Tag: suspense

Book Review: Daisy Darker by Alice Feeney

Daisy Darker
Author: Alice Feeney

Published:  August 30, 2022
352 Pages

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: August 7- September 7, 2022
Jessica’s Rating: 5 stars

Book Description:

After years of avoiding each other, Daisy Darker’s entire family is assembling for Nana’s 80th birthday party in Nana’s crumbling gothic house on a tiny tidal island. Finally back together one last time, when the tide comes in, they will be cut off from the rest of the world for eight hours.

The family arrives, each of them harboring secrets. Then at the stroke of midnight, as a storm rages, Nana is found dead. And an hour later, the next family member follows…

Trapped on an island where someone is killing them one by one, the Darker’s must reckon with their present mystery as well as their past secrets, before the tide comes in and all is revealed.

Jessica’s Review:

Whoa, whoa whoa! Despite taking a month to read, I really enjoyed this one; especially the closer it got to the ending!

My reactions to the book went from:
I knew it!
Wait…. What???
What am I reading???
WHAT am I reading!?!?
WTF did I just read!?!?!?

And this was all in a good way!  OMG, this is one of those books where once you finish it you have to read again so you can see things you might not have caught the first time. And I plan to read it again (at some point with that never ending TBR…..)

Feeney has been an author on my TBR list for a while and I have a few of her books, I just haven’t been able to get to her until now, and I am so glad I started with this one. 

Our narrator is Daisy in both present day and the past. The Darker family has many issues, and Grandma (Nana) is a famous author. They are all coming together for her 80th birthday after a long time spent avoiding one another  And the house (which is called Seaglass) Nana lives in is secluded when high tide comes in, so there’s no leaving Seaglass after dark! And on this night a storm comes in that is both outside and inside.

Just as the clock strikes midnight on Grandma’s birthday a scream is heard and everyone comes into the kitchen and finds Nana dead. There is a creepy poem written on the chalkboard in what looks to be Nana’s writing. The poem has some frightening and foreboding verses for the family to decipher. And then one by one as the night goes on the bodies begin to pile up.

That’s basically all you can say about Daisy Darker!  It is a fast-moving story, yet also slow paced as the present-day events take place in just over a 12 hour time period, but each hour drags on as you don’t know what is going to happen and who is going to die next! For me there was definitely suspense as to what might happen next!  The past is also important to what happens in the present. 

Many thanks to the publisher Flatiron Books for sending me a copy to read and review! I really enjoyed it! And I hope to move some of Feeney’s other novels higher up on my TBR list.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

Book Review: Hidden Pictures by Jason Rekulak

Hidden Pictures
Author: Jason Rekulak

Illustrators:
Will Staehle

Doogie Horner
Published:  May 10, 2022
369 Pages

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: July 28- August 3, 2022
Jessica’s Rating: 5 stars

Book Description:

Fresh out of rehab, Mallory Quinn takes a job in the affluent suburb of Spring Brook, New Jersey as a babysitter for Ted and Caroline Maxwell. She is to look after their five-year-old son, Teddy.

Mallory immediately loves this new job. She lives in the Maxwell’s pool house, goes out for nightly runs, and has the stability she craves. And she sincerely bonds with Teddy, a sweet, shy boy who is never without his sketchbook and pencil. His drawings are the usual fare: trees, rabbits, balloons. But one day, he draws something different: a man in a forest, dragging a woman’s lifeless body.

As the days pass, Teddy’s artwork becomes more and more sinister, and his stick figures steadily evolve into more detailed, complex, and lifelike sketches well beyond the ability of any five-year-old. Mallory begins to suspect these are glimpses of an unsolved murder from long ago, perhaps relayed by a supernatural force lingering in the forest behind the Maxwell’s house.

With help from a handsome landscaper and an eccentric neighbor, Mallory sets out to decipher the images and save Teddy—while coming to terms with a tragedy in her own past—before it’s too late.

Jessica’s Review:

Hidden Pictures is definitely the book to read and it has illustrations to go along with the story which is the icing on the cake! This one is definitely a page turner and I read it in just a few days!  I actually binged about half of it on a Saturday which is saying something for me!

We have Mallory who is a recovering addict who is given a chance to be a nanny for a family with their young son Teddy. Mallory enjoys the job and adores Teddy.  But then he starts to draw for her. At first the drawings are innocent and age appropriate, but then then evolve into the sinister and creepy and well beyond the capabilities of a five-year-old.  Mallory begins to suspect something is going on and that it has something to do with a long-ago murder of where she is staying. She goes all in to find out what is going on now and what happened all those years ago.  

This novel is not really a horror novel, but suspenseful and definitely creepy with a side of paranormal added in.  It takes you in for a ride that you cannot put down! The illustrations make the novel 1000% better!  They definitely enhance the story and add that creepy factor that would be missing otherwise.  Rekulak definitely won with having both Staehle and Horner illustrate.

Around the last 50ish pages when it got to the big twist I sent a text that said ‘WTF!’ to one of my friends because I knew she had already finished it. My mind was totally blown and I want to read it again sometime knowing the ending now. 

If you enjoy thrillers this is THE NOVEL to pick up this year!  If you have small children around Teddy’s age, I apologize in advance for your reaction to the next drawing they make for you.   Grab Hidden Pictures now and you can thank me later!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

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Audible Original: See How They Run by Rachel Howzell Hall

See How They Run
Author:
Rachel Howzell Hall

Narrator: Imani Parks
Published: April 7, 2022
Audiobook: 2 hours 48 minutes

Reviewed By: Jessica
Date Listened To: August 18, 2022
Jessica’s Rating: 2.5 stars

Novella Description:

Still mourning the death of her own fiancée, Lauren Hudson must put on a brave face for her family as they gather in Zion National Park for her brother’s wedding. He’s co-founded a “glamping” (glamorous camping) start-up with Sadie, the soon-to-be bride whom the rest of the Hudsons have yet to meet, and they’re hosting their small destination wedding for their nearest and dearest right on their own campgrounds. But not long after Lauren arrives on the scenic property, doubts creep in about Sadie – could she be harboring a sinister secret? Or is the trauma of Lauren’s own past clouding her judgment? With the wedding looming ever closer, can Lauren discover and expose the truth before it’s too late?

Jessica’s Review:

This one was so-so. An interesting premise dealing with ‘glamping’ which excited me, but it just didn’t really deliver.  See How They Run started great, but then I kind of tuned it out during the middle before I was pulled back in for the ending. I was excited for it because I haven’t read anything yet that dealt with ‘glamping’. It had so much potential, but it just didn’t end up working for me. This short story/novella shows how much social media has changed our society and not for the better.  The plot of the story was not realistic at all, especially as it got towards the climax. I can’t say what without spoilers, but no, that would not have worked in reality!

I do like the cover, and once you finish this short story, you get it!  This one was a miss for me, but I would give the author another chance. 

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

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