The Other People by C.J. Tudor Review

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Synopsis

She sleeps, a pale girl in a white room . . .

Three years ago, Gabe saw his daughter taken. In the back of a rusty old car, covered in bumper stickers. He was driving behind the car. He watched her disappear. But no one believes him. Most people believe that his daughter, and wife, are dead. For a while, people believed that Gabe was responsible.

Three years later and Gabe cannot give up hope. Even though he has given up everything else. His home, his job, his old life. He spends his days and nights travelling up and down the motorway, sleeping in his camper van in service stations, searching for the car that took her. Searching for his daughter.

Katie spends a lot of her life in service stations, working as a waitress. She often sees Gabriel, or ‘the thin man’ as she has nicknamed him. She knows his story. She feels for him, because Katie understands what it’s like to lose a loved one. Nine years ago, her father was murdered. It broke her family apart. She hasn’t seen her oldest sister since the day of the funeral; the day she did something terrible.

Fran and her daughter, Alice, put in a lot of miles on the motorway. Not searching. But running. Trying to keep one step ahead of the people that want to hurt them. Because Fran knows the truth. She knows what really happened to Gabe’s daughter. She knows who is responsible. And she knows that if they ever find them, they’re dead.

 

My Thoughts

I couldn’t put this one down! A wild ride from the first page to the last that had many surprises. This was the type of story that really made me think, “could this really happen?” and I truly believe that it’s possible (which adds to the creepy factor). This is the type of book that starts out somewhat confusing and eventually all of the pieces fall into place perfectly. I don’t want to say much about the plot because I feel that it’s best to go into this one knowing as little as possible. I definitely recommend this book, I read it in one sitting.

I received an arc of this book from NetGalley and Random House to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own

 

My Rating

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Big Lies in a Small Town by Diane Chamberlain Review

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Synopsis

North Carolina, 2018: Morgan Christopher’s life has been derailed. Taking the fall for a crime she did not commit, she finds herself serving a three-year stint in the North Carolina Women’s Correctional Center. Her dream of a career in art is put on hold—until a mysterious visitor makes her an offer that will see her released immediately. Her assignment: restore an old post office mural in a sleepy southern town. Morgan knows nothing about art restoration, but desperate to leave prison, she accepts. What she finds under the layers of grime is a painting that tells the story of madness, violence, and a conspiracy of small town secrets.

North Carolina, 1940: Anna Dale, an artist from New Jersey, wins a national contest to paint a mural for the post office in Edenton, North Carolina. Alone in the world and desperate for work, she accepts. But what she doesn’t expect is to find herself immersed in a town where prejudices run deep, where people are hiding secrets behind closed doors, and where the price of being different might just end in murder.

What happened to Anna Dale? Are the clues hidden in the decrepit mural? Can Morgan overcome her own demons to discover what exists beneath the layers of lies?

 

My Thoughts

I would have never thought a book about art restoration would be interesting but I was fascinated by this. The story is in 2 time periods and follows an artist who is making a mural for a post office in a small southern town and a woman who is tasked to restore the mural in present day. There is a lot of controversy surrounding the artist and mural and this makes for a very interesting and, at times, tense and suspenseful read.

I really enjoyed the character development and rich atmosphere described in this book. I was very interested in the history of the public murals that are described in the story so I researched them online as there is one such mural in my hometown post office. I found some very interesting information about it and was surprised to find that my town mural also had some controversy surrounding it.

I always enjoy Diane Chamberlain’s books, they have a little bit of everything and evoke many feelings and this one was no exception. I definitely recommend this story!

I received a digital copy of this book from NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

 

My Rating

4 stars

 

 

Dreamland by Nancy Bilyeau

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Synopsis

The year is 1911 when twenty-year-old heiress Peggy Batternberg is invited to spend the summer in America’s Playground.

The invitation to the luxurious Oriental Hotel a mile from Coney Island is unwelcome. Despite hailing from one of America’s richest families, Peggy would much rather spend the summer working at the Moonrise Bookstore than keeping up appearances with New York City socialites and her snobbish, controlling family.

But soon it transpires that the hedonism of nearby Coney Island affords Peggy the freedom she has been yearning for, and it’s not long before she finds herself in love with a troubled pier-side artist of humble means, whom the Batternberg patriarchs would surely disapprove of.

Disapprove they may, but hidden behind their pomposity lurks a web of deceit, betrayal and deadly secrets. And as bodies begin to mount up amidst the sweltering clamour of Coney Island, it seems the powerful Batternbergs can get away with anything…even murder.

Extravagant, intoxicating and thumping with suspense, bestselling Nancy Bilyeau’s magnificent Dreamland is a story of corruption, class and dangerous obsession.

My Thoughts

One of my favorite settings in books is an amusement park, so the setting of Coney Island in this story is perfect! This story takes place in the early 1900s and follows a young wealthy lady who vacations in Coney Island with her family and struggles to fit in with the “high class expectations” of her family. The storyline had some similar themes as the movie, Titanic, with the “wealthy girl mingles with the lower class and falls for an unsuitable gentleman”.

This story was a lot of fun…it was full of great descriptions of Manhattan Beach and Coney Island, the sights and sounds were described so well, I truly felt like I was there. There was also an air of mystery to the story, with some murders taking place.

I really found the peek into the wealthy family’s dirty laundry interesting. The romance was decent, but not my favorite (I never really enjoy romance though).

Overall, this was a very fun, atmospheric, summery story that a lot of people should enjoy. Recommended!

My Rating

4 stars

The Better Liar by Tanen Jones Review

Release Date: January 14, 2020

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Plot:

When a woman conceals her sister’s death to claim their joint inheritance, her deception exposes a web of dangerous secrets in this addictive new thriller for fans of Megan Abbott, Gillian Flynn, and Paula Hawkins.

“Like most of the dead, I want to be remembered.”

Robin Voigt is dead. If her sister Leslie had arrived at her cramped Las Vegas apartment just hours earlier, this would have been their first reunion in a decade. In the years since Robin ran away from home as a teenager, Leslie has stayed in New Mexico, taking care of their dying father, even as she began building a family of her own. But when their father passed away, Leslie received a rude awakening: she and Robin would receive the inheritance he left them together–or not at all. Now her half of the money may be beyond her grasp. And unbeknownst to anyone, even her husband, Leslie needs it desperately.

When she meets a charismatic young woman who bears an uncanny resemblance to Robin–and has every reason to leave her past behind–the two make a reckless bargain: Mary will impersonate Robin for a week in exchange for Robin’s half of the cash. But neither realizes how high the stakes will be when Mary takes a dead woman’s name. Even as Mary begins to suspect Leslie is hiding something, and Leslie realizes the stranger living in her house, babysitting her newborn son, and charming her husband has secrets of her own, Robin’s wild, troubled legacy threatens to eclipse them both.

An electric, twisted portrait of sisterhood and the ties that bind, The Better Liar is a stunning debut with a heart-stopping, twist-after-twist finale that will beg the question: How far would you go to get what’s yours?

My Thoughts:

Books about family dynamics always interest me so I was eager to pick this one up. The story deals with sisters, creating false identities, and the entertaining trope of the elusive inheritance.

I found the characters in the story to be well developed, albeit fairly unlikable. Leslie was always irritated, which started to irritate me. Mary was very unpredictable and mysterious. I enjoyed the dynamic between these 2 ladies as they worked together to achieve a common goal.

I found the twist to be slightly predictable but I still really enjoyed the ride. I would highly recommend this one!

I received this book from NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group-Ballantine to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

My Rating:

4 stars