Review: The Girls Are All So Nice Here

Title: The Girls Are All So Nice Here
Author: Laurie Elizabeth Flynn
Genre: Thriller, Contemporary
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Canada
Source: Purchased
Format: Paperback
Release Date: March 9, 2021
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Two former best friends return to their college reunion to find that they’re being circled by someone who wants revenge for what they did ten years before—and will stop at nothing to get it—in this shocking psychological thriller about ambition, toxic friendship, and deadly desire.

The Girls Are All So Nice Here opens when Ambrosia Wellington receives an invitation to her ten-year college reunion. Only, slipped in with all the expected information about lodging and the weekend’s schedule is an anonymous letter that says: “It’s time to talk about what we did.” Instantly, Ambrosia realizes that the secrets of her past—and the people she thought she’d left there—aren’t as buried as she’d thought. Amb can’t stop fixating on what she did—and who she did it with. Larger-than-life Sloane Sullivan (“Sully”), who could make anyone do anything. The game they played to get a boy who belonged to someone else, and the girl, Amb’s angelic roommate, who paid the price.

Amb had thought that she and Sully had gotten away with what they did their first semester at Wesleyan. But as Amb receives increasingly menacing messages during the reunion, it becomes clear that she’s being circled by someone who wants more than just the truth. Amb discovers that her own memories don’t tell the whole story, and that her actions and friendship with Sully had even more disturbing consequences than she ever imagined.

Told in alternating timelines between the reunion and Ambrosia’s turbulent first months of college, The Girls Are All So Nice Here is a gripping rollercoaster ride of a novel that examines the dark complexities of female friendship and the brutal lengths girls can go to take what they think they are owed.

Review:

Ambrosia Wellington gets an invitation to her ten year college reunion, but she isn’t planning on going until she gets a threatening note that says, “It’s time to talk about what we did.” When Ambrosia was at college, she was roommates with Flora Banning, a sweet and innocent girl with a boyfriend at another college. Ambrosia was interested in getting a more exciting college experience so she became friends with Sloan “Sully” Sullivan, the party girl. Sully liked to play games with girls and boys, and always have a good time. While Ambrosia is at the reunion, she continues to get threatening messages. She has to come to terms with what she did in school, and realize that maybe her memories aren’t as reliable as she thought.

This story was so intense. Throughout the first half of the story, I was certain that I had figured out the ending. However, there was a twist halfway through that showed me that I was completely wrong. The final chapters were so suspenseful that I was holding my breath. This was definitely a wild story.

This story had a very dark tone. There is some potentially triggering content, such as bullying, suicide, overdose, rape, and cheating. This content was quite intense at times and difficult to read. It was discomforting to read, but these are things that do happen on college campuses. These topics made for an uncomfortable read at times, but the story was so intricately plotted, that I had to give it five full stars.

This was a dark and intense thriller.

What to read next:

The Lying Game by Ruth Ware

Good Girls lie by J.T. Ellison

Have you read The Girls Are All So Nice Here? What did you think of it?

Blog Tour Review: Just Get Home

Title: Just Get Home
Author: Bridget Foley
Genre: Thriller
Publisher: MIRA
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: April 13, 2021
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

When a devastating earthquake – the Big One – hits Los Angeles, two strangers are brought together by an act of violence and must help each other survive the wrecked city.

Beegie is riding the bus when the quake hits. The teenager was heading back to her unhappy foster home, but then she’s thrown into a broken world. Roads crumble, storefronts shatter and people run wild.

Dessa, a single mom, is enjoying a rare night out when it strikes. Cell towers are down, so without even knowing if her 3-three-year-old daughter is dead or alive, she races to get back across town.

As danger escalates in the chaotic streets, Beegie and Dessa meet by a twist of fate. The two form a fragile partnership, relying on each other in ways they never thought possible, and learn who they really are when there’s only one goal: Just get home.

Review:

Dessa is a single mom, who was out with friends when the earthquake hit. Fifteen-year-old Beegie had run away from her foster home and was on the bus during the earthquake. Dessa doesn’t know if her three-year-old daughter is dead or alive because the cell towers are down and the streets are a disaster. Beegie and Dessa are brought together in these chaotic circumstances, and they have to travel across L.A. to find Dessa’s daughter.

This story was about the big earthquake that is predicted to hit California one day. I’ve only experienced a very small earthquake in Toronto years ago. I can’t imagine what kind of devastating situation like this earthquake could create.

The actual earthquake wasn’t the problem. The disaster came in the aftermath, with buildings and infrastructure destroyed and people breaking laws. In this story, people went crazy looting buildings, robbing people and attacking people. People behaved horribly to each other. It was really upsetting to read, but especially after the pandemic of the last year, I’ve noticed that people really don’t care about protecting others by changing their behaviour. It was difficult to read, but, unfortunately, it was an accurate depiction of human nature.

There were some very difficult scenes to read. Some of these scenes included rape, abuse, murder, suicide, and discussion of abortion. I definitely think these things were part of an accurate depiction of the after effects of a natural disaster, but they were still difficult to read.

This was an intense earthquake story.

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

What to read next:

The Last to See Her by Courtney Evan Tate

Social Misconduct by S.J. Maher

About the author:

Originally from Colorado, Bridget Foley attended NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and UCLA’s School of Theater, Film & Television. She worked as an actor and screenwriter before becoming a novelist. She now lives a fiercely creative life with her family in Boise, Idaho.

Have you read Just Get Home? What did you think of it?

Blog Tour Review: Just My Luck

Title: Just My Luck
Author: Adele Parks
Genre: Thriller, Contemporary
Publisher: MIRA
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: April 6, 2021
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

It was supposed to be the lottery win they’d always dreamed of…

For fifteen years, Lexi and Jake have played the same six numbers with their friends. Over drinks, dinner parties and summer barbecues, the three couples have discussed the important stuff—kids, marriages, careers—and they’ve laughed off their disappointment when they failed to win anything.

But then the unthinkable happens. There’s a rift in the group. Someone is caught in a lie. And soon after, six numbers come up that change everything forever.

Lexi and Jake have a ticket worth millions. And their friends are determined to claim a share.

#1 Sunday Times bestselling author Adele Parks returns with a riveting look at the dark side of wealth in this gripping tale of friendship, money, betrayal and good luck gone bad…

Review:

For fifteen years, a group of six friends have bought a lottery ticket every week using the same numbers. Lexi and Jake always buy them for the group. One night, they have a fight, breaking the group apart. However, the following week, their numbers come up, and Lexi and Jake have the winning ticket. Despite their fight, their four friends want a share of the winnings. This is only the start of a series of devastating events, which they can’t recover from.

Everyone dreams of winning the lottery, but it doesn’t have the dreamy outcome everyone imagines. Once you come into a lot of money, everyone you’ve ever met expects some of it. This happened in this story when Lexi and Jake won the lottery. It was complicated since they had been in a group, buying tickets together for many years. The question is did they really had a fight and dissolve the group or are Lexi and Jake just saying that to keep the money. This prize of 18 million pounds led their lives to spiral out of control, with affairs, a kidnapping, and many betrayals.

This story had some shocking and disturbing scenes. There was some abuse of a teen and a miscarriage. These scenes were intense and made the story suspenseful, but there were many flashback scenes which slowed down the pacing. There was a lot of unnecessary information that gave a full story of all the characters, but wasn’t necessary to understand the whole plot. It would have had much faster pacing if some of the flashback scenes were shortened or cut.

This was an intense thriller that will make you think twice about buying a lottery ticket.

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

What to read next:

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

Lies Lies Lies by Adele Parks

Other books in the series:

Adele Parks is the #1 Sunday Times bestselling author of twenty novels, including Lies Lies Lies and Just My Luck, as well as I Invited Her InJust My Luck is currently in development to be made into a movie. Her novels have sold 4 million copies in the UK alone, and her work has also been translated into thirty-one languages.

Have you read Just My Luck? What did you think of it?

Review: Lucky

Title: Lucky
Author: Marissa Stapley
Genre: Thriller, Contemporary
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Canada
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: April 6, 2021
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

For fans of The Flight Attendant​, a compelling and thrilling road-trip novel about a talented grifter named Lucky whose past comes back to haunt her.

What if you had the winning ticket that would change your life forever, but you couldn’t cash it in?

Lucky Armstrong is a tough, talented grifter who has just pulled off a million-dollar heist with her boyfriend, Cary. She’s ready to start a brand-new life, with a new identity—when things go sideways. Lucky finds herself alone for the first time, navigating the world without the help of either her father or her boyfriend, the two figures from whom she’s learned the art of the scam.

When she discovers that a lottery ticket she bought on a whim is worth millions, her elation is tempered by one big problem: cashing in the winning ticket means the police will arrest her for her crimes. She’ll go to prison, with no chance to redeem her fortune.

As Lucky tries to avoid arrest and make a future for herself, she must confront her past by reconciling with her father; finding her mother, who abandoned her when she just a baby; and coming to terms with the man she thought she loved—whose complicated past is catching up to her, too.

This is a novel about truth, personal redemption, and the complexity of being good. It introduces a singularly gifted, complicated character who must learn what it means to be independent and honest…before her luck runs out.

Review:

Lucky Armstrong is a talented con artist. She’s ready to leave her grifter life behind and move away with her boyfriend, when he disappears and leaves her wanted by the police. Lucky goes on the run. Then she discovers that the lottery ticket she bought has won the jackpot. The problem is that she can’t cash it in since she’s wanted for scamming people out of millions of dollars. To avoid being captured, Lucky has to travel around the country to see her father who raised her, her mother who abandoned her, and other people from her past to figure out her future.

This was a gripping thriller from the start. I started reading it before going to sleep and I was tempted to stay up all night to finish it. There were twists that surprised me. Lucky’s past was full of secrets, which were revealed in flashbacks throughout the story. There were shocking reveals right until the last pages.

I loved the ending of this story. There was a part in the opening of the story that didn’t seem related to the rest of the story. I was hoping it would all come together in the end and it did. It was a great ending that left me satisfied with the whole story.

This is such a great thriller! 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:

The Last Resort by Marissa Stapley

Woman on the Edge by Samantha M. Bailey

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

Review: The Wife Upstairs [audiobook]

Title: The Wife Upstairs
Author: Rachel Hawkins
Genre: Thriller
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Audiobook
Release Date: January 5, 2021
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

A delicious twist on a Gothic classic, The Wife Upstairs pairs Southern charm with atmospheric domestic suspense, perfect for fans of B.A. Paris and Megan Miranda.

Meet Jane. Newly arrived to Birmingham, Alabama, Jane is a broke dog-walker in Thornfield Estates––a gated community full of McMansions, shiny SUVs, and bored housewives. The kind of place where no one will notice if Jane lifts the discarded tchotchkes and jewelry off the side tables of her well-heeled clients. Where no one will think to ask if Jane is her real name.

But her luck changes when she meets Eddie­ Rochester. Recently widowed, Eddie is Thornfield Estates’ most mysterious resident. His wife, Bea, drowned in a boating accident with her best friend, their bodies lost to the deep. Jane can’t help but see an opportunity in Eddie––not only is he rich, brooding, and handsome, he could also offer her the kind of protection she’s always yearned for. 

Yet as Jane and Eddie fall for each other, Jane is increasingly haunted by the legend of Bea, an ambitious beauty with a rags-to-riches origin story, who launched a wildly successful southern lifestyle brand. How can she, plain Jane, ever measure up? And can she win Eddie’s heart before her past––or his––catches up to her?

With delicious suspense, incisive wit, and a fresh, feminist sensibility, The Wife Upstairs flips the script on a timeless tale of forbidden romance, ill-advised attraction, and a wife who just won’t stay buried. In this vivid reimagining of one of literature’s most twisted love triangles, which Mrs. Rochester will get her happy ending?

Review:

Jane is a dog walker in the gated community Thornfield Estates. The residents are so rich, that no one notices if she steals a piece of jewelry or knickknacks when picking up the dogs. Everything changes when Jane meets the recently widowed Eddie Rochester. His wife and her best friend went missing in a boating accident, and their bodies were never found. Since Eddie is a rich, handsome man, Jane sees him as her ticket out of her thieving lifestyle. As Jane and Eddie fall for each other, the mystery around his missing wife begins to resurface. Jane soon realizes nothing in Thornfield Estates is what it seems.

As soon as I saw the title of this book, I knew it was going to be about Jane Eyre. Jane Eyre is one of my favourite classic novels. Some knowledge of that book would be helpful when reading this one, to notice all of the references. However, it could also be read as a thriller on its own without reading Jane Eyre. Since I knew Jane Eyre, I had predicted what was going to happen at the end, but there was a twist I didn’t see coming.

This audiobook was great. It had three different narrators for the three different characters that narrated the novel. It made it easy to tell the characters apart since they had different voices. I sometimes find that I lose interest in an audiobook while listening to it and I get distracted doing something else. This one held my interest the whole time, and I never got distracted while listening to it.

This is such a great thriller!

Thank you Macmillan Audio for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware

Invisible Girl by Lisa Jewell

Have you read The Wife Upstairs? What did you think of it?

Blog Tour Review: Her Dark Lies

Title: Her Dark Lies
Author: J.T. Ellison
Genre: Thriller
Publisher: Mira Books
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: March 9, 2021
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

At the wedding of the year, a killer needs no invitation

Jutting from sparkling turquoise waters off the Italian coast, Isle Isola is an idyllic setting for a wedding. In the majestic cliff-top villa owned by the wealthy Compton family, up-and-coming artist Claire Hunter will marry handsome, charming Jack Compton, surrounded by close family, intimate friends…and a host of dark secrets.

From the moment Claire sets foot on the island, something seems amiss. Skeletal remains have just been found. There are other, newer disturbances, too. Menacing texts. A ruined wedding dress. And one troubling shadow hanging over Claire’s otherwise blissful relationship—the strange mystery surrounding Jack’s first wife.

Then a raging storm descends, the power goes out—and the real terror begins…

Review:

Claire Hunter is an up-and-coming artist who is marrying into the famous Compton family. Jack Compton is taking Claire to his family’s villa on an island in Italy to have the wedding of the year. On the night before they leave, they come home to find an intruder in their house. Claire gets the gun away from the intruder and shoots him dead. Jack’s bodyguard takes the fall for it. Then, when they arrive at the villa, a body has just been found in ruins on the island. This is just the beginning of the ominous disasters that happen at the villa. Everything that happens has one thing in common: it all leads back to the death of Jack’s first wife.

This was a heart pounding thriller from the beginning to the end. It was so hard to put this book down because I wanted to know what was going to happen. Each incident escalated the drama and made me excited to keep reading.

I figured out what was behind the incidents pretty early on in the story, but I couldn’t figure out how or why they were happening. There were still some unexpected twists at the end that surprised me. Even though I was pretty sure I was right, I had to keep reading to find out how it all happened.

This was such a great thriller!

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

What to read next:

The Guest List by Lucy Foley

Good Girls Lie by J.T. Ellison

About the author:

J.T. Ellison is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of more than 25 novels, and the EMMY® award winning co-host of the literary TV show A WORD ON WORDS. With millions of books in print, her work has won critical acclaim, prestigious awards, and has been published in 28 countries. Ellison lives in Nashville with her husband and twin kittens.

Have you read Her Dark Lies? What did you think of it?

Review: The Project

Title: The Project
Author: Courtney Summers
Genre: Young Adult, Thriller
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: February 2, 2021
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Lo Denham is used to being on her own. After her parents died, Lo’s sister, Bea, joined The Unity Project, leaving Lo in the care of their great aunt. Thanks to its extensive charitable work and community outreach, The Unity Project has won the hearts and minds of most in the Upstate New York region, but Lo knows there’s more to the group than meets the eye. She’s spent the last six years of her life trying—and failing—to prove it.

When a man shows up at the magazine Lo works for claiming The Unity Project killed his son, Lo sees the perfect opportunity to expose the group and reunite with Bea once and for all. When her investigation puts her in the direct path of its leader, Lev Warren and as Lo delves deeper into The Project, the lives of its members it upends everything she thought she knew about her sister, herself, cults, and the world around her—to the point she can no longer tell what’s real or true. Lo never thought she could afford to believe in Lev Warren . . . but now she doesn’t know if she can afford not to.

Review:

Lo Denham’s parents died in a car crash that left her with a large scar on her face. Her aunt took care of her after her older sister, Bea, joined The Unity Project. The Unity Project is a group known for their charity work and community outreach. Lo hasn’t spoken to her sister in six years, and she is sure that The Unity Project is a cult. When her boss’s friend claims that The Unity Project killed his son who jumped in front of a train in front of Lo, she knows she has to investigate The Project. Her research leads her right to the founder Lev Warren, who makes Lo question her own beliefs.

This story had dual narratives. Lo told her first person perspective, which alternated with a third person narrative about Bea and her years in the cult when she didn’t speak to her sister. The two sisters had been through a lot together, with losing their parents and Lo having a life altering injury from the car crash. However, Lev was able to convince Bea that the cult would be better for her than her sister.

Lev and The Unity Project were very convincing. There were accusations of abuse within the group, which prompted Lo to investigate The Project and find her sister. Lo was slowly drawn into the cult as well. The things they told her were quite convincing, but when you look at what they left out, they looked very suspicious. I could see the ending coming, but like other Courtney Summers’s books, it was heartbreaking.

This is a great, slow burn thriller.

Thank you Wednesday Books for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Agnes at the End of the World by Kelly McWilliams

The Grey Sisters by Jo Treggiari

Have you read The Project? What did you think of it?

Blog Blitz Review: If I Disappear

Title: If I Disappear
Author: Eliza Jane Brazier
Genre: Thriller, Contemporary
Publisher: Berkley
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: January 26, 2021
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

When her favorite true crime podcast host goes missing, an adrift young woman plunges headfirst into the wild backcountry of Northern California and her own dangerous obsession.

Sera loves true crime podcasts. They make her feel empowered in a world where women just like her disappear daily. She’s sure they are preparing her for something. So when Rachel, her favorite podcast host, goes missing, Sera knows it’s time to act. Rachel has always taught her to trust her instincts.

Sera follows the clues hidden in the episodes to an isolated ranch outside Rachel’s small hometown to begin her search. She’s convinced her investigation will make Rachel so proud. But the more Sera digs into this unfamiliar world, the more off things start to feel. Because Rachel is not the first woman to vanish from the ranch, and she won’t be the last…

Rachel did try to warn her.

Review:

Sera is obsessed with a true crime podcast. When the host of the podcast, Rachel, goes missing, Sera goes to the ranch where Rachel lives to find her. Once she arrives at the ranch, she discovers that nothing is what she imagined. The town is deserted and everyone she meets tries to get her to leave. Sera has to use the clues from Rachel’s podcast to find out what happened to her.

This story is written in a second-person point of view. Sera is the narrator, and she’s speaking directly to Rachel, who she refers to as “you.” This made it very creepy, because she was speaking to the reader as if you are the one who went missing.

There were many chilling scenes in this story. Some were quite graphic. There were a lot of twists that I didn’t see coming. I found the ending complicated and confusing to follow which unfortunately made it less suspenseful at the end.

I did enjoy the journey of Sera’s search for Rachel, but I wish it had a more impactful ending.

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

What to read next:

Don’t Look for Me by Wendy Walker

Sadie by Courtney Summers

Have you read If I Disappear? What did you think of it?

Blog Tour Review: One of the Good Ones

Title: One of the Good Ones
Author: Maika Moulite and Maritza Moulite
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Thriller
Publisher: Inkyard Press
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: January 5, 2021
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

The Hate U Give meets Get Out in this honest and powerful exploration of prejudice in the stunning novel from sister-writer duo Maika and Maritza Moulite, authors of Dear Haiti, Love Alaine.

ISN’T BEING HUMAN ENOUGH?

When teen social activist and history buff Kezi Smith is killed under mysterious circumstances after attending a social justice rally, her devastated sister Happi and their family are left reeling in the aftermath. As Kezi becomes another immortalized victim in the fight against police brutality, Happi begins to question the idealized way her sister is remembered. Perfect. Angelic.

One of the good ones.

Even as the phrase rings wrong in her mind—why are only certain people deemed worthy to be missed?—Happi and her sister Genny embark on a journey to honor Kezi in their own way, using an heirloom copy of The Negro Motorist Green Book as their guide. But there’s a twist to Kezi’s story that no one could’ve ever expected—one that will change everything all over again.

Review:

Kezi Smith, a teenage vlogger and activist, was killed during a social justice rally. Her younger sister, Happi, and her older sister, Genny, are left to their grief. Kezi is called “one of the good ones,” and is recognized as an idol by the media because she wasn’t a troublemaker. Kezi had planned on doing a road trip after she finished high school along Route 66, following the guide book The Negro Motorist Green Book. Genny and Happi decide to do this trip with two of Kezi’s best friends to commemorate her life, but what they find is something only Kezi could give them.

This was a fantastic story! I already know it’s going to be one of my favourites of the year and perhaps of all time. It brings up some important questions that are timely but also have historical significance. Why are some deaths condemned because the victim was “one of the good ones”? Just because someone has made some mistakes, does that mean they deserve to be brutally murdered? Since Kezi was popular and fighting for social justice, she was called “one of the good ones,” who didn’t deserve to die as a result of the rally. That implies that the “bad ones” deserve those deaths. It also brings into question, what determines if someone is good or bad, and who makes this decision.

This book blended many different genres. There were some historical chapters, which looked back on Kezi’s ancestors and the way they were treated because they were Black. Most of the story had a contemporary setting. The final part of the story was extremely suspenseful. There were some thriller aspects which I wasn’t expecting, but they just made this story even more tense and exciting.

I could not put this book down. It had something for everyone and I believe everyone should read this book!

Thank you Inkyard Press for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Dear Haiti, Love Alaine by Maika Moulite and Maritza Moulite

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

About the authors:

MAIKA MOULITE is a Miami native and the daughter of Haitian immigrants. She earned a bachelor’s in marketing from Florida State University and an MBA from the University of Miami. When she’s not using her digital prowess to help nonprofits and major organizations tell their stories online, she’s sharpening her skills as a PhD student at Howard University’s Communication, Culture and Media Studies program. Her research focuses on representation in media and its impact on marginalized groups. She’s the eldest of four sisters and loves young adult novels, fierce female leads, and laughing.

MARITZA MOULITE graduated from the University of Florida with a bachelor’s in women’s studies and the University of Southern California with a master’s in journalism. She’s worked in various capacities for NBC News, CNN, and USA TODAY. Maritza is a PhD student at the University of Pennsylvania exploring ways to improve literacy in under-resourced communities after being inspired to study education from her time as a literacy tutor and pre-k teacher assistant. Her favorite song is “September” by Earth, Wind & Fire.

Have you read One of the Good Ones? What did you think of it?

Review: The Perfect Guests

Title: The Perfect Guests
Author: Emma Rous
Genre: Thriller
Publisher: Berkley
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: January 12, 2021
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

The USA Today bestselling author of The Au Pair returns with another delicious, twisty novel–about a grand estate with many secrets, an orphan caught in a web of lies, and a young woman playing a sinister game.

1988. Beth Soames is fourteen years old when her aunt takes her to stay at Raven Hall, a rambling manor in the isolated East Anglian fens. The Averells, the family who lives there, are warm and welcoming, and Beth becomes fast friends with their daughter, Nina. At times, Beth even feels like she’s truly part of the family…until they ask her to help them with a harmless game–and nothing is ever the same.

2019. Sadie Langton is an actress struggling to make ends meet when she lands a well-paying gig to pretend to be a guest at a weekend party. She is sent a suitcase of clothing, a dossier outlining the role she is to play, and instructions. It’s strange, but she needs the money, and when she sees the stunning manor she’ll be staying at, she figures she’s got nothing to lose.

In person, Raven Hall is even grander than she’d imagined–even with damage from a fire decades before–but the walls seem to have eyes. As day turns to night, Sadie starts to feel that there’s something off about the glamorous guests who arrive, and as the party begins, it becomes chillingly apparent their unseen host is playing games with everyone…including her.

Review:

1988: Beth is a fourteen-year-old orphan who is sent to live at Raven Hall with a family who also has a fourteen-year-old daughter. The girls quickly become friends and do everything together. Then one day everything changes when the parents ask Beth to dress up as their daughter.

2019: Sadie is a struggling actress. When she’s invited to work at a murder mystery party for a weekend, she can’t resist the good paycheck. She’s given instructions and costumes to wear. However, the clues that she’s given seem to get more personal as the party goes on. Sadie starts to wonder if there’s a reason all of these guests were brought together at Raven Hall for the party.

I love it when the setting of a story becomes a character. Raven Hall was important in both narratives. It seemed to take on a life of its own, in the way that it drew people in and wouldn’t let go. The area of England where this story was set, called The Fens, has an interesting history which was explained at the end of the book. This damp, marshy land added to the suspense of the story.

This was such a suspenseful story. I couldn’t put it down, but I also didn’t want it to end so soon. I could have easily read it in one sitting. I highly recommend this thriller!

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

What to read next:

The Au Pair by Emma Rous

The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell

Have you read The Perfect Guests? What did you think of it?