Cover Image: Amen Maxine

Amen Maxine

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Member Reviews

I grew up watching a lot of Twilight Zone episodes and I felt like I was in one while reading this book!  It was so original, and it will leave you speechless!

Rowena and Jacob are newly married with a young daughter when Jacob convinces Rowena to give up everything in New York where they met and move to Silicon Valley in California.   Rowena is not adjusting well to her new lifestyle.  She’s filled with anxiety and depression and her marriage begins to suffer.   Jacob decides to bring home a “digital friend” that is currently in beta testing from his tech job.  Maxine quickly becomes Rowena’s confidant, giving her advice and predicting events in the future.   One night Maxine gives Rowena a “prediction” about her future with Jacob and Rowena is terrified.  With no close friends or family nearby, Rowena trusts her.  What follows is a gripping and intense story with a mouth dropping conclusion.  You are left with the question; can this really happen?  My answer would be yes, I think it’s possible!

The writing is so well done and thought provoking.   I could feel all of Rowena’s emotions and anxieties as a new mom.  How she doesn’t feel like she fits in with anyone in her new state. How she can never please her mother-in-law (until she shares a “prediction” from Maxine).   How she begins to resent Jacob after all the gaslighting.   I wouldn’t classify this book as sci-fi, but more of a domestic suspense with a touch of sci-fi.

I will be recommending this book everywhere!

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for my eARC.
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Reviewing AMEN MAXINE by Faith Gardner without revealing too much is a challenge.  The main character, Rowena, meets and falls in love with Jacob online during a pandemic lockdown.  They spend some time getting to know each other online and by talking on cellphones before their first date.  Jacob is soon living with Rowena in New York City, and they quickly marry four months later after finding out they are pregnant.  Rowena resigns her editorial position with a well-known publishing house and moves to California after Jacob lands a high paying job in a Silicon Valley tech company and his mother gives them his childhood home in Cupertino.

Although Rowena adores her baby daughter, she hates living in California where she is bored and doesn’t have any friends.  Rowena is struggling with depression and anxiety when Jacob brings home Maxine, a virtual assistant artificial intelligence device being developed by his employer.  Maxine is intended to help Rowena and she increasingly relies on the device, especially after some of Maxine’s predictions become true.

The setting for this novel is in the near future where robots clean your home, driverless cars are common and AI assistants are becoming a reality for the wealthy.  This novel is well paced with twists to keep your interest, especially at the end.
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Just one word… “WOW”!

I grabbed this book on a whim after reading the stellar five-star review from GirlWithThePinkSkiMask. (Thank you Pink!). I'm not typically a sci-fi reader but the storyline intrigued me and I knew I had to give it a whirl!

It far exceeded all my expectations! I was super-glued to the pages from start to finish!

Rowena is a new mother. And that’s not the only big change in her life. After discovering she was pregnant and after only a short time together, she quickly married Jacob. Immediately moving across the country to start her life as a new mother and bride.

It was a very bold move, leaving behind everything that made her feel secure. Her job, apartment and friends. Now, Rowena’s anxiety is growing and Jacob certainly isn’t helping. Until he surprises her with a new devise called Maxine. Similar to Alexa but with an elevated complexity. Rowena has herself a new best friend and companion.

Now, under the weight of Jacob’s gaslighting, the marriage is crumbling. But all is well… Maxine is there to offer support and maybe just a little friendly advice.

This book was so cleverly written I found myself gasping in shock over and over as Rowena tried to keep her life in order. So many times I wanted to reach into the pages and help her!

Now the big question! Do I want my own Maxine? Hmmm….kind of! But not sure I’m ready for everything she can do! 🙈

Bottom line - This is a must read! Just make sure to set aside a weekend because once you start you won’t be setting this one down!

Thank you to NetGalley Mirror House Press and Faith Gardner
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Thank you so much for allowing me to read and review your titles. I really not the opportunity! 

I do appreciate it and continue to review books that I get the chance to read.
Thanks again!
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Maxine, Maxine, Maxine.....

Rowena and Jacob are a young couple, living on the West Coast, with a young baby. Jacob works for a tech company and Rowena is a stay-at-home mom. She's adjust to this new life, after living in New York and working a job in book publishing ( dream job?). Her days are lonely...she misses her friends, her mom, her life before all of this. She's ....unhappy.

Jacob's solution to everything is 'take a pill, babe'. and while Rowena does, it doesn't seem to do anything except cause more anxiety. One day, Jacob brings home Maxine. Think...Alexa...with feelings. Maxine is in beta moda and is programmed to only work on a single person to person basis (gotta make that $$$$). Rowena is at first hesitant to use Maxine, but her loneliness gets the best of her and soon she finds herself using all of Maxine's features, including her Advice and Prediction modes.

Needless to say, Maxine's predictions aren't for the best of things and Rowena finds that the future for her and her child are not with Jacob and the home where they live. She's terrified and needs to escape before it's too late.

This was an exciting thriller that isn't too unrealistic. I'm terrified of AI assistants. We have SIRI and Alexa in our house and I hate them both so much. The programming of a digital friend doesn't seem entirely insane and something like this....could likely happen.

I think this is an enjoyable book for anyone who reads domestic thrillers and Faith Gardner should have much success in this genre.

Thanks to NetGalley and Faith Gardner for the opportunity to read and review.
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Amen Maxine
by Faith Gardner

This ARC was provided to me via Kindle, Mirror House Press, and by #NetGalley. 
Amen Maxine was a wonderfully written book.  I have Alexa items in every room. It had me really thinking of how much info and power they do have.
A new marriage.
A perfect home.
A machine that says it’s all a lie.
I loved the ending, and the beginning, and damn, had me talking to Alexa. Best book for me this year.
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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.
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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!
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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.
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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!
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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.
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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!
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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 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!!
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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!
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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.
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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.
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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!
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