Jar of Hearts

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 12 Jun 2018

Member Reviews

Wow!! What a great, thrilling, page turner of a stand alone novel! This author has been on my radar for awhile and I'm so excited to be reviewing this great read, I'm just sorry it's taken me so long to finally pick up and finish! Make sure you've got plenty of time in your day as you're going to want to keep flipping the pages until you reach the end.  The segments of the storyline are pieced together like a perfectly cut puzzle, with each clue placed in sequence for a distinguishing reader to pick up and tie together into a shocking ending!  If you enjoy Chelsea Cain and Chevy Stevens, with a twist of Orange is the New Black, this is a book and an author you don't want to miss!
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I finished this book in 24 hours. It was very suspenseful and had many cliffhangers, which meant I couldn't put it down until I found out what happened! I did figure out the twist toward the very end, but that didn't take away from my enjoyment of the book. I've recommended this book to several friends who are big fans of suspense/thrillers.
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Haunting past, dark and complex dynamics of friendship, intense and twisty well paced and well plotted thriller not for the faint of heart! Terrific writing, intense drama, smart plotting!
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Trigger warning: rape, abuse
Wow, this was a really twisted and depraved story.Sixteen year old Angela Wong and Georgina (Geo) Shaw are best friends, attached at the hip, until a man five years their senior comes in between them. Geo and Calvin are inseparable, but it's a tumultuous relationship. Calvin is abusive and controlling, but Geo can't let him go, until one night when everything changes and Angela goes missing.For fourteen years, Angela's family wondered what happened to her, and only two people know the truth, so when it's brought to light that Calvin is the Sweetbay Strangler and Geo was a witness the night Angela died, Geo is sent to prison for five years. But, is what's revealed the full story, or is Calvin and Angela still harboring chilling secrets?When more bodies are found murdered and dismembered just like Angela's, police are convinced the Sweetbay Strangler has struck again after escaping prison, and only one person can help solve this case, and she's not telling the whole story.This story was definitely sick and twisted, and begs the question, are addictions and behaviors hereditary or learned? There is so many shocking moments in this story you won't be able to put it down! This novel isn't for the squeamish as it's pretty dark and graphic, and I found myself at times wanting to stop reading because of that fact, but the story-line was so compelling I made myself keep reading as I just HAD to know the ending!
Thank you to St. Martin's Press, the author, and NetGalley for my copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
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This book was AMAZING!  If you like a page turner you will really enjoy this story.  This book had so many twists and turns that it kept me up all night reading.
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Jar Of Hearts was a gripping thriller that took you to every aspect of trying to figure out what was really going on  and what was going to happen next! This was such an amazing book and I can’t wait to see what else is released from this author!
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I loved every second of this book - from start to finish I didn't want to put it down! Jennifer Hillier is quickly becoming one of my most favorite authors.
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This book was pretty disturbing at times, but I enjoyed the mystery and it keep my interest throughout.
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This was a difficult to read but interesting story.  It was intriguing.  A secret kept too long causes all kinds of hurt but when revealed finally gives freedom!  This book kept me reading to find out what happened.  I would read more written by this author in the future.
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Thanks to netgalley for the ARC copy - #ajarofhearts #jenniferhillier #minotaurbooks 
This book is written in 5 parts - denial, anger, bargaining, depression & acceptance.
Kaiser Brody has to make one of the difficult arrests in his career when he goes to arrest one of his best friend for murdering one of their mutual friends. Geo (Georgina Shaw) and her past boyfriend are arrested in suspicion of murdering Angela Wong. There are dark secrets buried deep in the woods where Angela’s remains are found- this book is set in Seattle and very well written.

Geo is put behind bars for 5 long years and the prison scenes are well written – how she learns to survive and how she makes contacts while she is imprisoned. 
After Geo is released, there are more murders happening closer to where Angela’s remains were found – who is responsible and why are more people being murdered? There are some very violent scenes, rape etc., - couldn’t really sustain those! 
Only Geo and Calvin know what happened that night when Angela was killed.
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What seems like a pretty clear cut story of a murder takes some interesting turns. Characters are hiding more than they seem, and you’ll be left wondering who the “good guy” was.
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Although I have read several reviews of this novel, it still surprised me on many levels. Not at all what I expected.

We meet the protagonist, Geo (Georgina) Shaw, as she is arrested for a murder that took place fourteen years previously. The arresting officer, is one of Geo's best-friends from high-school - a boy who loved her, but who she never thought of as more than a friend.

In the intervening years, Geo has made a success of her life, going to university, attaining a high-ranking corporate job, and becoming engaged to a wealthy man. Now, her life, which she worked so hard for, is in dire jeopardy.

Geo is sentenced to five years in prison. Although in many ways, Geo feels relief to have finally be found out, prison is still an experience that scars her, hardens her, and incontrovertibly changes her. Her fiance drops her like a hot brick. She has ample time to think about her past, and plan for her future. She also made a couple of good friends.

How did she get in this mess you might wonder? Well, Geo's first love was a man called Calvin James, also known as "The Sweetbay Strangler". When Geo was only sixteen, Calvin raped and murdered her best friend Angela. And Geo helped him to dispose of her body. Then she went on living her life for fourteen years, not divulging a word about her crime.

Calvin James was caught and sent to prison, but he later escaped...

Later, after she has served her time, Geo is released and goes home to live with her father. With no job, or job prospects, and now aged thirty-five, Geo doesn't have much to look forward to.

Now though, more murders are taking place near Geo's home. Women are being murdered in the same way Angela was all those years ago. Only now, the women are accompanied by children... children with a heart written on their chests in lipstick. Inside the heart are the words "See Me". 

Is it Calvin James? 


I had very mixed emotions about the protagonist, Geo Shaw. Sometimes I felt sympathy for her plight, sometimes I wondered how she could sleep at night. How COULD SHE have done what she did? How COULD SHE have not reported the crime - for fourteen years!

As the book moves along, the reader is made privy to Geo's past and what really happened back then. Yet still, I was torn about whether I could like her.  Did my sympathy outweigh my repugnance for her former actions? I chided myself for being judgmental.

This novel was well-written and very fast-paced. Often intense and unsettling, though riveting at the same time. The ending had what I can only deem a shocking and unsavory twist. Was justice meted out in the end? You be the judge.

One things for sure. I'll never be able to eat a cinnamon heart again without thinking about this novel.

3.5 stars rounded up
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I really struggled with how to review this book. On the one hand, I thought the writing was good- very engaging and good movement. Where I struggled was the subject matter. Pervasive sexual assault and rape as plot devices to propel the story forward was repugnant to me, and I felt the publicity team could have done a much better job of offering hints to the reader without giving away the whole story. One in four college-aged women are sexually assaulted in the US, and it behooves the people promoting books that explore this element (even in an empowering context) to provide some clues as to its inclusion for prospective readers.
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So so incredibly messed up and engrossing!  I saw a lot of positive things about this book and just never got around to it, but it was so good I couldn't put it down.  I loved the structure, I loved the characters, even with their flaws...  I 100% did NOT see the ending coming at all.  Well done Hillier!
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I read this a while ago and I forgot to review. It was a great, fast read. Enjoyed every bit of it and can't wait for the next Jennifer Hillier book. Will definitely buy for my library.
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Jennifer Hillier is one AMAZING story teller. From the start of this book I found myself completely hooked in the development of this story. The grand reveal was presented with impeccable timing . This was enjoyable, fast paced, and definitely worthy of a second read.
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Whoa! I love psych thrillers and loved the synopsis of this book when I read it. Then I began it, and immediately I’m in the courtroom, reading about Geo and how her life ended up as a result of a horrible decision as a teenager.  From there, she goes to prison and then assimilation back into real life. Sadly, not much of a normal one.

So much happens so fast, and the book is written so well, that it is like a soft ribbon enclosing the book that when pulled lightly, slowly unravels and each new revelation is more bizarre than the previous. And yet, you keep pulling because you know the buildup will be worth it.

Geo is a believable character, especially as a teenager who has a small circle of trusted friends, is competitive and like normal young women, insecure.  The explanation of her early years, and the contrast as the story switches to her best friend growing up, Kaiser, lends relevant history to her character.  And her love interest, turned boyfriend, exaggerates how young love can be manipulated and not really love at all.

Caution: The book was graphic at parts with sex, rape and the aftermath of all of that. Though relevant to the story, I just want readers to be aware that this is not an after school special.  This is definitely more Lifetime. Or Snapped, even.

And about 80% into the book, an even deeper revelation is revealed that is a fantastic twist, but goes a disturbing direction (one I was able to predict, but still made my jaw drop).  This book is a fantastic suspense read, very deep and methodical.  I hear it may become a movie.  But kudos to the author. It’s a great book with depth and bizarre twists that came through as promised.  And I can never look at cinnamon hearts the same.

Well done!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own and I appreciate the opportunity to receive an advanced reader copy to do so. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255  : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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Jar of Hearts was filled with twists and turns. A story of friendship, love and fear that follows friends from high school through successful careers. I recommend this book.
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I can't believe I waited so long to read this book!

Jar of Hearts hooked me from page 1 and held my attention all the way through. I was jarred at how the scenes were unfolding. It was intense and full of amazing twists and turns.

This is a well-crafted story. There were no dull moments, and Hillier keeps you wondering where everything is going to go. It doesn't end with a neat little bow. It ends with you saying 'wait, what....' and then you think back to all the little clues and you'll be amazed at how it all ties together. The writing is phenomenal and was the fuel to guiding this story. 

Impossible to put down, Jar of Hearts is a book that will keep you guessing and leaving you stunned and wanting more.
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Jar of Hearts is well-written but dark and fall of unlikable characters.  I'm growing disillusioned with the trend of twisty psychological thrillers full of horrible characters.  If I cannot find a character to like or relate to, I most likely am not going to like the book.  I figured out some things early on but wanted to get everything tied up but I can't say I enjoyed Jar of Hearts.  It was just too dark for me.  Good writing but a disturbing story.
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