Book Review: Watch Me Disappear (Janelle Brown) @janelleb @randomhouse

Screen Shot 2017-07-20 at 10.19.30 AM.pngI have never read a Janelle Brown book before but I am always eager to try a new author; so, when #cjsreads chose Watch Me Disappear for one of our July titles, I was pumped.

The book opens just about a year after Olive’s mother, Billie, has gone missing during a hiking trip.  Now presumed dead, Olive’s father, Jonathan, is in a legal battle in order to declare Billie dead and Olive is trying to get her life back in order.  However, Olive begins to see her mother.  First thinking it is a hallucination and then wondering if it is a sign, Olive shares her experiences with her father and they both, in their own way, begin to dig into Billie’s life.  While looking for the truth, secrets come to light, leaving both reeling.

My first thought once I finished reading was that this book was not marketed correctly; I didn’t find this one fit into the mystery/thriller genre.  I would have deemed it contemporary fiction.    Going in, I was expecting a fast paced, psychological type thriller and instead, I found this to be more of a slower read.  Even with this, I did feel like it was actually paced quite well.   Brown is able to string her reader along and keep them captivated.  I found myself completely engrossed with the actual plot.

Narrated through alternating perspectives by Jonathan and Olive, Brown weaves a tale of deception and grief.  I was captivated throughout the chapters; especially interested in the chapters highlighting Jonathan’s novel (he is writing a memoir about the time spent with his wife) and his struggle for answers.

The book has a very strong, sort of metaphysical aspect that I thought was really interesting.  Throughout, it remains very unclear whether or not Olive is truly experiencing something more parapsychological or if she is truly working through the grieving process.    I really like the ambiguity of this fact and it propelled me to continue reading.

My one real issue with the text was the characters themselves.  I didn’t feel particularly attached to anyone.  It could have gone either way for me; Billie could have been alive, she could have been dead.  It really made no difference to me.  I wish the author had spent more time developing the character relationships so I could have been more invested.

Another bone I have to pick with this book regards the ending.  I was SO MAD when I read the final pages.  As soon as I finished I sent a caps locked rage filled e-mail off to everyone I knew had read the book.  I was RILED up.

Regardless of my general feelings about the end, I felt like this was a stellar read.   I think that readers who enjoy a family drama or a piece of contemporary fiction will devour this one.  However, if you are looking for a fast paced thrill ride, you would be disappointed.  I gave this one a 3.5/5 stars.

Thanks to the author and the publisher for a copy of this book; it was my pleasure to provide an honest review.

Keep reading to see what Chandra and Jessica had to say about Watch Me Disappear!

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Book Review: Devil’s Call (J. Danielle Dorn) @Inkshares @jdanielledorn

Screen Shot 2017-07-19 at 2.07.21 PM.pngI am going to open this review by being brutally honest.

When I received this book for our July #cjsreads titles, I almost added it automatically to my DNF pile. I don’t do Westerns and I don’t (usually) read historical fiction, let alone fantastical historical fiction; this book was set in the iconic American frontier on the eve of the Civil War and had to do with witches.   However, I decided to read the first chapter (to say that I tried) and, I must say, shame on me for judging this book!

Devil’s Call by J. Danielle Dorn ended up surprising me!

From the first few pages, I was hooked as I followed Li Lian, a woman in a long line of witches who goes on to avenge her husband’s murder. Dorn brilliantly drew me in with the narrative style (told sort of diary style by our protagonist) and held on to me tight! I found this one incredibly entertaining.

I do think that this title was slightly mismarketed as a horror novel; I didn’t find anything about this one particularly scary. It really was more like occult fiction. Also, do not be thrown off by the Western aspect of this novel, I promise it is not overwhelming or distracting.

Overall, this novel surprised me greatly and that is not easy to do when you read as much as I do! I give this one 3.5/5 stars.

Thanks to the author and the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book; it was my pleasure to provide an honest review.

Keep reading to see what Jessica and Chandra thought of Devil’s Call.

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Book Review: The Breakdown (B.A Paris)

The Breakdown.pngThis appears to the year for the highly anticipated follow up novel; with Paula Hawkins second novel, Into the Water, releasing back in May and Fiona Barton’s The Child out in July, the next on my list was The Breakdown, the second novel from Behind Closed Doors author, B.A Paris.

The Breakdown follows a woman, Cass, who comes in contact with a woman who ends up murdered hours later; overcome with guilt, she cannot stop wondering what would have happened if she stopped and pulled over to help. Since that day, things seem to be falling apart, first, she is forgetting small things and next thing she knows packages are showing up at the door that she doesn’t remember ordering.   As things begin to unravel and the only thing she can seem to remember is the woman she didn’t save, Cass cannot help but wondering who can she trust, if she cannot trust herself….

This novel gave me some mixed feelings.

Initially, I did find that this one was slow to get into, predictable and incredibly redundant.  The first 30% of the book is the guilt about seeing the woman the night she was murdered and struggling with the fact that she didn’t do anything to save her.  The next 40% of the novel is Cass struggling to remember things and dealing with, what she thinks, is early, onset dementia.  Although Paris is consistent in her narrative, I wanted to tell Cass to pull it together!!  I didn’t find her incredibly likeable.

I did find the last 20% of the novel was a breeze to read; fast paced and twisty, as the plot unfolded I was completely sucked in and dying to know what the outcome would be.   Although I predicted a majority of the plot, I was impressed that Paris has a few tricks up her sleeve and in the end,  I ended up having a few things thrown at me that threw me for a loop!

This one read a bit to me like The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins meets Before I Go to Sleep by S.J Watson; a narrator who is struggling and unreliable, yet you feel for them and are unsure if they are on your side.   So, if you are a fan of domestic thrillers with an unreliable narrator, you’ll be interested in this read.

I gave it 3/5 stars.

Thanks to the publisher, the author and Netgalley for a digital copy of this novel; it was my pleasure to provide an honest review.

This one was a #cjsreads pick for July; keep reading to see what Chandra and Jessica thought about this one.

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #imwayr

Screen Shot 2017-01-04 at 5.43.21 PMIt’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a weekly post to share what you recently finished reading, what you’re currently reading, and what you plan on reading this week.

It’s hosted by Kathryn at Bookdate.

Last week was incredibly busy on Clues and Reviews.  I managed to read seven titles over the past week and have been working to organize my TBR pile.  I also made an exciting announcement with Chelsea over at The Suspense Is Thrilling Me about our online book club!  If you missed it, check it out HERE!  We are so excited and are hoping that as many people as possible are able to participate!

This week, I also hit my Goodreads Reading Challenge goal!  I have read 202 books so far this year which surpassed my goal of 200 books!

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Keep reading to see what I read last week, what I am reading now and what I plan on reading.

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Blog Tour: Reported Missing (Sarah Wray) @bookouture

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Happy Sunday and welcome to my stop on the Reported Missing blog tour!!   Coming at you today with a review!

Rebecca’s world is rocked when her husband goes missing on the exact day a fourteen-year-old girl cannot be found. Coincidence?   Rebecca desperately would like to think so. As the police begin an investigation and as the people she knows begins to turn against her, Rebecca digs into her husband’s world to try and find the truth. Did Rebecca truly know the man she loved?

Reported Missing, the newest Bookouture thriller by Sarah Wray, had an amazing premise. A husband going missing at the same time as a young girl; I was catapulted right into the story and instantly began to come up with several of my own theories. I love when a book does that!   This one sort of reminded me of Gone Without A Trace by Mary Tourjussen; it had a similar vibe.
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Book Review: The Secrets She Keeps (Michael Robotham) @michaelrobotham @ScribnerBooks

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I was incredibly excited when #cjsreads decided to make The Secrets She Keeps by Michael Robotham a July pick; I had heard nothing but amazing things about this novel.  Now that I have finished reading it for myself, I’d have to agree.  This book is worth all the hype.

Agatha, eight months pregnant, lives her mundane life admiring Meghan, one of the mums she sees out and about.  Meghan has it all: a baby on the way, two other adorable children, a loving husband, a beautiful house and a blog that Agatha reads each night.  Both women, due around the same time, have their own web of dark secrets and when Agatha finally musters enough courage to speak to Meghan, it sets into motion a series of events that cannot be undone.

Told between alternating perspectives between two pregnant women (Agatha and Meghan), Robotham weaves a tale of deception, desperation and desire.

Initially, I felt as if this book was going to read like a thousand others I had read before.  I wasn’t 100% sure where the author was going to go with the story but I knew it had a similar dark vibe from some others I had read recently (for example, like Watching Edie).  However, after the first few chapters, I knew this would be completely different and, needless to say, I was hooked.   Fast paced plot with complex characters had me racing through the chapters.   I, in part, was turning the pages faster and faster because I wanted to see what would happen and the other part of me needed to take frequent breaks because the pages were becoming too intense!

Overall, if you like a psychological thriller that is INTENSE and will keep you turning the pages late into the night, then you will want to read The Secrets She Keeps.  I have read almost 200 books this year and this one is at the top.

Thanks to the author and publisher for a copy of this novel; it was my pleasure to provide an honest review.

As mentioned, this one was a #cjsreads pick for July!  So, keep reading to see what Chandra and Jessica thought of The Secrets She Keeps.

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Exciting Announcement! @suspensethrill

Screen Shot 2017-01-04 at 5.43.21 PMComing at you today with an exciting announcement!

Chelsea from The Suspense Is Thrilling Me and I have decided to collaborate and start a sort of online book club called Suspenseful Clues and Thrilling Reviews!

If you follow us both, our blogs and taste in books are very similar, so we felt it was only natural to form a feature where we could come together and work on initiating the dialogue that we felt was lacking in many of our posts these days.

Our hope is to pick one book per month to feature as our book club’s choice; the idea is to announce it a couple of weeks before we start. Ex. We are announcing our pick for August in mid-July to give folks enough time to secure and read the book. We will then post our discussion questions in August, Chelsea and I will ramble on with our thoughts and we will leave the discussion open for anyone to join in once they have read the book. 

We are still working out the details but are also hoping to offer some sort of giveaway each month for those who participate as well!

Without further ado, here’s our choice for AUGUST:

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