4 stars

Review: Her Name Was Rose by Claire Allan

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Book: Her Name Was Rose by Claire Allan [goodreads | amazon]
Genre: Fiction, mystery, thriller
Format: eBook, provided by NetGalley free for review
Rating: 4 stars
Cover Rating: 3 stars

When Emily lets a stranger step out in front of her, she never imagines that split second will change her life. But after Emily watches a car plough into the young mother – killing her instantly – she finds herself unable to move on.

And then she makes a decision she can never take back.

Because Rose had everything Emily had ever dreamed of. A beautiful, loving family, a great job and a stunning home. And now Rose’s husband misses his wife, and their son needs a mother. Why couldn’t Emily fill that space?

But as Emily is about to discover, no one’s life is perfect … and not everything is as it seems.

Cover Review
I love the colors for this book. The pink on top of the cool tone blue is really popping to me and the color combo is something that I really respond to in various formats (especially yarn). I’m not sure how I feel about the blocky letters taking up the majority of the cover. While the rose stands out to me, it took a few viewings to really notice the woman, which I found very interesting. Overall, I really enjoy this cover and it was definitely one of the reasons why I chose to ask for an ARC of this book.

Review
One of my favorite things about being a member of NetGalley is that I am getting introduced to new/new-to-me authors on a regular basis. Sometimes, I ask for ARCs, sometimes I just write it down to check out later. This was definitely one I knew I did not need to wait until later to read.

Her Name Was Rose offers a joy ride down familiar thriller lane, with Claire Allan putting her own marks on the territory to really make it her own. With interesting characters, beautiful writing, and a fun story, Allan will definitely be an author I check out in the future.

In this story, we follow Emily. Emily has witnessed the death of a complete stranger — the death that she feels (for a few reasons), she is the blame for. Thanks to the Internet age, Emily is able to find out all she needs about this woman. Rose, it would appear (based on the brief encounter Emily had with her and her son plus the social media presence Rose made sure to keep), had the life that Emily dreamt of. Loved and adored by a husband and coworkers; missed by many; beautiful; happy. It doesn’t take long before Emily is just completely enraptured in the life that Rose had. So…Emily decides to put herself into that life.

It seems innocent enough…I suppose. Emily gets a job at Rose’s old workplace. She befriends her old coworkers. And, eventually, befriends Rose’s widower. The deeper she gets into this picture perfect life, the more she realizes that nothing is what she had imagined.

One thing I enjoyed about this book was how well Allan used the multiple perspective writing style, giving us the current story through Emily’s eyes while giving us a deeper look into Rose’s past. And while I did really enjoy this one, it took a bit to get into. (I made note that Chapter 6 was incredibly well done and that I was really into the book about 41% through, as well as a “Emily GIRL whatchudoin???” note 70% through, hah.) Once I was in, though, I found myself completely enthralled with these characters. And even now, a month or so since I’ve finished the book, I still wonder about Rose and Emily.

There is an epilogue. I have weird feelings, usually, about epilogues, but this one was fine. It gave the closure I needed and I felt like the endings for everyone worked out fine.

I very much recommend this book to fans of psychological thrillers and mysteries. I think if you’ve been wanting to try these genres out, I think this could be for dipping your toes into the genre.

 

This eBook was given to me for free for review purposes. All thoughts are my own. Thank you to NetGalley, Avon Books and Claire Allan for the chance to read and review this book. 

This review was originally posted on The Book Cover Judge on July 23, 2018.

Review: Lying In Wait by Liz Nugent

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Book: Lying In Wait by Liz Nugent [goodreads | amazon]
Genre: Fiction, mystery, thriller
Format: eBook, provided by NetGalley free for review
Rating: 4 stars
Cover Rating: 4 stars

My husband did not mean to kill Annie Doyle, but the lying tramp deserved it.

On the surface, Lydia Fitzsimons has the perfect life—wife of a respected, successful judge, mother to a beloved son, mistress of a beautiful house in Dublin. That beautiful house, however, holds a secret. And when Lydia’s son, Laurence, discovers its secret, wheels are set in motion that lead to an increasingly claustrophobic and devastatingly dark climax.

Cover Review
That! Cover!! I cannot deny that, even though I of course have heard of Liz Nugent, that what really got my interest piqued in this novel was that cover. The macabre sense it completely conveyed, the grungy yet completely saturated colors just really spoke to me. This is a book that would definitely stop my browsing while looking on the shelves and make me pick it up.
Review
Can I confess something to start off with? I have not read any Liz Nugent before this. Before you click the X up in the corner, do know that I bought Unraveling Oliver on Kindle when it first came out. I just never got around to reading it, even after reading tons (and tons and tons) of amazing reviews for it. Believe me now, though; after reading this one, I cannot wait to actually check her debut novel out.This book completely brought me in.

Those first lines.... Nugent does not waste any time making sure the reader is completely enthralled with this story. The writing is superb, the plot line moves smoothly, and there are enough twists and turns to make any psychological thriller contented.

This story is told from three perspectives. First, we have Lydia, the matriarch. We follow her as she deals with the death of Annie Doyle and can of worms that opens. She is a fascinatingly horrid woman with a dark past that she has made sure to keep secret.

Second, we have Laurence, Lydia's son. We watch him grow from a chubby teen to an adult. He's trying to figure out the secrets to Annie Doyle's death and how his family is somehow involved. Watching him figure things out (whether correct or not) was incredibly interesting. Though I loved Lydia (horrible of a person as she may be), I think Laurence's parts were my favorites to read.

Third, we have Karen, the sister to Annie Doyle. Karen's story takes brings in a whole new perspective. While Lydia and her family are rich, Annie's family is poor. Karen shows us what happens to their family after the disappearance of her sister. Karen was a very strong character, though it took me a few chapters of her story to really get into her part.

Nugent does an amazing job about blending in these characters together. The way she has the different story lines cross over and meld into one is an amazing art. It may be premature to say this, having only read one book from her, but if her others are anything similar to this, I know that Nugent is a mastermind of the thriller genre. The mixture of loveable to love-to-hate characters, the multiple plot lines, the pacing -- everything about this mixes together form a solid story.

Go buy this. Right now. You will not regret it.

This eBook was given to me for free for review purposes. All thoughts are my own. Thank you to NetGalley, Gallery/Scout Press, and Liz Nugent for the chance to read and review this book. 
This review was originally posted on The Book Cover Judge on July 24, 2018

Review: Believe Me by JP Delaney

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Last year, I had the pleasure of receiving an ARC for JP Delaney’s debut, The Girl Before. I loved that book and was incre

dibly excited when I learned that Delaney had a new book out called Believe Me. I was able to get an ARC of it through NetGalley and started reading it immediately.

In this story, we follow Claire, a British lady living in America without a green card. She is trying to get her name out there in the acting world, after messing up her chances of fame back in Britain. Without the green card, though, it is hard for her to find work. She does some under the table jobs, working as a decoy for divorce lawyers, trying to catch cheating husbands on tape for wives to use during their divorce proceedings.

When one of the clients ends up dead, Claire is thrown in for the ride of her life. She works with the cops to help them discover if the now deceased lady’s husband, the person they assume to be the killer, is who they truly think he is. Claire begins a relationship with him and we follow along, trying to separate the real life from the scripted life.

Believe Me is a thriller of a different sort. Incredibly well written, with some fun parts written as if for a script, it immediately drew me in. I was captivated by Claire — who is this woman? What is her history? Something about her just grabbed me and held onto me throughout the entire ride. Completely character driven, this story is one that has lots of up, as well as some downs. As always, there are some twists and turns, my favorite being one that showed up just over halfway through the book. The ending twist left a slight sour taste in my mouth, though didn’t ruin the book for me completely.

Believe Me is set to be published in July; however, there is another version of this already out, called The Decoy, that was published in 2002 by Tony Strong (whose pen name is JP Delaney). From my understanding, the book wasn’t originally received as well as he believed it should have been, so he took the opportunity to re-work it and publish it again this year. I’m curious about the similarities between the two.

Book rating: 4 stars
Cover rating: 2 stars

Thank you to NetGalley and Penguin Random House for the opportunity to read and review this book. I look forward to future selections from JP Delaney. 

This review was originally posted on The Book Cover Judge on May 12, 2018.