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Never Have I Ever

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In this game, even winning can be deadly... Amy 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 s In this game, even winning can be deadly... Amy 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.


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In this game, even winning can be deadly... Amy 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 s In this game, even winning can be deadly... Amy 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.

30 review for Never Have I Ever

  1. 4 out of 5

    Deanna

    My reviews can also be seen at: https://deesradreadsandreviews.wordpr... This was a FANTASTIC novel. One of my favorite reads this year. Forty-two year old, Amy Whey has a great life. She has a wonderful family and a terrific best friend. She finally feels at home for the first time in her life. Tuesday, May 28, 1991, was the night that Amy’s life, as well as many others, changed forever. After that night, Amy tried a variety of ways to stuff her feelings. Eventually, it was diving that saved her. Being under/>Tuesday, My reviews can also be seen at: https://deesradreadsandreviews.wordpr... This was a FANTASTIC novel. One of my favorite reads this year. Forty-two year old, Amy Whey has a great life. She has a wonderful family and a terrific best friend. She finally feels at home for the first time in her life. Tuesday, May 28, 1991, was the night that Amy’s life, as well as many others, changed forever. After that night, Amy tried a variety of ways to stuff her feelings. Eventually, it was diving that saved her. Being underwater was the only place she could forget… if just for a little while. Then Amy met Davis and his daughter, Maddy. They became her family, eventually adding baby Oliver to the mix. Finding a new best friend, Charlotte only added to Amy's happiness. The last seven years have been amazing, but there are times she wonders if she should have told the people she loves about her past. Amy’s life is about to become VERY complicated. “Is this where the book club meets?” Book club is well underway when the doorbell rings. Amy opens the door to a pretty woman with beautiful dark hair. The woman's name is Angelica Roux, Roux for short. She is a single mom with a teenage son and they are staying at the Airbnb next door. She thought she would come to book club to meet some new people. Amy never thought that book club would be the place where her life would start to unravel. Roux introduces herself and the other women immediately start trying to impress her. However, Charlotte, who is the leader of the group is far from impressed. Roux insults the book, sits in the host's chair, and mixes drinks like she owns the place. She basically hijacks the evening. Soon, Roux, has the women drinking shots and playing a game called, “Never have I ever”. The game starts out innocently enough, but then one of the women confesses something that hits very close to home. Suddenly it doesn’t seem like such a harmless game. Roux says that Amy would win this game hands-down. She seems to be indicating that she knows something about Amy's past. Amy has had enough and tells Roux to get out. As Roux is leaving she tells Amy that they need to get together, that they have a LOT to talk about. Amy has no intentions seeking Roux out, but she is worried. She tells herself that it’s impossible for Roux to know about her past. Truly impossible. But when Roux comes looking for her, Amy’s instincts are proven right. Roux wants something from her and if she doesn’t get it, she’s going to make Amy pay... How will Amy protect the precious life she’s built? I LOVED this book! The story is told from Amy’s point of view. Most of it takes place in the present, but we do learn about Amy’s past and what happened that fateful night. Filled with fascinating characters, an engaging plot, and twists that I NEVER saw coming. I thought the story was well-paced with perfect timing, and I loved how it all came together in the end. Joshilyn Jackson is a tremendous storyteller, and I found this book so hard to put down! It held my attention completely. A thrilling story about memory, betrayal, guilt, lies, love, friendship, and revenge. I highly recommend this incredible domestic suspense novel!! I'd like to thank William Morrow for providing me with a copy of this novel. All opinions are my own.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Holly B

    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 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, 2019 Blog review closer to publication.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Dita

    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 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.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Kaceey

    3.5* What if you had a secret so profound that you spent your entire life trying to hide it? And what if the new mom on the block decides she wants to expose that secret!? Although Charlotte runs the neighborhood book-club, it’s always hosted by Amy, and they’re meeting tonight. Beautiful and sultry Roux, new to the neighborhood, decides to invite herself to the club. Everyone welcomes her...that is until she hijacks the entire meeting and proceeds to get all the moms beyond tipsy. She has her own agend/>What 3.5* What if you had a secret so profound that you spent your entire life trying to hide it? And what if the new mom on the block decides she wants to expose that secret!? Although Charlotte runs the neighborhood book-club, it’s always hosted by Amy, and they’re meeting tonight. Beautiful and sultry Roux, new to the neighborhood, decides to invite herself to the club. Everyone welcomes her...that is until she hijacks the entire meeting and proceeds to get all the moms beyond tipsy. She has her own agenda... She wants to play a little game. Never have I ever... Maybe you’re familiar with this game?🤷🏻♀️ I wasn’t. Made me wonder about these women and all their juicy secrets. I think my neighborhood and group of friends would pale in comparison. But then again...I guess you just never know. Make no mistake. Amy’s secret is a doozy to keep. And it seems Roux is determined to expose all. But why? What could she possibly gain? And why is Roux fixated on Amy’s secret and no one else’s? This book starts off extremely slow. I considered a DNF not too far in. But I forged ahead and the story-line really took off. There are even a couple of twists that absolutely shocked me! A buddy read with Susanne!🌸 Thank you to Edelweiss, HarperCollins - William Morrow and Joshilyn Jackson for an ARC to read and review.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Crumb

    Intense, Insipid, and Intoxicating When you are reading Never Have I Ever at night, in bed, and the dreaded witching hour comes a tickin', I dare you to put this book down. I dare you. This thriller leaked into every pore of my body. I couldn't escape the plot. You won't get many details from me regarding the storyline because it's best to go into this one blind. Amy is a run-of-the-mill suburban mom, although she is in the 1% club. She's a scuba diver. What were you thinking I meant? She enjoys the boring, satisfying routineIntoxicatingWhen Intense, Insipid, and Intoxicating When you are reading Never Have I Ever at night, in bed, and the dreaded witching hour comes a tickin', I dare you to put this book down. I dare you. This thriller leaked into every pore of my body. I couldn't escape the plot. You won't get many details from me regarding the storyline because it's best to go into this one blind. Amy is a run-of-the-mill suburban mom, although she is in the 1% club. She's a scuba diver. What were you thinking I meant? She enjoys the boring, satisfying routine of everyday suburbia. Amy loves her husband and stepdaughter Maddy, who lovingly refers to her as 'Monster'. She is perfectly content with a perfectly boring life. . . until book club. When everything is turned upside down and inside out. It's as if someone flipped the switch on the dryer to the tumble setting. No more Boring. No more Routine. Here comes your Worst Nightmare. Whew! Just writing this review re-energizes me. A guaranteed roller coaster ride. On a number of occasions, I've voiced my annoyances with the ever-growing amount of similar psychological thrillers. They are the same . I even stopped reading that genre for a while because of my mounting frustration. I'm happy to report that this one broke the mold. Never Have I Ever doesn't follow the playbook. It doesn't play by any rules. Get ready to play detective and FAIL. This book will keep you guessing all the way into the night. . . while you fall all the way down its twisty rabbit hole.

  6. 4 out of 5

    BernLuvsBooks (Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas)

    4 Games Can Be Deadly Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Amy has secrets she has spent years hiding. When new neighbor Roux shows up, determined to shake everyone's skeletons out of their closets, Amy finds herself drawn into a deadly game of cat & mouse. Who has more to hide? Who has more to lose? Who will win - Amy or Roux? I love a good twisty thriller and boy did Joshilyn Jackson deliver with the twists here! Just when I thought I had things figured out - another juicy tidbit came into light. The pace was a bit 4 Games Can Be Deadly Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Amy has secrets she has spent years hiding. When new neighbor Roux shows up, determined to shake everyone's skeletons out of their closets, Amy finds herself drawn into a deadly game of cat & mouse. Who has more to hide? Who has more to lose? Who will win - Amy or Roux? I love a good twisty thriller and boy did Joshilyn Jackson deliver with the twists here! Just when I thought I had things figured out - another juicy tidbit came into light. The pace was a bit slow but it never bothered me here - it felt a bit like Jackson was playing a game of cat & mouse with the reader. I was hooked and determined to figure things out. I never did! I loved Amy. She was full of layers - loving one minute and tough the next. She was smart, no nonsense & quite a formidable opponent for Roux. Roux was the kind of character that had me shaking my head in disbelief. I love an engaging female villain and Roux was exactly that. The two of them together were pure entertainment. One twist after another and an ending that left me shocked in the best way. Well done Ms. Jackson, well done!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Charlotte May

    Fucked up, twisty and with a solid ending. 4 stars ⭐ This was a sinister read. When at her local neighbourhood book club Amy opens her front door to a stranger, she has no idea the danger she is inviting into her home. Roux is charismatic and sexy – she soon has the entire book club drunk and revealing their secrets, and it’s not long before she hints that she knows more about Amy’s past than she should. As Amy’s secrets threaten to become exposed, she takes drastic measures to keep the new Fucked up, twisty and with a solid ending. 4 stars ⭐️ This was a sinister read. When at her local neighbourhood book club Amy opens her front door to a stranger, she has no idea the danger she is inviting into her home. Roux is charismatic and sexy – she soon has the entire book club drunk and revealing their secrets, and it’s not long before she hints that she knows more about Amy’s past than she should. As Amy’s secrets threaten to become exposed, she takes drastic measures to keep the new life she has made for herself safe. (view spoiler)[ Roux was an absolute bitch. Prying on other people’s secrets and blackmailing them for money, honestly she was vile. But that’s what kept me hooked – I wanted Amy to beat her. (hide spoiler)] And that ending was spot on. Shocking enough without being unrealistic and a good way to tie up the novel.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Diane S ☔

    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 see 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.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Will Byrnes

    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 dramat======================================== 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 mores 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 more 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 more. Jackson diving under the salt pier on Bonaire – image from The Big Thrill It 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 more 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 more nice neighborhood. Maybe no more 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 more 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 more 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 more 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 more like a thriller/mystery than her prior work, although there was no shortage of mystery in those. I have one gripe about the book. 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 that's a quibble, 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, 2019 Publication date – July 30, 2019 =============================EXTRA STUFF Links to the author’s personal, Twitter, GR, Instagram and FB pages My reviews of other Jackson work -----2013 - Someone Else's Love Story -----2016 - The Opposite of Everyone -----2017 - The Almost Sisters Items 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

  10. 4 out of 5

    Brenda -Traveling Sister host of The Traveling Friends

    3.5 Stars Never Have I Ever starts off with my kind of evening, a book club meeting, wine and friends. What could go wrong? Soon things take a turn when a new neighbour changes the pace to a game of Never Have I Ever. Along with a little too much drink, things take a very intriguing turn and secrets start to come out or threaten to come out. I was hooked and couldn’t wait to find out more. The pace slows down a bit as the characters are developed and I began to get a little impatience 3.5 Stars Never Have I Ever starts off with my kind of evening, a book club meeting, wine and friends. What could go wrong? Soon things take a turn when a new neighbour changes the pace to a game of Never Have I Ever. Along with a little too much drink, things take a very intriguing turn and secrets start to come out or threaten to come out. I was hooked and couldn’t wait to find out more. The pace slows down a bit as the characters are developed and I began to get a little impatience and wanted things to move along a bit faster. A game of cat and mouse takes off between our main characters and the pace picked up along with the tension between the characters. I was intrigued and loved the dynamics between the characters. I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough to get to that explosive ending. Things turned a little darker than I expected from Jackson. Normally I think my feathers might have got a bit rumpled by how things wrapped up if it wasn’t Jackson who wrote this one. In the end, I decided Jackson can do no wrong and still remains on the top of my list of favourite authors. I received a copy from the publisher on Edelweiss

  11. 4 out of 5

    Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*

    EXCERPT: 'How far does it go?' 'Oh, come on Amy. A good game has to go all the way,' Roux said, and her pink tongue came out for just a moment to touch her pale upper lip. 'Think back. What's the worst thing you ever did?' ABOUT THIS BOOK: Amy 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: he EXCERPT: 'How far does it go?' 'Oh, come on Amy. A good game has to go all the way,' Roux said, and her pink tongue came out for just a moment to touch her pale upper lip. 'Think back. What's the worst thing you ever did?' ABOUT THIS BOOK: Amy 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. MY THOUGHTS: Never Have I Ever...read a book this Diabolically Brilliant! Never Have I Ever simply seethes with malice, manipulation, secrets, lies, secrets, lies and more secrets and lies. I am gobsmacked. During this read I have repeatedly had the rug pulled out from under my feet. I have been tipped out of my chair, bitch slapped, dunked and royally entertained! I wanted to immerse myself in this book and never come out. Damn, this was good. Take a bunch of regular women...wives, moms, adjuncts and administrators, professors, librarians and a dive instructor, and add into the mix one usurping stranger. One usurping stranger who exudes an attractive air of danger, who encourages confidences. She plays a dangerous and deadly game, one where only she knows the rules, one where she always wins. And no matter how bad you may think this woman is, how dangerous, believe me, you have no idea... This is the second book this year that I have awarded an absolute meteor shower of stars to. Publication date is 8th August. I will be purchasing a hard copy. And reading all Jackson's back titles. I am in thrall. Oh yes, and I might even take up scuba diving. #NeverHaveIEver #Netgalley THE AUTHOR: New York Times and USA today bestselling novelist Joshilyn Jackson is the author of NEVER HAVE I EVER and eight other books, including gods in Alabama and The Almost Sisters. Her work has been translated into more than a dozen languages, won SIBA’s novel of the year, three times been a #1 Book Sense Pick, been the Target Book Club Pick, and three times been shortlisted for the Townsend prize. A former actor, Jackson reads the audio versions of her novels; her work in this field has been nominated for the Audie Award, was selected by AudioFile Magazine for their best of the year list, and garnered two Listen Up Awards from Publisher’s Weekly. She lives in Decatur, Georgia with her family. DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Bloomsbury Publishing via NetGalley for providing a digital ARC of Never Have I Ever by Joshilyn Jackson for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions. This review is also published on Twitter, Amazon and my webpage sandysbookaday.wordpress.com

  12. 5 out of 5

    j e w e l s

    THREE STARS Another so-so thriller. I liked this one enough, I'm just not a huge fan of what I like to call "the chick-lit/suspense crossover" genre. Really rolls right off the tongue, doesn't it? Joshilyn Jackson fits into my made-up genre perfectly well. Apparently, she was a chick lit writer and is now trying her hand at thrillers. While Jackson is a sharp writer, the gossipy tone of the book turns me off. The characters and plot just are not deep or interesting enough to grab my full atte THREE STARS Another so-so thriller. I liked this one enough, I'm just not a huge fan of what I like to call "the chick-lit/suspense crossover" genre. Really rolls right off the tongue, doesn't it? Joshilyn Jackson fits into my made-up genre perfectly well. Apparently, she was a chick lit writer and is now trying her hand at thrillers. While Jackson is a sharp writer, the gossipy tone of the book turns me off. The characters and plot just are not deep or interesting enough to grab my full attention. I NEED DARK AND THRILLING AND EXCITING. Please, aren't there any more Gillian Flynn's out there ? The audio version is well done.

  13. 4 out of 5

    JanB

    Amy is living a quiet suburban existence as a mom and part-time scuba diving instructor with her husband, infant son, and stepdaughter when Roux moves into the neighborhood. She shows up unannounced at book club and is the book club member from hell who hasn’t read the book and takes over the meeting. She quickly livens things up with free-flowing alcohol and the spilling of secrets by playing a game of Never Have I Ever. The problem? Amy has big secrets that she wants kept secret. And Roux seem Amy is living a quiet suburban existence as a mom and part-time scuba diving instructor with her husband, infant son, and stepdaughter when Roux moves into the neighborhood. She shows up unannounced at book club and is the book club member from hell who hasn’t read the book and takes over the meeting. She quickly livens things up with free-flowing alcohol and the spilling of secrets by playing a game of Never Have I Ever. The problem? Amy has big secrets that she wants kept secret. And Roux seems to know what they are. How far will Amy go to keep them hidden? What follows is a cat and mouse game between the two women that escalates with each move. I absolutely loved this one and especially loved Amy. Tough as nails yet soft in the center, she is a surprising opponent to the cunning Roux. I fell in love with her sweet family and loved the relationship she had with her stepdaughter. She’s a great character to root for. The side stories of the other characters were just as delightful as the battle of wits between Amy and Roux. I appreciate that Joshilyn Jackson has tried something new with this book. I love her Southern fiction books full of humor, wit and warmth. And now she’s proven she can do domestic suspense, and do it well. This was a buddy read with Marialyce and we had a lot of fun with this one! Summer isn’t over yet. Don’t miss this page-turner! *Many thanks to Edelweiss for a copy of the book for review. All opinions are my own. * For this and other duo reviews please visit https://yayareadslotsofbooks.wordpres...

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader

    When one of your favorite authors writes in a new genre... ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ Amy Whey has a simple life. She’s a stepmom, lives in a quaint neighborhood, bakes cookies to welcome new neighbors, and hangs out with her best friend, Charlotte, organizing a neighborhood book club no less. On the night of bookclub, they are joined by a new neighbor, Roux, who immediately worms her way into the group with her charm. She needs no introductions. She captivates the room from the start. But when Rou When one of your favorite authors writes in a new genre... ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ Amy Whey has a simple life. She’s a stepmom, lives in a quaint neighborhood, bakes cookies to welcome new neighbors, and hangs out with her best friend, Charlotte, organizing a neighborhood book club no less. On the night of bookclub, they are joined by a new neighbor, Roux, who immediately worms her way into the group with her charm. She needs no introductions. She captivates the room from the start. But when Roux stars a game of spilling secrets…you know the one… Amy begins to learn why Roux is there, and it’s not to play nicely. You see, Amy did something in her past that she’s run from ever since, and Roux knows. Roux also threatens Amy to let the secrets, but Amy is no quitter. She has to beat Roux at her own game, and the cost may be higher than she ever imagined. Oh my! This book enthralled me from the very first page. First of all, it starts at a bookclub, and who wouldn’t love that. Then, you add in Joshilyn Jackson’s easy writing style and clever way of creating characters, and I was all in. I absolutely adored Joshilyn Jackson’s first thriller. Her trademark humor and wit is here, along all the other fun nuances of her writing, but the book has a serious and tense tone throughout. It was an addicting story that I had to know how it would end, and it kept me up late until I found out. Overall, with multiple layers and a completely original storyline, I predict Never Have I Ever will be a big hit this summer. I received a complimentary copy. All opinions are my own. My reviews can also be found on my blog: www.jennifertarheelreader.com

  15. 5 out of 5

    Debra

    Never have I ever read such an instantly gripping and captivating book! This book had my attention from page one. Wondering what was going to happen and how it would all come to pass. I found this book to be original, engaging and thought provoking. Who was going to win this battle of wits and cunning? How would she beat Roux at her game? This was a well written and thought out page turner. Highly recommend.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Joshilyn Jackson

    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 author A 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, entir 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 author A 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

  17. 5 out of 5

    Nilufer Ozmekik

    To be three or not to be three that’s the question, no, no ,no, I’m going back and forth between three to four like swinging on teeterboards, because this book started good, then it got slow, slower, slowest, and BAMMM…no, I don’t talk about the twists, I just dropped the book out of my hands because I started sleeping…But as a summary, let’s stick with four hardly given stars! Reading this book is one of my most interesting experiences in my life. Because first impressions are so To be three or not to be three that’s the question, no, no ,no, I’m going back and forth between three to four like swinging on teeterboards, because this book started good, then it got slow, slower, slowest, and BAMMM…no, I don’t talk about the twists, I just dropped the book out of my hands because I started sleeping…But as a summary, let’s stick with four hardly given stars! Reading this book is one of my most interesting experiences in my life. Because first impressions are so important for me, if I like something from the first glance, my feelings stay that way. I hardly change my opinion. But this book really confused me. The blurb was so intriguing. Before it’s released, I was so curious and I wanted to have it ASAP. I haven’t written any books of this author but as far as I saw her writing is highly recommended to me from so many readers which excited me more. The beginning of book was good. We’re witnessed a book club gathering organized by Charlotte and taken place in Amy’s house. We’re introduced Amy, Charlotte, other club members and finally Roux came into the party (or forcedly included herself) and took the control of everything by making all the members drunk and force them play “Never I have ever” game. But we may have sensed she had a different agenda. Her target was Amy who did a really bad bad thing as mentioned at the song lyrics. And Roux thinks it’s time for payback and hunter-prey, cat-canary or mouse-cat kinda evil games are about to begin! So WHAT I mostly LIKED about this book: CHARACTERIZATION! In my opinion author’s focus was creating a thriller story. She concentrated on characters’ development, their past faults, flaws, motives, background stories and took us to a journey inside their heads to show how they think and inside their hearts to show how they feel. It’s a different kind of story telling but it’s detailed, well-rounded, poignantly described. BUT… yes… here comes the big and fat BUT part… I was so ready to read a page-turner but this is definitely not a gripping, unputdownable story. It needs patience. You may want to stop, skip and choose another book. It might bore you to death. You start yawning. You may feel like your eyelids getting heavier and your couch pillow starts to look heavenly. You may suffer from unbearable lightness of taking a quick but peaceful nap. My suggestion is if you have enough patience, please keep reading. (Mostly I don’t but this time I trusted my guts not to put it down.) Because after the second half, too many twists are going to be GAME CHANGERS and when you were taking baby steps on this book, you are starting to run and then fly! I wish this game changer part could come sooner!!! So the writing is good, the second half is excellent. These facts made me give four stars to this book. But there is always an option to stop reading before reaching the second half and automatically giving two stars and starting another book. Writing a slow-burn thriller is so tricky and compelling thing. If the author couldn’t capture the attention of the readers from the beginning of the story, you may lose them forever. Questioning elements of the story which rekindle your curiosity could be added carefully so you want to learn more. I’m happy to keep reading. I was expecting something more mind-bending, thrilling, nail-biter, sitting at the edge of the couch kind of book but I liked the character development, writing and second half. So far it worked for me.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    The games people play...... Rules subject to change. Players to be determined later. Joshilyn Jackson presents a twisty turning bowl of friendship pasta seasoned with some sizzlin' secrets long kept buried. That is until Roux moves to Pensacola and shows up at Amy Whey's doorstep uninvited. It's Book Club Night for the mommies of the neighborhood. Opened bottles of wine are set out and random chairs beckon friends to lean in toward one another as the evening's book will be The games people play...... Rules subject to change. Players to be determined later. Joshilyn Jackson presents a twisty turning bowl of friendship pasta seasoned with some sizzlin' secrets long kept buried. That is until Roux moves to Pensacola and shows up at Amy Whey's doorstep uninvited. It's Book Club Night for the mommies of the neighborhood. Opened bottles of wine are set out and random chairs beckon friends to lean in toward one another as the evening's book will be discussed with gusto. But back to that doorstep..... Roux introduces herself and makes the rounds with her perfect hair and her perfectly toned body. She decides to play an unusual game with the few ladies still in Amy's basement. Empty wine bottles line the tables as our remaining mommies try to focus. Secrets are exchanged and laughter erupts. But Amy is having none of this. She only wishes for Roux to leave. Something about Roux is not quite right. And Roux leans in on Amy the very next day claiming knowledge of a deeply held secret from Amy's past. Roux threatens Amy with divulging a horrendous incident that happened to Amy years ago when she was a teenager. Roux wants a bit of a payment to keep her mouth shut. Amy weighs her options and the games begin anew..... Jackson has quite a few irons in the fire in this one. As readers, we have to be open to just how shifty this storyline is going to get. Jackson turns up the heat by adding one shocking episode after another. We keep shaking our heads at the craziness, but for heaven's sake, we can't look away. At the core of Never Have I Ever is Jackson's uncanny ability to create some highly wired characters. Without them, this story would be like carrying empty buckets. Shadows from the past will be cast upon the present for these individuals. Connecting the dots to Amy's past will certainly grab us. Never Have I Ever entertains. Period. Just go with the flow and don't ask questions as this all unfolds. 'Tis fiction with questionable layers. 'Tis game players playing by their own rules. Ha!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Susanne Strong

    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 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.

  20. 4 out of 5

    NZLisaM

    Play to win… or lose everything. The rules are simple – toy with, torment, and then destroy. HAPPY US RELEASE DAY! Amy Whey has the perfect suburban set-up – husband, stepdaughter, new baby, friends, career. And then a knock at the door changes everything. New neighbour, Angelica Roux (call me Roux like the kangaroo) swoops into book club night, and immediately takes over, charming the other housewives. When she suggests a game of Never Have I Ever, the women are or for it, except for Amy, because the s/>HAPPY Play to win… or lose everything. The rules are simple – toy with, torment, and then destroy. HAPPY US RELEASE DAY! Amy Whey has the perfect suburban set-up – husband, stepdaughter, new baby, friends, career. And then a knock at the door changes everything. New neighbour, Angelica Roux (call me Roux like the kangaroo) swoops into book club night, and immediately takes over, charming the other housewives. When she suggests a game of Never Have I Ever, the women are or for it, except for Amy, because the secrets she keeps are worse than most. But Roux already knows them, and threatens to tell-all, if Amy doesn’t submit to her demands. So now they’re playing a new, deadlier, game, and if Amy doesn’t win, it could cost her everyone she loves. Domestic noir meets psychological warfare, and I was all in from the opening hook – a revealing, drunken, seemingly innocent – but not!, game of Never Have I Ever among married mums. What could go wrong? As it turns out, everything! And from then on the race had begun – Amy versus Roux – where the juicy gossip, secrets and startling revelations became more shocking as the story progressed. Three magnificent twists in particular hit me like a ton of bricks and left me floored. What a rush! Antagonist, Roux, was nasty, calculating, and took immense pleasure in being cruel. She was also fascinating, alluring, and quickly drew Amy into her web, and there were times I couldn't help but empathise with her. I won't reveal whether I was right or wrong in doing so. We soon learn that Amy has made some terrible mistakes, but I quickly grew attached to her, and admired the ways she had tried/kept trying to make up for her past actions. She was smart, devious, crafty, didn’t bow to Roux's will, fuelled by a fierce need to protect those she held dear, and never lost sight of her moral compass – the ultimate opponent to go up against someone like Roux. I was also rooting for Amy because I cared about every member of her family. They were all such well-developed characters – even baby Oliver. I adored the relationship between husband and wife (Davis and Amy), father and daughter (Davis and Maddy) and especially stepmother and stepdaughter (Amy and Maddy). It was so refreshing to read about a healthy, loving, trusting relationship between a stepmother and a teenager, and how Amy saw Maddy as her daughter (not step), and Maddy felt the same way about Amy. Amazon has billed this one as a cross between Desperate Housewives and Killing Eve, and I think that's an apt description. I'd like to thank Edelweiss, William Morrow, and Joshilyn Jackson for the e-ARC. US Release Date: 30th July, 2019. UK Release Date: 8th August, 2019.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Esil

    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 be 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.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Mark

    ‘never have I ever’ battled to not give up in a first chapter so much for a long long time The book starts at a book club and am not joking the names of the neighbours in attendance was almost enough to halt proceedings....Panda Grier, Amy Whey, Char, Tate Bonasco, Sheridan, Liddy Sleigh...you get the picture...then Roux turns up, shes new and immediately takes over and makes them do a game of ‘what animal are you’ before a version of never have I ever starts Very clumsy and disjointed ‘never have I ever’ battled to not give up in a first chapter so much for a long long time The book starts at a book club and am not joking the names of the neighbours in attendance was almost enough to halt proceedings....Panda Grier, Amy Whey, Char, Tate Bonasco, Sheridan, Liddy Sleigh...you get the picture...then Roux turns up, shes new and immediately takes over and makes them do a game of ‘what animal are you’ before a version of never have I ever starts Very clumsy and disjointed beginning , I disliked them all and the language is very VERY hard to ‘get in the flow with’ I did however carry on and it did at times improve, there are elements of suspense and intrigue and a shocking ( really quite shocking ) twist at the end but the writing style was not for me, repetitive at times and honestly this was a book to get through asap and onto the next I think the title promises way way too much! 3/10 2( just) Stars

  23. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    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 more 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 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 more 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.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Cortney LaScola - The Bookworm, Myrtle Beach

    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!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Bkwmlee

    4.5 stars This is one of those books that I would call “compulsively readable” — the kind of book that, once you pick it up and start reading, it’s almost impossible to put down. There was an addictive and engaging quality to the story and its characters, to the point that I couldn’t bring myself to stop reading even when one of the characters frustrated me to no end. It all starts with a book club gathering at the house of our protagonist Amy Whey, a night she thought would be like a 4.5 stars This is one of those books that I would call “compulsively readable” — the kind of book that, once you pick it up and start reading, it’s almost impossible to put down. There was an addictive and engaging quality to the story and its characters, to the point that I couldn’t bring myself to stop reading even when one of the characters frustrated me to no end. It all starts with a book club gathering at the house of our protagonist Amy Whey, a night she thought would be like any other, where other mothers in the neighborhood get together along with her best friend Charlotte Baxter to discuss the latest book they chose. But then a new neighbor shows up at the door, a beautiful woman named Angelica Roux, whose exotic charm captivates nearly everyone in the room and next thing they know, the book club discussion becomes instead a lively session of drinking and chatting. Later in the night, Roux suggests playing a game, a grown-up version of the confession game Never Have I Ever — and that’s when the troubles begin. Suddenly, Amy finds herself locked in a twisted game with a woman whose skills in manipulation far exceed ordinary — a game that Amy quickly discovers she has no option but to win or else risk destroying the life and family she had worked so hard to build. This book was a wild ride, intricately plotted and full of twists and turns that kept me constantly guessing — just when I thought I had things figured out, another bomb was dropped that took things in an entirely unexpected direction. The characters too were well-developed and realistically crafted — I especially like how Amy was a character who was strong but yet at the same time flawed...whether it was dealing with the remnants of her past (a past that she spent most of her life trying to bury) or working through issues in the present, Amy’s struggles felt so real. Even Roux, as loathsome as she was, also proved to be an interesting yet still realistic character whose own complicated past shapes who she eventually becomes. In terms of the writing, it was excellent — the story was cleverly crafted and flowed beautifully. Even though this is my first time reading Joshilyn Jackson’s works, I’ve heard many great things about her books as well as her writing and now I definitely understand why. I’m glad I got the chance to experience her work for the first time and look forward to checking out her previous books (many of which are on my TBR already). I’d heard that Jackson doesn’t usually write in the suspense / thriller genre, so this book is a new experience for her — I definitely found this shocking because reading this book, the way it was so expertly crafted, I would’ve never guessed that this is her first time writing in the genre. After reading a slew of average suspense thrillers in recent months, I’m happy to have gotten the chance to read a smart, emotionally engaging thriller that combines the elements of plot, character, and story so perfectly. This one is definitely on my recommended list and I’m already looking forward to what Jackson will come up with next! Received ARC from William Morrow (HarperCollins) via Edelweiss.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jayme

    3.5/rounded up 📚 “What if telling wrecks our friendship? The thought rose unbidden, but it was a valid question. Women in denial shoved at people who told them truths they were not ready to hear. Shoved them hard, all the way out of their lives” Book Club. It was FUN. Till the one day, it wasn’t. New neighbor Roux arrives and she isn’t interested in talking books. She has an ulterior motive. Ply the women with wine and have them spill their secrets, during a game of “Never Have I Ever 3.5/rounded up 📚 “What if telling wrecks our friendship? The thought rose unbidden, but it was a valid question. Women in denial shoved at people who told them truths they were not ready to hear. Shoved them hard, all the way out of their lives” Book Club. It was FUN. Till the one day, it wasn’t. New neighbor Roux arrives and she isn’t interested in talking books. She has an ulterior motive. Ply the women with wine and have them spill their secrets, during a game of “Never Have I Ever” But Amy instinctively knows that Roux has her sights set on her. But, why? Who is she? And, how has she learned about Amy’s past?? When the book first started, I was a bit bored. I hate reading about adults overindulging in alcohol and playing the games they played in high school, almost as much as I hate being around that in real life. Then, the story actually reverted to Amy’s high school years to fill the reader in on the back story...I don’t like reading about high schoolers experimenting with alcohol, drugs and sex either. I almost gave up. But, about a third of the way in, this tale of blackmail and revenge hit its stride. Let the games begin! And, the best woman win! The characterization is strong, and Joshilyn Jackson has created two women you will feel like you would recognize on the street. I loved Amy’s relationship with her step daughter Maddy, and her protective nature over those she cares about. You will root for her to outwit Roux! But, can she do it before secrets are revealed and she loses what she holds closest to her heart? I would classify this book as women’s fiction or domestic suspense, more so than a psychological thriller, but if you pick it up with that in mind, I think you will enjoy it too. It had just enough twists to keep me guessing about how it would all end...📚

  27. 5 out of 5

    preoccupiedbybooks

    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 game... On the surface 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 game... On 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*

  28. 5 out of 5

    Mackenzie - PhDiva Books

    Diabolical! One of the best books I’ve read in 2019 without question, Joshilyn Jackson’s Never Have I Ever is intelligent, expertly-plotted, twisted, and with a dash of dark humor that makes it a masterpiece in my opinion. This is a keep-forever book if I’ve ever read one! About the Book Amy Whey lives a simple, ordinary life and she wouldn’t have it any other way. Amy doesn’t particularly crave excitement or novelty. She’s happy with what she has—a devoted professor husband, a fifteen-year-old/>About Diabolical! One of the best books I’ve read in 2019 without question, Joshilyn Jackson’s Never Have I Ever is intelligent, expertly-plotted, twisted, and with a dash of dark humor that makes it a masterpiece in my opinion. This is a keep-forever book if I’ve ever read one! About the Book Amy Whey lives a simple, ordinary life and she wouldn’t have it any other way. Amy doesn’t particularly crave excitement or novelty. She’s happy with what she has—a devoted professor husband, a fifteen-year-old step daughter who she loves dearly, a newborn son, and her best friend Charlotte. She gets to teach diving lessons—a passion that pulled her out of a self-destructive spiral on more than one occasion back in her youth—and help her friend Charlotte run a book club for other moms in the area. Amy is happier than she ever though she could be. Until a new neighbor moves in. Angelica Roux is beautiful, magnetic, and drives a flashy car. When Angelica arrives on Amy’s door one evening for book club, she begins a game that will set a series of events in motion that may unravel everything Amy has built. The game is simple. Share the worst thing you’ve done this week. Then the worst thing you’ve done this month. And eventually, the worst thing you’ve ever done. As Amy’s neighbors begin to spill their secrets, Amy knows this isn’t simply fun between girlfriends. Angelica Roux knows Amy’s greatest secret, one that she has kept buried from everyone including herself. Amy could lose everything if her secret is revealed, so she does the only thing she can—she begins to play Angelica’s game. As their game escalates into a matching of wits, hidden pasts, and unearthed secrets, Amy knows that she needs to beat Roux at all costs, even if winning means losing everything important to her. Reflection I barely know what to say about this book because it is so well-executed, it feels like it doesn’t need my commentary! The book is narrated by Amy, and she’s a fantastic character. Amy seems so simple at first, and that’s part of what makes her incredible. Amy has worked so hard to be, quite simply, ordinary. She is your next door neighbor, your kid’s friend’s mom, a member of your book club. She’s someone that it feels like you could know. But because of her seeming ordinariness, Amy is able to hide in plain sight. Because deep down, Amy is anything but ordinary… The reveal of Amy over the first part of the book, as you learn that she’s more clever than she seems, more diabolical, more interesting—it’s literary delight! I underestimated Amy at first, thinking she’d be the eyes through which we saw the diabolical Roux enact her game. And Amy is that. But Amy is also perhaps the only person in the story who can match wits with Roux. Amy has gone to great lengths to hide her secret and reinvent herself, and she will continue to do everything she needs to in order to keep her secret buried. Roux is another amazing character. I found myself liking and hating her at the same time. She is something else! I wanted to know more about her, and I wasn’t disappointed when I learned her back story. I loved the way she and Amy interacted—it wasn’t the dynamic I expected but it was incredible to read! I don’t want to spoil so I’m going to cut my review here and say I highly recommend this book! It’s a story about guilt, love, secrets, betrayal, deception, making amends, surviving, and revenge. Who could turn that down?? Thank you to William Morrow for my copy. Opinions are my own.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Kim ~ It’s All About the Thrill

    There is a new girl in town...and she likes to play games...with your life! Meet Roux the new neighbor. The girls met Roux when she invited herself to their night of book club. She breezed in the door and overturned their serious book talk with a game of Never Have I Ever. Let's just say adults probably should never partake in this game! Amy Whey is about the most wholesome soccer mom type you could ever meet. I liked her instantly but is there more to Amy than we first thought? Roux There is a new girl in town...and she likes to play games...with your life! Meet Roux the new neighbor. The girls met Roux when she invited herself to their night of book club. She breezed in the door and overturned their serious book talk with a game of Never Have I Ever. Let's just say adults probably should never partake in this game! Amy Whey is about the most wholesome soccer mom type you could ever meet. I liked her instantly but is there more to Amy than we first thought? Roux seems to think so, in fact she seems intent to bring Amy down. I wasn't sure quite what to think about Roux as there seemed to be something a bit "off". Other than her abrasive behavior at book club, there seemed to be something amiss. She had the best clothes and it appeared the best botox in town, plus she drove a fancy sports car. Yet she moved into the dumpy rental house nicknamed the "Sprite House" because it was painted the color of a sprite can. It just didn't make sense. Although she seemed to be a doting mom, there was a hard, aggressive side to her that the little yuppy neighborhood was not used to. Wow this book was filled with secrets, twists and turns. I made quite a few assumptions while reading this book and let's just say I was wrong...a lot. The author did a fantastic job of throwing me off track numerous time and the ending was shocking. I never saw that coming. I really enjoyed my first Joshilyn Jackson book! I flew through this book with my book group the Traveling Sisters. Thank you so much to William Morrow for this gorgeous ARC! The ARC is so pretty I can't wait to see what the actual book is going to look like. Thank you also to Joshilyn Jackson for this gripping, twisty read.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Mandy White

    We all know the game, a game that sets to expose your deep dark secrets. When I came across a book with this title I just had to read it... and it certainly lived up to my expectations. initially I read a first chapter sampler for this book before having my wish granted by the publisher for the full book. I devoured this book, once I started reading it I did not want to stop - so be prepared! There has been a lot of talk of this book between book lovers around the world and I have to say that it We all know the game, a game that sets to expose your deep dark secrets. When I came across a book with this title I just had to read it... and it certainly lived up to my expectations. initially I read a first chapter sampler for this book before having my wish granted by the publisher for the full book. I devoured this book, once I started reading it I did not want to stop - so be prepared! There has been a lot of talk of this book between book lovers around the world and I have to say that it lives up to the hype. Amy's seemingly perfect life is threatened when Roux arrives on this quiet street. She invited sherself to the local bookclub and takes over on her first night. Alcohol flowing she initiates a game of Never Have I Ever and the secrets of the ladies start to spill. Amy soon realises that Roux knows all about her own past and wants something from her... and if she does not deliver her world will crumble around her. A cat and mouse game insues as Amy fights to save herself and her family. A story of blackmail, secrets, family and betrayal with an ending you really will not pick. I absolutely enjoyed this fantastic book. Thanks to Bloomsbury Publishing, Raven Books and NetGalley for my advanced copy of this book to read. All opinions are my own and are in no way biased

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