THE ROANOKE GIRLS by Amy Engel


Publisher: Crown
Release Date: March 7, 2017
Source: ARC from Penguin’s First to Read Program
Rating: ★★★


After her mother’s suicide, fifteen year-old Lane Roanoke came to live with her grandparents and fireball cousin, Allegra, on their vast estate in rural Kansas. Lane knew little of her mother’s mysterious family, but she quickly embraced life as one of the rich and beautiful Roanoke girls. But when she discovered the dark truth at the heart of the family, she ran…fast and far away.

Eleven years later, Lane is adrift in Los Angeles when her grandfather calls to tell her Allegra has gone missing. Did she run too? Or something worse? Unable to resist his pleas, Lane returns to help search, and to ease her guilt at having left Allegra behind. Her homecoming may mean a second chance with the boyfriend whose heart she broke that long ago summer. But it also means facing the devastating secret that made her flee, one she may not be strong enough to run from again.

As it weaves between Lane’s first Roanoke summer and her return, The Roanoke Girls shocks and tantalizes, twisting its way through revelation after mesmerizing revelation, exploring the secrets families keep and the fierce and terrible love that both binds them together and rips them apart.


I was excited to see a suspense novel set in Kansas! Unfortunately, though, I don’t think THE ROANOKE GIRLS will endear anyone to my state. Oh boy.

Considering that the big dark secret is revealed in the beginning, I wouldn’t classify this book as suspense; it’s more of a major dysfunctional family drama. The subject matter is disturbing, but what really bugged me was that everyone was so matter-of-fact about it. That’s just how it was, and the characters weren’t particularly offended by it, at least not to the level you’d think they’d be. Weird.

The story held my interest, and I was very curious to learn why cousin Allegra disappeared, and to see if Lane would be able to escape Roanoke again. In the end, I guess I was hoping for a little something more. I’ve seen many positive reviews for this book, and some negative. I’m somewhere in the middle, just like Kansas. ;-)

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book through Penguin’s First to Read Program in exchange for an honest review.

EVERYTHING YOU WANT ME TO BE by Mindy Mejia

everythingyouwant
Publisher: Atria/Emily Bestler Books
Release Date: January 3, 2017
Source: Review copy from NetGalley
Rating: ★★★★★


No one knows who she really is…

Hattie Hoffman has spent her whole life playing many parts: the good student, the good daughter, the good girlfriend. But Hattie wants something more, something bigger, and ultimately something that turns out to be exceedingly dangerous. When she’s found brutally stabbed to death, the tragedy rips right through the fabric of her small-town community.

It soon comes to light that Hattie was engaged in a highly compromising and potentially explosive secret online relationship. The question is: Did anyone else know? And to what lengths might they have gone to end it? Or did Hattie’s impulsive, daredevil nature simply put her in the wrong place at the wrong time, leading her to a violent death at the hands of a stranger? 

Full of twists and turns, Everything You Want Me to Be reconstructs a year in the life of a dangerously mesmerizing young woman, during which a small town’s darkest secrets come to the forefront…and she inches closer and closer to death.

Evocative and razor-sharp, Everything You Want Me to Be challenges you to test the lines between innocence and culpability, identity and deception. Does love lead to self-discovery — or destruction?


Fantastic! I’ve read many books in the suspense/thriller genre, and this is one of the best. EVERYTHING YOU WANT ME TO BE is an engrossing, character-driven mystery that grabs your attention and doesn’t let go.

The story is about the murder of a Minnesota farm girl named Hattie, who dreamed of a career on the stage in New York after high school. Her acting talent allowed her to be all things to everyone. Was she a heartless manipulator, or simply a teenager searching for identity? Hattie tells us her story in the months leading up to her killing, and the chapters alternate with two other characters’ POVs, including the town’s sheriff investigating the shocking crime.

This was such a great book! I loved the complicated characters and suspenseful plot. The twisty ending was amazing. Even as unsettling as its subject matter was, the book’s last lines were haunting and lovely, and they got me choked up. Gah! I’m eagerly anticipating Mindy Mejia’s next book.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I SEE YOU by Clare Mackintosh

iseeyou
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: February 21, 2017
Source: Review copy from the publisher
Rating: ★★★★


The author of the New York Times bestseller I Let You Go propels readers into a dark and claustrophobic thriller, in which a normal, everyday woman becomes trapped in the confines of her normal, everyday world…

Every morning and evening, Zoe Walker takes the same route to the train station, waits at a certain place on the platform, finds her favorite spot in the car, never suspecting that someone is watching her…

It all starts with a classified ad. During her commute home one night, while glancing through her local paper, Zoe sees her own face staring back at her; a grainy photo along with a phone number and a listing for a website called FindTheOne.com.

Other women begin appearing in the same ad, a different one every day, and Zoe realizes they’ve become the victims of increasingly violent crimes—including murder. With the help of a determined cop, she uncovers the ad’s twisted purpose… A discovery that turns her paranoia into full-blown panic. Zoe is sure that someone close to her has set her up as the next target.

And now that man on the train—the one smiling at Zoe from across the car—could be more than just a friendly stranger. He could be someone who has deliberately chosen her and is ready to make his next move…


Clare Mackintosh’s debut novel I LET YOU GO was one of my favorite books last year, so I was excited to read her follow up. I SEE YOU is an intriguing blend of psychological thriller and police procedural told from different POVs in alternating chapters.

The story grabbed my attention right away. When Zoe sees her photo advertising a mysterious website, she is understandably concerned. Her concern turns to panic when she realizes other women whose photos have appeared in the same ad have become victims of terrible crimes. Who is behind this awful site, and is she the next victim?

I flew through this book quickly. The chapters alternated between Zoe, Kelly (a cop investigating the case), and a mysterious third person. The author did a great job of building suspense by ending chapters with mini cliff hangers. I had to cheat several times and peek ahead.

The premise of this book was an interesting and unsettling concept, especially in the social media age, though maybe not entirely plausible. While I was quite surprised to learn who was behind the website, I was a bit let down at the reasoning behind it. Overall, though, I enjoyed the book, and it kept me guessing about who the baddie was until the end.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.