#Review: The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel @aengelwrites @CrownPublishing

roanoke

“Roanoke girls never last long around here. In the end, we either run or we die.”

The Roanoke Girls

I’ve put off writing my review for well over a month because I truly didn’t know how to approach reviewing this book. So I’m just going to let my thoughts flow and see what happens.

When Lane Roanoke was fifteen, her mother committed suicide, and she was sent to live in her grandparents Kansas home. Lane knew nothing about them, because her mother left home before she was born, never went back, and refused to talk about her parents. She arrives at the crazily constructed home where she meets her cousin Allegra, who also lives there. She’s happy there that summer, until she discovers a dark family secret… and runs, vowing never to return. When she gets word years later that Allegra is missing, she returns, finding both happiness and heartbreak.

There’s very little I can say without spoiling the story, but what I can say is The Roanoke Girls is a deeply disturbing novel with a family secret that is dark and shockingly twisted. This is definitely not a book everyone will feel comfortable reading, but despite that,  it’s a compelling read that’s difficult to put down. Engel’s writing is excellent throughout and her choice of breaking up the narrative into THEN (teenaged Lane’s perspective) and NOW (present day Lane’s perspective) segments, interspersed with chapters that look back on the earlier Roanoke girls, sustained the air of mystery throughout the story.

I’m still not sure how I feel about this book. The only thing I’m sure of is this is a story I’m unlikely to ever forget.

I received an advance review copy of this book courtesy of Netgalley and Crown Publishing.

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Author: Amy Engel

Title: The Roanoke Girls

Genre: Mystery & Thrillers

Published: March 7th, 2017 by Crown Publishing

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

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Purchase Links

Penguin Random House | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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About the Book

Vowing to discover the fate of her missing cousin, a woman returns to her family’s Kansas estate where she spent one haunting summer as a teen, and where she discovered the dark heart of the Roanoke clan that left her no choice but to run.

Lane Roanoke is fifteen when she comes to live with her maternal grandparents and fireball cousin, Allegra, at the Roanoke family estate in rural Osage Flats, Kansas, following the suicide of her mother. Lane knows little of her mother’s family, other than the fact that her mother ran away years before and cut off all contact with her parents. Allegra, abandoned by her own mother at birth and raised by her grandparents, introduces Lane to small-town life and the benefits of being one of the rich and beautiful Roanoke girls. But there is darkness at the heart of the Roanoke family, and when Lane discovers its insidious pull she has no choice but to run, as far and as fast as she can.

Eleven years later, Lane is scraping by in Los Angeles when her grandfather calls with the news that Allegra has gone missing. “Come home,” he beckons. Unable to resist his pleas, Lane returns to Osage Flats, determined to find her cousin and assuage her own guilt at having left Allegra behind all those years ago. Her return might mean a second chance with Cooper, the boyfriend whom she loved and destroyed that fateful summer. But it also means facing the terrible secret that made her flee, one she may not be strong enough to run from again.

As it weaves between the summer of Lane’s first arrival and the summer of her return, The Roanoke Girls shocks and tantalizes, twisting its way through revelation after mesmerizing revelation, exploring the secrets families keep and the fierce and terrible love that both binds them together and rips them apart.

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About the Author

Author Amy Engel
Author Amy Engel

Amy Engel is the author of THE BOOK OF IVY young adult series. A former criminal defense attorney, she lives in Missouri with her family. THE ROANOKE GIRLS (March 7, 2017), is her first novel for adults.

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Review: The Good Daughter by Alexandra Burt

The Good Daughter cover

Most of Dahlia Waller’s earliest memories take place in her mother’s car. They were constantly packing up and leaving in the middle of the night, driving to parts unknown. They would stay in the new place for a while, living in the cheap motels where her mother, Memphis, worked as a housekeeper and got paid ‘under the table’. Dahlia knew they wouldn’t stay long; they never did. Sooner or later they would leave, moving on to another motel in another town… it was an oft-repeated cycle that Dahlia was told had to do with Paperwork… which they didn’t have. It was the reason Dahlia was home-schooled, instead of going to school like other children did.

After years of moving from one place to another, Memphis took Dahlia to Aurora, Texas… and they stayed. Dahlia was enrolled in school, and able to make lasting friendships for the first time in her life. Memphis never told Dahlia why she chose to stay in Aurora; she was an obsessively private woman who shared very little with anyone, including her daughter. Dahlia left when she was 18, and didn’t return for 15 years—she wanted answers about her strange childhood, and Memphis was the only person who could provide them. To Dahlia’s dismay, Memphis is as tight-lipped as ever, and seems to be teetering on the edge of madness.

Before Dahlia can attempt to get any answers, she discovers a woman who has been left for dead in the woods. This sets off a chain of events that apparently pushes her mother over the edge of sanity, leaving Dahlia to search for answers on her own… answers that are not only heartbreaking, but horrifying.

Intriguing right from the start, The Good Daughter is layer upon layer of mystery. What I’ve described above touches on only two of the characters in this multi-faceted story. There are several others we meet along the way—two in particular where we see the action through their points of view. I don’t want to spoil anything, so I can’t give any details other than to say they all have an important role in the overall story. It’s puzzling early on, trying to figure out how all the pieces of this complex story fit together. Once everything starts to fall into place, you can’t help but appreciate the skill it took  for Burt to craft such a complicated story. This is the first novel I’ve read by Alexandra Burt, but it definitely won’t be the last!

I received an advance review copy of this book courtesy of Netgalley and Berkley.

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Author: Alexandra Burt

Title: The Good Daughter

Genre: Mystery & Thrillers

Publication Date: February 7, 2017 by Berkley

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐


Purchase Links

Amazon | Barnes & Noble


About the Book

From the author of Remember Mia comes the tale of a young woman in search of her past, and the mother who will do anything to keep it hidden…

What if you were the worst crime your mother ever committed?

Dahlia Waller’s childhood memories consist of stuffy cars, seedy motels, and a rootless existence traveling the country with her eccentric mother. Now grown, she desperately wants to distance herself from that life. Yet one thing is stopping her from moving forward: she has questions.

In order to understand her past, Dahlia must go back. Back to her mother in the stifling town of Aurora, Texas. Back into the past of a woman on the brink of madness. But after she discovers three grave-like mounds on a neighboring farm, she’ll learn that in her mother’s world of secrets, not all questions are meant to be answered…


About the Author

Alexandra Burt
Alexandra Burt

Born in Fulda, Germany, a baroque town in the East Hesse Highlands, I spent my childhood accompanying my two older brothers on local countryside adventures, roaming abandoned farm houses, ancient beech woods cratered by WW2 bombings, and sandstone towers rumored to have housed witches waiting to be burned at the stakes. A gluttonous reader long before online bookstores, grocery store crime novels, and large book chains cropped up in every city, I made do with a small town library in the city hall building. After I exhausted the children’s section, I moved on to crime fiction and serial killers.

While pursuing literary translations, I decided to tell my own stories. After three years of writing classes and gluttonous reading, my short fiction appeared in the Freedom Fiction Journal, All Things Girl, and MUSED Literary Review.

I currently live in Central Texas with my husband, my daughter, and two Chocolate Labrador Retrievers.

I am currently working on my third novel.

Author photo and bio via Goodreads.

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#Review Stalked by Elizabeth Heiter @ElizabethHeiter @HarlequinBooks

Stalked cover

If you’re reading this, I’m already dead…

That’s the note seventeen-year-old Haley Cooke leaves behind when she disappears from inside her high school. FBI profiler Evelyn Baine is called in to figure out who had reason to hurt her. On the surface, the popular cheerleader has no enemies, but as Evelyn digs deeper, she discovers that everyone close to Haley has something to hide. Everyone from estranged parents, to an older boyfriend with questionable connections, to a best friend who envies Haley’s life.

Secrets can be deadly…

One of those secrets may have gotten Haley killed. If she’s still alive, Evelyn knows that the more the investigation ramps up, the more pressure they could be putting on Haley’s kidnapper to make her disappear for good. It’s also possible the teenager isn’t in danger at all, but has skillfully manipulated everyone and staged her own disappearance. Only one thing is certain: uncovering Haley’s fate could be dangerous—even deadly—to Evelyn herself.

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Author: Elizabeth Heiter

Title: Stalked

Series: The Profiler #4

Genre: Mystery, Thriller

Published: December 27th, 2016 by Harlequin MIRA

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Purchase on Amazon (US)

I received an advance review copy of this book courtesy of Netgalley and Harlequin MIRA.

“If you’re reading this, I’m already dead…”

Seven little words. That’s all it took to sell me on reading this book. I had to know who wrote it and why. Most importantly, I needed to know if they were dead. And it didn’t matter that I’d barely begun to read the blurb, and had no idea what the story was about. A blurb that starts like that simply cannot be ignored.

When I requested the ARC, I didn’t notice it was part of a series. I don’t like reading books out of order, but fortunately it wasn’t a problem. There are a few references to events that occurred in previous books, but it’s not confusing at all.

I really enjoyed the Evelyn Baine character. She reminded me of the Emily Prentiss character on Criminal Minds in many ways, which (for me) made her that much more interesting.

I was very impressed with Heiter’s ability to weave such a complex tale. There was never a dull moment, and the stakes were high throughout the story. There was a palpable sense of urgency in the search for Haley Cooke that steadily increased and kept me on the edge of my seat as one lead after another was investigated. The action-packed ending was fantastic, giving readers an extremely satisfying resolution.

About the Author

 

elizabethheiter_sm
Elizabeth Heiter

ELIZABETH HEITER likes her suspense to feature strong heroines, chilling villains, psychological twists, and a little bit (or a lot!) of romance. Her research has taken her into the minds of serial killers, through murder investigations, and onto the FBI Academy’s shooting range. Her novels have been published in more than a dozen countries and eight languages; they’ve also been shortlisted for the National Readers’ Choice, Daphne Du Maurier and Booksellers’ Best awards and won the RT Reviewers’ Choice award.

Elizabeth graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in English Literature. She’s a member of International Thriller Writers and Romance Writers of America. You can also find Elizabeth on Facebook.

Photo and author bio via Goodreads

Review: Watching Edie by Camilla Way

Watching Edie by Camilla Way

For fans of Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train: A dazzling work of psychological suspense that weaves together the past and present of two women’s twisted friendship.
 
Beautiful, creative, a little wild… Edie was the kind of girl who immediately caused a stir when she walked into your life. And she had dreams back then—but it didn’t take long for her to learn that things don’t always turn out the way you want them to.

Now, at thirty-three, Edie is working as a waitress, pregnant and alone. And when she becomes overwhelmed by the needs of her new baby and sinks into a bleak despair, she thinks that there’s no one to turn to…

But someone’s been watching Edie, waiting for the chance to prove once again what a perfect friend she can be. It’s no coincidence that Heather shows up on Edie’s doorstep, just when Edie needs her the most. So much has passed between them—so much envy, longing, and betrayal. And Edie’s about to learn a new lesson: those who have hurt us deeply—or who we have hurt—never let us go, not entirely…

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Author: Camilla Way

Title: Watching Edie

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Published: 8/2/2016 by Berkley/NAL

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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I received an advance review copy of this book courtesy of Netgalley and Berkley/NAL.

Edie, a 33-year-old pregnant waitress, is shocked when her childhood friend shows up at her door. She hasn’t seen Heather in 15 years, but she always expected—and dreaded—the day she would see her again. Heather seems overjoyed to have found her, but the feeling isn’t mutual. Edie gets rid of her as quickly as she can, reluctantly giving Heather her phone number in process. Over the next several weeks, Edie ignores Heather’s calls and busies herself preparing for the arrival of her baby. But when Maya is born, Edie feels nothing for her daughter. Left to care for her alone, Edie feels increasingly unable to cope. In the moment of her deepest despair, Heather reappears, offering to help. Numb with exhaustion, Edie gratefully agrees. Heather moves in, taking over every aspect of Maya’s care, and discourages people from visiting or calling, saying Edie wasn’t well and needed rest.

Months go by with Edie feeling incapable of caring for Maya. Every attempt she makes to do something for her daughter is met with Heather’s disapproving insistence that she do it instead. Then Edie discovers how far Heather went to keep everyone away from her, and finds out something disturbing about Heather, leading to a confrontation that drives Heather away… or did it? Edie is frightened when someone breaks into her home and trashes it. She immediately suspects Heather, and she keeps remembering a long ago night when something terrible happened, destroying their friendship and driving Edie away from home. Despite her fear, Edie knows she has to do whatever it takes to protect Maya… no matter what the cost.

Watching Edie is a riveting psychological thriller that you won’t want to put down. The story is told from Edie’s perspective in the present, and from Heather’s perspective in the past. Cryptic glimpses and references to a terrible thing that happened when Edie and Heather were young keeps you guessing, but is never done in such a way that it feels annoying. A constant, underlying sense of danger keeps you alert as you read, searching for clues into Edie’s past with Heather, and the tension builds to an astonishing finale guaranteed to leave your jaw on the floor.

About the Author

Camilla Way
Camilla Way

Camilla Way was born in Greenwich, south-east London, and studied Modern English and French Literature at the University of Glamorgan. Her father was the poet and author Peter Way. Formerly Associate Editor of the teenage girls’ magazine Bliss, she is currently an editor and writer on the men’s style magazine Arena. Having lived in Cardiff, Bristol, Bath and Clerkenwell, she now lives in south-east London.

Author photo and bio via Goodreads.