Book Review: Are You Sleeping (Kathleen Barber) @katelizabee @GalleryBooks

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Last night, I finished one of my favourite reads of the summer (so far!)

Are You Sleeping, by Kathleen Barber, was one of my most anticipated psychological thrillers for August and I had been reading rave reviews about this one all over the place. Now that I finished, I completely understand why. Fast paced and intricate, this one had me on the edge of my seat.

Josie and her boyfriend Caleb are living a blissful life in New York when a podcast, investigating a decade old murder case, begins to shatter everything.   Josie, the daughter of the victim, has spent most of her life trying to escape her family’s reputation and move past this tragedy (even going as far to changing her name) but old wounds are torn open rapidly as the podcast’s popularity increases and, soon, Jo finds herself back at home confronting her past. As Josie begins to question everything, she finds herself colliding with her twin sister Lanie, a girl whose sole testimony put a man in jail. Has Josie’s life been built on a lie? And can she move past them?
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Book Review: The Child (Fiona Barton)

The Child.pngThe Child, by Fiona Barton, is a book that is topping many people’s TBR lists for summer. After Barton’s hit, The Widow, which hit shelves last summer, people were demanding a follow-up. I, however, wasn’t a huge fan of The Widow (you can check out my review for that one here) but I figured I would give The Child a chance. Unfortunately, Barton’s sophomore novel didn’t really do much for me either.

In this novel, Kate Waters, the journalist from The Widow is back and in the pursuit of a new story when a baby’s skeleton is discovered buried in a construction site. Several women, including Kate, who is after the hard-hitting story, are affected by this finding. Angela, still reeling from the disappearance of her baby girl years earlier, would love answers and closure to what happened to her child. Emma, a woman holding several secrets from her past, is drawn to the case with morbid curiosity. Emma’s mother, Jude, is trying to repair her broken relationship with her daughter, but is finding that difficult.   As each of the women’s lives is disrupted a twisted maze of secrets are revealed.

So, it sounded okay but this novel moved at a snail’s pace.  I am talking slower than slow. Glacier speed. Molasses dripping. You get my drift?   The plot seemed so redundant and the characters were flat. I didn’t really feel like any of them had much development.   I didn’t find anything particularly suspenseful or thrilling.   It felt more like a family drama or contemporary women’s fiction.

Now don’t get me wrong, the last twenty pages or so of this novel were absolutely brilliant. I loved how Barton tied everything together and the final plot twist actually had me whispering, “well played!”

Was this book worth the read? I don’t really feel like it.

I would skip it. 2/5 stars.

Did you read this one? Is it on your most anticipated list?  I would love to hear your thoughts on it, especially since I am feeling I could potentially be in the minority with this one!

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This novel was also a #cjsreads pick, so, keep reading to see if Jessica and Chandra felt the same about The Child or if it fared better for them!

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Sitting Down with J.D Barker: Author of The Fourth Monkey @jdbarker #4MK @HMHbooks

 

I am so excited the day is finally here!  One of my most anticipated summer reads is releasing today!   I am thrilled to be wishing a big, Happy Publication Day to The Fourth Monkey by J.D Barker.   When I read this book (in case you missed it, you can find my review for The Fourth Monkey here) I was left in complete awe of Barker’s ability to craft such a brilliant story; for lack of a better word,   I was basically obsessed.  I knew that I had to have the author, J.D Barker, on Clues and Reviews to answer some of my burning questions about the writing process, the book and what is next!

First off, The Fourth Monkey is absolutely insane.  I was glued to the pages.  What inspired to write it?  

Well, thank you!

I’ve known I wanted to write a serial killer thriller for a long time but the story had to be just so.  The formula has been done to death and I needed something fresh. Years ago, I decided if I wrote this book, the killer should die at the beginning of the story. That created a few complex problems, the least of which was where to go from there. The story sat patiently waiting in my subconscious until a day back in 2014 when I was in line at the grocery store. There was a rather rotund woman in line ahead of me in one of those electric carts and a boy of about eight years old standing behind me with his father. The boy said something about the woman, I didn’t hear what exactly, then his father leaned down and said, “Speak no evil, son.” As soon as I heard that, a number of thoughts flooded my head – Who says that? What exactly is happening back at their house? By that night, I had the basis for my killer’s childhood and the story found its way to paper quickly.

I’ve always been fascinated with serial killers and the overall psychology behind them. What causes a person to kill? Is that urge hardwired from the moment they’re born or is it somehow a learned behaviour fueled by environment and upbringing? A combination of both? The more I studied, the more I realized that even the experts don’t really know. They love to pretend they do, psychologists love their labels and find peace in the various boxes they feel they can drop people into but that appearance of knowledge is nothing but a mask. I’ve known good people who grew up in bad places and bad people who grew up under the best circumstances. There are a lot of sociopaths out in the world and only a small fraction of them kill, not all killers are sociopaths. The world isn’t black and white but filled with gray and it’s within that gray 4MK was born. My goal was to write a book that not only entertained but blurred the line between innocent and guilty – I hoped people would not only empathize with the victims but also the killer.

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Book Review: The Weight of Lies (Emily Carpenter) @EmilyDCarpenter

Screen Shot 2017-06-20 at 9.04.14 PM.pngThe Weight of Lies, the newest release by Emily Carpenter, was a book that I had been recommended to me by several of my favourite bloggers, so I knew I had to read this one ASAP!

The novel opens with Meg, reformed party girl and daughter to superstar writer extraordinaire Frances Ashby. Ashby, who is best known for a best-selling horror novel, Kitten, has made her fortune off of the murder of a young girl that inspired the book. Forty years later, and sick of her relationship with her mother, Meg is pushed over the edge by a personal tragedy and agrees to write a tell-all book about her mother.    Digging into the past, and the cult classic her mother wrote, Meg finds herself in Bonny Island, Georgia questioning the facts of the decades-old murder.   And, when Meg finds herself in danger, she realises her mother’s book isn’t the only horror that came from Bonny Island.
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BOMG Book Review: The Identicals (Elin Hilderbrand) @elinhilderbrand @littlebrown

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If I had to describe The Identicals, the newest release by the Queen of Summer Novels, Elin Hilderbrand, I would have to say drama.

Drama, drama, drama.

Estranged sisters, wild teenaged daughters, love affair, family betrayal, loss and good ol’ fashion gossip surrounds the core of this plot making it a delicious summer, beach read!

When Billy dies in Martha’s Vineyard, his daughter Harper is forced to call up Tabitha and Eleanor. Her identical twin sister and mother, whom she hasn’t spoken to in years. Making the trip from Nantucket, Tabitha arrives with her rebellious daughter, Ainsley in tow.   A bit of mistaken identity and mishaps ensue as the girl’s struggle with old demons and to help tie up their father’s estate. A story of lost loves, once buried battles and the importance of family, Tabitha and Harper come to realize their bond is more important than the resentments that tore them apart.

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Book Review: He Said/She Said (Erin Kelly) @MinotaurBooks #HeSaidSheSaid

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Last year, the biggest trend in the thriller genre was the unreliable narrator.

Books like Gone Girl and Girl on the Train had people wanting more people didn’t think they could believe or trust.

He Said/She Said by Erin Kelly is a book with so much unreliability; I had no idea who to trust or who to turn too.

Kelly took the unreliable narrator phenomenon and wrote it on steroids.

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Book Review: The Good Widow (Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke) @LizandLisa ‏@LittleABooks

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The Good Widow, a novel written by the writing duo of Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke, was one of my most anticipated releases for June. I had heard several of my blogging friends (notably Amy from Novel Gossip and Chelsea from The Suspense Is Thrilling Me) singing its praises. Well, those ladies had it correct. This read is the perfect one for a summer at the beach or to binge read in your PJs. From the first pages, I was completely hooked.

The novel opens an unnamed couple driving off into the sunset. Flash forward, we meet an elementary teacher, Jacks, getting the news every wife fears. Her husband, James, is dead. He died in a car crash in Maui. The problem is, James was supposed to be in Kansas on business. As Jacks receives more information surrounding his death, she is absolutely shocked. He was in Maui with a woman. A woman he was having an affair with. As Jacks learns her marriage is not as it appeared, she finds herself connecting with a man, Nick, who knocks on her door and is, ironically, the fiancé of the James’ lover, Dylan. The pair decides to head to Maui and find answers but the ones she finds, may not be the ones she is ready for….

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