Jar of Hearts

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 12 Jun 2018

Member Reviews

Easily Hillier's best effort yet!  I loved this book so much, three weeks later and I'm still in a serious book hangover and can't find anything worthy of reading.
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"But monsters, like everyone else, can evolve." Wow. Jar of Hearts is a heavy, heavy book. It is truly about dark and twisted people. Georgina has lived for years haunted by her best friend's disappearance during their senior year of high school. Tried to pretend it didn't happen, tried to push all the feelings down and tried to live a "normal" life. She's not surprised when she's arrested in 10+ plus years, but she is surprised it's by her former best friend, once a geek and now a detective. Hillier takes us through Georgina's first few months of prison "It's the daily bickering and drama between women that are too old to live in a sorority house, which is exactly what it feels like here, doesn't it? Minus the cute clothes and the boyfriends?", as well as back to high school and her relationship with Calvin, which changes her and her future trajectory forever. These people are ugly and full of drama and hate, and pain, and Jar of Hearts concludes that "Hurt people will always hurt people, and the wounds gouged into...over the years can never heal" - my only complaint might be that the ending wraps up a little too pat, I don't know that Georgina deserves her fate, either way. Still, I was yanked in, from the beginning, and it was impossible to look away. Clever title, too.

P. S. Thanks to #netgalley for the advance reader copy.
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I received an advance copy of this book from #NetGalley for an honest review.  This book had me hooked at the very beginning.   Geo is sentenced to 5 years in prison, after a plea bargain, for helping her boyfriend bury her best friend.  We are given flashbacks to what really happened the night Angela Wong died.  This would be a great book club read to analyze the dynamic between Geo and her dad,  the Wong family and Ella and her kids.  Great summer read
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This book...
Geo is a young VP on her way to bigger and better things, until she is arrested during a boardroom meeting.
14 years ago Geo's best friend Angela went missing. No one know why or how this popular girl just disappeared. Geo and Angela had a falling out over a boy, Calvin, but otherwise the girls were normal 16 year olds.
The story starts in the trial for Calvin. He is "the Sweetbay Strangler" that was caught when Angela's body was discovered. A camera has photos of Angela, Geo and Calvin in Angela's last few moments.
Geo is sent to prison for 5 years, upon her release she learns that Calvin has escaped and more dead bodies are turning up in the woods. 
This book was gripping and thrilling and I loved every twisted horrific moment. The pacing was a little off. I would figure the twist just as it was hinted at and then it would take a while to actually reveal. That being said, I still highly enjoyed the story and its twists.
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This is the first time I've ever read anything by this author and I Have to say Wow , it did start out a little slow but the more you read the more it picks up and the more of the dark secrets come out ,it pulls you in as well and once that happens your hooked , can't wait to read more by this author ,with that said thanks Netgalley for giving me the chance to read and review this author ,now I want to read more of her stuff.
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“Jar of Hearts” by Jennifer Hillier is in my opinion the best psychological thriller of the year. I’m hoping this book is being considered for a movie. I’ll be the first in line. She knocked this one out of the park. 
     Angela Wong, at the tender age of sixteen, vanished without a trace. Georgina Shaw, her best friend and Vice President of SHIPP Pharmaceuticals, was not one you would suspect to have involvement in Angela’s disappearance. 
   You also wouldn’t  suspect, Kaiser Brody who was their high school friend. 
    Without giving away too much of the plot... it’s 14 years later that Angela’s body is discovered. The suspect was Calvin James... a killer that murdered three women & possibly more. The kicker is...Calvin was Georgina’s first love. Their relationship was intense and borderline obsessive. What’s the connection? Is there one?
     Georgina, AKA Geo kept a secret~ she knew what happened to Angela. She kept this deep dark secret until her arrest and incarceration. 
     This book is intense and never lets up. From start to finish you will be invested in this story. 
     This book is also creepy, dark and chilling to the bone. 
     I hope my fingerprints return~ I believe I wore them off from turning the pages so quickly. 
     Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for an ARC to read and review. 
     Most of all~ thank you Jennifer Hillier. Your amazing!
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Thank you NetGalley and Minotaur Books for the ARC of Jar of Hearts

First off WOW!  Jennifer Hilllier did an amazing job at keeping me on my toes the entire book.  I read so many suspense and mystery novels that most times I can figure out what is going to happen, not with this book!  
The twists and turns of Georgina Shaw made my jaw drop at least once every few chapters.  
This is definitely a must read.  I can’t wait for Jennifer’s next book!
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Thank you Netgalley for the opportunity to preview this ARC of Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier.

Geo lives a life of prestige, wealth and luxery.  She is young, her career is thriving, and she is engaged to be married to a financial mogul.  But everything comes crashing down when she is arrested as an accomplice in murder when she was sixteen, an arrest that she had been waiting for her whole adult life.

This is a story about Geo, her murdered best friend in HS and the events that lead to the murder.  It's a twisty tale with an ending that isn't completely surprising, but gripping all the same.  I loved the chronological back-and-forth, the complex characters, and the readability of the story.  It contains highly disturbing content, so beware.
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Blown. Away.  I went into this book blindly, knowing it was a crime story but that was it.  This book has so many layers of creepiness, angst, love and a touch of Orange is the New Black.  If you are a fan of crime fiction, or suspense then I highly recommend this book.  I read it in a single day, I couldn’t put it down!!
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I really liked this book.  It is twisted but I found Geo to be likable and empathized with her.  I know her secret disturbed many but I found it helped make all of her guilt make sense to me.   This is my first book by this author.  I will look for more.
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4.1 - oh wow, this one was messed-up (in a good way!); definitely enjoyed the dramatic twist near the end - highly recommended for those who want a psychological thriller
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Look at me! Reviewing a NetGalley title within the same year the book was released! Yeah, baby, I'm pretty pleased. It definitely helps that I was able to convince my Cocktail Hour co-hosts to pick this title for our August show. And that it's available in audio. 

Here's the Goodreads blurb, even though it's sort of long: [Removed for NetGalley post]


Despite the bad grammar in the blurb - which if I'd read before getting the book might have prevented me from trying it - the writing is good and the story kept me hooked from start to finish. The audio narration by January LaVoy was damn near perfect. Maybe even absolutely perfect. I liked it enough to actually google her and check out her website. Not many narrators inspire that level of curiosity in me.

So back to the book... I love that I didn't guess the big reveal until I was supposed to - nearly at the end of the book. It wasn't outlandish or bullshitty like some plot twists authors will use to foil all of us readers who start noting their guesses about the bad guy or plot twist very early in a book. It felt totally plausible to me and the actual reveal seemed timed perfectly. I didn't feel cheated but, instead, wished the story had gone on just a bit longer once I had that last bit of info.

For me, the book was really about the revealing of what happened when Geo was 16 and how the present-day case was playing out instead of the relationships of the people involved. Reflecting on it now, I didn't really care that much about Kaiser or anyone else besides Geo. Really, I don't think I cared much about Geo either. I enjoyed getting to know her through witnessing the bits and pieces of her life and experiences but I didn't really care about her. I was curious about her. I don't think that's a bad thing. 

Ok, I'm rambling now and my mind is moving into different directions so I'll wrap this up. If you enjoy mysteries with slow reveals and don't mind some flashbacks, give Jar of Hearts a shot. If you like audio books, definitely go for January LaVoy's narration.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher, St. Martin's Press/Minotaur Books for the ebook ARC because it put the book on my radar.
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Fourteen years after he disapperance, the remains of Angela Wong are found and it turns out her best friend knew she had been murdered and never told anyone. She now has to leave her high-powered job and serve time in prison--but that might not be the only secret she's been hiding.

Good writing, engaging characters and some interesting twists. A good, page-turning read.
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The past is always with you, whether you choose to think it about it or not, whether you take responsibility for it or not. You carry the past with you because it transforms you. You can try to bury and pretend it never happened, but that doesn't work. Geo knows from experience. Because buried things can, and do come back. 

It has been 14 years since Geo's best friend's disappearance Angela Wong. The most popular girl in school. The girl with everything. Money, looks, captain of the cheerleading squad. She could have anything she wanted. Now 14 years later, Geo is doing 5 years in prison for her part of the murder of her best friend. It has taken 14 years to move on from that terrible night. She is now a CEO of a popular Washington pharmauctical, engaged to the owner's son but now she sits at the trial of Calvin James whom she testifies against for the murder of Angela Wong and the murder of 3 other women. 

The narration is time driven. It starts with the trial and the mysterious note she receives from Calvin as she is being taken away. A note that has heart with her initials and the words Thank you. Of course you don't know what this means. But you want to know. Geo's childhood friend Kaiser Brody who brought justice to Angela in his investigation. He has a love/hate relationship with Geo that is complex and filled with tension as he comes to grips with Geo's involvement. 

That is not the only thing filled with complexity and tension as Geo fights to survive her 5 years in prison. You see what she is made of and the contradictions of her involvement. What hold does Calvin have on Geo? What was their relationship like those 14 years ago? During this time, Geo has reinvented her self to get over what happened and what she has become. This in itself makes this read such a character driven plot. 

When she returns to her childhood home and where the death of Angela took place, another murder is done. However, the difference is a child with a woman. Brody is on the case, looking for leads and to save the friend that he couldn't 14 years ago. 

Hillier writes her characters to pull you in the their head. Someone who can do something so terribly wrong that you can feel some empathy for. She writes to show their vulnerability, their insecurities and pain. How easily we are driven to go the wrong path but always looking for redemption. Will be reading more of Hillier.

A Special Thank You to St. Martin's Press and Netgalley for the ARC and the opportunity to post an honest review.
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I was hooked to the book. In the beginning it was like an open and shut case. But as the story proceeded more mysteries developed and then the mysteries unravelled a little by little. Till it gave a shock of my life in the climax. The style of writing is commendable. Making it seem simple superficially, made it more attention grabbing as you dug deeper. 
The title didn't seem as connected to the story as I had expected. But overall, it was an engaging read.
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"Because buried things can, and do, come back." 

Georgina (Geo) Shaw has learned all too well, that nothing stays buried when what was the biggest mistake of her life finally catches up to her. 14 years earlier Geo and her two best friends, Angela and Kaiser, stop at the 7-Eleven as they always do to grab some slurpies, only today is different. While there, they meet Calvin James, Geo and Angela are immediately drawn to the older more confident Calvin, 5 years older, and with a swagger that none of the boys at their school currently possess. Calvin is instantly drawn to Geo, though Angela is beautiful and alluring, to everyone's surprise, Calvin can't help but see something in Geo. Angela, used to be the center of attention, and Kaiser, currently secretly in love with Geo are none too pleased by Calvin's interest in Geo. 

It's not long before Calvin and Geo become inseparable, the relationship becoming what some could consider toxic. A combination of jealously and possession are soon causing their young romance to come apart at the seems. Angela has never been a fan of Calvin for many reasons, but of course the biggest reason is that he didn't choose her. In an effort to accept Calvin in Geo's life, Angela suggests stopping by Calvin's place after a high school party turns out to be a bore. If only Angela could have realized that this decision would be the worst decision she's ever made, and it would ultimately be her last. 

It's 14 years before the truth about that night finally comes to the surface, figuratively and literally. Geo is faced with the truth of what she and Calvin have done. She's faced with the harsh reality that she's not the person she's been pretending to be, her pure heart died right along with Angela that night. 

"Living a life that isn't meant for you is its own version of hell." 

This is my first Jennifer Hillier novel, and I have to say, I enjoyed her writing style. I will certainly look into some of her other work. While many scenes were not what I would call vividly graphic, she does an excellent job of providing the reader with the full picture. Meaning that sensitive topics are present and not glossed over, there is tact with it's delivery and somehow it all just works. The emotional state of the characters can be felt, it's raw and credible. The only thing that truly felt forced to me was the concept of the "jar of hearts" this doesn't in my opinion tie into the story all that well. It's meaning becomes not as significant as I thought it would be. 

As far as advanced reader copies go, it's been a while since I've read one that has suffered so many errors. I highlighted 30 typographical errors, and then just stopped keeping track. I get that I'm reading an "uncorrected copy" of the novel, but to be honest, it does become distracting. I certainly hope these were caught before publication. 

I want to thank NetGalley, St. Martin's Press, and Jennifer Hillier for allowing me the opportunity to read this novel in exchange for my review.
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This was a wonderful psychological thriller with so many twists. The is the type of book that you want to keep reading and not put down until the end.  The character of Geo was intriguing as she made some awful choices in her life but always seemed to have a few morals. I look forward to more stories from Jennifer Hillier.
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Sometimes I feel like a freak for enjoying serial killer stories so much. Add in that this book was based in Seattle, and you have a winning combination for me!

It was a quick read that I tore through, and exactly what I needed after not loving the last 3 or 4 books I have read. 

I can’t wait to read more from this author!

I received an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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Jar of Hearts is a dark and twisted psychological thriller novel that gripped me right from the beginning. A definite page-turner that will keep you guessing to the end. Superb writing, story and character development. I loved it! Can't wait to read more from this author.

I highly recommend reading this book.

Thank you to Netgalley and St. Martin's Press for a copy of Jennifer Hillier's "Jar of Hearts" in exchange of an honest review.
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A special thank you to NetGalley for an ebook version of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thrillers don't come much better than this one! It started with an intense courtroom drama that pulled me in and I didn't even know the back story. This book is broken into parts and each part is better than the one before. It tells the story in current day and also the back story of how Geo got to where she is today in her life. Masterfully written to keep surprising you up until the end. I am sorry that I didn't read this book sooner.
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