Review: The Turn of the Key

Title: The Turn of the Key
Author: Ruth Ware
Genre: Fiction, Thriller
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Canada
Source: Publisher
Format: Paperback, Ebook
Release Date: August 27, 2019
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

When she stumbles across the ad, she’s looking for something else completely. But it seems like too good an opportunity to miss—a live-in nannying post, with a staggeringly generous salary. And when Rowan Caine arrives at Heatherbrae House, she is smitten—by the luxurious “smart” home fitted out with all modern conveniences, by the beautiful Scottish Highlands, and by this picture-perfect family.

What she doesn’t know is that she’s stepping into a nightmare—one that will end with a child dead and herself in prison awaiting trial for murder.

Writing to her lawyer from prison, she struggles to explain the unravelling events that led to her incarceration. It wasn’t just the constant surveillance from the cameras installed around the house, or the malfunctioning technology that woke the household with booming music, or turned the lights off at the worst possible time. It wasn’t just the girls, who turned out to be a far cry from the immaculately behaved model children she met at her interview. It wasn’t even the way she was left alone for weeks at a time, with no adults around apart from the enigmatic handyman, Jack Grant.

It was everything.

She knows she’s made mistakes. She admits that she lied to obtain the post, and that her behavior toward the children wasn’t always ideal. She’s not innocent, by any means. But, she maintains, she’s not guilty—at least not of murder. Which means someone else is.

Review:

I loved this thriller!

I read The Turn of the Screw by Henry James a few times in university, and I loved it. I was excited to see what would happen in this adaptation.

This story was very fast paced. I read it in one day because I couldn’t put it down. It was quite creepy too. One new element in this adaptation was that the home was a “smart” home. Everything was connected by an app, including the water in the shower and the locks on the front door. These things were convenient, until they malfunctioned. The home was originally a Victorian house, but was renovated to have this modern technology. I love how this can be compared to the original book, Turn of the Screw, which was a Victorian novella, but has been adapted into this modern story.

One thing that I can’t really talk about is the ending. It gave more closure than the original story, but it felt a little rushed, especially in the last couple of pages. I’m curious to hear what other readers thought of this ending.

Thank you Simon and Schuster Canada for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware

Have you read The Turn of the Key? What did you think of it?

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Review: Hideaway

Title: Hideaway
Author: Nicole Lundrigan
Genre: Thriller
Publisher: Penguin Random House Canada
Source: Publisher
Format: Paperback
Release Date: July 9, 2019
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

What if home is the most dangerous place you can be? For fans of Room and readers of Shari Lapena. 

Gloria Janes appears to be a doting suburban mother and loving wife. But beyond her canary-yellow door, Gloria controls her husband, Telly, as well as seven-year-old Maisy and her older brother Rowan, through a disorienting cycle of adoration and banishment. 

When Telly leaves, Gloria turns on Rowan. He runs away, finding unlikely refuge with a homeless man named Carl, with whom he forms the kind of bond he has never found with his parents. After they are menaced by strangers, Rowan follows Carl to an isolated cottage, where he accidentally sets off a burst of heightened paranoia in Carl, and their adventure takes a dark turn. 

Gloria is publicly desperate for the safe return of her son while privately plotting ever wilder ways to lure Telly home for good. Her behaviour grows more erratic and her manipulation of Maisy begins to seem dedicated toward an outcome that only she can see. The two storylines drive relentlessly toward a climax that is both shocking and emotionally riveting.

Suspenseful, unsettling, and masterful, Hideaway explores the secrets of a troubled family and illuminates an unlikely hero and a source of unexpected strength.

Review:

This story was difficult to get into at first. Most of the characters have mental health disorders. They were making bad decisions that they couldn’t help because of their conditions, but it made me uncomfortable to read about. However, once I got into the story, I couldn’t put it down.

The two narrators of the story are both children, Rowan and Maisy. They were unreliable because they were children, but also because their sense of reality was warped by the adults with them. Rowan spent time with Carl, who often had conversations with people who weren’t there and he would lash out at random moments. Their mother, Gloria, would convince Maisy that things happened when they didn’t, to cover for her own mistakes. These unreliable narrators added a lot of tension to the story.

This was a great thriller with an unpredictable ending!

Thank you Penguin Random House Canada for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Room by Emma Donoghue

The Substitute by Nicole Lundrigan

Have you read Hideaway? What did you think of it?

Review: Wherever She Goes

Title: Wherever She Goes
Author: K.L. Armstrong
Genre: Fiction, Thriller
Publisher: Doubleday Canada
Source: Publisher
Format: Paperback
Release Date: June 25, 2019
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

When it’s your word against everyone else’s–what do you do?

Bree Finch has fallen on some troubled times: her marriage has ended, she’s separated from her young daughter, Charlotte, and she’s haunted by a past she can’t escape. Routine helps, and every afternoon, during her lunch break, Bree goes for a jog in the park near her office. It’s the same every day: the same route, the same mothers with their children, the same people walking their dogs.

One day, during her jog, she spots a young boy a bit older than Charlotte, a boy she saw just the day before with his mother. But his mother is nowhere to be seen now. Nervous, Bree watches the boy as he wanders into the parking lot. And then she watches as a man grabs the boy, forcing him into an SVU. She watches as the boy cries and screams for his mother. She watches as the man slams the door shut, revs the engine and takes off. 

She runs after them into traffic, and tries to take a photo, but can’t. The SVU is gone.

Bree can’t deny what she’s seen, and she can’t get the little boy or his screams out of her head. But, she’s the only one who believes that she witnessed the kidnapping of a child. No one else at the park saw the boy or someone snatching him, and she can’t give a detailed description of the child. The police don’t believe her, nor does her estranged husband, with whom she has a tense and complicated relationship. Instead, they begin asking Bree the questions: Why is she always alone in the park? Why does she spend so much time there? Does she realize that she makes the other mothers nervous, with the way she watches them and their children?

Then, days later, a woman is murdered–and Bree is the first person the police talk to. 

Not because they think she may have witnessed something. 

Not because they believe her about the kidnapped boy. 

Because she’s their main suspect. 

Review:

This was an amazing new thriller!

I was glued to this book. I read it in one day because I couldn’t put it down. It was fast-paced and unpredictable.

Bree was an unreliable narrator, which added to the plot. Even when she would talk about seeing things, I couldn’t really trust her. I was still unsure about some things she said right until the end.

I usually don’t like books that don’t give you enough clues to solve the mystery. I don’t think there was a way to figure out this mystery before the end, but I loved it. It was an exciting story because I was so surprised at the ending.

I highly recommend this gripping thriller.

Thank you Penguin Random House Canada for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn

Have you read Wherever She Goes? What did you think of it?

Review: Heartwood Box

Title: Heartwood Box
Author: Ann Aguirre
Genre: Young Adult, Thriller
Publisher: Tor Teen
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: July 9, 2019
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

A dark, romantic YA suspense novel with an SF edge and plenty of drama, layering the secrets we keep and how appearances can deceive, from the New York Times bestselling author.

In this tiny, terrifying town, the lost are never found. When Araceli Flores Harper is sent to live with her great-aunt Ottilie in her ramshackle Victorian home, the plan is simple. She’ll buckle down and get ready for college. Life won’t be exciting, but she’ll cope, right?

Wrong. From the start, things are very, very wrong. Her great-aunt still leaves food for the husband who went missing twenty years ago, and local businesses are plastered with MISSING posters. There are unexplained lights in the woods and a mysterious lab just beyond the city limits that the locals don’t talk about. Ever. When she starts receiving mysterious letters that seem to be coming from the past, she suspects someone of pranking her or trying to drive her out of her mind. To solve these riddles and bring the lost home again, Araceli must delve into a truly diabolical conspiracy, but some secrets fight to stay buried…

Review:

This book was a combination of genres. It was mostly a young adult thriller, but there were aspects of paranormal fiction, science fiction, and even historical fiction. Though this seems like a large mix of genres, it worked in this story.

The story was quite creepy at the beginning. I couldn’t figure out what was going to happen. It was heartbreaking to see Araceli develop a relationship with a boy from a different time, while knowing that they couldn’t be together. It was strange, the way this story resolved into science fiction. I thought it would just be a paranormal or supernatural story, but it had science behind it.

I really enjoyed this story!

Thank you Tor Teen for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

The Devouring Gray by Christine Lynn Herman

The Dark Beneath the Ice by Amelinda Bérubé

Have you read Heartwood Box? What did you think of it?

Review: The Best Lies

Title: The Best Lies
Author: Sarah Lyu
Genre: Young Adult, Thriller
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Canada
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: July 2, 2019
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Remy Tsai used to know how her story would turn out. But now, she doesn’t even know what tomorrow will look like.

She was happy once. Remy had her boyfriend Jack, and Elise, her best friend—her soulmate—who understood her better than anyone else in the world.

But now Jack is dead, shot through the chest—

And it was Elise who pulled the trigger.

Was it self-defense? Or something deeper, darker than anything Remy could have imagined? As the police investigate, Remy does the same, sifting through her own memories, looking for a scrap of truth that could save the friendship that means everything to her.

Told in alternating timelines, Thelma and Louise meets Gone Girl in this twisted psychological thriller about the dark side of obsessive friendship.

Review:

This was a gripping YA thriller!

There are two alternating narratives in this story. One is in the present, which is right after Jack has died. The other tells the story of Remy and Elise’s friendship. Remy seemed like an unreliable narrator, because she had to lie in her testimony. However, there were reasons for her lies.

Even though I knew how the story ends, with Jack’s death, I was still hooked on the story. There were some other twists before the end that I wasn’t expecting. Elise was a complex character, who went through a lot over the course of the story. She was classified as the “villain,” but I ended up feeling a little sorry for her.

I loved this story!

Thank you Simon and Schuster Canada for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

When the Truth Unravels by RuthAnne Snow

The Window by Amelia Brunskill

Have you read The Best Lies? What did you think of it?

Review: The Death of Mrs. Westaway

Title: The Death of Mrs. Westaway
Author: Ruth Ware
Genre: Fiction, Thriller, Mystery
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Canada
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: May 29, 2018
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

On a day that begins like any other, Hal receives a mysterious letter bequeathing her a substantial inheritance. She realizes very quickly that the letter was sent to the wrong person—but also that the cold-reading skills she’s honed as a tarot card reader might help her claim the money.

Soon, Hal finds herself at the funeral of the deceased…where it dawns on her that there is something very, very wrong about this strange situation and the inheritance at the centre of it.

Review:

I was hooked on this story right from the beginning. It was so intriguing. Hal received a letter saying that she was going to receive an inheritance from her grandmother who just passed away, but her grandparents had died years ago. Since she needed money, she decided to play along with the family. However, she ended up getting tangled up in their complicated family.

The story was quite fast-paced. Everything moved quickly with new twists in every chapter. When I thought I had it all figured out, I discovered I was wrong, which kept me in suspense. I also loved that Hal was a tarot card reader. It added to the mystery of the story.

I loved this mystery! I highly recommend it!

Thank you Simon and Schuster Canada for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Fatal Inheritance by Rachel Rhys

The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

Have you read The Death of Mrs. Westaway? What did you think of it?

Review: Dear Wife

Title: Dear Wife
Author: Kimberly Belle
Genre: Thriller
Publisher: Park Row Books
Source: Publisher
Format: Paperback
Release Date: June 25, 2019
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

From the bestselling author of The Marriage Lie and Three Days Missing comes a riveting new novel of suspense about a woman who, in a fight for survival, must decide just how far she’ll go to escape the person she once loved

Beth Murphy is on the run…

For nearly a year, Beth has been planning for this day. A day some people might call any other Wednesday, but Beth prefers to see it as her new beginning–one with a new look, new name and new city. Beth has given her plan significant thought, because one small slip and her violent husband will find her.

Sabine Hardison is missing…

A couple hundred miles away, Jeffrey returns home from a work trip to find his wife, Sabine, is missing. Wherever she is, she’s taken almost nothing with her. Her abandoned car is the only evidence the police have, and all signs point to foul play.

As the police search for leads, the case becomes more and more convoluted. Sabine’s carefully laid plans for her future indicate trouble at home, and a husband who would be better off with her gone. The detective on the case will stop at nothing to find out what happened and bring this missing woman home. Where is Sabine? And who is Beth? The only thing that’s certain is that someone is lying and the truth won’t stay buried for long. 

Review:

I loved this suspenseful thriller.

There were three different perspectives in this story: Jeffrey, Beth, and Marcus. Jeffrey’s wife, Sabine went missing. Beth has changed her name and run away from her abusive husband. Marcus is the detective on the case of Sabine’s disappearance. It was a very clever mystery.

I figured out how some of the characters were connected halfway through, but I still loved reading through until the ending. I hadn’t figured out all of the pieces to the puzzle so I had more to discover. The only parts I didn’t really like were the scenes in the church. I didn’t think they added much to the story, but I can see that they developed the character of Beth more thoroughly.

This is a fantastic, fast-paced thriller!

Thank you HarperCollins Canada for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

The Marriage Lie by Kimberly Belle

Have you read Dear Wife? What did you think of it?