Book Review: The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley

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The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley
Genre: Thriller
Publisher: William Morrow Books / Harpercollins

Publication Date: February 12, 2019
Pages: 336

Book Summary:

Everyone’s invited…everyone’s a suspect…

For fans of Ruth Ware and Tana French, a shivery, atmospheric, page-turning novel of psychological suspense in the tradition of Agatha Christie, in which a group of old college friends are snowed in at a hunting lodge . . . and murder and mayhem ensue.

All of them are friends. One of them is a killer.

During the languid days of the Christmas break, a group of thirtysomething friends from Oxford meet to welcome in the New Year together, a tradition they began as students ten years ago. For this vacation, they’ve chosen an idyllic and isolated estate in the Scottish Highlands—the perfect place to get away and unwind by themselves.

They arrive on December 30th, just before a historic blizzard seals the lodge off from the outside world.

Two days later, on New Year’s Day, one of them is dead.

The trip began innocently enough: admiring the stunning if foreboding scenery, champagne in front of a crackling fire, and reminiscences about the past. But after a decade, the weight of secret resentments has grown too heavy for the group’s tenuous nostalgia to bear. Amid the boisterous revelry of New Year’s Eve, the cord holding them together snaps.

Now one of them is dead . . . and another of them did it.

Keep your friends close, the old adage goes. But just how close is too close?

Book Review: A group of friends gathered together on a New Year’s getaway to a remote location. With festivities in mind, the mood was set for an unforgettable reunion. Little did they know, that one of them was a dead person walking. I appreciated how this thriller started off with a murder. It set up the perfect atmosphere for a suspenseful plot, or so I hoped.

As I read, I slowly realized that the characters lacked substance. I couldn’t connect with any of them. I kind of preferred the estate’s staff, instead of the main personas. They seemed to secretly hate one another, and faked it for old time’s sake. Why torture each other with these yearly reunions then? I personally didn’t get it.

So, the aspect of the story was to find out who the killer was. You literally have to read 90% of the book, to finally find out the truth. I normally wouldn’t mind this outcome, but the interweaving of the past and present between most of the characters ended up bringing a tiresome quality to the narrative. At certain moments, I had to re-read parts of the chapters because I unfortunately found myself disengaged.

THE HUNTING PARTY by Lucy Foley started out promising, but regrettably fell short for me. With that being said, this could still be a likable thriller amongst readers. It does have great elements in it, just not enough for my taste. I must say though that Lucy’s writing ability was grand. Her word play and overall imagination was pleasurable and evident from the beginning. I’ll definitely give her future works a try!

My Rating: 🌟🌟🌟

Thank you to William Morrow Books for my review copy!

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About the Author: Lucy Foley studied English Literature at Durham and UCL universities and worked for several years as a fiction editor in the publishing industry, before leaving to write full-time. The Hunting Party is her debut crime novel, inspired by a particularly remote spot in Scotland that fired her imagination. Lucy is also the author of three historical novels, which have been translated into sixteen languages. 

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Book Review: The Secretary by Renee Knight

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The Secretary by Renee Knight
Genre: Thriller
Publisher: HarperBooks

Publication Date: February 12, 2019
Pages: 304

Book Summary: She could be the most dangerous person in the room…

From her first day as Personal Assistant to the celebrated Mina Appleton, Christine Butcher understands what is expected of her. Absolute loyalty. Absolute discretion. For twenty years, Christine has been a most devoted servant, a silent witness to everything in Mina’s life. So quiet, you would hardly know she is there.

Day after day, year after year, Christine has been there, invisible—watching, listening, absorbing all the secrets floating around her. Keeping them safe.

Christine is trusted. But those years of loyalty and discretion come with a high price. And eventually Christine will pay.

But it would be a mistake to underestimate such a steadfast woman as Christine. Because as everyone is about to discover, there’s a dangerous line between obedience and obsession.

Book Review: “We are like spies – the longer we serve, the more secrets we hold, and the greater the need for our discretion.” – THE SECRETARY

I’ve been an executive assistant for eight years now. Being in the administrative field, I’ve mastered patience and a great deal of multi tasking. I pride myself in my work, however some individuals eat, breathe and sleep their jobs. I for one, leave it back in the office, while others such as Christine, revolve their world around it. From the beginning, she presented herself as the ultimate assistant. Her ideal goal in life was to please her demanding boss, Mina. But how many sacrifices can one make for an employer? Is it worth losing it all?

When I first heard about THE SECRETARY, I had a feeling I would resonate with this story, to a certain degree. I didn’t really understand why Christine was such a “yes woman.” Sometimes saying no is a must, but hey to each their own. Moving on, Knight, did a wonderful job in creating a suspenseful setting from the start. I was curious to see how the foreshadowing downfall between Mina and Christine would unravel. The subtle hints throughout the chapters, motivated me to keep reading. Even during moments where the plot lost its speed, I continued on.

And boy am I glad I pushed through, Renee ended it with a bang! I was not expecting it to conclude in that manner. It brought the novel together and I appreciated the whole aspect of work relationships. You never know who might be fake smiling at you.

My Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Thank you to Harper Books for my review copy!

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About the Author: Renée Knight worked for the BBC directing arts documentaries before turning to writing. She has had TV and film scripts commissioned by the BBC, Channel Four, and Capital Films. In April 2013, she graduated from the Faber Academy “Writing a Novel” course, whose alumni include S. J. Watson. She lives in London with her husband and two children.

Book Review: The Line Between by Tosca Lee

81mmwj8ucxlThe Line Between by Tosca Lee
Genre: Thriller/Dystopian
Publisher: Howard Books

Publication Date: January 29, 2019
Pages: 384

Book Summary: In this frighteningly believable thriller from New York Times bestselling author Tosca Lee, an extinct disease re-emerges from the melting Alaskan permafrost to cause madness in its victims. For recent apocalyptic cult escapee Wynter Roth, it’s the end she’d always been told was coming.

When Wynter Roth is turned out of New Earth, a self-contained doomsday cult on the American prairie, she emerges into a world poised on the brink of madness as a mysterious outbreak of rapid early onset dementia spreads across the nation.

As Wynter struggles to start over in a world she’s been taught to regard as evil, she finds herself face-to-face with the apocalypse she’s feared all her life—until the night her sister shows up at her doorstep with a set of medical samples. That night, Wynter learns there’s something far more sinister at play and that these samples are key to understanding the disease.

Now, as the power grid fails and the nation descends into chaos, Wynter must find a way to get the samples to a lab in Colorado. Uncertain who to trust, she takes up with former military man Chase Miller, who has his own reasons for wanting to get close to the samples in her possession, and to Wynter herself.

Filled with action, conspiracy, romance, and questions of whom—and what—to believe, The Line Between is a high-octane story of survival and love in a world on the brink of madness.

Book Review: Wynter Roth, and her family joined the New Earth, a cult designed to withstand the brainwashed belief of an upcoming apocalypse. Magnus, the infamous and God like creater of the enclave, bestowed the idea that being part of this organization would save them from eternal hell. He not only had the ability to be a grade A asshole but, miraculously mystified individuals with his words. If I had the chance to choke a character, Magnus would be number one on my list.

Now, once Wynter found herself in turmoil, she was thrown into the outside world, where an unexplainable outbreak of dementia started spreading across the nation. Wynter’s characteristics of strength and bravery impressed me from the start. Her badass attitude and overall adjustment to constant change in environments shocked the hell out of me. She is one firecracker you don’t want to mess with!

Throughout the chapters, Tosca beautifully intertwined both the past and present. I learned a lot from Wynter’s time in the cult, and adored the dystopian feel behind the mysterious outbreak. I was constantly on the edge of my seat worrying about the well being of Wynter and the important task that fell into her hands.

Tosca’s writing is top notch! As a respected and bestselling author, she does not disappoint. Every scene flushed me with excitement and I became engulfed until the very end. And wow, what a conclusion! I will patiently wait for my next dose coming soon. 😏 One of the best, heart stopping novels I’ve read in years. Quote me on that! If you’re into thrillers or dystopian fiction, I suggest you get on the Tosca train because I’m not getting off anytime soon.

My Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

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Thank you to Tosca Lee for gifting me this book for review.
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About the Author: Tosca Lee is the award-winning, New York Times bestselling author of The Progeny, Firstborn, Iscariot, The Legend of Sheba, Demon: A Memoir, Havah: The Story of Eve, and the Books of Mortals series with New York Times bestseller Ted Dekker (Forbidden, Mortal, Sovereign).

A notorious night-owl, she loves watching TV, eating bacon, playing video games with her kids, and sending cheesy texts to her husband. You can find Tosca hanging around the snack table or wherever bacon is served.

Book Review: The Other Woman by Sandie Jones

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The Other Woman by Sandie Jones
Genre: Thriller
Publisher: Minotaur Books

Publication Date: August 21, 2018
Pages: 304

Book Summary: HE LOVES YOU: Adam adores Emily. Emily thinks Adam’s perfect, the man she thought she’d never meet.

BUT SHE LOVES YOU NOT: Lurking in the shadows is a rival, a woman who shares a deep bond with the man she loves.

AND SHE’LL STOP AT NOTHING: Emily chose Adam, but she didn’t choose his mother Pammie. There’s nothing a mother wouldn’t do for her son, and now Emily is about to find out just how far Pammie will go to get what she wants: Emily gone forever.

Book Review: A mother in law is supposed to be an extension of your own mother. A person you could confide in and love just as much as your own flesh and blood. However, that’s not the case for Emily’s future mother in law, Pammie.

Pammie’s batshit behavior depicted her character as sneaky and calculated. The territorial hold on her son, Adam, made me cringe. The one thing that irks me the most are mama’s boys. It’s like please grow a pair and live your own life already. That’s how I felt about Adam throughout the whole novel. I kept thinking he would call her “mother” in a Norman Bates kind of way. 👀

As for his future wife Emily, she had a like-ability that the others were missing. I commended her for even putting up with half of the crap Pammie threw at her. But, I truly wished she was more rational in her decision making. A lot of the times, she frustrated me with her pushover tendencies.

By the end, expect the unexpected. The plot took a turn for the left and I was flabbergasted. I didn’t see that coming! All in all, THE OTHER WOMAN, delightfully kept me entertained from start to finish. It’s a fast paced thriller that you will breeze right through within a few sittings. Sandie for sure knows how to write villainous characters that will make your blood boil.

My Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟.5

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Thank you to Minotaur Books for gifting me this book for review.

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Sandie20Jones-10_preview.jpegAbout the Author: SANDIE JONES has worked as a freelance journalist for over twenty years, and has written for publications including the Sunday TimesWoman’s Weekly and the Daily Mail. She lives in London with her husband and three children. The Other Woman is her debut novel.

Book Review: Woman of the Hour (Storyworld, #1) by Jane Lythell

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Woman of the Hour (Storyworld, #1) by Jane Lythell
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Publisher: Head of Zeus

Publication Date: November 1, 2017
Pages: 352

Book Summary: Meet Liz Lyon: respected TV producer, stressed-out executive, guilty single mother. StoryWorld is the nation’s favorite morning show, and Liz wants to keep it that way. Her job is to turn real-life stories into thrilling TV—and keep a lid on the scandals and backbiting that happen off-stage. But simmering tensions erupt at the station, trapping Liz in a game of one-upmanship where she doesn’t know the rules. As the power struggle intensifies, can Liz keep her cool and keep her job? Does she even want to? In this gripping novel of power, rivalry, and betrayal, Jane Lythell draws on her experiences working in live TV.

Book Review: WOMAN OF THE HOUR by Jane Lythell was a well-written book, with a fascinating look into the daily grind of the TV world. Liz, the producer of a popular morning show, was the epitome of a hard working, full-time mother. I resonated with her from the start and enjoyed the time I spent getting to know her.

As for the secondary characters, they all had their own personas. I got the gist of their personalities and understood the role they contributed to the TV station. Liz, the cleaner upper as I’d like to call her, ran around the office as a problem solver. Even with the unnecessary drama that could be found in most offices, she handled things like a pro. I wish I had her emotional stamina to deal with half of the crap thrown at her every day.

Now, at times I felt the plot slowed down, making it a bit dull to read. I found myself growing impatient while I waited for the drama to hit. However midway, the novel started to pick up. The deceit, backstabbing and underlying issues that plagued the office finally came to light. I thoroughly enjoyed this interval of the story line.

All in all, Jane is a well-read author. Her previous background as a TV producer formulated an insightful story with an array of workplace revelations. I’m looking forward to continuing the journey with the second installment in the series, BEHIND HER BACK.

My Rating: 🌟🌟🌟.5

!! Check out my Bookstagram post here !!

Thank you to Jane Lythell for gifting me this book for review.

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About the Author: My first novel THE LIE OF YOU has the intriguing tagline of: One woman’s fear is another woman’s weapon. It is a psychological thriller. My second novel AFTER THE STORM has been described as Marine Noir. This is rather apt as it is about a couple who get on a small boat with two strangers who have offered to sail them to a paradise island. Their dream holiday turns into something much darker.

I started to write full time in May 2011 after years of working in film and television, including at the British Film Institute and at BAFTA. Film addict I may be but books have always come first for me since I read my way through the fiction shelves at the small library in Sheringham, my home town in Norfolk, UK.

Book Review: Hunting Annabelle by Wendy Heard


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Hunting Annabelle by Wendy Heard
Genre: Thriller
Publisher: Mira Books

Publication Date: December 18, 2018
Pages: 304

Book Summary: “Her scream echoes in my memory. I know what happened. Whether anyone believes me or not, I know.”

Sean Suh is done with killing. After serving three years in a psychiatric prison, he’s determined to stay away from temptation. But he can’t resist Annabelle—beautiful, confident, incandescent Annabelle—who alone can see past the monster to the man inside. The man he’s desperately trying to be.

Then Annabelle disappears.

Book Review: Wendy Heard’s debut, HUNTING ANNABELLE, is a deliciously deviant novel with heart pumping action that’ll last until the very end. Sean, the protagonist, is an introverted artist with a troubling thirst for murder. Due to his violent past and psychiatric treatment, he made it his business to silent the beast within himself. It worked for a while, until the day Annabelle walked into his life.

Sadly, his happiness is short lived because of Annabelle’s abduction. Now, this is when shit hits the fan and Sean is put on a ride to hell. Firstly, I’m thrilled to see a main character that’s Asian, better yet Korean. It’s not often you come across that in thrillers, so kudos to you Wendy.

I read this novel in two days, that’s how fast paced the storyline is. The suspense killed me! For a second Wendy fools the reader into thinking, “yes, I know who took Annabelle” and then bam, back to square one! The precision of the plot’s layout is so phenomenally written. Each calculated step, built an electrifying climax that shocked the hell out of me. By the end, the twist is unexpected and best of all I took great delight in the sick, twisted outcome.

Overall, I recommend HUNTING ANNABELLE if you’re looking for a quick, thrilling read with uniquely developed characters. I greatly commend Wendy on her addictive writing style and I look forward to reading her future works!

My Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟.5

!! Check out my Bookstagram post here !!

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About the Author: 
Wendy Heard was born in San Francisco and has lived most of her life in Los Angeles. When not writing, she can be found hiking the Griffith Park trails, taking the Metro and then questioning this decision, and haunting local bookstores.

Book Review: Bad Mommy / I Can Be A Better You by Tarryn Fisher

 

Bad Mommy / I Can Be A Better You by Tarryn Fisher
Genre: Thriller

Publication Date: January 12, 2017
Pages: 298

Book Summary: When Fig Coxbury buys a house on West Barrett Street, it’s not because she likes the neighborhood, or even because she likes the house. It’s because everything she desires is next door: The husband, the child, and the life that belongs to someone else.

Book Review: BAD MOMMY, which is now named I CAN BE A BETTER YOU, by Tarryn Fisher just ruined my life. How will I be able to move on from this book masterpiece!? After reading this twisted tale, I’ll start with saying bitches are cray. It just makes you question, are the people in your life genuine, or are they all wearing masks?

The story opens up with Fig, and her obsession over the picture perfect family in her neighborhood. When the house next door goes on sale, Fig makes it her goal to move in and copycat the life she’s always wanted. Little did I know, that was just the beginning. I loved every moment getting to know each character, even the ones I loathed. The characterization for each individual was spot on. They all were featured in a way where as a reader, I was given the chance to unlayer the traits of each person.

As I read, the unexpected occurrences left me open mouthed and gasping for more as I stormed through the chapters. This psychological thriller fucked me mentally and I couldn’t believe this was my first time picking up a novel by Tarryn. I should kick myself for not reading her work sooner. Her extraordinary writing enveloped me into a crazy cocoon and didn’t let me go until the end.

If you’re looking for a novel that’ll mess with your emotions, then you need to pick up BAD MOMMY immediately! One of the best thrillers I’ve read thus far. I must own every book she has ever written, being that I’ve officially added Tarryn to my list of favorite authors. She is one talented cookie that’ll grab the reader by the horns and drag them down into the darkest part of the human mind.

My Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

!! Check out my Bookstagram post here !!

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About the Author:
Tarryn was born and raised in Johannesburg, South Africa. She immigrated to America with her parents when she was thirteen, and spent the next eighteen years in South Florida where she earned her degree in Psychology, wrote her first novel, and had two children. In 2012, on a whim, she moved her family to Seattle, Washington where she currently makes her home safely away from the sun. Tarryn is the founder of Guise of the Villain, a fashion blog, and has written ten published novels. Tarryn is a Slytherin.

A well-read woman is a dangerous creature.

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