Tag: 3.5 stars

A Stranger in the House

Author: Shari Lapena
Published: August 15, 2017
Audiobook

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: August 8-19, 2019
Jessica’s Rating: 3.5 stars

Book Description:

In this neighborhood, danger lies close to home. A domestic thriller packed full of secrets, and a twisty story that never stops—from the bestselling author of The Couple Next Door

He looks at her, concerned. “How do you feel?” She wants to say, Terrified. Instead, she says, with a faint smile, “Glad to be home.”

Karen and Tom Krupp are happy—they’ve got a lovely home in upstate New York, they’re practically newlyweds, and they have no kids to interrupt their comfortable life together. But one day, Tom returns home to find Karen has vanished—her car’s gone and it seems she left in a rush. She even left her purse—complete with phone and ID—behind.

There’s a knock on the door—the police are there to take Tom to the hospital where his wife has been admitted. She had a car accident, and lost control as she sped through the worst part of town.

The accident has left Karen with a concussion and a few scrapes. Still, she’s mostly okay—except that she can’t remember what she was doing or where she was when she crashed. The cops think her memory loss is highly convenient, and they suspect she was up to no good.

Karen returns home with Tom, determined to heal and move on with her life. Then she realizes something’s been moved. Something’s not quite right. Someone’s been in her house. And the police won’t stop asking questions.

Because in this house, everyone’s a stranger. Everyone has something they’d rather keep hidden. Something they might even kill to keep quiet.

Jessica’s Review:

I was getting nervous that I was in a ‘thriller slump’ as the last few I have read have been less than thrilling for me.  A Stranger in the House definitely had me wondering what was going on throughout.  Is Karen faking her amnesia or is it real? Is someone coming in the house? And if so, why

And what about the murder that happened close by to where Karen’s accident occurred?  The two stories intermingle with each other.  The police detectives involved seemed to be enjoying figuring out the mystery as they come to conclusions  along with the reader. 

Everything added up to where you knew what was going on in the second part of the novel, but were not sure how it was going to end.  It did become a bit too much  like a soap opera for me, but the last few pages wound up the book nicely and we FINALLY find out everything.  The ending had a bit of a mouth dropping moment for me. 

You never really know who the stranger in the house may be…..

The Stranger in the House is recommended.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

An Unwanted Guest

Author: Shari Lapena
Audiobook

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: May 29- June 7, 2019
Jessica’s Rating: 3.5 stars

Book Description:

A remote lodge in upstate New York is the perfect getaway. . . until the bodies start piling up. It’s winter in the Catskills and the weather outside is frightful. But Mitchell’s Inn is so delightful! The cozy lodge nestled deep in the woods is perfect for a relaxing–maybe even romantic–weekend away. The Inn boasts spacious old rooms with huge wood-burning fireplaces, a well-stocked wine cellar, and opportunities for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, or just curling up with a book and someone you love.

So when the weather takes a turn for the worse, and a blizzard cuts off the electricity–and all contact with the outside world–the guests settle in for the long haul. The power’s down but they’ve got candles, blankets, and wood–a genuine rustic experience! Soon, though, a body turns up–surely an accident. When a second body appears, they start to panic. Then they find a third body. Within the snowed-in paradise, something–or someone–is picking off the guests one by one.

They can’t leave, and with no cell service, there’s no prospect of getting the police in until the weather loosens its icy grip. The weekend getaway has turned deadly. For some couples, it’s their first time away. For others, it will be their last. And there’s nothing they can do about it but huddle down and hope they can survive the storm.

Jessica’s Review:

I absolutely loved The Couple Next Door which was also written by Lapena. An Unwanted Guest had everything needed to pull me in: a very intriguing book description with a great location with complete isolation, and murder mysteries: “Help! There is a killer among us!” This was very much like Clue for me.

But that was where it stopped working for me.  Maybe there were too many characters for me to keep up with (I listened to the audiobook version) or maybe it was just too slow moving.  I am fine with character driven novels and the character development was superb, but this one just did not work for me.  I was not invested with any of the characters. I did choose to finish the novel as I wanted to know the outcome and I was glad I did continue it. That ending was unexpected!!  In a way that ending saved the novel for me as I would not have EVER seen that coming. 

I will definitely be listening to Lapena’s other novel A Stranger in the House soon.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK 

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Dear Mr President

Author: Sophie Siers
Illustrator: Anne Villeneuve
Published: April 4, 2019
40 Pages

Reviewed By: Jessica
Date Read: June 16, 2019
Jessica’s Rating:  3.5 stars

Book Description:

Sam has a problem. He has to share a room with his older brother and things aren’t easy. When Sam sees the president on TV talking about `the wall’ he realizes a solution is at hand! But who knew that planning a wall could be so tricky? The letters that follow invite conversations about the question of living with others in times of conflict. The voice of the young boy shows adults something of the nature of peace and good relationships.

Jessica’s Review:

It does not matter your stance, but it is a sad time in our country when political issues become children’s picture books. Fortunately, this will somewhat help small children to understand about the proposed ‘wall’. Please note that if you are a Trump or wall supporter then this book will not be for you.

Sam and his older brother share a room and like true siblings, it causes issues between them.  One night Sam sees the President on tv talking about building ‘the wall’ and it sounds like a great idea to him! In fact he starts writing the President about his situation.  Sam believes in one position about his wall and by the end of the book he is of  the opposite opinion. 

The book shows how communication and getting along is important to solving issues, even one as small as sharing a bedroom (which would actually be a huge deal to the children involved!)

It was cute to see Sam’s letters to the President evolve the way they did over the course of the book. I would have loved to see what the author’s interpretation of ‘the President’s’ responses would have been to Sam’s letters in this story, but that would have made the book even more political.

The book also teaches children about some real walls in the world: The Great Wall of China, Hadrian’s Wall in England and the fall of the Berlin Wall. The pictures throughout the book definitely add to the story!

I tend to stay away from politically charged books, which this appeared to be, but the fact that it was a children’s picture book had me curious as to how this story played out. I am glad I had the opportunity to read and review it.

I received a copy via NetGalley from the publisher.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

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