Watch Me Disappear by Janelle Brown

watch me disappear

Watch Me Disappear by Janelle Brown

Who you want people to be makes you blind to who they really are.

It’s been a year since Billie Flanagan—a Berkeley mom with an enviable life—went on a solo hike in Desolation Wilderness and vanished from the trail. Her body was never found, just a shattered cellphone and a solitary hiking boot. Her husband and teenage daughter have been coping with Billie’s death the best they can: Jonathan drinks as he works on a loving memoir about his marriage; Olive grows remote, from both her father and her friends at the all-girls school she attends.

But then Olive starts having strange visions of her mother, still alive. Jonathan worries about Olive’s emotional stability, until he starts unearthing secrets from Billie’s past that bring into question everything he thought he understood about his wife. Who was the woman he knew as Billie Flanagan?

Together, Olive and Jonathan embark on a quest for the truth—about Billie, but also about themselves, learning, in the process, about all the ways that love can distort what we choose to see. Janelle Brown’s insights into the dynamics of intimate relationships will make you question the stories you tell yourself about the people you love, while her nervy storytelling will keep you guessing until the very last page.

I finished this book last week. I needed a day to process it all and here I am, a week later, still obsessed with this twitchy tale. I can’t stop thinking about it, and have already debated re-reading it. It’s THAT good.

This story follows Olive and Jonathan, dealing with life about a year after Billie’s disappearance. Olive is having visions of her mother and Jonathan is trying to make sense of everything. His marriage, his wife’s past, who his wife, and her friends, might really be, and then worrying about his daughter, Olive, on top of that. One thing that really struck me with this book was how the characters, even if they did something unscrupulous, managed to keep you on their side.

You want to hate Jonathan as he starts having doubts over his presumed dead wife. You find yourself angry at him for being naive, but then you also feel heartbreaking compassion for him. Olive is trying to find herself. Others see things in her that she herself has yet to discover. You find yourself annoyed at her chasing these visions, but at the same time, you can’t blame her for running headfirst into this mystery.

This is the first book that I can say I actually popped in a post-it note. There were so many pieces that I wanted to remember and hold onto myself.

Billie’s character is exceptional. I don’t know if I mean that in a good or bad way yet. Her character is one that has stayed with me and I can say I’m still thinking about her. When we start to get a deeper look at her life, it makes you question how you feel about her. Is she cruel or was she doing the best she could? Should we love her, hate her?

Anyone who loves a good thriller will love this book. Moreover, anyone who enjoys a good mystery, while also on a search for self-discovery, would adore this novel. I really cannot say enough amazing things about this story.

 

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The Sinner by Amanda Stevens 


I am a living ghost, a wanderer in search of my purpose and place…


I’m a cemetery restorer by trade, but my calling has evolved from that of ghost seer to death walker to detective of lost souls. I solve the riddles of the dead so the dead will leave me alone. 


I’ve come to Seven Gates Cemetery nursing a broken heart, but peace is hard to come by…for the ghosts here and for me. When the body of a young woman is discovered in a caged grave, I know that I’ve been summoned for a reason. Only I can unmask her killer. 

I want to trust the detective assigned to the case for he is a ghost seer like me. But how can I put my faith in anyone when supernatural forces are manipulating my every thought? When reality is ever-changing? And when the one person I thought I could trust above all others has turned into a diabolical stranger?

I finished this book around 5AM. Then, it took me another two hours before I could stop thinking about the story and how it ended. 

Let me first start by sayin this book is the second in a series. In my opinion, you could read this as a standalone, but I know that I will personally be going back in to read the first book because I enjoyed this one and I think it would help certain aspects of this story make a little more sense. So you don’t have to read the first book, but it might make this story more enjoyable for you. 

I absolutely loved the history in this book. Amelia Gray is a cemetery restorer, and she is in Ascension, South Carolina, restoring the Seven Gates Cemetary. Amelia Gray has certain gifts, and as she’s restoring the cemetary, she can sense she isn’t alone. This draws her to explore a little more and that’s how our story really begins. 

I don’t want to spoil this story for anyone, so I am going to purposely be more vague. 

This story kept me in constant suspense. Just when I thought I had a grasp on the story and the direction, the author tossed in another element. With that said, it wasn’t too complex that I couldn’t understand. I felt the author had a really great pace going, in terms of introducing new aspects of the story, and throwing in new facets that added more depth to the story. 

I enjoyed this story a lot. There is a lot of history imbedded into the story, and I enjoyed watching Amelia Gray using her intelligence and knowledge to gain a better understanding of the mystery and evil that was unfolding. At one point, someone who Amelia is in contact with tells her that someone close to her isn’t what they seem. I think the fact that this message keeps echoing in her mind actually added a lot to the story. The reason I say this is because we get deeper and deeper into this mystery, Amelia is finding out more and more about the other characters in the story. The author really keeps the reader on their toes all the way to the last page of this book. 

When I finally got to the end of the book, I was in complete and utter shock. I did NOT see the ending coming at all. I don’t even know if I was more shocked or spooked senseless by the ending. It was so insane. I remember just sitting awake this morning and just having to sit and think. That is how much this book threw me for a total loop. 

This was my first book from Amanda Stevens and I can’t wait to read more from her. I love a good mystery and this book is easily one of the best I have ever come across.