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Everything We Didn't Say

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While I may not remember this plot for ever, I enjoyed it the whole way down and found it to be very page turning. Great for thriller lovers.

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Everything We Didn’t Say
My thanks to #Netgalley and #Atria for this eBook in exchange for an honest review. When Juniper Baker graduated from high school, she left Jericho, Iowa vowing never to return. But she left a good number of things unfinished, namely a murder for which her brother was deeply implicated, and her baby – now a teenager who had been raised since birth by Juniper’s parents. Haunted by the murders of her beloved neighbors, Juniper returns to Jericho to help her friend run the town’s library. Reunited with her little “sister,” the past catches up to Juniper – can she be a mother, after all this time? Can she help solve a 15-year-old set of murders to free her brother from being the town scapegoat? Nicole Baart has written a taut family drama that weaves past and present to produce a compelling storyline.

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Thank you Netgalley, Atria Books and Nicole Baart for free e-ARC of Everything We Didn't Say in return of my honest review.

3 stars for the book. 1 extra star for the Acknowledgments.

Quite an interesting approach to a thriller. They have a witness, and nobody know that there is one. She kept a secret of what she saw, even if she doesn't really know what exactly did she see except the act of killing itself. With some turns and twists, Everything We Didn't Say is quite an interesting read. I also enjoyed the environmental themes Nicole Baart decided to bring in. It seems well-sewn into the story. On the other hand, the mother-daughter relationship and struggles were lost in the book. It felt like too much issues were packed up and were not well developed.

I do wish I enjoyed this one more. I am looking forward to more work by Nicole Baart.

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Happy publishing day!! Thanks so much to @netgalley and @atriabooks for a copy to read and review.
Years ago, Juniper was enjoying her summer when her neighbors Cal and Beth were brutally murdered. After her younger brother soon became the prime suspect, she left town promising never to return to her small town in Iowa. Until now. Juniper is back in town helping a sick friend, trying to repair the relationship with her teenage daughter and looking into those murders that happened so long ago.
Honestly, this was a slow start for me. It took me awhile to become hooked, but I did become hooked! I loved how the story was told in two different timelines, then and now. I am always a fan of that when the stories tie together. Overall ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ for me!

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This one felt a bit off to me. This isn't the author's fault and I did like the book. Maybe it had bits and pieces of several other books I have read recently and therefore felt like that last day of Thanksgiving leftovers where the meal isn't balanced and you are tired of the flavors? I wonder if I would have enjoyed it more if I had read it at a different time? (Like the joy of a turkey cranberry sandwich in March.) I really struggled with the timeline set 14 years prior, when June was a teenager and dealing with tensions between just about everyone around her. I felt like it was incredibly superficial and we were never really going to get anywhere reading those sections. And I never felt like we spent enough time in the current timeline where June is trying to reconnect with her daughter, solve the 14 year old murder, and protect her brother. I did like how the answers weren't easy. The author did a terrific job of not putting together an ending that nice and easy for the reader. For some reason I can't explain, I did know who the murderer was very early in the story. It wasn't who I wanted it to be, but it was a good twist and made for a nice conclusion to the story.

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Thank you so much to Netgalley and the publisher. This was a slow burning fire for me but it was so worth the read. Keeps you engaged just a enough and plays out like a well establish symphony

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There’s plenty of tension in this story about Juniper Baker who returns to her small hometown in Iowa, hoping to find out who really killed some neighbors many years ago. Blame continues to be directed at her brother, but she knows he didn’t do it. She’s also hoping to have a part in her daughter’s life. Juniper gave birth to Willa 12 years ago but left for college and Willa was raised by her grandparents. Add in a police officer who has his own vendetta, Juniper’s job and the library, a former high school friend who now hates Juniper, and there’s a lot going on. The story moves back and forth from the present to 14 years ago when the murder took place.

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This was a super good thriller! It kept me interested and wasn’t all that slow as I find most thrillers to be at times. I read it around Halloween and I feel like that added an extra layer of creppiness. Highly recommend

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A very very slow burn.

Baart’s lovely prose masterfully encapsulates the slow, quiet lite in this small Iowa town. As a reader, I could see, smell and feel like I was physically present in its surroundings.

I appreciate the sense of anticipation the author was building, BUT, after reading more than half of the book book without being given any scrap of information or sense of where it was all going, I absolutely lost interest. The need and desire to skim (if it had been an audiobook, I would have ramped it up to 2.5x speed) was strong. Chapters and chapters of scene setting and relationship building but little else made me question why I was still reading.

I realize I am in the minority here as many other readers seem to have really loved this book. Perhaps I’m just not patient enough to be the right audience.

Thank you to Netgalley and Atria for providing me with an ARC of Everything We Didn’t Say in exchange for my fair and honest review.

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At 33, Juniper arrives in her hometown of Jericho, Iowa--a place she vowed never to return--to help a friend with cancer. After Juniper's high school graduation, her family's close friends and neighbors, Cal and Beth Murphy, were murdered. Juniper's brother, Jonathan was the prime suspect, even though he was never charged. Jonathan still lives in Jericho--as does Juniper's teenage daughter, Willa, who has been raised by her mom and stepdad since birth. Juniper has no desire to get dragged back into the dark memories and rumors of Jericho. But when something happens to Jonathan, she finds herself reliving the summer Cal and Beth died. And as she does, she realizes that Jericho itself hasn't put the past behind.

"She was the runaway, the prodigal daughter who had split when the going got tough."

I really loved this book. Baart is such a wonderful and deft writer, and she draws you into Juniper's story immediately. She captures small town Iowa so perfectly--the gossip, the pettiness, the country setting. The characters are well-formed and realistic: reluctant Juniper, so careful and worried about reuniting with Willa. Jonathan, her younger brother, who has remained in Jericho despite the accusations. Her lovely mother and much older stepfather. The handsome and charming boy Juniper fell for one summer. The story comes together so easily; even if this a taunt and slow burning story, I flew through the pages, desperate to find out what was going to happen.

Baart tells our tale in two parts--present-day, as Juniper returns to Jericho, and the past, leading up to the day of the murders. I had a small inkling of some of what might have happened, but loved trying to work it all out. It's a very suspenseful read and the combination of character building and tension works quite well. The way the plot winds together, pulling in emotions, memories, personalities, family connections, and the inner workings of the town is quite masterful.

Overall, a winner for me. I really enjoyed the suspense along with the family drama.

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Juniper Baker returns to Jericho to build a relationship with her daughter, Willa, who is being raised by her mother and step-father. Her excuse for returning is to help a very good friend, Cora, who is struggling with fourth stage breast cancer. Cora is the local librarian, and Juniper has her degree in library science..We are introduced to so many characters but for the most part there is no depth to most or development. The plot alternates from 14 1/2 years ago to the present. Before Juniper left town, their next-door neighbors were murdered, and her younger brother, Jonathan, was the prime suspect. The murders have never been solved. I need to be honest and say that I started and stopped this novel several times. For me, it was so slow for a good part of the book. The climax was interesting, but I still found holes. I think some good editing and the removal of some characters would have helped. I do think the book could be made into a mini-series as there could be some major changes, My thanks to Atria and NetGalley for an ARC of this book. The opinions in this review are my own.

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Nicole Baart, who lives in Iowa and is the mother of five children from four different countries, is the author of several bestselling mysteries Taking time out from her busy schedule—she’s already working on her next novel--Baart chatted with Jane Ammeson about her latest, Everything We Didn’t Say, which was selected as the Book of the Month October’s Most Popular Pick.

What initially drew you to writing mysteries?

I started out writing contemporary fiction, but I have always loved reading mysteries. In the beginning of my career, I think penning a compelling whodunit simply felt too complicated. Plotting a good mystery is no easy feat—and I feared I wouldn’t be able to skillfully juggle all the important elements (red herrings, believable foreshadowing, a twist or two, authentic motive, etc.). Mystery readers have very high expectations! But I started almost unconsciously weaving puzzles into my books, and by the time Little Broken Things came out in 2017 I had gotten over my hesitation. I love writing novels that center around a good mystery, and I’m thrilled that Everything We Didn’t Say has resonated with so many readers.

Can you give us a brief summary of Everything We Didn’t Say?

It’s the story of Juniper Baker, a special archives librarian in Denver, Colorado who returns to her small, Iowa hometown ostensibly to help an old friend. Really, she’s there to solve a fifteen-year-old double homicide and win back the daughter she left behind.

Was the book inspired by an actual event or events? If not, how did you come up with idea for the book?

I’ve been working on this book for nearly three years and so many different things contributed to the final story! It’s truly a sort of book soup: a bit of this, a little of that. But at the center of it all is a cold case in Iowa that I stumbled across several years ago. My heart went out to the family and friends who are still looking for answers, and that quest for resolution and hope in the midst of such brokenness is littered across the pages of Everything We Didn’t Say.

Juniper has such a sense of longing and displacement as well as an ambiguousness about her hometown. Are these feelings you’ve experienced? Do you share characteristics with June?

Absolutely. I love my small town (and the people in it) so very much, but I’m afraid sometimes that we think the line between good and evil runs around the outskirts of town. Us and them narratives are so simple and satisfying, but the truth is much more complicated. Small towns can be places of intimate community and belonging, but they are also filled with secrets, prejudices, and the same turmoil and tragedies that plague, well, everywhere. We aren’t perfect, we aren’t even always good, and I think we need to be honest about that. I want to have conversations about where we might be myopic and insular, and find ways to work through our own short-sightedness. I want to be candid about the ways that we fail, and try to be and do better instead of pretending we’ve got it all together.

Tell us about One Body One Hope and what led you to co-founding the organization.

It’s a long and complicated story, but the simple version is that my husband and I met a Liberian man who became a friend while we were in Ethiopia adopting our second son. That connection led to a deep relationship with a couple in Monrovia, and lasting ties to the children’s home that they opened after the Liberian civil war. We call it the accidental ministry because we never intended for it to happen! What started with one church and 35 orphaned and at-risk kids has grown into three children’s homes that serve over 150 kids (and often their extended families), 27 churches, 6 schools, a micro-finance program with a 92% repayment rate, numerous community redevelopment projects, and a 160-acre commercial farm. Our passion is empowering indigenous leaders and then getting out of their way. Everything good that has happened through One Body One Hope has been because of the Liberian people and their enduring love for their country!

Is there anything else you’d like readers to know?

I love interacting with readers on my Instagram page @nicolebaart, where I have worked hard to cultivate an uplifting, authentic community. We talk about much more than just books, and I seek to find ways to connect on a personal level as we discuss everything from parenthood to being a good neighbor to things that bring us joy. I’d love to see you there!

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4.5 STARS - Everything We Didn't Say is an intriguing story that balances family drama with a cold case mystery as it follows Juniper Baker, a woman who is lured back to her rural hometown by a podcast which accuses a 14-year-old double murder on her younger brother.

The story starts out slowly as the scene is set and readers are transported between the present day and 14 years prior during the summer before Juniper left for college. Juniper is a solid main character (and a librarian!) who is flawed yet still someone the reader can sympathize with - particularly her relationship to her mom and brother.

Baart skillfully incorporates complicated family issues and environmental stewardship into this story while also building tension and setting great twists (one surprised me, but I guessed the final twist). There are some aspects which I believe the author intentionally left unanswered. It irked me just a tad, but I also think it gives readers great discussion points and shows that life doesn't always give us all the answers.

This a well-written, engaging page-turner that provides readers with solid red herrings, buckets of familial dysfunction, small town drama and secrets. If you're looking for a book to keep you up past your bedtime, this is it.

Disclaimer: My sincere thanks to Atria Books for my complimentary copy of this book given in exchange for my honest review.

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Holy cow this novel is a slow build and then it just doesn’t stop. Small town living isn’t what it’s cracked up to be; seems like everyone has secrets that only perpetuates fear and hostility. Juniper is back to help her friend out at the library but she’s also back to figure out what happened 15 years prior and finally clear her brother.

Of course there’s always more to the story and there’s a boy who now is a man with his own life. Does Juniper really want to open that door to the past? Is she ready for the blow back it will cause and the fractions it could cause? Is she strong enough to handle it?

We all find the strength when needed to find the truth.

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Loved it!! I would give it 4.5 stars. Loved the characters, story and writing style. It seemed that everyone was keeping secrets from each other, especially the Baker family. I was shocked to learn what Jonathan was keeping from Juniper that fateful summer. I enjoyed how the book alternated between the present and fourteen years ago. I couldn't wait to find out what happened to the Tates. Lawrence didn't appear to be the best stepfather/father. I didn't think he actually liked Juniper or Jonathan and would rather have Rebecca all to himself. The Bakers had a unique family dynamic. Rebecca was flighty and wasn't giving her children much attention that summer. I would have thought she would have wanted to spend more time with Juniper before she went to college. I loved Sullivan and Juniper's relationship. How/When did Juniper and Cora become so close? Close enough that Juniper would take a leave of absence from her job. Their relationship could have been explained a bit more. Then there was Willa. Her birth was glossed over and also how Juniper pretty much abandoned Willa and left her to be raised by Law and Rebecca.

Definitely recommend the book. It was a great mystery that kept me guessing until the end. Look forward to reading more books by the author.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Atria Books through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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This one was good but felt a little far fetched with how nicely it all wrapped up. It dragged a little but it was a good mystery. This could definitely work for a less experienced thriller fan.

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I really really liked this book! The beginning was a little slow and it took me a little bit to get all the characters straight, but I really liked the small town setting and alternating chapters between past and present. Most of the book I had no idea who the killer was, but by the end I had some theories. I ended up guessing the killer, but it made perfect sense and I really like how it was all wrapped up at the end. I also liked the talk of the environmental impact of large farms.

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I will admit I had a hard time getting into this story. It is told in past and present day, chapter by chapter. Once I was able to get to the 45% mark though I was hooked and had to keep going.

There were lots of twists and turns, I did get a little fed up with the secrets, the keeping quiet and not asking questions. But then realized I was raised to be exactly the same way!

Overall I really enjoyed this story and will definitely find more books from this author.

I would like to thank Netgalley and Atria Books for the opportunity to read and review this book.

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A novel about an unsolved murder case, that involves several people trying to solve the puzzle of (3) murders, and a main character that takes a few pages to warm up to, and a few more pages to try to read.. This book will make you think harder, second guess yourself a little too many times, and the alternate time span narratives makes it more of a slow burn for the reader to try and connect the dots.
But once it picks up, it pick up!!
Family drama, murder cases, characters you think you know.. but oh, no you don’t.. I loved the creepy setting, and the fact that I haven’t been surprised by a mystery book in a little while this way, but also I felt it was a little slow rolling at first.
Overall a great mystery, tons of twists and turns, and and ending I DID NOT see coming.

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This is the ninth novel from this Canadian/American author. Her previous works include the "Threads of Change" series, "You Were Always Mine" and "Little Broken Things". This new release is a thriller set in rural Iowa and is told in two time periods. The summer Juniper after Juniper finished high school was a time of change. She had a summer romance, destroyed her relationship with her best friend and when the couple on the farm next door were murdered, her brother Jonathan became the prime suspect. No one was ever charged and the murders were never solved. Juniper is now back in town in order to help out an ailing friend manage the local library. She really wants to use the time to improve her relationship with her teenage daughter that her parents have been raising and hopefully solve the murder once and for all. The story starts out slowly and builds so it is a great recommendation for customers okay with that pacing.

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