I did it!! I finally started reading again. I’ve had this on my monthly goals list for two years now. If you’ve been following along for that long, then you know I’m not lying here. I’m horrible at taking the time to read. But in my defense, we’ve been quite busy these past couple of years. Between a few big moves, Zack going overseas, finishing my bachelor’s degree, getting pregnant, having a baby, and moving back cross-country to Maine last month, there really hasn’t been too much extra time in my day to sit down and open a book. It’s been challenging enough just finding the time to blog!
Back in August, I was finally at a place where I was able to sit down and open a book for the first time in what feels like forever. Life was relatively stress-free at that point. My blog was doing well, I was getting good grades in my graduate program, we were doing better financially, our daily routine was good and stable, etc. It was overall just a good time to get back into reading.
Lately, since I’ve gotten back into reading, I’ve been hooked on one genre in particular: psychological thrillers. Anyone else jsut LOVE these?! Ever since I read Gone Girl and The Girl On The Train, I’ve loved this genre a ton so that’s what I picked up again. They’re perfect for fall too. So I wanted to share four awesome psychological thrillers I’ve read and loved recently as well as one that’s next on my list!
1. A Simple Favor by Darcey Bell
Brief Summary by GoodReads:
She’s your best friend.
She knows all your secrets.
That’s why she’s so dangerous.
A single mother’s life is turned upside down when her best friend vanishes in this chilling debut thriller in the vein of Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train.
It starts with a simple favor—an ordinary kindness mothers do for one another. When her best friend, Emily, asks Stephanie to pick up her son Nicky after school, she happily says yes. Nicky and her son, Miles, are classmates and best friends, and the five-year-olds love being together—just like she and Emily. A widow and stay-at-home mommy blogger living in woodsy suburban Connecticut, Stephanie was lonely until she met Emily, a sophisticated PR executive whose job in Manhattan demands so much of her time.
But Emily doesn’t come back. She doesn’t answer calls or return texts. Stephanie knows something is terribly wrong—Emily would never leave Nicky, no matter what the police say. Terrified, she reaches out to her blog readers for help. She also reaches out to Emily’s husband, the handsome, reticent Sean, offering emotional support. It’s the least she can do for her best friend. Then, she and Sean receive shocking news. Emily is dead. The nightmare of her disappearance is over.
Or is it? Because soon, Stephanie will begin to see that nothing—not friendship, love, or even an ordinary favor—is as simple as it seems.
A Simple Favor is a remarkable tale of psychological suspense—a clever and twisting free-fall of a ride filled with betrayals and reversals, twists and turns, secrets and revelations, love and loyalty, murder and revenge. Darcey Bell masterfully ratchets up the tension in a taut, unsettling, and completely absorbing story that holds you in its grip until the final page.
My Thoughts: I’m not fully through the book yet, but I’ve seen the movie and absolutely loved it. My only complaints with the movie are that it was a bit more humorous than I’d like and I wasn’t a fan of the ending either. But everything in between was so good! I really loved the whole storyline and there were definitely some moments that left me creeped out and scratching my head. My biggest recommendation here is to read the book first and then go see the movie! I really wish I had done it in the correct order.
Final Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
2. Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
Brief Summary by GoodReads: Fresh from a brief stay at a psych hospital, reporter Camille Preaker faces a troubling assignment: she must return to her tiny hometown to cover the murders of two preteen girls. For years, Camille has hardly spoken to her neurotic, hypochondriac mother or to the half-sister she barely knows: a beautiful thirteen-year-old with an eerie grip on the town. Now, installed in her old bedroom in her family’s Victorian mansion, Camille finds herself identifying with the young victims—a bit too strongly. Dogged by her own demons, she must unravel the psychological puzzle of her own past if she wants to get the story—and survive this homecoming.
My Thoughts: This is easily my favorite book on this list. I picked this book up because I had read Gone Girl (also by Gillian Flynn) and loved it so much. Now Sharp Objects is also a television show on HBO and I really want to see it. So I thought I’d read the book first (unlike A Simple Favor, I did this one in the correct order!). I couldn’t put this one down either. I think my only complaint is that I clued into the killer pretty early on in the book. The motives were a bit more surprising, but I wish it had more of a shocking conclusion in terms of who did it. Otherwise, this book was so good and I easily finished it in just 3 days (which is quite impressive when working from home with a toddler! ha!). If you love Gone Girl, you’ll love this one as well.
Final Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
3. My Sister’s Grave by Robert Dugoni
Brief Summary by GoodReads: Tracy Crosswhite has spent twenty years questioning the facts surrounding her sister Sarah’s disappearance and the murder trial that followed. She doesn’t believe that Edmund House — a convicted rapist and the man condemned for Sarah’s murder — is the guilty party. Motivated by the opportunity to obtain real justice, Tracy became a homicide detective with the Seattle PD and dedicated her life to tracking down killers.
When Sarah’s remains are finally discovered near their hometown in the northern Cascade mountains of Washington State, Tracy is determined to get the answers she’s been seeking. As she searches for the real killer, she unearths dark, long-kept secrets that will forever change her relationship to her past — and open the door to deadly danger.
My Thoughts: I can’t remember if someone recommended this book to me or how I came across it. But I’ve been gathering books and adding them to my reading list on Amazon for a while now and this one was on my list. It sounded interesting so I decided to download it! This book was fantastic! I felt it was a bit slow in the beginning, but it really picked up about 50 pages in and became really hard to put down. It has you scratching your head from beginning to end. This is the first book in a series (I think it’s a trilogy). I haven’t read the others yet, but I do plan to add them to my reading list!
Final Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
4. Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell
Brief Summary by GoodReads:
She was fifteen, her mother’s
golden girl. She had her whole life ahead of her.
And then, in the blink of an eye, Ellie was gone.
It’s been ten years since Ellie
disappeared, but Laurel has never given up
hope of finding her daughter.
And then one day a charming and charismatic stranger called Floyd walks into a café and sweeps Laurel off her feet.
Before too long she’s staying the night at this house and being introduced to his nine-year-old daughter.
Poppy is precocious and pretty – and meeting her completely takes Laurel’s breath away.
Because Poppy is the spitting image of Ellie when she was that age.
And now all those unanswered questions that have haunted Laurel come flooding back.
What happened to Ellie? Where did she go?
Who still has secrets to hide?
My Thoughts: This is the first book I read as I transitioned back into reading and it was an EXCELLENT choice. I couldn’t put it down (I know I say that a lot, but seriously. I’ve loved all of these books!). This is probably my second favorite book on the list. Again, I kind of clued into who did it pretty early on, but again, the motives were a complete surprise once I got to that point in the book. This book left me on the edge of my seat, unable to pull away and I highly recommend it to just about everyone who asks for a good psychological thriller.
Final Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
5. The Perfect Stranger by Megan Miranda
Brief Summary by GoodReads: Confronted by a restraining order and the threat of a lawsuit, failed journalist Leah Stevens needs to get out of Boston when she runs into an old friend, Emmy Grey, who has just left a troubled relationship. Emmy proposes they move to rural Pennsylvania, where Leah can get a teaching position and both women can start again. But their new start is threatened when a woman with an eerie resemblance to Leah is assaulted by the lake, and Emmy disappears days later.
Determined to find Emmy, Leah cooperates with Kyle Donovan, a handsome young police officer on the case. As they investigate her friend’s life for clues, Leah begins to wonder: did she ever really know Emmy at all? With no friends, family, or a digital footprint, the police begin to suspect that there is no Emmy Grey. Soon Leah’s credibility is at stake, and she is forced to revisit her past: the article that ruined her career. To save herself, Leah must uncover the truth about Emmy Grey—and along the way, confront her old demons, find out who she can really trust, and clear her own name.
Everyone in this rural Pennsylvanian town has something to hide—including Leah herself. How do you uncover the truth when you are busy hiding your own?
My Thoughts: I haven’t checked this book out yet, but it was recommended to me by a friend. I think I got two chapters in back when I first downloaded it a year ago and then life happened and I never picked it up again. So this one is next on my list and I’m super excited to read it! If any of you have read this, please let me know in the comments if you liked it!
What thriller should I download next? Leave me your recommendations below!