Cover Image: Hunting Annabelle

Hunting Annabelle

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Member Reviews

This was a thrillingly good read. It was cool to read the book from the point of view of an unreliable narrator with serious mental health issues. It reminded me of the excellent books “You” and “ Hidden Bodies”  by Caroline kepnes and the one of my favorite TV shows, Dexter. Thanks to the publisher, author and NetGalley for the free copy in exchange for an honest review.

4.2/5 stars
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3.5 stars. My introduction to Wendy Heard was the new podcast, Unlikeable Female Characters, which I listened to because one of the other co-hosts, Kristen Lepionka writes the marvelous Roxane Weary series. So when I saw Wendy's book on NetGalley, I had to check it out.

Hunting Annabelle is gripping and I was completely engrossed in the experience of reading it. I thought being inside Sean's head was fascinating, and I was eager to find out what happened, especially because Sean was such an unreliable narrator. I liked the writing style, the sense of the setting in 1980s Texas, and it was super suspenseful! Still I'm having a hard time deciding whether to round up or down, because I don't love the feeling I was left with at the end. In any case, it was an absorbing read and I will definitely be looking for more of the author's books in the future. I would recommend it to anyone who likes their thrillers extra twisted and who doesn't mind if the bad guys don't necessarily get what they deserve in the end.
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Sean is a loner with psychological problems. He meets and falls in love with Annabelle, who then disappears. He seems to be the only one worried about her but that backfires and the police are convinced that he is complicit in her disappearance and they believe he killed her. Wow a few twists and an  unexpected ending.
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Sean is schizophrenic. His mom thinks he should just get over it. Sean meets Annabelle and is immediately drawn to her. Annabelle gets kidnapped and no one believes Sean so he goes off to find her on his own. What could possibly go wrong?

This book is VERY dark with a very creepy twist.  I recommend it for thriller lovers who aren't easily creeped out  (or who enjoy being creeped out).
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3.5 terrifying stars
Sean is quite a troubled young man, recently released from a mental institution after being convicted of a grisly murder. Sean is mentally ill, raised by what seems to be an uncaring brilliant neurosurgeon mother, he tries to escape the hallucinations, the psychotropic drugs the delusions, and the overwhelming urge to kill. He sees auras indicative of his schizophrenia, and then one day in a park he frequents he meets Annabelle and there is an instant connection. Could this be love for Sean? Can he believe he is somewhat normal?  What about Annabelle, a young brilliant woman from a troubled past working her way through medical school. How can she be attracted to a man such as Sean? 

Then the awful happens and Annabelle is kidnapped in sight of Sean. He runs to save her but is too late. What now, now that he is involved in this with a history such as his, how will this end? Is Sean ever the least bit reliable or is he a born killer? As Sean works his way in a desperate attempt to find Annabelle secrets and lies emerge sending him on a chase where no one will seem to win.

This was quite a tale of a contorted tangled web. The suspense stay at a fevered pace as Ms Heard takes us on a journey with characters who are demented, maniacal and unhinged.  Recommended for those who like to travel with characters who are teetering  on the edge of sanity versus insanity.

Thank you to Wendy Heard, Harlequin-Mira, and NetGalley for a copy of this frightening tale.
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3.5 “Dexter in the 1980’s” Stars

ARC via NetGalley

Thank you, Harlequin – Mira

This book isn’t coming out until December, but it’s been on my “most anticipated reads for 2018” for a while. I was lucky enough to get to it now and I can tell you, if you’re a fan of Dexter, you’ll probably really enjoy this.

Told from the POV of a killer—no spoilers, since this info is on the blurb—Hunting Annabelle is a psychological thriller filled with twisted and interesting characters, tension and even some moments that made me laugh a little (even though I know I shouldn’t).

The first chapter is so freaking good. It had a lot of mystery involving Sean (what he was/what he had done) and the chemistry between Sean and Annabelle was undeniable. I was so ready to fall madly in love with them and ignore the fact that Sean was a freaking killer. I’d done that with Dexter, so why not again, right?

Well, I did like Sean a lot, but there was a few things that kept this book from reaching first-couple-of-seasons-Dexter level of perfection to me.

First, I went into this under the impression that Sean and Annabelle were a thing. Don’t know why. I just read the blurb that way. So I expected a relationship (old or newish, but still something solid). Problem is, Sean and Annabelle spend so little time together before she’s kidnapped that it was really hard for me to connect with them and Sean’s love for her. Insta-love rarely works for me, and despite the awesome chemistry in the first chapter, this one didn’t. And because I couldn’t connect with “their love”, I ended up questioning a lot of Sean’s later thoughts and actions.

Second thing that didn’t work for me was the big twist. Not that there was anything wrong with the twist per se. It was a good one if you didn’t see it coming. Unfortunately for me, I guessed it on Chapter 4. I can even tell you the exact paragraph that made it all clear for me, because I highlighted it on my Kindle and added a note. Because of that, when the twist was revealed, it ended up having little impact on me.

BUT, big BUT here, the story was still intriguing, so I kept reading. I think what made this book the most interesting was the choice of POV. Being inside Sean’s head was at times confusing (in a good way), entertaining and disturbing. He was going through so much and trying so hard to keep it together, I couldn’t help but root for him. And the times he let go and embraced the darkest parts of him made for some shocking and entertaining scenes. Those were probably the moments I got Dexter-feels the most.

 I love Dexter-feels.

I can’t get into details about the last part of the book (after the reveal) and the ending because of spoilers, but let’s just say those of you who didn’t guess the twist and enjoy messed up characters doing messed up things will enjoy the heck out of some scenes.

Overall, Hunting Annabelle was an interesting read from a debut author that shows promise. The fact that it, at times, reminded me of one of my favorite TV shows only made it better.
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I couldn't get into this one and ended up DNF-ing. Thanks for the consideration. The premise sounded interesting but I was having a hard time relating/liking the main character.
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One thoroughly dark and delightfully evil romp of a book. Perfect for fans of I AM NOT A SERIAL KILLER and PROVIDENCE!
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Fabulous book. Really enjoyed this. It has the most fantastic twist. I can’t recommend it enough. Will be looking for more books by this author.
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This is not a bad book. For the most part I did like it. I just wished it was not as subtle in the movement of the storyline but a little more in your face with moments that had me saying "wow, what did I just read". 

The story is told mainly from Sean's point of view. He suffers from schizophrenia, so he struggles with reality. Thus the reason he is so fixated on Annabelle's disappearance. He does not believe he has anything to do with her disappearance but at the same time he can't be one hundred percent confident. Thus the hunt for Annabelle begins. 

As I stated, the pacing of the story is a very slow burn that at times I lost interest and zoned out.  The ending does make up for this. It is a shocker. If nothing else, you will want to stick with this book until the ending.
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Hunting Annabelle... what a fascinating premise. 
Sean is battling his on demons with his mental illness. He has just been released from a mental institution for his previous horrible crimes and is trying to live a "normal life".

Sean meets Annabelle at the park one day and instantly falls for her. They decide to go on a date and Sean swears that he sees someone kindnap Annabelle in a white truck on their first date. What follows is a twisty, dark, and creepy journey trying to find out what happened to Annabelle.

It became a bit stale for me in this journey to find Annabelle... felt like it went on a tad bit too long. I was curious to see what happened to Annabelle of course. BUT, once the story was finally revealed behind Annabelle's disappearance I think I fell over in my chair with eye rolling. I found it so implausible.. and over the top. 

Overall, this wasn't a bad mystery but wish the reveal was a lot better. 

3 stars for Hunting Annabelle.

Huge thank you to Harlequin/Mira for the arc in exchange for my honest thoughts.

Publication date: 12/18/18
Published to GR: 11/15/18
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This was a super dark story- about a young man released from an institution for committing horrible acts, and how he is trying to live a "normal" life in the world. He meets a mysterious, beautiful girl named Annabelle while he is sketching at his favourite park, and he falls for her instantly. One night during what is to be their first official date, Annabelle is picked up by a white truck and kidnapped. What ensues in a twisted, dark mystery of trying to find the missing girl of his dreams.
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One word: CHILLS. Wow. This was... terrifying, to say the least. It was CREEPY being in his mind and almost empathizing with him even though that's the last thing you want. Wow.
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Never seen this ending coming!  This book is definitely dark, twisted, and messed up!  If you love psychological thrillers that totally mess with your mind, then this book is for you!   Creepy!
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HUNTING ANNABELLE is Wendy Heard’s debut mystery/psychological thriller novel. It will be published on December 25th 2018 by MIRA Books.

Twenty-something year old Sean Suh is a deeply disturbed man. He suffers from schizophrenia and hallucinations, he murdered his teenage girlfriend years ago, and he has recently been released from a stint in a psychiatric prison. As far as Sean is concerned, he’s done with killing. He’s also mostly done with people. Sean spends his days at the Four Corners amusement park in Austin, Texas, where he observes and sketches people, but does not interact. Then he meets Annabelle… Annabelle may be the one person who can see past the monster to the man. But then Sean witnesses Annabelle being kidnapped. Thanks to his mental illness and past homicide conviction, Sean soon becomes the number one suspect in Annabelle’s disappearance. Sean is the only person who knows he didn’t do anything to Annabelle… Or did he do something, but can’t remember? The closer Sean gets to finding Annabelle, the more of his inner demons he has to confront and release. 

HUNTING ANNABELLE is deeply disturbing, creepy, and chilling novel. Heard’s story is very original, and the ending threw me for a loop. There are plenty of twists and turns throughout the novel. The narrative is told from Sean’s first person perspective, and it is written in the present tense. Sean is an extremely unreliable narrator, and this makes the first person, present tense even more compelling. The reader gets to witness the events as they play out and experiences everything right along with Sean. The thing is, with Sean being so unreliable, is that the reader can never know if Sean’s narrative is the truth or just his version of it. Either way, Sean takes the reader on a very wild ride through the mid-1980s in Austin, Texas. Sean starts out as the bad guy – he’s a murderer. But he’s also a sympathetic character, and he becomes more so as the story progresses. Yes, Sean is a villain. But he’s not necessarily THE villain. 

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC.
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I cannot believe what I have just read. I was hooked from the first page and had to read it in one sitting. 
This book is creepy, disturbing and a compulsive read. This is a rollercoaster of a psychological thriller. My advice to you when you read this book is to put everything else on hold. I can assure you that you are in for a he'll of a read. This is a must read and highly recommended. 
I would like to thank the author Wendy Heard, Harlequin- MIRA and Net.galley for giving me the opportunity to read this book in return for giving an honest review.
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Suspenseful and twisty story.  I loved the characters but would have liked more from Sean’s past. The writing is great, concise and direct. Sean is heavily medicated and his thoughts and actions cast doubts on his reliability. Because of this the story kept me on edge. 

The ending... looks like it’s a split decision for/against on the reviews I’ve read. I have to say that I liked it! It’s dark! And it’s completely unexpected! Yes it’s crazy, but that’s what made this one so fun!

Thanks to NetGalley, the author and Harlequin-Mira (U.S. and Canada) for a copy in exchange for a review.
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Thank you NetGalley, Wendy Heard and Harlequin – Mira for the free e-book in exchange for an honest review.

After serving three years in a psychiatric prison, Sean is sure he is done killing. He won’t go back there no matter what. But he meets Annabelle and is unable to stay away from the temptation of her beauty. Then after their first date, Annabelle is kidnapped and Sean witnessed it. But his illness and many medications have been making him lose time throughout the day and this makes him look like he is the criminal responsible for her kidnapping. The police won’t tell him anything because he is their prime suspect, so he starts an investigation of his own. 

I was immediately drawn into this novel and Sean’s story because it is so different from what I’m used to reading. I love novels that bring in different mental health issues and allow you to see how their affect people’s lives. I also loved the way that Sean is portrayed and how he has to fight the demons inside him to be able to spend time with Annabelle without hurting her. I also enjoyed that a killer is out looking for the kidnappers of the woman he has fallen for. I thought I would start to get bored of Sean looking for Annabelle, but every chapter brought a new surprise and with it my suspicion grew!

I did start to suspect I knew what was going on and what was going to happen in the end, but I was only partially right! I really enjoyed all the little twists and turns that lead to the ending and how different everyone really is compared to how we view them in the beginning. I loved the ending and how different it is from the usual ending and how it ended up being a happy ending, if not a little strange! It didn’t ruin the ending at all that I had a good idea about what was going on because it changes again before the very end and gave me such a shock! I would definitely recommend this novel!

Out December 18th!
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Sean has a mental illness. Sean never felt loved. Sean is Korean and feels white caucasians simply don't understand him.
That's until he meets the lovely Annabelle and is instantly attracted to her.
While the date is coming to a close something tragic happens- Annabelle is kidnapped!
However, when he reports the incident he's not believed. He's seen as a criminal and a psychopath.
Who better to find a missing person than someone who knows the game all too well!
The beginning for me was a bit slow simmer but as you near the end it does pick up.
This was a pretty good read however some may have issue with mental illness patients being always painted in this light as well as the issue with being Korean and ostracized for one's looks.
Thank you to Wendy, the publisher, NetGalley, and Aldiko for this ARC in exchange for this honest review.
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A fascinating concept!  What is real?  What is imagined?  See full review here.
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