ARC Mini-Reviews: Thriller Edition

Disclaimer: I received an eARC copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. This blog contains affiliate links. I make a small commission when you decide to buy books via the Amazon or Book Depository purchase links available in the book review's post.

I read so many thrillers, courtesy of the fantastic publishers on Netgalley who put these titles up! It seemed like a good idea to put a few of them in one post, so y’all can compare and contrast their different selling points!

One Of Us Is Lying by Shalini Boland: It Didn’t Really Make Sense …

One of Us is Lying book cover

One of Us is Lying

by Shalini Boland

Published March 3, 2020 by Bookouture

Data from Goodreads

Tia never harmed anyone. So why does someone want to destroy her?

Tia is walking home with her children, along the lakeside of their quiet, safe town, when she realises something is wrong with her five-year-old daughter, Rosie. She seems troubled, not at all her usual happy self.

But when Tia finally coaxes Rosie to open up, she wishes she hadn’t. Because her sweet daughter asks a question Tia never thought she’d hear.

‘Mummy, why did you kill someone?’

Tia knows how rumours spread around her small town. She just can’t understand who would have shared such a horrible story. Or why.

It can’t have anything to do with what happened. Only her two best friends really remember that…

Tia thought she could trust Fiona and Kelly with her life. They’ve been through so much together. But when she’s sent photos of herself that could tear her whole world apart, she starts to wonder. Someone is determined to punish her. But who? And will her friends stand by her, or will the past destroy all of their lives?

This story features 3 female protagonists, and the reader gets to hear from each of them through alternating perspectives. Each one is unique but I really only liked one of the characters; she was the only one who felt well-developed, and easy to connect with. I liked that the story had excerpts from some past incident; it kept me wanting to know more, to see how everything is connected to what is going on now. However, the final reveal was a disappointment. The motivation for everything was extremely weak, and there were so many plot holes! I felt cheated out of the thriller experience. In the end, while I’ve enjoyed other books by this author, I couldn’t love this book.

Watch Over Me by Jane Renshaw: Creepy But Frustrating To Read

Watch Over Me book cover

Watch Over Me

by Jane Renshaw

Published January 26th, 2020by Inkubator Books
ISBN: B083KMN222

Data from Goodreads

Flora and Neil are happily married, but they can’t have children so decide to adopt. And when Flora  meets little Beckie it’s love at first sight. Deep in her heart, she knows they’re meant for each other, destined to be mother and daughter.

When Flora officially becomes Beckie’s mum, it’s like a part of her that’s always been missing is finally in place. She is complete, every day filled with purpose and joy.

There’s only one problem. Beckie was taken from her birth family, the Johnsons, because they have a history of violence and criminal behaviour and so are judged to be unfit to care for a child.

But the Johnsons don’t agree. As far as they’re concerned, Flora has stolen their little girl and they are determined to get her back. They’re very smart, utterly ruthless – and they have a plan. One that will turn Flora’s life into a living hell and push her to the very edge of insanity.

This was a very interesting story told mostly from the perspective of the adoptive family. I could really understand their concerns and sympathized with them. The chapters featuring Becki’s biological family were extremely interesting but they lacked clarity; it was very confusing to read at times. And that was a huge issue with the novel as a whole: so many things needed clarification, and there were many abrupt jumps to a new scene, making it hard to follow along. It ended up being a very frustrating experience for me. This novel has quite a bit of Scottish slang in it, which I had no problem with – but the translations were at the very end of the book, which can be annoying to flip to when you’re reading.

The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell: Intriguing but Too Abrupt

The Family Upstairs  book cover

The Family Upstairs

by Lisa Jewell

Published November 5th, 2019by Atria Books
ISBN: 1501190105

Data from Goodreads

Soon after her twenty-fifth birthday, Libby Jones returns home from work to find the letter she’s been waiting for her entire life. She rips it open with one driving thought: I am finally going to know who I am.

She soon learns not only the identity of her birth parents, but also that she is the sole inheritor of their abandoned mansion on the banks of the Thames in London’s fashionable Chelsea neighborhood, worth millions. Everything in Libby’s life is about to change. But what she can’t possibly know is that others have been waiting for this day as well—and she is on a collision course to meet them.

Twenty-five years ago, police were called to 16 Cheyne Walk with reports of a baby crying. When they arrived, they found a healthy ten-month-old happily cooing in her crib in the bedroom. Downstairs in the kitchen lay three dead bodies, all dressed in black, next to a hastily scrawled note. And the four other children reported to live at Cheyne Walk were gone.

With a premise like that, you know I wasn’t going to pass it up! But the story itself wasn’t executed that well. There are 3 rotating perspectives to the story: Harry, Lucy, and Libby. I really liked reading from Harry’s perspective, which was mostly through journal entries because they had the creepiness I was looking for … but it quickly became all about “telling” rather than “showing”. Lucy’s perspective was also interesting but there just wasn’t enough of it for me. As for Libby, this is where I wanted the author to deliver more; sequences of events were very choppy and I needed a lot more clarification to really understand what was going on. I also found Libby to be a bit boring and her investigative skills were nothing to brag about. While I enjoyed trying to piece together the mystery, I felt that the choppiness took away from the story.

And there you have it! These are 3 mystery/thrillers that I recently read (thank you Netgalley and the publishers for the ARCs!) and my honest opinions on them.

Have you read any of these? Are you a fan of thrillers in general? 

Let’s chat in the comments below!

2 thoughts on “ARC Mini-Reviews: Thriller Edition

    1. For me, thrillers are either a hit or a miss. Sometimes I end up really loving it but other times I just don’t enjoy the experience. It’s probably because I read too many of them – but hopefully, my next set of thrillers will be more fun! Thank you for taking the time to read and comment!

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