Cover Image: Mothered


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Member Reviews

I haven’t read Baby Teeth but I’ve heard great things, so I was keen to check this one out. The unreliable narrator in this one was completely unreliable! Is Grace the unwell one, is it her mother?
For most of this book I didn’t know what was what and although it kept me somewhat engaged, I needed some direction as to what was real and what was imagined. I’ve tried to avoid novels written about the pandemic but I see how this worked well in this case. The isolation making the situation that much more challenging.
Will definitely be reading more from Zoje Stage
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Grace’s mother, who has just lost her husband, is moving in with her, during the early days of Covid, to share the lockdown. Grace has reservations about this, but since she’s been downsized because of the pandemic, she could use the help with her mortgage, and maybe the company during this terrifying time. But things go wrong quickly—Grace starts having nightmares, mostly about her dead disabled sister, and starts to lose time and hallucinate. And she sees her mother as the source for much of this anguish in her previously stable life. 

This is a haunting book, melding the current fear of the pandemic with familial trauma and portrayed in a hallucinatory prose that makes you question yourself, just as Grace questions herself throughout the book. I really loved this, even though it was a little tough to be projected back into the beginning of the pandemic.
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Did you ever wait to read a book because you know you'll love it and know you won't have the chance to read the book for the first time again? That was me with this book. 🤷🏻‍♀️

This book starts off from a psychologist's POV. He is talking about how interesting his next appointment is that day. Yep, at this point, I'm totally hooked.  I love books that have psychology or really anything about the mind involved. Y'all know the more twisty and turny the better. (Are those even words. If not, I just made them up, and we will contact Webster about it later today 🤣)

As I was reading, I honestly couldn't tell the nightmare chapters from the real-life chapters. They both sound so real and equally messed up. The whole time, I couldn't figure out if Grace was sane or not. I love it!! I don't want to mention more about this because I don't want to give anything away. Just know it was creepy and claustrophobic!!

I do want to mention that it is set during quarantine. It helps set the scene as to why Grace let her mother, Jackie, move in with her. Jackie is passive-aggressive and judgmental. Another character does get the virus but recovers. I know that this won't be for everyone. I felt it was necessary to put in my review. 

This book is 100% worth the read!! On my scale of Buy, Bargain, Borrow, Bud, or Bust, this one is a BUY!!! I added the paper copy to my wish list because I absolutely need it on my new shelves!! 

Read This Book If:
✂️ You want to read a book to hook you from the beginning
✂️ You love books where you can't figure out what is real and what isn't
✂️ You like horror novels 

Thank you @zoje.stage_author, Thomas & Mercer Publishing & @netgalley for an eARC of this book!!

Already posted to Goodreads, Storygraph and Amazon
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When Grace finds herself in need of some extra cash during the worldwide Pandemic of 2020, she isn't expecting to invite her mother to move in with her. She had just bought her own house and she and her mother had a less than perfect relationship. However, it seems to be a match for them when she can get money toward her mortgage and repair the broken bond with her mother.
The pandemic does give the book a chaotic and claustrophobic feeling. Her mother starts small, moving things around in Grace's house. There were dual timelines, which I liked. It takes a nightmare turn and spirals out of control! 
I liked it. I hate the pandemic and have found myself avoiding novels that take place during that timeline but this was a creepy read that heightened my anxieties in a good way!
3. stars.
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Mothered is the first pandemic-based thriller book I've read so far. The cover is disturbing and the synopsis is equally as intimidating. The first half of the book hooked me - it was incredibly spooky. However, but the middle, I felt like this story wasn't as believable as it had started. I did enjoy how suspenseful and well-written this book is.
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I wasn't a fan of Baby Teeth so I thought maybe this would change my mind but it didn't really.. I also don't care for covid plot lines either. Not much happens at all, it's a very very slow build that turns into nothing, in my opinion. I can't give this a fair and proper review because I just don't have much thoughts on it unfortunately.

Thank you to Netgalley for an advanced copy of this book!
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Mothered by Zoje Stage is both horrific and dark!  Stage's writing and storytelling of fractured relationships are superb.  I usually am able to call the ending of most books, but this one shocked me.  The author is really great at writing characters and situations that stay with you long after the book ends,  

I received a review copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley for my honest review. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.
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I admit I am a big fan of this author. I loved Baby Teeth and Wonderland left me feeling so unsettled and weirded out. Her newest, Mothered, did not live up to my expectations. 

I liked the premise and was excited to start reading. I was getting flashbacks to the earlier days of Covid and being cooped up in my own house with my family, including my mother. 

I didn’t feel like the story went anywhere really and I never quite understood the catfishing aspect. 

I will definitely read anything Stage writes and am hoping for a stronger book next time!
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Thank you Thomas & Mercer publishing and NetGalley. This book was okay. It was a little slow but overall I enjoyed it.
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When Grace’s newly widowed mother requests to move in with her during the pandemic, she isn’t exactly thrilled…but since she just bought her first home months prior it seems it could be a mutually beneficial arrangement, and perhaps an opportunity to repair their difficult relationship. 

What could go wrong? 

This is a twisty psychological thriller and the fact it was based during the pandemic makes the claustrophobic element heightened. I wasn’t sure how I felt about a pandemic novel and have admittedly cringed a bit when it pops up in storylines, but I feel this really worked in this instance. I loved the dual timeline and the nightmarish spiral, as we uncover bits from the past and distorted reality.
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Grace has just bought her first house when the pandemic hits, and to make matters worse, she has to play Good Daughter and let her overbearing mother move in, robbing her of her privacy and individuality. Much like the start of the pandemic, this book is chaotic and confusing as it’s hard to discern what is reality and what is a dream. The premise of this book is interesting, but I wasn’t really into it. It had it’s weird and creepy moments, but I also have a hard time with the way Grace’s dead sister, Hope, who had cerebral palsy, is painted as a horrific figure that puts a really bad taste in my mouth.
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3.5 stars. Having read and loved Baby Teeth, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the latest Zoje Stage’s book. It was written, and about the Pandemic, so I wasn’t sure how it would hold up. It was pretty crazy. Sort of like real life. Didn’t love it like I did her first, but it was good. Thank you Netgalley for the early read.
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Thank you Netgalley for this ARC of Mothered by Zoje Stage.

I remember reading Baby Teeth when it was first released and really enjoying it.  I wonder sometimes, when someone has great success with whatever debut piece of art they released, if then they double down on their aesthetic.  Meaning "oh, you liked that? Okay, I'll add a whole bunch MORE."  

That's kind of what Mothered felt like to me.  It lost the balance between madness, creep factor, and good story telling. Instead the whole thing was a giant fever dream that I couldn't escape for even a glass of cold water.  And the story really had potential, but it lost me in the ether between reality and lunacy.  It was just too much.
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Zoje Stage has a gift for writing horrific tales of broken or collapsing relationships, enduring catastrophic trials, and telling the stories with a lyrical voice that elevates the readers experience. And with Mothered, she has done it again.

This book is dark. It begins with a murder and unravels from there. A mother and daughter are forced to cohabitate during the covid outbreak and pressures of close quarters and dark history bring them both to the razor’s edge. Who will break first?

If you are a fan of literary fiction, dark tales, and unreliable narrators, then you should definitely check this book out!
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I love the setting of this book since I am familiar with the area. Pulling the pandemic into this story was perfect. It added to the craziness of the situation of the characters. This was a very unique plot and I enjoyed it a lot.
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DNF at 27%. I just really could not get into this one. I tried and found it to just be meh. Nothing was happening and I could not see myself forcing my way through the rest of the book.
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Grace is going a little stir crazy. The COVID-19 pandemic is still in full swing, and although the regulations are loosening up, Grace is still struggling. She lost her job. She feels sort of aimless. And then her mom, who she does not have a good relationship with, asks to move in with her. Things start to spiral & readers are left trying to figure out what’s real or not.

This book didn’t work for me, and the main reason is the amount of dream sequences. I found myself skimming those scenes because there were SO many and it’s already a trope I don’t really care for. I also didn’t really get Grace as a character; she didn’t feel like a developed character, and it made it hard for me to really care what happened to her. She also has a hobby of cat fishing women on the internet, which honestly felt pretty random.

Overall, I wasn’t a fan of this one but it did hold my interest. I wanted to finish it because I was curious to find out what was really happening.
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Horror / Murder Thriller

When Grace and her mom, Jackie, move in together to quarantine during a pandemic, Grace begins a slow decent into madness. Then Jackie starts making accusations against Grace about things that happened in the past. Will it push Grace over the edge or will it bring them closer together?

This was such a strange book. Full of twists and turns and with very vivid and gruesome hallucinations on Grace’s part. I would give it 4 out of 5 stars. I would also recommend this to someone with a strong constitution.
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Mothered is a deeply weird and heartbreaking horror story about a mother and daughter forced to self-isolate together during a pandemic, and the family secrets and lies that come to the surface as they lose touch with reality.

I’ve read a few pandemic books lately and Zoje Stage’s Mothered is the one that represents it best for me  Stage completely captures that feeling of unreality and isolation in that first year of Covid-19 (though the pandemic itself is not identified in the book).  

Grace is used to living alone, and having her mother Jackie move in with her is both smothering and even more isolating.  The book is filled with unreliable memories and dream sequences as Grace tries to reconcile her childhood memories of her mother with the woman before her now.  

Zoje Stage is one of my favourite horror authors, and I love how each of her books is completely different in story, theme, and tone.  I never know what I’m getting into when I pick them up, except that her characters are always wonderfully complex, and no matter how messed up they are, I find myself rooting for them.  

I love when a horror writer can make me forget I’m reading horror, and for just a moment, I get caught up in the character relationships and think “Oh, they’ll figure it out, maybe everything will be fine.”  Her novels feel like Greek tragedies on a smaller scale.

Thank you to Netgalley and Thomas & Mercer for my review copy of this book.
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This book overwhelmed me at times and then underwhelmed me at other times...leaving me feeling confused as to whether I liked it or not. 

If you are not a huge fan of books that talk about the pandemic, I would not recommend this book. It is extremely COVID centered because it is ultimately why the events that take place in this book happen in the timeline that they do. In a lot of respects, I did appreciate the way this thriller really WENT THERE with some of the mentions of gore and violence. However, I think I might be over the whole 'is any of this actually happening or am I just dreaming?' trope. That being said, if you are a fan of an unreliable narrator, then I would definitely recommend this book! 

Again, there are aspects of this book I really did enjoy and others I did not enjoy as much. I do think it was paced really well and has a VERY HOOKING opening chapter with some pretty good twists sprinkled throughout, even if I think most of the "tropes" utilized are overdone (in my opinion).
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