The Book Cover Judge

Review: Social Creature by Tara Isabella Burton

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Book: Social Creature by Tara Isabella Burton [ goodreads | amazon ]
Genre: Fiction, Psychological Thriller
Format: eBook, ARC from Penguin’s First to Read program
Rating: 5 stars
Cover Rating: 5 stars

Synopsis
They go through both bottles of champagne right there on the High Line, with nothing but the stars over them… They drink and Lavinia tells Louise about all the places they will go together, when they finish their stories, when they are both great writers-to Paris and to Rome and to Trieste…

Lavinia will never go. She is going to die soon. 

Louise has nothing. Lavinia has everything. After a chance encounter, the two spiral into an intimate, intense, and possibly toxic friendship.

Cover
The cover is perfection. It was what made me click on this book. I had yet to hear anything, the author was new to me. The cover was everything. Then that synopsis. Oh that synopsis! This book immediately buried itself into my mind before I was ever given the chance to look at the first page. The cover is perfect. Note: The UK cover is also fabulous; I’ll include it down below!

Review
I have been putting off writing this review. Not because this book was bad, no — because this book is that good.

This is a debut piece from Burton and it has cemented her name into my list of Must Buys when new releases come out. Incredibly well written, thought-provoking, spooky, creepy, captivating. I have spent the past couple of weeks trying to think of the right descriptions for this book. I need to do this book justice.

Our main characters, Louise and Lavinia, are both millennials but from opposite ends: Lavinia is in her early 20s, a rich socialite who parties like there is no tomorrow, keeps up with the “right” crowd, and is off from school to write her book; Louise is pushing 30, working three part-time jobs just to kind of make it; she has no real friends, no real life — until her chance meeting with Lavinia, who takes Louise into her life.

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This is a story that will give the reader anxiety in parts (and I mean that as a huge compliment to the writing). This is a story that will stay with you. If you are anything like me, you’ll start to believe Lavinia is living in your closet and be worried to open the door.

This book won’t be for everyone, though I think everyone should give it a chance. The writing is beautiful. The characters are fascinating. The plot is twisty, turny goodness. You’ll be so caught up you won’t know what day it is in your world; you’re too busy in their world to remember what is actually going on in reality.

I’m wanting to tell more and wanting to not share. I want to keep this to myself, while also making sure everyone picks up a copy and dives right in. I have only bought the physical copy of one book so far that I received for free as an ARC; I will be buying this one when it comes out June 5, 2018.

Burton shows an amazing commentary on the lives we live in this modern world – the ones we choose to share and the parts we keep to ourselves. This book hands over the ability to have amazing discussions on the toxicity found in certain relationships, social media. A cool, modern take on the psychological thriller genre that I cannot wait to read again.

 

Huge thanks to Penguin via the First to Read program and the fabulous author for an advanced copy of this beautiful, creepy novel.

This review was originally posted on The Book Cover Judge on June 03, 2018.

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: 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.