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by Donna Huber For the A to Z Challenge, I'm discussing different book genres/categories. Each day, I will give a few details about the...

September 14, 2021

2 New Suspense Novels to Read Now

by Donna Huber

As the weather cools I start to gravitate more towards thrillers and gritty suspense novels. I recently finished two that were excellent and you really should add them to your reading list now!

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. Free books were provided for an honest review.

My Sweet Girl by Amanda Jayatissa

My Sweet Girl
September 2021; Berkley; 978-0593335086
audio, ebook, print (384 pages); suspense

I saw this book a few times at Netgalley before I requested it. I wasn't sure if it was really a book I would like. But I eventually gave in to FOMO and I'm so glad that I did. It was so good. 

An unreliable narrator is a pretty standard trope in the suspense genre. However, the main character is one of the best-written unreliable narrators that I've read in quite some time. Pretty quickly the reader begins to think that the character might be mentally ill - there is definitely some mental illness. But then you start to suspect something else - something more sinister. 

The twists aren't curve balls that come out of nowhere. Some of them I suspected and spent several chapters going back and forth on and would just settle that what I suspected must be true a few pages before it was revealed one way or other. 

If you have been reading Girl Who Reads for a while you know I've been trying to read more international authors. It was partly why I decided to read My Sweet Girl - I figured if I didn't like it I would still be happy that I added another country to my reading. Amanda Jayatissa is from Sri Lanka. It is a small island country in South Asia. I actually have met someone from Sri Lanka - the camp counselor assigned to my cabin when I was in sixth grade was from Sri Lanka. He shared a bit about Sri Lanka but I don't remember much about it. 

In My Sweet Girl, we get a glimpse of the culture in flashback chapters where Poloma is at the orphanage. As the flashback chapters are limited to just the month or so prior to her adoption and the girls rarely leave the orphanage we don't see much of the country. It was still interesting.

I read this book in big chunks because I wanted to know what was going on. I wanted to know what was true and what was possibly a result of mental illness (the main character is in therapy). And when I finished it all I could think was WOW. It definitely didn't end the way I thought it would (though I don't know how I thought it would end) but it was a fitting ending. 

There is definitely a lot of layers to the story and the characters. It would make an excellent book club read as there is so much that could be discussed. I can almost guarantee this book will be on my best of 2021 list.

Buy My Sweet Girl at Amazon

Say Goodbye by Karen Rose

Say Goodbye
August 2021; Berkley; 978-1984805331
audio, ebook, print (640 pages); romantic suspense

Say Goodbye
is the third book in the third book in the Sacramento series. You really need to read books 1 Say You're Sorry (read my review) and 2 Say No More (read my review) to really appreciate this novel. If you have read the first two books you don't necessarily need to re-read them as this is come recapping in the first few chapters to remind you of who the characters are and where the team is on the search from the religious cult Eden.

As this is romantic suspense, the relationship that is focused on in this book is between former basketball star turned FBI agent Tom and former Army medic turned nursing student Liza. They are great characters and aren't part of the core Eden escapists so we get a different dynamic with these two. It doesn't mean they don't have their own flaws and past traumas that weigh heavily on the potential romance. 

As I mentioned in my review of Say No More, this book is also more focused on the relationship though I do think the Eden investigation was more prominent in Say Goodbye. I enjoy the romantic aspects of a new relationship but I don't care for steamy sex scenes and though I expected them based on the previous books I was still disappointed when the story got to that point and as before I basically skipped over them. Seriously the plot is so good and Rose is such a talented storyteller that then scenes feel like they cheapen the book.

I felt like the suspense was much greater in this book than in book 2, though I don't think either really matches the tension of book 1. In addition to the tension of whether DJ and Paster will finally be found and brought to justice, there is also a ticking clock as Hayley's due date approaches. Will she give birth in a cave, with very little medical help, and see her baby given to another woman? 

As the final book in the series, the ending is quite satisfying to the overall plot of finding Eden and finding some sense of justice for Merci, Gideon, Amos, and all the other victims of the cult. Though I'm happy with the Eden storyline ending, I would like to see more of these characters. I would like to see how the relationships between the various characters grow. 

Buy Say Goodbye at Amazon

Donna Huber is an avid reader and natural encourager. She is the founder of Girl Who Reads and the author of how-to marketing book Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour.

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