Cover Image: Amen Maxine

Amen Maxine

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Member Reviews

So much fun and also super creepy! I loved the world created here and was really invested in the unreliability of basically all the characters. Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the e-gally.
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This was a page turner!

I really liked the writing. It flowed so well with the story and kept me up late to finish the book!

Rowena and Jacob have been married for one year and have a young baby daughter. Rowena has been suffering from anxiety especially after having relocated to California from New York after her wedding. She's finding it hard to adjust to her new world. Her husband works for a tech company called, Jolvix. He brings home a new device called, "Maxine" that is still in testing mode. It's an AI, "friend" for Rowena.

Without spoiling it this trope has been done many times before but Faith Gardner adds such an intriguing twist with the AI stuff. I can't wait to read book 2 now.

I'd like to Kindly thank NetGalley and Mirror House Press for granting me access to this Advance Reader Copy. This title is also available through Kindle Unlimited.
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A domestic suspense with an AI twist.

Rowena Snyder is unhappy, anxious, and depressed. She met her husband Jacob online during the pandemic and when they finally connected in person, she thought they had chemistry. After she discovers she is pregnant with her daughter Michelle, they married and Jacob convinces her to leave her job as an editor in NYC and move to California with him to live at his childhood home.

Michelle is now 6 months old and Rowena has noticed that her husband is not attentive anymore. Anytime she is in crisis, his answer to her is to take another lorazepam. Rowena knows she is spiraling but is this because her husband is gaslighting her or is she truly losing her mind?

Jacob decides that Rowena needs help. He brings home an AI assistant named Maxine who can help her get organized and keep things straight for her. She can be her "friend". Maxine is still in beta testing mode and there was a problem before with an AI used by people with anxiety.

Can this machine make her anxiety worse or will it help her using her "advice" and "prediction" mode?

There is no way this reader wouldn't root for Rowena. She is a mess but she is dealing with a lot. A new baby, a move, leaving her job, not having her best friend or mother around, and a husband who is not behaving like he used to.

I also loved Maxine. Can I have one?

I know there is another book in this series already, Violet Is Nowhere.

Amen to that!

Cliffhanger: No

4/5 Fangs

A complimentary copy was provided by Mirror House Press via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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4.5 stars and I'm gonna round up...because I can!!  This was chilling and disturbing, and oh so brilliant of a plot.  You can often hear me waxing poetic about how technology, while good and necessary, is going to be our undoing, and this story just adds fuel to my fire!  No matter how advanced technology is, it is still only as good as the people who create it and support it, and people are inherently flawed and bring lots of their own personal baggage to the party.  Maxine is an AI personal assistant who has the ability to not only tell you where the closest Starbucks is, but she can also go into "Prediction" mode.  And what the hell do you do when she calmly insists that your husband is not a good man and that you are in danger?  And what if you just happen to be a tad bit high strung and possibly not firing on all 8 cylinders emotionally?  And what if you find out your husband has lied/withheld info and was also having an affair?  Well, you gotta pay attention to that @#$%!!  And once it's in your brain, it's impossible not to look at everything through that lens.  This was just fascinating and horrifying to watch unfold.  And did I mention the plot was truly brilliant?
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Amen Maxine
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Format: Kindle eBook 
Date Published: 7/23/22
Author: Faith Gardner
Publisher: Mirror House Press
Pages: 278
Goodreads Rating: 4.31

I requested a digital advanced readers copy from NetGalley and Mirror House Press and providing my opinion voluntarily and unbiased.

Synopsis: A transplant from New York, Rowena Snyder moved into her husband Jacob’s idyllic childhood home with their new baby. Jacob, worried about their marriage, scores a new product currently in beta testing from his tech job: Maxine, a “digital friend” that bonds with an individual by continually gathering their personal data. Along with functioning like an upscale digital assistant, Maxine has “advice” and “prediction” modes that have shown promise for patients with mental health issues. To Rowena’s shock, the device turns out to be not just helpful, but eerily accurate, predicting events before they occur.

My Thoughts: This was more of a domestic suspense novel for me than a psychological thriller. The story is narrated by Rowena, from her POV, with a touch of ‘Maxine.’ Set in a futuristic dystopia, this fast paced turner will have you flying through the pages. This book received a lot of hype upon its release and it has been on my TBR for awhile, it definitely lived up to the hype. We highly depend on technology in today’s world so this plot premise is not unrealistic or unbelievable, except the ending, but this is an art of fiction. The premise and the cover is what drew me to this book. The characters were well flushed out, well developed, had depth, mystery, and creatively written. The author’s writing style is complex, suspenseful, twisty, intriguing, and kept me engaged. I highly recommend you picking up this book and giving it a try, you will not be disappointed.
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What if Alexa... but evil?! This was fine. Didn't hate it, didn't love it. Makes sense as a KU book.
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This book was an absolute whirlwind in the best possible way. Amen Maxine is a fast-paced thriller following Rowena, a new mom struggling with anxiety and depression and trying to adjust to her new life. Her worried husband brings home a new AI device from his tech job, Maxine, meant to serve as an advice-giver and companion. But as things progress, Maxine makes some chilling predictions that could turn Rowena's world upside down.

Perfect for fans of Colleen Hoover's "Verity" or Alexandra Andrews' "Who Is Maude Dixon?," I can see this being the new *it* book for book clubs or anyone who loves a good psychological/domestic thriller.
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Another page turner!  

 Rowena Snyder is a transplant from New York.  She moved with her husband to her hometown in suburbia, which she hates.  She has anxiety, she is depressed and things continue to get worse.    So her husband, gets her a friend - a custom robot Maxine.  . As Maxine (think Alexa on steroids) gets to know Rowena more and more, she becomes more helpful.    But then Maxine stats making predictions that come true.     These predictions get scarier and scarier - Rowena has no idea what to believe.  

As I read it, I was caught up in the story.  But I also kept thinking "what would I do?" "should Maxine be believed?"  

The story keeps escalating to a crazy ending...    What a fun read!!   (and how soon will be this be a true story?) 

Thank you to the author, the publisher and to #netgalley for the ARC which did not impact my review.
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I would like to thank Netgalley and the publisher for a copy of this book in exchange for a review.  Rowena Snyder moves with her husband Jacob and their baby daughter Michelle into Jacob’s childhood home.  The home is in Silicon Valley and quite different than the area that they moved from.  Rowena is unhappy living there and is very anxious and depressed.  Jacob tells Rowena that his company has created an artificial intelligence (AI) device that he is going to bring home.  The AI’s name is Maxine. Rowena will be able to communicate with Maxine and have actual conversations with her, including asking for advice.  At first, Rowena is hesitant but she finally agrees to let Jacob bring the device home.  Jacob also sets up a psychotherapist appointment for Rowena with a friend of his mother’s. The first visit is disheartening.  Shelly, the therapist,  is very old school and blames the ills of the world on technology.  She does not like or use cell phones, the internet  or any other modern technology.  Rowena has absolutely to intention of returning for a second appointment,  As the days go on, Rowena feels quite comfortable with Maxine.  She activates Maxine’s prediction capabilities per the AI’s suggestion.  The predictions are not only accurate but quite frightening.  This book is a must read.  It is well written and engaging.  As AI does exist in our world today, we ask ourselves, just how smart and accurate will they continue to get as the technology evolves? I highly recommend this book.
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This book kept me on the edge of my seat the entire way through!  I definitely had my suspicions, but did not see many of the twists at the end.  Loved the ending.
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This book had consistently good reviews and I was looking forward to it. Though, I am a little tired of the psychological thriller genre, this was good!

Rowena Snyder has moved to the Bay Area with her husband Jacob, from New York. She has been an editor with a publishing house and now has given up her job to take care of her young daughter Michelle. Jacob works in a technology company, which has a lot of the perks now associated with Silicon Valley. Rowena’s mental state isn’t that good, for a combination of reasons, and she has been prescribed anxiety pills. She also feels under constant scrutiny from Jacob and his mom. In a party, an accident with a toaster causes a fire, driving up her anxiety a notch higher. She has no friends except for a recent budding friendship with Sam.

Jacob brings home “Maxine”, an AI gadget in beta testing which serves as an assistant to any one person. It constantly listens & learns with the ability to converse, advice & predict. It acts when it hears the confirmation phrase “Amen Maxine”. Maxine becomes a friend, and surprises her with some remarkable predictions such as an earthquake. However, after a few days it makes a disturbing prediction that Rowena is in danger.

The writing is very good and the book progresses very smoothly – building layers to the characters, as well as Maxine. As I mentioned, a lot of reading of this genre meant that Rowan’s character felt very usual in many ways. As is also usual, to introduce a touch of intrigue and the unexpected, the behaviours & emotions are overstated (especially Jacob’s), and the motives understated.

This book incorporates the use of AI in the plot very well, and raises some good questions on developer intent, trust & learning from circumstances. The twists & revelations near the end were good. The ending was a bit unusual, but also tame compared to what transpired before that. 

Overall, a different storyline in this genre and recommended for the novel elements in the plot.
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Thank you Netgalley for this ARC of Amen Maxine by Faith Gardner.

Rowena loves her daughter and her husband Jacob, but she is not happy in her life.  Suburban life is nothing like the glittery and exciting days of being an artist in NYC.  Now life is celebrating quarter birthdays and going to silly bookclubs.

In order to help Rowena adjust to her new life, her husband brings home a new model that Silicone Valley has been working on, named Maxine.  Maxine is a much more advanced version of who we know Alexa to be, with very humanistic traits.  But she has one huge ability that has changed Rowena's life.  Maxine can make predictions of future events.  Like an upcoming earthquake, or something much more sinister.  But how accurate is Maxine's ability to predict the future, and is she really helping, or just creating more problems for Rowena?

Do you remember Minority Report with Tom Cruise?  Where they could arrest people for committing crimes before they were committed?  I got smacks of that while reading this, or it at least raised some of those questions for me.  

I thought that this was a fascinating new take on a domestic thriller/suspense.  It's got tons of tension and foreboding.  I never felt confident in anyone's motives, and there were a lot of lines of ethics and morality that were definitely crossed.  And without giving away spoilers, I have thoughts about the ending!
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I kind of was obsessed with this one. I wanted to read and not stop. The perfect pacing, the perfect length the the most effect domestic suspense book I’ve read all summer!! This is a good one. Fresh take on a well worn trope. So much fun!!
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Ok Faith Gardner is one of my faves and her writing skills are unmatched. Her characters are so real and well developed; I felt like I knew Rowena in real life. I love how she articulated her struggles with mental health and I had trouble putting this book down. However, the ending got a little bonkers for me, even for a sci-fi book. 

Baby’s first ARC! Thank you to NetGalley & Mirror House Press for the ARC in exchange for my honest review!
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Rowena changed her whole NYC editors life to move to California with her new husband and baby to live close to his family and his new job. After feeling distant and with a decaying mental health, noticed by all of those around her, her husband gifts Rowena a beta device that’s supposed to befriend her. Maxine is like an echo dot machine, but with a personality. As it’s relationship with Rowena grows, her marriage and personal life seem to become more and more dysfunctional. Does Rowena knows about what’s happening to her, at all? And who can she trust, but Maxine? 

I do admit to have a big bias for Technology and mystery novels. Both bring the unexpected, and this novel did just that. Rowena is an unpredictable character, easily influenced by actions and thoughts of people around her. It’s also painful to feel how alone she is, and that made me take some breaks from the book, because it put all my feelings on the edge. That’s my favorite part about it. I got angry, sad, happy, nervous and so so many different emotions would come up to me that I really felt like living Rowena’s life. To feel her despair, to trust Maxine, to keep an eye out for her husband. 

The writing is easy going and also focused, when you can know what needs to be know enough to put you in the scene. I devoured this book and can’t recommend enough for my fellow mystery lovers. Amem, Maxine. 

Thank you @netgalley for giving me a copy of this book!
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Holy hell. This book was 🤌🏻🤌🏻🤌🏻

TLDR plot: Rowena is newly married and a new mom when she gets a beta of new AI her husband's company is developing. But what does Rowena do when Maxine, the AI, insists that her perfect life is a lie?

Guys this novel had me pulled in within the first 20 pages. Being a new mom myself (lol ok my toddler is 2 in 5 months 😂) I just could relate to Rowena so much. 

Also not gonna lie, I loved the subtle fourth wall breaking ("Dear reader..." was one part I remember). This book had me captivated until the end. AMEN MAXINE was full of complex characters and honestly...the plot of the book could happen now in 2022. SO good y'all.

AMEN MAXINE might just be in my top 10 for 2022 👏🏻 Check it out!
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Original and Twisty

"Fate is constantly rerouted."

Amen Maxine is a domestic suspense novel about a digital assistant that is brought into a marriage on the edge.

Rowena and Jacob moved from NYC to Silicon Valley to raise their newborn, Michelle. Rowena hates her new life in California. She is depressed, anxious, and lonely, which is having an impact on her marriage. When Jacob brings home a beta model of Maxine, a digital personal assistant, who can offer advice and use predictive behavior technology to "see the future," Rowena reluctantly invites the machine into her life. Soon Maxine shares dire predictions with Rowena, resulting in the implosion of her life as she knew it.

Told through Rowena’s eyes, I enjoyed her voice. She is sharp, snarky, and a hot mess. Maxine is the only other voice added to the story, and I am still not sure if Maxine is innocent or sinister, which are interesting elements to consider since Maxine is a computer.

This is a fast-paced, tension packed read with some surprising twists and turns. I enjoyed several aspects of this book, including the doubt Maxine casts on all characters. The ending still has me pondering who was the true villain.

This is a thought-provoking read, and it deserves all of the hype its been receiving. Thank you to all of my GR friends who put this book on my radar!

I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley and the publisher.
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Loved this one! Such a fast paced and unique story, totally fresh concept! A new mother suffering postpartum is given a beta AI assistant and then the fun begins. Don’t let the science fiction part of that stop you, there is very little science to trip the reader up. I highly recommend this if you’re looking for a thriller with a brand new twist! 

Thank you Netgalley, Mirror House Press and the author for this eARC in exchange for my honest review. Publication date: July 23, 2022 so AVAILABLE NOW!
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I almost didn't read this book because I thought the AI theme would  make it too sci-fi-ish.  Boy was I wrong! This is about a machine called Maxine, sort of an Alexa on steroids. 

Rowena has an almost 1-year old, a mostly absent husband, and Maxine.  Skeptical at first, Rowena comes to rely on Maxine as her machine learning becomes all encompassing. As her husband works late, or comes to bed with his AI goggles on, Rowena begins to trust Maxine more and more. She gives the little glowing machine access to most of her life - emails, phone, bank accounts....and comes to think of Maxine as a sentient being. 

Maxine gives Rowena insights about her marriage, with advice and predictions.  If Maxine is right 9 out of 10 times, can Rowena trust her? What if she's right 3 out of 5 times? 

There are all the tropes we are used to with recent books - possibly unreliable narrator, gaslighting, mental illness, cold mother-in-law and more - but Gardner has handled them brilliantly. 

I wish the ending had gone a different way, but despite that, I give this book 5 stars for it's unique storyline, fast paced narrative, and excellent writing.

Thanks to NetGalley and Mirror House Press for an advance reader's copy that I read in a day!
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Alexa and Siri have nothing on Maxine! Set a little in the future, but not too far to feel sci-fi, Maxine sits on the table pulsing different colors as she befriends Rowena, the anxious (probably suffering from post partum depression) wife of one of its creators. Rowena comes to rely on the help Maxine offers through directions, book summaries, and other random things that help Rowena cope with her anxiety. Of course it all isn't that simple and the writing gave me my own anxiety following the ups and downs of Rowena's mental state along with the twists and turns of the plot. It's great when a book can pull you in like this one does! It also reinforces my choice to not have something like Alexa or Siri listening.
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