Are You Sleeping
Serial meets Ruth Ware’s In A Dark, Dark Wood in this inventive and twisty psychological thriller about a megahit 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 lie…is the truth.Josie Buhrman has spent the last ten years trying to escape her family 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 megahit 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.

Are You Sleeping Details

TitleAre You Sleeping
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseMar 6th, 2018
PublisherGallery Books
ISBN-139781501157684
Rating
GenreMystery, Fiction, Thriller, Mystery Thriller, Suspense

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Are You Sleeping Review

  • Kaceey
    January 1, 1970
    An unscrupulous reporter, Poppy Parnell starts a podcast to reopen the murder case of Charles Buhrman and it quickly goes viral. His two daughters, Josie and twin sister Lanie haven’t spoken to each other since the day of the murder. A horrid event that sadly tore the family apart along the way. Now, years later, the recent death of their mother is bringing them back together. Can Josie let go of the past and reunite with her sister? Told from Josie’s perspective, as well as Poppies’ pod-casts a An unscrupulous reporter, Poppy Parnell starts a podcast to reopen the murder case of Charles Buhrman and it quickly goes viral. His two daughters, Josie and twin sister Lanie haven’t spoken to each other since the day of the murder. A horrid event that sadly tore the family apart along the way. Now, years later, the recent death of their mother is bringing them back together. Can Josie let go of the past and reunite with her sister? Told from Josie’s perspective, as well as Poppies’ pod-casts and the avalanche of tweets that followed. Then the ensuing crazed masses getting caught up in an internet witch-hunt. This book highlights how social media can influence people, creating a frenzy in whatever direction the curser is pointed. While this pseudo-power can be applied for good, or in many cases, for pure sensationalism at the expense of those the spotlight is on. This is a very quick and easy read that kept me guessing through most of the book. I did figure out the curve-ball before the end but still enjoyed getting there. I enjoyed the ride and would certainly recommend it. To me, this book would make a great light vacation/ beach....mountain getaway kind of read!A traveling sister read with Norma, Brenda and Lindsay!To find this review along with the other Traveling Sister Read reviews, please visit Brenda and Norma's fabulous blog at: http://www.twogirlslostinacouleereadi...Thank you to NetGalley, Gallery Books and Kathleen Barber for an advanced copy to read in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Susanne Strong
    January 1, 1970
    4 Stars.What happens when your past comes back to haunt you? In “Are You Sleeping” by Kathleen Barber, the main character, Josie Burhman finds out. And for her, it isn’t pretty. Josie has spent ten years hiding from her past, going so far as to legally change her name and traveling abroad aimlessly for five years before setting down roots in New York. But as we all know, you can’t escape your past for long. Josie’s father was murdered, thirteen years prior. Her mother, unable to cope, takes off 4 Stars.What happens when your past comes back to haunt you? In “Are You Sleeping” by Kathleen Barber, the main character, Josie Burhman finds out. And for her, it isn’t pretty. Josie has spent ten years hiding from her past, going so far as to legally change her name and traveling abroad aimlessly for five years before setting down roots in New York. But as we all know, you can’t escape your past for long. Josie’s father was murdered, thirteen years prior. Her mother, unable to cope, takes off for California, joining a cult, leaving Josie and her twin sister Lanie, in the care of her Aunt. Lanie loses it and strikes out at everyone she loves. And Josie? She leaves right after her High School graduation. Ten years later she is living a new life in New York with her boyfriend Caleb. The problem? He knows nothing of her past and Josie doesn’t want him to find out. Unfortunately for Josie, an investigative reporter creates a series of podcasts reopening the investigation into her father’s death, which coincides with her mother’s suicide. And then? All hell breaks loose, forcing Josie to go back home for the first time in ten years in order to confront her family and her past. In “Are You Sleeping” the author, Kathleen Barber, did a phenomenal job of keeping me on the edge of my seat. Every time I thought knew what was going to happen I was wrong. The pacing of the novel was quick, the storyline drew me in immediately and the characters were all consuming. The character of Josie gripped me and she wouldn’t let go. There were times when I was completely exasperated with her, yet I liked her a lot. And the character of Ellen, Josie’s cousin? Loved her. She made me laugh. A lot. I also liked the social media aspect of the story as it created a dynamic I am not familiar with. I found “Are You Sleeping” to be a suspenseful mystery that flowed fairly well and kept me interested throughout, thus if you are looking for a good mystery, this is it. Thank you to NetGalley, Gallery Books and Kathleen Barber for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.Published on NetGalley and Goodreads on 3/11/17.*Will be published on Amazon on 8/1/17.
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  • Meredith
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 starsAre You Sleeping is a predictable psychological thriller. In spite of this, it’s very readable...so much so that I found that I HAD to keep reading, even though I knew how things were going to play out. 10 years ago, Josie Borden nee Buhrman fled her small Illinois hometown to start a new life. She travels the world, changes her last name, and finally settles down with her boyfriend, Caleb, in Brooklyn. What’s she running from? 13 years ago, Josie’s father was murdered. Lanie, Josie’s t 3.5 starsAre You Sleeping is a predictable psychological thriller. In spite of this, it’s very readable...so much so that I found that I HAD to keep reading, even though I knew how things were going to play out. 10 years ago, Josie Borden nee Buhrman fled her small Illinois hometown to start a new life. She travels the world, changes her last name, and finally settles down with her boyfriend, Caleb, in Brooklyn. What’s she running from? 13 years ago, Josie’s father was murdered. Lanie, Josie’s twin sister, witnessed the murder and identified the killer. As a result of this tragic event, Josie’s mother joins a cult, Lanie becomes a drug addict, and Josie lives in a world of denial.Josie’s done her best to keep the past at bay, to the point where she even lied to Caleb about her family background. BUT she can’t hide anymore when the podcast Reconsidered starts investigating her father’s murder.Reconsidered ( ala Making a Murderer ) is hosted by Poppy Parnell, who is unrelenting in her efforts to cast doubt upon the man who was convicted of killing Josie’s father, Warren Cave. In order to sensationalize the podcast, she tears Josie’s family apart, and quetsions their integrity. Did Warren Cave really kill Josie’s father? Or is Poppy Parnell just trying to profit off of one family’s tragedy.Told through primarily Josie’s POV, but mixed with the podcast, articles about the murder, interviews, discussion threads on Reddit and Twitter, I really enjoyed the format of this book.Are You Sleeping is flawed (I'm too lazy to go into detail), but as I said above, I got sucked in. I received a copy of this book from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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  • karen
    January 1, 1970
    Reconsidered: The Chuck Buhrman Murder was splashed in bold red letters across a fuzzy black-and-white picture of my father. It was the headshot he had used for work, the one where he looked less like an actual college professor and more like a caricature of one, with his tweed jacket, crooked eyeglasses, and thick black beard. The faint twinkle in his eyes threatened to undo me.Daddy.this book is split pretty evenly between “family drama” and “mystery novel.” on the plus side, it is a compulsiv Reconsidered: The Chuck Buhrman Murder was splashed in bold red letters across a fuzzy black-and-white picture of my father. It was the headshot he had used for work, the one where he looked less like an actual college professor and more like a caricature of one, with his tweed jacket, crooked eyeglasses, and thick black beard. The faint twinkle in his eyes threatened to undo me.Daddy.this book is split pretty evenly between “family drama” and “mystery novel.” on the plus side, it is a compulsively readable book, which sounds like the bare minimum of praise, but it’s meant to reflect how quickly i read it (two days is not super quick, but considering the time i have available for reading, it’s quicker than i’ve been getting through many books), and the fact that i wanted to keep picking it up, even when i had more pressing things on my to-do list. and it was enjoyable, one of those summertime page-turners that keeps the mind distracted and entertained and invested in how it’s all gonna play out. on the minus side, it doesn’t have the most nuanced characters of all time, and it’s one of those books whose enjoyment is a bit diminished in the aftermath period, when the dust has settled, the thrill of the hunt has passed, and the summer school assignment begins - the dissection of the book’s craft for review purposes. quickplot review - josie borden is living an enviable life - she owns an apartment in brooklyn which she shares with her loving and supportive humanitarian boyfriend caleb, she works at a bookstore (which is enviable in theory), and she has spent years traveling the world in a carefree bohemian whirlwind. however, her rootlessness has, erm …roots in less-enviable circumstances - thirteen years earlier, when her name was josie buhrman and she lived in smalltown illinois, her beloved history professor father chuck was murdered in the family’s kitchen, a crime witnessed by her twin sister lanie, whose subsequent testimony landed a 17-year-old neighbor named warren cave in jail. chuck’s death caused their emotionally-fragile mother to break down completely, abandoning them with her sister amelia to join a cult in california. lanie became a burnout troublemaker while josie worked extra-hard to be the good kid, but after lanie betrayed her in the most egregious way, josie left town and cut all ties with her sister, changing her name and the story of her past so that even five years into her relationship with caleb, he thinks her parents both died in a car accident and that she is an only child. enter poppy parnell. poppy is a former true crime blogger who aspires to greater heights and she begins an investigative, and very addictive, podcast looking into the buhrman case, at the request of warren’s mother. it becomes popular enough that josie hears fellow subway commuters discussing it, and - even more tellingly - her reclusive mother learns about it after fans invade the cult’s compound, and she hangs herself shortly thereafter, causing josie to reluctantly return to her hometown for the funeral, where she is forced to confront family, friends, and the past, as well as all the lies she told caleb. this is all first-act foundation, so don’t come at me with spoiler pitchforks.from there, the book splits into two intertwined strands: the truth of what happened the night of the murder and a family story of mental illness, lies, betrayal, the inescapable weight of blood, and whether it is more merciful to forgive or to set someone free to start over. it’s a 3.5, rounded up - i’m willing to cut much slack with debuts, particularly with debuts that are bringing something unusual to the mix, which this one does in its structure - the narrative chunks are broken up by transcripts of a true crime podcast, and the reactions of listeners to the episodes on reddit threads. i never listened to serial, or any other podcast - i’m still unclear on how they work, but poppy’s is pretty horrifying - invasive, gossipy and unprofessional, and seeing its impact on a family who has endured so much trauma, and now treated to the blithe idiocy of its fans’ online commentary, is nauseating. which i mean in a good way, because this is the most interesting and original aspect of the book, and which puts me in a precarious position - being disgusted by these vultures who are treating a family tragedy as water-cooler entertainment while i am, myself, being entertained by a novel about a family tragedy makes me just as culpable as they are on the great wheel of voyeurism, although i am giving myself a pass because i’m not camping outside anyone’s house demanding they tell me their darkest secrets. it’s a solid debut that you won’t regret reading, even if the characters are a little one-note, and i look forward to seeing what she does next. ******************************************when it rains, it pours... after not winning a goodreads giveaway for seven whole months, i have suddenly won two in two months! of course, it's terrible timing, as i am completely swamped with books i have promised to read, but i so appreciate freebies that i will use my fastest reading-eyes to get to this one as soon as humanly possible.
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  • Linda
    January 1, 1970
    Perception.And how exactly do we arrive at our view of the world and all of its clingy entanglements?Is it purely ours to hold within or has it been tainted and smeared with the handprints of others?Kathleen Barber presents her story of Are You Sleeping through the lense of social media. Poppy Parnell, an investigative reporter, is resurrecting a murder case from 2002. It involves a beloved college professor from Elm Park College in Illinois. Although the murderer has been convicted and serving Perception.And how exactly do we arrive at our view of the world and all of its clingy entanglements?Is it purely ours to hold within or has it been tainted and smeared with the handprints of others?Kathleen Barber presents her story of Are You Sleeping through the lense of social media. Poppy Parnell, an investigative reporter, is resurrecting a murder case from 2002. It involves a beloved college professor from Elm Park College in Illinois. Although the murderer has been convicted and serving his sentence, Poppy feels that there is more to this story.Enter Josie Buhrman. Josie is the victim's daughter who has purposefully embraced the anonymous lifestyle of New York City. She's made no contact with her twin sister, Lanie, in over ten years. Lanie has made sure of that with quite the betrayal from years ago. Josie lives with her boyfriend, Caleb, who is presently working in the Congo. She met him while traipsing through Europe and Africa on her avoidance tour. But there's plenty of breadcrumbs left behind on this Josie trail. Poppy eventually locates Josie and pursues her with her relentless podcast. Josie has erected stone walls in the form of jagged lies in regard to Caleb. He has no idea about her backstory until this "orphan's" mother dies and she must return to Elm Park. The jig is up and it's time for Josie to face the music and the sister she left behind.Are You Sleeping had all the makings of quite the read. Kathleen Barber created a story lined with all the intrusiveness of social media into our lives topped off with the subjective nature of the human eye. What exactly is our own truth and how much of it is brushed with the strokes of other's verbal involvement? How easily are we swayed by another's words?I know that there are and will be much higher reviews for this one. The element of "time" did me in. Barber sets out a loop that has widened over the years in this novel. To cinch it back in was a cumbersome undertaking for the reader. Of all the gin mills in all the world, Poppy picks this one. The actions taking place in the finale were so contrived. The tension at this place point was not due to a surprise element, but it was more in question of how to get all the disjointed pieces back in the box. This is a debut novel for Ms. Barber. I'd like to take another spin around the block in her next one for sure. She has the makings of a successful author.I received a copy of Are You Sleeping through NetGalley for an honest review. My thanks to Gallery Books (Simon & Shuster) and to Kathleen Barber for the opportunity.
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  • Lindsay
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 stars! I enjoyed this suspenseful, gripping, page-turning debut psychological thriller!This story follows the main character, Josie, through the reassessment of her father’s murder case from thirteen years prior. Investigative reporter, Poppy Parnell, creates and releases six mega-hit podcasts titled “Reconsidered” that reexamine this murder trial. Through the podcasts, Parnell asks questions to uncover facts and theories which end up reopening the case that was ‘solved’ years ago. Was the c 3.5 stars! I enjoyed this suspenseful, gripping, page-turning debut psychological thriller!This story follows the main character, Josie, through the reassessment of her father’s murder case from thirteen years prior. Investigative reporter, Poppy Parnell, creates and releases six mega-hit podcasts titled “Reconsidered” that reexamine this murder trial. Through the podcasts, Parnell asks questions to uncover facts and theories which end up reopening the case that was ‘solved’ years ago. Was the convicted killer who has been sitting in prison since the trial actually innocent?I loved the format of this book and the way this story was presented. I liked reading from Josie’s perspective. The six podcasts along with several blog posts and interviews are included throughout the chapters. This provided a unique and refreshing reading perspective which I greatly enjoyed.I found myself glued to the pages for the majority of this engrossing story, however, the ending didn’t quite live up to the excitement of the rest of the book for me. It was still a good, satisfying ending, but not as excellent as the rest of the novel. Things seemed to wrap up a little too quick and neat for me.Overall, I enjoyed this fast-paced and creative story and would be very interested in reading more from this author! This was an impressive debut novel.To find this review along with the other Traveling Sister Read reviews, please visit Brenda and Norma's fabulous blog at:https://twogirlslostinacouleereading....A big thank you to NetGalley, Threshold Pocket Books and Kathleen Barber for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review!!
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  • Norma
    January 1, 1970
    Traveling Sisters Group Read with Brenda, Kaceey, & Lindsay!3.5 stars rounded up to 4 starsARE YOU SLEEPING by KATHLEEN BARBER is a clever, suspenseful, creative, and a somewhat predictable psychological thriller novel that was uniquely told with podcast excerpts and social media feeds which added a very interesting aspect to this storyline for me. The way that this story was told and the format of this book is what I found most enjoyable. KATHLEEN BARBER delivers a well-written and characte Traveling Sisters Group Read with Brenda, Kaceey, & Lindsay!3.5 stars rounded up to 4 starsARE YOU SLEEPING by KATHLEEN BARBER is a clever, suspenseful, creative, and a somewhat predictable psychological thriller novel that was uniquely told with podcast excerpts and social media feeds which added a very interesting aspect to this storyline for me. The way that this story was told and the format of this book is what I found most enjoyable. KATHLEEN BARBER delivers a well-written and character-driven novel here that takes us on a journey of solving the murder of Josie’s father from 13 years ago that has attracted the attention of the media. I really enjoyed Josie and Lainie’s characters. This isn’t particularly what I would call a fast-paced or gripping thriller but KATHLEEN BARBER wrote a very readable story here and I really enjoyed and found the dysfunction of the family quite interesting and it was hard to put down. Would recommend to anyone that likes a thriller on the lighter side with lots of betrayal, secrets, lies, and familial dynamics within the storyline.Thank you so much to NetGalley, the publisher and Kathleen Barber for the opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book in exchange for a review. All of our Traveling Sisters Reviews can be found on our sister blog:http://www.twogirlslostinacouleereadi...
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  • Brenda
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 starsI read this one along with my Traveling Sisters and enjoyed our short discussions. Time wasn’t really in our favour with this one and we mostly read it on our own. So for this review, I will focus on my thoughts.Are You Sleeping was a nice surprise for me and I really enjoyed the lighter side to this story yet a little chilling and unsettling at the same time. It’s a story with hidden family secrets and betrayals that has caught the attention of the media. I really enjoyed what I called 3.5 starsI read this one along with my Traveling Sisters and enjoyed our short discussions. Time wasn’t really in our favour with this one and we mostly read it on our own. So for this review, I will focus on my thoughts.Are You Sleeping was a nice surprise for me and I really enjoyed the lighter side to this story yet a little chilling and unsettling at the same time. It’s a story with hidden family secrets and betrayals that has caught the attention of the media. I really enjoyed what I called the Poppy Pods (podcasts) and liked that unique twist to the story. I thought Kathleen Barber gave us a good look into how the media and their audience can latch on and become obsessed with their views and how their reactions can affect a person. I could really see how that affected our main character Josie in this story and I could really feel for her.I had a love/hate relationship here with Josie and I have to say she was not my favorite twin sister in this story. I really felt more for her sister Lanie and I thought Josie was not the best sister either. Josie had me so angry at her at times and I really wanted to shout at her to change her behavior to her sister.Like Norma’s thoughts, I didn’t find this story gripping or fast-paced. I did enjoy the story and found it quite interesting. I recommend for an interesting lighter read.Thank you to NetGalley, Gallery Books and Kathleen Barber for the opportunity read and review this book.
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  • Taryn
    January 1, 1970
    It’s been thirteen years since Josie’s father was murdered and twelve years since his murderer was imprisoned. The tragedy destroyed the family. Josie hasn't talked to her mom or twin sister in over a decade. She thought she left all of that baggage in the past, but blogger/journalist Poppy Parnell is hosting a hit serial podcast that's bringing the closed case back into the public eye. Josie panics. She’s spent the last decade trying to forget that night and now everyone is talking about it. Sh It’s been thirteen years since Josie’s father was murdered and twelve years since his murderer was imprisoned. The tragedy destroyed the family. Josie hasn't talked to her mom or twin sister in over a decade. She thought she left all of that baggage in the past, but blogger/journalist Poppy Parnell is hosting a hit serial podcast that's bringing the closed case back into the public eye. Josie panics. She’s spent the last decade trying to forget that night and now everyone is talking about it. She changed her last name and hasn't even told her long-term boyfriend the truth about her family. As horrified as she is by the idea of the podcast, she can’t resist listening in. She begins to doubt her sister's story, losing the only closure she ever had. Could her sister have been mistaken, or even lying, about what she saw that night? Has an innocent man been in jail for the last twelve years?  Things get even worse for the Buhrman family when Josie’s mother dies shortly after the release of the second episode. The untimely death forces Josie to come out of hiding and confront the painful past she has been running away from. Will she finally have to face the sister who betrayed her? "The truth is never complicated. It’s just the truth. Circumstances may be complicated, but the truth is always black and white.” It's an addictive read, but not a memorable one. The non-generic cover reeled me in, but in the end it felt like many of the other thrillers I’ve read lately. These first-person narrators with dark pasts are all starting to sound the same: bland personalities & the obsessing over past events with increasing detail as the story goes on. However, I liked that Josie had to go back to her hometown and interact with her family again, so she wasn't completely isolated from other people. I loved her bossy but loyal cousin Ellen! The other problem was that I didn't have the sense of urgency that I like to feel when I read mysteries. No one seems to be threatened by outside danger and Josie isn't driven by finding the truth. In fact, she spends most of the story pushing away the one person who knows what happened.Some of my favorite parts of this book deal with social media. Josie experiences having the worst moments of her life viewed as entertainment. Her story forces us to witness the ramifications of viewing someone's tragedy as a guilty pleasure. Poppy claims she’s merely an objective party trying to ascertain the truth, but her sensationalist reporting leads to people harassing the family. Interspersed between the chapters are Reddit threads, Twitter discussions, Facebook threads, and podcast transcripts. The author nailed the back-and-forth between the armchair detectives! Everyone is certain their theory is the correct one. People with firsthand knowledge are eager to betray the family and share what they know with the masses for a tiny taste of fame or Internet points. The listeners create caricatures out of the Buhrmans and tend to analyze every clue in the least charitable way possible. For instance, Poppy and many of her fans assume that the Buhrman family's reluctance to talk means they're hiding something—but perhaps it just means they want to be left alone. “You have to take care of the people you love or you lose them.” What was the final breaking point between the sisters? What really happened the night of Chuck Buhrman’s death? Are You Sleeping? is a story about a family ripped apart by tragedy. One-by-one, the Buhrman women went their separate ways, taking on new identities to escape their emotional pain. Josie's mother joined a cult and her sister turned to drugs. Josie traveled the world and avoiding forming any attachments for as long as she good. Will anyone in this family ever be able to forgive themselves? Is there any chance for closure in this family's future? Hopefully, they'll be able to sort out the truth—preferably before Poppy Parnell broadcasts it to her five million listeners._______I received this book for free from Netgalley and Pan Macmillan. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. It will be available August 10, 2017.
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  • Mackey St
    January 1, 1970
    Are You Sleeping is part suspense, part thriller and a lot family drama all nicely rolled into one fabulously written book. While it is yet another TWIN drama filled with lies and deceit, the plot is unique and the addition of social media via podcasts make the story more interesting as well as more timely. Josie and Lanie are twins who survived the tragic murder of their father years before. Their mother, in the aftermath, ran off to join a cult! Now, a reporter with a podcast is re-examining t Are You Sleeping is part suspense, part thriller and a lot family drama all nicely rolled into one fabulously written book. While it is yet another TWIN drama filled with lies and deceit, the plot is unique and the addition of social media via podcasts make the story more interesting as well as more timely. Josie and Lanie are twins who survived the tragic murder of their father years before. Their mother, in the aftermath, ran off to join a cult! Now, a reporter with a podcast is re-examining the murder and questioning the guilt of the accused. In the process more secrets that have been buried come to light. Is there still a killer running loose? Do the twins know more than they are saying? The podcasts want to know!Barber has done a great job building suspense and developing her characters but it is her clever use of social media that make this book a must read!
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  • Zoe
    January 1, 1970
    Complex, creative, and satisfying!Are You Sleeping is a character-driven thriller that takes us on a journey to solve a 10-year-old murder while delving into the intricacies and psychological effects homicide, deception, and abandonment have on surviving family members.The writing is well done. The characters are scarred, leery, and emotionally distant. The plot has a good mix of mystery, intrigue, conflict, and drama. And the unconventional narration using true-crime podcasts and social media p Complex, creative, and satisfying!Are You Sleeping is a character-driven thriller that takes us on a journey to solve a 10-year-old murder while delving into the intricacies and psychological effects homicide, deception, and abandonment have on surviving family members.The writing is well done. The characters are scarred, leery, and emotionally distant. The plot has a good mix of mystery, intrigue, conflict, and drama. And the unconventional narration using true-crime podcasts and social media postings adds a unique touch.Are You Sleeping is ultimately a novel about familial dynamics, twinship, friendship, secrets, lies, murder and the power of media and although it isn't exceptionally fast-paced or unputdownable, it is certainly a strong debut for Barber.Thank you to Simon & Schuster Canada for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.All my reviews can be found on my blog at http://whatsbetterthanbooks.com
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  • Nazanin
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 Truth or Lie StarsWhen Josie and Lanie were 15, their father was killed. According to Lanie it was Warren (son of their neighbor). After that incident, Josie and Lanie’s relationship wasn’t like before. Lanie became the villain, unstable and drug user girl. Their mother had some issues but with these things everything became too much for her so she abandoned them and joined a cult without saying anything to them. After that Josie left home and start traveling abroad. Now twelve years after t 4.5 Truth or Lie StarsWhen Josie and Lanie were 15, their father was killed. According to Lanie it was Warren (son of their neighbor). After that incident, Josie and Lanie’s relationship wasn’t like before. Lanie became the villain, unstable and drug user girl. Their mother had some issues but with these things everything became too much for her so she abandoned them and joined a cult without saying anything to them. After that Josie left home and start traveling abroad. Now twelve years after the killing an investigative journalist started a podcast because she thinks this cause had some blind-spot. And with this podcast she changes their lives again but this time to clarify the truth!This story was well-written and the characters were well defined. I really enjoyed it. Of course my guess was wrong but if you follow the story more carefully, it’s not hard to guess right! It’s a page-turner and you don’t want to put it down. I really liked its writing. How it made us to recognize the truth out of lies and how it made us to doubts the characters. It’s an easy read and fast-paced one. Told in dual POV, 1st person. It’s a standalone novel. All in all, I enjoyed it and hope you like it as well!
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  • Laura
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 stars “I’d hoped it would all just blow over, but apparently America has an appetite for that brand of opportunistic, sensationalistic reimagining of the truth.” This one has an interesting concept. Amid the trend of true crime podcasts looking into crimes of the past whether unsolved or controversial where every key piece of evidence gets investigated with the hope of overturning a conviction by the end (think Serial), you’d think we’ve seen this done before. But you’re wrong.I was enlighte 3.5 stars “I’d hoped it would all just blow over, but apparently America has an appetite for that brand of opportunistic, sensationalistic reimagining of the truth.” This one has an interesting concept. Amid the trend of true crime podcasts looking into crimes of the past whether unsolved or controversial where every key piece of evidence gets investigated with the hope of overturning a conviction by the end (think Serial), you’d think we’ve seen this done before. But you’re wrong.I was enlightened to a perspective you don’t really think about even when getting so caught up in the hype and obsession of these podcasts. It’s unfortunate because the true victims left after one is murdered are those left behind. Do we think of what re-opening the gates to a “solved case” might do to the family members of the deceased who have worked hard to move past this dark chapter in their lives?Of course these podcasts teach us to think about the convicted. And if the convicted did not indeed commit the crime, then is it fair to leave him rotting in prison? Absolutely not. Are You Sleeping explores these ideas through the perspective of the murder victim’s daughter. Josie has worked hard to leave her past behind her. She changed her last name, hasn't spoken to her twin sister in ten years and in her five year relationship with Caleb..lied about her past entirely. And unfortunately for Josie, even though it has been thirteen years since her father was murdered and mother ran away to join a cult, a hit podcast is making the rounds only to bring all that she left behind right back to the surface. Equal parts family drama and mystery thriller, the story has more than enough to keep your interest. From the investigation into what really happened 13 years earlier by way of podcast to the dysfunction of Josie’s family following such a horrifying tragedy. The podcast chapters are interwoven throughout the narrative along with occasional tweets, newspaper articles and reddit threads of fans discussing the case.The crime itself was the murder of Chuck Buhrman whom the 17 year old neighbor Warren Cave was convicted of shooting point blank and is now serving a life sentence because of Josie’s twin sister Lanie’s witness testimony. My connection to my sister had been dulled over the years—first by drugs, then by distance—but my body insisted Lanie was calling out for me. I hadn't decided if I would answer. There is so much tension in the twin sisters’ relationship. They are estranged and their relationship is beyond complex with many layers hidden beneath the surface. This was one of the best aspects throughout the novel. It touches on the convoluted way one can be completely backstabbed by a family member yet still inexplicably will be there for one another when shit really goes down.I found the book to be quite thought-provoking and entertaining especially being a debut. I could have used some big twist at some point, but that’s just me loving a “mindfuck.” (side note: I tried to think of a more polite way to say this and “severe mind meddling” just doesn’t do the trick. Sorry.) If you’re more into a psychological look at a family being forced to confront a tragedy of their past, check this one out. If it’s the whodunnit aspect that intrigues you, there are better ones to read.
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  • Abby (Crime by the Book)
    January 1, 1970
    UPDATE: I recently did a Q&A with Kathleen about this book, and I just had to share it!! Her responses are fantastic. Read that here: http://crimebythebook.com/blog/2017/8...4.5/5 stars for this original & addictive read!! Read my full review here: http://crimebythebook.com/blog/2017/6...This book definitely isn't as dark as some of its peer psychological thrillers, but its originality & inventive storytelling make for a completely addictive read. A great summer thriller!!
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  • Kathryn
    January 1, 1970
    There’s an emerging literary trope in which an intelligent, but battled-scarred female protagonist with a tragic past, gets the hell outta dodge, but is inevitably forced back to her hometown to confront her demons. A spurned love interest, bitter ex-bestie, or pissed-off sibling are also generally thrown in for good measure. Off the top of my head I can think of two acclaimed works published in 2016, Kara Thomas’ The Darkest Corners and Megan Miranda’s All the Missing Girls, which fit this form There’s an emerging literary trope in which an intelligent, but battled-scarred female protagonist with a tragic past, gets the hell outta dodge, but is inevitably forced back to her hometown to confront her demons. A spurned love interest, bitter ex-bestie, or pissed-off sibling are also generally thrown in for good measure. Off the top of my head I can think of two acclaimed works published in 2016, Kara Thomas’ The Darkest Corners and Megan Miranda’s All the Missing Girls, which fit this format. Now Kathleen Barber is throwing her hat (or pen?) in the ring with her 2017 offering Are you Sleeping. Did Ms. Barber fare well compared to her most recent counterparts? In some regards yes and in others a resounding--NO. Josie, our main character, is this trope’s prototypical damaged lead. She’s escaped from small town Illinois and headed to Big City NYC in pursuit of an anonymous existence with her humanitarian boyfriend Caleb. Because y’all Josie’s father’s murder was a BIG DEAL. Like Nancy Grace BIG DEAL. But get this: Caleb has no clue because Josie NEVER TELLS HIM ABOUT IT. To hide her identity, years back Josie changed her last name and because she’s estranged from her twin sister (oh, and her mom’s in a cult….NBD) Caleb has remained blissfully ignorant. But more on the Caleb/Josie relationship later. Much more. Without warning, Josie’s father’s murder is forcibly pushed back into the spotlight by a hugely successful podcast, Reconsidered, seemingly inspired by Netflix’s docuseries, Making a Murderer. Similar to Making a Murderer, Reconsidered questions whether the man in jail for Josie’s father’s murder, Warren Cave, is the actual perpetrator. Now Josie’s carefully constructed life (of lies) is in a tailspin, old wounds are being ripped open and then comes THE PHONECALL. Her mother, who she hasn’t seen since she moved to Cali to drink kool-aid & worship the sun (literally), has committed suicide. So, as happens in these little ditties, Josie is obligated to return to the ole homestead. Kicking & screaming the entire way. The best parts of Are You Sleeping come when the focus remains on the family. Josie and her estranged twin Lanie’s interactions are fraught with tension and history, layers, and complexity, making those passages naturally compelling. “My connection to my sister had been dulled over the years--first by drugs, then by distance--but my body insisted Lanie was calling out for me. I hadn’t decided if I would answer.” Are You Sleeping, and Josie, are most interesting when they capture and explore the complexities of familial relationships. Exposing those gray areas and allowing them to remain that way. Unfortunately the grace and finesse with which Are You Sleeping handles familial relationships does not extend to those of the romantic variety. Josie and Caleb’s relationship made me want to scream. LOUDLY. For multiple reasons. Partly it’s that Caleb is a complete Mary Sue, or rather Marty Stu, which is embodied in gag-worthy quotes such as: “Caleb’s nurturing spirit was what had first attracted me to him. We had met in Zanzibar, where he was working with underprivileged schoolchildren.” Really? Nurturing Spirit? Working with Underprivileged children? AND he’s a humanitarian??? HARD EYEROLL. But that’s just the beginning of the ick….. Are You Sleeping uses Marty Stu Caleb to REPEATEDLY belittle and minimize Josie’s character: “Caleb’s patience and kindness captivated me immediately; what he saw in me, I never understood.” Now in a different story this might have been an opportunity for Josie’s arc to focus on evident self-esteem & co-dependency issues. But the narrative never gives it much focus (or any, really). Instead we get even MORE instances, like the one above, where Josie is demonized only to further sanctify CALEB OF THE NURTURING SPIRIT. BUT WAIT: the snowball of BAD keeps growing….Josie is purportedly a smart, independent, strong female lead. And she is. Except when she’s within a 10 foot radius of anyone with a penis. Then, she reverts to behavior more appropriate for that of a 15-year-old...or Anastasia Steele, reciting such cliched gems as: “you are the only thing that means anything to me in this entire world, and I would die if I lost you” and “you’re the best thing that’s ever happened to me, and I am not exaggerating in the slightest when I say that.” Not only are these passages ENORMOUSLY insulting to Josie’s character, they’re insulting to WOMEN in general. Josie’s in her early thirties FFS. What thirty-something talks like that??!! Especially when in the next chapter (or paragraph) she transforms back into an intelligent, self-sufficient, admirable character? It’s inconsistent characterization. And just….gross. As is the case in books featuring this particular trope, the whodunnit in and of itself, is really secondary. Yeah, it’s there but it’s very much not a big deal. The plot’s heavy on the psychological, lighter on the mystery. So yeah….there were seeds of a great story here and some segments were enjoyable. Others…..not so much. Characterization is clearly an issue, as well as subtlety. Josie’s mother is described as “ethereal” about 50 times. So much so that I half expected the woman to transform into a damn fairy by book’s end. Like we get it. Enough. All that said, Kathleen Barber shows promise and I wouldn’t discount her in the future.Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Jenni Walsh
    January 1, 1970
    Talk about an addicting, compulsively-readable book. The author truly kept me needing to know what was going to happen next, with a captivating format that includes the transcripts, commentary, and social media of an investigative reporter (a la the Serial aspect of the story), coupled with the first-person narrative of Josie Buhrman, the daughter of the murdered man featured in the podcasts. Josie's storyline was immersive, fully developed, and she portrayed a like-able voice in which I was dyi Talk about an addicting, compulsively-readable book. The author truly kept me needing to know what was going to happen next, with a captivating format that includes the transcripts, commentary, and social media of an investigative reporter (a la the Serial aspect of the story), coupled with the first-person narrative of Josie Buhrman, the daughter of the murdered man featured in the podcasts. Josie's storyline was immersive, fully developed, and​ she portrayed a​ like-able voice in which I was dying for a happy ending. Did I get one, you'll have to read to see. A book I'd recommend to all the thriller fans out there.
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  • Fareya
    January 1, 1970
    "The truth is never complicated. It's just the truth.Circumstances may be complicated, but the truth is always black and white."Are You Sleeping by Kathleen Barber is an engrossing psychological thriller with innovative storytelling and a compelling plot. It is a classic whodunit, but with the twist of modern day elements such as podcast transcripts, reddit threads and twitter feeds. I wouldn't place it under the dark and horrifying category of thrillers as there is minimal bloodshed and vey lit "The truth is never complicated. It's just the truth.Circumstances may be complicated, but the truth is always black and white."Are You Sleeping by Kathleen Barber is an engrossing psychological thriller with innovative storytelling and a compelling plot. It is a classic whodunit, but with the twist of modern day elements such as podcast transcripts, reddit threads and twitter feeds. I wouldn't place it under the dark and horrifying category of thrillers as there is minimal bloodshed and vey little violence but rather call it an engaging and highly addicting story. What can a person do if the past they've been trying to escape for more than a decade comes haunting back, and to make things worse its public knowledge and a trending topic. Josie Burhman is caught up in this hell.Thirteen years earlier Josie's father got murdered. Unable to handle the grief, her mother joined a cult halfway across the country, leaving Josie and her twin sister Lanie in their Aunt's care. Lanie finds solace in drugs and Josie takes the path of denial. Right after high-school, she leaves her hometown and changes her name. After wandering the world for five years, she finally settles in New York with a steady job and a loving boyfriend Caleb, who is entirely unaware of her past. Josie's world comes crashing down when an investigative journalist Poppy Parnell starts digging into her father's murder in a true crime podcast called "Reconsidered". Now, everyone everywhere is talking about this podcast and Josie feels trapped in her own past."The only thing more dangerous than a lie...is the truth."As I mentioned earlier, I really liked the way this book is written. In addition to the first person narration by Josie, there are occasional twitter snippets, reddit threads and podcast transcripts which gives the story a slightly different take. Additionally, there are a bunch of armchair-detectives, eager to put forward their theory, a set of people exchanging irrelevant information about the family in question and a lot of online action that goes around along with the podcast, all of which is contrasted against the pain and privacy breach of the victim's family. We get a first person perspective on how distressing it can be when complete strangers are trying to analyze and tear apart a family's tragedy. Kathleen Barber has cleverly woven a story around a murder, family drama, layers of pretenses, lies, betrayals and also seamlessly interlaced the theatrics of a crime re-examining podcast and an obnoxious, trouble-causing reporter. All in all an excellent summer suspense read. **Thank You Gallery Books for providing me with a copy of this**
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  • Barbara
    January 1, 1970
    Josie Buhrman's father was shot and killed 13 years ago, and Warren Cave - the goth teenage boy next door - was convicted of the crime. Afterwards, Josie's already troubled mother fell apart, and ran off to join a cult. To top things off, Josie's rebellious twin sister, Lanie, betrayed her in a very hurtful way. So at 18, Josie left a goodbye note for her beloved Aunt Amelia - with whom she'd been living - and left Elm Park, Illinois. Josie backpacked and hitchhiked around the world, supported h Josie Buhrman's father was shot and killed 13 years ago, and Warren Cave - the goth teenage boy next door - was convicted of the crime. Afterwards, Josie's already troubled mother fell apart, and ran off to join a cult. To top things off, Josie's rebellious twin sister, Lanie, betrayed her in a very hurtful way. So at 18, Josie left a goodbye note for her beloved Aunt Amelia - with whom she'd been living - and left Elm Park, Illinois. Josie backpacked and hitchhiked around the world, supported herself with low-paying food service jobs, and invented a fake history to tell new acquaintances. After years of roaming Josie met Caleb, a handsome international aid worker from New Zealand. They fell in love and eventually settled in New York, where Josie got a good job in a bookstore. Josie never told Caleb the truth about her past, which is about to come back and bite her in the butt.A reporter named Poppy Parnell is making a podcast about the murder of Josie's dad, Chuck Buhrman. Furthermore, Parnell is questioning Warren Cave's guilt and looking at possible alternative suspects. The re-opening of the case generates a lot of interest among the general public, who proceed to talk and post comments about the case and everyone connected with it.Josie is terribly anxious about Parnell's podcast, which reminds her of painful events. Additonally, the idea that Warren Cave might be innocent is anathema to her. After all, Josie's sister Lanie said she SAW Warren shoot her father. Who else could have committed the crime? Podcast groupies are ready with lots of suggestions, including Josie's mother, Warren's mother, Lanie, and others. The podcast and the renewed publicity is apparently too much for Josie's mother, who commits suicide. As a result, Josie has to return to Elm Park, where she'll attend her mother's funeral, comfort her Aunt Amelia, and see her estranged sister Lanie. Caleb thinks Josie's mother is long dead, so she tells him it's her aunt's funeral, and convinces him to stay behind in New York.Being back in Elm Park is very stressful for Josie. She's still furious with her sister; her cousin Ellen, a fashionista, is critical of her appearance; the viewing and funeral are difficult; and Caleb shows up and learns that Josie is big liar. Moreover, Poppy Parnell keeps trying to corner Josie, to get an interview for the podcast.The story is told as a narrative interspersed with excerpts from the podcast, plus Tweets, Reddit threads, and comments from the public. This style works well for the book, and some of the 'messages' are very entertaining. (Sadly, it's a realistic portrayal of how insensitive people can be on social media.)The basic plot - is Warren guilty? If not, who is? - is compelling. The main characters, though, are somewhat unsympathetic and/or unrealistic.Josie, for one, is an irritating protagonist. She's whiny, overly emotional, and even after 10 years can't get past Lanie's 'betrayal' which - after all - wasn't that earth shattering. And Josie does some business with her hair - she has her luxuriant black tresses chopped into a bad pixie cut and dyed platinum.....then gets it fixed - which seems pointless. Also, in real life, men aren't as understanding or forgiving as Caleb.As for Lanie, some of her obnoxious behavior as a teen - hanging with a bad crowd; using drugs; not showering; wearing dirty clothes; and so on - is understandable in the circumstances. However, one of Lanie's actions is a serious crime, and there are no appropriate consequences. I wondered what her family was thinking!In a way Poppy Parnell is the most authentic character in the book. She's irritating but behaves like a real journalist - chasing people for comments; saying outrageous things for publicity; not caring about the harm she's doing to the families; and so on. By the end of the book the truth about Chuck Buhrman's death emerges, which some readers may suss out long before the characters do. Overall, this is an okay book that shows how 'true crime' stories can devastate the families involved.Thanks to Netgalley, the author, and the publisher for a copy of the book.You can follow my reviews at http://reviewsbybarbsaffer.blogspot.com/
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  • j e w e l s [Books Bejeweled]
    January 1, 1970
    You can find more twisted plot reviews at https://booksbejeweled.comJosie's father was murdered by a teenage neighbor ten years ago, when she was still a girl. The killer was sent to prison and Josie's family fell apart. Her mother, an emotional wreck, up and left Josie and her twin sister, Lanie, to join a cult in Northern California. She never saw or spoke to her daughters again. Josie and Lanie, the twins, are left to live their teenage years with their Aunt Amelia and cousin Ellen. Lanie was You can find more twisted plot reviews at https://booksbejeweled.comJosie's father was murdered by a teenage neighbor ten years ago, when she was still a girl. The killer was sent to prison and Josie's family fell apart. Her mother, an emotional wreck, up and left Josie and her twin sister, Lanie, to join a cult in Northern California. She never saw or spoke to her daughters again. Josie and Lanie, the twins, are left to live their teenage years with their Aunt Amelia and cousin Ellen. Lanie was the single eyewitness to the murder, the reason the killer was caught and sentenced to life. She was also the more rebellious of the two girls and she ends up on a dangerous path of truancy, drugs and law-breaking. In a fit of anger, she yells at Josie to just go away and leave her alone. Josie did go away. She changed her last name. She backpacked the world and met a wonderful guy, Caleb. They settled in Brooklyn and she never explained her horrific family history or even that she had a twin sister. It was all too painful for her and she wanted to keep Caleb free from the drama of her past. Along comes the 21st century journalistic phenomenon: the true crime podcast. And guess what crime Poppy Parnell, the perky blogger, wants to dig up and examine with a fine tooth comb? Yep, the murder of Josie's dad. Josie is absolutely terror-stricken to hear people on the subway and in grocery stores discussing the podcast, her personal life horror show openly tweeted about by complete strangers. It seems like everyone is obsessed with Reconsidered- the podcast. Was the wrong man convicted? There are witnesses that place the teenage killer at a park miles away from the crime. He didn't have a weapon. When Josie's mother hangs herself during the height of the podcast mania, Josie finds herself having to face all the lies she has told Caleb and all the details of her past. She must reconnect with her twin sister, Lanie, and ask her once and for all about the night of the murder. Was Lanie honest about that night?The story is fast-moving and suspenseful. I love the podcast element to this book (Ask me about UP AND VANISHED, please!). There is a whole sub-theme about public shaming on social media. I do wish the plot had been a bit twistier and even darker. It's borderline, dare I say it... Predictable. But not boring. The characters are very real and fleshed out. I absolutely love Josie's cousin, Ellen, she is hilarious. ARE YOU SLEEPING reminds me very much of THE LUCKIEST GIRL ALIVE and RECONSTRUCTING AMELIA. If you liked those books, you will love this one.
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  • AnisaAnne
    January 1, 1970
    What are the stories we tell ourselves?A podcast about the Charles Buhrman murder of 2002 is about to reopen old wounds for daughter Josie and possibly create new ones. Living in a protective box, Josie has managed to piece together a new life in the Big Apple with Caleb. But the past's reach is not far Journalist Poppy Parnell's clutch. Poppy seeks unanswered questions about Josie's fathers untimely death. Is Warren Cave the man convicted of Buhrman's murder the actual assailant or was a lie to What are the stories we tell ourselves?A podcast about the Charles Buhrman murder of 2002 is about to reopen old wounds for daughter Josie and possibly create new ones. Living in a protective box, Josie has managed to piece together a new life in the Big Apple with Caleb. But the past's reach is not far Journalist Poppy Parnell's clutch. Poppy seeks unanswered questions about Josie's fathers untimely death. Is Warren Cave the man convicted of Buhrman's murder the actual assailant or was a lie told? Josie is forced to confront her many secrets and the buried truth in a family's dark closet.From the transcript of "Revisited" to the opening scene, an emotional charge is created like the atmosphere before an electrical storm. Immediately the lies start unfolding. The narrative flows freely and the plot twists seamlessly. Josie character is well developed and relatable. As Josie's world starts to be revealed we slowly start to see a women become undone. Poppy Parnell’s is completely unlikable and portrayed as a villainous reporter who will overstep any boundary to achieve her goal. The story occurs in the setting of social media which make you pause at the impact of the words cast freely out into the universe. A fantastic read for the summer! Highly recommend this well written suspenseful novel.Thank you Netgalley and Pan Macmillan for the ARC in exchange for my honest review.
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  • Liz Barnsley
    January 1, 1970
    I loved "Are you Sleeping" which again has two very different sisters at the heart of it and reminded me just a little of the brilliant "Six Stories" which I also loved recently - but I think that was just the podcast aspects which really do work well in telling the wider story.In "Are you Sleeping" a new podcast re-examining an old murder opens up old wounds for an already fractured family. Taking in themes of memory, sibling relationships and traumatic past events, Kathleen Barber weaves a ten I loved "Are you Sleeping" which again has two very different sisters at the heart of it and reminded me just a little of the brilliant "Six Stories" which I also loved recently - but I think that was just the podcast aspects which really do work well in telling the wider story.In "Are you Sleeping" a new podcast re-examining an old murder opens up old wounds for an already fractured family. Taking in themes of memory, sibling relationships and traumatic past events, Kathleen Barber weaves a tense, atmospheric and genuinely fascinating tale of a family dynamic gone horribly wrong and the possible miscarriage of justice this has caused. The mystery elements are well woven and clever, the story twists its way to a rather heartbreaking ultimate solution and it is utterly gripping from first page to last.I was completely engaged with the ebb and flow of the relationship between twins Laine and Jo -both of whom had very different reactions to events around them - estranged but trying to find a way to come back together under extraordinarily trying circumstances, I loved how the author managed the dynamic between them both in their similar and dissimilar qualities. Added to that the ever changing path to the final truth of the matter encompassing loss, parental influence and how our perceptions change with life experience, this was a completely wonderful read featuring some very memorable characters.Highly Recommended.
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  • Kristy
    January 1, 1970
    Josie Buhrman's father, Chuck, was shot in the head in their family home when Josie and her twin sister, Lanie, were teens. Their seventeen-year-old next-door neighbor, Warren Cave, was convicted of the crime, based mainly on Lanie's testimony that she saw Warren shoot her father. Now, twelve years later, Chuck's case is being featured on a new podcast, called RECONSIDERED (think SERIAL), featuring crime reporter Poppy Parnell. Poppy has unearthed the case at the behest of Warren's mother, Melan Josie Buhrman's father, Chuck, was shot in the head in their family home when Josie and her twin sister, Lanie, were teens. Their seventeen-year-old next-door neighbor, Warren Cave, was convicted of the crime, based mainly on Lanie's testimony that she saw Warren shoot her father. Now, twelve years later, Chuck's case is being featured on a new podcast, called RECONSIDERED (think SERIAL), featuring crime reporter Poppy Parnell. Poppy has unearthed the case at the behest of Warren's mother, Melanie, who claims he's innocent. Suddenly, everyone in America is talking about the Buhrman family. For Josie--who has changed her last name and fled her home state of Illinois--this is particularly disturbing, since she's never told her boyfriend, Caleb, about her family. Josie and Lanie are estranged, their mother lives in a cult in California, and she only has sporadic contact with her family through her Aunt A and cousin Ellen. However, when Ellen calls with the news that Josie's mom has passed away, she realizes she needs to return to Illinois and face her demons. And the fact that perhaps Warren isn't her father's killer. This was a compelling first novel that definitely kept me reading. It offers an interesting commentary on our society's focus on these sorts of "lurid" family crimes and the media formats in which we rapidly digest them. However, as the novel points out, society gets sucked into true crime shows without realizing the impact the focus may have on those associated with said crime. For Josie, Lanie, and the entire Burhman family, RECONSIDERED roars through their life like a freight train. The novel features excerpts from the podcast itself, which is an incredibly effective format--interspersing the chapters with the podcast excerpts, reddit threads, and Twitter feed is powerful and really builds suspense. Further, Josie tells the story in the present, but often remembers back to the past, only adding to the tension. For a while, thanks to the format and storyline, I thought this would be a 4-star for sure. I did not enjoy, however, how the book relies on one of my least favorite devices (well-known to those who read my reviews frequently): a relationship or plot built on shaky lies. So much of Josie and Caleb's relationship is just so, and it drove me crazy; it just seemed ridiculous that she wouldn't tell him the truth, and I was so frustrated. So, there's that. The plot also felt vaguely familiar at times--maybe I'm just reading too many thrillers anymore. But the whole blame the kid with a satanic background for a crime, sisters fighting too much over silly things--that all felt a bit done. Also, Lanie and Josie's fighting and drama was a tad much for me at times. In the end, this one wasn't a shocker, but it was certainly compelling. It kept me reading the entire time: it's captivating and disturbing. I loved the format of the book, and I'm impressed that this is Barber's first--I look forward to her next novel. 3.5 stars. I received a copy of this novel from the publisher and Netgalley (thank you!); it is available everywhere as of 08/01/2017. Blog ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Google+ ~ Instagram
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  • Monnie
    January 1, 1970
    In the end, I enjoyed this book - but it was the plot, not the characters, that turned the tide. For much of the first half, all I did was mutter to myself how much I detested main character Josie Buhrman (and to a slightly lesser extent, her twin sister Lanie). The latter sister struck me as the "evil" twin, just as apparently she did to the characters in the book who knew her. Josie was another story; she spent most of her time berating other people for their lying ways when she was arguably t In the end, I enjoyed this book - but it was the plot, not the characters, that turned the tide. For much of the first half, all I did was mutter to myself how much I detested main character Josie Buhrman (and to a slightly lesser extent, her twin sister Lanie). The latter sister struck me as the "evil" twin, just as apparently she did to the characters in the book who knew her. Josie was another story; she spent most of her time berating other people for their lying ways when she was arguably the biggest liar of them all.To be fair, the now-estranged Josie and Lanie had it tough growing up. Their mother had some kind of mental illness, their father was murdered 13 years earlier, and not long thereafter, the mother ran off to join a hippy-dippy cult. If there was a saving grace, it was that their father's killer was caught and convicted - identified by Lanie, who claimed to have seen him do the dastardly deed. Throughout his years in jail, though, he's insisted that he's innocent.Not long after their mother abandoned them, Josie left home, ending up in New York with her partner, Caleb, and zero intentions of ever going back to visit once-treasured relatives. But then, a self-described "investigative" reporter named Poppy Parnell reveals a podcast which she claims will shed new light on the twins' father's murder. Was a man wrongly convicted? Did Lanie, who changed her original story that she'd seen nothing, lie on the witness stand? And if those things are true, who is the real murderer and what was the motivation?The podcast, downloaded by thousands including Josie, opens up old family wounds - especially, it seems, for the twins' mother; not long after the first one appears, she is found dead on the cult's property, clearly a suicide. Now, Josie feels compelled to return home for the funeral of the mother she loved, hoping to avoid interaction with anyone else. She also doesn't want to interact with Caleb, who's ready and willing to accompany her. Why? Simply because everything she's told him about herself is a big fat lie, including her last name - which she changed to rid herself of the stigmas of her past and live in relative anominity.Although she was given ample opportunity and good reason to 'fess up, Josie refuses to come clean - reasoning that her beloved Caleb just wouldn't understand and would exit stage left. Instead, she manages to convince him to stay put while she heads home alone. If I didn't already dislike her, that sealed the deal for sure.From then on, much of the story focuses on Josie's encounters with family members, most notably her sister, interspersed with text of the podcasts and readers' reactions as they are released. As tensions begin to heat up, Josie gets a surprise visitor; and from that time forward, the story starts to move quickly, capturing my attention to the somewhat-of-a-twist ending.My conclusion? If you can stand neurotic, sometimes totally unhinged females, this is a very good, intriguing book with a plot that's a bit different (and thus welcome, especially given all the recent books featuring neurotic females). Many thanks to the publisher, via NetGalley, for providing me with an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Bam
    January 1, 1970
    *3.5 stars. In October, 2002, in suburban Elm Park, IL, Chuck Buhrman is shot in the back of the head in his own kitchen. The seventeen-year-old neighbor boy, Warren Cave, is convicted of the crime and sentenced to life in prison. Buhrman's daughter, Lanie, is the one who gives the evidence that convicts him, testifying that she actually saw him pull the trigger. Now thirteen years later, Poppy Parnell, a radio personality who hosts an expose podcast called 'Reconsidered,' is looking into whethe *3.5 stars. In October, 2002, in suburban Elm Park, IL, Chuck Buhrman is shot in the back of the head in his own kitchen. The seventeen-year-old neighbor boy, Warren Cave, is convicted of the crime and sentenced to life in prison. Buhrman's daughter, Lanie, is the one who gives the evidence that convicts him, testifying that she actually saw him pull the trigger. Now thirteen years later, Poppy Parnell, a radio personality who hosts an expose podcast called 'Reconsidered,' is looking into whether Warren Cave was wrongly convicted. In New York City, Josie, Lanie's long-estranged twin sister, overhears chatter about the podcast on the train and nearly passes out. She has spent over a decade creating a new life for herself, even changing her name. She has told her live-in boyfriend Caleb a complete fabric of lies about her past. He thinks both of her parents died in a car crash and she has no siblings. In reality, her mother deserted her two daughters shortly after the murder of her husband and joined a weird cult. They were then raised by their Aunt Amelia with her daughter, Ellen. Lanie went a little wild, ran with a tough crowd, and got into drugs. But the action that caused the split with her sister came when she slept with Josie's boyfriend, Adam. Josie packed a bag and left, backpacking through Europe and Africa for a few years, until she met Caleb and finally settled down. Will Josie have to confess her lies to Caleb if she is identified as one of the Buhrman daughters? Josie is in a near panic, but then Ellen calls to tell her that Erin Buhrman, the twin's mother, has committed suicide. Was the podcast a contributing factor? Josie has to go back to Illinois for the funeral but tells Caleb one more lie--that it is Aunt Amelia who has died. When will this complicated web of lies fall apart? And will Caleb still love her when he knows the truth? How can she face her sister again? Was Lanie telling the truth so many years ago...or was it yet another one of her lies? "The truth will set you free." Or will it destroy everything?Told from Josie's first person point of view, we find that she is not always a reliable narrator. And interspersed with her accounts are the transcripts from Poppy Parnell's podcasts and reactions from the public in the form of tweets, emails, phone calls, Reddit posts, which are sometimes pretty wacky. Although this debut thriller has lots of interesting elements--death, betrayal, lies, estrangement, family dysfunction--I had mixed feelings about it. I think the writer definitely shows talent but I found myself losing patience with the story, thought the pace dragged (especially after I figured out who the killer was) and I didn't always find the characters believable. But I'd be interested to read more from this promising author in the future. Thanks to NetGalley, the publisher and author for the opportunity to read an arc of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Brandie
    January 1, 1970
    I really enjoyed this, even though it felt like it took me forever to finish. It's a slower read - no real big reveals and not a fast-paced suspense by any means. There's a lot of character development, and it was good for the story. I loved the sinister, creepy feeling throughout the book and that it kept me guessing and on edge. I pretty much figured it out by the end and felt it was a little anticlimactic. I think the ending was a little abrupt and there could've been a bit more closure/answe I really enjoyed this, even though it felt like it took me forever to finish. It's a slower read - no real big reveals and not a fast-paced suspense by any means. There's a lot of character development, and it was good for the story. I loved the sinister, creepy feeling throughout the book and that it kept me guessing and on edge. I pretty much figured it out by the end and felt it was a little anticlimactic. I think the ending was a little abrupt and there could've been a bit more closure/answers. Overall a very good psychological thriller with superb writing by a new-to-me author.
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  • Sarah
    January 1, 1970
    You can find all of our reviews at https://reallyintothis.com/Happy Reading, friends!I was Really Into This book, my friends. I finished it a while back & have been thinking of the best way to review it because there are so many things I enjoyed.First off, the idea of a podcast looking into a murder is perfectly timed. Everyone I know was crazy about Serial & Jessica & I were totally hooked on S-Town, which has a similar premise. The main character, Josie, hears that a podcast is loo You can find all of our reviews at https://reallyintothis.com/Happy Reading, friends!I was Really Into This book, my friends. I finished it a while back & have been thinking of the best way to review it because there are so many things I enjoyed.First off, the idea of a podcast looking into a murder is perfectly timed. Everyone I know was crazy about Serial & Jessica & I were totally hooked on S-Town, which has a similar premise. The main character, Josie, hears that a podcast is looking into her father’s murder & re-examining what Really happened & it throws her for a loop. She has spent the last several years running from her family’s complicated history by changing her last name & traveling around the world. Even her live-in boyfriend doesn’t know the truth about her family.Of course, this is no ordinary murder case. Her twin sister, Lanie, supposedly witnessed the murder & placed their young neighbor as the culprit. He was sent to prison & has always maintained his innocence. After losing their father, their mother ran away and joined a cult and left the twins without parents. Instead of turning towards one another for support, these events placed a wedge between the sisters that is still present years later when they get word their mother has died.Kathleen does a heck of a job depicting the anxiety & stress that is place on Josie by forcing her to face what she has spent years running from – her family and its sordid history. The novel is ripe with suspense, family secrets, misplaced trust & a longing for closure & understanding. At the heart of the story are the questions of what Really happened that night? What did Lanie actually see? Can Lanie or Josie be trusted? Why did their mother leave them?This is one of my favorite books of 2017 & y’all know I am Really Into mysteries. Something about this family & these characters are so relatable. I am a 48 Hours love & reading this book from the view of the family changed my perception of how some of these murder stories can be exploited and/or open deep family wounds. Overall, this was an intriguing & satisfying read & I can’t wait to see what Kathleen does next. I am Really Into This!Special thanks to Kathleen Barber, Gallery Books & NetGalley for providing our copy in exchange for an honest & fair review.
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  • Cynde Reid
    January 1, 1970
    I was lucky enough to get an advance copy from Netgalley for my fair and honest review. I loved this book. I couldn't stop reading. The author seamlessly integrated modern elements without it feeling forced. I liked the characters and and story was interesting from beginning to end.
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  • Malia
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 starsIf you enjoyed (maybe the wrong word?) podcasts like Serial or S-Town, this book might appeal to you. The story follows a young woman, Josie, whose life gets disrupted when a podcast about her family's tragic history becomes a sensation. The premise sounded really intriguing and it started off quite well, but I did feel it lost momentum after some time, and became a bit repetitive and rather predictable. That being said, it was an easy read and well-written. I would read more by this au 3.5 starsIf you enjoyed (maybe the wrong word?) podcasts like Serial or S-Town, this book might appeal to you. The story follows a young woman, Josie, whose life gets disrupted when a podcast about her family's tragic history becomes a sensation. The premise sounded really intriguing and it started off quite well, but I did feel it lost momentum after some time, and became a bit repetitive and rather predictable. That being said, it was an easy read and well-written. I would read more by this author in the future.Find more reviews and bookish fun at http://www.princessandpen.com
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  • Erin *Help I’m Reading and I Can’t Get Up*
    January 1, 1970
    I read this thing in one buck wild sitting. I totally guessed the murderer (which you know I LOVE).I really dug the relationships. I wasn't super into the kiiiinda surface-level handling of addiction, mental health, and religious issues.I found the first half way better than the second half. 4 stars! I liked it!
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  • Lee
    January 1, 1970
    This psychological thriller starts off slowly but as the story moves forward I became immersed in what was happening. Josie and her twin sister Lanie have been estranged for many years. The book focuses on family dynamics, their father was murdered and their mother joined a cult, not the basis for a great childhood. Due to this, Josie who was betrayed by Lanie, creates her own life story that is not reality but one that she feels she needs to invent to move forward, even her husband is not aware This psychological thriller starts off slowly but as the story moves forward I became immersed in what was happening. Josie and her twin sister Lanie have been estranged for many years. The book focuses on family dynamics, their father was murdered and their mother joined a cult, not the basis for a great childhood. Due to this, Josie who was betrayed by Lanie, creates her own life story that is not reality but one that she feels she needs to invent to move forward, even her husband is not aware of her past and there are many lies being told. Soon Josie and Lanie's lives will be thrust into the media with an investigative journalist probing their backgrounds and digging into their past. A story full of suspence that will get you in and keep you entertained throughout. Thank you to Netgalley, the author and publisher for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
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