Book Review: Follow Me

Follow MeFollow Me by Kathleen Barber

From the author of Truth Be Told (formerly titled Are You Sleeping)—now an Apple TV series of the same name—comes a cautionary tale of oversharing in the social media age for fans of Jessica Knoll and Caroline Kepnes’s You.

Everyone wants new followers…until they follow you home.

Audrey Miller has an enviable new job at the Smithsonian, a body by reformer Pilates, an apartment door with a broken lock, and hundreds of thousands of Instagram followers to bear witness to it all. Having just moved to Washington, DC, Audrey busies herself impressing her new boss, interacting with her online fan base, and staving off a creepy upstairs neighbor with the help of the only two people she knows in town: an ex-boyfriend she can’t stay away from and a sorority sister with a high-powered job and a mysterious past.

But Audrey’s faulty door may be the least of her security concerns. Unbeknownst to her, her move has brought her within striking distance of someone who’s obsessively followed her social media presence for years—from her first WordPress blog to her most recent Instagram Story. No longer content to simply follow her carefully curated life from a distance, he consults the dark web for advice on how to make Audrey his and his alone. In his quest to win her heart, nothing is off-limits—and nothing is private.

Kathleen Barber’s electrifying new thriller will have you scrambling to cover your webcam and digital footprints.

Review:
This is an interesting book, exploring social media, influencers, how real (or not) they are, how we look at them, and the real life consequences, especially given technology.
I enjoyed this book well enough, but didn’t love it. I thought it would be more intense and less repetitive. It just seemed some of the relationships were going in circles.
The book is told from 3 points of view: Audrey, a social media influencer, her friend Cat, and Him, the stalker.
Audrey was what I suppose a young woman trying to become an influencer might be like. I did find her annoying at times, though, especially around her own personal security (no spoilers but the situation around where she lived felt like something I would definitely not put up with).
Cat’s insecurity wore on me, though I did enjoy trying to figure out who He was.
Overall, I guess I thought the book would be more intense, though I did enjoy it. This is probably a case where this just wasn’t the right book for me because I can see how it would appeal to others.
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for a review copy.
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Book Review: The Familiar Dark

The Familiar DarkThe Familiar Dark by Amy Engel

Set in the poorest part of the Missouri Ozarks, in a small town with big secrets, The Familiar Dark opens with a murder. Eve Taggert, desperate with grief over losing her daughter, takes it upon herself to find out the truth about what happened. Eve is no stranger to the dark side of life, having been raised by a hard-edged mother whose lessons Eve tried not to pass on to her own daughter. But Eve may need her mother’s cruel brand of strength if she’s going to face the reality about her daughter’s death and about her own true nature. Her quest for justice takes her from the seedy underbelly of town to the quiet woods and, most frighteningly, back to her mother’s trailer for a final lesson.
Review:
This is a hard and gritty thriller about a woman trying to find out who killed her daughter.
However, this book was not for me. I was curious enough to finish reading and appreciate that the book was interestingly told with some good writing — it is hard to put into words why I didn’t like the book.
There are a lot of cliches and a lot of darkness. I didn’t bond with the main character at all and got annoyed at times. Others love this book so this may simply be a case of nothing is for everyone.
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for a review copy of this book.
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Book Review: Wildland

Wildland with Stubborn BottleWildland by Rebecca Hodge

For fans of Jodi Picoult and Anita Shreve comes an exhilarating debut novel of one woman’s courage in the face of catastrophe.

She’ll do anything to save them.
But what will she do to save herself?

When Kat Jamison retreats to the Blue Ridge Mountains, she’s counting on peace and solitude to help her make a difficult decision. Her breast cancer has returned, but after the death of her husband, her will to fight is dampened. Now she has a choice to make: face yet another round of chemotherapy or surrender gracefully.

Self-reflection quickly proves impossible as her getaway is complicated by a pair of abandoned dogs and two friendly children staying nearby, Lily and Nirav. In no time at all, Kat’s quiet seclusion is invaded by the happy confusion of children and pets.

But when lightning ignites a deadly wildfire, Kat’s cabin is cut off from the rest of the camp, separating Lily and Nirav from their parents. Left with no choice, Kat, the children, and the dogs must flee on foot through the drought-stricken forest, away from the ravenous flames. As a frantic rescue mission is launched below the fire line, Kat drives the party deeper into the mountains, determined to save four innocent lives. But when the moment comes to save her own, Kat will have to decide just how hard she’s willing to fight to survive–and what’s worth living for.

A heart-pounding novel of bravery, sacrifice, and self-discovery, Wildland will keep you on the edge of your seat to the very last page.

Review:
I absolutely loved this book. It had me feeling all of the emotions and, yes, I was even reaching for the tissues.
The beginning is on the slow side, but wait a couple of chapters — I couldn’t put it down.
Kat is a wonderful character, a woman diagnosed with breast cancer who goes to the mountains to think about what to do. She meets 2 different dads with their kids. While the kids have a sleepover, a forest fire starts and Kat must get the kids and the 2 dogs in her care to safety. The peril, her decisions, her will to keep everyone safe, the time crunch, and the trust they all must place in each other make for a compelling read.
Having lived close to forest fires, I found the book harrowing and could feel myself there. Hodge wrote the emotion in the book amazingly well. I also loved that Kat was smart and made well thought out decisions. The book explored survival in a dramatic way!
The supporting characters, the dads, kids, and dogs, were also really well portrayed and each added something necessary to the book.
I highly recommend this book. In fact, I own a book box subscription called Callisto Crate and included this book for February and the response was overwhelmingly positive.
If you are interested in this author, I was able to do a Facebook Live interview with her, which you can find by clicking here. I found it fascinating how she wrote this book.
Thanks to Netgalley and Crooked Lane for the review copy.
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Book Review: The Wives

The WivesThe Wives by Tarryn Fisher

New York Times bestselling author Tarryn Fisher delivers a pulse-pounding, fast-paced suspense novel that will leave you breathless. A thriller you won’t be able to put down!

Thursday’s husband, Seth, has two other wives. She’s never met them, and she doesn’t know anything about them. She agreed to this unusual arrangement because she’s so crazy about him.

But one day, she finds something. Something that tells a very different—and horrifying—story about the man she married.

What follows is one of the most twisted, shocking thrillers you’ll ever read.

Review:

I heard so much about this book and the amazing twists that I was eager to read it.

The writing was good and fast paced, though, even after a few days of letting it settle, I’m not sure if I liked this book or not.

It was difficult to read about a woman who had given her life over so completely to a man — she had agreed to a polygamous marriage but existed only for the 2 days a week her husband stayed at her place. Because of the situation, she has isolated herself from friends and family, and does everything she can to keep her husband’s attentions.

It is hard to take this.

And, if it weren’t for the author interview at the end of the book explaining how this book is about exploring the patriarchy that women are spoonfed, I think I would have a very different view of it. Looking at The Wives from this point of view redeems it.

There are some interesting twists and it is fascinating to see how a woman can rationalize this situation, especially when it is not what she wants.

 

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