Lock Every Door by Riley Sager

41837243. sy475 Lock Every Door by Riley Sager

Published July 2nd 2019 by Dutton

384 Pages

Goodreads Summary: 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, disturbingly 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 dark past and into the secrets kept within its walls. Her discovery that Ingrid is not the first apartment sitter to go missing at the Bartholomew 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.

Review: This is my first book by Riley Sager and after seeing all of the hype about the first two books he wrote, I was equal parts nervous and excited to get a review copy of Lock Every Door. I love mysteries so that won out in the end and I gave it a shot. The synopsis totally hooked me too.

Jules has had a rough life. First, her sister disappears without a trace. Then a couple years later, her parents pass away and she is left all alone in the world with a mountain of debt. Then she catches her live-in boyfriend cheating on her the same day she loses her job…. Talk about a tough break. So when she finds an ad for an apartment sitter in Manhattan, she jumps on the chance and finds herself interviewing at a building she never in a million years would have dreamed she would have the opportunity to live in. A book she grew up reading with her sister took place in this very building. Her first day there isn’t even over before things start to get a little weird. There are all of these weird rules including that they are not allowed to have visitors or spend a night outside of the apartment. She meets another apartment sitter named Ingrid and they make a plan to meet up every day to make the time go faster and get out of the building. That plan very quickly falls apart.

This book was very well written. I was gripped by the story and the characters. I really connected with Jules and empathized with her situation. The more the story goes on, the more twists there are. Once you think you have an idea of what is happening, something else happens that throws all your ideas out the window. The action continually builds until the last few chapters when things explode. I was really surprised by the big reveal. I will most definitely be reading Riley Sager’s other books, both past and future.

5 Stars

I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Soul of the Sword by Julie Kagawa

41733208. sy475 Soul of the Sword by Julie Kagawa (Shadow of the Fox #2)

Published June 25th 2019 by Inkyard Press

304 Pages

Goodreads Summary: One thousand years ago, a wish was made to the Harbinger of Change and a sword of rage and lightning was forged. Kamigoroshi. The Godslayer. It had one task: to seal away the powerful demon Hakaimono.

Now he has broken free.

Kitsune shapeshifter Yumeko has one task: to take her piece of the ancient and powerful scroll to the Steel Feather temple in order to prevent the summoning of the Harbinger of Change, the great Kami Dragon who will grant one wish to whomever holds the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers. But she has a new enemy now. The demon Hakaimono, who for centuries was trapped in a cursed sword, has escaped and possessed the boy she thought would protect her, Kage Tatsumi of the Shadow Clan.

Hakaimono has done the unthinkable and joined forces with the Master of Demons in order to break the curse of the sword and set himself free. To overthrow the empire and cover the land in darkness, they need one thing: the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers. As the paths of Yumeko and the possessed Tatsumi cross once again, the entire empire will be thrown into chaos.

Review: Last year when I read Shadow of the Fox, I was blown away. It was such a great, original fantasy and I loved all of the Japanese folklore and myths that Julie Kagawa tied in. So when I got a review copy of the sequel, Soul of the Sword, I was ecstatic.

Beware going forward if you haven’t read Shadow of the Fox. This is a review for book 2 so there will be some spoilers from the first book because that’s pretty unavoidable.

This was such a great sequel! There was so much action and adventure that picked up right where Shadow of the Fox left off. I was so nervous to see what was going to happen with Tatsumi after he was possessed completely by the evil Hakaimono. It was so nerve wracking following Tatsumi/Hakaimono traverse the countryside wreaking havoc in his effort to free Hakaimono from the curse of the sword altogether.

One thing that surprised me, in a good way, was how close Okame and Daisuke were becoming. There were some definite vibes going on between the ronin and the samurai that had me totally shipping them 100%.

I couldn’t believe the ending! It was so incredibly intense! I really can’t wait for the next book and it’s going to be really hard waiting an entire year for it. This series has it all. Humor, action, adventure, romance, you name it. If you haven’t read book one yet, I highly suggest you check it out.

5 Stars

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

 

Mrs. Everything by Jennifer Weiner

41592780Mrs. Everything by Jennifer Weiner

Published June 11, 2019 by Atria Books

416 Pages

Goodreads Summary: From Jennifer Weiner, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Who Do You Love and In Her Shoes, comes a smart, thoughtful, and timely exploration of two sisters’ lives from the 1950s to the present as they struggle to find their places—and be true to themselves—in a rapidly evolving world. Mrs. Everything is an ambitious, richly textured journey through history—and herstory—as these two sisters navigate a changing America over the course of their lives.

Do we change or does the world change us?

Jo and Bethie Kaufman were born into a world full of promise.

Growing up in 1950s Detroit, they live in a perfect “Dick and Jane” house, where their roles in the family are clearly defined. Jo is the tomboy, the bookish rebel with a passion to make the world more fair; Bethie is the pretty, feminine good girl, a would-be star who enjoys the power her beauty confers and dreams of a traditional life.

But the truth ends up looking different from what the girls imagined. Jo and Bethie survive traumas and tragedies. As their lives unfold against the background of free love and Vietnam, Woodstock and women’s lib, Bethie becomes an adventure-loving wild child who dives headlong into the counterculture and is up for anything (except settling down). Meanwhile, Jo becomes a proper young mother in Connecticut, a witness to the changing world instead of a participant. Neither woman inhabits the world she dreams of, nor has a life that feels authentic or brings her joy. Is it too late for the women to finally stake a claim on happily ever after?

In her most ambitious novel yet, Jennifer Weiner tells a story of two sisters who, with their different dreams and different paths, offer answers to the question: How should a woman be in the world?

Review: I had never read a book by Jennifer Weiner before this but knew that she is a pretty popular author so I was pretty excited that the publisher asked me to review this one. The characters of Jo and Bethie felt like they were written in a way to represent all women. Each of them face individual struggles that break your heart as you read them. Jo isn’t your typical teenage girl. She has a secret that she is terrified of it getting out. But she also wants to be able to live the life she wants without people treating her differently. Bethie becomes a victim of abuse from a family member who should have been there to protect her. As both sisters grow up and experience various hardships, their biggest challenge is realizing who they are and figuring out what they want out of life. Are they going to settle for what’s easy or are they going to work for the life they want? Reading their journey, both individually and together as sisters, was really moving. One thing about this book that really impressed me was the whole scope of the book. The author managed to fit in so many issues including race, religion, and sexual assault. The characters participate in everything from the civil rights movement as Jo actively participates in weekly demonstrations for equality, all the way up to the current #metoo movement. The book spans several decades so there were times when it seemed to drag on a little too long but overall I really enjoyed this book. This story will stick with me for awhile.

4 Stars

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

We Were Killers Once by Becky Masterman

42301106We Were Killers Once by Becky Masterman (Brigid Quinn #4)

Published June 4th 2019 by Minotaur Books

320 Pages

Goodreads Summary: Retired FBI agent Brigid Quinn returns in Becky Masterman’s fourth stunning thriller

In 1959, a family of four were brutally murdered in Holcomb, Kansas. Perry Smith and Dick Hickok were convicted and executed for the crime, and the murders and their investigation and solution became the subject of Truman Capote’s masterpiece, IN COLD BLOOD. But what if there was a third killer, who remained unknown? What if there was another family, also murdered, who crossed paths with this band of killers, though their murder remains unsolved? And what if Dick Hickok left a written confession, explaining everything?

Retired FBI agent Brigid Quinn and her husband Carlo, a former priest and university professor, are trying to enjoy each other in this new stage in their lives. But a memento from Carlo’s days as a prison chaplain–a handwritten document hidden away undetected in a box of Carlo’s old things–has become a target for a man on the run from his past. Jerry Beaufort has just been released from prison after decades behind bars, and though he’d like to get on with living the rest of his life, he knows that somewhere there is a written record of the time he spent with two killers in 1959. Following the path of this letter will bring Jerry into contact with the last person he’ll see as a threat: Brigid Quinn.

Review: I was browsing NetGalley for some books to request and the cover of this one really caught my eye. When I read the synopsis and found out it is connected with In Cold Blood by Truman Capote and the real life killers behind it, I knew I had to get it. I didn’t realize until I added the book to my Goodreads that it was the 4th book in a series but I really don’t think that you need to have read the first three books. I never felt lost at all. When previous events were mentioned, the author provided enough information that I felt like I knew what I needed to.

The book alternates between Brigid’s point of view and an ex-con named Jeremiah Beaufort. At first I couldn’t really see where the story would bring the two of them together but as it began to unfold, I could tell that it was going to be a very interesting confrontation. Jerry was written so well. I was thoroughly creeped out by him and dumbfounded how someone could be the way he was. Brigid seemed like a really spunky badass, pretty much exactly how I imagined a retired FBI agent would be. The tie-in with In Cold Blood is completely fictional BUT imagine if it wasn’t… What if one of the most well-known crimes in US history didn’t exactly happen the way everyone thought after all these years… That’s what I really loved about this book. Everything got so intense towards the end! If you enjoy thrillers with a little splash of true crime, I definitely recommend you check this book out!

4 Stars

I received an advanced copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

The Ash Family by Molly Dektar

41573546The Ash Family by Molly Dektar

Expected publication: April 9th 2019 by Simon & Schuster

352 Pages

Goodreads Summary: When a young woman leaves her family—and the civilized world—to join an off-the-grid community headed by an enigmatic leader, she discovers that belonging comes with a deadly cost, in this lush and searing debut novel.

At nineteen, Berie encounters a seductive and mysterious man at a bus station near her home in North Carolina. Shut off from the people around her, she finds herself compelled by his promise of a new life. He ferries her into a place of order and chaos: the Ash Family farm. There, she joins an intentional community living off the fertile land of the mountains, bound together by high ideals and through relationships she can’t untangle. Berie—now renamed Harmony—renounces her old life and settles into her new one on the farm. She begins to make friends. And then they start to disappear.

Thrilling and profound, The Ash Family explores what we will sacrifice in the search for happiness, and the beautiful and grotesque power of the human spirit as it seeks its ultimate place of belonging.

Review: Okay, let’s try this again. Long story short, I had a nice, long review ready for this and WordPress deleted it.

I must admit that during the first 25% of this book, I contemplated putting it down and DNFing it. I normally find these types of scenarios fascinating but for some reason I just did not click with this main character, Berie. I felt like she was overly naïve and a bit stupid if I’m being perfectly honest. Who in their right mind would go off with a random guy they met at a bus stop to join his off-the-grid commune in the mountains?! Especially considering the way this guy is described. He sounds super dirty, and a bit slimy. At one point, it was described in detail that his pants are basically water proof because they are never washed and are incredibly grimy. And his feet smell like vinegar. Yeah… no thanks. And yet, Berie seems to idolize him and almost falls in love with him at first sight.

When Berie arrives on the farm, she is told not to talk about the past… the “fake world” as they call it. Everyone has left their “fake world” name behind and have been given a new name by the man who created this family, Dice. Everyone works for the good of the family. Berie, now called Harmony, is put in charge of taking care of the sheep. She tries to gain the trust of both Bay and Dice so she can go on one of their protests. So many crazy things happen that make you really wonder why anybody agreed to live there. Everyone shares everything. Clothes, beds, partners, etc. No couples. No children. No leaving unless given a task or permission.

I was bit underwhelmed by the ending. Shit hits the fan but then it seems to end just as quickly as it began. I felt like the ending could have been drawn out a little more but I don’t want to say how because that would give it away. Overall, I’m kind of in the middle on this book. I didn’t not like it, but I also didn’t really like it. If you are interested in cults and commune type scenarios you might be interested in reading this book.

3 Stars

I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.