THE ELIZAS by Sara Shepard {Review}


Publisher: Atria Books
Release Date: April 17, 2018
Source: Review copy from the publisher
Rating: ★★★¾


New York Times bestselling author of Pretty Little Liars Sara Shepard makes her mark on adult fiction with this Hitchcockian double narrative composed of lies, false memories, and a protagonist who must uncover the truth for survival.

When debut novelist Eliza Fontaine is found at the bottom of a hotel pool, her family at first assumes that it’s just another failed suicide attempt. But Eliza swears she was pushed, and her rescuer is the only witness.

Desperate to find out who attacked her, Eliza takes it upon herself to investigate. But as the publication date for her novel draws closer, Eliza finds more questions than answers. Like why are her editor, agent, and family mixing up events from her novel with events from her life? Her novel is completely fictional, isn’t it?

The deeper Eliza goes into her investigation while struggling with memory loss, the closer her life starts to resemble her novel, until the line between reality and fiction starts to blur and she can no longer tell where her protagonist’s life ends and hers begins.

Fans of Pretty Little Liars, S.J. Watson’s Before I Go to Sleep, and Ruth Ware’s The Woman in Cabin 10 will be drawn to the drama of feeling like no one is on your side, the high tension of not knowing who you can trust, the hair-raising truths hidden among lies, and a faceless, nameless presence controlling Eliza’s life from the shadows.


THE ELIZAS is a dual narrative featuring Eliza, a young author who’s about to have her first novel published, and Dot, the main character in her book. Eliza is a troubled individual, both her past and present self. I found her irritating at times, but I understood her current paranoia. When she’s pulled from the bottom of a swimming pool yet again, her family is convinced it’s another suicide attempt, but Eliza thinks she was pushed in. Whose story is to be believed?

And then there’s Dot. This is a book within a book, as chapters from Eliza’s novel THE DOTS alternate with her own. I enjoyed this set up quite a bit, because it added to the overall madness of the situation. After a while it was hard to tell who was real and who was the character. Though some parts were a bit far-fetched, it was still a fun and strange read, especially if you love unreliable narrators.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

THE GIRL I USED TO BE by Mary Torjussen {Review}


Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: April 24, 2018
Source: Review copy from the publisher
Rating: ★★★★


The acclaimed author of Gone Without a Trace delivers another twisting novel of psychological suspense in which a woman is backed against a wall – with nothing left to lose…

The morning after real estate agent Gemma Brogan has dinner with a prospective client, she’s furious at herself for drinking so much. But there will be more to regret than a nasty hangover.

She starts receiving mementos from that night: A photo of a hallway kiss. A video of her complaining about her husband. And worse…much worse. The problem is she doesn’t remember any of it.

As the blackmailing and menace ramp up, Gemma fears for her already shaky marriage. The paranoia, the feeling that her life is spiraling out of control, will take her back to another night – years ago–that changed everything. And Gemma will realize just how far the shadows from her past can reach…


THE GIRL I USED TO BE is a fast paced psychological thriller that sucked me in right away. Most of the book is told from main character Gemma Brogan’s point of view. She’s a successful real estate agent with her own firm, and supporting her stay-at-home hubby, Joe, and their young son, Rory.

Though Gemma loves her career, she feels stressed and stretched thin, and misses Rory during her long hours of work. Then a business trip to London goes terribly wrong, and now she’s in danger of losing everything she holds dear. Someone is clearly out to get her, but why?

The build up of suspense in this book was well done. In addition to her present day dilemma, Gemma is still haunted by something terrible from her past and its aftermath. Gemma’s desperate situation kept me glued to the pages. This is an unsettling story of blackmail, secrets, and revenge, with some great twists and emotional moments too.

Disclosure: I received a review copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

THE BROKEN GIRLS by Simone St. James {Review}


Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: March 20, 2018
Source: Review copy from the publisher
Rating: ★★★★★


Vermont, 1950. There’s a place for the girls whom no one wants–the troublemakers, the illegitimate, the too smart for their own good. It’s called Idlewild Hall. And in the small town where it’s located, there are rumors that the boarding school is haunted. Four roommates bond over their whispered fears, their budding friendship blossoming–until one of them mysteriously disappears…

Vermont, 2014. As much as she’s tried, journalist Fiona Sheridan cannot stop revisiting the events surrounding her older sister’s death. Twenty years ago, her body was found lying in the overgrown fields near the ruins of Idlewild Hall. And though her sister’s boyfriend was tried and convicted of murder, Fiona can’t shake the suspicion that something was never right about the case.

When Fiona discovers that Idlewild Hall is being restored by an anonymous benefactor, she decides to write a story about it. But a shocking discovery during the renovations will link the loss of her sister to secrets that were meant to stay hidden in the past–and a voice that won’t be silenced…


THE BROKEN GIRLS was an amazing book, combining many elements I love: mystery, ghost story, historical fiction, dual time periods, and crime drama. I loved it – yes, it was dark and unsettling, but I was glued to the pages.

The story alternates between the early 1950s and 2014 in a tiny Vermont town. In the past, four teenage girls attend a local boarding school for troubled girls called Idlewild Hall when one goes missing; in the present, a journalist named Fiona investigates the death of her sister whose body was found on Idlewild’s abandoned property two decades earlier. Fiona agrees to write an article on the restoration of Idlewild when it’s purchased by a mysterious buyer. During renovations, a shocking discovery pulls Fiona into the unsolved case of the missing girl. Will it also lead her to answers about her own sister’s death?

This was an atmospheric and creepy read, with some definite chilling moments. Like many Gothic novels, the house, Idlewild, was a haunted, complex character itself, and the tale of its resident ghost was heartbreaking. The mystery was complicated, and I enjoyed how the well-researched historical elements were woven into it. I love Simone St. James’ storytelling, and I’d recommend this book to anyone who likes a spooky story full of emotion and depth.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.