Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Every look is a truce and it's written in stone: ENOLA HOLMES AND THE BLACK BAROUCHE.

Enola Holmes and the Black Barouche (Enola Holmes, #7)Enola Holmes and the Black Barouche by Nancy Springer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I am excited to present my first guest review, from my wonderful wife, Kate! Thanks, babe, for your review of this book, the seventh in Nancy Springer's Enola Holmes' series.

When I heard there was going to be another book in the Enola Holmes series, I jumped at the chance and promised my book-loving wife that I would write a guest review. So, here it is! Please accept my apologies ahead of time for the fact that I cannot (and would never dare try to) match the quality and skill that my wife demonstrates in her own book reviews.

Enola Holmes and the Black Barouche, by Nancy Springer, is another book in the growing series following Ms. Enola Holmes, the 15 year old sister of the famous Sherlock Holmes. This book is being released over 10 years after the last published novel, which came out in 2010. The earlier six novels covered the ongoing story of Enola’s (often contentious) relationship with her brothers (Sherlock and Mycroft), as well as brought the reader resolution about Enola’s missing/runaway mother. This new story starts with a Prologue written by none other than Sherlock himself, who provides a summary of these tales, and tells of his earlier encounters with Enola. His introduction even suggests his level of respect for her has improved dramatically. The new story finds the young detective (or Scientific Perditorian, as she has dubbed herself) seeking the whereabouts of Miss Leticia Glover’s twin sister, Flossie. Glover has been told that her sister has died, but the circumstances surrounding Flossie’s death are mysteriously vague. Initially, Glover seeks the assistance of Mr. Sherlock Holmes, but she ends up with the masterful pair of Enola and Sherlock, who are finally working together on a case. The two detectives set out, albeit in opposite directions, to ascertain the fate of the missing twin.

I think the allure of these books for me is the underlying message that Enola is as good as, if not better (or at least cleverer) than her notorious older brother. In the previous stories I enjoyed her ability to reach conclusions before him, even if she was getting there with only a slight edge. This particular story seamlessly continues the message that Enola’s keen mind works in ways that Sherlock’s doesn’t.

I thoroughly enjoyed this seventh book in the Enola Holmes series and hope that the author continues with her story. And, while I do enjoy that Enola and Sherlock have mended their relationship and are able to work together, I hope Enola can still find time to shine on her own. This particular book began with a Prologue from Sherlock, and ended with an Epilogue also penned from his perspective. As these stories are supposed to be Enola’s, it felt wrong for the final word to be coming from someone else. Beyond that, this was an excellent mystery and fun, quick read.

We received a copy of this book from St. Martin's Press / Wednesday Books in return for an unbiased review. Look for BLACK BAROUCHE on 08/31/2021!

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Wednesday, August 25, 2021

If I'd only known then what I know now: GONE FOR GOOD.

Gone for Good (Detective Annalisa Vega, #1)Gone for Good by Joanna Schaffhausen
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

An excellent mystery where a cold case intersects with a new murder

In the 1990s, the Lovelorn Killer killed seven women and disappeared. The last known victim was Katherine Duffy, the wife of a police officer, who was killed on Halloween. After twenty years, many wonder if he's gone for good. But a group of amateur online sleuths, known as the Grave Diggers, don't think that. They take on cold cases and investigate them. One of these Diggers is Grace Harper, a grocery store worker. Grace is sure the Lovelorn Killer is out there, blending into the same neighborhoods he hunted in. Detective Annalisa Vega's father--also a cop--was partnered with Katie Duffy's husband back in the day. Her murder was a defining moment in Annalisa's life. When Annalisa is called to the scene of Grace's murder and realizes she was killed in a similar manner to the Lovelorn Killer, she wonders if the killer is back. Investigating will mean dredging up Annalisa's childhood memories and giving everything she has to catch a murderer.

"With each passing year, the Lovelorn Killer recedes into history and people shrug at the mention of his name. Looks like he's gone for good."

This is an excellent mystery--honestly no surprise when it's by Schaffhausen. I love her Ellery/Reed series, and I'm excited that there's a new series from her. This is a dark read and Annalisa's personal ties to the case and investigation only strengthen this book. It's wonderful reading a story with a strong female detective (and a female boss). Annalisa is a new detective, struggling with the fact that she must work with her ex-husband, Nick Carelli, the established detective on the force. But she doesn't let that, or anything, stop her. Schaffhausen is so good at writing a police procedural; she writes about the processes and force dynamics so well. You feel a part of the investigation and Annalisa's police family superbly. Same with the city of Chicago. She captures the city perfectly. As someone with Chicago ties, this book is so Chicago. I cannot wait for my parents, who grew up in the Chicago suburbs, to read it.

Told from Annalisa's perspective and interspersed with excerpts from Grace's journal, GONE FOR GOOD is tense and crackling with suspense. It's a fast moving read that keeps you guessing from the very beginning, which opens with Grace's death. Yet Grace always feels like another living character in the book, and she's integral to the plot. This is truly a dark read, with a lot of death and murder, and a "bad guy" who is quite bad. I'm always impressed at how Schaffhausen can write stories that permeate with evil and tension.

Overall, I loved everything about this book. The unification of old and new cases and way the Internet sleuths added to the cases. How Annalisa's personal life intertwined with the investigation. GOOD is well-written and keeps you guessing until the very end. I'm looking forward to the next book in the series. 4.5 stars.

I received a copy of this book from Minotaur Books and Netgalley in return for an unbiased review.

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Monday, August 23, 2021

Cause one key opens my front door: THE PERFECT FAMILY.

The Perfect FamilyThe Perfect Family by Robyn Harding
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

A tense look at a family pushed to the brink

The Adler family looks perfect to outsiders. Good jobs for husband Thomas and wife Viv, two lovely children in Eli and Tarryn, and a gorgeous home. But things begin to crack when they wake up one morning and find that gorgeous home covered in eggs. They are sure it was just a prank by some neighborhood kids. But it's followed by a smoke bomb, punctured tires, and more. Thomas sets up cameras, but they only catch shadows. The police offer little help. As things escalate with each supposed prank, the family grows more and more fearful. Especially because every family member is keeping a secret--and as the violence against them grows, the secrets only get worse.

"But the people who lived there only looked perfect. They had done horrible things."

This is definitely a page-turner with some twists. There's a lot going on in THE PERFECT FAMILY--each family member has secrets and lies. It's an interesting premise, that dark secrets can pull everyone apart, even entire families. I was always expecting just a little bit more: a slightly bigger secret or surprise than what happened here. Still, the book offers an excellent commentary on keeping secrets and putting pressure on your children. It was difficult to find a character to root for, though the two Adler children were certainly sympathetic. I also found the ending to lack a bit of resolution.

"I realized that everyone in my family had secrets. And mine might be the worst of all."

Overall, though, this mystery offers thrills and twists. While it wasn't perfect (ha) for me, I enjoyed it. It's not my favorite Robyn Harding book, but it's worth a read. The twisted dynamics of the Adler family are intriguing and often terrifying, especially as the suspense ramps up. 3.5 stars.

I received a copy of this book from Gallery Books and Netgalley in return for an unbiased review.

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Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Don't give yourself away to settle someone else's score: FIREKEEPER'S DAUGHTER.

Firekeeper's DaughterFirekeeper's Daughter by Angeline Boulley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

An expansive and lovely #OwnVoices tale

Daunis Fontaine feels torn between two worlds--growing up worrying about her Mom and dreaming of becoming a doctor and then being an unenrolled member of the Ojibwe tribe. Her late father was a member and so is her half-brother, Levi. When Daunis' uncle dies and she decides to stay home and attend local community college to take care of her mom, she feels trapped. But the arrival of Jamie, a new member of Levi's hockey team, is a bright spot. The two become fast friends. However, everything changes when Daunis witnesses a horrible murder, and she becomes an informant for the FBI. Suddenly, everything she knows about her hometown and the tribe changes.

"I learned there were times when I was expected to be a Fontaine and other times when it was safe to be a Firekeeper."

This is an excellent book--more mystery than I thought it would be. It covers a lot of topics--sometimes more than seems necessary. Racism, tribal issues, sexual assault, depression, drug abuse, FBI informants, romance, murder... there's a lot packed into this book. However, it does a great job looking into how meth and drug abuse affect the Native American community (as well as sexual assault). It's heartbreaking at times, but also compelling and educational.

"My mother's superpower is turning my ordinary worries into monsters so huge and pervasive that her distress and heartache become almost debilitating. I can protect her from that hurt."

Daunis is a very sympathetic and likeable character. She's dedicated to her family, to her tribe, and her community. She takes on a lot for a kid her age. Sometimes it felt like the informant plot was a little much, a little contrived, but overall, it didn't take away from my enjoyment of the book. It was wonderful to read an #OwnVoices book of such quality and scope, and I look forward to what Boulley does next.

I read this book as part of my new reading project--choosing books off my shelves based on their Goodreads rankings. This is my fourth book of the project, forcing me out of my comfort zone and to try books in genres I don't usually read!

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Monday, August 16, 2021

By the time you're here, we're all we've got: THE DEAD AND THE DARK.

The Dead and the DarkThe Dead and the Dark by Courtney Gould
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Captivating look at the supernatural and the pull of family

In Snakebite, Oregon, teenagers keep disappearing or turning up dead. Things just seem off. The locals blame Brandon and Alejo Ortiz-Woodley, two former Snakebite residents who are back in town. They now host a popular ghost hunting show and travel the country with their daughter Logan. Wanting to clear the family name, Logan winds up joining forces with Ashley Barton, whose boyfriend was the first to go missing. Ashley is sure she can feel his presence guiding her around Snakebite. But as the two team up, they discover some pretty terrifying and dangerous things about Snakebite.

I loved this book so much. Sometimes it feels like I read similar books over and over. Not this time. Gould’s book is original and spellbinding. This is such a dark and ominous read. Gould truly brings you into Snakebite, the supernatural, creepy, and quite unwelcoming small town. It’s atmospheric and spooky. I could not put this book down!

DARK is filled with LGBTQIA representation, between Logan’s dads, the fact that she’s an out lesbian, and her own burgeoning friendship (and more) with Ashley. I loved everything about all of it.

This book is part horror story, part exploration of the meaning and depths of darkness, and part look at family dynamics. It’s an extremely well written ghost story with a sapphic love interest. It really doesn’t get much better than that! (It’s so good, read it—and it’s a debut!)

I received a copy of this book from St. Martin's Press / Wednesday Books and Netgalley in return for an unbiased review.

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Friday, August 13, 2021

My mind wanders where it will: HEARTBREAK FOR HIRE.

Heartbreak for HireHeartbreak for Hire by Sonia Hartl
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

A wreck of a romance

Brinkley Saunders tells everyone she works as an administrative assistant. But she really works at
Heartbreak for Hire, an undercover operation that specializes in a variety of revenge schemes for jilted lovers, annoyed coworkers, and more. She dropped out of grad school in the aftermath of a disastrous relationship--much to the despair of her mother--but the job helps Brinkley save for her dream of opening her own art gallery. However, when her boss Margo announces she's hiring male Heartbreakers for the first time, Brinkley starts questioning her purpose, especially when one of the new hires is a target she was paid to take down. Markus Cavanaugh is an adjunct anthropology professor at University of Chicago. He doesn't seem like the backstabbing academic she was told to go after... and as she gets to know Markus more and continues to question her role as a Heartbreaker, Brinkley realizes a lot of things aren't what they seem.

"I had my career, my cat, control. The Three C's of avoiding that hopeless cycle of loving someone who didn't love me back."

I feel awful, but this book just did not work for me at all. I almost didn't finish it, but I really try to complete all my ARCs. Ironically I hated most of it except the end, which was actually pretty good. But most of this one had me cringing. Brinkley's job is terrible and makes no sense--I couldn't even see how Heartbreakers and the division of "Egos, Players, Cheaters, and Grifters" would even possibly translate to the real world. Her boss is absolutely awful.

"If we trained men to break women's hearts, what did that say about our mission? What did that say about us?"

The book is filled with ridiculous contrived fights and plot-lines, and I didn't buy the relationship between her and Markus at all. They like each other, hate each other, rinse and repeat, with a bunch of silly "twists" thrown in over and over to keep them apart. Do something and stop whining (this applies equally to them both). It was just boring and stupid, and I couldn't handle all the bad decisions. If there's going to be conflict, I want it to be realistic, and if there's going to be romance, I want to buy into the couple and feel a genuine affection toward them. But with everyone being so hateful to each other, an entire profession created toward tearing people down, and a bunch of random contrived obstacles thrown up to keep Markus and Brinkley apart... I just couldn't handle it.

A lot of other people enjoyed this one far more than me, so hopefully you will too.

I received a copy of this book from Gallery Books and Netgalley in return for an unbiased review.

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Wednesday, August 11, 2021

The highway that calls for your heart inside: DARK ROADS.

Dark RoadsDark Roads by Chevy Stevens
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A dark and unsettling mystery

For years, the nearly five hundred mile stretch of Cold Creek Highway has been infamous as a place where young women go missing. Drivers, hitch hikers, and more. But their abductor has never been found. Hailey McBride lives in Cold Creek. Her father recently died in a car accident, leaving her to live with her aunt and her controlling police officer husband, Vaughn. Vaughn watches Hailey's every move, bullying and terrorizing her, keeping her from seeing her best friend, Jonny and her new love interest, Amber. Using what her dad taught her about the local land, Hailey plans her escape to the mountains. With Jonny's help, the idea is that everyone will think she was another victim of the highway killer. A year after Hailey disappears, Beth Chevalier arrives in town, desperate for closure after her sister Amber's murder. Beth's life is in shambles after Amber's death, and she starts to look into what happened. But Beth's search puts her in danger--and starts to reveal the truth about what happened to Hailey.

"I had to get out of this house, and this town."

This is a dark and often stressful book. It's told from two perspectives, Hailey and Beth. I was quite attached to Hailey, who is suffering at the hands of Vaughn, the stereotypical power-hungry small-town cop. He embodies the part of the sinister bad guy. Because he seems to control the entire town (no one will even give Hailey a job, since Vaughn doesn't want her to have one), her only choice is to go live in a shack in the mountains and basically let everyone think she's dead. The book shifts from menacing to survival-in-the-woods story and then we flip to Beth's perspective, where she's a struggling wannabe law student who arrives in Cold Creek to figure out who killed her sister (who was Hailey's love interest).

If it seems like a lot and a bit confusing, it is. I liked this book, but it did seem like it had multiple personalities. I found it tense at times (add to the fact that Hailey had a dog in the wilderness--I cannot handle books where something might happen to an animal) and other times a bit slow. Vaughn is our clear bad guy--Hailey even discovers some of his many terrible traits and crimes. But if that's true, then why are we reading? Just to catch him? At times, the book catches us off kilter, guessing and wondering. At other times, it falls a bit flat when the whole premise doesn't really seem to work. Who is our protagonist and what is the end goal?

Overall, this is an often dark and quite atmospheric book. It's creepy and twisty and sometimes heartbreaking. Is it worth reading? Yes. But I'm not sure if it ever lives up to its true potential.

I received a copy of this book from St. Martin's Press and Netgalley in return for an unbiased review.

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Monday, August 09, 2021

Put our favorite music on and hold each other close: UNDER THE SOUTHERN SKY.

Under the Southern SkyUnder the Southern Sky by Kristy Woodson Harvey
My rating: 3.75 of 5 stars

A heartfelt romance set in North Carolina

Amelia Saxton, a journalist, has just published a personal story in "Modern Love" discussing her own modern marriage with her husband Thad, talking about how happy they are in their life filled with travel and their decision not to have children. That same day she discovers Thad is cheating on her--with another man. Devastated, Amelia's life is completely upended and she wonders if she can ever trust again. While researching another story, she finds out that some embryos belonging to her childhood friend Parker and his late wife, Greer, have been deemed "abandoned." Parker had a love for the ages with Greer, but Amelia--the literal girl next door--was his first love. He had forgotten about the embryos, but once he hears Amelia's news, he wants to become a single father via surrogate. As Amelia and Parker each return home to Cape Carolina to deal with their own grief, they find comfort in their friendship.

"People always think being loved will change them. But that's not true. It's really, truly loving--with the kind of love you couldn't take away even if you wanted to--that turns you inside out."

This book had an interesting plot idea--the whole embryo idea has the possibility to become icky, but overall Woodson Harvey pulls it off. I have been through IVF and dealt with frozen embryo decisions myself, so the book certainly hit home. The story is told via Parker and Amelia's present-day perspectives and interspersed with excerpts from Greer's journals. The North Carolina setting is atmospheric and takes on a life of its own.

At times, this tale is kind of silly and all over the place, but it's a very easy read. The characters are also easy-to-like, and I grew to care a lot about both Parker and Amelia. It's a fun and romantic tale, with just about everyone tied together in various ways. There are meddling moms, family secrets, and drama with Parker's brother. All of this makes the book quite a page-turner, which is at turns sweet and heartbreaking. 3.75 stars.

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Friday, August 06, 2021

There's nothing like finding gold within the rocks hard and cold: WHERE THE CRAWDIDS SING.

Where the Crawdads SingWhere the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A haunting story of survival

Kya Clark is very young when her mother leaves, abandoning her to their marshland home and her violent father. His presence is in her life is scattered, at best, and Kya mostly raises herself, learning about the land, the wildlife, and the swamp on her own. She forms attachment to few, but meets two very different young men from town whom she feels drawn to. In 1969, one of those men is found dead and Kya--always a source of gossip among the locals--is the prime suspect.

I'm not sure there's much I can add to the many reviews of this popular book. I read it as part of my new reading project--choosing books off my shelves based on their Goodreads rankings. This is my third book of the project, forcing me out of my comfort zone and to try books in genres I don't usually read! I'm glad I finally read it-- it's a very mesmerizing tale, and Kya's improbable life on the marsh quickly drew me in.

This is part a character-driven and coming of age story combined with a mystery and courtroom drama. It covers a lot of Kya's life, but focuses on her growing up in the marsh. There's a lot that seems hard to believe--especially that no one does anything to help this parent-less child, growing up alone in the marsh. The book covers a lot of heady topics, including racism, sexual assault, and more. Its description of nature and the marsh are beautiful. At the heart of the story is Kya, and it's impossible not to root for our heroine. She's tough and smart, and the way she loves her marsh is simply beautiful.

Overall, rating on pure enjoyment, I really liked this book. If I don't delve too deep into pondering about the inner workings of the plot, this was a great read--mesmerizing, haunting, and lovely. 4+ stars.

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Wednesday, August 04, 2021

You're the strongest person in the room: BROKEN HORSES.

Broken HorsesBroken Horses by Brandi Carlile
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A great memoir for music fans

BROKEN HORSES is Brandi Carlile's story. She grew up poor in Seattle, moving constantly as a child. Her family was musical, giving Brandi a love of music as a young child. She knew was gay since she was a teen--something that wasn't always appreciated in her rural town. She tells her story from childhood, where her love of music began, to coming out, to her marriage and life with her two children, to her musical successes.

"I was a mean, scrappy little trailer girl with the wrong clothes and a very sensitive soul that I was hiding behind a bravado that I had developed performing onstage."

I adore Brandi Carlile and have for a long time. Having such a talented out singer in our community makes us all feel proud. "See her, she's one of us!!" Having followed Brandi's career from the beginning, I know a decent amount about her. Hence my problem with a number of celebrity memoirs I read: if I read a memoir about someone I really love and already know a lot about them, if they write a fairly superficial memoir, I only learn so much.

Don't get me wrong, Carlile has written a good and interesting book. She's a fascinating person, and I enjoyed learning about her rather wild journey. I didn't know much about her childhood, so I found those pieces to be the most intriguing. She was a wild and tough kid, who was so musically talented from the beginning. Imagine being one of the people who heard her perform in a pageant or talent show when she was a young kid or teen!

After going through her coming out story, Carlile talks about her musical career, and it's all really amazing, but sometimes feels fast and glossed over. I always love knowing the history of songs, but would have liked knowing more details about things. We skip over full albums, time periods, and more. And, as many celebrity memoirs do, it often feels a bit preachy and overly me-oriented at times (something she'll laughingly and freely admit to). When we get to her meeting her wife, it's a fun story, but also really quick. Still, it's so nice to see a queer woman's story so normalized, and to have someone talk about gay motherhood so matter of factly.

Overall, I'm so glad Carlile decided to share her thoughts on her life. She's such an amazing individual who has lived such an intense and fascinating life so far. I wish she had gone more in-depth with her stories at times, but this is still a great book and certainly worth your time. At some point, I hope to get the audio version, as she sings versions of the songs she discusses in each chapter.

I read this book as part of my new reading project--choosing books off my shelves based on their Goodreads rankings. This is my second book of the project, forcing me out of my comfort zone and to try books in genres I don't usually read!

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Tuesday, August 03, 2021

Wait by the light of the moon: I KISSED A GIRL.

I Kissed a GirlI Kissed a Girl by Jennet Alexander
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A fun movie set romance

Noa Birnbaum's dream is to work in the movies: in horror special effects and makeup. She finally gets a chance to work on a real movie (one step closer to joining the union), but it means dropping out of school, where she's earning her theater degree. Her parents won't be pleased. On the set, she's face to face with actress Lilah Silver, whom Noa has had a crush on for ages. Lilah has her own dreams, to move beyond B-list horror films and into true stardom. This starring role as the "final girl" could be her opportunity. When she meets openly out Noa, Lilah may finally have a chance to admit to her own bisexuality. But a relationship could have its own problems for both Lilah and Noa.

"Noa'd thrown away everything else in her life for this job. And now she was seriously considering throwing the job away for a chance at a girl? Stupid beyond words."

This is a cute story whose strength comes across in its representation--queer characters covering bi, trans, lesbian and more. There's also some excellent Jewish representation, as both Noa and Lilah bond over their religious beliefs. As a member of the LGBTQIA community, I love seeing stories that reflect myself and my friends. Watching Lilah grapple with her bisexuality and coming out and seeing Noa hang out with her friends, being openly out and accepted. These are still stories and characters we do not get to see and read about regularly. Even better, it seems like I read a lot of queer YA books, not a lot where the characters are adults (although they might not always act like it in this story, ha). It was fun and refreshing.

"Special effects artist had never been on the list of things Good Jewish Girls Did."

For me, this book was a little long. It could have been a bit shorter and would have felt more snappy. A lot of the focus in this story is on miscommunication, which is a pet peeve of mine. I just can't handle when so much of the plot could be avoided if the characters just spoke openly to one another. It's also not entirely clear why Noa crushes so much on Lilah, to the point that it seems that she can't rationalize clearly. A lot of this inability to communicate or think clearly leads to some back and forth storylines, so it seems like as if the plot zigs and zags. Up and down. Will Noa go for a relationship with Lilah or keep her job? Is Lilah willing to risk her career for her sexuality? Again, if things had been just a bit shorter, we probably could have skipped a bit of this.

Still, this is a fun story. While Lilah and Noa can be frustrating sometimes, they are engaging characters. The horror film set adds an interesting level to the book (there's another plot line involving Lilah and threats to her safety). It's a little long, but I appreciated all the queer and Jewish rep. 3+ stars.

I received a copy of this book from Sourcebooks Casablanca and Netgalley in return for an unbiased review. It releases 8/3/2021.

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Monday, August 02, 2021

Her little girl got lost in the deep end: JUST ONE LOOK.

Just One LookJust One Look by Lindsay Cameron
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A slightly bland thriller

After an incident at the law firm where she works, Cassie Woodson finds herself temping. She's reviewing correspondence for a fraud case--several tiers removed from her life as a lawyer. While going through the tedious emails, she discovers a series of exchanges between one of the firm partners, Forest Watts, and his wife Annabelle. Cassie can't help but read them, fixating on the way Forest seems to love and adore his wife. But when she finds a way to "accidentally" meet Forest, her fixation with the Watts turns into a full blown obsession.

"He has no idea that I have access to every corner of his life. Even the dusty ones."

This was a perfectly fine thriller, though I found it a little bland. I think it's because I'm so over unreliable alcoholic narrators. For me, that trope is just done. I lose sympathy for the protagonist at that point and just stop caring. Cassie is just an insane train wreck of a character. The whole book felt like watching one, honestly. The premise here is that she's abandoned by her mother at a young age, hence making her unstable and leading to a series of incidents (including the one where she came unglued at her law firm). But I could never quite buy why she became so obsessed with Forest Watts and his wife.

"Eyes aren't the windows to the soul. Emails are."

Most of the book focuses on Cassie's preoccupation with Forest--starting with the emails and then branching out into real life. The girl is committed, I will give you that. She creates a binder on the Watts and everything. If only she was that dedicated to something more productive. There's also a subplot with her temp co-worker, Dalton. Then with about 10 to 15% of the book left, the plot takes a complete turn and things get more exciting. However, nothing that happened previously really seemed to gel with that plot twist, so I found it all a little odd. It was a strange, out of left field turn.

Overall, I found this book interesting enough that I kept reading, so I'm still giving it 3 stars. But it was a strange ride, to say the least. Others liked it more than me, so take my review with a grain of salt.

I received a copy of this book from Random House - Ballantine and Netgalley in return for an unbiased review.

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