Cover Image: Amen Maxine

Amen Maxine

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

4.5 stars

What a unique story with numerous twists to keep the reader turning the pages. It will also leave them questioning AI devices such as Alexa!

This is an engaging thriller that also addresses topics such as mental illness and relationship issues. While it is somewhat futuristic, it's not so far out there that it's unbelievable. Rowena's struggles are relatable, especially to introverts. The author does a great job of crafting the relationship between Rowena and Maxine (the AI device), the same as she does with the human relationships. There is some mention of the pandemic, but it's minimal (thankfully!). The technology angle was also quite believable, as well as a bit scary in that realism!

I've never read anything by Gardner in the past, but I will likely check out future books.


Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy, but I wasn't required to leave a positive review.
Was this review helpful?
Jacob and Rowena Snyder are a newly married couple with a beautiful daughter, Michelle. They recently made the move from NYC to Silicon Valley where Jacob works for the high tech company, Jolvix. Rowena has battled anxiety and depression most of her life and she tries to control the mood swings and panic attacks with medication yet she still seems to be struggling. Jacob's answer is always the same: Just take another pill. Rowena, on the other hand, doesn't want to "take another pill."

One day Jacob brings home Maxine, a digital friend, to help keep Rowena company and to calm her nerves. However, rather than bringing her peace of mind she's predicted the worst things imaginable making Rowena question everything she knows.

Do you believe your husband, a machine, or your own unstable mind? That is the question!

"To lie is alarming. But more alarming is when you lie so sweet it tastes like the truth."

Praise to you Faith Gardner for writing a completely unique thriller. Books, television, and movies have all been suffering with a lack of original ideas but this book decided it didn't want to play by the same rules as everyone else and for that I am thankful. I wondered in the beginning if this book would require too much suspension of disbelief for me to enjoy properly. I don't have or use an Alexa nor do I have any desire to so buying into the Maxine plotline seemed a little ridiculous at first but I needn't have worried. I was 100% invested and that's probably because I found Rowena so likeable that the momma bear in me just wanted to protect her.

I'd also like to acknowledge that in the authors note she mentions that this was self-published and that she scoured the pages to catch any typo's and grammatical errors and I have to say she did a phenomenal job because nothing caught my eye or stood out.

If you're sick of the same old, same old standard thrillers then this may be the sweet treat you're looking for. Maxine predicts: You'll enjoy this. Amen, Maxine! 😉 4 stars!

Thank you to NetGalley and Mirror House Press for my complimentary copy!
Was this review helpful?
Amen Maxine is an absolute masterpiece!

I absolutely loved this book! It was refreshing and unique, everything I was looking for. Maxine the robot both terrified me and intrigued me as she made her increasingly alarming predictions. I was sad when it ended. I wanted more!

Jacob Snyder thought the move from New York city to his childhood home would be great for his family. His wife Rowena, a relatively new mom is having trouble adjusting to suburban life.  She is depressed and suffers from anxiety. Jacob has the perfect remedy for his wife; a new product his team and himself having been working on currently in beta testing named Maxine. 
Maxine is a high tech, digital friend that continuously gathers data from its user in order to better assist them. She has different modes including “prediction” and “advice”. 
Maxine begins to make numerous predictions with astounding accuracy. As the severity of her predictions increase, Rowena becomes worried.  “Because who would you believe, if it came down to it-a dead man who was also a liar, an unhinged woman, or a machine?”

Amen Maxine is available July 23, 2022

Thank you to Netgalley and Mirror House Press for this arc in exchange for my honest review.
Was this review helpful?
This gripping read gave me chiiiiiilllllssss! It had a bit of a sci-fi element which isn't normally my cup of tea but it was well fitted into this crazy tale. I would have liked more twists but it kept my interest from start to finish. Brilliant book!
Was this review helpful?
Faith Gardner does a great job in this futuristic suspense novel.  Totally relatable, we can see this as becoming possible just a few years down the road; the AI elements and housecleaning robots being part of our daily lives were treated as a plausibility. 

Gardner creates full characters, and we root for the narrator even as we are constantly seesawing as to her reliability/unreliability.    Maxine, the virtual friend, is quite wonderful in her depiction.  And, as with all the other characters, Gardner keeps us guessing about her motives.  
I am left with a couple questions at the end, but pretty much sure a rereading would answer them.  

Finally, I loved the ease with which Gardner addressed sexual issues and gender identity in her work.  It was a strong and positive stroke to integrate orientation so naturally.  Not making a big deal out of it actually was a stronger statement than if the author had taken the novel out of genre fiction.  I was glad to see it presented this way here. 

Many thanks to Mirror House Press and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
Oh my gosh, what did I just read? "Amen Maxine"  by Faith Gardner had such a unique premise and so many plot twists that I could not put it down.  The novel follows Rowena, a new mother who has uprooted her life and landed in California with Jacob, her techie husband. In an attempt to help her anxiety, Jacob brings home Maxine, a form of AI designed to help users by making predictions and giving advice. On many levels, I could relate to Rowena---the overwhelming sense of worry brought on by motherhood, the desire to be alone---Gardner definitely captures some real emotions facing many new mothers. These emotions combined with a husband who isn't what he originally appeared to be make more a very fun plot!
Was this review helpful?
MOVE OVER ALEXA!   MAXINE is coming to town! 

In the NOT SO distant future, in a ranch style house in Silicon Valley, live “The Snyders”!!!

The ROBO vacs are constantly on the move, the feather dusters are flying around, and air quality in the nursery is continually monitored. 

After a whirlwind courtship and unplanned pregnancy, our deliciously snarky protagonist, Rowena, was whisked away from a promising career as a book editor in NY, to live with her new husband, Jacob and their baby Michelle, in what was once his childhood home, in sunny California. 

Despite loving her daughter fiercely-she couldn’t be more UNHAPPY! 

“Take a pill, BABE” -is the advice of her “loving” hubby-who spends long hours working at a “ Disneyland like” tech company, before coming home, to put on goggles so he can game. 

What happened to the attentive, interesting guy she was dating? 

The pills don’t seem to be improving his wife’s ANXIETY or MOODS, so Jacob scores an AI assistant being beta tested from his employer-MAXINE.

Designed to go a step further than others on the market, this AI can do more than assist-she is designed to become a FRIEND-.one who can offer ADVICE and PREDICTIONS.

But, can you TRUST HER?  

Rowena must decide because what Maxine has just predicted is CHILLING.

In a marketed saturated with the SAME-this is a wildly entertaining, unique story which had me eagerly picking up my Kindle, whenever I could!  

Although the ending was maybe a bit too easy, this is one I can easily recommend if you have enjoyed books like “The Echo Wife” by Sarah Gailey and/or “The Perfect Wife” by J.P. Delaney.

Thank You to INDIE author Faith Gardner, and Mirror House Press for my gifted ARC! It was my pleasure to offer a candid review! 

Available July 23, 2022-pre-order NOW, so you don’t miss this one!!
Was this review helpful?
Oh my goodness. What an amazing read.  This is the thriller of 2022 for sure! I picked this book up this morning and read until the end...couldn't even put it down.  Loved the writing style and the characters were so well developed.  Rowena's snark and sarcasm had me laughing and relating! I cannot wait to recommend this book to everyone! 10 stars if I could.  Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the advanced copy of Amen Maxine.
Was this review helpful?
Fantastic read. What an original idea and concept. I really liked the story, the characters were well developed and believable. It was a bit triggering for anxiety, but personally I don’t mind that so much. It wasn’t bad enough to take away from the storyline. You really felt the love Rowena had for her daughter, which was a great element to the story.
Was this review helpful?
My Rating System: 4⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ticked most boxes ALMOST LOVED IT!!! 

Silicone Valley… Perfect Weather, cash flow galore, a new marriage, a new baby - Rowena Snyder  is living in misery. Ro moved from NYC to be with her new loving husband Jacob and gorgeous baby Michelle, but she’s struggling. She’s suffering from severe anxiety and depression and fears death is around every corner. 

Jacob worried about his new bride having no friends and being miserable brings her home a new “digital friend” that is in beta testing from his techo job. Rowena finds out that the “digi friend” bonds with only her by collecting her personal data and is paranoid and sceptical at first. As she begins to trust Maxine she uses more of her functions like her “prediction” mode and her “advice” mode which all turns out to be really helpful and accurate. 

That is until one day Maxine announces a prediction that is terrifies Rowena and changes her life forever… it begs the question - who should she trust a Man or a Machine!!!

This was another recommendation from GirlWithThePinkSkiMask and she gave this a very Stella 5 stars so I was like I need some of that 5 star action. ⭐️

This one started out really slow for me and Rowena was getting on my nerves… I mean don’t get me wrong I felt for her but she was bothering me… after about the first 30% the book really finds its feet and takes off… from the outset I HATED Jacob with a passion!!! Nope what a POS!!! 🤬

You can really get in Rowena’s head and feel for her once the author paints that picture - you can see how she is being isolated and feels like shes going crazy. You can understand her panic and paranoia and you can even understand why she turns to a machine as a friend, confidant and trusted alley. 🤖

My god the scenes with the highly unprofessional therapist had my fuming - I wanted to slap her face. Also the MIL and the nasty book club ugh - hateful. Poor Rowena nothing was going right for her - no wonder Maxine was a comfort. Oh and Sam, I wont go into it too much so there are no spoilers, but I was rooting for Rowena and Sam - I wanted there to be a thing, was there a thing… hmmm who knows you will have a read. 😯

The author does a really good job of making you really identify with the story and there is humour laced throughout which I appreciated. It is not normally my genre of choice but I enjoyed the nods to the futuristic gadgets, it had me thinking would I have one of those….ooooh that would be handy. 👩‍🔧

I blasted through this one in a day and I felt that as the end came into sight some of the things that happened were predictable but I was ok with that - I didn’t pick everything and I was pleasantly surprised with how this one landed. It is not so hard to believe that machines will be running our lives in the fairly near future - I for one am not interested in a self driving car or a Maxine but I can absolutely see the appeal. 🧐

Give this indie author a go she has a great writing style, excellent humour and a very dark side that will appeal to the thriller lover in you. 💖

Thank you to Mirror House Press, NetGalley and the author for an advanced copy of this book for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
I thought this novel was executed so well. A thriller that had the real life issues of mental illness woven into it seamlessly. It was a gripping read, and while not super twisty it held enough surprises to keep the pages turning. I loved how it was only slightly futuristic and the author tied used the pandemic(s) cleverly. Highly recommend, this was a believable and unnerving thriller!
Was this review helpful?
This ARC was provided to me via Kindle, Mirror House Press and  by #NetGalley. Opinions expressed are completely my own. 

A thriller that left me genuinely on the edge. It’s rare I get the chills from a book, this one gave them to me.
Was this review helpful?
Absolutely the best thriller of the year!  The telecom industry at its most alarming.  This book absolutely left me aghast.  I immediately bought it with the main character and felt her terror.  One of the most original stories I’ve read.
Was this review helpful?
Amen Maxine is a gripping tale of suspense that will resonate with a lot of readers. We meet main character Rowena following a series of massive life changes: only recently married to husband Jake after a whirlwind courtship and surprise pregnancy, she's given up her blossoming career in publishing and moved across the country to live in Jake's childhood home in Silicon Valley and be a stay at home mom to baby Michelle. Jake's not quite the same guy he was when they were just dating; he's distant and dismissive, stays away from home for long hours at his job at a massive tech company, and he's far too close to his overbearing mother Jennee. Rowena feels destabilized and a bit anxious at all the rapid changes she's endured.... and Jake and Jennee only seem to make her feel worse. After an accident at home that leaves Rowena feeling more out of control than ever, Jake brings home a beta product from work: a "digital friend" called Maxine. She's supposed to help Rowena feel more grounded and secure, and provide some semblance of friendship... and instead, she turns Rowena's life upside down in terrifying, irrevocable ways. 

This book was absolutely engaging, and deeply chilling given how much of our existing tech is already capable of doing the things Maxine does. Also chilling was the thought of how easy it is to let people with nefarious intentions into our lives by meeting them through apps, the way Rowena meets Jake. This was one hell of a cautionary tale for modern times. 

Thanks to NetGalley and Mirror House Press for the opportunity to read this book!
Was this review helpful?
This book was amazing! It’ll make you rethink having a google home, Alexa or any other type of AI device in your home. The plots twists were awesome, not what I was expecting at all. I loved the main character/narrator, at times her sarcasm and snarkiness had me laughing out loud. Highly highly recommend this one! 

Thanks to NetGalley for a copy of this book. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you Mirror House Press and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book before publication. IYKYK, my reviews are ALWAYS honest. 

Writing: 5/5 | Plot: 5/5 | Ending: 5/5

THE PLOT

Rowena is a new mom struggling with her newfound role, her relationship, and her mental health. When her husband Jake gives her Maxine, a digital buddy, Rowena's life start to look up, until her new machine friendo makes a startling prediction. 

THIS BOOK IS LIKE...

Trying a new restaurant on a whim to find out it makes the best (insert fave food here) you've ever had. 

MY OPINION

SOUND THE ALARM BECAUSE IT'S A BANGER ALERT. I'm so glad I found this lil indie treat. Yes, sci-fi isn't my usual genre, but this is very light on the sci-fi. It's more like: this shit will happen, but give it a few years. All of the tech mentioned is already in existence, except for maybe the crib that monitors the baby's blood pressure, etc. But as someone who works in cybersecurity, I promise you, none of what the author proposed is outlandish. And as a former copywriter, I loved the little mentions about line editing. Lmao literally me when I read books. 

Faith Gardner has a way with words. Not only is she funny af, but she makes you feel all the things. AND I MEAN ALL. I literally recoiled at some gaslighting scenes. 

Gardner is a master at writing distinct and "real" characters. I'm not a mother, but yet I could completely understand Rowena's "struggles" (I'm hesitant to call them struggles because dealing with a scream machine with putty for a brain would be difficult for anyone). Also, as someone who hasn't touched a public door handle, handgrips on public transportation, or a crosswalk button, I can totally relate to her concerns about the un-sanitized maracas as the baby and me class. HELL. NAH. As usual, I wanted to fight the husband (grade A wagyu beef bum). 

Even though the story was "predictable", the plot was still well-executed. Gardner set the stage for why Rowena would trust Maxine the machine, so when it threw a proverbial grenade in her life, you could understand why Rowena believed it. It also made me think... would I like a Maxine in my life? I say yes. Isn't knowing something awful might happen better than not knowing? Some would say the unknown is the beauty of life, but as someone who used to read the endings of books to determine if it was a worthwhile emotional endeavour, I would appreciate a lil heads up. 

All in all, a wonderfully crafted, original book peppered with humour. Just an FYI, this is not so much a thriller as a character driven contemporary fiction with an undercurrent of suspense.  

PROS AND CONS:

Pros: everything duh it's 5s across the board 

Cons: nadaaaaa
Was this review helpful?
Praise all the digital Beingsfor this book!

  Thank you NetGalley, Xpresso Book Tours and Faith Gardner for letting me read “Amen Maxine” in exchange for an honest review. 

So, I requested this based on a recommendation by my Goodreads buddy TheGirlWithThePinkSkiMask. I trust in her, so here we are. And she was totally right. I did not expect to like it as much as i did. 

THis book is MAGNIFICENT! The writing is AMAZING and the story so well thought out. 

I usually start with the cover first, as in my book, first impressions count. A young woman’s face on the cover, the second half of her face covered by some kind of digital blurred technical stuff that I have no idea what to call. Pixelation? 
Anyway. In all honesty, not a cover I would have picked up myself, but I had trust in this one. I usually shy away from novels that have a dystopian feeling. Technical, geeky things are more my husbands cup of tea than mine. But have trust my friend. Sometimes it is good to push your boundaries. 

“A new marriage.
A perfect home.
A machine that says it’s all a lie.”


Rowena and Jacob met online. A whirlwind romance that leads to a pregnancy and marriage. She moves from trendy New York to Silicon Valley, California into the childhood home of her new husband. Picture perfect? Not for Rowena. She struggles with the life she has left behind - a rising editor-, anxiety and being a new mother. She is also a tad neurotic. That is usually a turn off for me. But Gardner describes her in a very relatable way. 
As a result of her struggles, her husband brings home a digital friend, Maxine (a beta production if his company). I pictured her like a more insisting and straight forward version of Alexa. Alexa 2mil.0. 
 Then Maxine starts to listen to whats happening in the house and in Rowena’s life. Is Jacob as nice as he seems? 

It makes you realise that we are really not too far away from this being reality. Devices listening in, us relying on these devices.  Depending on them, just like Rowena is doing. But how far would you go? How much can you rely on digital assistants and how much can you trust yourself?

I immediately fell for Rowena. An introvert who prefers books over people. My kind of woman. Yes, she is already neurotic, but her new family very subtly makes her even more paranoid. Sneaky. They agreed on honesty, that is not what she got.

It is a perfect sign if you immediately like a character. Full points here. I also feel like mentioning that i like the unusual names she picked. The writing is so down to earth, straight from the horses mouth. The book sucked me in right away. I tend to know right away if I will enjoy a book or not. This one screamed YES at me right away. At the halfway point it really gets going. I loved every second of the book! A definite recommendation. Maybe even best book I have read this year.
Was this review helpful?
What In The Muckity Muck?! 😳😯🤯😳🤯🤯

Holy Mother Fluffin' Fluffer Nutter Bar!! What the FLUFF did I just devour like I was left alone with a tub of ice cream?! This book just made how real it could be with our devices and apps we use constantly, predicting us and our ways. Talk about scary real! But the suspense in this almost dystopian type sci-fi-sprinkled thriller was insanity! I absolutely freakin' loved it!

Mყ 𝐒ყɴ𝐨ρѕιѕ: Silicon Valley - a place where the wealthy live and technology is at its highest. And now where Rowena resides with her new husband Jacob and baby. Rowena has always dealt with anxiety all her life, but lately it's been getting worse. Jacob, a worker at at a high-tech company, offers a suggestion of a beta testing device called Maxine that shows promise with becoming a "digital friend & assistant" with different modes to "help". As Rowena depends on Maxine more, she realizes just how accurate and true Maxine can be to an extent where Rowena may be in danger and needs to decide just how much she can trust a machine. 

Thank you to NetGalley & Mirror House Press for this ARC.
Release Date: July 22, 2022

Don't even get me going on that freakin' unreal ending! Holy fluffery was it unexpected and so satisfying & yummy I can't even! I'm still reeling from this novel in the best way! You can't put it down! You can try but you'll fail. You'll be addicted to it just like Rowena to Maxine. All I can say is, I want me a damn Maxine! Faith, I don't know how the fluff you did this but flitter my flutter you unbelievably nailed this in any and every way! Major book hangover is now commencing! 

𝐌𝐞𝐫𝐢𝐭: 5 / 5 Beach Waves! 🌊
Was this review helpful?