I Found You has many different meanings

35184176I Found You by Lisa Jewell is a suspenseful thriller featuring three separate stories that slowly merge together.  First we meet Alice Lake, a single mom of three children – Kai, Jasmine and Romaine and their three dogs (Hero, Sadie, and Grif) living in a small house by the shore in Ridinghouse Bay.  Alice sees a man sitting on the beach in the pouring rain not moving for hours.  He has lost his memory, not knowing who he was and why he was sitting there.  Against her best friend Derry’s advice, Alice gives the man a warm coat and brings him inside her house and her daughter Romaine names him Frank.

Then we meet Lily Monrose from Ukraine who has only been back from her honeymoon for 10 days and now lives in London with her husband Carl.  One night Carl doesn’t come home from work, which is out of character for him.  She realizes that she doesn’t completely know her husband.  When she brings in the police, they quickly discover no person with his name exists.

We then head back twenty years to 1993 when the Ross Family (Tony, Pam, Gray and Kirsty) decide to vacation for two weeks in Ridinghouse Bay.  When Gray (17) and Kirsty (15) are out for a walk, Gray notices a guy staring intently at Kirsty.  It makes Gray uncomfortable.  The next day the family is on the beach and the same guy is sitting next to them.  He soon befriends the family and invites them over for tea at the large estate across the way.  Mark Tate (19) is visiting his aunt Kitty who recently lost her husband.  Mark quickly becomes obsessed with Kirsty and he starts to come across as a crazy, evil person.

The narrative switches back and forth between the three storylines slowly weaving back and forth bringing them together at the end.  Throughout the book, you don’t know exactly who the strange man on the beach could be.  Is it Gray or is it Mark.  And who is Lily’s husband?  Is it Gray or is it Mark?  Is the stranger on the beach and Lily’s husband the same person or are they two different people?  Lisa Jewell kept me guessing and kept me second guessing my selections.  I found I could not put this book down.  I wanted to know what was happening and I wanted answers.  This is a great thriller just in time for summertime.

Now that I’ve been done with the book for a few days, I understand the title pertains to several characters of the book.  It also means something different for each of the characters.

Book Description:
A young bride, a lonely single mother, and an amnesiac man of dubious origin lie at the heart of New York Times bestselling author Lisa Jewell’s next suspenseful drama that will appeal to fans of Liane Moriarty and Paula Hawkins.

In a windswept British seaside town, single mom Alice Lake finds a man sitting on the beach outside her house. He has no name, no jacket, and no idea how he got there. Against her better judgment, she invites him inside.

Meanwhile, in a suburb of London, twenty-one-year-old Lily Monrose has only been married for three weeks. When her new husband fails to come home from work one night she is left stranded in a new country where she knows no one. Then the police tell her that her husband never existed.

Twenty-three years earlier, Gray and Kirsty are teenagers on a summer holiday with their parents. Their annual trip to the quaint seaside town is passing by uneventfully, until an enigmatic young man starts paying extra attention to Kirsty. Something about him makes Gray uncomfortable—and it’s not just that he’s playing the role of protective older brother.

Two decades of secrets, a missing husband, and a man with no memory are at the heart of this brilliant new novel, filled with the “beautiful writing, believable characters, pacey narrative, and dark secrets” (London Daily Mail) that make Lisa Jewell so beloved by audiences on both sides of the Atlantic.

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You never know what really happens Behind Closed Doors

29437949There are all kinds of thrillers out there but I think my favorite is a psychological thriller.  This type of thriller reminds me that there are crazy people out in the world who actually do the things that are in these types of books.

Behind Closed Doors by B. A. Paris is the type of psychological thriller that if I was at the stage of my life I was dating, I would probably scrutinize the men and wonder if they are stable individuals.

Grace loves her sister Millie who has Down Syndrome.  Because their crappy parents didn’t want Millie when they found out she had Down Syndrome, Grace stepped up and said she would parent Millie.  The two of them are so close.  While on an outing, Grace and Millie meet Jack.  Unlike all the other guys Grace had dates, Jack warmed to Millie and showed her respect.

Grace thinks she has found the perfect man who says once they are married, Millie will come live with them.  On their wedding day, Millie falls down the stairs, breaks her leg and misses the wedding.  As soon as they were married, Jack’s personality does a 180.  It’s like Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde.  Jack is one creepy guy!

Paris does a fantastic job ramping up the element of fear that Grace experiences.  She brings us into the story so that we are right there next to Grace.  How is she going to get away from Jack and how is she going to keep Millie safe.

I really liked that each chapter alternates between present and past.  Paris does a great job with the slow reveal of why Jack is the way he is and how Grace tries to escape over and over and fails every time.

This is a book that I’m sure will be read in one sitting by many people because you will not want to put it down.  I found myself at work sitting at my desk wondering would anyone notice if I read at my desk.  I thought Criminal Minds mentally messed with me but Behind Closed Doors has left an imprint.

Book Description:
Everyone knows a couple like Jack and Grace: he has looks and wealth, she has charm and elegance. You’d like to get to know Grace better. But it’s difficult, because you realize Jack and Grace are never apart. Some might call this true love.

Picture this: a dinner party at their perfect home, the conversation and wine flowing. They appear to be in their element while entertaining. And Grace’s friends are eager to reciprocate with lunch the following week. Grace wants to go, but knows she never will. Her friends call—so why doesn’t Grace ever answer the phone? And how can she cook such elaborate meals but remain so slim?

And why are there bars on one of the bedroom windows?

The perfect marriage? Or the perfect lie?

Until next time…enjoy the view from your passenger seat

Murder at The Dollhouse

30039173The Dollhouse by Fiona Davis is such a fascinating story!  This is a story about Rose Lewin who in 2016 moved into the Barbizon Hotel in New York City with her newly divorced boyfriend and Darby McLaughlin who in 1952, moved from Ohio into the hotel to attend classes at the Katherine Gibbs secretarial school.

Barbizon Hotel had a long history as a safe and secure place for young women who came to New York City to study, look for a job or look for a husband.  Over the years it eventually was turned into condos.

Rose, a former network reporter takes a job that is a step down so she can be with her boyfriend.  As she is leaving the building, she meets an unfriendly elderly resident in the elevator.  She finds out that a few of the long-term tenants of the former hotel are living on the fourth floor.  She learns that the unfriendly woman was involved in an accidental death that took place back in the 50’s.

As Rose starts to investigate the accident from the 1950’s, we learn about Darby’s life at the Barbizon Hotel where she wasn’t treated nicely by the women on her floor and how she becomes friends with the hotel’s maid named Esme.  Esme introduces Darby to the darker side of New York City.

The story switches back and forth between Darby’s story from the 1950’s and Rose in 2016.  It shows how their lives progress and eventually intertwine.  I remember reading about rooming houses in New York where women lives with a housemother.  The Barbizon hosted famous women like Sylvia Plath, Liza Minelli, Candace Bergen and Joan Crawford.

I loved this book and found it so fascinating.  It was hard to put it down.  Fiona does a great job pulling the reader into the lives of the women at Barbizon Hotel.

I was able to read this book through the First to Read Program from Penguin Random House.

Book Description:
Fiona Davis’s stunning debut novel pulls readers into the lush world of New York City’s glamorous Barbizon Hotel for Women, where a generation of aspiring models, secretaries, and editors lived side-by-side while attempting to claw their way to fairy-tale success in the 1950’s, and where a present-day journalist becomes consumed with uncovering a dark secret buried deep within the Barbizon’s glitzy past.

 When she arrives at the famed Barbizon Hotel in 1952, secretarial school enrollment in hand, Darby McLaughlin is everything her modeling agency hall mates aren’t: plain, self-conscious, homesick, and utterly convinced she doesn’t belong—a notion the models do nothing to disabuse. Yet when Darby befriends Esme, a Barbizon maid, she’s introduced to an entirely new side of New York City: seedy downtown jazz clubs where the music is as addictive as the heroin that’s used there, the startling sounds of bebop, and even the possibility of romance.

Over half a century later, the Barbizon’s gone condo and most of its long-ago guests are forgotten. But rumors of Darby’s involvement in a deadly skirmish with a hotel maid back in 1952 haunt the halls of the building as surely as the melancholy music that floats from the elderly woman’s rent-controlled apartment. It’s a combination too intoxicating for journalist Rose Lewin, Darby’s upstairs neighbor, to resist—not to mention the perfect distraction from her own imploding personal life. Yet as Rose’s obsession deepens, the ethics of her investigation become increasingly murky, and neither woman will remain unchanged when the shocking truth is finally revealed.

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The Wolf Road is a scary thriller

30002336The Wolf Road by Beth Lewis features Elka who is a strong individual who was left with her Nana at the age of 5, so her parents could dig for gold.  Trapper found Elka wandering in the woods when she was 7 and for the next ten years, teachers her all the skills to survive in the wilderness.  After 10 years, Elka finds out Trapper is wanted for multiple murders.

Elka isn’t used to being around other people, so she doesn’t know how to read them and she doesn’t really like people, all she knows is the wild.  She runs away trying to escape from Trapper and the law while she tries to reunite with her parents.

Elka is a great character who is stronger than she thinks.  I was cheering for her to find her parents and to get away from Trapper.  I liked Penelope, who she rescues and even though they are polar opposites, they become best friends and family to one another.

As the story progresses and their backgrounds are slowly revealed, and you realize everyone is a little messed up in the apocalyptic story.  Sometimes I forgot this was in the future because after the Russians drop bombs, everyone is thrown back 150 years.  This is a beautifully written story about a lost girl who has to grow up very fast.  There were times I was sitting on the edge of my seat worried about Elka and the people Trapper attacks.   This was well worth my time.

Book Description:
A debut literary thriller from an incredible new voice. What do you do when the man who gave you everything turns out to be a killer? Perfect for fans of STATION ELEVEN by Emily St. John Mandel.

Since the Damn Stupid turned the clock back on civilization by centuries, the world has been a harsher place. But Elka has learned everything she needs to survive from the man she calls Trapper, the solitary hunter who took her in when she was just seven years old.

So when Elka sees the Wanted poster in town, her simple existence is shattered. Her Trapper – Kreagar Hallet – is wanted for murder. Even worse, Magistrate Lyon is hot on his trail, and she wants to talk to Elka.

Elka flees into the vast wilderness, determined to find her true parents. But Lyon is never far behind – and she’s not the only one following Elka’s every move. There will be a reckoning, one that will push friendships to the limit and force Elka to confront the dark memories of her past.

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Be careful what you wish for

22813276I have mixed feelings about How to Date Dead Guys by Ann M. Noser.  One, it was very well written and an interesting concept.  Two, I wanted to reach in and throttle Emma.  Emma is a very naive college student who can barely talk to a guy without showing how socially inept she is.  Her extrovert roommate and sister take Emma to a campus party where they leave Emma leaning on the wall by the beer keg while the party raved on around her.  In walks Mike and he is a vision of beauty to Emma, he is all she can see.  He is a guy that she could fall in love with.

When Mike’s 21st birthday rolls around, his friends and brother get him super drunk.  He leaves with Emma and wants to swim across the river where others have drowned.  Emma wants to do something crazy, so she decides to swim across the river with him.  But Emma makes it to the other side and Mike is nowhere to be found, which Emma thinks is all her fault.  Personally I thought it was partially her fault because if Mike was as drunk as he was, then I think she could have distracted him away from the river.

I was mad at Mike’s brother Kevin for getting him super drunk.  It drives me crazy when I hear about a 21-year-old over drinking on their birthday and either getting injured or die.  They have a lifetime to drink, their friends should know better than to keep pushing the drinks on them.

Emma finds a book of spells under her roommate’s bed and decides to bring Mike back.  Like that is a good idea.  Of course, she doesn’t get what she wants and soon dead guys are showing up all around her.  There is a reason they are showing up and Emma has to figure out how to help them while avoiding her roommate, who is dating Mike’s brother Kevin.

This is part paranormal romance, part mystery and very entertaining as the nightmare of one night pushes a young woman beyond her comfort zone and into the hearts and souls of strangers.  There are funny moments, sad moments and moments that might make you cry.  A very enjoyable story that makes you ask the question – would you bring someone back from the dead?

Book Description:
College sophomore Emma Roberts remembers her mother’s sage advice: “don’t sleep around, don’t burp in public, and don’t tell anyone you see ghosts”. But when charming Mike Carlson drowns in the campus river under her watch, Emma’s sheltered life shatters.

Blamed for Mike’s death and haunted by nightmares, Emma turns to witchcraft and a mysterious Book of Shadows to bring him back. Under a Blood Moon, she lights candles, draws a pentacle on the campus bridge, and casts a spell. The invoked river rages up against her, but she escapes its fury. As she stumbles back to the dorm, a stranger drags himself from the water and follows her home. And he isn’t the only one.

Instead of raising Mike, Emma assists the others she stole back from the dead—a pre-med student who jumped off the bridge, a desperate victim determined to solve his own murder, and a frat boy Emma can’t stand… at first.

More comfortable with the dead than the living, Emma delves deeper into the seductive Book of Shadows. Her powers grow, but witchcraft may not be enough to protect her against the vengeful river and the killers that feed it their victims.

Inspired by the controversial Smiley Face Murders, HOW TO DATE DEAD GUYS will ignite the secret powers hidden deep within each of us.

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Death of a Bride is a gripping thriller

29586791Out of the blue I received an email from Luke Christodoulou asking if I wanted to read his latest book Death of a Bride.  Of course I said yes.  This murder mystery starts out when a bride is brutally murdered during a horrible storm the day before her wedding.  The wedding is in a small village on a remote island off the southern tip of the island of Crete.

Police Captain Costa Papcosta, has been invited to the wedding of a cousin of his partner Ioli Cara.  Costa and Ioli immediately get down to business to find the killer who has to be in the house as all boats to the island have been stopped due to the storm.

The crime is because of something that happened in the past and Costa and Ioli have to figure out why someone would take revenge now, which is slowly revealed with flashbacks.

Luke does a great job of keeping the reader guessing on who the killer could be.  I would pick someone and then realize I was wrong.  I finally gave up trying to guess.  This was a gripping and fast-paced story that you will not want to put down until you get to the end.

I really like a good thriller and I can’t wait to read more of the Greek Island Mysteries.  This is the third book of the series but can be a standalone.  Make sure to add Death of a Bride to your to read list.

Book Description:

Of all the plans a bride makes in anticipation for her wedding day, dying is definitely not one of them.  The Zampetaki mansion, on the remote island of Gadvos, welcomes dozens of guests for the grand wedding of Cassandra Zampetaki and Homer Cara. It’s a wedding that will never take place. The bride’s lifeless body is found, brutally murdered, on the morning of the wedding. Planned to look like an open-and-shut case, the mastermind behind it all did not figure on Hellenic Police Captain Costa Papacosta and Lieutenant Ioli Cara to be among the guests.

A storm rages outside and no one is able to leave the island. In a battle against time, the dynamic investigating duo must solve this intense case before the guilty party can depart from the island.  Everyone is a suspect and no one is safe.  Join in on the thrilling mystery and try to solve the crime. The clues are all there…

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The Girl From Home is a great thriller

25814347The Girl From Home by Adam Mitzner features Jonathan Caine, a self-absorbed Wall Street hedge fund manager.  Growing up, Jonathan always thought his father was just average and weak, which made him strive to obtain his millions, his trophy wife and possessions.

He has a saying he lives by ‘I want what I want’ so he goes after the things he wants no matter what.  He lives in a very expensive Manhattan apartment with his wife who only cares about status, drives a leased Bentley and is trying to get enough millions to buy a house on the ocean in East Hampton.

A client wants his $250 billion dollars back and wants it now so Jonathan does a few illegal moves to be able to pay the client back and not have anyone notice.  Accused of insider trading, Jonathan’s assets are frozen and his seemingly charmed life has evaporated around him.  With nowhere to turn, Jonathan decides to head back to New Jersey to care for his ailing father and to attend his twenty-fifth high school reunion.

At the reunion, Jonathan runs into Jacqueline Williams, the pretty girl from his class who married the quarterback who also abuses her and is super jealous.  Soon Jonathan and Jackie start on a secret love affair that takes them down a slippery slope.

Everything I’ve ever read about hedge funds sounds like it’s all a scam.  So reading a book that features a hedge fund manager doesn’t make me very sympathetic to Jonathan’s plight.  I did have sympathy for Jacqueline who is married to an abusive husband who she didn’t know was that way when they originally got married.

I found the setup of the book interesting.  It bounced back and forth between what was going on during the shady trading and the class reunion.  Eventually time catches up to right after the reunion.  This was a very well written story that kept my interest.  If you can get past the Wall Street money scam, the story is really good with an interesting twist.

Book Description:

The acclaimed author, whose recent novel of suspense Losing Faith was declared “startling…a well-crafted story” (Kirkus Reviews), takes you on a gripping psychological thrill ride in this electrifying tale of a millionaire who will go to deadly lengths to get what he wants.

Jonathan Caine is a true master of the universe—a currency wizard with a trophy wife, a penthouse condo with a view of the Statue of Liberty, and the desire for more—when his world comes crashing down, spiraling him into a relentless fall from grace.  Devastated, Jonathan returns to his hometown to care for his ailing father and attend his twenty-fifth high school reunion, where he becomes reacquainted with former prom queen Jacqueline Williams.  Back in the day, Jackie didn’t even know Jonathan existed. Now she is intrigued by the man he has become.  But their budding relationship has problems, not the least of which is Jackie’s jealous and abusive husband.  Jonathan is determined to learn from his mistakes, but is he capable of complete transformation?  Or will a shocking temptation test his desire for redemption beyond anything he could have imagined?

Until next time…enjoy the view from your passenger seat