BEA'S BOOK NOOK "I can't imagine a man really enjoying a book and reading it only once." C. S. Lewis “If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.” ― Oscar Wilde

Friday, October 20, 2017

Bea Reviews Are You Sleeping by Kathleen Barber

Bea's Book Nook, Review, Are You Sleeping, Kathleen Barber
Publisher: Gallery Books
Source: the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Release Date: August 1st, 2017
Buying Links: Amazon* | Book Depository* | iTunes | Barnes & Noble
* affiliate links; the blog receives a small commission from purchases made through these links.

Blurb from goodreads:

Serial meets Ruth Ware’s In A Dark, Dark Wood in this inventive and twisty psychological thriller about a mega-hit podcast that reopens a murder case—and threatens to unravel the carefully constructed life of the victim’s daughter.

The only thing more dangerous than a the truth.

Josie Buhrman has spent the last ten years trying to escape her family’s reputation and with good reason. After her father's murder thirteen years prior, her mother ran away to join a cult and her twin sister Lanie, once Josie’s closest friend and confidant, betrayed her in an unimaginable way. Now, Josie has finally put down roots in New York, settling into domestic life with her partner Caleb, and that’s where she intends to stay. The only problem is that she has lied to Caleb about every detail of her past—starting with her last name.

When investigative reporter Poppy Parnell sets off a media firestorm with a mega-hit podcast that reopens the long-closed case of Josie’s father’s murder, Josie’s world begins to unravel. Meanwhile, the unexpected death of Josie’s long-absent mother forces her to return to her Midwestern hometown where she must confront the demons from her past—and the lies on which she has staked her future.

Bea's Thoughts:

What happens when the world you've built, based on a sandcastle of lies, starts to crumble around you? When your past, and the truth, surface and you can't stop it? What happens when you begin to question what you know, what you thought you knew?

Josie has a built  life on lies, a life where she left behind, for the most part, her family. But thanks to an ambitious podcaster, that past has reared up and come back to haunt her. The podcast reporter is investigating the murder of Josie's father, looking into the guilt or innocence of the person who was convicted. This of course upsets Josie and her remaining family members. Josie returns home to be with them and ends up digging into what really happened ten years ago, while also dealing with the fallout of her lies, and the death of her mother.

The use of social media in the story was well done and spot on for times we live in. Social media, even when well-intentioned, can be intrusive. And for those whose intentions are not necessarily good, but who want their fifteen minutes of fame and don't care who they hurt in the process? There's barely an end to the amount of damage they can do. In this case, the podcast served to both hurt and help the people involved. Initially it caused a lot of emotional harm to Josie and her family but it was also the catalyst for the details of what really happened to be discovered and for justice to finally be done.

Often, when I thought knew what was going to happen, I was wrong. The story was a mix of twists and predictability, mystery and family drama, and the pacing of the novel was slow, then fast. The book was slow to reel me in; I had a hard time warming up to Josie. There were times when I was completely exasperated with her, wanted to smack her, times I just didn't understand her behavior, and times I felt for her. I can't imagine going through what she did. She wasn't a bad person, though she lied big time to her partner Caleb. She could be cold, hard, and unforgiving at times but also was smart, determined, and, eventually, able to recognize her mistakes and apologize for them.
"Are You Sleeping" wasn't wonderful, with uneven pacing, erratic tension, and a character who was challenging to warm up to but it was an entertaining story.


  1. I really like the sound of this one and the focus on the damage that social media can do but the flaws also sound like they could dampen enjoyment. I don't mind a character I don't necessarily like in a thriller but I need the pacing and the tension to be good.

    1. It had a lot of potential but the writing just wasn't quite there.


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