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Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell

A very odd set of characters awaits the reader in THEN SHE WAS GONE.

Two families are the main focus and somehow they become blended by a chance meeting.

Laurel’s family has been mourning their daughter Ellie’s death for ten years, and then her body is found. Meanwhile the family has fallen apart – a divorce for Paul and Laurel and sort of an estrangement between their children. Floyd’s family has a precocious daughter, Poppy, who looks like Ellie and a sister that is quite different.

The more time Laurel spends with Poppy, the more confused she becomes about her personality, her outlook on life, and how Laurel sees her dead daughter in Poppy.
Laurel finds clues that seem to connect Floyd and Poppy to Ellie.

THEN SHE WAS GONE had an undercurrent of doom and sinister things lurking. The sinister thing seemed to be the tie to all of the heartache the characters were experiencing both present and past.

THEN SHE WAS GONE kept my interest, but I can’t say it was a thriller until the past was coming into the picture and the book went back in time to tell us the story of how Ellie went missing. It was more of a study of personalities and families as well as lies.

If you enjoy a turn-around, revealing ending with a few creepy characters, you will enjoy THEN SHE WAS GONE. 4/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher and NetGalley in return for an honest review.

After Anna by Lisa Scottoline

Anna, Anna, Anna…she finally has come home to her mother, but what should have been a joyous occasion after 17 years turns into a nightmare.

Anna and Maggie were apart for seventeen years.  Maggie’s husband falsely accused her of abusing their infant daughter and took her away.  Anna connected with her mother after her father was killed in a plane crash.

Maggie had remarried and lived with her loving husband, Dr. Noah Alderman.  Everyone accepted Anna into the family even though Anna balked at their rules.

We go back and forth in time as we follow the trial that has Dr. Alderman fighting for his freedom, and we are taken back to the days BEFORE Anna’s return and DURING Anna’s return home to her mother after seventeen years.

Anna had her mother believing everything she told her whether it was true or not, and Maggie was not believing anything her husband said about Anna.

I didn’t like Anna the moment I met her.  Something just told me she was manipulative, cunning, and evil.

Ms. Scottoline has written another fantastic thriller filled with tension that will keep you on the edge of your seat along with characters that you will not like and some that you will want to tell to wake up and see what really is going on.

Everything was PERFECT until Anna arrived.

Do NOT miss reading this book. 5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

The New Neighbors by Simon Lelic

Moving into a house they never thought they would get.

Moving into a house with all the previous owner’s things left inside.

Moving into a house and finding things that should not be there and hearing things.

Syd and Jack were excited to move into the house they actually got for a bargain, but things they didn’t bargain for happened.

The neighbors were a bit odd as well.

THE NEW NEIGHBORS was difficult to connect with for me because of the writing style of the author. It was confusing when the chapters went from one character to one situation with hardly any connection for me.

There are many characters and many stories going on but it always comes back to that house and Syd and Jack bought.  Even Syd’s mother sees something in the house that made her upset when she stopped for the first time.

There also were some things that I wasn’t comfortable with like drug use and mental abuse, but I continued to read because I had to find out what the story was with the house.

THE NEW NEIGHBORS had many broken, hurt characters that all stemmed back to their childhood and to one person.  Could it be more than one person causing all the grief?

This book is definitely a psychological fest.  It plays on your mind just like the author has others play on the minds of the characters and storyline. 

Everything doesn’t seem to be what it appears to be.  

If you enjoy characters that are secretly twisted and a storyline that keeps you wondering, watching, and waiting, THE NEW NEIGHBORS is for you.

It is difficult to rate this book because it held my interest, but it also was frustrating.  3.5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by NetGalley in return for an honest review.

A Matter Of Chance by Julie Maloney

Had the kidnapping of Vinni actually been planned? Were Rudy and Hilda watching and planning each time Maddy and Vinni were at the beach?

Maddy couldn’t stop blaming herself for Vinni’s disappearance.  Why didn’t she have her cell phone with her instead of having to run back to the house to call the ambulance for Rudy.  Was his accident really an accident or had Hilda planned that on her own too?

We follow the police investigation as well as Maddy’s own investigation and share Maddy’s pain as she mourns the disappearance A MATTER OF CHANCE has beautiful, detailed writing and a smooth, pull-you-in story line.  You won’t want to stop reading because of the engaging situations.

Mystery fans as well as suspense fans will enjoy A MATTER OF CHANCE.
There are a few sensitive topics addressed, but this book is a marvelous, moving read that will fill you with terror as well as love.  5/5
This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the author in return for an honest review.


The Other Mother by Carol Goodman

 Should she really have done what she did?  That seemed to be the only way to keep her baby.

Daphne married, had a baby, and had Postpartum symptoms that caused her to not be happy and have thoughts of harming the baby.  

Daphne attended classes and met a friend, Laurel, in the class whose baby had the same name as her baby, and they became friends.

Their friendship was odd, though, because Laurel would tell stories about things that happened to Daphne and make them her own.

Her husband was supportive to a point, but then Daphne was worried he would take the baby away from her because he didn’t think she was capable of taking care of their child.  

Daphne had a plan where she decided pretending to be someone else to get a job would be the only way out, but was it really?

She took on the identity of her friend Laurel, met Sky and Billie, and lived in a tower on the grounds of an insane asylum to help Sky write her memoir.

The job’s location was not the best place to be with her paranoia and the history of the mansion.  Odd things would happen and strange sounds would occur that had Daphne second guessing her leaving. How Billie took over the caregiving of her daughter to the point of obsession was very strange.

THE OTHER MOTHER is not something I normally read.  It actually was a bit bizarre, dark, and tense for me, but the twists and turns in the storyline and the pull-you-in writing kept me reading.

I always felt something sinister was about to happen, and was kept on edge and feared for Daphne.

There are many sneaky, conniving, untrustworthy, deceitful characters in THE OTHER MOTHER.

I would not recommend this book to women who have just had a baby and who might be having a difficult time.

This book also addresses suicide and Borderline Personality Disorder.

This DEFINITELY is a psychological thriller that at first had me second guessing why I was reading it, but then it all came together. 

THE OTHER MOTHER had a pretty clever and brilliant storyline.

As you near the last pages of the book you will still be asking yourself “Just who is the other mother” and “Is anyone who they say they are?” 4/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

Not That I Could Tell by Jessica Strawser

Women enjoying a care-free night, a night that turned into telling too many personal things, and then a morning that turned out badly.

The women of Yellow Springs and their specific neighborhood were all busy with work and children and enjoyed spending time with each other, but did they really know each other?

They all questioned themselves the morning that Kristin was found missing along with her twins, her mother’s china, and a million dollars.

Her estranged husband moved right into the house and kept a vigil as he waited along with the neighborhood.  Did he have anything to hide, was he the reason for Kristin’s leaving, or did she leave for her own reasons?

The police questioned everyone in the neighborhood and school.  Meanwhile two of the neighbors had some problems of their own. Clara had something in her past that still haunted her, and Izzy had her sister’s husband as her problem.

We follow along as the police and the community try to figure out what would have made Kristin leave, where she is, and is she safe?

Each chapter was headed with statements that left obscure clues but clues that kept you guessing who the unidentified character was and what they had to do with the situation.

NOT THAT I COULD TELL moved smoothly along with enough hints at what may have happened, that you felt for the characters and wanted to be there to join in the investigation and in their lives.

NOT THAT I COULD TELL was an intriguing, tension-filled mystery that increased in intensity as the secrets and surprises were revealed along with other underlying themes.

If you enjoy guessing and wondering, you will enjoy Jessica Strawser’s newest book. 4/5

This advanced reader copy was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher and NetGalley.  All opinions are my own.

The Broken Girls by Simone St. James

Idelwild Hall being renovated but not being made public? Did the mysterious woman and her son that were doing the renovation know something no one else knew?

One good thing about the renovation was that it meant Fiona would be able to get inside the school grounds where her sister was found dead on the football field twenty years ago.

Fiona still had questions about her sister’s death, and this would be the perfect time to investigate.

THE BROKEN GIRLS moves from 1950 when we meet the four main characters and then back again to present day with Fiona using her journalist’s skills to write a story and find more clues to what happened at the school.  It looked like more than what the public knew.

During her investigation, Fiona finds something else that happened that was kept from the public.  

Fiona’s investigation heats up when she finds a teacher who was at Idelwild Hall during its hey day.  The teacher let Fiona know that no one liked being there – students and teachers alike. 

There was something at the school that was sinister and something that everyone wanted to keep quiet or perhaps something they didn’t know about but kept the students and teachers on edge.

You won’t want to put THE BROKEN GIRLS down. 

THE BROKEN GIRLS has lots of secrets, along with ghosts, mean girls, and a school that was for unwanted girls for a reason.

This was my first book by Ms. St. James.  Her writing is mesmerizing, detailed, and draws you in so well that you feel as if you are right there with the characters and the drama.

Murders, an old boarding school, corruption, and an awesome story line await the reader.  And…how about that cover?  A great indication of what is inside.  
ENJOY when you read THE BROKEN GIRLS during daylight hours.  LOVED the book.  5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher and NetGalley in return for an honest review.