Review

Such a Pretty Smile: A Novel by Kristi DeMeester – My Review


Title: Such a Pretty Smile: A Novel

Author: Kristi DeMeester

Release Date: January 18th 2022

Genre: Psychological Thriller, Paranormal Suspense

“Brutal and shocking, lush and evocative. DeMeester is a highly-original voice in horror.” – emily m. danforth, bestselling author of Plain Bad Heroines

A biting novel from an electrifying new voice, Kristi DeMeester’s Such a Pretty Smile is a heart-stopping tour-de-force about powerful women, angry men, and all the ways in which girls fight against the forces that try to silence them.

There’s something out there that’s killing. Known only as The Cur, he leaves no traces, save for the torn bodies of girls, on the verge of becoming women, who are known as trouble-makers; those who refuse to conform, to know their place. Girls who don’t know when to shut up.

2019: Thirteen-year-old Lila Sawyer has secrets she can’t share with anyone. Not the school psychologist she’s seeing. Not her father, who has a new wife, and a new baby. And not her mother—the infamous Caroline Sawyer, a unique artist whose eerie sculptures, made from bent twigs and crimped leaves, have made her a local celebrity. But soon Lila feels haunted from within, terrorized by a delicious evil that shows her how to find her voice—until she is punished for using it.

2004: Caroline Sawyer hears dogs everywhere. Snarling, barking, teeth snapping that no one else seems to notice. At first, she blames the phantom sounds on her insomnia and her acute stress in caring for her ailing father. But then the delusions begin to take shape—both in her waking hours, and in the violent, visceral sculptures she creates while in a trance-like state. Her fiancé is convinced she needs help. Her new psychiatrist waives her “problem” away with pills. But Caroline’s past is a dark cellar, filled with repressed memories and a lurking horror that the men around her can’t understand.

As past demons become a present threat, both Caroline and Lila must chase the source of this unrelenting, oppressive power to its malignant core. Brilliantly paced, unsettling to the bone, and unapologetically fierce, Such a Pretty Smile is a powerful allegory for what it can mean to be a woman, and an untamed rallying cry for anyone ever told to sit down, shut up, and smile pretty.

This is a pretty dark read and I was here for it! As you begin to read, there’s a sinister feeling. Like an unseen evil lurking around every corner. Caroline and Lila. Mother and daughter. You bounce between the present and Caroline’s past. Disturbing unexplained events unfold and you’re in for one crazy ride. I love how the author was able to both creep and fascinate me at the same time with how she described certain scenes. Fantastic writing style! Parts of the story were extremely slow but not enough for me to stop reading. It didn’t end like i thought it would. Which is a very good thing. As a whole, there’s an important message in this book. Read it to find out for yourself.

If you’re a fan of dark suspense reads, this book is for you. This is my first Kristi De Meester read and it won’t be my last. I plan on checking out her other books. I give this 3 stars.

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion*

Review

No One Will Miss Her: A Novel by Kat Rosenfield – My Review


Title: No One Will Miss Her: A Novel

Author: Kat Rosenfield

Release Date: October 12th 2021

Genre: Thrillers, Psychological

A smart, witty, crackling novel of psychological suspense in which a girl from a hardscrabble small town meets a gorgeous Instagram influencer from the big city, with a murderous twist that will shock even the most savvy reader.

On a beautiful October morning in rural Maine, a homicide investigator from the state police pulls into the hard-luck town of Copper Falls. The local junkyard is burning, and the town pariah Lizzie Oullette is dead—with her husband, Dwayne, nowhere to be found. As scandal ripples through the community, Detective Ian Bird’s inquiries unexpectedly lead him away from small-town Maine to a swank city townhouse several hours south. Adrienne Richards, blonde and fabulous social media influencer and wife of a disgraced billionaire, had been renting Lizzie’s tiny lake house as a country getaway…even though Copper Falls is anything but a resort town.

As Adrienne’s connection to the case becomes clear, so too does her connection to Lizzie, who narrates their story from beyond the grave. Each woman is desperately lonely in her own way, and they navigate a relationship that cuts across class boundaries: transactional, complicated, and, finally, deadly. A Gone Girl for the gig economy, this is a story of privilege, identity, and cunning, as two devious women from opposite worlds discover the dangers of coveting someone else’s life.

After I finished this book, I gave myself some time to think on both the story and my feelings. My feelings were all over the place! Let’s start with with story. This story had lots of twists and turns. Some unexpected and some I saw coming. The whole story had a dark vibe to it. Which I really liked. The characters are not very likable. Which wasn’t a bad thing. I did have trouble believing some of the actions and scenes that played out. Especially for the main character. It just wasn’t realistic. Yes, I know this story is fiction. Read the story to know what I mean! I think that’s why my feelings were all over the place. While I enjoyed the story, those twists made me feel some type of way. The story is well written. Very detailed. I really liked that ending though! 

Over all, this is a pretty entertaining read with lots of twists. This is a new to me author and I look forward to reading another book from her. I give this 3 stars. 

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion*

Review

The Sister-in-Law: A Novel by Pamela Crane – My Review

Title: The Sister-in-Law: A Novel

Author: Pamela Crane

Release Date: August 10th 2021

Genre: Domestic Thrillers

From the USA Today bestselling author of Little Deadly Secrets comes a gripping story about the frailty of family and a battle of wills between a wife and a sister-in-law, bent on revenge.

She stole my husband. So I’d steal her life.

The Wife
Lane won Candace’s heart over chocolate martinis and karaoke. But weeks into their whirlwind marriage, Candace realized Lane came with burdensome baggage in the form of his possessive live-in sister and her eerily watchful six-year-old son. Lane had a secret that seemed to hold him hostage, and Candace would do anything to uncover it.

The Sister-in-Law
Harper was the kind of woman who cooked homemade meals and dusted under the furniture. It was the least she could do for her brother after her husband’s mysterious death, and Lane took her and her kids in. Then Candace showed up like a tornado passing through, threatening and destructive. But Harper had other plans for her new “sister,” plans Lane could never find out about.

The Husband
All Lane had ever wanted was a white-picket-fence life. The wife. The two-point-five kids. The happy little family. Everything seemed to be falling into place with Candace … until Harper’s jealous streak got in the way, again. But choosing between his sister and wife would be costly … and knowing Harper, the price would be blood.

I really needed to reflect after finishing this book. I was trying to sort how I felt about it. I’ll start with the issues I had. The characters, none of them likable. While some of them had experiences I could relate it, I found it hard to connect and even feel for any of them. The back and forth between certain characters was exhausting. I felt like jumping in there and putting them in a time out. I have mixed feelings on the twist. I saw it coming and then hoped I was wrong. I felt like it could have been executed a bit better but I didn’t hate it.

The story is entertaining. Some of the flashbacks gave me insight to certain characters. The writing is good. The author was able to bring out some strong emotions from me. Mostly anger and sadness because.…you’ll have to read the book to find out. I did like that she was able to do that.

As a whole, this book is a good read. Like I mentioned before, it was entertaining. While some of the back and forth made me cringe, I kept reading because I wanted more. I had to see it through to the end. If you’re a fan of thrillers, check this one out. I give this 3 stars.

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion*

Review

Find You First: A Novel by Linwood Barclay – My Review

Title: Find You First: A Novel

Author: Linwood Barclay

Release Date: May 4th 2021

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Tech millionaire Miles Cookson has more money than he can ever spend, and everything he could dream of—except time. He has recently been diagnosed with a terminal illness, and there is a fifty percent chance that it can be passed on to the next generation. For Miles, this means taking a long hard look at his past . . .

Two decades ago, a young, struggling Miles was a sperm donor. Somewhere out there, he has kids—nine of them. And they might be about to inherit both the good and the bad from him—maybe his fortune, or maybe something much worse.

As Miles begins to search for the children he’s never known, aspiring film documentarian Chloe Swanson embarks on a quest to find her biological father, armed with the knowledge that twenty-two years ago, her mother used a New York sperm bank to become pregnant.

When Miles and Chloe eventually connect, their excitement at finding each other is overshadowed by a series of mysterious and terrifying events. One by one, Miles’s other potential heirs are vanishing—every trace of them wiped, like they never existed at all.

Who is the vicious killer—another heir methodically erasing rivals? Or is something even moresinister going on?

It’s a deadly race against time . . .

What a wild ride! This book is definitely a mind twister.

The beginning is slow. I knew the author was setting up the players aka the characters. With each character that was introduced, you wondered what roll they would play. The more I read, the sinister it got. There were a lot of suspects with motives that I couldn’t decide who was the villain. We meet Chloe. She’s one of many who will get some news that will change her life. She was a hard character to like. As a matter of fact, none of the characters were very likable. I kept thinking how awful they were. Towards the end, I was totally team Chloe. There are so many secrets and lies in this story, along with many twists and turns, that I gave up trying to figure out who was the bad guy and just enjoyed the crazy ride this book was.

As a whole, this book is suspenseful and entertaining. It will keep you on your toes till the very end! If you enjoy thrillers, you should consider adding this one to your TBR. I give this 3 stars.

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion*

Review

Back in the Burbs by Tracy Wolff & Avery Flynn – My Review

Title: Back in the Burbs

Author: Tracy Wolff & Avery Flynn

Release Date: March 30th 2021

Genre: Romantic Comedy

Two powerhouse authors bring you a hilarious tale of one woman’s journey to find herself again.

Ever have one of those days where life just plain sucks? Welcome to my last three months—ever since I caught my can’t-be-soon-enough ex-husband cheating with his paralegal. I’m thirty-five years old, and I’ve lost my NYC apartment, my job, my money, and frankly, my dignity.

But the final heartache in the suck sandwich of my life? My great-aunt Maggie died. The only family member who’s ever gotten me.

Even after death, though, she’s helping me get back up. She’s willed me the keys to a house in the burbs, of all places, and dared me to grab life by the family jewels. Well, I’ve got the vise grips already in hand (my ex should take note) and I’m ready to fight for my life again.

Too bad that bravado only lasts as long as it takes to drive into Huckleberry Hills. And see the house.

There are forty-seven separate HOA violations, and I feel them all in my bones. Honestly, I’m surprised no one’s “accidentally” torched the house yet. I want to, and I’ve only been standing in front of it for five minutes. But then my hot, grumpy neighbor tells me to mow the lawn first and I’m just…done. Done with men too sexy for their own good and done with anyone telling me what to do.

First rule of surviving the burbs? There is nothing that YouTube and a glass of wine can’t conquer.

It seemed like a never ending bad day for Mallory. The hits kept on coming. Sounded like an interesting read. Let’s go!

Right from the start, I am put off by the main character, Mallory. While her humor was funny at times, it also came on too strong, too soon. Then she whined a lot. It made it hard for me to relate to her. As the story progresses, she’s isn’t so bad. The story is actually pretty entertaining. Mallory is a hot mess and that usually comes with humorous situations. Did I mention hunky neighbor Nick? Oh yes.

While the story as a whole is entertaining, it didn’t wow me. I had trouble staying engaged because of the main character. However this is a fun read and I know other readers would enjoy it. It just wasn’t for me. I give this 3 stars.

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion*

Coming Soon · Review

The Nesting by C.J. Cooke – My Review

Title: The Nesting

Author: C.J. Cooke

Release Date: September 29th 2020

Genre: Psychological Fiction

The woods are creeping in on a nanny and two young girls in this chilling modern Gothic thriller.

Architect Tom Faraday is determined to finish the high-concept, environmentally friendly home he’s building in Norway—in the same place where he lost his wife, Aurelia, to suicide. It was their dream house, and he wants to honor her with it.

Lexi Ellis takes a job as his nanny and immediately falls in love with his two young daughters, especially Gaia. But something feels off in the isolated house nestled in the forest along the fjord. Lexi sees mysterious muddy footprints inside the home. Aurelia’s diary appears in Lexi’s room one day. And Gaia keeps telling her about seeing the terrifying Sad Lady. . . .

Soon Lexi suspects that Aurelia didn’t kill herself and that they are all in danger from something far more sinister lurking around them.

I struggled on how I was going to write my review and also how I felt about the book. I will start with what I liked about it and go from there.

I loved the Nordic folktales. Those stories were not only interesting, they were a bit haunting which added a vibe to the story. I also loved how the local people believed in them and had their superstitions. Gaia was smart and cute. Probably my favorite character.

I truly wanted to like this story but right from start it was kind of doomed for me. I expected a lot more thriller than what I got from this story. The story seemed uneven. It starts off with a pretty strong event. It seemed to be building towards an explosive ending but it fell way flat for me. In no way did I feel this was a thriller. It seemed like a bunch of secrets and points of views that added up to a bunch of nothing. A lot of the story could have been cut down and most scenes taken out. The story didn’t find its way until the end. The end was ok. I didn’t love this story but I also didn’t hate it. I give this 2.5 rounded up to 3 stars.

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion*