Review of Lock Every Door by Riley Sager

Thank you so much to Dutton Books and NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

I swear I will never be able to give Riley Sager anything but a 5-star review. His books have a way of sucking me and making me forget about everything else I should be doing I absolutely love them.

When Jules finds a hidden ad in the paper hiring for an apartment sitter she decides to give it a shot. Desperate for a job and barely making ends meet, Jules is willing to work just about anywhere at this point. When she arrives at the Bartholomew for her job interview she can’t believe her luck, getting to stay in this amazing place for four months and get paid a ridiculous amount of money to do so. And then comes the rules; no visitors, you must spend the night there every night, and you cannot speak to the other residents unless spoken to first. Jules agrees and when she meets another apartment sitter named Ingrid who shares the same disdain for some of the rules, Jules is excited to finally have someone to talk too and hang out with. But then Ingrid goes missing, doesn’t answer her phone, and leaves a mysterious note behind. As Jules starts digging more into the disappearance of Ingrid, she finds out more about the secrets behind the Bartholomew and how dangerous it really is.

I loved how this book was completely different from Riley Sager’s two other novels. What I had originally thought was going to be a book about a haunted apartment quickly turned into something I wasn’t expecting. The amount of suspense and creepiness in this book kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time and I honestly couldn’t flip the pages fast enough. The plot and storyline drew me in and I loved every minute of it.

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Review of A Serial Killer’s Daughter by Kerri Rawson

Thank you so much to Nelson Books and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for my review!

I have read many true crime stories but this was my first true crime memoir.  This was a very interesting read for me as it happened in my home state of Kansas and I got to watch it as it unfolded.

Synopsis:

What is it like to learn that your ordinary, loving father is a serial killer?

In 2005, Kerri Rawson heard a knock on the door of her apartment. When she opened it, an FBI agent informed her that her father had been arrested for murdering ten people, including two children. It was then that she learned her father was the notorious serial killer known as BTK, a name he’d given himself that described the horrific way he committed his crimes: bind, torture, kill. As news of his capture spread, Wichitacelebrated the end of a thirty-one-year nightmare.

For Kerri Rawson, another was just beginning. She was plunged into a black hole of horror and disbelief. The same man who had been a loving father, a devoted husband, church president, Boy Scout leader, and a public servant had been using their family as a cover for his heinous crimes since before she was born. Everything she had believed about her life had been a lie.

4 STAR REVIEW

This story hits pretty close to home for me as I live only about 4 hours away from Wichita, KS.  I remember watching the news as it happened and watching the movies based on the heinous crimes, it was stomach-churning.  I don’t know how I would have managed if it was my dad that had committed these crimes.

A few parts of this book were confusing to me as the author touched on things that had happened in the past or memories but didn’t really go into details about them.  

You couldn’t help but feel terrible for Kerri Rawson as she had to go through this.  Her dad was such a well-respected guy in their town, church president, and a Boy Scout leader and he lead this total double life that no one knew about until he was caught.  His daughter had to carry the burden and get looked at funny all because of what her father did and that’s what made me the saddest of all, that she was getting repercussions from his crimes that she had nothing to do with.  

Her writing style and how she explained growing up with her family in Kansas was so well written and I found myself really liking her.  She was so real in her writing and really held nothing back.  

This was a very personal book and I commend Kerri for completely opening up her life for everyone to read.  It was an enjoyable read and I really liked hearing more about the story.

About the author:

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Kerri Rawson is the daughter of Dennis Rader, better known to the world as the serial killer BTK. Since her father’s arrest, Kerri has been an advocate for victims of abuse, crime, and trauma, sharing her journey of hope, healing, faith, and forgiveness. She lives with her husband, two children, and two cats in Michigan.

Review of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Its Terrifying Times by Joseph Lanza

4 STAR REVIEW

Thank you so much to Skyhorse Publishing and NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Anyone that knows me knows that I’ve been obsessed with horror movies since a very young age (thanks Mom and Dad).  I love that this author wrote basically a tell all about how the movie idea came to be and all of the history behind it.  

When the movie first premiered in 1974 some viewers were engrossed while others were disgusted.  Due to its violence and gore it was actually banned from many countries and pulled from US theaters because of its extreme violence.  Tobe Hooper didn’t let that stop him though and the movie ended up being called one of the most influential horror movies of all time.  

I loved how this book touched on what all went on in the 1970s that inspired certain aspects of the movie.  It incorporated so many political views, other serial killers in the US, and racism and sexism.  It was more than just a horror movie, it included a lot that was going on at the time.

Tobe Hooper touched on such a violent decade and made this book so much more than just about the horror film.  Even though the budget for the movie was slim, he made it work and now there have been numerous sequels to the movie that seems to have made horror movies.

His writing style and details about the history of the 70s were so enjoyable to read and I learned many new things that I didn’t know about then.  This was a great book if you’re into The Texas Chainsaw Massacre movies and want to hear more about the backstory.

PURCHASE LINKS:

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-texas-chain-saw-massacre-joseph-lanza/1131267528?ean=9781510737907#/

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Joseph Lanza is the author of several books that center on independent film. His book Gravity: Tilted Perspectives on Rocketships, Rollercoasters, Earthquakes, and Angel Food (St. Martin’s Press/Picador, 1997) was well-received and was selected for the Los Angeles Times’ Best Non-Fiction Books list of 1997. Phallic Frenzy: Ken Russell and His Films (Chicago Review Press, 2007) received positive reviews from Financial Times. He lives in New Jersey.

Review of No Place Like Here by Christina June

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4 STAR REVIEW

Thank you so much to Blink Publishers and NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

This was my first novel by Christina June and I was hooked right from the beginning.  I know a lot of people said it was a modern Hansel and Gretel retelling, which loosely put it could be, but I thought of it more as a YA contemporary.

Ashlynn can’t wait to be back home after spending a year at boarding school away from her parents.  But then she finds out her dad is going to prison for tax evasion, and she found out not from her parents but from social media.  And to add the cherry on top, her mom is going to rehab for “exhaustion” aka depression.  She gets shipped off to spend the summer with her relatives that she barely knows and starts a summer job at a wilderness camp that their daughter Hannah works at. 

I automatically fell in love with the main character Ashlynn.  I felt so bad for her at the beginning when she found out both of her parents were pretty much abandoning her and she had to go live with her Uncle and Aunt that she hasn’t seen in forever.  The way her tyrant Dad treated her about made me want to cry and then the sweet way her Mom acted toward her when her Dad wasn’t around made me want to cry again.  But then when she actually started becoming happy and finally made friends with Hannah my heart just soared.  You can’t help but want to root for her the whole novel.  Yeah, she messed up once but what happened to her was really not her fault at all and her Dad just couldn’t drop his ways and see that.

I also really loved the character of Baxter.  He was so tentative with her and soft-spoken at first and then really opened up at Ashlynn.  He didn’t try to be the macho douchebag like Marcus, he actually helped with Ashlynn’s family problems and was always there to help her (and rescue her!) and was an amazing friend.

This is definitely a perfect summer read about family issues and learning how to trust new people even when you can’t trust your own family.

PURCHASE LINKS:

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/no-place-like-here-christina-june/1128931453?ean=9780310766926#/

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

View More: http://hannahbjorndalphotography.pass.us/authorchristinajune

Christina June writes young adult contemporary fiction when she’s not writing college recommendation letters during her day job as a school counselor. She loves the little moments in life that help someone discover who they’re meant to become – whether it’s her students or her characters. Christina is a voracious reader, loves to travel, and hopes to one day be bicoastal – the east coast of the US and the east coast of Scotland. She lives just outside Washington DC with her husband and daughter.

She is the author of IT STARTED WITH GOODBYE, EVERYWHERE YOU WANT TO BE, and the forthcoming NO PLACE LIKE HERE.

Blog Tour & Review for The Scent Keeper by Erica Bauermeister

Thank you so much to St. Martins Press for inviting me to participate in this blog tour for such an amazing book!  Make sure you read to the end of this post for something special!

Synopsis:

Emmeline lives an enchanted childhood on a remote island with her father, who teaches her about the natural world through her senses. What he won’t explain are the mysterious scents stored in the drawers that line the walls of their cabin, or the origin of the machine that creates them.  As Emmeline grows, however, so too does her curiosity, until one day the unforeseen happens, and Emmeline is vaulted out into the real world–a place of love, betrayal, ambition, and revenge. To understand her past, Emmeline must unlock the clues to her identity, a quest that challenges the limits of her heart and imagination.

My Review:

4 STARS

Thank you so much to St. Martins Press for providing me with a free copy of this book and inviting me to participate in the blog tour!

I’m honestly not even sure where I should start with this book, my mind and body are still trying to process this amazing piece of work.  This book has definitely left me with a book hangover and I’m not regretting it.

Emmaline lives on an island with her other and it’s the only home she’s ever known.  Her dad tells her amazing stories about Jack the scent keeper and has a machine that captures smells and puts them on pieces of paper that go into little bottles.  As Emmaline gets older her curiosity about the thousands of bottles grows and after a tragedy happens, she finds herself thrown into the real world.  As she tries to learn more about the new world around her Emmaline also must learn about her true identity and where she came from.

When I first started reading this book I was a little put off.  The way Emmaline and her father lived was very odd to me and once the scent machine came into the picture I really started getting weirded out.  But the author’s writing style kept drawing me back in and I honestly couldn’t put it down.  This book gripped me so hard and to be honest left me a little emotional.  Everything Emmaline went through and had to learn was so hard and I felt so bad for her.

The characters were all so well developed and the relationship between each of them was so different.  I loved Fisher and Emmaline’s relationship and I also loved Emmaline’s relationship with her stand in parents.  They were all so complex in their own ways but such a joy to read about.

This is a book that is going to stay with me for a long time and I’m so glad that I got the opportunity to read such an heart wrenching novel.  Getting to follow along with Emmaline’s journey through self-discovery and learning all of these new things brought tears to my eyes at times but also made me ridiculously happy at others.  I haven’t had a book touch me this way and I felt so many different emotions while reading it.

Thank you so much to Erica Bauermesiter for writing such an incredible book!

 

Purchase Links:

About the author:
Scent Keeper - Author Image_credit to Susan Doupé
Erica Bauermeister is the author of the bestselling novel The School of Essential Ingredients, Joy for Beginners, and The Lost Art of Mixing. She is also the co-author of the non-fiction works, 500 Great Books by Women: A Reader’s Guide and Let’s Hear It For the Girls: 375 Great Books for Readers 2-14. She has a PhD in literature from the University of Washington, and has taught there and at Antioch University. She is a founding member of the Seattle7Writers and currently lives in Port Townsend, Washington.
GIVEAWAY!
St. Martins Press was kind enough to send over a copy of this amazing book for me to giveaway!  Head over to my Instagram for the full rules and details!

Review of The Night Before by Wendy Walker

5 STARS

Thank you so much to St. Martins Press and NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Wendy Walker has always been one of my favorite authors and she wrote another amazing book once again. I have read her other two published novels and this is by far my favorite one. This book was full of suspense and mystery and I loved that it bounced back and forth between the two main characters every other chapter.

After another failed relationship Laura decides to take a temporary leave from her job and apartment and move in with her sister Rosie who has the perfect family with her husband and son. Laura is struggling to break free from her past while it seems that Rosie has it all together. When Laura goes on a blind date with a guy from a dating website and then never comes home Rosie takes matters into her own hands to find her sister. Due to Laura’s past and the fact that she’s still viewed as killing her boyfriend years earlier, Rosie can’t help but think Laura did something bad again. But what Rosie and her husband Joe uncover will leave everyone reeling and casting doubt on one another.

I cannot say enough good things about this book. I was immediately hooked from the beginning and could not stop reading, I love how Laura’s character was viewed as the tough as nails chick with the “fists for hands” while Rosie was the more maternal have-to-take-care-of-everyone character. The storyline and plot were excellent and kept me thinking one thing but then threw me for a huge loop when it turned out I was wrong, way wrong.

This book was completely different from Wendy Walker’s other books and I loved that. I definitely think she should continue writing mystery/suspense novels because she is beyond amazing at coming up with some crazy stories.

 

PURCHASE LINKS

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-night-before-wendy-walker/1129285225?ean=9781250198679#/

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Wendy Walker has worked as an attorney specializing in family law. Her novels include EMMA IN THE NIGHT and ALL IS NOT FORGOTTEN. She lives in Connecticut, where she is at work on her next novel.

Review of Only Ever Her by Marybeth Mayhew Whalen

 

3 STAR REVIEW

Thank you so much to Lake Union Publishing and Little Bird Publicity for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

I honestly had a really hard time getting into this novel.  A lot of characters were thrown at me in the beginning and I had a hard time keeping straight who was who.  I felt no connection to this book and honestly would have DNFed it if I wasn’t honestly a little curious about the outcome.

Annie Taft’s wedding is soon approaching and it’s speculated to be the wedding of the year if not the wedding of the century.  Her Aunt Faye is happy for her but can’t help think about Annie moving away after the wedding.  Annie is like a daughter to her as she took her in when she was 3-years-old after her mother was murdered and Annie helped convict the killer.  Now all these years later the killer is claiming innocence and Annie now isn’t so sure he was guilty.  Then Annie goes missing days before her wedding, right after the man who killed her mother is released.  

To me it seemed like the book wasn’t really about searching for the missing bride, it was more about all these different characters living in a small town and all of their individual problems.  Like I said above I had a hard time keeping up with the characters when every other chapter switches between their POVs.  I thought this book was supposed to be about the suspense surrounding finding the missing bride but really it’s about everyones story while they’re searching for Annie.  I wound’t have minded that if the characters had been more interesting and compelling but all of them fell short and were honestly a little annoying to me.  

Having never read anything by the author and after reading this book, I honestly don’t think I really want to explore her other novels.

Purchase Links:

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/only-ever-her-marybeth-mayhew-whalen/1129690967?ean=9781503903890

 

About the author:

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Marybeth Mayhew Whalen is the author of When We Were Worthy, The Things We Wish Were True and five previous novels. She speaks to women’s groups around the US. She is the co-founder of the popular women’s fiction site, She Reads www.shereads.org. Marybeth and her husband Curt have been married for 26 years and are the parents of six children. The family lives in North Carolina. Marybeth spends most of her time in the grocery store but occasionally escapes long enough to scribble some words. She is always at work on her next novel. You can find her at www.marybethwhalen.com.