The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

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The Wife Between Us
By Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
ISBN13: 9781250130921
Pages: 352
Genre: Mystery/Suspense

Synopsis:

A novel of suspense that explores the complexities of marriage and the dangerous truths we ignore in the name of love. 

When you read this book, you will make many assumptions.
You will assume you are reading about a jealous wife and her obsession with her replacement.
You will assume you are reading about a woman about to enter a new marriage with the man she loves.
You will assume the first wife was a disaster and that the husband was well rid of her.
You will assume you know the motives, the history, the anatomy of the relationships.
Assume nothing.


(New) Thoughts

The Wife Between Us is stunningly complex story of a divorced woman and her ex husband’s young bride to be. It is everything you will want in a suspenseful mystery and nothing you expect. It’s tempting rave about this book for multiple paragraphs and part of me is dying to discuss it at great length, but that would be an atrocity. This will be short and sweet. Do yourself a huge service, skip the lengthy reviews and jump into this one blind! You will come to appreciate the obscured synopsis.

This is a distorted tale of marriage and deceit that is fueled by slow revelations and character development. The brilliance being that it relies on completely “unreliable” narration. Told through alternating chapters, a cunning manipulation of viewpoints effortlessly conceals the truth well into the final pages.

To know that this is co-authored is spectacular. Each seamless transition and intelligent sequence of events leave no evidence of more than one pen at work. Combined efforts have created a gratifying read that successfully deceives the reader. You will think you know, then you will realize you don’t. Then you will think you do. But you don’t.

What begins as a classic tale of a failed marriage and an affair quickly evolves into a work of true craftsmanship that twists and turns so many times, it is disorienting. The final outcome is a story within a story that is completely addictive and absorbing. The pages will turn themselves. Grab a hot cup and prepare to settle in, because if you appreciate mystery and suspense, you will find it difficult to put this one down.

*I would like to thank St. Martin’s Press for this advanced copy. The above review is my own, unbiased and honest opinion.

Untitled designEnjoyed with multiple cups of Chamomile (to counteract the tension), as I just couldn’t stop with this one.

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Happy Reading!

Danielle ❤

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The Red Hunter by Lisa Unger

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The Red Hunter
By Lisa Unger
Publisher: Touchstone
ISBN13: 9781501101670
Pages: 359
Genre: Thriller/Mystery

Synopsis:

What is the difference between justice and revenge?

Claudia Bishop’s perfect life fell apart when the aftermath of a brutal assault left her with a crumbling marriage, a newborn daughter, and a constant sense of anxiety about the world around her. Now, looking for a fresh start with a home restoration project and growing blog, Claudia takes on a crumbling old house–one that unbeknownst to her has an ugly history and may hide long buried secrets.

For Zoey Drake the defining moment of her childhood was the horrific murder of her parents. Years later, she has embraced the rage that fuels her. Training in the martial arts has made her strong and ready to face the demons from the past–and within.

Strangers to each other, and walking very different paths in the wake of trauma, these two women are on a collision course–because Zoey’s past nightmare and Claudia’s dreams for her future take place in the same house. As Zoey seeks justice, and Claudia seeks peace, both will confront the terrifying monsters at the door.


(New) Thoughts

The Red Hunter is a tale of two female strangers whose paths have unknowingly been woven together by their own dark pasts. Claudia is a single mother working diligently to build a new life of happiness through the process of renovating an old house with her daughter. She longs to leave the brutal attack that flipped her life upside in the past and heal. Zoey is a fierce young woman who aims to confront the murder of her parents and her tragic history head on. Fate will weave a tangled web that eventually bring them and their demons together in a head on impact that will forever change their lives.

My initial reaction to The Red Hunter was to pick it up and devour it! I found myself instantly drawn to Unger’s fluid narration and writing style. Fortunately, I forced myself to settle into a slower pace and absorb this one over the span of a few days because this is a story that I feel is most rewarding when allowed to unfold slowly.

Character development was steady, offering substantial growth and establishing a solid connection with the reader. It was easy to identify with Claudia and Zoey. While each has chosen an entirely different course of action in life, there were constant factors in place that assured every decision and difference remained relatable and viable. Unger supplies a solid back story for our main protagonists while leaving the waters just muddied enough to fuel the mystery. They are credible and familiar, yet there is so much more to know.

Plot progression is well paced. The story starts out feeling a bit unhurried when compared to some thrillers, but I found this to be well warranted. The initially slower introduction allows the reader adequate time to familiarize themselves with not one but two protagonists.  Things soon pick up however, and a rapidly developing plotline draws the reader in as two separate lives begin to fall inline through the use of cleverly alternating timelines and point of views that come together seamlessly.

Lisa Unger’s writing is direct and smooth. She effectively creates an atmospheric experience that is as engaging as it is convincing while avoiding unnecessary and frivolous details. She sets a stage ripe with the air of mystery and no shortage of the unexpected. As a latecomer, I found The Red Hunter to be a terrific introduction to Lisa Unger’s writing.

Untitled designEnjoyed with a cup of red rooibos tea with a hint of almond and vanilla.

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13 Minutes by Sarah Pinborough

13minutes(New)TheBook
13 Minutes
By Sarah Pinborough
Publisher: Flatiron Books
ISBN13: 9781250123855
Pages: 320
Genre: YA Mystery

Synopsis:

Natasha’s sure that her friends love her. But does that mean they didn’t try to kill her?

Natasha is the most popular girl in school. So why was she pulled out of a freezing river after being dead for thirteen minutes? She doesn’t remember how she ended up in the icy water that night, but she does know this—it wasn’t an accident, and she wasn’t suicidal.

Now Natasha’s two closest friends, who are usually her loyal sidekicks, are acting strangely. Natasha turns to Becca, the best friend she dumped years before, to help her figure out the mystery.

At first Becca isn’t sure that she even wants to help Natasha. But as she is drawn back into Natasha’s orbit, Becca starts putting the pieces together. As an outsider, Becca believes she may be the only one who can uncover the truth…which is far more twisted than she ever imagined.


(New) Thoughts

I am not even sure what direction to take this review as the book managed to successfully pull me in so many different ones. 13 Minutes left me spellbound and frustrated for a multitude of reasons. I was unable to put it down.

Natasha (Tasha) awakens to discover she was dead for 13 minutes after being recovered from a local river. With no recollection of the events preceding her death, she is haunted by the number 13. 13 books on the shelf, 13 steps. And why are her two best friends behaving so oddly? When an old friend Becca re-enters Natasha’s life, the truth slowly begins to surface. But sometimes reality is far more disturbing than anyone could predict.

13 Minutes is a stunning example of clever narration and character manipulation at its finest. Therein lied my very frustration and adoration for this compelling story. I despised every character in this book for a variety of reasons. These are some seriously malicious and self absorbed teenage girls. I grasped to find appreciation in each and only found the smallest semblance of relatability in Becca. Normally this would be detrimental for my relationship with a book, but here it works brilliantly. I found my dislike of each individual adding to the unreliable narrator effect and causing me to constantly second guess each theory as I developed it, creating that internal “tug or war” that I feel any good mystery should.

Pinborough manages to effortlessly alternate a series of events through first person point of view and dictated interviews, texts, therapy sessions and journal entries. Now this sounds messy and maybe overwhelming at first thought, but it is truly anything but! Superb execution of this approach supply the reader with a fast paced read that is shrouded in mystery from the first page to the last. Everything about 13 Minutes goes off without a hitch and delivers a whirlwind of an experience that resonates with something distinct, setting aside from other YA mysteries.

Worth note was an ingenious incorporation of the school production of The Crucible that seems to beautifully compliment the unfolding story as there is a common underlying theme that felt relevant and added to the plot-line as a whole. I am not sure how intentional this was or if I chose to read more into it, but it works so well! Accompanied with detailed world building that thrusts the reader uncomfortably back into days of high school and cliques, the stage is set for a deliciously thrilling drama ripe with angst.

My only inkling of a complaint might be the conclusion. I did find the smallest hint of predictability (but not without a few unexpected turns) and might have favored something slightly different. The ending felt rushed, but I also blame this on my desire to keep exploring these poor twisted high school students.

Overall, this was a huge success in terms of YA Mystery and I will be revisiting the author’s work in the future. I confidently recommend this to all fans of mystery, YA and Adult alike. If you favor exploring the human psych a bit or taking a deeper look at crazy, this is a must!

*I would like to thank Netgalley and Flatiron books for this copy. The above review is my own, unbiased opinion.

Untitled designEnjoyed with cup hot black tea flavored with vanilla.

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