The Family Upstairs

The Family Upstairs

The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

When Libby turns 25, she get notified that she inherited a mansion. Since she is adopted, this opens the door to a million questions. She quickly finds out that her parents didn’t die in a fiery crash but part of a suicide pact as members of a cult in the mansion she inherited. She learns that she had siblings which starts a wild goose chase to find them…and the truth about her family and what happened 25 years ago.

The Family Upstairs is the first book I’ve read by Lisa Jewell but it won’t be the last. The story line was dark, creepy and disturbing. As soon as you think you understand, another twisty pops out from around the corner. I had a little trouble keeping all the characters straight in my head which was made a bit tougher by the story being told from three points of view.

Overall, The Family Upstairs was enjoyable and entertaining. I want to thank Netgalley and Atria Books for this advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

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Drawing Home by Jamie Brenner

Drawing Home

Drawing Home by Jamie Brenner is a wonderful story about family, both the family we are born with and the family we create for ourselves. This is the third Brenner book that I have read and does not disappoint.

Emma (the mother) and Penny (the daughter) live in the sleepy, little beach town of Sag Harbor that springs to life every May by tourists. Penny has OCD and not many friends her age but she loves to draw and makes friends with Henry Wyatt, the towns’ most famous resident. Henry came to Sag Harbor from a busy life in NYC when he retired from his career as a painter. Henry hangs out at the bar of The American Hotel, where Emma works and Penny spends time. Henry gives drawing lessons to Penny and the two form a deep friendship over graphic novels, drawing and art.

Upon Henry’s death, Emma and Penny discover that Henry has left his amazing showplace house, the furnishings and all of his art to Penny, which confuses Emma and infuriates someone from Henry’s past.

The characters are well written and likable. Jamie Brenner is one of my favorite writers and while the story summaries and book covers may look like her books are just another fluffy beach read, they are much more. This one is a summer beach story, a family story and a story of friendship. Thanks to Netgalley, Jamie Brenner and Little Brown & Company to the opportunity to review this one ahead of the publish date of May 7, 2019.

Run Away by Harlan Coben

Run Away

Run Away by Harlan Coben

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In my opinion, Harlan Coben is one of the most underrated authors. I see so many people on Goodreads and Instagram celebrating dozen of other writers-old classics, the new hot debut author and the tried and true- but rarely see much mention of Coben. I always tell people to read his books because he can spin a twisty tale like no other! Run Away was just as twisty as I have come to expect from Coben!

The main character, Simon Greene, is a husband and father of 3 in NYC and has just found Paige, his heroin addicted daughter, in Central Park. This sighting leads to an altercation between Simon and Paige’s dealer boyfriend, Aaron, which goes viral. Right about the time that Simon’s life gets back to normal, the police show up to question him because Aaron has been murdered. In the efforts to exonerate himself and find his daughter, Simon’s wife, Ingrid, is shot and in a coma, which leads Simon on a wild goose chase to figure out where Paige is, who killed Aaron, what is this hold that Aaron and Paige share, what led Paige to being an addict and will Ingrid recover?

This story deals with sexual assault, religious cults and drug addiction but none of it is overly graphic but warnings should still be mentioned. This heart racing, breathless thriller is sure to please and should definitely be added to your TBR list. While you are at it, go deep dive into some older Coben novels. He is truly a treasure and will, hopefully, become a favorite of yours.

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Freefall by Jessica Barry

What a twisty thrill ride that Jessica Barry gave us! I enjoyed Freefall a great deal especially for a debut novel.

The story begins in the aftermath of a private plane crash in the Colorado Rockies with a dead pilot/fiance and our surviving heroine, Allison. While the world thinks that Allison died in the crash, she knows that she is being hunted as she hikes off the mountain. Who is hunting her and why?

With alternating perspectives (my favorite), we also meet Ally’s mom, Maggie, a widow in Maine who has been estranged from her only child for several years. The news reports and photos of Allison don’t even look like her daughter. She can’t accept that she has lost her only child and begins digging into the life of Allison.

As Maggie uncovers bits and pieces of her daughters life, Allison recalls memories while hiking that start to reveal who Allison had become or at least pretended to become. Was she really a devoted fiance to Ben Gardner, the CEO of an important pharma corporation? Was she just a ornament on Ben’s arm for big social events with no real knowledge of his shady business deals? Or was she a paid companion turned call girl for extremely wealthy old business men? None of this sounds like the young lady that Maggie raised. Maggie is constantly asking herself “How well do we know our adult children? How can they stray so far from everything we taught them?” all while digging away at more clues.

Freefall was thoroughly entertaining and hard to put down. While this story feels familiar, it is completely different at the same time. Allison and Maggie are both strong female characters who kick ass until they finally get to the bottom of it! I loved the strong females, the story line written at a perfect pace and a twisty ending that you can’t imagine would happen. I strongly recommend this thriller and know I will be seeing it in beach bags all summer long!

Things you save in a fire by Katherine Center

Cassie is a super star fire fighter in TX when she has to move to MA to help her sick mother, who abandoned her at age 16. She and a rookie are hired to start a job at a small town fire house where she receives a less than warm welcome. Cassie soon realizes that she didn’t know everything that she thought she did about her mothers abandonment which softens her to try to re-establish a relationship before it’s too late. Things get even more complicated when she and The Rookie start to develop feelings for each other despite that being against fire house policy. Cassie learns a lot about love, forgiveness and family – both by blood and by choice- over the course of this book.
I really enjoyed Things you save in a fire. This book is well written and hard to put down. Katherine Center is a new author to me but since finishing this one, I have started How to walk away. At 59 pages in, I am loving it as well so Center will be a must read author for me.
Thanks to Netgalley, St. Martins Press and Katherine Center for this advanced copy. When it is published on August 19, 2019, run to your local bookstore and get your hands on this new favorite.