Review: Darling Rose Gold

Title: Darling Rose Gold
Author: Stephanie Wrobel
Genre: Fiction, Thriller
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Canada
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: March 17, 2020
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Sharp Objects meets My Lovely Wife in this tightly drawn debut that peels back the layers of the most complicated of mother-daughter relationships…

For the first eighteen years of her life, Rose Gold Watts believed she was seriously ill. She was allergic to everything, used a wheelchair and practically lived at the hospital. Neighbors did all they could, holding fundraisers and offering shoulders to cry on, but no matter how many doctors, tests, or surgeries, no one could figure out what was wrong with Rose Gold.

Turns out her mom, Patty Watts, was just a really good liar.

After serving five years in prison, Patty gets out with nowhere to go and begs her daughter to take her in. The entire community is shocked when Rose Gold says yes.

Patty insists all she wants is to reconcile their differences. She says she’s forgiven Rose Gold for turning her in and testifying against her. But Rose Gold knows her mother. Patty Watts always settles a score.

Unfortunately for Patty, Rose Gold is no longer her weak little darling…

And she’s waited such a long time for her mother to come home.

Review:

Patty was sent to prison for poisoning and abusing her daughter, Rose Gold. She made her daughter and everyone else believe Rose Gold had been sick her whole life, but it turns out she had been poisoning her. Now she has gotten out of prison, and her daughter welcomes her into her home, where she lives with her newborn baby.

This story follows two perspectives. Patty tells her story right as she’s gotten out of prison and moved in with Rose Gold. Rose Gold tells the story of what she was doing during the five years her mother was in prison. Their stories often conflicted, so I was curious to see what would happen in the end. The Rose Gold that Patty described in the present didn’t sound like the same Rose Gold who was telling her part of the story. These conflicting narratives kept up the tension and mystery of the story.

Many parts of this story were devastating and difficult to read. Patty treated Rose Gold horribly by poisoning her for years. It was almost hard to believe she could get away with it for so long, but there was a real mother who did that to her daughter. It made the story even more sad, imagining that this happened in real life.

The story didn’t end the way I thought it would. I was surprised at the way it all turned out. This was a very suspenseful story!

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

What to read next:

The Other Mrs. by Mary Kubica

Woman on the Edge by Samantha M. Bailey

Have you read Darling Rose Gold? What did you think of it?

Review: A Conspiracy of Bones (Temperance Brennan #19)

Title: A Conspiracy of Bones (Temperance Brennan #19)
Author: Kathy Reichs
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Canada
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: March 17, 2020
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

#1 New York Times bestselling author Kathy Reichs returns with a new riveting novel featuring her vastly popular character forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan, who must use all her tradecraft to discover the identity of a faceless corpse, its connection to a decade-old missing child case, and why the dead man had her cell phone number.

It’s sweltering in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Temperance Brennan, still recovering from neurosurgery following an aneurysm, is battling nightmares, migraines, and what she thinks might be hallucinations when she receives a series of mysterious text messages, each containing a new picture of a corpse that is missing its face and hands. Immediately, she’s anxious to know who the dead man is, and why the images were sent to her.

An identified corpse soon turns up, only partly answering her questions.

To win answers to the others, including the man’s identity, she must go rogue, working mostly outside the system. That’s because Tempe’s new boss holds a fierce grudge against her and is determined to keep her out of the case. Tempe bulls forward anyway, even as she begins questioning her instincts. But the clues she discovers are disturbing and confusing. Was the faceless man a spy? A trafficker? A target for assassination by the government? And why was he carrying the name of a child missing for almost a decade?

With help from a number of law enforcement associates including her Montreal beau Andrew Ryan and the always-ready-with-a-smart-quip, ex-homicide investigator Skinny Slidell, and utilizing new cutting-edge forensic methods, Tempe draws closer to the astonishing truth.

But the more she uncovers, the darker and more twisted the picture becomes… 

Review:

In this book, Temperance enters a world of conspiracy theories. A faceless man turns up at the morgue, which Temperance is forbidden from working in from the new doctor. She starts her own investigation, which leads her to discover child abuse, missing children, and conspiracy theories, all while dealing with her own health issues.

One thing that Temperance always does is follow her own rules. She didn’t have permission to do a lot of the investigating that she did in this book, but she did it regardless. This was sometimes a problem, because she got in trouble or lost valuable clues.

This book also had some eerie mentions of pandemics. Those mentions follow the conspiracy theories in the book, but it was creepy to read mentions about pandemics and SARS in a book when we are currently experiencing a pandemic in the world.

I love learning about the sources for stories. At the end of this book, Kathy Reichs talks about the real new stories that she borrowed from for this novel. She also has a personal connection to Temperance, which was touching to read about.

This was a great Bones story.

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

What to read next:

Two Nights by Kathy Reichs

Keep Her Safe by K.A. Tucker

Have you read A Conspiracy of Bones? What did you think of it?

Review: Please See Us

Title: Please See Us
Author: Caitlin Mullen
Genre: Thriller
Publisher: Gallery Books
Source: Publisher
Format: Paperback
Release Date: March 3, 2020
Rating: ★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

In this sophisticated, suspenseful debut reminiscent of Laura Lippman and Chloe Benjamin, two young women become unlikely friends during one fateful summer in Atlantic City as mysterious disappearances hit dangerously close to home.

Summer has come to Atlantic City but the boardwalk is empty of tourists, the casino lights have dimmed, and two Jane Does are laid out in the marshland behind the Sunset Motel, just west of town. Only one person even knows they’re there.

Meanwhile, Clara, a young boardwalk psychic, struggles to attract clients for the tarot readings that pay her rent. When she begins to experience very real and disturbing visions, she suspects they could be related to the recent cases of women gone missing in town. When Clara meets Lily, an ex-Soho art gallery girl who is working at a desolate casino spa and reeling from a personal tragedy, she thinks Lily may be able to help her. But Lily has her own demons to face. If they can put the pieces together in time, they may save another lost girl—so long as their efforts don’t attract perilous attention first. Can they break the ill-fated cycle, or will they join the other victims?

Evocative, eerie, and compelling, Please See Us is a fast-paced psychological thriller that explores the intersection of womanhood, power, and violence.

Review:

This was a dark, gritty thriller.

There are multiple perspectives in this book. Claire is a psychic, whose aunt starts setting her up with men to make money. Lily has moved back to Atlantic City, after a bad breakup in New York. Luis is a deaf, mute cleaner at the spa where Lily works, but he has a secret life. The last perspectives are of the “Janes” who are the women that are lying dead in the marsh. Lily and Claire work together to investigate the disappearing women who appear in Claire’s psychic visions.

This story was quite dark. There were serious issues in the story. There was substance abuse, prostitution, and physical abuse, as well as murder. I had to put the book down for a while because of how dark it was. However, that just shows that the writing was effective and descriptive.

I didn’t like the ending of the story. There were so many characters that had interesting backstories, which I would have liked to learn more about. A few subplots didn’t have a clear resolution. I didn’t get the closure I like at the end of a book, especially a thriller.

This was a great, dark thriller.

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

What to read next:

The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James

The Other Mrs. by Mary Kubica

Have you read Please See Us? What did you think of it?

Review: Little Monsters

Title: Little Monsters
Author: Kara Thomas
Genre: Young Adult, Thriller
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Source: Gift
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: July 25, 2017
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Kacey is the new girl in Broken Falls. When she moved in with her father, she stepped into a brand-new life. A life with a stepbrother, a stepmother, and strangest of all, an adoring younger half sister.

Kacey’s new life is eerily charming compared with the wild highs and lows of the old one she lived with her volatile mother. And everyone is so nice in Broken Falls—she’s even been welcomed into a tight new circle of friends. Bailey and Jade invite her to do everything with them.

Which is why it’s so odd when they start acting distant. And when they don’t invite her to the biggest party of the year, it doesn’t exactly feel like an accident.

But Kacey will never be able to ask, because Bailey never makes it home from that party. Suddenly, Broken Falls doesn’t seem so welcoming after all—especially once everyone starts looking to the new girl for answers.

Kacey is about to learn some very important lessons: Sometimes appearances can be deceiving. Sometimes when you’re the new girl, you shouldn’t trust anyone.

Review:

This is a great young adult thriller.

The story is told from two perspectives, both first-person. The main character is Kacey, and she tells most of the story. Her best friend, Bailey, goes missing, and she ends up finding a lot of the clues to her disappearance. The other narrative is Bailey’s journal. Both of these girls seem reliable, but at times their stories don’t match, so it made me question if they were reliable and what they were hiding.

Kacey had a unique family. She had grown up with her mother, but when she had problems with her and wanted to run away, she was sent to her dad who she had never met. Her dad had a child, Lauren, and a stepson, Andrew. Kacey’s dad was often working so she spent a lot of time with her stepmother, Ashley. This complicated family structure seemed real since it was so unique and modern.

There were tons of twists, which I love in a thriller. There was also a town legend of a woman covered in blood, which added some supernatural elements to the story.

This is a great thriller!

What to read next:

The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas

Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen M. McManus

Have you read Little Monsters? What did you think of it?

Review: The Other Mrs.

Title: The Other Mrs.
Author: Mary Kubica
Genre: Fiction, Thriller
Publisher: Park Row
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: February 18, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Propulsive and addictive, The Other Mrs. is the twisty new psychological thriller from Mary Kubica, the New York Timesbestselling author of The Good Girl

She tried to run, but she can’t escape the other Mrs.

Sadie and Will Foust have only just moved their family from bustling Chicago to small-town Maine when their neighbor Morgan Baines is found dead in her home. The murder rocks their tiny coastal island, but no one is more shaken than Sadie.

But it’s not just Morgan’s death that has Sadie on edge. And as the eyes of suspicion turn toward the new family in town, Sadie is drawn deeper into the mystery of what really happened that dark and deadly night. But Sadie must be careful, for the more she discovers about Mrs. Baines, the more she begins to realize just how much she has to lose if the truth ever comes to light.

Review:

This was a thrilling read!

The story was very fast paced. It progressed quickly, with many twists. The story had three alternating narratives. Sadie was the main narrative. There was also Camille, a woman who was having an affair with Sadie’s husband. The third one was Mouse, a six year old girl.

I can’t say much about this book without spoiling the ending. It was cleverly written. At first, I didn’t like the big revelation, once I realized what was going on. However, when I looked back on the whole story I realized how carefully everything was written so the answers were right there in the story all along.

I really enjoyed this book!

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

What to read next:

The Good Girl by Mary Kubica

The Wives by Tarryn Fisher

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

Review: The Two Lila Bennetts

Title: The Two Lila Bennetts
Author: Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke
Genre: Fiction, Thriller
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Source: Thomas Allen and Son (book distributor)
Format: Paperback
Release Date: July 23, 2019
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Lila Bennett’s bad choices have finally caught up with her. And one of those decisions has split her life in two. Literally.

In one life, she’s taken hostage by someone who appears to be a stranger but knows too much. As she’s trapped in a concrete cell, her kidnapper forces her to face what she’s done or be killed. In an alternate life, she eludes her captor but is hunted by someone who is dismantling her happiness, exposing one secret at a time.

Lila’s decorated career as a criminal defense attorney, her marriage, and her life are on the line. She must make a list of those she’s wronged—both in and out of the courtroom—to determine who is out to get her before it’s too late. But even if she can pinpoint her assailant, will she survive? And if she does, which parts of her life are worth saving, and which parts must die? Because one thing’s for certain—life as Lila Bennett knew it is over.

Review:

Lila Bennett is a criminal defense attorney who is having an affair with her boss. She makes a decision one night that changes her life. This story tells what would happen in both scenarios, depending on the choice she makes.

This was a unique way to tell the story. It sounds complicated at first, but it was such a creative way to tell the story. The chapters alternate between Lila’s narrative when she’s free and when she was captured. It looks at both routes her life could have taken.

This narrative also showed how even though Lila’s decision was different, the lives of everyone else stayed the same. Everyone did the same things they would have done whether or not she was captured, so we get to see the same story from two different perspectives.

There were some echoes of each life in both narratives. For example, after wearing handcuffs that hurt her wrist when she’s captured, her wrists mysteriously hurt in the other narrative.

The ending was so shocking. I thought I had it figured out throughout the whole story, but I was wrong! I really enjoyed this story!

Thank you Thomas Allen and Son for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

The Good Widow by Liz Fenton and Lis Steinke

Woman on the Edge by Samantha M. Bailey

Have you read The Two Lila Bennetts? What did you think of it?

Review: A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder (A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder #1)

Title: A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder (A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder #1)
Author: Holly Jackson
Genre: Young Adult, Thriller
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Source: Publisher
Format: Paperback
Release Date: February 4, 2020 (originally May 2, 2019)
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

For readers of Kara Thomas and Karen McManus, an addictive, twisty crime thriller with shades of Serial and Making a Murderer about a closed local murder case that doesn’t add up, and a girl who’s determined to find the real killer–but not everyone wants her meddling in the past.

Everyone in Fairview knows the story.

Pretty and popular high school senior Andie Bell was murdered by her boyfriend, Sal Singh, who then killed himself. It was all anyone could talk about. And five years later, Pip sees how the tragedy still haunts her town.

But she can’t shake the feeling that there was more to what happened that day. She knew Sal when she was a child, and he was always so kind to her. How could he possibly have been a killer?

Now a senior herself, Pip decides to reexamine the closed case for her final project, at first just to cast doubt on the original investigation. But soon she discovers a trail of dark secrets that might actually prove Sal innocent . . . and the line between past and present begins to blur. Someone in Fairview doesn’t want Pip digging around for answers, and now her own life might be in danger.

This is the story of an investigation turned obsession, full of twists and turns and with an ending you’ll never expect. 

Review:

This was a thrilling young adult novel!

In this story, Pippa decides to investigate a five-year-old murder of a girl in her town. The case had been closed by the police after the girl’s boyfriend committed suicide, but something about the case didn’t feel right to Pippa. She does her own investigation with Ravi, the brother of the boy who died.

This was a suspenseful story with loads of twists. There were so many clues that it was difficult to piece together. In the end, it all made sense. I didn’t guess what had happened, because it was a complicated ending. I like it when I’m surprised at the ending of thrillers, without having a bunch of important clues withheld until the end.

I loved this young adult thriller! I’ll be recommending this book to all my friends. I’m excited to read the next book in this series.

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

What to read next:

Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen M. McManus

Sadie by Courtney Summers

Have you read A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder? What did you think of it?