Watch Me by Jody Gerhman #Review @StMartinsPress

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Kate Youngblood, a creative writing professor, is fast-approaching forty and feeling invisible. Men don’t notice her anymore, they don’t see her—except for her student, Sam Grist. His eyes are on her constantly, and Kate enjoys it. What she doesn’t know is that Sam watches her all the time… even when she doesn’t know it. Sam has had their future together all planned out for years, and he won’t allow anything—or anyone—to stand in his way. Kate belonged to him… she just didn’t know it yet.

What I Liked

The story is told in the alternating points-of-view of both Kate and Sam, and I was delighted to see the book was structured in this way. I love being able to get inside the heads of both main characters, seeing how each one perceives events that take place. It’s chilling to see how oblivious the intended victim is to the manipulations of the villain, especially when you know what’s being planned. (The downside to this is it has the power to create some serious anxiety in the reader when the oblivious party is in immediate danger, and doesn’t know it!)

Sam Grist takes the prize for being the creepiest stalker I’ve ever read about. It was truly disturbing to see the way he processed things; the only thing more disturbing was how bold he became in stalking Kate and how far he was willing to go in order to make his fantasies become reality.

What I Didn’t Like

As the book neared the end, the things that were happening had me completely engrossed, thinking an outstanding ending was on the way. I was breathless, reading as fast as I could, racing toward the fantastic finale I just knew was coming.

Then I read the last two chapters.

Instead of cheering and feeling exhilarated, I was left bitterly disappointed and wondering why on earth it ended the way it did. I can’t explain why I felt that way, of course, because it would be a major spoiler. I haven’t read anyone else’s review on this book yet, so I may well be alone in feeling let down by the ending. It works, I suppose… but it wasn’t at all what I expected. Or wanted, for that matter.

Final Thoughts

There are many things about this book that I thought were excellent. As I mentioned earlier, Sam Grist is the creepiest stalker I ever read, and I’m sure I won’t forget about Sam or Kate anytime soon (if ever). I thought Gehrman’s writing was very good, and I enjoyed reading most of this book. But that ending… it’s hard for me to get past that. It didn’t appeal to me in the slightest, and—even if it feels a bit unfair, given how much I enjoyed so much of the book—it soured how I felt about the story, overall.

It was a struggle to rate this one. 4 stars felt too generous, given how I felt about the ending. 3 stars, or even 3.5 stars, felt too little, because there was so much I did like about it. I decided to go with 3.75 stars, in the end.

Despite being disappointed with the ending, I’m definitely willing to give this author another try, because I really like her writing style.

As for recommendations on reading it? I leave that to you, readers. If the premise appeals, give it a try. Who knows? You might love the ending, and wonder why on earth I didn’t love it!

I received an advance reading copy of this book courtesy of St. Martin’s Griffin via Netgalley.

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Author: Jody Gehrman
Title: Watch Me
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Published: January 23, 2018 by St. Martin’s Griffin
Rating: 3.75 stars rounded up to 4 stars

About the Book

For fans of You by Caroline Kepnes and Her by Harriet Lane comes a riveting novel of psychological suspense about how far obsession can go.
Kate Youngblood is disappearing. Muddling through her late 30s as a creative writing professor at Blackwood college, she’s dangerously close to never being noticed again. The follow-up novel to her successful debut tanked. Her husband left her for a woman ten years younger. She’s always been bright, beautiful, independent and a little wild, but now her glow is starting to vanish. She’s heading into an age where her eyes are less blue, her charm worn out, and soon no one will ever truly look at her, want to know her, again.
Except one.
Sam Grist is Kate’s most promising student. An unflinching writer with razor-sharp clarity who gravitates towards dark themes and twisted plots, his raw talent is something Kate wants to nurture into literary success. But he’s not there solely to be the best writer. He’s been watching her. Wanting her. Working his way to her for years.
As Sam slowly makes his way into Kate’s life, they enter a deadly web of dangerous lies and forbidden desire. But how far will his fixation go? And how far will she allow it?
A gripping novel exploring intense obsession and illicit attraction, Jody Gehrman introduces a world where what you desire most may be the most dangerous thing of all.
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The Other Mother by Carol Goodman #Review @C_Goodmania @Morrow_PB

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After the birth of her daughter, Chloe, Daphne Marist began having intrusive thoughts about harming her. Diagnosed with Post-Partum Mood Disorder, she joined a mother’s support group where she met Laurel Hobbes and became friends with her. A few months later, something caused Daphne to flee with Chloe. Using a false name and credentials (Laurel’s) she accepted a live-in job located near an asylum… and hoped her controlling husband wouldn’t be able to find her.

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What I liked:

I spent a great deal of time being confused where Daphne and Laurel were concerned, especially at the end of Part One. A major bombshell is dropped at the end of that section that had me questioning everything I’d read up to that point.

The reader is made privy to diary entries made by both Daphne and Laurel when they were in the mother’s support group. The entries made by Laurel were particularly interesting to me when they described events Daphne had also written about.

Another thing I found of interest was the mystery surrounding a patient at the asylum who jumped from the tower window in the house (and living quarters) Daphne would later live in. It ended up having deeper ramifications to the overall story than I expected it to have.

There are several twists in this novel, and I loved not knowing what would happen next! Any confusion I felt, every doubt I had, every new question that popped into my mind as a result of what I’d just read served to keep me firmly engaged throughout the book.

The ending was awesome! I absolutely had no idea things would play out the way they did, and it was extremely satisfying to this reader.

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What I didn’t like:

I can’t recall anything I didn’t like. (How wonderful is it to be able to say that?!)

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Final thoughts:

If you have a fondness for psychological thrillers with unreliable narrators and unexpected twists, this book needs to be on your TBR!

I received an advance review copy of this book courtesy of William Morrow Paperbacks via Edelweiss.

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Author: Carol Goodman

Title: The Other Mother

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Published: March 27th, 2018 by William Morrow Paperbacks

Rating: 5 stars

About the Book

From the author of the internationally bestselling The Lake of Dead Languages comes a gripping novel about madness, motherhood, love, and trust.

When Daphne Marist and her infant daughter, Chloe, pull up the gravel drive to the home of Daphne’s new employer, it feels like they’ve entered a whole new world. Tucked in the Catskills, the stone mansion looks like something out of a fairy tale, its lush landscaping hiding the view of the mental asylum just beyond its border. Daphne secured the live-in position using an assumed name and fake credentials, telling no one that she’s on the run from a controlling husband who has threatened to take her daughter away.

Daphne’s new life is a far cry from the one she had in Westchester where, just months before, she and her husband welcomed little Chloe. From the start, Daphne tries to be a good mother, but she’s plagued by dark moods and intrusive thoughts that convince her she’s capable of harming her own daughter. When Daphne is diagnosed with Post Partum Mood Disorder, her downward spiral feels unstoppable—until she meets Laurel Hobbes.

Laurel, who also has a daughter named Chloe, is everything Daphne isn’t: charismatic, sophisticated, fearless. They immediately form an intense friendship, revealing secrets to one another they thought they’d never share. Soon, they start to look alike, dress alike, and talk alike, their lives mirroring one another in strange and disturbing ways. But Daphne realizes only too late that being friends with Laurel will come at a very shocking price—one that will ultimately lead her to that towering mansion in the Catskills where terrifying, long-hidden truths will finally be revealed….

Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney #Review @alicewriterland @Flatironbooks

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Holy moly, Batman… what a fantastic book! I read the majority of this book in one sitting because it was impossible to put down. (I only got two hours worth of sleep, but it was worth the book hangover!)

The story is set within three distinct points in time, split into alternating chapters:

  • Now: The present, in which Amber is hospitalized and comatose.
  • Then: The recent past, where we see the events that take place shortly before Amber ends up in the hospital.
  • Before: Entries from a childhood diary written in 1991.

NOW: When the story begins, the reader is at the same disadvantage as Amber—knowing where she is, without knowing why. Was it an accident, or someone do this to her? Vague clues about what happened to her are dropped in the conversations going on around her—which Amber is able to hear, despite being in a coma—but they don’t tell her what she needs to know. If anything, what she hears often leave her as confused as the dreams she slips into regularly. Amber thinks they may hold the key to what happened to her, but the surreal dreams make little sense to her.

My inner detective was on constant alert as I read the present-day chapters. I wanted to solve the mystery of what happened to her before all was revealed, and I was constantly noting little things that seemed important. It was a lot of fun, and kept me even more firmly glued to the pages, but (per usual) I wasn’t able to figure it out.

THEN: Getting insight into Amber’s day-to-day life, and her (practically non-existent) relationships with her co-workers was interesting. Amber struggles with anxiety and OCD, and it was intriguing to see how she coped with checking rituals. There was one, in particular, that I puzzled over quite a bit—wondering what the story behind it was and hoping it would be revealed at some point. (It was.) Her relationship with her boss, Madeline, was extremely complicated, mixed in with a heavy dose of intrigue that had me scratching my head, wondering what it was all about. One event (which I won’t spoil with details) left me wide-eyed and shocked to the core, even though I didn’t fully understand (yet) why it was happening. When the ‘why’ of it came out later on, I was shocked all over again.

BEFORE: These chapters were so good! I spent a lot of time staring off into space, attempting to reconcile the things I’d already read, with something I’d just read in one of the dairy entries. I think I was sometimes more puzzled with that, than with why Amber was in the hospital!

Puzzled is how I felt much of the time I was reading this book, but in a good way. I went into it expecting one mystery, and found several others that were every bit as fascinating and compelling as the first. The resolution of each one was extremely satisfying, and I didn’t have any unanswered questions by the time I reached the end.

Speaking of the ending: WOW… totally blew me away! I don’t know what I expected, but it certainly wasn’t that.

I LOVED this book. It’s definitely a Book Worth Reading, and you won’t want to miss out on this one!

I received an advance review copy of this book courtesy of Flatiron Books.

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Author Alice Feeney

Title: Sometimes I Lie

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Published: March 13, 2018 by Flatiron Books

Rating: 5 stars

book worth reading

About the Book

My name is Amber Reynolds. There are three things you should know about me:
1. I’m in a coma.
2. My husband doesn’t love me anymore.
3. Sometimes I lie.

Amber wakes up in a hospital. She can’t move. She can’t speak. She can’t open her eyes. She can hear everyone around her, but they have no idea. Amber doesn’t remember what happened, but she has a suspicion her husband had something to do with it. Alternating between her paralyzed present, the week before her accident, and a series of childhood diaries from twenty years ago, this brilliant psychological thriller asks: Is something really a lie if you believe it’s the truth?

About the Author

Alice Feeney
Alice Feeney

Alice Feeney is a writer and journalist. She spent 16 years at the BBC, where she worked as a Reporter, News Editor, Arts and Entertainment Producer and One O’clock News Producer.

Alice has lived in London and Sydney and has now settled in the Surrey countryside, where she lives with her dog – a giant black Labrador who is scared of feathers.

Sometimes I Lie is her debut thriller and is being published around the world.