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Ratings and Book Reviews (13 42 star ratings
13 reviews
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4.4 out of 5
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  • Fantastic!

    Wowser! This was a fast mover. I literally read ‘The Stepdaughter’ in two sittings and don’t know where today went. When something begins with a bang, in this case a missing teen, I have to keep reading. Mia was missing and I had to know how and why. I think I suspected just about everyone at some point. I loved Vanessa’s character and felt myself totally rooting for her. I felt the awkwardness of her position. The tension between the rest of the cast was so cleverly written, building to a shocking crescendo. As for the writing, it took me on a speedy journey and I barely noticed the words on the page. It was brilliantly structured, just revealing what the reader needed to know at the right time. I had such a clear image of the garden, the street, and Vanessa’s home. I also have to give a special mention to Charlotte’s character - she was adorable. I’d definitely recommend this book to fast-paced psychological thriller lovers. It’s not one to be missed. Be prepared to lose time once you start reading!

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    3 person found this review helpful

    3 people found this review helpful

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • I was kept guessing!

    A replacement wife. That is pretty much what Vanessa feels like, even five years after marrying Tripp Tanner. Tripp is a widower who had lost his wife two years before they met. A year or so later Tripp and Vanessa married. When Tripp met Vanessa, his daughter Mia was seven years old. Was he moving too fast when they began dating? Mia never fully adjusted to the loss of her mother. When Tripp and Vanessa decided to marry, in a rather casual manner, Tripp discusses Mia's needs. He wants a stay-at-home wife, someone who will be there for Mia's every needs. Tripp is a busy attorney who works way too many hours. He gently encourages Vanessa to quit her job to care for Mia. Despite the fact that she is a well-respected career woman, she reluctantly agrees, much to the dismay of her best friend Janie. Actually, Janie saw red flags from the very beginning. Not so for Vanessa. She fell head over heels for Tripp, and vowed to be the best stepmother possible. Mia was an elite swimmer, although thirteen years of age by this time in the story, clearly destined for the Olympics. One day after school she goes outside to practice in the pool, and before Vanessa can realize it, Mia has disappeared. She was in a swimsuit. Her towel is still folded on a chair. Where could she have gone? Meanwhile, her neighbor Julia's home goes up in flames. Distracted by what is becoming a devastating fire, Vanessa doesn't check on Mia for what couldn't be more than a few minutes. Was she careless, neglectful even? With Mia's age, and the fact that she was a champion swimmer, a few minutes unsupervised in the pool should have never become an issue. However, because Mia is gone, it most certainly is a huge issue. The police ask a lot of questions and multiple search teams are employed. Where is Mia? Did she go off on her own accord, or was she taken? How could she be there one minute, and gone the next? Vanessa is beside herself. She considers her relationship with Mia. With Tripp. Was Mia unhappy enough to have run away? Julia, the next door neighbor, is sitting with her, helping her while at the same time, understandably worried about her house burning down, and thankful that her mother Charlotte was resting at Vanessa's home at the time of the fire. So, we have a lot of players in this story: Vanessa, Tripp, Julia, Charlotte, and even snippets of Mia as the story is relayed in first person alternately. What a thrilling story of family drama, angst, secrets and lies. For this to be a debut novel, I feel I must give Georgina Cross props for writing such a compelling story, one that captured my attention from beginning to end. The mystery did not turn out as I expected, and I think that is because this story had more than one unreliable narrator. The way this was written made it impossible to know who to trust. Who to believe. Actually, I felt like I was watching a tennis match while reading this book. As soon as I cast doubt towards one character, I soon was feeling someone else was guilty. Needless to say, I was wrong on every turn. Well done Ms. Cross. Many thanks to Bookouture and to NetGalley for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion.

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    3 person found this review helpful

    3 people found this review helpful

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  • A wild ride!

    What are the chances? Thirteen year old champion swimmer Mia Tanner is doing laps in her backyard pool when her stepmother Vanessa steps out front to see what is going on. The house next door is on fire, uncontrollably burning to the ground. She’s only outside for minutes but when she returns to the pool, Mia has vanished. So begins the wild ride that is The Stepdaughter! The story is told in several voices: Mia, Vanessa, neighbor Julia and her mother Charlotte, who has dementia. Mia’s mother died when she was five and a three years later her father Tripp married Vanessa. At Tripp’s urging, she left a successful career to become a stay at home mother. She tries her best but she misses her work and Mia is not an easy child. As flashbacks reveal Vanessa, Tripp and Mia’s history, a frantic search for Mia begins. The police are involved. Tripp accompanies the police and Julia stays with Vanessa. Although Julia’s house has just burned down, she knows that finding Mia is more important. There are so many twists to this plot and you won’t be able to anticipate any of them! How could Mia, wearing only a bathing suit, disappear so quickly? What caused the fire? Why does Charlotte keep talking about a bride? These are only a few of the many questions that are not answered until the final exciting pages of The Stepdaughter. You won’t be able to put it down! 5 stars. Thank you to NetGalley, Bookouture and Georgina Cross for this ARC.

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    2 person found this review helpful

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  • A stunning debut

    I was immediately drawn to The Stepdaughter from the blurb and knew I just had to read it. It had always been in the back of my mind, ever since I was first made aware of it, so when Bookouture announced that it was available to request, I could not get to NetGalley quick enough to get my advanced copy! The only downside was, I was still in the middle of reading another book which I then could not finish quick enough! My sincere apologies go out to that author! In terms of the plot, Georgina Cross has created such an intense story of every parent’s worst nightmare. On multiple occasions, I was gripping the Kindle so hard, furiously flicking through the pages to see how it was all come together, which it does so spectacularly! In regards to the characters, they have all been created perfectly and so brilliantly written, that they all just jump off the page. Each evoked so many emotions within me as did the story, so I was completely exhausted when I finished reading it. As far as debut novels go Georgina Cross has nailed it! She has created a fresh and well thought out story that gets your attention right off the bat. It is extremely well executed with no plot holes, has just the right amount of characters, is so beautifully written and best of all, has short chapters, each ending with you wanting more, which is always a massive plus for me. There are also no unnecessary filler chapters which makes it flow really well and a quick read. This book is just pure gold and I absolutely loved it! There are some books out there that will just hold you hostage never letting you go until the final page and The Stepdaughter is one of those books! I was completely under it’s spell and just could not get enough, which resulted in me devouring it in one sitting. If you love a book that is gripping, compelling with some great twists and turns to keep you on your toes, then this is definitely the book for you! I have read a few debut’s this year, but I have to say that The Stepdaughter is the best I have read out of the bunch. Georgina Cross is a natural born storyteller and definitely an author that is now on my radar as one to watch. I could just keep going on with this review and gushing about this book until the sun goes down, but you get the idea so it will come as no surprise that this will be part of my best books for 2020! It was an absolute pleasure to read and review The Stepdaughter which I can not recommend highly enough! Public Service Announcement! If you are like me and check to see how many chapters there are in a story, before you start, do not do that with this book as it does give something away as they are titled. In saying that, it did not ruin the story for me in any way and was still a thrilling read with surprises. Oh and by the way there are 63 chapters. You’re welcome! Thank you to Georgina Cross, Bookouture and NetGalley for allowing me to read an advanced copy of The Stepdaughter which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily.

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    1 person found this review helpful

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  • An excellent debut!

    4.5 stars I enjoyed this thriller immensely. It was gripping, fast-paced, and filled with twists and turns. Thirteen-year-old Mia Tanner went missing from her backyard swimming pool during a house fire next door. Her stepmother, Vanessa, who was the last person to have seen her, seems to be a devoted mother, however, her story just isn't adding up. Is she telling the truth, or is this a classic story of an evil stepmother? The Stepdaughter is an excellent debut novel by author Georgina Cross. The characters and the plot pulled me into the story from the very beginning and kept me hooked until the final page. Told from multiple POVs, this is a story of how lies and secrets can come back to haunt you and the lengths that some will go to to protect their reputation. I thought the author did a fantastic job of building the tension and making the reader second guess their opinion as to who the culprit actually is. I enjoyed seeing the mystery unravel and was quite pleased with myself as I did manage to guess the big twist. All in all, this was an addictive and well-plotted thriller, with great writing, believable characters, and a mystery that will keep you on your toes. This is my first book by Georgina Cross and it definitely won't be my last. Thank you to NetGalley and Bookouture for the opportunity to read this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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