David, has planned a memorial service for Mary and three days later, their youngest daughter, Betsy, graduates high school. Yet as Jane reemerges into the world, it’s clear her family has changed without her. Her husband has been working long days—and nights—at the office. Her daughter seems distant, even secretive. And her beloved Mary was always such a good girl—dutiful and loving. But does someone know more about Mary, and about her last day, than they’ve revealed?

The bonds between mothers and daughters, and husbands and wives should never be broken. But you never know how far someone will go to keep a family together…

The Favorite Daughter by Kaira Rouda
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MY REVIEW

Told in first person narrative over the four days leading up to Jane’s younger daughter’s high school graduation. A year earlier, Jane’s older daughter fell off a cliff and drowned while visiting home from college. Since then, her younger daughter has become more distant. Jane’s husband is always working and their marriage is suffering. Jane has a plan to regain control. She uses manipulation to try and get her family life back to the way she wants it.

Jane is incredibly unlikable. She’s a sociopath with narcissistic personality disorder. She manipulates and lies to get her way. At first, I was intrigued by the first person narrative, but Jane was so annoying, I couldn’t get into the story. I enjoy unreliable characters, but Jane’s delusional personality was hard to take.

As for the plot, it was too predictable. I was expecting a twisty story, but this one was easy to guess in the first several pages. If this book is on your reading list, I recommend borrowing it rather than buying it. Best for readers who enjoy a heavy dose of crazy and don’t mind a predictable thriller.

I borrowed a copy of this book from my local library.


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Book Review: The Other Mrs. Miller by Allison Dickson

The Other Mrs. Miller by Allison Dickson


BOOK INFO

Title: The Other Mrs. Miller
Author: Allison Dickson
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Publish Date: July 16, 2019
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Series: n/a
Goodreads Ratings: Me 3.0 / Community 3.70


BOOK BLURB

Two women are watching each other.

Phoebe Miller isn’t sure when the rusty car started showing up in the cul-de-sac she calls home, or why its driver would be spying on her. What could be interesting about an unhappy housewife who drowns her sorrows in ice cream and wine and barely leaves her house?

Only one knows why.

When a new family moves in across the street–the exuberant Vicki, who just might become the gossipy best friend Phoebe’s always wanted, and her handsome college-bound son, Jake, who offers companionship of a different variety–Phoebe finds her dull routine infused with the excitement she’s been missing. But with her head turned she’s no longer focused on the woman in the car. And she really should be…

An addictive domestic thriller for fans of The Last Mrs. Parrish and The Couple Next Door, The Other Mrs. Miller serves up a delicious brew of dark secrets and stunning plot twists that will keep you captivated until the very last page.


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MY REVIEW

Phoebe Miller spends her days at home alone. She’s noticed the same car parked on her street several times a week. Phoebe wonders if it is someone taking a break from their day or if someone is spying on her. When new neighbors move in across the street, Phoebe forgets about the woman in the car.

Told in two parts, Part 1 – Mrs. Miller and Part 2 – The Other Mrs. Miller. The first part is about Phoebe and her life. She is wealthy, lonely, and unhappily married. When new neighbors move in, she starts up a friendship with the mother and an affair with the son. The second part takes a turn, and is about the other Mrs. Miller.

I thoroughly enjoyed Part 1, but Part 2 was a let down. While the first part is realistic and somewhat dark, the second part is unbelievable and almost comical. It’s like reading two completely different stories.

Overall, The Other Mrs. Miller is an entertaining read. Good for fans of domestic thrillers that don’t mind suspending disbelief. Darkly humorous, twisty, and fun.

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


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Book Review: I Know Who You Are by Alice Feeney

I Know Who You Are by Alice Feeney

BOOK INFO
Title: I Know Who You Are
Author: Alice Feeney
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Publish Date: April 23, 2019
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Series: n/a
Goodreads Ratings: Me 3.0 / Community 3.42

BOOK BLURB
via Amazon:
From the New York Times and international bestselling author of Sometimes I Lie comes a brand new, highly anticipated, dark and twisted thriller: I Know Who You Are.

Meet Aimee Sinclair: the actress everyone thinks they know but can’t remember where from.

Except one person.

Someone knows Aimee very well.

They know who she is and they know what she did.

When Aimee comes home and discovers her husband is missing, she doesn’t seem to know what to do or how to act. The police think she’s hiding something and they’re right, she is—but perhaps not what they thought. Aimee has a secret she’s never shared, and yet, she suspects that someone knows. As she struggles to keep her career and sanity intact, her past comes back to haunt her in ways more dangerous than she could have ever imagined.

In I Know Who You Are, Alice Feeney proves that she is a master of brilliantly complicated plots and killer twists that will keep you guessing until the final page.

I Know Who You Are by Alice Feeney
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MY REVIEW
Aimee comes home one day to discover her husband is missing. There are no clues as to where he went, and Aimee seems to be hiding something.

Told with the alternating points of view of Aimee and a little girl who wandered away from home. It’s fairly clear how the two POVs will come together, but there are a few twists along the way. I was mostly okay with this book, until the ending. I appreciate wanting to make a shocking story, but it was too absurd for me.

A twisted domestic suspense novel. Dark and disturbing with a ludicrous ending.

I borrowed a copy of this book from my local library.


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Book Review: Lock Every Door by Riley Sager

Lock Every Door by Riley Sager

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BOOK INFO
Title: Lock Every Door
Author: Riley Sager
Publisher: Dutton
Publish Date: July 2, 2019
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Series: n/a
Goodreads Ratings: Me 5.0 / Community 4.20

BOOK BLURB
from Amazon:
The next heart-pounding thriller from New York Times bestselling author Riley Sager follows a young woman whose new job apartment sitting in one of New York’s oldest and most glamorous buildings may cost more than it pays.

No visitors. No nights spent away from the apartment. No disturbing the other residents, all of whom are rich or famous or both. These are the only rules for Jules Larsen’s new job as an apartment sitter at the Bartholomew, one of Manhattan’s most high-profile and mysterious buildings. Recently heartbroken and just plain broke, Jules is taken in by the splendor of her surroundings and accepts the terms, ready to leave her past life behind.

As she gets to know the residents and staff of the Bartholomew, Jules finds herself drawn to fellow apartment sitter Ingrid, who comfortingly reminds her of the sister she lost eight years ago. When Ingrid confides that the Bartholomew is not what it seems and the dark history hidden beneath its gleaming facade is starting to frighten her, Jules brushes it off as a harmless ghost story . . . until the next day, when Ingrid disappears.

Searching for the truth about Ingrid’s disappearance, Jules digs deeper into the Bartholomew’s sordid past and into the secrets kept within its walls. What she discovers pits Jules against the clock as she races to unmask a killer, expose the building’s hidden past, and escape the Bartholomew before her temporary status becomes permanent.

Lock Every Door by Riley Sager
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MY REVIEW
Jules gets a job that sounds too good to be true. An apartment sitting job in one of Manhattan’s most famous apartment buildings. Not only does she get to live in the amazing apartment, but she gets paid for it too. When things seem to be too good to be true, they usually are, and Jules finds herself living in a mysterious building with a dark past.

Jules is a strong, smart, and independent protagonist. She is at a low point in her life… she recently lost her job and her boyfriend, and is sleeping on her best friend’s couch. When she gets an apartment sitting job that pays well, she thinks things are starting to turn around. She even makes a friend soon after moving into the new place. When that friend disappears, Jules is compelled to find out what happened to her. Jules uses her strengths to uncover what is happening in the historic building.

I’ve enjoyed Riley Sager’s previous books, and this one was high on my to-read list for this year. I’m happy to report it was one of the best books I’ve read this year. Fans of Sager’s other books will likely enjoy this one too.

An addictive read. Amazing atmospheric setting of a historic apartment building. Compelling plot that kept me guessing. Intriguing characters. A must-read for fans of psychological thrillers. Creepy, intense, and suspenseful.

I received a free advance digital copy from Penguin’s First to Read program in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: Dear Wife by Kimberly Belle

Dear Wife by Kimberly Belle

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BOOK INFO
Title: Dear Wife
Author: Kimberly Belle
Publisher: Park Row
Publish Date: June 25, 2019
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Series: n/a
Goodreads Ratings: Me 4.0 / Community 4.24

BOOK BLURB
from Amazon:
From the bestselling author of The Marriage Lie and Three Days Missing comes a riveting new novel of suspense about a woman who, in a fight for survival, must decide just how far she’ll go to escape the person she once loved

Beth Murphy is on the run…

For nearly a year, Beth has been planning for this day. A day some people might call any other Wednesday, but Beth prefers to see it as her new beginning—one with a new look, new name and new city. Beth has given her plan significant thought, because one small slip and her violent husband will find her.

Sabine Hardison is missing…

A couple hundred miles away, Jeffrey returns home from a work trip to find his wife, Sabine, is missing. Wherever she is, she’s taken almost nothing with her. Her abandoned car is the only evidence the police have, and all signs point to foul play.

As the police search for leads, the case becomes more and more convoluted. Sabine’s carefully laid plans for her future indicate trouble at home, and a husband who would be better off with her gone. The detective on the case will stop at nothing to find out what happened and bring this missing woman home. Where is Sabine? And who is Beth? The only thing that’s certain is that someone is lying and the truth won’t stay buried for long.

Dear Wife by Kimberly Belle
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MY REVIEW
Alternating points of view (Beth, Jeffrey, and Marcus) tell an intriguing story of domestic suspense. Beth is on the run from her violent husband. She has been living in fear, and has carefully planned her escape. Jeffrey has returned home from a business trip to discover his wife, Sabine, is missing. As Jeffrey learns more about what was going on in his wife’s life, he also becomes the prime suspect in her disappearance. Marcus is the detective working Sabine’s case. He’s following all the leads to find the missing woman.

Strong, well-developed characters. All of the characters are smart, interesting, and secretive. I enjoy a good unreliable narrator story, and this one kept up the suspense.

A clever and absorbing psychological thriller. This is a page-turner that will keep you guessing. Dark, intense, and complex.

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

Book Review: False Step by Victoria Helen Stone

False Step by Victoria Helen Stone

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BOOK INFO
Title: False Step
Author: Victoria Helen Stone
Publisher: Lake Union
Publish Date: July 1, 2019
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Series: n/a
Goodreads Ratings: Me 4.0 / Community 3.61

BOOK BLURB
from Amazon:
Stay calm, keep smiling, and watch your step. In this marriage of secrets and lies, nothing is what it seems.

For days, all of Denver, Colorado, has worried over the fate of a missing child, little Tanner Holcomb. Then, a miracle: handsome, athletic Johnny Bradley finds him, frightened but unharmed, on a hiking trail miles from his wealthy family’s mountain home.

In a heartbeat, his rescuer goes from financially strapped fitness trainer to celebrated hero. The heat of the spotlight may prove too much for Johnny’s picture-perfect family, however. His wife, Veronica, despises the pressure of the sudden fame, afraid that secrets and bitter resentments of her marriage may come to light. And she’s willing to do anything to keep them hidden.

But when a shocking revelation exposes an even darker side to Tanner’s disappearance, Veronica realizes that nothing in her life can be trusted. And everything should be feared.

False Step by Victoria Helen Stone
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MY REVIEW
Veronica is suddenly in the spotlight when her husband, Johnny, finds a missing toddler. Johnny is enjoying being a hero and all the media attention, but Veronica is afraid her secrets may be revealed. When Veronica learns there was more to the toddler’s disappearance, she realizes her secrets are the least of her worries.

A combination of family drama and suspense. Veronica is unhappy with her life, primarily with her marriage. When Johnny is the local hero and in all the news, Veronica feels even more overwhelmed. Add in the mystery surrounding the toddler’s disappearance, and Veronica life is completely turned upside down.

A fast-paced and entertaining domestic suspense. This is a fairly predictable story, especially for avid readers of thrillers. Still, I found it to be an enjoyable summer read. Dark, fun, and compelling.

This was my pick from Amazon’s First Reads in June 2019.

Book Review: The First Mistake by Sandie Jones

The First Mistake by Sandie Jones

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BOOK INFO
Title: The First Mistake
Author: Sandie Jones
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Publish Date: June 11, 2019
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Series: n/a
Goodreads Ratings: Me 4.00 / Community 4.10

BOOK BLURB
from Amazon:
From Sandie Jones, the author of the Reese Witherspoon x Hello Sunshine Book Club Pick and New York Times bestseller The Other Woman, comes an addictively readable new domestic suspense about a wife, her husband, and the woman who is supposedly her best friend.

THE WIFE: For Alice, life has never been better. With her second husband, she has a successful business, two children, and a beautiful house.

HER HUSBAND: Alice knows that life could have been different if her first husband had lived, but Nathan’s arrival into her life gave her back the happiness she craved.

HER BEST FRIEND: Through the ups and downs of life, from celebratory nights out to comforting each other through loss, Alice knows that with her best friend Beth by her side, they can survive anything together. So when Nathan starts acting strangely, Alice turns to Beth for help. But soon, Alice begins to wonder whether her trust has been misplaced . . .

The first mistake could be her last.

The First Mistake by Sandie Jones
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MY REVIEW
Alice lost her first husband in a sudden accident. She was devastated with the loss, but now has her life back on track. She’s got a successful business, a charming second husband, two good kids, and a best friend. Alice also suffers from anxiety and irrational fears. When she starts to suspect everything is not as wonderful as it seems, she isn’t sure who she can trust.

Alice is a successful woman in both her personal and professional lives. She has a lot going for her, but she also has some anxiety issues that hold her back. She enjoys her work, her family, and girl time with her bestie Beth. However, when she starts to look at things a little closer, she suspects her husband is up to something. She turns to Beth, but isn’t sure she can be trusted. It seems everyone has secrets to hide.

The First Mistake is divided into three parts. The first and last are present day, but the second part is set in the past. The first part lays the foundation for Alice’s story and where things are headed. The second part focuses on Beth’s story. The third part brings everything together in a dramatic and thrilling way.

This made for a fantastic summer read. It was fast-paced and exciting, making the time fly by. Great for fans of domestic thrillers. Intense and suspenseful.

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

Book Review: I Know You by Annabel Kantaria

I Know You by Annabel Kantaria

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BOOK INFO
Title: I Know You
Author: Annabel Kantaria
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Publish Date: June 11, 2019
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Series: n/a
Goodreads Ratings: Me 4.00 / Community 3.97

BOOK BLURB
from Amazon:
A twisted domestic thriller in the vein of B. A. Paris and Shari Lapena that asks: How well do you know your friends?

That picture you posted?
I’ve seen it.
That location you tagged?
I’ve been there.
I know everything about your life…
And I’m going to destroy it.

A recent transplant from sunny California, life in the London suburbs is not what Taylor Watson expected. Far from the West End shops and city lights she imagined, she finds herself pregnant and lonely, with a husband frequently away on business and only social media to keep her company. It’s only after Taylor joins a book club and a walking group, that she finally starts to make some real-life friends.
Before long, Taylor’s hanging out with Anna, Sarah, Simon, and Caroline but, as her pregnancy progresses and her friendships blossom, a sense of unease develops. Nothing’s ever quite as it seems on the surface, and it soon becomes clear that Taylor’s new friends have secrets. One appears to be after Taylor’s husband, another’s always putting her down, and then there’s the question of Simon. Could he have feelings for Taylor?
But far more worryingly, one of the group’s not being too careful what they post on social media—and another is watching all too closely. Who’s stalking who… and why?

I Know You by Annabel Kantaria
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MY REVIEW
Taylor and her husband recently moved to the London suburbs from California. Her husband is gone a lot for work, and Taylor finds herself lonely and wanting friends. To make new friends, she joins a local walking group and a neighborhood book club. She makes a few friends, but as time progresses, Taylor learns that everyone is keeping secrets.

Taylor is a young woman in a marriage that has had some ups and downs, and now she’s expecting her first child. When she and her husband move to London, she’s hoping for a fresh start. The downside is that she doesn’t have any friends in their new town. When she starts to make friends, it seems all is great. Then things start to go wrong, and it seems everyone is a suspect.

I enjoyed the social media aspect of the story. With most everyone having some involvement on social media, it’s scary how easily people can be watched. This novel did a good job of incorporating current trends into a suspenseful tale of a stalking. With so many secrets, this psychological thriller is a guessing game of who has done what. A quick and entertaining read.

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

Book Review: The Last House Guest by Megan Miranda

The Last House Guest by Megan Miranda

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BOOK INFO
Title: The Last House Guest
Author: Megan Miranda
Publisher: Simon Schuster
Publish Date: June 18, 2019
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Series: n/a
Goodreads Ratings: Me 4.0 / Community 3.77

BOOK BLURB
from Amazon:
Littleport, Maine, has always felt like two separate towns: an ideal vacation enclave for the wealthy, whose summer homes line the coastline; and a simple harbor community for the year-round residents whose livelihoods rely on service to the visitors.

Typically, fierce friendships never develop between a local and a summer girl—but that’s just what happens with visitor Sadie Loman and Littleport resident Avery Greer. Each summer for almost a decade, the girls are inseparable—until Sadie is found dead. While the police rule the death a suicide, Avery can’t help but feel there are those in the community, including a local detective and Sadie’s brother, Parker, who blame her. Someone knows more than they’re saying, and Avery is intent on clearing her name, before the facts get twisted against her.

Another thrilling novel from the bestselling author of All the Missing Girls and The Perfect Stranger, Megan Miranda’s The Last House Guest is a smart, twisty read with a strong female protagonist determined to make her own way in the world.

The Last House Guest by Megan Miranda
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MY REVIEW
Avery and Sadie formed a friendship, despite them being from different social circles. Sadie’s family is wealthy and spends their summers vacationing in Maine. Avery is a townie. The young women have spent their summers together for years, and are best friends. When Sadie is found dead, Avery suspects her friend has been murdered, and she is determined to find the killer.

Told with multiple timelines, alternating between the summer Sadie died and the following summer. Avery works for Sadie’s family managing their rental properties. She and Sadie were close friends, but the other members of Sadie’s family never fully accepted Avery into their world. Furthermore, the townies feel like Avery is no longer part of their world, since she spends so much time with the wealthy summer people. In the year following Sadie’s death, Avery’s life is in a bit of turmoil, and she’s feeling lost and alone.

As Avery recalls the night Sadie died, she considers the suspects and reasons for her friend’s death. There are plenty of suspects, and Avery seems like a prime suspect herself. With secrets and twists, The Last House Guest is a mystery that kept my interest. An entertaining and easy read. Great for anyone looking for a quick summer thriller.

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

Book Review: Her Daughter’s Mother by Daniela Petrova

Her Daughter's Mother by Daniela Petrova

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BOOK INFO
Title: Her Daughter’s Mother
Author: Daniela Petrova
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Publish Date: June 18, 2019
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Series: n/a
Goodreads Ratings: Me 4.0 / Community 4.41

BOOK BLURB
from Amazon:
She befriended the one woman she was never supposed to meet. Now she’s the key suspect in her disappearance. For fans of The Perfect Mother and The Wife Between Us comes a gripping psychological suspense debut about two strangers, one incredible connection, and the steep price of obsession.

Lana Stone has never considered herself a stalker–until the night she impulsively follows a familiar face through the streets of New York’s Upper West Side. Her target? The “anonymous” egg donor she’d selected through an agency, the one who’s making motherhood possible for her. Hungry to learn more about her, Lana plans only to watch her from a distance. But when circumstances bring them face-to-face, an unexpected friendship is born.

Katya, a student at Columbia, is the yin to Lana’s yang, an impulsive free spirit who lives life at the edge. And for pragmatic Lana, she’s a breath of fresh air and a welcome distraction from her painful breakup with her baby’s father. Then, just as suddenly as Katya entered Lana’s life, she disappears–and Lana might have been the last person to see her before she went missing. Determined to find out what became of the woman to whom she owes so much, Lana digs into Katya’s past, even as the police grow suspicious of her motives. But she’s unprepared for the secrets she unearths, and their power to change everything she thought she knew about those she loves best…

Her Daughter's Mother by Daniela Petrova
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MY REVIEW
Lana and Tyler want a baby, but they have been unable to conceive. Soon after making the decision to use an egg donor, their relationship hits a rough patch. After their break-up, Lana sees a familiar face… the egg donor, Katya. Wanting to know more about the donor, Lana follows Katya, and the two end up hitting it off. Soon after their friendship gets started, Katya disappears. Lana may have been the last person to see Katya, and she becomes a suspect in her disappearance. Wanting to find the truth about what happened to Katya, Lana delves deeper into Katya’s life.

Told with alternating points of view – Lana and Katya. Both women are unreliable narrators. It’s clear from the beginning that Lana is hiding something from Katya, but it’s not clear what Katya is up to. Add in Tyler, and the story gets more complex.

This is a well done thriller. Lana and Katya both have stories to tell. Though I couldn’t really relate to either character, I was invested in the story and curious how it would end. A compelling novel of mystery and suspense. Full of secrets and lies, Her Mother’s Daughter kept me up late reading. Fantastic debut novel.

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