Mini-Reviews #13: The Family Game, Local Woman Missing & The Last Housewife

Mini-Reviews is a blog series where I’ll be sharing mini reviews of the books I’ve been reading lately.  Each post will include 3 books I’ve recently read and will be grouped by genre (though we’re bound to get a hodgepodge post every once in a while!).  Let me know if you’ve read anything I’ve talked about or if you feel inspired to pick anything up after hearing my thoughts!  I also want to note that I’m attempting to do away with half stars this year and I’m going to use the official goodreads rating system which is based on enjoyment level (1 star = didn’t like it, 2 star = it was okay, 3 star = liked it, 4 star = really liked it, 5 star = it was amazing).

The Family Game by Catherine Steadman – This is a tough one for me to review! It’s a Christmas in New York themed thriller full of rich people behaving badly which is everything I love in my reading material but for some reason this book just didn’t do it for me.  We’re following thriller novelist Harriet who becomes involved with one of the richest, old-money families in the world after getting engaged to their eldest son, Edward.  There has clearly been a strain on Edward’s relationship with his family but Harriet chalks it up to the eccentricities and burdens of the extremely wealthy.  As Edwards’ family tries to get closer to Harriet, she becomes privy to a family secret and has to figure out how to handle it.  I loved the descriptions of Christmas in New York, and the quirky manipulative Holbeck family, but what I loved most was the inclusion of Krampusnacht.  Being German, I’m very familiar with the tradition and it was fun to see it play out in an American book.  For the downside, I don’t think this book was very thrilling.  While I was intrigued by the secret and how Harriet would handle it, I never had that can’t-put-it-down feeling I’ve come to expect when I pick up a thriller.  Nothing was explicitly bad, but I wasn’t as engaged as I’d hoped to be.  It was definitely on the slower paced end of the spectrum and while I think it was a fun pick for December, it’s not going to be a new go-to recommendation for me.

Local Woman Missing by Mary Kubica – This thriller had me completely captivated and I thoroughly enjoyed my time reading it.  In the beginning, I was a bit nervous and put off because we start out with the perspective of a kidnapped child who’s been trapped in a basement with terrible living conditions for 11 years- not the most uplifting subject matter.  But as we ease into the story and get to know the other characters living on the same street in their suburban town, things really got interesting! 11 years ago, a woman went missing, and shortly thereafter, another woman and her daughter also both went missing.  The neighborhood has always been a safe place until then, but there’s no denying that something is afoot.  I really enjoyed getting to know the women (and husbands) on the street, as well as the children.  I especially loved Leo- the poor kid forced to grow up way too quickly and forced to manage his father’s emotions while also dealing with the loss of his mother and sister.  The pacing in Local Woman Missing led me to never wanting to put this book down and as a result, I finished it in just two sittings.  I’m so excited to read Mary’s next book which comes out in January, and I’m also hoping to make my way through some of her backlist in 2023.

The Last Housewife by Ashley Winstead – Oh boy this book is a doozy.  Ashley Winstead is a phenomenal writer and I can’t even imagine the emotional turmoil she must’ve endured while writing this particular story.  We’re following Shay, a broken woman with a dark past, who teams up with a popular podcaster after her old college roommate commits suicide.  Both podcaster Jamie and Shay are convinced there was something more sinister at play so they begin an investigation that leads them down a wild path.  As the current timeline unfolds, Shay fills us in on her past and the events that shaped her and when I tell you they are all capital DARK, I am not joking.  I struggled to read this one at times because of the extremely uncomfortable subject matter.  I loved the theme and the message of the story, but I can’t say it was an enjoyable read.  This book will make you mad (and if it doesn’t you should definitely not be reading my blog).  I will read everything Ashley publishes, but I’m very much hoping her next book will be a little lighter.

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One Response to “Mini-Reviews #13: The Family Game, Local Woman Missing & The Last Housewife”

  1. I’m still thinking of trying LOCAL WOMAN MISSING at some point even though I didn’t like her newest book!

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