GoodReads Recommends: based on…Jennifer McMahon!

It’s time for another round of GoodReads Recommends, a semi-regular feature where I highlight suggestions from the GoodReads recommendation page. Previous editions featured contemporary thrillers and took a closer look at a new favorite novel I discovered through the very first GoodReads Recs post!

Today I’m hoping to find some fantastic new books based on one of my favorite authors, Jennifer McMahon. If you want a novel that’ll suck you in and have you leaving the lights on all night, Jennifer’s your gal!

Don’t Breathe a Word | May 17, 2011
On a soft summer night in Vermont, twelve-year-old Lisa went into the woods behind her house and never came out again. Before she disappeared, she told her little brother, Sam, about a door that led to a magical place where she would meet the King of the Fairies and become his queen.

Fifteen years later, Phoebe is in love with Sam, a practical, sensible man who doesn’t fear the dark and doesn’t have bad dreams—who, in fact, helps Phoebe ignore her own. But suddenly the couple is faced with a series of eerie, unexplained occurrences that challenge Sam’s hardheaded, realistic view of the world. As they question their reality, a terrible promise Sam made years ago is revealed—a promise that could destroy them all.

Don’t Breathe a Word was my very first McMahon novel – coincidentally it was also the first post on the blog, way back in August of 2011! I loved it then, still love it now, and it kickstarted a beautiful relationship with a fab author! So what does GoodReads say I might also enjoy?

These Things Hidden by Heather Gudenkauf
When a teenager with a golden child reputation is sent to prison for a gruesome crime, her family’s world is turned upside down. Her parents want to forget she exists, her sister has to suffer through whispers in the school hallways. When the girl is released to a halfway house, her only thought is to contact her sister. At the center of it all is a little boy, his adoptive mother, and the secrets that bind the two sisters together. This one sounds interesting, though my initial reaction was that it reminded me of That Night by Chevy Stevens (which I did not like.) That said, I’ve seen Gudenkauf’s novels around quite a bit and have always been a little curious about them. This might be one worth looking into!

The Cypress House by Michael Koryta
Arlen Wagner can look into a person’s eyes and know they’re about to die. When he’s on a train and sees the sign in the passengers’ eyes, he attempts to warn them. With only one believer, the two flee the train and make their way to a boarding house…which is directly in the path of an oncoming hurricane. A bit supernatural, a bit edge-of-your-seat thriller, The Cypress House sounds crazy intense. It has the added bonus of being blurbed by Dean Koontz! It doesn’t say it (or even hint at it) in the blurb, but reviews have mentioned this book is a historical novel! It’s set in the 1930s!! Be still, my heart! Creepy historical fiction is so up my alley.

The Winter People | February 11, 2014
West Hall, Vermont, has always been a town of strange disappearances and old legends. The most mysterious is that of Sara Harrison Shea, who, in 1908, was found dead in the field behind her house just months after the tragic death of her daughter, Gertie. Now, in present day, nineteen-year-old Ruthie lives in Sara’s farmhouse with her mother, Alice, and her younger sister, Fawn. Alice has always insisted that they live off the grid, a decision that suddenly proves perilous when Ruthie wakes up one morning to find that Alice has vanished without a trace. Searching for clues, she is startled to find a copy of Sara Harrison Shea’s diary hidden beneath the floorboards of her mother’s bedroom. As Ruthie gets sucked deeper into the mystery of Sara’s fate, she discovers that she’s not the only person who’s desperately looking for someone that they’ve lost. But she may be the only one who can stop history from repeating itself.

The Winter People was a novel that had me genuinely creeped out in the middle of the afternoon. I was jumping at every little sound! I’ve gone of to recommend this one to a ridiculous amount of people and every single one of them has loved it. This one also showed up again on my Top Reads of 2014 list!

Bird Box by Josh Malerman
This is a novel I’ve heard nothing but AMAZING things about! Something has caused people to go on rampant killing sprees, commit suicide, or dive into the depths of madness. Five years later only a handful of survivors are left, including a mother and her two very young children. The entire time she’s been planning their escape, dreaming of the day when they’ll be safe. Finally she launches into action, sailing down the river in a tiny boat (blindfolded, for if you see it, you become one of them.) Apparently Bird Box is being adapted into a movie? I’m not a big fan of dystopian novels, but there have been a handful I’ve enjoyed, and this one sounds great!

The Vanishing by Wendy Webb
A woman receives an offer of a caretaker position and it’s only after she arrives at the enormous estate that she discovers just who she’ll be caring for: the famed horror novelist Amaris Sinclair…who the world believes is dead. Yes, yes, and YES. This one sounds like the perfect winter’s read when I’m curled up with a cozy blanket and a hot cup of cocoa. Earlier in the year I read the graphic novel Exquisite Corpse which also deals with a writer hidden away and presume dead, but The Vanishing sounds like a far creepier tale.

The Night Sister | August 4, 2015
Once the thriving attraction of rural Vermont, the Tower Motel now stands in disrepair, alive only in the memories of Amy, Piper, and Piper’s kid sister, Margot. The three played there as girls until the day that their games uncovered something dark and twisted in the motel’s past, something that ruined their friendship forever.

Now adult, Piper and Margot have tried to forget what they found that fateful summer, but their lives are upended when Piper receives a panicked midnight call from Margot, with news of a horrific crime for which Amy stands accused. Suddenly, Margot and Piper are forced to relive the time that they found the suitcase that once belonged to Silvie Slater, the aunt that Amy claimed had run away to Hollywood to live out her dream of becoming Hitchcock’s next blonde bombshell leading lady. As Margot and Piper investigate, a cleverly woven plot unfolds—revealing the story of Sylvie and Rose, two other sisters who lived at the motel during its 1950s heyday. Each believed the other to be something truly monstrous, but only one carries the secret that would haunt the generations to come.

The Night Sister is my third and most recent read and firmly solidified Jennifer’s spot as one of my auto-buy authors. Creepy and haunting – and, at times, downright terrifying – I really ought to know by now to ONLY read her books in the middle of the day when Matt is home with me!

Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter
Pretty fitting last night for a thriller novelist, no? Centering on three sisters, this is another novel that brings to mind Chevy Stevens (Those Girls and a book I actually did enjoy!). Twenty years ago, one of the sisters disappeared. The remaining sisters grew up and couldn’t be more different: Claire is the glamorous trophy wife of a millionaire and Lydia is a single mother dating an ex-con. When Claire’s husband is murdered, the sisters set aside their differences and come together – could the murder and their sister’s disappearance somehow be related? Pretty Girls sounds more psychological thriller than anything paranormal, but I’m VERY interested in its premise! I’m also a bit curious to see what this author is all about – I’ve seen her name come up several times in my recommendations and she seems to be a pretty Big Deal.

Somebody I Used to Know by David Bell
Nick sees a woman at the grocery store and time stops. You see, the woman is the splitting image of his college girlfriend…a young woman who died in a campus fire twenty years ago. When he tries to speak to her she runs and the next morning police arrive at his door: the woman had been murdered and Nick’s name was written on a piece of paper in her pocket. I had been asked to join the blog tour for this one earlier in the year but had declined. Now I wondering if I should see what I missed out on! Another David Bell novel was a recommendation for Don’t Breathe a Word: Cemetery Girl. Somebody I Used to Know sounds like a really fun and gritty ride – should Bell be an author I need to be reading??

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