In This Game, Even Winning Can Be DeadlyAmy Whey Is Proud Of Her Ordinary Life And The Simple Pleasures That Come With It Teaching Diving Lessons, Baking Cookies For New Neighbors, Helping Her Best Friend, Charlotte, Run Their Local Book Club Her Greatest Joy Is Her Family Her Devoted Professor Husband, Her Spirited Fifteen Year Old Stepdaughter, Her Adorable Infant Son And, Of Course, The Steadfast And Supportive Charlotte But Amy S Sweet, Uncomplicated Life Begins To Unravel When The Mysterious And Alluring Angelica Roux Arrives On Her Doorstep One Book Club Night.Sultry And Magnetic, Roux Beguiles The Group With Her Feral Charm She Keeps The Wine Flowing And Lures Them Into A Game Of Spilling Secrets Everyone Thinks It S Naughty, Harmless Fun Only Amy Knows Better Something Wicked Has Come Her Way A She Devil In A Pricey Red Sports Car Who Seems To Know The Terrible Truth About Who She Is And What She Once Did.When They Re Alone, Roux Tells Her That If She Doesn T Give Her What She Asks For, What She Deserves, She S Going To Make Amy Pay For Her Sins One Way Or Another.To Protect Herself And Her Family And Save The Life She S Built, Amy Must Beat The Devil At Her Own Clever Game, Matching Wits With Roux In An Escalating War Of Hidden Pasts And Unearthed Secrets Amy Knows The Consequences If She Can T Beat Roux What Terrifies Her Is Everything She Could Lose If She Wins.A Diabolically Entertaining Tale Of Betrayal, Deception, Temptation, And Love Filled With Dark Twists Leavened By Joshilyn Jackson S Trademark Humor, Never Have I Ever Explores What Happens When The Transgressions Of Our Past Come Back With A Vengeance. You know those conversational terrorists who hijack group get togethers by dominating everything Now imagine one shows up to your BFF s snoozeville book club You are secretly delighted until you realize that she has charmed everyone else as well and bish knows your deepest, darkest secret.Amy has created a quiet little life with her hubby, step daughter, and infant son when Roux tornadoes into her life hellbent on destroying it Why does Roux want to ruin her life and what lengths will Amy go to in order to protect herself, her family and her secret This was yummy Thank you to Joshilyn Jackson, HarperCollins Publishers, William Morrow and Netgalley for giving me this ARC in exchange for an honest review. I was wrapped up in these characters from the first chapter The characters popped off the page with their strong personalities and I wanted to know what they were all about It was like watching a movie and things were unraveling fast.It starts with a mommies book club and the newest member is a doozie All the drama starts when this newest member, Angelica Roux, breaks out the drinks and engages the club mommies in a revealing game of Never Have I Ever This will begin a series of events that I couldn t have ever imagined Roux totally hijacked the book club Insert shocked Amy is on high alert with Roux s game and feels threatened by what it could cost her She has worked hard to cover her past Who is this new book club imposter What is it she wants Lots of eye popping, heart racing moments that I never could have predicted No Never I loved the twisted game they were playing and it was nuts The characters are center and the skillful plot moves along with the fascinating tale of greed and guilt.Bombshell secrets will drop, blackmail and dangerous gambles will occur, each player digging up dirty laundry until the final chapter.Did I mention page turner I enjoyed this entertaining read Highly recommend to fans of drama, what would you do scenarios and plenty of gasp worthy twists Thanks to the publisher for my early copy OUT on JULY 30, 2019Blog review closer to publication. It starts when s new member shows up at the book club A game, Never have i Ever, a secret kept for many years What if someone knows your secret Is willing to do anything to win the game, and get your money Would you know how to play Could you find a way to win I ve read this author for years, has the undeniable knack of creating fully realistic characters Women and situations that could be taken out of the newspapers, maybe even our own lives, our neighborhoods These women seem real because they are multilayered, not all good, not all bad I found this story, absorbing, addicting Times I thought I knew where it was going, how I felt, something was revealed that I didn t see coming, and my feelings changed again Couldn t wait to see how this was going to end Both women had much to lose, so who would come out on top Such a spider web of s story, expertly plotted, and expertly executed Step, by step.ARC from Book browse. I opened the door to a stranger, standing easy with the fat moon rising behind her, practically perching on her shoulder She was the pretty that s on television symmetrical features, matte skin, and that kind of long, slim, yoga body that still made me feel self conscious about my own She smiled and I had no premonition as I smiled back She didn t look like my own destruction to me The past is never dead It s not even past William Faulkner Requiem for a NunSometimes it comes crashing back in dramatic fashion, banging on the door, in a moonglow of dark intent, and demanding that attention be paid, and paid, and paid Roux, a new neighbor dropping in on the local moms book group, must have parked her broom somewhere out of sight The ladies would not really get around to discussing Edith Wharton s House of Mirth, even though at least some of them had surely read it Those who had might appreciate that an evening supposedly dedicated to a book about the hypocrisy of social s in the high society of late 19th century New York would spark a battle royale in which the secrets of their small society were at risk of exposure The model level stunning Roux is a charismatic presence, everyone wanting to earn her approval She encourages excessive consumption of alcohol, starts a souped up variation of the Never Have I Ever drinking game, assigns everyone individual spirit animals, and begins harvesting secrets But this is collateral entertainment Roux is there for one person only and lets her know in no uncertain terms You don t want to play That makes no sense, she said, and her spirit animal was a sinister version of the Cat in the Hat Hers was feral, invading to unpack trouble in a house, where no mother would ever come home In this house I was the only mother, and I had let the trouble in I d swung the door wide for it, hoped it had the right house, even Because, Amy C mon You would win this I m thinking you got these low stakes bitches on lockdown Amy Whey has a good life She has a happy marriage, a beautiful baby, a pretty sane thirteen year old stepdaughter, and a successful career as a scuba instructor, here in Pensacola It had not always been so One spell of adolescent foolishness had changed what had been a decent life into something else Half her high school a blur, her relationship with her parents ruined, disgrace brought down on her family Wastrel years followed, with self destruction denied its ultimate prize when Amy was introduced to scuba, Buoy meets girl in which she found a joy that was spiritual as well as physical, and a way forward to having a life But Roux knows Amy s secret, and that life is in mortal peril All Amy has to do to keep that life is give Roux every cent she has and then wonder when she will be back for .Jackson diving under the salt pier on Bonaire image from The Big ThrillIt turns out that Amy is not entirely sunk by Roux s threat, but rises to the surface, gasping for air and finds a way to shore The benefit of having kept secrets all her life is having a pretty decent feel for how to go about uncovering the secrets of others It requires some pretty bold action, but having guts, plus an excellent brain, gives her the wherewithal to give Roux a serious run for her money Amy is no goody two shoes, even since she began on her righteous path She has made decisions about how much to reveal of herself, of her history, particularly that dark bit, to the people closest to her This makes Amy a particularly relatable character I mean don t we all have things in our past that have somehow never made it into conversation with the people we are close to now Little pockets of privacy we can rue in private, at our leisure, presuming we have failed to remove them from our memories entirely Ok, well then kick it up a few notches into felony territory No nice neighborhood Maybe no husband and possibly baby What would you do to keep that secret from becoming common knowledge What lines would you cross What further crimes might you commit Amy faces many moral forks in the road ahead It was sweet to see Jackson work Amy s feeling for diving into how she sees the world, and the particular form of misery she faces in Roux I knew from long experience that I only had to wait the feeling out People say, I don t know how she lives with herself, but every single one of them was living with their own worst thing, just fine No one walks around holding their ugliest sin in the palm of their hand, staring at it Our hurts are heavy and we let them sink Every day they drift lower, settling in murky places where the light can t reach All I had to do was wait My bad would fall down into the darkness again, because the bad things always do The book alternates chapters, up to a point, between the contemporary blackmail duel and the events of Amy s adolescence We get to know what there is to know, bit by bit, and with some nifty misdirections One of the truly fun things about this book is Jackson s ability to keep ending her chapters with twists and hooks that make you want to read just one chapter Read, hook, repeat.Another fun element is how Amy comes to see Roux, ironically, as the only person who really gets her I couldn t call her I was not such a beaten dog that I would belly creep for petting from the hand that held the whip I bit and swallowed, tearing at the meat What did it say about me that Roux was the only person I could be honest with Only she saw me down to my core, dark and deep, bitter as wormwood All the things that made me hate myself, she actively admired, and she was the only one who saw me whole Roux keeps finding herself surprised that someone she had thought would be an easy mark had turned out to be a tough competitor in a game of spy versus spy Frenemies on steroids There is a nice scene in which Amy gives Roux a book to read, Stephen King s Hearts in Atlantis, maybe hoping she would, on reading it, consider where she had gone wrong, maybe rue her current life gig The author here is reminding those who are familiar with the book that many, many of us have not always lived our best lives Jackson had an interesting approach to her scene writing, informed by her other career, that explains why her dialogue makes sense, and feels credible After I draft a scene with, say, five people in it, I do one revision per character I work my way through the scene through each point of view, so even if a character has only one line, it comes out of an arc and a train of thought and a motivation that I understand completely It makes a difference Even if each character s motivation is not explained to the reader, if I know the arc, if their reasoning and their individual desires are clear to me, that character s actions feel authentic I learned to do this working in summer stock theatre I did a scene where my character sat silent on stage and watched actions unfold for 15 minutes and then said one line But to deliver that line authentically, I had to feel every feeling and think every thought, and react to every moment that happened I try to do the same in novels from The Big Thrill interviewThis is in addition to doing some serious hands on research into scuba diving There are several elements in Never Will I Ever that readers familiar with Jackson s writing will recognize Redemption is a frequent theme Amy is certainly trying, in addition to besting Roux, to make up for what she had done Secrets are a favorite central pillar Amy has a few, and so does Roux, but they are not alone And Jax can usually be counted on to look at the construction and disassembly of families In this one, Amy has forged a new family for herself with formerly married Davis, and his daughter, Madison, adolescents seem a mandatory element, so check, and Roux arrives with one of her own, so double check while her original family seems to have pretty much dissolved Jackson s books can be counted on to present at least one mystery, which is exposed to the light in a final reveal twist A pretty killer one here Somehow Jackson uses these familiar parts to construct a novel that feels quite different from her earlier work, while somehow still managing to remain engaging and satisfying Highlighting the what are they hiding elements makes it feel like a thriller mystery than her prior work, although there was no shortage of mystery in those I have two gripes about the book There is a scene in which Madison tells Amy that a bit of unacceptable behavior was based on a bet, and Amy fails to follow up with an inquiry about the possibility of there having been other such bets before My parental DNA was screaming for Amy to ask Another is that there is a point at which Amy misleads Roux by telling her something that was not true, hardly an unreasonable approach when dealing with the criminal element But not having been clued in by the author makes Amy, who had seemed pretty reliable, an unreliable narrator It seemed inconsistent.But those are quibbles really Bottom line is that I found Never Will I Ever to be an addictive page turner of a thriller, by a reliable author at the top of her game A terrific beach read, but with plenty of meat on those bones to make it an excellent book club item as well Strap on a tank, rub some spit on your mask, slip into some flippers and take a long step over the side of your boat Never Will I Ever will take you for a time out of your world and let you float about in another for however long it takes you to read it Dive in Look around You won t be sorry Review posted July 19, 2019Publication date July 30, 2019 EXTRA STUFFLinks to the author s personal, Twitter, GR, Instagram and FB pagesMy reviews of other Jackson work 2013 Someone Else s Love Story 2016 The Opposite of Everyone 2017 The Almost SistersItems of Interest BookReporter an excerpt Interview The Big Thrill Grown up Games, Redemption, and Diving the Deep by K.L Romo Publishers Weekly BookExpo 2019 Joshilyn Jackson Asks if Redemption Is Possible By Beth Levine May 30, 2019 JJ demonstrates the proper gin to drink while reading her book JJ s Pandora play list for never Have I Ever what she listened to while writing Now available for pre order On Sale July 30th Wonderful suspense and surprises, real characters, and a scary, ominous backbeat This feels like the book Jackson was born to write Lee Child 1 NYT bestselling authorA smart, original thriller with real, compelling characters and a chilling reveal I couldn t turn the pages fast enough Clare Mackintosh, NYT bestselling author Jackson is a master of timing, meting out tension and detail impeccably By the time of the explosive, entirely unexpected climax, I was clinging to the edge of my seat This book reveals a side of Jackson I ve never seen before, and it knocked my socks off Sara Gruen 1 NYT Bestselling Author 3 Stars Amy has a past Not that anyone would know it To her friends and family she is a mother and a dive instructor and her life seems picture perfect thought it wasn t always that way Amy always imagined that her secrets would stay in the past, exactly where they belonged That is where they stayed until the day that she walked into a game of Never Have I Ever and her new neighbor Roux made it clear that she knew Thereafter, Amy ad Roux had a game to play and both had every intention of coming out on top As we all know, however when it comes to games, there s only one winner For me, Never Have I Ever had one wild and crazy plot I have never personally played a game of Never Have I Ever nor do I intend to and admittedly, I found the entire storyline to be a little far fetched in my world these things just don t happen I will say that it took until the 60% mark for me to get hooked and then I was all in As for the end, say what Talk about a weird one I must say there was one storyline that got me good way to go Joshilyn Jackson that is how you do it So, all in all if you like insane plots, Never Have I Ever is for you Though it takes a while to get going, once it does, Wowza Another fun buddy read with Kaceey Thank you to Edelweiss, William Morrow and Harper Collins and to Joshilyn Jackson for an arc of this novel in exchange for an honest review.Published on Goodreads and Edelweiss on 7.14.19. This book got better and better the further into it I got I had a hard time putting it down the last 100 pages much to the detriment of my work at the bookstore.I know this book was a departure from the type of books Joshilyn Jackson typically writes, but she nailed it I was not expecting or ready for some of the dark twists this book took me down.Fantastic book A dark, and mysterious tale full of suspense and shocks This was my first book by Joshilyn Jackson, and I really enjoyed it I will be definitely looking out for other books by this author in the future.So imagine you are sitting in your cosy little book club, deep in suburbia, when a new neighbour shows up uninvited Imagine she gets everyone drunk and charms you all, only to start playing a wicked gameOn the surface Amy Whey has the perfect life A loving husband and step daughter, a cute newborn, an amazing best friend, and a job she loves as a diving instructor BUT she hides a dark secret, and Angelica Roux knows what it is How far will Amy go to protect the ones she loves To keep her long held secrets I loved this book It was full of twists, and was so dark, and yet the characters felt so relatable I love it when an author doesn t just have good and bad characters, but morally grey ones This book was full of flawed characters in all shades of grey Every time I thought I had the plot figured out, I would get a shock Just when I thought I had read the big twist, there would be other revelations I liked that I liked that the author didn t make me wait until right at the end until it revealed their hand, but gave me continual surprises throughout the book.I did enjoy the diving aspect of the book too There were lots of great metaphors used, and one particular scene had me on the edge of my seat If you saw my updates, you might have seen me get to a scary bit where the character was going to do something, and as the reader I was biting my nails yelling noooooooo Obviously I put the book down, looked at some happy things and then went to sleep, putting the scene off for the next day because I am a giant coward But this is what I was thinking Overall, an enjoyable book which I would recommend if you like domestic psychological thrillers.Never Have I Ever is published on July 30th Many thanks to NetGalley and Bloomsbury Publishing Plc for sending me an uncorrected proof of the eBook in exchange for an honest review Never Have I Ever is a really tense reading experience I don t really associate Joshilyn Jackson with psychological thrillers, but this one sure felt close to the genre After a tragic event during her adolescence and subsequent years of self loathing, Amy reinvents herself as a wife, stepmother to a teen, mother to a baby and diving instructor She seems to be leading a pretty normal middle class life until Roux shows up Roux seems to know all of Amy s secrets What follows is a tug of war between two women who have lots to lose It s definitely a book I read with a knot it my stomach, but the tension was worth it Jackson s characters are different and the plot is clever without being too twisty or improbable Entertaining and smart Thanks to Edelweiss and the publisher for an opportunity to read an advance copy. I Have to confess that I do have older books screaming out to be read, but this caught my eye and I couldn t wait to start it Amy and her husband have a happy life bringing up his teenage daughter Madison and their son Oliver Amy helps her friend and neighbour Charlotte run the book club where local women get together for the chat, gossip and alcohol rather than the books.At the book club a new neighbour Roux joins in, totally taking over and getting the ladies to play Never Have I revealing secrets that in Amy s case will open a whole new can of worms A secret that she is soon being blackmailed over This was a great psychological thriller, loved the cat and mouse interaction between Roux and Amy I was totally gripped by this runaway train story with its twists that had me biting my nails.Will be looking out for Joshilyn Jackson s next book with bated breath Thank you to Netgalley for my copy in exchange for a review.
- 352 pages
- Never Have I Ever
- Joshilyn Jackson
- 24 September 2018 Joshilyn Jackson