Adult Fiction

Book Review: Finding Grace by K.L. Slater

Finding Grace

Author: K.L. Slater

Publication Date: 14 February 2019

Genre: Adult, Psychological Thriller

Pages: 253

Publisher: Bookouture

Synopsis:

This morning, my daughter sat right here, munching her breakfast, too excited to finish it. Now, she is missing. 

The day after her ninth birthday, Lucie and Blake Sullivan agree, for the very first time, to let their daughter, Grace, make the four-minute walk back home alone from a friend’s house just down the street. 

They joke with friends about hiding behind bushes to ensure she is safe. But the joke turns sour when Grace does not appear. 

Despite the best efforts of the police and local community, Grace seems to have vanished into thin air. With hope fading fast, Lucie knows she can rely on her husband to support her through such dark times. That is until the day she makes a shocking discovery, hidden in Blake’s desk, and suddenly she begins to doubt everything she knew about the man she married. 

But Lucie harbours a terrible secret of her own. One that she has never shared with anyone, even Blake … 

And as the search for Grace reaches fever pitch, Lucie receives a terrifying message. If she is ever to see Grace again, Lucie has no choice but to face the past she tried hard to bury forever. And she must do it alone. 

My Thoughts:

This was the first novel I read by K.L. Slater, and let’s just say, this will certainly not be the last! Within the first few pages, the readers are launched into an onslaught of heart-stopping chaos as Blake and Lucie Sullivan discover that their 9 year-old daughter Grace has disappeared on her 10 minute walk home from her best friend, Olivia’s house. With Grace without a trace, Blake and Lucie are confronted with questioning from the investigation team that makes them not only second guess themselves but each other’s motives as well.

The plot is chock full of twists and turns up until the very last page. As we start to peel back the layers of Blake and Lucie’s marriage so to speak, we discover that both of them are hiding colossal secrets from one another that could be the final straw to crumble their seemingly perfect marriage.

When I first started reading this story, I’ll be honest, I was not very attached to Lucie’s character because I thought at any moment she could break. The combination of her anxiety and depression is debilitating to the point that the slightest disturbances leave her bedridden. The story is told from mainly Lucie’s POV and progresses through a series of snippets from the present day where the investigation of Grace’s disappearance is taking place to the past, during Lucie’s college days, where we start to learn about the time that Lucie was a person that “she despised”. By the end, my heart was exploding for Lucie and her incredible strength.  

If you love psychological thrillers and books that will definitely have you clinging to the edge of your seat the entire time then READ this book! My heart was racing towards the end, and I thought that I might actually be having palpitations from all of the revelations along the way.

Thank you to NetGalley and Bookouture for providing me an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. This did not influence the outcome of my review.

Rating: 4.5 stars

Find this book online: Amazon and Goodreads

Adult Fiction

Book Review – The One Who’s Not the One by Keris Stainton (ARC)

All men leave eventually. Some of them even take your purse with them.

The One Who’s Not the One

Author: Keris Stainton

Publication Date: 26 Feb 2019

Genre: Adult Fiction – Romantic Comedy

Pages: 229

Publisher: Bookouture

Thank you NetGalley and Bookouture for providing me a free eARC in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis:


Cat’s life has hit a brick wall. Since she broke up with her ex Sam five years ago she’s quit stand-up comedy, landed in a steady but dull job, and lives in a tiny flat with roommates she knows only as The One Who Eats All My Food and The One Who Has Really Loud Sex. 

Cat, by contrast, is vividly aware that she hasn’t had sex for over two years

So when she bumps into old friend Harvey and sparks fly, Cat is surprised. The more time she spends with Harvey, the more their chemistry grows – but Cat knows she has to ignore her feelings. 

Because Harvey is Sam’s brother, and so absolutely, 100% off-limits romantically. If only Cat didn’t keep forgetting that…

My Thoughts:

Calling all romantic comedy fans! You NEED to read this book. This book was absolutely brilliant. It was hilarious, refreshing, addictive, and completely relatable. I read this book in a span of 24 hours. I just couldn’t put it down!

The book opens with Cat stopping at Starbucks to grab some breakfast and a coffee for her boss since she’s already running late for a job that she could care less about, so she might as well earn some brownie points. She sets her stuff down on a table that this gorgeous guy is sitting at while she readjusts herself. After a bit of flirtatious banter, he leaves…with Cat’s purse in tow. This scene perfectly sets the theme of this story: men in Cat’s life always leave.

Cat’s life has descended into a mundane routine. She has a flat share with Georgie, a sorry excuse of a roommate that has a complete disregard for anyone or anything that doesn’t concern her and her boyfriend. Her love life is non-existent. She has boring job as an accountant, which is nowhere near as thrilling as comedy was. Cat’s only friends are her best friend Kelly and her husband Sean. Kelly is a tough love kind of woman that refuses to put up with Cat’s wallowing and tells her what she needs to hear even when Cat tries to run away.   

Cat’s life is turned upside when she discovers that Sam has returned to London for a gig. She all but drags her best friend Kelly to the show after she finds out that his show is called ‘Cat Amongst the Pigeons’, which obviously has to be about her. Maybe she will finally get some answers as to why Sam left for Australia without asking her to come with. Following the show, Cat bumps into Harvey, Sam’s younger brother. Sparks fly, but Cat becomes fixated on the “dating a sibling’s ex” taboo. Yet, as Cat spends more time with Harvey (as friends, or so she tells herself), she is too scared to admit her feelings for him because everyone always leaves.

Cat’s character was definitely frustrating at times. Cat is so engrossed with the idea that everyone always leaves her, so she has accepted that her life is destined to be full of unhappiness in both her personal relationships and career. Despite Kelly’s constant tough love, Cat rarely stands up for herself since she is nonconfrontational and has a fear of abandonment. However, once Harvey re-enters Cat’s life, Cat is forced to question whether people actually left her or if she ran away out of fear.   

What made this an incredible read for me was how realistic/honest/relatable it was when it came to love and relationships. Most of the time, love is not this over the top fairy tale that it is painted to be.  People have baggage. People are not rational when it comes to love. Previous relationships with parents and/or exes can influence a person’s mindset for pursuing a new relationship. People can be too scared to speak up and/or shift the status quo of their everyday lives. Keris beautifully tackles all of these everyday issues while still making you laugh and think “Yeah, I’ve been there”.   

Rating: 5 stars

Adult Fiction

Book Review: They Called Me Wyatt by Natasha Tynes (ARC)

Dying was not the worst part. It was was what came after dying.

They Called Me Wyatt

Author: Natasha Tynes

Publication Date: 11 June 2019

Genre: Adult, Mystery/Thriller – has sci-fi elements

Pages: 280

Publisher: Rare Bird Books

Thank you to Natasha Tynes for providing a free eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis:

When Jordanian student Siwar Salaiha is murdered on her birthday in College Park, Maryland, her consciousness survives, finding refuge in the body of a Seattle baby boy. Stuck in this speech delayed three-year old body, Siwar tries but fails to communicate with Wyatt’s parents, instead she focuses on solving the mystery behind her murder. Eventually, her consciousness goes into a dormant state after Wyatt undergoes a major medical procedure.

Fast-forward twenty-two years. Wyatt is a well-adjusted young man with an affinity towards the Middle East and a fear of heights. While working on his graduate degree in Middle Eastern studies, Wyatt learns about Siwar’s death, which occurred twenty-five years ago. For reasons he can’t explain, he grows obsessed with Siwar and spends months investigating her death, which police at the time erroneously ruled as suicide. His investigation forces him to open a door he has kept shut all his life, a spiritual connection to an unknown entity that he frequently refused to acknowledge. His leads take him to Amman, Jordan where after talking to her friends and family members and through his special connection with the deceased, he discovers a clue that unravels the mystery of her death. Will Siwar get justice after all?

My Thoughts:

This novel is broken into two parts. The first part of the story mainly focuses on Siwar’s narrative. Siwar plunged to her death on her 25th birthday after being pushed off a building. Unfortunately for her, her consciousness survives but relocates itself into a speech delayed three-year-old boy named Wyatt. Siwar still has the thought processes of a 25-year-old woman but are ultimately useless in a toddler’s body that is uncapable of responding in the manner she wants. I definitely found it entertaining to watch a 25-year-old Siwar get so utterly frustrated trying to communicate with Wyatt’s parents Krista and Noah. If my life went from independence and pursuing my dream career to watching one hour of either Sesame Street or Barney every day, I’d be fussing and cussing just as much as Siwar.

I think Natasha did a wonderful job with the progression of the flashbacks that start to piece together Siwar’s story starting from her preteen years in Jordan. Siwar was always fiercely independent and set on pushing back against the archaic and conservative expectations of females in Jordanian society. As we see more of Siwar’s background, I felt myself empathasizing with her story. I could not blame her for wanting to get away from so many rules that dictated her existence just because she was a female.

However, as the plot continues during part one, we start to get glimpses of just how manipulative Siwar is. When she tries to communicate to Wyatt’s parents, Krista and Noah, and she doesn’t get the response she wants, she has full blown temper tantrums. Since she’s an adult trapped inside of a child with a mission to find out how she was murdered, she doesn’t particularly care if she hurts their feelings. While I understood her frustration, you could see that Wyatt’s behavioral issues were also tearing apart Krista and Noah’s already fragile marriage.

Book one ends with Wyatt going in for a procedure to correct his urinary tract, so he is sedated for the operation, which means both Siwar and Wyatt are silenced. Turn the page to book two, and now we have a 25-year-old Wyatt and wondering if Siwar is alive or dead (well passed on would probably be more appropriate since she technically is dead).

Surprise – Siwar is still with Wyatt, but now she’s no longer in control of Wyatt’s consciousness. She’s the dull whispers in the background that only become vivid when Wyatt is either inebriated or under the influence of Valium. Because Siwar can still peer into Wyatt’s consciousness, he has become obsessed with solving her cold case but has no clue why this need is consuming him.

Book two was a bit slower for me. I plowed through book one because I was fascinating in learning Siwar’s story through her own memories that are implanted in Wyatt. I also have a strong preference for Siwar’s narrative over Wyatt’s because I found her independent attitude refreshing while not being obtrusive. During book two, I grew more and more frustrated with Wyatt repeatedly wasting away in a drunken or medicinal stupor just so we could get back to Siwar and her truth. In hindsight, I realize that like Siwar, I didn’t necessarily care about Wyatt and the consequences associated with seeking justice for Siwar because the plot wasn’t about Wyatt. Right? Or was it?

Overall, the is a great debut novel from Natasha Tynes. She does a wonderful job of assessing America from an outsider’s perspective while also giving a glimpse into Jordanian society, which most Americans probably are not privy to. The plot has a great pace. There are definitely interesting twists and turns as we learn more about the relationships that Siwar had as well as the man Wyatt has grown to become. The ending definitely took me by surprise.

Rating: 4 stars