Tag: suspense

Book Review: The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware

The Turn of the Key
Author:  Ruth Ware
Narrator: Imogene Church
Published:  August 6, 2019
Audiobook

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: November 1-12, 2020
Jessica’s Rating: 5 stars     

Book Description:

When she stumbles across the ad, she’s looking for something else completely. But it seems like too good an opportunity to miss—a live-in nannying post, with a staggeringly generous salary. And when Rowan Caine arrives at Heatherbrae House, she is smitten—by the luxurious “smart” home fitted out with all modern conveniences, by the beautiful Scottish Highlands, and by this picture-perfect family.

What she doesn’t know is that she’s stepping into a nightmare—one that will end with a child dead and herself in prison awaiting trial for murder.

Writing to her lawyer from prison, she struggles to explain the unravelling events that led to her incarceration. It wasn’t just the constant surveillance from the cameras installed around the house, or the malfunctioning technology that woke the household with booming music, or turned the lights off at the worst possible time. It wasn’t just the girls, who turned out to be a far cry from the immaculately behaved model children she met at her interview. It wasn’t even the way she was left alone for weeks at a time, with no adults around apart from the enigmatic handyman, Jack Grant.

It was everything.

She knows she’s made mistakes. She admits that she lied to obtain the post, and that her behavior toward the children wasn’t always ideal. She’s not innocent, by any means. But, she maintains, she’s not guilty—at least not of murder. Which means someone else is.

Jessica’s Review:

The Turn of the Key is my favorite Ruth Ware novel!  I hope she keeps writing novels like this one of the gothic suspense genre!  This one had everything to love: a mysterious house with a past of its own that has been transformed into a ‘smart house’ that may also be haunted, someone accused of murder and telling their story, a picture perfect family that actually isn’t , and things that go creak and bump in the night!  I started this one just after Halloween, but it would have been a perfect read to lead up to Halloween, especially with parts of Imogene Church’s narration.  As mentioned in previous reviews, I adore Imogene Church’s narrations!!!

We start the novel with Rowan Caine in prison awaiting trial for the murder of one of the children. Rowan was the newest nanny, though the family has gone through four in the past year, Rowan had seen this as an opportunity to not pass by.  Rowan is writing a letter to the man that she hopes will become her new lawyer as she is not happy with her current one.  Rowan’s letter is the whole novel and she is telling the lawyer Mr. Wrexham her side of the story.

I did not know what to expect with this one.  The hose was creepy in so many ways: its history and just being a ‘smart house’. I know after reading this novel I do NOT want to live in a smart house of any kind!  I did not know what to really believe from Rowan, but had no idea how the story was going to end. And those last twists that happened: I NEVER would have seen coming! 

This is a creepy, character driven thriller that will keep you involved in the story all the way to the ending!

The Turn of the Key is very highly recommended!!

 

Book Review: One by One by Ruth Ware

One by One
Author:  Ruth Ware
Narrator: Imogene Church
Published:  September 8, 2020
Audiobook

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: October 18-30, 2020
Jessica’s Rating: 3 stars     

Book Description:

Getting snowed in at a beautiful, rustic mountain chalet doesn’t sound like the worst problem in the world, especially when there’s a breathtaking vista, a cozy fire, and company to keep you warm. But what happens when that company is eight of your coworkers…and you can’t trust any of them?

An off-site company retreat meant to promote mindfulness and collaboration goes utterly wrong when an avalanche hits, the corporate food chain becomes irrelevant and survival trumps togetherness. Come Monday morning, how many members short will the team be?

Jessica’s Review:

One by One centers on a up and coming new social media app called Snoop, where you can do just that: Snoop on whomever you want and listen to the same music they are listening to at the exact same moment of time.  (You can keep your information as private or public as you want). This app is supposed to be the ‘next big thing’ and has a possible high selling price, if the shareholders want to.  And there are mixed feelings about selling the company. 

A certain number of employees of the company attend a retreat at a chalet, but there is an avalanche and one of the members goes missing, and they presume this person is dead.  There is also no power and things keep happening and well… others start dying and no one can really trust anyone. Everyone seems to have ulterior motives. 

We have two POVs: Erin- the host at the chalet (and thus the one in charge of the people and her resort) and Liz- an employee attending the retreat.  Through both of these perspectives we see the dynamics of this company and why everyone becomes a suspect.

Though the story is more of a mystery than a thriller, in fact it really is less than thrilling.  When we find out who the killer is it wasn’t anything really earth shattering and I finished it to see what would happen. I think this was an instance of too many characters in one story.  There was really no one to root and cheer for.  It also became a story of who is going to die next and how?  If you put all these people in one small place with no power, not much food, and nowhere to go of course paranoia will start running rampant.

Ruth Ware is an established author and I enjoy listening to her books. The narrator Imogene Church is wonderful as always.  Ware and Church have become two names synonymous for me.  (Such as Mary Kay Andrews and Kathleen McInerney- I also love that dynamic duo!)  Some of Ware’s books have not been totally for me while I have really enjoyed others.  This is an author I will keep reading! 

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

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The Safe Place

The Safe Place
Author: Anna Downes

Published:  July 14, 2020
352 Pages

Reviewed By: Jessica
Jessica’s Rating: 3 stars
Dates Read: July 5-July 20, 2020

Book Description:

Emily is a mess.

Emily Proudman just lost her acting agent, her job, and her apartment in one miserable day.

Emily is desperate.

Scott Denny, a successful and charismatic CEO, has a problem that neither his business acumen nor vast wealth can fix. Until he meets Emily.

Emily is perfect.

Scott offers Emily a summer job as a housekeeper on his remote, beautiful French estate. Enchanted by his lovely wife Nina, and his eccentric young daughter, Aurelia, Emily falls headlong into this oasis of wine-soaked days by the pool. But soon Emily realizes that Scott and Nina are hiding dangerous secrets, and if she doesn’t play along, the consequences could be deadly.

Superbly tense and oozing with atmosphere, Anna Downs’s debut is the perfect summer suspense, with the modern gothic feel of Ruth Ware and the morally complex family dynamics of Lisa Jewell.

Welcome to paradise…will you ever be able to leave?

Jessica’s Review:

This one was an average read for me. We had multiple points of view (both Emily and Scott with Nina thrown in from time to time) which I always enjoy. 

From the beginning we see Emily have a really bad day which starts with losing her temporary job and agent.  Then we have a chapter with Scott’s POV and we know from then that something is not right, we know he has something planned and that plan involves Emily.

Needing a job and now her former boss comes to’ her rescue’ with another job offer  (The warning bells should have been going off right there Emily!) Emily takes it. She ends up in a secluded home with Scott’s wife Nina and their child Aurelia.  But they are in the middle of nowhere with no phone reception or internet, and Nina will not let Emily into the family home.  Emily is cut off from everything/everyone. Once Emily realizes things are amiss, it might already be too late. 

I did not figure out the twist, but I should have as the signs were there. . It would be a bit of a predictable novel and the ending did not totally deliver. This is a first novel for Anna Downes and I would give her another try.

**Many thanks to the publisher Minotaur Books for sending me a copy to read and review**

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

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