Then She Vanishes by Claire Douglas

I’m back into reading more twisty thrillers, and this is said to be one of the best!

Thank you Harper books for my gifted copy in exchange for my honest review.

Synopsis: On a summer’s night in 1994, sixteen-year-old Flora Powell vanished from her sleepy seaside town without a trace. Their hearts shattered, Flora’s mother, her sister Heather, and Heather’s best friend Jess had to somehow carry on not knowing what happened. Twenty-five years later, tragedy strikes again when Heather walks into a stranger’s house and allegedly kills two people in cold blood. Why would this loving wife and doting new mother commit such a heinous crime? Jess, now a reporter, returns to the hometown she left behind to cover the case and dig for answers. But this isn’t like any other story. Jess was like a sister to the Powell girls, until the summer that tore them all apart. What happened to the girl she used to know? The question haunts Jess and propels her to find the key that may unlock the mysteries involving both sisters. But the search may reveal more . . . a darker side to this idyllic place she thought she knew.

This is actually a re-publishing of this novel. The original publishing date was back in 2019, so if this sounds familiar to you, you may have read it before! This is one of those fun novels where little clues are left throughout to have you feeling like a real detective, trying to guess the twist in the end. This is another multiple point-of-view novel which isn’t always my favorite, but this is really well done. The ending especially made it totally worth it. This was a really fun summer thriller that you won’t want to pass up before summer ends!

4/5 Stars

The Guilt Trip by Sandie Jones

Ah, Sandie Jones. She’s a go-to author of mine that I never want to miss! I’m excited to share her latest novel releasing today!

Thank you Minotaur Books for my gifted copy in exchange for my honest review.

Synopsis: Six friends. Rachel and Noah have been friends since they met at university. While they once thought that they might be something more, now, twenty years later, they are each happily married to other people, Jack and Paige respectively. Jack’s brother Will is getting married, to the dazzling, impulsive Ali, and the group of six travel to Portugal for their destination weekend. Three couples. As they arrive at a gorgeous villa perched on a cliff-edge, overlooking towering waves that crash on the famous surfing beaches below at Nazaré, they try to settle into a weekend of fun. While Rachel is looking forward to getting to know her future sister-in-law Ali better, Ali can’t help but rub many of the group up the wrong way: Rachel’s best friend Paige thinks Ali is attention-seeking and childish, and while Jack is trying to support his brother Will’s choice of wife, he is also finding plenty to disagree with Noah about. One fatal misunderstanding . . . But when Rachel discovers something about Ali that she can hardly believe, everything changes. As the wedding weekend unfolds, the secrets each of them hold begin to spill, and friendships and marriages threaten to unravel. Soon, jumping to conclusions becomes the difference between life and death.

Okay, so maybe this wasn’t my favorite book of hers. That’s alright! I think the problem for this book was that it was really similar to her style of her previous novels. I was hoping for something a little more dramatic and something that would stand out a bit more. The characters were unlikable for me and there was too much conversation going on between them that I really could care less about. It was a middle-of-the-line thriller for me. Not bad, but not one I would read again or jump to recommend to others.

3/5 Stars

Where The Truth Lies by Anna Bailey

All right you guys, this is one of those books that has been talked about in the book world for a few months now. It comes as a highly anticipated debut from this author and is available today! Let’s check it out.

Thank you Atria books for my gifted copy in exchange for my honest review.

Synopsis: The town of Whistling Ridge guards its secrets. When seventeen-year-old Abigail goes missing, her best friend Emma, compelled by the guilt of leaving her alone at a party in the woods, sets out to discover the truth about what happened. The police initially believe Abi ran away, but Emma doesn’t believe that her friend would leave without her, and when officers find disturbing evidence in the nearby woods, the festering secrets and longstanding resentment of both Abigail’s family and the people of Whistling Ridge, Colorado begin to surface with devastating consequences. Among those secrets: Abi’s older brother Noah’s passionate, dangerous love for the handsome Rat, a recently arrived Romanian immigrant who has recently made his home in the trailer park in town; her younger brother Jude’s feeling that he knows information he should tell the police, if only he could put it into words; Abi’s father’s mercurial, unpredictable rages and her mother’s silence. Then there is the rest of Whistling Ridge, where a charismatic preacher advocates for God’s love in language that mirrors violence, under the sway of the powerful businessman who rules the town, insular and wary of outsiders. But Abi had secrets, too, and the closer Emma grows to unraveling the past, the farther she feels from her friend. And in a tinder box of small-town rage, and all it will take is just one spark—the truth of what really happened that night—to change their community forever. 

This is another multiple point-of-view novel taken place in different times. Not my favorite type of style thriller to read, but more and more authors are doing it so I have to bite the bullet and read on. With that in mind, it was fairly well done despite a few hiccups where I had to backtrack to pay attention to what timeline I was reading about. This was a really unique mystery which I appreciate having read a lot on my own. It started off as a typical mystery novel, and really turned into something a whole lot more intriguing. The writing was really well done for a debut author as well. I enjoyed reading this small town vibes during the summer months and highly recommend this one.

4/5 Stars

The Stranger In The Mirror by Liv Constantine

Pretty much anything by Liv Constantine is an automatic must-read for me. These ladies never disappoint me!

Thank you Harper for my gifted copy in exchange for my honest review.

Synopsis: Addison’s about to get married, but she’s not looking forward to the big day. It’s not her fiancé; he’s a wonderful man. It’s because Addison doesn’t know who she really is. A few years ago, a kind driver found her bleeding next to a New Jersey highway and rescued her. While her physical wounds healed, Addison’s memory never returned. She doesn’t know her real name. Or how she ended up injured on the side of a road. Or why she can’t shake the notion that she may have done something very, very bad . . .In a posh home in the Boston suburbs, Julian tries to figure out what happened to his loving, caring wife, Cassandra, who disappeared without a trace two years ago. She would never have left him and their seven-year-old daughter Valentina of her own free will—or would she?

And again, another read that surely does not disappoint! This may, in fact, be one of my favorite books by them! This is a fast-pace, nail-biting thriller that you can’t help but read in one sitting. The chapters are short and leave you begging for more. There isn’t much I want to give away on this one because the twists are so good, you don’t want to expect anything!

5/5 Stars

The Other Passenger by Louise Candlish

My first book by Louise was Our House. That was a few years ago, and I STILL think about this book ’til this day. I think about it quite often in fact! Something about her writing just engulfs my brain.

Thank you Atria Books for my gifted copy in exchange for my honest review.

Synopsis: You’re feeling pretty smug about your commute to work by riverboat. No more traffic gridlock or getting stuck on the tube in tunnels (you’re claustrophobic); now you’ve got an iconic Thames view, fresh air ?— a whole lifestyle upgrade. You’ve made new friends onboard — led by your hedonistic young neighbor, Kit ?— and just had your first ‘water rats’ Christmas drinks. But the first day back after Christmas, Kit isn’t on the morning boat. The river landmarks are all the same, but something’s off. You disembark to find the police waiting. Kit’s wife, Melia, has reported him missing and another passenger witnessed the two of you arguing on the last boat home after your drinks. Police say you had a reason to lash out at him. To kill him. You protest. You and Kit are friends ?— ask Melia, she’ll vouch for you. And who exactly is this other passenger pointing the finger? What do they know about your private lives? No, whatever coincidences might have occurred that night, you are innocent, totally innocent. Aren’t you? 

And now I have another book to be thinking on for years to come. This was a hit for me! I think what’s so great about her books, and especially this one, is that she does such a great job throwing you right into the story. I felt like I was right on the riverboat myself! The twist in the end caught me off guard, and I actually enjoyed learning about what happened months after that! Another awesome story.

5/5 Stars

For Your Own Good by Samantha Downing

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I’m a sucker for books about teachers, especially thrillers and especially if they’re by Samantha Downing! I’ve been so excited to read this novel!

Thank you Berkley for my gifted ebook in exchange for my honest review.

Synopsis: Teddy Crutcher has won Teacher of the Year at the esteemed Belmont Academy, home to the best and brightest. He says his wife couldn’t be more proud—though no one has seen her in a while. Teddy really can’t be bothered with the death of a school parent that’s looking more and more like murder or the student digging a little too deep into Teddy’s personal life. His main focus is on pushing these kids to their full academic potential. All he wants is for his colleagues—and the endlessly meddlesome parents—to stay out of his way. It’s really too bad that sometimes excellence can come at such a high cost.

The wait to read this book was so worth it! What a stellar read! As a teacher myself, I thought Teddy was such a well developed character. This novel is told in multiple point of views, but so well done. I’m usually not a fan of that, but I can’t imagine this book written any other way. There are so many surprises throughout this book, I don’t want to give anymore away! Make sure to read this before you watch it on HBO Max (yes, it already has the TV rights it’s that good!)

5/5 Stars

Fierce Little Thing by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore

Are you burning alive where you live, or is it just me? This summer heat has me begging for fall, and what better way to get in the spirit than with a good thriller!

Thank you Flatiron Books for my gifted copy in exchange for my honest review.

Synopsis: Saskia was a damaged, lonely teenager when she arrived at the lakeside commune called Home. She was entranced by the tang of sourdough starter; the midnight call of the loons; the triumph of foraging wild mushrooms from the forest floor. But most of all she was taken with Abraham, Home’s charismatic leader, the North Star to Saskia and the four other teens who lived there, her best and only friends. Two decades later, Saskia is shuttered in her Connecticut estate, estranged from the others. Her carefully walled life is torn open by threatening letters. Unless she and her former friends return to the land in rural Maine, the terrible thing they did as teenagers—their last-ditch attempt to save Home—will be revealed. From vastly different lives, the five return to confront their blackmailer and reckon with the horror that split them apart. How far will they go to bury their secret forever?

This is a unique read as it’s written in both first and second person viewpoints. I’m not a huge fan of alternating point of views in books, and this was a tad hard to follow. The topic and premise of this book was unique and engaging, but I’ll warn that there is some intensity to it. It’s traumatizing for the characters which may be a bit triggering for some readers. Even though it’s an engaging read, it was a bit too slow for me. There were only a few times where I would fly through the read, but other times I wanted to skip past things. The twist at the end makes a lot of these things a worthwhile binge-y read for your summer list!

3/5 Stars

The Therapist by B.A. Paris

Paris is one of those must-buy authors for me. If you’ve read one of her previous novels before, which is your favorite?

Thank you St. Martin’s Press for my gifted copy in exchange for my honest review.

Synopsis: When Alice and Leo move into a newly renovated house in The Circle, a gated community of exclusive houses, it is everything they’ve dreamed of. But appearances can be deceptive…As Alice is getting to know her neighbors, she discovers a devastating secret about her new home, and begins to feel a strong connection with Nina, the therapist who lived there before. Alice becomes obsessed with trying to piece together what happened two years before. But no one wants to talk about it. Her neighbors are keeping secrets and things are not as perfect as they seem…

I loved this book way more than I thought I would! I have read a few therapist-type thrillers in the past and was afraid this would be similar to those. That wasn’t the case! This was a wild ride and had me at the edge of my seat the entire time. I even tried to figure out the ending of this, and was shocked at the twist. That, my friends, is a great thriller!

4.5/5 Stars

Kill All Your Darlings by David Bell

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Oh, David Bell…I am forever in debt to your amazing writing. So excited to be reading another book of yours this month!

Thank you Berkley for my gifted ebook in exchange for my honest review.

Synopsis: After years of struggling to write following the deaths of his wife and son, English professor Connor Nye publishes his first novel, a thriller about the murder of a young woman. There’s just one problem: Connor didn’t write the book. His missing student did. And then she appears on his doorstep, alive and well, threatening to expose him. Connor’s problems escalate when the police insist details in the novel implicate him in an unsolved murder from two years ago. Soon Connor discovers the crime is part of a disturbing scandal on campus and faces an impossible dilemma–admit he didn’t write the book and lose his job or keep up the lie and risk everything. When another murder occurs, Connor must clear his name by unraveling the horrifying secrets buried in his student’s manuscript.

Another phenomenal book by David. Honestly, he is definitely one of my top five favorite authors of all-time. He never ceases to fail! His stories always grip you right from page one. This book is no exception. If you are a fan of mysteries or suspense novels, don’t even hesitate on this read – pick it up ASAP! I can’t wait for his next thrilling tale!

5/5 Stars

Final Girls Support Group by Grady Hendrix

I’m not one for scary movies, but them premise of this book had me hooked from page one!

Thank you Berkley Publishing for my gifted ebook in exchange for my honest review.

Synopsis: In horror movies, the final girl is the one who’s left standing when the credits roll. The one who fought back, defeated the killer, and avenged her friends. The one who emerges bloodied but victorious. But after the sirens fade and the audience moves on, what happens to her? Lynnette Tarkington is a real-life final girl who survived a massacre twenty-two years ago, and it has defined every day of her life since. And she’s not alone. For more than a decade she’s been meeting with five other actual final girls and their therapist in a support group for those who survived the unthinkable, putting their lives back together, piece by piece. That is until one of the women misses a meeting and Lynnette’s worst fears are realized–someone knows about the group and is determined to take their lives apart again, piece by piece. But the thing about these final girls is that they have each other now, and no matter how bad the odds, how dark the night, how sharp the knife, they will never, ever give up.

Albeit a little more gory than I wanted it to be, but this book was awesome. I was biting my nails, hanging on the edge of my seat, from the very beginning. While it may be hard to relate to a “final girl”, these characters somehow are totally relatable! Their emotions and fears are so real, it gave me chills! Highly recommend this read! Just don’t stay up too late reading it 🙂

4/5 Stars