Book Review: He Started It by Samantha Downing

He Started It by Samantha Downing

384 pages

ISBN: 9780451491756

Publication date: 7/28/20 by Berkley

Genre: Mystery / Thriller

Rating: 5 out of 5.

B&N | Amazon

Thank you to Berkley and NetGalley for the early digital copy in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads synopsis:

Beth, Portia, and Eddie Morgan haven’t all been together in years. And for very good reasons—we’ll get to those later. But when their wealthy grandfather dies and leaves a cryptic final message in his wake, the siblings and their respective partners must come together for a cross-country road trip to fulfill his final wish and—more importantly—secure their inheritance.

But time with your family can be tough. It is for everyone.

It’s even harder when you’re all keeping secrets and trying to forget a memory—a missing person, an act of revenge, the man in the black truck who won’t stop following your car—and especially when at least one of you is a killer and there’s a body in the trunk. Just to name a few reasons.

But money is a powerful motivator. It is for everyone. 

Review:

Trigger warnings: Murder, gambling, cheating, manipulation, drugging, physical/verbal abuse.

I picked this up last month, and I couldn’t get into it. I set it down because I didn’t want to be disappointed. I wanted to give the book a good shot. I read it this month because I thought it was going to be published on the 28th, but it has been postponed until July because of the virus. I’m glad I decided to give it another go. It’s one of my new favorite mystery/thrillers.

If you start reading this and think it’s a little weird, keep going! The writing is extremely vague, short, and choppy. If you can get through that, then you’re golden. There is so much that happens after about 30% that you don’t even focus on how it’s written. You’ll just keep flipping those pages. I also think the writing was meant to be that way, so the reader doesn’t feel any attachment to the characters. Believe me when I say that you will not feel anything but hate for these characters. They are all pretty terrible human beings when it comes to morals.

Beth is our narrator, and at first I thought she was pretty clever. She has a very dry personality. She’s the type of person that I probably wouldn’t be friends with, but I can still appreciate their existence. Then she gets really weird when you learn who the missing person is. It doesn’t say it in the synopsis, so I won’t spoil it for you.

Eddie is my least favorite sibling. I could tell from the start that something was fishy about him. He goes off to talk on the phone with random people; he treats his wife like garbage, he never agrees with the group, and he always wants to be the boss. I would have shoved him out of the car.

Throughout the story there are flashbacks to when the siblings were on the same road trip with their grandpa. It was a total nightmare. Anyway, Portia was the only one I really felt bad for. She was too young to know what was happening. All the siblings took advantage of her. I still didn’t end up liking her by the end of the book, though.

There are some blunt murder scenes in here that don’t let you think twice about what just happened. Don’t be fooled by the normal-ish family road trip, because when money is involved, the meaning of family is thrown out the window.

I would highly recommend this one. If it doesn’t surprise you at all, then just enjoy the journey it takes you on, because it’s a wild ride. It can be brutal and weird, but I didn’t find it super unrealistic like some thrillers I have read recently. I loved it. And I can’t wait for Downing to write more!


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April 2020 TBR!

I decided to pick two NetGalley books, two books I own, and two library books to read for the month of April. I’m trying to stick to my TBRs, and I hope that having this many options will help create the variety I need.

P.S.: Thank you to the publishers and NetGalley for the early digital copies that I have included.


NetGalley:

The Big Finish by Brooke Fossey

Goodreads blurb:

In a funny, insightful, and life-affirming debut, Brooke Fossey delivers an unflinching look at growing old, living large, and loving big, as told by a wise-cracking man who didn’t see any of it coming.

He Started It by Samantha Downing

Goodreads blurb:

Beth, Portia, and Eddie Morgan haven’t all been together in years. And for very good reasons—we’ll get to those later. But when their wealthy grandfather dies and leaves a cryptic final message in his wake, the siblings and their respective partners must come together for a cross-country road trip to fulfill his final wish and—more importantly—secure their inheritance.

Physical:

Network Effect (Murderbot Diaries #5) by Martha Wells

Goodreads blurb:

You know that feeling when you’re at work, and you’ve had enough of people, and then the boss walks in with yet another job that needs to be done right this second or the world will end, but all you want to do is go home and binge your favorite shows? And you’re a sentient murder machine programmed for destruction? Congratulations, you’re Murderbot.

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

Goodreads blurb:

When four classmates from a small Massachusetts college move to New York to make their way, they’re broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition.

*My plan is to just continue on with this one. I don’t think I’ll finish it this month.

Library:

You Are Not Alone by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen

Goodreads blurb:

You probably know someone like Shay Miller. You probably don’t know anyone like the Moore sisters. Shay thinks she wants their life. But what they really want is hers.

The Honey-Don’t List by Christina Lauren

Goodreads blurb:

Carey Douglas has worked for home remodeling and design gurus Melissa and Rusty Tripp for nearly a decade. A country girl at heart, Carey started in their first store at sixteen, and—more than anyone would suspect—has helped them build an empire. With a new show and a book about to launch, the Tripps are on the verge of superstardom. There’s only one problem: America’s favorite couple can’t stand each other.


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NetGalley Checklist: Books Being Published in April

You Deserve Each Other by Sarah Hogle

Publication: 4/7/20 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons

368 pages

ISBN: 9780593085424

Goodreads blurb:

When your nemesis also happens to be your fiancé, happily ever after becomes a lot more complicated in this wickedly funny, lovers-to-enemies-to-lovers romantic comedy debut. 

To Have and to Hoax by Martha Waters

Publication: 4/7/20 by Atria Books

352 pages

ISBN: 9781982136116

Goodreads blurb:

In this fresh and hilarious historical rom-com, an estranged husband and wife in Regency England feign accidents and illness in an attempt to gain attention—and maybe just win each other back in the process.

The Big Finish by Brooke Fossey

Publication: 4/14/20 by Berkley

336 pages

ISBN: 9781984804938

Goodreads blurb:

In a funny, insightful, and life-affirming debut, Brooke Fossey delivers an unflinching look at growing old, living large, and loving big, as told by a wise-cracking man who didn’t see any of it coming.

The Book of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd

Publication: 4/21/20 by Viking

432 pages

ISBN: 9780525429760

Goodreads blurb:

The Book of Longings is an inspiring account of one woman’s bold struggle to realize the passion and potential inside her, while living in a time, place, and culture devised to silence her. 

The Girl and the Stars by Mark Lawrence

Publication: 4/21/20 by Ace: Berkley Pub

384 pages

ISBN: 9781984805997

Goodreads blurb:

In the ice, east of the Black Rock, there is a hole into which broken children are thrown.

Only when it’s darkest you can see the stars.

He Started It by Samantha Downing

Publication: 4/28/20 by Berkley

384 pages

ISBN: 9780451491756

Goodreads blurb:

Beth, Portia, and Eddie Morgan haven’t all been together in years. And for very good reasons—we’ll get to those later. But when their wealthy grandfather dies and leaves a cryptic final message in his wake, the siblings and their respective partners must come together for a cross-country road trip to fulfill his final wish and—more importantly—secure their inheritance.

Thank you to all of the publishers / NetGalley for the early digital copies! I also won The Big Finish in a Goodreads giveaway, so thank you to Goodreads as well.

Let me know if any of you would be interested in the books being released each month on my NetGalley checklist! This way it would make these a decent length without listing ALL of them in one post.


If you enjoyed this, then give it a like and follow my blog. Be respectful and happy reading!

My Most Anticipated 2020 Releases

Hello! These are not in any particular order. There are also a ton of other books I’m excited for, but these are mostly books by authors I have read other books from—except for Kate Elizabeth Russell. These are authors I look for every year to see if they’re releasing anything new. I’m very patiently waiting for Celeste Ng to write another one.


The Honey-Don’t List by Christina Lauren

Publication date: 3/24

The Book of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd

Publication date: 4/21

Undercover Bromance by Lyssa Kay Adams

Publication date: 3/10

Come Tumbling Down by Seanan McGuire

Publication date: 1/7

Network Effect by Martha Wells

Publication date: 5/5

Home Before Dark by Riley Sager

Publication date: 7/7

He Started It by Samantha Downing

Publication date: 4/28

Cut to the Bone by Ellison Cooper

Publication Date: 7/14

My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell

Publication date: 3/10

Credence by Penelope Douglas

Publication date: 1/14

The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel

Publication date: 3/24

A friend told me that Taylor Jenkins Reid has another one coming out, but Goodreads doesn’t have a release date for it. That’s why I didn’t include it. It’s called Malibu Burning if you wanted to go add it to your TBR.


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Blogmas Day 16: Favorite Authors

Happy BLOGMAS Day 16!

I never talk about who my favorite authors are. I don’t know if you have to read so many books from a certain author to consider it a favorite, but I don’t really want to follow the rules. These are the authors I have read book(s) from and loved. I will also link the Goodreads page to the book(s) that made me love these authors.

P.S: I apologize these posts have been so simple. I definitely expected more out of myself, but my internet has been out and I’ve been working. I get them written/scheduled when and if I can. I hope you all understand. There are 15 more posts to come, so I hope you all stay excited!

William Kent Krueger

This Tender Land

Taylor Jenkins Reid

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

The Evidence of the Affair

Christina Lauren

Josh & Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating

The Unhoneymooners

Claire Lombardo

The Most Fun We Ever Had

Rachel Kadish

The Weight of Ink

Celeste Ng

Little Fires Everywhere

Riley Sager

Lock Every Door

Final Girls

Paula McLain

Love and Ruin

Khaled Hosseini

The Kite Runner

The Sea Prayer

J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

Honorable Mentions

A.S. King

Everybody Sees the Ants

Dig

Catherine Chung

The Tenth Muse

Samantha Downing

My Lovely Wife

J.R.R. Tolkien

The Hobbit

The Fellowship of the Ring

Alex Dahl

The Boy at the Door


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