REVIEW – Before She Knew Him by Peter Swanson

This is the definition of a fun, popcorn thriller. It’s a quick read with a good twist (one that’s hinted at throughout but I could see how some readers could be fooled!)

It’s dark, but I thought it was going to be much deeper and less cinematic than it ended up being (this isn’t a negative, I was just surprised at how fast-paced the story was, and that it didn’t involve too much investigative work).

REVIEW – Imaginary Friend by Stephen Chbosky

“We can swallow our fear or let our fear swallow us.”

This book is WILD – which is both good and bad. It started off strong, atmospheric and creepy. It had me wondering where the heck the story was going to go. Clearly it kept me interested enough to read all 700 pages.

But it’s so damn repetitive. And it feels like it’s going to end and take another direction numerous times, but it just kind of keeps going. There’s no explanation for some of the major plot points.

As someone who loves thrillers/horror, but isn’t the biggest fan of fantasy, I found the synopsis of this book misleading. It definitely leans more into the fantasy genre than horror. The imagery is “scary” but it’s over the top and in your face, not the subtle bump in the night that sticks with you long after you’ve closed the book.

You can tell that Chbosky draws inspiration from Stephen King, but then dismantles the themes that makes some of King’s best work so memorable and so effective.

REVIEW – Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane

“Love isn’t enough. Not even close.”

This book was just okay for me. I need to learn my lesson that drawn out, character driven family dramas are not my thing.

I was waiting for something to happen (I made the same mistake with Commonwealth).

I should be saying that it was a brilliant book about family, failure, forgiveness, but I was honestly just bored more than anything.

However, if you enjoyed Commonwealth or Little Fires Everywhere, I think you’ll like this book.

REVIEW – Lock Every Door by Riley Sager

“This place isn’t kind to gentle souls. It chews them up and spits them out.”

If you haven’t read any of his books yet, you need to know that Riley Sager is basically the new king of the fun, twisty, popcorn thriller.

Lock Every Door is no exception. I would put it more firmly into the mystery bucket (except in the last 80 pages where it flips to a major horror movie vibe with some Twilight Zone-ish elements).

The cast of characters almost reminds me of an Agatha Christie novel. Everyone is unique and everyone is…a little off. I had fun trying to figure out what was going on (I was right about some things and pretty wrong about some others!)

REVIEW – Recursion by Blake Crouch

“Because memory…is everything. Physically speaking, a memory is nothing but a specific combination of neurons firing together – a symphony of neural activity. But in actuality, it’s the filter between us and reality.”

Holy sh*t. This book. It went above and beyond what I was anticipating and just got more intense with each section. Even when you might think you have a handle on what’s happening, it just gets more bananas.

I won’t say much because it’s best going in having only read the synopsis. Blake Crouch is a genius. READ THIS BOOK!

REVIEW – How Not to Die Alone by Richard Roper

“It was this kind of detail that stayed with him long afterward: odd little elements of a forgotten life…”

Oh how I loved this book! Andrew is a delightful character, reminiscent of Ove and Eleanor Oliphant.

This book was sad and hilarious and heartwarming. I love how Roper examines loneliness, family, friendship and loss in such a realistic, relatable way.

REVIEW – A Nearly Normal Family by M.T. Edvardsson

“People are prepared to put aside everything in the way of ethics and morals to protect their families.”

A Nearly Normal Family is a slow-burning thriller/crime drama. Told from three perspectives (the father, the daughter, the mother), the book takes its time leading you to what really happened. (And I was dying to find out!)

It’s a great read for those who love thrillers/mysteries but either aren’t fans of gore or maybe need a break from heavier, more disturbing novels.

REVIEW – An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

Woof. This book was…fine.

It was a bit too long. Way too repetitive. And took way too long to get to the point. I also felt that most of the “twists” were hinted at so heavily throughout the book that once revealed they simply confirmed my suspicions instead of being shocking surprises.

I thought the first half of this book was great – I was on board, I was interested and I was ready to learn more. Then it just kept going…and going…

I enjoyed The Wife Between Us so I will give these authors another try if they write more books.

REVIEW – Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

The hype surrounding this book is intense. So here’s an unpopular opinion – I wasn’t impressed.

TJR is a great writer. The writing in this book is good. But the story just doesn’t go anywhere. I felt like there was a lot of buildup for…nothing.

I didn’t care much about the characters. A lot of the drama seemed forced. I also didn’t think the “reveal” of the author was anything special because I never wondered who the author was supposed to be.