Temper by Layne Fargo

Summary:

Kira is a Chicago based actress who isn’t exactly super successful. She lives with Spence, her best friend with benefits, and works with a Shakespeare based company that works with high school students. When she auditions for the new play Temper, which would be starring successful theater actor and director Malcolm Mercer, she knows this could be the break she’s been looking for. But there’s a catch, Malcolm has a reputation for pushing his actors to the absolute limit. Kira thinks she’s immune…but is she?

Review:

This book was absolutely insane…and in the best way possible!!! Each of these characters are people I didn’t really want to like, but they are human, they have flaws, and that is something we all can relate to.

Kira hasn’t had great success as an actress, but she keeps trying. She has had many bad relationships and keeps her heart closed off. She doesn’t want a family, she doesn’t want kids, and she doesn’t really want a relationship that last and she doesn’t seem to have many friends. She does have Spence, her best friend, but their relationship is almost purely sexual. Despite multiple warnings from someone who has worked with Indifferent Honest before, she takes the lead female role in Temper, a play co-starring the infamous Malcolm Mercer.

Malcolm Mercer will do anything to make a play the most authentic as it can be. He will push his co-stars to any lengths he possibly can to get what he wants from them. He is always the star, and he seems to be devoid of real emotion, and always playing a character.

Like Kira and Spence, Malcolm and Joanna, the two responsible for the Indifferent Honest Theater Company, have an interesting dynamic. They also business partners, but nothing more. Joanna loves and hates Malcolm, and dislikes how he lives his life, but she does nothing about it. She has given up all of her ambitions to run the theater company with him. She gives her all for him, when he gives nothing back in return…and she’s starting to get fed up.

This story was so much fun to read. I truly did not see that ending coming! So…can Kira really handle Malcolm’s direction? Or will she fall prey just like all the others? 5/5 stars!!!

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Lethally Wedded by JA Jones

Summary

Tatyana is from the Ukraine, living in poverty, working at a grocery store for next to nothing. When her friend, Juliya, suggests that she go on ukrainianbrides.com to find a rich, American man, Tatyana decides to give it a try. Thanks to American reality television, Tatyana wants to live a wealthy lifestyle in California, and she’ll do whatever it takes to get there.

Stan has been burned many times in his love life. His ex-wife was a drug addict who hurt him badly. He decides to give up on what he deems selfish American women, and sets out to find a Ukrainian one instead. He wants a woman who will take care of him and build her whole world around him. He wants a woman who really needs him and isn’t so independent.

When Stan and Tatyana meet, he falls head over heels for her. He’s taken by her beauty and is so happy he will finally have a “hot” wife who will take care of him, his house, and will have a meal ready for him when he gets home from work. Little does he know how greedy and manipulative his wife is. How far will she go to get the lifestyle she’s been dreaming about her entire life? How long will it take Stan to realize that he can’t trust his bride?

Review: 4/5 stars!

I went into this book thinking that it was a psychological thriller. It sort of is, and sort of isn’t. It isn’t the type of book I normally read, but I really enjoyed it. I’m an avid fan of the show 90 Day Fiance and all of the drama that ensues. As soon as I read the description for this book, as well as the positive reviews, I knew I had to buy it!

What I liked about this book was that neither Tatyana nor Stan were exactly great people. Tatyana never claimed she was a good person. We know her motives from the beginning. Stan, on the other hand, complains constantly about American women. He wants Tatyana to build her life around him and to take care of him. He wants her to be available to his every whim. She’s more of a possession to him rather than a partner.

Neither character are awesome people, but they are very human. Stan just wants to feel needed and have someone to love. Tatyana starts out wanting all the things she thinks Americans are spoiled by, but when she does find love, she changes and her desires suddenly shift. It’s a great portrait of human nature. None of us are perfect and we all do things once in a while that others would deem ridiculous….especially in the name of love.

This book will have you saying, “WHAAAAATTTT???” It has all of the makings of a great story: romance, greed, love, and manipulation. This book is definitely worth checking out!

April Reads 2019 (Part One)

This April has been full of great reads so far. These are some of the books I’ve read in the first part of the month. As usual, I have stuck to thrillers this time around, but they absolutely my favorite genre. I have had the opportunity to read some great upcoming books that are sure to be hits. Books about hidden murders, lost memories, and consequences for having too much ambition. Without further ado, let’s jump in!

Water Under the Bridge by Britney King

Summary: Jude and Kate have something in common. They love the thrill of the kill. Jude does it as a job…he’s a hitman. Kate, however, does it for fun. She can’t go too long without killing or she goes a little crazy. She always makes sure that she gets something out of it though, like money. When Jude and Kate first meet each other, they know they are destined to be together. They get married and move to a neighborhood in hopes of starting a family and being a little more “normal.” But will they be able to pull it off? Can Kate reign in her killer ways?

Review:
I think it is safe to say that Britney King is now one of my favorite modern authors. Every time I read one of her stories, I can’t help but get sucked in! This one was good. It isn’t my favorite book of hers, as I absolutely LOVED The New Hope Series, but it is solid and I will definitely be reading the rest of the series. King does dark humor so well, and this book was no exception. How she makes murder seem like a simple argument between man and wife is so good. I can’t wait to read more of the series and more from Britney King!

The Missing Wife by Sam Carrington

Summary: Louisa is about to turn forty years old, and just had a new baby. She and her husband also have a teenager, which all together has made her sleep deprived and forgetful. Louisa has an amnesia from her teenage years that is blocking out a traumatic event that happened to her, but she can’t remember what it was. When her best friend, Tiff, and her husband, Brian, team up to give her a surprise birthday party, Louisa starts experiencing flashbacks. Especially when she runs into her old boyfriend, Oliver. After the party, his wife goes missing, and he invades Louisa’s life. Where is his wife? What happened to Louisa as a teen? How is Oliver involved in all of this?

Review: I really enjoyed this thriller. There are twists and turns until the very end. Louisa seems like an innocent bystander at all the tragedy taking place in her life, but is she really? What are the secrets that she can’t seem to remember? Everyone in this book is keeping a secret of some sort. Best friends, husbands, and old boyfriends. There isn’t anyone who is completely innocent in this story. This book was so much fun to read and I would love to read more by Sam Carrington. There was a shocking ending and feeling that left you wondering how Louisa will cope in the future. Highly recommend if you love a good thriller!

The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware

Summary: From the beginning, we know we are reading a letter from Rowan, our narrator, to a barrister. She’s writing from prison, where she awaits trial for the murder of a child in her care…a murder she says she absolutely did not commit. In the letter, she describes how she became the nanny for a family who lives in Scotland. She describes their smart house, and the strange happenings that managed to scare off four previous nannies.

It doesn’t take long for Rowan to see what scared off the other nannies. She hears footsteps above her while she is trying to sleep and she keeps experiencing things that she knows shouldn’t be happening. Even Jack, a long time employee with the family, doesn’t seem to believe that anything that sinister could be going on. Will anyone believe that Rowan is innocent of murder? Is she innocent?

This book has SO many twists and turns. It is one of the best books I’ve read in a while. This one is definitely worth your time!

Review: I loved this book!!! It sucked me in from the very beginning. I related to Rowan in the fact that her chosen career was childcare. The way the author described how tired she was most of the time having to deal with children all day, I felt that wholeheartedly. It’s not an easy job, and not for the faint of heart.

As a thriller, I absolutely loved this story. We don’t know if there are actually ghosts haunting the house, or if it is someone trying to scare the nannies away. Either way, the book keeps you guessing until the very end, and you’ll never see it coming. I’m saying this is one of my favorite reads thus far in 2019!

Next on Monn’s Book Reviews

-April Reads (Part Two)

-Understanding That Introvert Life (This is where I will talk about understanding the introverts in your life!)

Books and Friendship: Find A Friend That Reads

Friends are people that we all need in our lives. They are not bound to us by blood, but they are the people we choose to spend our time with. Some stay for only a short period, while some stay with us for the rest of our lives. I have been fortunate enough to have had two of my best friends for the past eleven years or more. Their names are “KK” and “Stewart.” In this blog post, I want to talk about the importance of having people in your life who share your interests. In my case, most of my friends aren’t too keen on true crime or Lifetime movies, but they do love reading, and that is something that always bonds us. I also just want to share some appreciation and love for the two people who I know will always have my back!

Book Sharing

When I was a teenager, KK, Stewart, and I went to an extremely small Christian school. Our lives were church, so the books we read reflected that. I have always been a reader, but in those days, I read mostly Christian fiction. Happy, bubbly, sweet romantic fiction. A FAR cry from the thrillers I read today. KK and I used to swap books and sometimes read book series together. One of these series was The Christy Miller Series by Robin Jones Gunn. It was about a mid-western girl who spent her summers in California with her wealthy aunt and uncle. While there, she meets her “forever friend,” Katie, and the love of her life, Todd. As cheesy as it sounds, reading those book series with KK bonded us because it was something that we both enjoyed doing. Even in college, we would go see movies together that were based on books we had both read. We still talk about the books we read together to this day. And she still makes fun of me for being obsessed with books about the Amish. (I was a weird teenager, okay?)

#Bookstagram

I credit Stewart for getting me back into reading after a years long hiatus. She reads more than probably anyone that I know. (She said she read over ONE HUNDRED books last year! That’s insane!!! #goals) I was working this summer and I just needed something to take my mind off the constant hours I was working. She suggested a Willow Winters book. I was skeptical at first since it was a very intense romance novel, but I loved it! From there I got back into reading head first. We decided to start our Bookstagrams around the same time. We had a great friendship already, but bouncing ideas off of each other, making book suggestions, sharing our love of classic books, it has been wonderful. I LOVE having friends who read.

Find Your Tribe

Find the people who get you. No matter what your thing is, there are bound to be others who are interested as well, especially in this world of social media. I have found that the Bookstagram community is one of the kindest, most positive social media communities out there! Find your tribe! It has done wonders for me. Thankful for the Bookstagram community, thankful for reading, and most of all, I’m thankful for my friends who know me through and through, and love me anyway!!!

Next on Monn’s Book Reviews: April Reads (Part One)

Follow me on Instagram @monnsbookreviews. Follow my dear friend, Jean Louise, @book_mistress_jl!

Monn’s Book Recommendations: March 2019 (Part 2)

Speak of the Devil (New Hope Series Book 3) by Britney King

I’ve mentioned so many times before how much I LOVE Britney King’s work. Ever since The Social Affair, I have been dying to find out what happens in this book series and I was not disappointed!

This book follows Vanessa, who was introduced in The Replacement Wife. We find out that she is a “Siren” for the church, or in other words, a prostitute, whose mission is to help dig up dirt on new potential members. Like Melanie before her, Vanessa is stronger than she seems. Sure, she plays the submissive wife well, but she can hold her own. Her target is Elliot Parker, a chemist who is making a new drug. Elliot has his own demons, as his wife, Emily left him, and now he is obsessed…until he meets Vanessa. How will this all play out? Will everyone get what they want or will everything come crashing down?

I LOOOOOOOOVE this book series. We get even more insight into the church in this book and see how twisted things really are on the inside. The control that the church has on the women is even more than I originally thought. We catch up with a few former characters, and it has a really satisfying ending. Cannot recommend Britney King highly enough! Go check out this series!

The Girl From The Sea by Shalini Boland

Summary: I went into this book blind, not really knowing much about it, but I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised. Mia James wakes up one morning on a beach with no memory…of anything. Not how she got there, what happened the night before, but she especially can’t remember who she is. After being in the hospital, a man named Piers comes to claim her, saying that he is her boyfriend. Sure enough, he does take her home and share the details of her life. She’s rich, doesn’t work, and loves rowing more than anything else. What Mia wants more than anything is to regain her memories, find out why she landed on the beach, but most importantly, who was Mia before all of this?

Review: I love books that make me think, and this one did just that. If I, for some reason, lost my memory, would I be happy to find out what kind of person I am? Or would I be ashamed of the choices I’ve made? This is what Mia has to face in this book. Her “new self” wants to be a good person, but she’s very disappointed with the things that she finds out about herself.

The mystery of this book was great. I enjoyed finding out along with Mia what really happened to her and who she really was. I didn’t know if I would like this book, but I ended up not wanting to stop reading so that I could find out what happened. This is a quick, interesting read!

One Little Secret by Cate Holahan

Summary: When Susan and her family move to a new neighborhood, she is extremely excited to make friends. She arranges a beach vacation for she and her husband, Nadal, and two other neighbor couples. There is Jenny and Louis, the sports injury analyst and the ER doctor. There is also Rachel and Ben, the fierce lawyer and mystery writer with movie star good looks.

When they all get to the beach house, they are blown away. It is beautiful and exactly what they were hoping for. But everything goes awry when everyone has too much alcohol to drink the first night at dinner. That night it is slowly revealed that every single one of them has one little secret that could change their whole lives.

Review: This book seemed like it would be an extremely salacious read, and it some ways, it definitely was! What I liked about the book was that we start off knowing that someone is dead, and that someone in the house had to have done it. Even though from the outside, these people look like they have it together, they definitely don’t. They have got secrets from affairs to lawsuits to abuse. You suspect everyone, because everyone in the book has a motive. A fun, quick read!

One Night Gone by Tara Laskowski

Summary:

2015: Allison is in the middle of a breakdown. After discovering her husband’s affair, she used her job, where she is a television meteorologist, to publicly shame him. To get a new start, she is house sitting on Opal Beach in the off season. When she meets Tammy, the owner of the local coffee shop, Allison is sucked into a mystery. Where did Tammy’s friend, Maureen go after she disappeared on the same beach thirty years ago. Allison initially doesn’t want any part of it, but she becomes enthralled with finding what happened to the girl, but her questions go wholly unanswered. Will she be able to help Tammy find her friend?

1985: Teenage Maureen works at a traveling carnival, this time stopped in Opal Beach for the summer. She, like Allison, is looking for a new start. She becomes friends with a girl named Tammy, and dating a rich, but sweet boy named Clay. Even though she is treated like an outsider like others, she is loved for who she is by these two. As time goes on, Maureen faces troubles in the town. Will she be able to solve them on her own?

Review: I love the parallels between the two characters despite the fact that they have never met and are at Opal Beach thirty years apart. Allison and Maureen have so much in common. They both want a new start and they both feel like complete and total outsiders. They are misunderstood and thought of, usually in a poor light, no matter what they do.

This thriller is both haunting and beautiful. This book was so well written and it kept me very engaged in the story. Our two main characters are flawed, but they are relatable. We may not ever be in their exact position, but we may all know what it is like to feel “disposable” as Allison puts it. This is also a story about the beauty of true friendship. This is definitely one of my favorite March reads!!!!

Next Reads

I Know You by Erik Therme

Water Under the Bridge by Britney King

The Mother’s Mistake by Ruth Heald

The Stories You Tell by Kristen Lepionka

Follow me @monnsbookreviews on Instagram to keep up with my latest reads! I’m always open for book recommendations!

For the Love of Mr. Knightley

As much as I love Pride and Prejudice, I have to admit that Emma is my favorite Jane Austen novel. I’ve read it three times, seen the 1996 movie more times than I can count, and my mom and I even named our dogs Emma and Knightley. Emma is, by all accounts, an appreciated Austen novel, but I wouldn’t say it has the same notoriety as P&P. Sure, we have Emma to thank for the classic 90’s hit, Clueless, and there are several different adaptations from Gwyneth Paltrow’s classic movie to a YouTube series named Emma Approved. However, in my experience, when people think Jane Austen, they think Lizzie and Darcy. Mr. Darcy is always the Austen hero that everyone praises and adores, but for me, I think that Mr. Knightley is far better in many ways. Before we begin with my list of reasons, here is a refresher for those of you who haven’t read Emma in a while, or maybe never at all.

Summary

Emma Woodhouse is a twenty one year old young lady. “Handsome, clever, and rich,” she is adored by her father, sister, and her governess/mother figure, Mrs. Weston, who recently married. Emma is responsible for this, as she set up her governess and Mr. Weston, a widowed man in town. Now that she has had one successful match under her belt, she sets out to do it again, starting with her new friend, Harriet. After helping her reject a proposal from a young farmer, Emma’s goal is to set up Harriet with the town vicar, Mr. Elton. But will it work? As she “improves” Harriet, it becomes clear that maybe she has created a monster. Her dear friend, Mr. Knightley seems to think so. This book is all about failed matchmaking, misunderstandings, and friendships. In my opinion it is the best Jane Austen book. Without further ado, here are a few reasons why I think Mr. Knightley is the best Austen hero.

His Kindness

Our title character, Emma, comes from an extremely wealthy family. I’m talking Mr. Darcy wealthy. While Emma’s father is a hypochondriac and wants Emma to live at home forever, he is extremely kind to those around him, even the less fortunate people. Emma, however, sort of thinks she’s better than everyone. Sure, she does charity and plays nice with those who don’t have what she does, but when it gets down to it, she shows her true colors. She is constantly annoyed by Mrs. Bates, the extremely talkative, but kind older lady in her social circle. She thinks the Cole family aren’t really worth her time…until they have a party and she finds out that she is not yet invited. She even looks down on Robert Martin, a farmer who is in love with her friend Harriet, and wants to marry her.

Knightley, on the other hand, is also wealthy, but unlike other wealthy Austen characters who seem to think that this would put him above everyone else, has a kind heart. For example, he encourages Harriet’s relationship with Robert Martin. In those times, who your family was mattered a lot when you got married. Because he knew she didn’t even know who her parents were, he knew that Harriet couldn’t have done any better, socially. The farmer was not only kind and in love with Harriet, but also respectable. Knightley didn’t think poorly of him at all, he looked at the facts and the person behind them.

He also is extremely kind to Mrs. Bates, despite Emma’s annoyance with her. While visits with her wear on Emma’s nerves, Knightley visits her because he wants to. He even offers to help Mrs. Bates, her mother, and her niece, Jane Fairfax, with transportation to certain parties in bad weather. He goes above and beyond, not for show, like Emma, but because it is a part of his true character.

“Badly Done, Emma!”

One thing I love about Emma is that the romance between Emma and Knightley is not one based on a few interactions, like so many other Austen novels. Despite their nearly twenty year age difference and the fact that her sister and his brother are married, they are best friends. Knightley often spends time at the Woodhouse home and spends time with Emma as well, giving her unwanted, and usually unheeded, advice.

Emma is surrounded by people who only want to please her. She is spoiled by her father, as she is the youngest child, and is the only member of the family still living in the home. Her former governess is now married, thanks to Emma’s matchmaking skills, and isn’t around as often to give her motherly advice. The townspeople respect Emma, and want to be in her good graces. Harriet, Emma’s protoge, wouldn’t dare question anything she was told. Emma especially hates Jane Fairfax, Mrs. Bates niece, because it is clear she is superior to Emma in many ways: singing, piano, and maybe even beauty. Not to mention that when she’s around, they pay more attention to Jane. Even Mr. Knightley thinks that Jane is a lovely person. When Jane isn’t there, Emma is the star of the show. Knightley is the only one who sees the flaws in Emma and is willing to call her out on them.

He warned her that it was a bad idea to deter Harriet from marrying the farmer, as he was a good match for her friend. He let her know that Mr. Elton, the town vicar, was NOT a good match for Harriet, as he had hinted to the other men that he was interested in marrying a woman who had money and lots of it. He called her out on being extremely rude to Mrs. Bates, as she had always been nothing but kind to Emma. He was good for her because with him, she didn’t get away with the things she normally would have. He made her better, and because of him, she finally realized how she had been acting the whole time.

Even when Emma told him there was no way she could leave her father in order to marry him, he graciously decided to move into the Woodhouse residence. There aren’t many men, even in the Austen universe, that would be so generous.

“If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more…”

When we think about love, especially in this day and age, most women don’t necessarily want someone to come and save them. We want a companion, a lover, but also someone who will make us better. This is what Mr. Knightley was to Emma, someone who loved her so much, he was always willing to tell the truth, no matter what. Unlike so many other novels by Austen, this love wasn’t quick or rushed. This is the classic “best friends realize they love each other story.” Emma wasn’t in a financial state, she didn’t need his money. She didn’t need power. She just needed someone who would respect her. And not only that, but Emma, who thought she was better than everyone else, is knocked down a few pegs. (Don’t we all love to see that sometimes?)

Mr. Knightley only had one man who might have stood in his way. Frank Churchill. Though he is the son of the wonderful Mr. Weston, Frank isn’t exactly the best guy out there. Frank Churchill would have only added fuel to the fire that is Emma. He would’ve put crazy ideas in her head, encouraged her unbecoming behavior, and she probably couldn’t have trusted him considering he lied to her on several occasions. Though we don’t know what happened after the book, it is possible that the Churchill’s remained friends with Emma, but at least she now has Knightley to keep her grounded.

Mr. Knightley is kind, generous, respectful, and a good friend. He loves Emma, even though she is flawed and helps her to be better. No, he’s not going to pontificate on how much he loves her, he just knows that he does, as does Emma. He’s loved by the townspeople, people seek his advice, and everyone knows he is a great catch. As much as I relate to Mr. Darcy, Knightley isn’t awkward, or ever sticking his foot in his mouth. As they frequently say in the book, Mr. Knightley is a gentleman…and who doesn’t want one of those in their life?

Monn’s Book Recommendations: March 2019

The Social Affair by Britney King (New Hope Series Book #1)

Summary: Josie and Izzie could not be more different. Josie is a part of an exclusive church, has a beautiful home and children, and to her Instalook followers, #thebesthusbandever, Grant, a prominent plastic surgeon. However that’s not truly the case.

Izzie is obsessed with social media. When she isn’t working in the coffee shop, she’s checking her Instalook and looking for how she can be like the women she follows. When she sees Grant and Josie for the first time, she becomes obsessed. They look like the pinnacle of true love and everything Izzie wants for herself. How far will her obsession take her?

Review: I absolutely love Britney King and everything she writes. She has a way with words as well as getting and KEEPING you hooked as you read. I read this book in the span of a day because I truly could not put it down. In this book, it’s all about appearance. All the characters in the book are obsessed with how they look to everyone around them. Josie and Grant try to appear to be the perfect couple in front of the church, as well as Josie’s Instalook, where her lifestyle is promoted to get people to join the church.

For Izzie, she sees all of the people she follows on social media and desperately wants to be like them. She buys the clothes and products they promote, even though she cannot afford it.

What I love about this story is that, even though most of us wouldn’t take things as far as Izzie, “stalking” people online is so common in this day and age. Who doesn’t look up old friends, exes, or people you’ve just met to see what they are like. It goes to show that, once again, just because someone’s life looks perfect on social media doesn’t mean that it is.

The Replacement Wife by Britney King (New Hope Series Book #2)

The Replacement Wife is book two in the New Hope series, taking place in the same universe as The Social Affair.

Summary: The Replacement Wife follows Tom and Melanie, newlyweds who were featured in the first book of the series. Tom’s wife, June, died due to complications in the plastic surgery she was having. A few weeks after she died, Tom was married and expecting a child with the much younger Melanie.

Melanie is everything the church doesn’t want women to be. In a church that wants to produce Stepford Wives of sorts, Melanie is loud, crass, and worst of all, does not submit to her husband. In her side of the story, we find that Melanie is here for money and power, she doesn’t really care about much else. Tom is logical and analytical, trying to figure out how to make it all work. So how will he make it all work when he finds out about his wife’s wild past? Will Melanie be the wife she needs to be to please the church?

Review: Again, this book was easy to get into and fun to read. While The Social Affair was more about the characters and less about the church, in The Replacement Wife, we get a lot more insight to what the church is and how it works. The New Hope Church is like a cult, with a list of rules (more for the women than the men,) fancy social gatherings, and a recruitment plan to bring in the young and attractive.

I really enjoyed the dark humor of Melanie and the levity she brought to the craziness that is the New Hope Church. She takes everything that’s thrown at her like a champ, and she has a few secrets of her own! If you enjoy a good story about a cult with plenty of dark humor thrown in, this is the story for you! I am excited to read the last book in the series.

The Night Before by Wendy Walker

Summary: Laura has never been lucky in love. Everyone she dates seems to leave her or at the very least, treat her badly. Her sister Rosie, has been with her husband since they were teenagers. They are now married with a son, who Laura adores. After a horrible breakup, Laura moves in with Rosie while she tries to pick up the pieces of her life. She signs up for online dating, and ends up having a date with a man on a Thursday night. Friday morning, Rosie notices that her sister didn’t return home. They realize she is missing and will stop at nothing to find her. What happened to her the night before?

Review: I’ve never read a book like this before. What I really like about this story is the pacing. One chapter is from Laura’s point of view as it takes us bit by bit through the night that she goes missing, while the next will be about Rosie trying everything in her power to find her sister. The author takes us almost hourly through the evening, and just when you think you know what happens, you realize that you are totally wrong! Lots of twists and turns! I really, really enjoyed this book.

What She Saw by Wendy Clarke

Summary: For the past nine years, Leona has lived a quiet life as a jewelry maker with her daughter, Beth, and her partner, Scott. The three are a happy little family in a little house, each doing what they love.

When Leona thinks she sees a woman from her past named Ria, she starts having panic attacks. She can’t believe she thinks she is seeing her, because she knows she can’t forgive her for what she has done. Meanwhile Beth is struggling. She has no friends at school and is constantly ridiculed by her peers. While she used to be close to her mother, she sees that her mom is struggling with something and she knows she can’t talk to her. The only person who she can talk to is a photographer named David. Is he really who he seems? Who is Ria and why can’t Leona seem to forgive her?

Review: As I said in my Instagram review of this book, Wendy Clarke does a phenomenal job with the subjects she discusses in the story. Without giving away any spoilers, one of the characters was previously in an abusive relationship where she had to isolate herself from friends and family and change herself as not to trigger her partner. The way she portrayed the fear and anxiety of making the partner mad was so true to life. As someone who has been there, it is tough to have the one person who is supposed to be your comfort be your greatest fear. But she also shows how wonderful it is to have someone love you properly and be your strength. I absolutely loved that aspect of the book.

She also did a great job portraying Beth’s feelings. Sometimes adults don’t remember what it was like to be a teenager. To be insecure, anxious, and scared that people will ridicule you for just being yourself. To them, these things DO feel like the end of the world, and think we need to remember that.

I cannot recommend this book enough!

Next Reads

Some of my next reads are:

The Girl from the Sea by Shalini Boland

Speak of the Devil by Britney King

I Know You by Erik Therme

One Little Secret by Cate Holahan

Follow me @monnsbookreviews on Instagram to keep up with all my reads!