Audiobook Review: Best Friends Forever by Shannon Hollinger
Best Friends Forever
Author: Shannon Hollinger
Narrator: Kate Handford
Published: January 12, 2023
Audiobook: 10 hours 57 minutes
Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Listened To: December 20-28, 2022
Jessica’s Rating: 2 stars
I emerge from the trees, drenched in sweat, my voice lost as I take in the scene in front of me. The blood. The body. Emma’s eyes meet mine for a second. “It was an accident,” she whispers.
Emma and I were childhood best friends. We did everything together. Until that terrible night in the woods.
I couldn’t tell anyone what I’d seen. We never discussed it, but our bond was too strong; I could never betray my best friend. Even if she had killed someone.
But I also couldn’t stay in town and watch her live a normal life, knowing what she’d done. So I left.
Now, ten years later, I’m back. The guilt and the fear have stayed with me. And I have realized I need to reveal the truth if I’m ever going to move on.
But I never get the chance. Because the day I turn up, Emma is found dead, and the way she died means I start to doubt everything I thought I knew about that night all those years ago.
As my grief turns to anger at all those lost years of friendship, I realise with horror that Emma might not have been the only killer. Someone else is out there. Someone who was close to us both, someone who knew the smallest details of what had happened back then. Who from our small town could have murdered not once, but twice? And who’s next…?
Best Friends Forever just did not work for me. It reads more like a YA novel with the way the adult characters of 28 years old were acting, but there were some adult situations involved. It was also slower for me and a bit confusing as it went back and forth from present day to the past. For me it was obvious who the killer was so I wasn’t shocked when we got to that part. I was all excited because I figured it out, and I usually hate when I figure out who the killer is. It just wasn’t believable at all for me and the reason why just did not work for me. I would be willing to give the author another try.
I think some of my issues might have been the narrator. Maybe the novel is better to actually read. Some novels just don’t do well on audio.
Many thanks to the publisher Bookotoure Audio for granting me an audio arc, I just wish I could have written a favorable review.
Audiobook Review: Never Lie by Freida McFadden
Author: Frieda McFadden
Narrator: Leslie Howard
Published: September 19, 2022
Audiobook: 7 hours 22 minutes
Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Listened To: November 22- 26, 2022
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars
Newlyweds Tricia and Ethan are searching for the house of their dreams.
But when they visit the remote manor that once belonged to Dr. Adrienne Hale, a renowned psychiatrist who vanished without a trace four years earlier, a violent winter storm traps them at the estate… with no chance of escape until the blizzard comes to an end.
In search of a book to keep her entertained until the snow abates, Tricia happens upon a secret room. One that contains audio transcripts from every single patient Dr. Hale has ever interviewed. As Tricia listens to the cassette tapes, she learns about the terrifying chain of events leading up to Dr. Hale’s mysterious disappearance.
Tricia plays the tapes one by one, late into the night. With each one, another shocking piece of the puzzle falls into place, and Dr. Adrienne Hale’s web of lies slowly unravels.
And then Tricia reaches the final cassette.
The one that reveals the entire horrifying truth.
Frieda McFadden is an author who is getting a lot of attention lately, and Never Lie is the first I have read by her.
We have two time periods: Present day with Tricia and Ethan and the recent past with Dr. Adrienne Hale. We also have two narrators: Tricia and Dr. Hale.
Tricia and Ethan are looking for their dream home, and are visiting a very secluded house. They are supposed to be meeting their realtor, but there is also a snow storm coming. When it becomes obvious that the realtor is not coming and they will not be able to leave for some time due to the storm, they make themselves at home in the house. After some time they realize whose house they are inside: Dr. Adrienne Hale, a psychiatrist who vanished and made the news several years ago. Exploring the house Tricia comes across cassette tapes of the doctor’s sessions with her patient. And she decides to listen to them to pass the time.
In Dr. Hale’s POV we learn about her and she is far from perfect herself! She has her own issues that slowly get even more out of hand as the novel progresses. She herself needs a psychiatrist at the least!
There are several twists that I didn’t see coming and then how the two time periods come together really pulls the reader in. I had to suspend my belief in reality quite a bit to get in the world of this novel. Two prospective home buyers can’t just go inside a house by themselves, let alone go to the secluded house with no cell service in the middle of a snow storm! And then be stuck in there for days!
There is the creepiness of the house itself with its sounds unfamiliar to Tricia and Ethan, along with who the previous owner is and her mysterious circumstances. Over time the house gets even creepier, and are they even alone?
I listened to the audiobook version and I firmly believe that audio is the best way to ‘read’ this book. Leslie Howard is superb in her narration! As Tricia listens to the cassette tapes, Howard just pulls you in to the story even more! I will be on the lookout for more audiobooks narrated by her. I will also look into more novels written by McFadden.
Many thanks to Dreamscape Media for granting me an audio copy to listen to and review. It was a pleasure as always to listen to one of your books!
Audiobook Review: Friend Request by Laura Marshall
Author: Laura Marshall
Narrator: Elaine Claxton
Published: September 5, 2017
Audiobook: 11 hours 10 min
Reviewed By: Jessica
Date Listened To: November 14-21, 2022
Jessica’s Rating: 3 stars
A paranoid single mom is forced to confront the unthinkable act she committed as a desperate teenager in this addictive thriller with a social media twist.
Maria Weston wants to be friends. But Maria Weston is dead. Isn’t she?
1989. When Louise first notices the new girl who has mysteriously transferred late into their senior year, Maria seems to be everything the girls Louise hangs out with aren’t. Authentic. Funny. Brash. Within just a few days, Maria and Louise are on their way to becoming fast friends.
2016. Louise receives a heart-stopping email: Maria Weston wants to be friends on Facebook. Long-buried memories quickly rise to the surface: those first days of their budding friendship; cruel decisions made and dark secrets kept; the night that would change all their lives forever.
Louise has always known that if the truth ever came out, she could stand to lose everything. Her job. Her son. Her freedom. Maria’s sudden reappearance threatens it all, and forces Louise to reconnect with everyone she’d severed ties with to escape the past. But as she tries to piece together exactly what happened that night, Louise discovers there’s more to the story than she ever knew. To keep her secret, Louise must first uncover the whole truth, before what’s known to Maria–or whoever’s pretending to be her–is known to all.
This one is a debut novel that had promise for me from the book description, as it has dual timelines which I always enjoy, but it just didn’t deliver for me. Louise just wasn’t likeable and she went full in on this friend request from Maria Weston, who may or may not actually be dead. She basically dropped everything and started living in the past. A past that involves peer pressure and bullying to an extreme. Friend Request shows how the past can haunt you years later with the decisions you made.
There is also a 25th high school class reunion, which brings her full on in the past as well. The twists and turns just did not work for me and I was curious enough to see how it was going to end. It also shows how social media can be a detriment to us all, but we are still taking part in it.
I did enjoy Elaine Claxton’s narration of the novel.
I would look into another of Marshall’s novels to see if it works for me more than Friend Request did.