What Rose Forgot
by Nevada Barr
This is one of the best domestic thrillers I've read in quite a while. On the first page, a woman wakes up alone in the bushes, wearing only a hospital gown and unaware of where she is and how she got there. It's only a few minutes before a helpful bystander returns her to the memory care unit. Rose has no memory of the facility, no idea how she came to be a patient there. They tell Rose that she suffers from dementia, but that can't be right. Her mind is clear and becoming clearer as she hides her pills instead of swallowing them. She can't ask for help because her claims sound like the ramblings of a dementia patient, but she can't stay where she is, not after hearing someone in the hall saying that she's not likely to last the week.
The more I learned about Rose's life before she found herself lost and disoriented in the bushes outside the memory care unit, the more I liked her and wanted her to escape her current situation. I did find her family tree more than a little confusing and could have done without the current political references (especially a really obscure one that I had to look up to figure out what the characters were talking about -- it turns out that you don't need to know what they're talking about) but it was still a thoroughly enjoyable read that kept me turning pages.
The Beach House
P. R. Black
An amazing tropical holiday takes a turn when a newly engaged couple discovers that they aren't alone on the private island they've rented. They try to make the best of things and get to know their unexpected neighbors, who of course aren't what they seem to be. This book got off to an extremely slow start. I don't have to like the characters to get interested in what's going to happen to them, but there was nothing about Cora or Jonathan that got me interested in their lives or eventual fate. She's a teacher. He's the owner of a tech company that he just sold for a massive amount of money.
Late in the book, the author does some amazing things with one of the characters and after that there's one truly suspenseful scene that had me holding my breath, but I was bored most of the way through. Those two fantastic scenes didn't make it worth the slog to the end, and what I suppose was supposed to be the big twist definitely wasn't one.
by Megan Angelo
In 2016, Orla and Floss are launching their careers, with Orla using her social media skills to build fame for Floss and a future for both of them. In 2051, Marlow lives in a town built for social influencers, her entire life broadcast to her followers.(It's just like The Truman Show, except Marlow has always known that she was on camera.) Between those two points in time, something called "the spill" happened, destroying the internet which was then replaced by a version that the government closely controls and the public doesn't trust.
Giving up your privacy by sharing things online is bad. That seems to be the main message of the book. But your private information is out there in the cloud and on servers if you've ever spent a second online or not, so I'm not sure how that premise works if even the people who don't use the internet are still at risk. Then how do you shift the blame to people who post too much? I found myself more interested in finding out what the Spill was than in what would eventually happen to the main characters. Marlow's discover about her family history isn't all that shocking. Kind of like the previews for a reality television show that promise much more excitement than the actual episode delivers. I wasn't a fan of this one.
Disclosure -- The publisher provided me with an ARC. This post contains affiliate links.