Monday, April 16, 2018

Review - The Reunion by Samantha Hayes

Published - February 2018

Book Summary

They were all there the day your sister went missing.
Who is lying? Who is next?

THEN – In charge of her little sister at the beach, Claire allowed Eleanor to walk to the shop alone to buy an ice cream. Placing a coin into her hand, Claire told her to be quick, knowing how much she wanted the freedom.

Eleanor never came back.

NOW – The time has finally come to sell the family farm and Claire is organising a reunion of her dearest friends, the same friends who were present the day her sister went missing.

When another girl disappears, long-buried secrets begin to surface. One of the group hides the darkest secret of them all…

If you loved Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train, this gripping psychological thriller packed full of twists and turns will be impossible to put down. 

My Review - 4 star

I haven't read a book by Samantha Hayes in a few years and I wanted my next read to be from a favourite author, it didn't disappoint.  I enjoy the authors style,  the complexity of a suspense, mystery but in a simplistic way, no manipulating just good writing but the reader doesn't want to miss the little clues she gives you.

Claire is the glue of the family, loyal and honest to family and friends.  She lives with her husband and kids next to her childhood family farm house where her mom and dad still live.  Her mom would like to sell, she feels it is time, to large for them now and her dad has recently been diagnosed with Alzheimers and doesn't want to sell.   Claire comes up with the idea to have a reunion including siblings and best friends.  She thought it would help to bring good memories back for her dad before it was to late and to help make the decision about selling.  The mystery of the loss of her sister still is a black cloud over the family and everyone hasn't been together since that tragic day.

This place was a home.  A proper, permanent home. It was comfortable, lived-in and brimming with memories.  Rain fought the feelings of jealousy but couldn't prevent the tightness in her chest.  She wondered if she should throw up again.  Kindle 18%

Everyone starts to arrive for the anticipated reunion, fun times going down memory lane.  An addition comes along, Claire's best friends daughter, Rain.  Well she was a character that pulled at your emotional strings, anger, sadness, dismissive, empathy and sympathy but overall she is in teenager hell mode and it was hard to like and believe her. And then history repeats itself and Rain has gone missing also.

Claire felt another surge of guilt. What had been intended as a pleasurable and healing week for him had turned into a nightmare.   What kind of memories were being stirred up?  Not the ones she's intended, that was for sure.  Kindle 52%

This was a great book on family dynamics and friendships. Who do you believe, what secrets does each person have and how does this affect the tragedies?  I did figure out who was responsible but I still consider it jaw dropping and how it all came together was executed to perfection.  I even knew who would put it all together but the appalling part of the story that occurred to both victims, was shocking to me.  A really great read, you will not figure it all out and will enjoy the complexity of the story and what all the characters bring to the story.

My Reviews of Sam or Samantha Hayes 

My Favourite - Tell Tale - 5 Stars

Someone Else's Son - 3 1/2 Stars

Before You Die - 4 stars

Until You're Mine - 3 1/2 Stars

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Review - Everything She Lost by Alessandra Harris

Publication - January 2018

Book Summary

After suffering a mental breakdown that nearly destroyed her marriage, Nina Taylor works hard to maintain her tenuous hold on sanity and be a good mother to her two young daughters. Despite her best efforts, she questions the possibility of a full recovery. Single mom Deja Johnson struggles to overcome her troubled past and raise her young son. But her friendship with Nina brings more complications. What Deja is hiding could not only destroy relationships, but endanger lives. One traumatic night threatens to shatter Nina’s mind. With Deja’s help, she strives to maintain her mental balance. But as events spiral out of control, the women must find out if Nina is losing her sanity or if someone is plotting against her.

My Review - 3 stars

Most of the time Amazon book recommendations for me are great.  I have been in the mood to read about moms so this caught my attention.  I downloaded and read the first chapter then noticed the author had emailed me for a review.  I was sure this was a sign but unfortunately I thought this book wasn't believable and had one of the worst characters I have read, Deja.

Nina is home with her two daughters and husband recovering from a mental breakdown.  I found the point of the breakdown a continuous 'carrot dangling' moment without the details.  Why did it happen, why does the school treat her differently, was she correct with her thoughts, etc.  We are to believe Nina is an unreliable character but I never fell for it so the story and ending was predictable for me.  Overall, Nina was a lovely character, the grieving part of the story was done well but the journey was painful to read, she was a glimmer in a very sad story.

Deja is the 'best friend' who also only came into their lives while Deja was in the hospital, how naive are we as readers, then she starts an affair with Nina's husband.  I was angry as a woman to be reading about weak, manipulative, deceptive, cheating, lying women, it was a disgrace.  I have realized when I don't relate to a character and have such displeasure about a character, I am unable to enjoy the book.

There were many things missing in the story to help bring it all together and your reading, waiting but it doesn't happen.  Additional editing and better execution of the story was needed.  I give this a 3 because I was able to finish the book without skipping but I did consider not finishing.

Then the wrap up was to fast and ridiculous.  I thought Everything She Lost read like a debut with possible potential. The cover is gorgeous but I can't recommend this one.