Posted in Book Review

The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave

Dates Read: July 21, 2022 – July 27, 2022
Publication Date: May 4, 2021
Source: Owned hardback

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Alright… this book… was not a thriller. This was a tame mystery. A boring mystery even. A man just tells his wife to protect his daughter, her stepdaughter, and leaves a large sum of money and then disappears? Cool. I’m bored.

The rate at which we found out new information in this book was just painfully slow. This book was just reading about a day in the life with a hint of action and intrigue sprinkled sparingly. I found myself skimming paragraphs. I felt like I didn’t need all the information I was being given. At first, I was reading everything thinking there were hidden meanings in the words but I soon realized there weren’t hidden meanings at all and I was wasting my time.

Did I enjoy parts of this book? Sure. But as a whole… not my thing.

I think that’s the thing, this wasn’t my thing. It’s not the book’s fault. It’s the way the book was marketed. The way it was described did not match what it actually was. I love a good thriller but this was not that. Not even close.

The story follows Hannah and her step-daughter Bailey as they try to find common ground as well as information on where their husband/father could have disappeared to and why. What was his involvement in the scandal at his job? The two of them have to work together and learn to like each other as they pick up clues and follow trails to find the truth.

The truth was… underwhelming.

This book was underwhelming.

I was underwhelmed.

I don’t know what else to say.

If you like slow-burn mysteries, yes, this is for you. But if you’re looking for twists and turns and action and moments that wow you, skip it. This is not the one. As I always say, though, just read it for yourself if you feel so inclined. You might like it. It did, after all, win the Goodreads Choice Award for the “Mystery & Thriller” category in 2021. *shrugs*

Posted in Book Review

Unmissing by Minka Kent

Read Dates: March 15, 2022 – March 16, 2022
Publication Date: February 15, 2022
Source: Owned paperback

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Merritt Coletto and her husband, Luca, have the life they dreamed of: a coastal home, a promising future, and a growing family. That dream ends with a late-night knock on the door.

Weak, broken, and emaciated, it’s Luca’s first wife, Lydia. Missing for ten years, presumed dead, and very much alive, she has quite a story. Her kidnapping. A torturous confinement that should’ve ended with her dead. And finally, escape. Racked with guilt over the beautiful life they’ve built, Merritt and Luca agree to help get Lydia back on her feet—it’s the least they can do.

But the more enmeshed Lydia becomes in Merritt’s family, the more questions Merritt has. What is it about Lydia that’s especially unnerving? Why hasn’t she gone to the police with her harrowing tale? What does she really want of them? The answers, when they come, are terrifying.

Because Lydia isn’t the only one with secrets.

Buckle in. This book made me want to rip all my hair out and I’m about to tell you allllllll about it.

Let me start with this: these are my opinions and takeaways from what I read. You might pick this book up and think I’m a complete psycho in need of brain therapy because this book may be a 5-star homerun hitter for you. I never like writing a review that’s going to be negative because I don’t want someone to avoid a book just because I didn’t like it and I have nothing too terribly nice to say about it. I’ve seen plenty of 4 and 5-star reviews for this one.

That being said…

I feel like every passive-aggressive comment comes after those three words… “That being said…”

Anyway. I have many issues with this book. Let’s break them down.

  1. NONE of the characters were likable and I did not connect with anyone.
  2. There were a few inconsistencies that I couldn’t ignore.
  3. The plot was boring. A little bit of drama but eh. Not interesting enough to hold my attention.
  4. It’s a Minka Kent book! I’ve never met one I didn’t like until right now! And this makes me sad…

So. I guess let’s start from the beginning. None of the characters were likable. Legit not a single one. Not even the crazy old lady who takes in Lydia. I didn’t give two craps about a single character. I didn’t have a chance to. Maybe that was the point? None of the characters were supposed to be likable? I don’t know. But this point alone made it incredibly hard for me to trudge through this book.

There were multiple inconsistencies. The biggest, of which, was the characters. Mainly Luca and Merritt. I don’t want to spoil anything here but there’s a moment in the book where their roles TOTALLY swap. Which would have been fine except for the fact that the Merritt I was being sold by the end of the book did not match up in any way with the Merritt from the beginning and middle parts who wouldn’t have been acting the way she was or saying the things she was or doing the things she was. It. Didn’t. Make. Sense. Neither did Luca. I’m supposed to believe that he was able to act as the decision-maker? The guy in charge? The guy whose words were law throughout the first three-quarters of the book? Because the guy at the end was an absolute pansy who didn’t know how to do anything without being told. I’m sorry, but you cannot tell me this same guy was the one actually calling the shots and making people believe it in the beginning. (This one was the most annoying inconsistency for me, can you tell?) I was actually rolling my eyes at the end of the book. That’s how utterly unbelievable the entire thing was.

The plot was boring. I’m pretty sure this exact story was on the news the other night. Classic case of “missing person comes back after everyone they knew has already moved on”. It’s the same old song and dance. This is only the second book I can think of that I’ve read with the same basic plotline. And yet… this one did nothing extra to hold my attention. The first chapter was very interesting. From there I was lost until I got to the end… and then I was just annoyed.

THIS IS A MINKA KENT BOOK. For heaven’s sake, there’s never been a book by Kent that I haven’t liked! The Stillwater Girls was one of the best books I have EVER read. So when I saw this one, I immediately bought a physical copy because that’s how much I trusted her. I read this book in a day and for once it wasn’t because I was loving the Minka Kent book in my hands. It was because I wanted to get it over and done with so I could move on to something else.

It’s literally making me sick to my stomach saying all these negative things about this book but *sigh* this is my honest review. I will, however, stay loyal to Minka and I will continue to read her books as I always have. One bad apple isn’t enough to chop down the whole tree. Or something along those lines.

And for the eight hours that follow, we lie in bed – a married couple pretending to sleep, pretending our life isn’t falling apart or changing in ways we never could’ve anticipated. Feigning, in deafening silence, that everything is going to be perfectly fine come what may.”

As always, I IMPLORE you to read this for yourself if you’re even the slightest bit interested in the synopsis. You never know! What was my least favorite of her books might be your most favorite. You. Just. Never. Know.

✌💛

Posted in Book Review

Not A Happy Family by Shari Lapena

Read Dates: July 27, 2021 – July 28, 2021
Publication Date: July 27, 2021
Source: Owned Hardback

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From Goodreads:

In this family, everyone is keeping secrets–especially the dead. Brecken Hill in upstate New York is an expensive place to live. You have to be rich to have a house there. And they don’t come much richer than Fred and Sheila Mercer. But even all their money can’t protect them when a killer comes to call. The Mercers are brutally murdered the night after an Easter Dinner with their three adult kids. Who, of course, are devastated.

Or are they? They each stand to inherit millions. They were never a happy family, thanks to their capricious father and neglectful mother, but perhaps one of them is more disturbed than anyone knew. Did one of them snap after that dreadful evening? Or was it someone else that night who crept in with the worst of intentions? It must be. After all, if one of your siblings was a psychopath, you’d know.

Wouldn’t you?

When I see a Shari Lapena book available for preorder, I preorder it. I rarely even look to see what the book is about. This woman consistently brings the most amazing page-turners I have ever read. I finished this book in just three sittings… and I have a 14-month-old running around wrecking things all day. So they weren’t long sessions. But that’s how easy it is to read her books.

I may have said this before in a previous Lapena mystery novel review, but when you begin one of her books, you may think to yourself that there are too many characters and you’re not going to be able to keep up with who is who. There were only a couple, out of her now 6 books, that did that to me – where I felt I had to make a character sheet so I could quickly remember who I was dealing with and how they fit into the story. This book wasn’t one of them.

Lapena writes in such a way that you never lose sight of the big picture because of confusing variables along the way. She keeps things flowing smoothly and efficiently. I never got bored at any point of this book. Which became a real problem because I had to find a stopping point! But there aren’t any! This book was so amazing. It’ll keep you flipping those pages with the determination to finish the entire book in one sitting.

One of my favorite things about this book was that almost none of the characters were likable. One of them was slightly likable but none of them were likable enough for me to root for them or hope they weren’t the killer.

So, Fred and Sheila Merton are dead. The prime suspects? Their three children: Catherine, Dan, and Jenna. But WHO ACTUALLY DUN’IT!? Were two of them (or all of them) in on it together? Was it just one of them acting alone? Was it someone other than one of the three kids?!

I thought I had things all figured out. And I usually do. Butttt I didn’t. At no point in this book did I have anything figured out. Whether it be a side effect from my mom brain or the fact that I was in a trance reading this because of how captivating it was or maybe just because it was THAT well written? I cannot say because I truly have no idea. But this was such an amazing book that I didn’t really care, I was just happy to be along for the ride. This book just catapulted to the top as my favorite Shari Lapena novel to date. She really outdid herself on this one.

As for errors, I only found two. One was the use of “of” instead of “if”. The other was the use of the name Dan instead of Ted. I didn’t mark down page numbers or count against this book in terms of the rating because I simply didn’t have the capacity to do anything other than to hurry along the pages to find out who on Earth killed Fred and Sheila.

I can’t leave here without saying something about the ending. Obviously I’m not going to give anything away but let me just say… THAT ENDING. Omg. I was gaping at my book and then I was smirking and then I may have even giggled a little. I wish I could say more. I’m recommending this book to everyone I know so I can hear them all say, “Ok, but that ending, right!?” Even if I don’t know you, feel free to shoot me a message and give me a, “Girl, that ending though, right!?!”

If you’re a fan of whodun’it books with SO MANY TWISTS where there are no likable characters and they all could be the killer because they’re all terrible people… well then this is your book. What a delightful (but a little too quick, my bad) read.

I know it’s only been two days but I’m ready for the next one Shari! 😀

✌💛

Posted in Book Review

You Have to Believe Me by Sunday Tomassetti

Read Dates: August 27, 2019 – September 4, 2019
Expected Publication Date: September 19, 2019
Source: eARC via Ardent Prose PR

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You Have To Believe Me2

5 cats

Dove is lost. She’s recently lost her husband, Ian, whom she believed to be her one and only, her true love. She didn’t just lose him, she lost him to her best friend Kirsten Best. But soon, they both lose him when he’s murdered and left with no DNA leads for the police to go on. Kirsten suspects Dove, Dove suspects everyone… but both women are determined to get to the bottom of what really happened to Ian.

WHAT A ROLLER COASTER!

So I was invited to read this eARC in exchange for an honest review, and upon going to the Goodreads page to read the synopsis, I was 100% in. Not to mention, the publisher mentioned the book would have a “Minka Kent” feel to it. I discovered Minka last year and was IN LOVE. So, naturally, I was more than willing to give this book a go.
Soon after receiving the eARC, I found that this book was written BY MINKA KENT under the pseudonym Sunday Tomassetti. And that could explain why I was so absolutely taken by this book.

Kent\Tomassetti has a way of fashioning a story around multiple characters and then smoothly delivering the meat of a story in a way that keeps you going and guessing until she reaches the end and she gathers up all those characters you read about throughout the novel and brings them together to show you how their stories intertwine. I LOVE the way she tells a story.

So naturally, I was drawn in from page one of this book. I was never bored. I felt like an armchair detective right along with Dove. Over analyzing everything and writing things down that I thought may be important later on. Little did I know, nothing I was over examining would matter when it came down to who the actual killer was. Because in true Kent fashion, I was given all of these different characters stories to explore and break down that caused me to look in all the wrong places. I LOVED IT.

At first I was thinking Dove was going to be similar to Rachel from The Girl on the Train. A woman gone mad when her husband and her “perfect life” leave her for some other “better” woman. But Dove was so much more than that. I came to really enjoy Dove’s character a lot. The way she didn’t single any one person out… she was always weary of everyone. No matter how long she’d known them or what reasons they lacked to kill her ex husband, she suspected EVERYONE. So looking at the story from her perspective was always enjoyable as she would puzzle out all these possibilities and ridiculous theories behind why a certain person would have been involved.

Kirsten was fun to read as well. I didn’t enjoy her in the beginning. I was kind of in Dove’s corner from the start. Especially since Kirsten was Dove’s best friend before Kirsten began dating her ex husband. I had no sympathy for Kirsten as she sat alone at Ian’s funeral and watched Dove with Ian’s family. But I did come to enjoy Kirsten’s chapters as most of the twists in this book were revealed in her chapters. Not to mention, the things that were happening in Kirsten’s life seemed significant to me… and it turned out they were.

There were multiple supporting characters in the story which was a lot of fun to examine. When I read a mystery with so many characters, I always find myself questioning every last one of them as Dove does in the story. We have Noah, Dove’s boss and friend. Ari, Dove’s co-worker and friend. Michael and Lori, Ian’s parents. David Hobbs, Kirsten’s neighbor who becomes her only friend. There are also some other characters who show up in the story for the sake of finding new information in relation to Ian’s murder. I broke them all down. Every last one of them. But I did NOT see the end coming. I thought I had the killer figured out and also the motive behind the killing, and while I was close, I was wrong.

This book was so amazing and really goes to show that you can “know” a person for most of your life… but do you ever truly KNOW them and know everything they’re capable of?

I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good mystery/who dun’it type novel. Minka Kent, Sunday Tomassetti, it doesn’t matter what name she writes under, I’m going to be reading everything this woman pens.

Keri