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Jar of Hearts

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This is the story of three best friends: one who was murdered, one who went to prison, and one who's been searching for the truth all these years . . . When she was sixteen years old, Angela Wong—one of the most popular girls in school—disappeared without a trace. Nobody ever suspected that her best friend, Georgina Shaw, now an executive and rising star at her Seattle phar This is the story of three best friends: one who was murdered, one who went to prison, and one who's been searching for the truth all these years . . . When she was sixteen years old, Angela Wong—one of the most popular girls in school—disappeared without a trace. Nobody ever suspected that her best friend, Georgina Shaw, now an executive and rising star at her Seattle pharmaceutical company, was involved in any way. Certainly not Kaiser Brody, who was close with both girls back in high school. But fourteen years later, Angela Wong's remains are discovered in the woods near Geo's childhood home. And Kaiser—now a detective with Seattle PD—finally learns the truth: Angela was a victim of Calvin James. The same Calvin James who murdered at least three other women. To the authorities, Calvin is a serial killer. But to Geo, he's something else entirely. Back in high school, Calvin was Geo's first love. Turbulent and often volatile, their relationship bordered on obsession from the moment they met right up until the night Angela was killed. For fourteen years, Geo knew what happened to Angela and told no one. For fourteen years, she carried the secret of Angela's death until Geo was arrested and sent to prison. While everyone thinks they finally know the truth, there are dark secrets buried deep. And what happened that fateful night is more complex and more chilling than anyone really knows. Now the obsessive past catches up with the deadly present when new bodies begin to turn up, killed in the exact same manner as Angela Wong. How far will someone go to bury her secrets and hide her grief? How long can you get away with a lie? How long can you live with it?


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This is the story of three best friends: one who was murdered, one who went to prison, and one who's been searching for the truth all these years . . . When she was sixteen years old, Angela Wong—one of the most popular girls in school—disappeared without a trace. Nobody ever suspected that her best friend, Georgina Shaw, now an executive and rising star at her Seattle phar This is the story of three best friends: one who was murdered, one who went to prison, and one who's been searching for the truth all these years . . . When she was sixteen years old, Angela Wong—one of the most popular girls in school—disappeared without a trace. Nobody ever suspected that her best friend, Georgina Shaw, now an executive and rising star at her Seattle pharmaceutical company, was involved in any way. Certainly not Kaiser Brody, who was close with both girls back in high school. But fourteen years later, Angela Wong's remains are discovered in the woods near Geo's childhood home. And Kaiser—now a detective with Seattle PD—finally learns the truth: Angela was a victim of Calvin James. The same Calvin James who murdered at least three other women. To the authorities, Calvin is a serial killer. But to Geo, he's something else entirely. Back in high school, Calvin was Geo's first love. Turbulent and often volatile, their relationship bordered on obsession from the moment they met right up until the night Angela was killed. For fourteen years, Geo knew what happened to Angela and told no one. For fourteen years, she carried the secret of Angela's death until Geo was arrested and sent to prison. While everyone thinks they finally know the truth, there are dark secrets buried deep. And what happened that fateful night is more complex and more chilling than anyone really knows. Now the obsessive past catches up with the deadly present when new bodies begin to turn up, killed in the exact same manner as Angela Wong. How far will someone go to bury her secrets and hide her grief? How long can you get away with a lie? How long can you live with it?

30 review for Jar of Hearts

  1. 4 out of 5

    Deanna

    My reviews can also be seen at: https://deesradreadsandreviews.wordpr... Throughout High School, Georgina (Geo) Shaw, Angela Wong, and Kaiser Brody were best friends. They were practically inseparable… until the day Calvin James entered their lives. From then on nothing was the same…. Angela was the captain of the cheerleading squad, the one everyone wanted to be friends with. She craved attention and Georgina was fine with letting her have it. But Angela didn’t like it when Georgina caught the ey My reviews can also be seen at: https://deesradreadsandreviews.wordpr... Throughout High School, Georgina (Geo) Shaw, Angela Wong, and Kaiser Brody were best friends. They were practically inseparable… until the day Calvin James entered their lives. From then on nothing was the same…. Angela was the captain of the cheerleading squad, the one everyone wanted to be friends with. She craved attention and Georgina was fine with letting her have it. But Angela didn’t like it when Georgina caught the eye of the good-looking, and older Calvin James. “When she spoke to you, she could make you feel like you were the only person in the room, or she could shred you with one dirty look”. Soon, Calvin is all Georgina can think of and her friends aren’t impressed. And then one night after a High School party, Angela goes missing. Fourteen years later her remains are found. Over the years, Georgina had done well for herself. She's thirty years old and is the youngest VP at Shipp Pharmaceuticals. She’s even engaged to the company's CEO. She built a new life and kept all her secrets tucked away into compartments in her mind. But her new life ended the day she was arrested by her former best friend, Detective Kaiser Brody, as “Wonderwall” by Oasis played in the background. “Today is gonna be the day that they’re gonna throw it back to you” The book opens as Calvin James aka The Sweetbay Strangler is on trial for the murder of four women, including Angela Wong. Georgina Shaw is a witness and after she’s finished giving her testimony, she will be sent to Hazelwood (Hellwood) Correctional Institute to serve a five-year sentence. This was the plea deal for her testimony, though many think five years isn’t enough for Georgina’s part in what happened. “in every story, there’s a hero and a villain. Sometimes one person can be both” Detective Brody still has questions for his old friend Geo. He feels that there is more to the story. Will he ever find out exactly what happened that night? And when new bodies start showing up... will the detective be able to be able to do his job properly? Or will old feelings cloud his judgment? SEE ME “Jar of Hearts” was an interesting read packed with well-developed characters and an engrossing plot. The story shifts between past and present and is broken into five parts. The five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. The majority of the story is told from Georgina’s point of view but also includes chapters from Kaiser Brody’s perspective. An extremely well-written story of friendship, obsession, jealousy, and murder. One that does require some suspension of disbelief, but still had me flipping pages quickly to see what was going to happen next. The author tells an exciting story, one that drew me in right from the very first page. And though I figured out a couple things early on… my jaw still dropped as I came to the unexpected ending of this twisted and addictive read. This was my first read from Jennifer Hillier and I can guarantee that it won’t be my last. I'd like to thank Minotaur Books for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my honest review.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Chelsea Humphrey

    This book was all kinds of messed up, and I loved it. I'm not sure what it says about me that I like all kinds of gratuitous nasty in my thrillers. Could it be that I have become so desensitized to violence, gore, and all other forms of disturbing nature that I have to keep "one upping" my reads? Possibly. Deep down, I feel like the gritty, explicit thrillers make me ponder the unsettling aspects of life more. When a book talks about some of the darkest violence you can imagine, it makes me thin This book was all kinds of messed up, and I loved it. I'm not sure what it says about me that I like all kinds of gratuitous nasty in my thrillers. Could it be that I have become so desensitized to violence, gore, and all other forms of disturbing nature that I have to keep "one upping" my reads? Possibly. Deep down, I feel like the gritty, explicit thrillers make me ponder the unsettling aspects of life more. When a book talks about some of the darkest violence you can imagine, it makes me think about instances in real life that have occurred in a similar manner, and I start to wonder about the motives behind such monstrous and cruel behavior. Weird? Totally, but there you have it. Jar Of Hearts is one of those explicit novels. You know it's as bad for you as the cinnamon candy hearts portrayed in the story; there's a sickly sweet undertone mixed with a plot that has desperate, compulsive pacing. It's one of those books that once you pick it up you don't want to put it down until you're finished. I give a nod to the author and my respect; regardless of the fact that this is a story that has been done before in various ways, she puts her own flair on it and sells it to us like it's a brand new, shiny idea. Even though I saw all the plot twists before they arrived (I chalk this up to reading so many thrillers already), I was STILL head over heels in love with this book. Guys, that's the sign of engaging writing. I think my only complaint here was that the ending felt a bit rushed and that I wanted a little more. More interaction during the final reunion between the characters, and maybe just a little more detail, characterization, and story in general. I could have easily gobbled up another 50-75 pages of this book! After reading the author's note in the back I now know that she connects her books via an invented PNW town and crossover characters. Obviously this is a standalone novel, but I'm always impressed when books are given that extra layer of complex connection and detail. Highly recommended for a fun summer read; you'll fly through this stunning suspense in record time, I assure you. Content warning for murder (two of which are children), dismemberment, gratuitous violence, two graphic rape scenes, one attempted rape scene, and many other unsettling plot devices for the squeamish and sensitive. Review copy furnished via publisher.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Meredith

    Creepy Good! “In every story, there’s a hero and a villain. Sometimes one person can be both.” A murder, a coverup, and a twisted relationship are at the forefront of Jar of Hearts. This book is not only about what happened the night a young girl is murdered, but also about the after effects on the perpetrator of a crime. 14 years ago, Angela Wong was murdered. Her remains have been recently discovered, along with evidence pointing to her best friend, Georgina Shaw. Georgina is sentenced to 5 Creepy Good! “In every story, there’s a hero and a villain. Sometimes one person can be both.” A murder, a coverup, and a twisted relationship are at the forefront of Jar of Hearts. This book is not only about what happened the night a young girl is murdered, but also about the after effects on the perpetrator of a crime. 14 years ago, Angela Wong was murdered. Her remains have been recently discovered, along with evidence pointing to her best friend, Georgina Shaw. Georgina is sentenced to 5 years in prison for her role in Angela’s murder. Bits and pieces of the how and the why behind Angela’s murder are slowly revealed, along with buried secrets and lies. Georgina's point of view adds a layer of depth to this novel. This is a fast-paced psychological thriller that kept me riveted. The dark, sinister characters were my favorite part of reading Jar of Hearts. There is an underlying element of creepiness throughout, which made me uneasy and kept me on my toes. There are some moments that are extremely disturbing (including a pretty descriptive rape scene), which resulted in me having to take reading breaks. I was expecting this book to be focused on why the murder happened and was pleasantly surprised to discover that it's about much more. There are flashbacks to the past to expose what really happened the night Angela was killed, so the reader is able to gradually understand the part Georgina played. This element also serves to provide an interesting juxtaposition of Georgina’s character. I found the ending to be seriously disturbing, but I wasn’t fully sold on the epilogue. Overall, I would recommend this to psychological thriller fans! I received a copy of this book from NetGalley and St. Martin's/Minotaur Books in exchange for an honest review.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Paromjit

    Jennifer Hillier writes a gripping, emotive, dark and twisted psychological thriller that had me reading as fast as I possibly could, desperate to see how it all ends. Popular 16 year old Angela Wong disappears without trace, only for her dismembered remains to resurface in the woods 14 years later, close to Georgina 'Geo' Shaw's home. Geo is now a successful VP at Shipp's Pharmaceuticals in Seattle, and engaged to the CEO. Her life falls apart as the knowledge of what happened to Angela, and he Jennifer Hillier writes a gripping, emotive, dark and twisted psychological thriller that had me reading as fast as I possibly could, desperate to see how it all ends. Popular 16 year old Angela Wong disappears without trace, only for her dismembered remains to resurface in the woods 14 years later, close to Georgina 'Geo' Shaw's home. Geo is now a successful VP at Shipp's Pharmaceuticals in Seattle, and engaged to the CEO. Her life falls apart as the knowledge of what happened to Angela, and her role in it, secrets she has kept all these years, now spill out. Kaiser Brody, is a police detective in Seattle PD, he has never got past the stumbling block of his obsessive unrequited love for Geo through the years. He sees that Angela has been a victim of the 'Sweetbay Strangler', Calvin James. When Geo was 16, she developed an blinding obsessive teenage crush on the older Calvin that will indelibly shape her future. The story is told through multiple perspectives, going back and forth in time. Geo is sentenced to 5 years in prison, and Calvin is imprisoned for life for the killing of Angela, and other deaths. Hillier gives us a chilling portrayal of Geo's prison life, for which Geo has to draw on her inner resources and strength to survive the experience. Calvin manages to escape, and other bodies with a similar MO turn up as the past comes back to haunt the present. As Geo is freed, you wonder if Calvin is responsible and if Geo's life is in danger. There is more to this deadly affair than is first thought as Hillier reveals twist after twist in this tale of abuse and violence. Geo, the once successful and wealthy business woman, now faces life as a pariah, shunned and derided. The narrative gives us a picture of broken and manipulated lives, prison hardships, abuse, friendship, and wrecked futures. This is a fast paced, beautifully written and impressively plotted book. Admittedly the characters are difficult to like, but Hillier, nevertheless, makes them riveting and compelling, you want to know more about them and the direction their lives head in. I must warn readers that there is dark, unsettling and disturbing material that covers issues such as rape and abuse that may be too much for many readers. I found myself sucked into the story, and found it thought provoking, intense, and an emotional rollercoaster of a ride. I highly recommend this to readers who love twisted psychological thrillers that are a little different. Many thanks to Atlantic Books for an ARC.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Debra

    4.5 Stars "The past is always with you, whether you choose to think about it or not, whether you take responsibility for it or not. Your carry the past with you because it transforms you. You can try to bury it and pretend it never happened, but that doesn’t work." The past never remains in the past. The decision you make, the judgement calls, the impulsive actions, the good, the bad, the ugly, it can and will come back to haunt you. That is something that Geo (Georgina) Shaw knows all too well. W 4.5 Stars "The past is always with you, whether you choose to think about it or not, whether you take responsibility for it or not. Your carry the past with you because it transforms you. You can try to bury it and pretend it never happened, but that doesn’t work." The past never remains in the past. The decision you make, the judgement calls, the impulsive actions, the good, the bad, the ugly, it can and will come back to haunt you. That is something that Geo (Georgina) Shaw knows all too well. When she was sixteen-years-old, her best friend, Angela Wong, disappeared without a trace. No one knew what happened that night she disappeared - no one was supposed to know. But Geo knew and kept the details of that night a secret. She'll pay for that - don't worry she will pay. "This is the story of three best friends: one who was murdered, one who went to prison, and one who's been searching for the truth all these years . . ." When Angela's remains are found near Geo's father's property, it becomes clear that Calvin James has killed her. Who is Calvin James????? He is a serial killer responsible for the death of three other women. It just so happens that Calvin was Geo's boyfriend in high school. They had an obsessive and intense relationship which seemed to end abruptly when Angela went missing (ahem was murdered). Kaiser Brody, an investigator for the Seattle PD who arrested Calvin, was Angela and Geo's close friend in high school. He is shocked and saddened to learn of Geo's silence and knowledge about Angela's death. "Because buried things can, and do, come back." Geo knew what happened that night but choose to keep what happened a secret. That decision is her downfall and she is sentenced to prison when Angela's remains are found. Upon her release, she is trying to start over and finds that is easier said than done. New remains have been found in the woods near her father's home and investigators are wondering if the bodies are in any way related to the Angela Wong murder? Who is the killer? Are the cases related? This book had a lot of twists and turns. Just when I thought I had this book figured out, a new twist and a new turn, let me know I was nowhere near to knowing what the heck was going on in this book. Seriously, just when I thought I had a character's motivation down, a new secret or a new revelation would turn things around. This book is told in Geo's and Kaiser's POV throughout five parts of the book. This not only helped moved the book along but kept things interesting - as in REALLY interesting. This is an interesting book because from the very beginning, the reader knows that Geo is getting prison time for keeping her friend's murder a secret. What we don't know is why? Why was Angela murdered? Why did Geo keep it secret? How was she able to go on with her life? How could she look her friend's family in the face? How do you live with yourself? Why do you lie? So many questions! The details of that night do come, and some are quite SHOCKING! This book was a page turner for me. I seriously could not put this book down (nor did I want to put it down). Thank you to St. Martin's Press Minotaur books and NetGalley who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. The opinions in this review are my own. See more of my reviews at www.openbookpost.com

  6. 4 out of 5

    Christina - Traveling Sister

    4.5, Well tickle me pink, I didn’t expect that stars!!!! Full review and a recipe for a DIY Ramen Noodle Jar featured on my blog Recipe and a Read!!! Georgina (Geo) Shaw was your average 16-year-old, high-school cheerleader. She was popular, smart and a good girl. Her best friend was the “it-girl” of St. Martins private school, Angela Wong. Angela shined brighter and bolder than Geo, than anyone at their high-school, and she knew it. Their relationship was fraught with jealousies and competition b 4.5, Well tickle me pink, I didn’t expect that stars!!!! Full review and a recipe for a DIY Ramen Noodle Jar featured on my blog Recipe and a Read!!! Georgina (Geo) Shaw was your average 16-year-old, high-school cheerleader. She was popular, smart and a good girl. Her best friend was the “it-girl” of St. Martins private school, Angela Wong. Angela shined brighter and bolder than Geo, than anyone at their high-school, and she knew it. Their relationship was fraught with jealousies and competition but they loved each other more than anything else in the world. Enter Calvin James. He’s 21, drives a red Trans Am, is too handsome for words, confident and charming to boot. When he takes a sudden, inexplicable and obsessive interest in Geo instead of Angela, Geo’s carefully constructed life slowly starts to unravel. Until one fateful night Calvin murders Angela Wong and Geo helps him cover it up. The past is always with you, whether you choose to think about it or not, whether you take responsibility for it or not. Your carry the past with you because it transforms you. You can try to bury it and pretend it never happened, but that doesn’t work. Now, 14 years down the line Geo has hidden this secret and carried the guilt with her as she forged a new life. She’s a major player at a huge corporation, she’s got a rich fiancé and things are all going her way. Until one-third of her high-school trio, now a cop, makes a visit to her at work. Kaiser, best friend to both her and Angela has come to arrest Geo as an accomplice to murder. Geo, finally ready to come clean and wash her past sins away with truth serves five years in prison for her crimes and helps put Calvin away for life. Newly released from jail, bodies begin turning up with suspicious messages that all point to Geo. Now the race is on to figure out who is this killer, how is it related to Angela and Geo and will they solve it in time? Everyone has a single defining moment in life, something that thrusts them irrevocably into a new direction, something that affects them at their core, something that changes them forever. I loved this story! It was such a refreshing thriller to read because it was entirely grounded in reality. The story lines are plausible, believable and at no point did I feel I had to truly suspend reality to get into the story. I don’t mind implausible storylines because it’s par for the course in fiction and I’m a fantasy fan so I’m used to it – but it’s always nice when you read something and find yourself saying “yes, I could see this happening” and still being totally entrenched in the suspense of the story. This had me at the edge of my seat the entire time. I wasn’t there because there were frivolous twists or red-herrings thrown in and I was honestly surprised by how engrossed I was despite it missing things that are fairly traditional for these types of novels. The development into the story and it’s writing is was got me. I didn’t want to know the outcome, I needed to and I didn’t want to miss a single detail along the way. In every story, there’s a hero and villain. Sometimes one person can be both. I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about the prison setting but it was yet another device that yielded to an incredibly dynamic novel. I’m not able to recall any story I’ve read that’s had a sizeable portion of it set within the confines of prison and it was written in an incredibly accessible way. It created an atmosphere to the novel that not only changed Geo as a person, but changes the readers perception of her as well. As the story progresses, the pacing remains consistent and it never felt rushed or sensationalized. The final twists in this one weren’t over-done or in your face. Much like the rest of the novel there was subtlety here that really worked for me and aided to the very grounded feel of the novel over all. This is my first read from Hillier and I’ll definitely be picking up more down the line!

  7. 3 out of 5

    Norma * Traveling Sister

    4.5 Gripping & Unputdownable Stars to JAR OF HEARTS! JAR OF HEARTS by JENNIFER HILLIER is an intense, chilling, dark and twisted psychological thriller novel that grabbed my attention very quickly and had me totally invested throughout this whole story. JENNIFER HILLIER delivers a unique, well-written and very descriptive read here with characters that were not all that likeable but they were definitely compelling to read about though. I found the storyline and some scenes quite disturbing and 4.5 Gripping & Unputdownable Stars to JAR OF HEARTS! JAR OF HEARTS by JENNIFER HILLIER is an intense, chilling, dark and twisted psychological thriller novel that grabbed my attention very quickly and had me totally invested throughout this whole story. JENNIFER HILLIER delivers a unique, well-written and very descriptive read here with characters that were not all that likeable but they were definitely compelling to read about though. I found the storyline and some scenes quite disturbing and unsettling but nonetheless it was a thrilling, entertaining and exciting book for me to read. I thought that the reveals were perfectly timed and the way that the story developed and was presented to us was quite the impressive storytelling and very appealing to this reader. I think that is one of the reasons why I enjoyed this story so much! Cautionary Warning: There is some disturbing content and scenes that might be sensitive for some readers. Publishing Date: June 12, 2018 To sum it all up it was an enjoyable, fast-paced, concisely written, thought-provoking, and a cringe worthy read with an ending that took me a little by surprise. Would recommend! This was a Traveling Sisters Read that I read along with Diane. Thank you so much, Diane for reading this one with me! Thank you so much to NetGalley, St. Martin’s Press and Jennifer Hillier for the opportunity to read a copy of this book in exchange for a review. Review written and posted on our themed book blog: Two Sisters Lost In A Coulee Reading https://twosisterslostinacoulee.com Coulee: a term applied rather loosely to different landforms, all of which refer to a kind of valley.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Berit☀️✨

    4.5 Creepy Stars 🌟🌟🌟🌟.5 “Who do you Think you are? Runnin’ ‘round leaving scars. Collecting your jar of hearts. And tearing love apart.“ Christina Perri 🎵Jar of Hearts🎵 What if you had thought you got away with murder for 14 years? What if you found out your high school boyfriend was a serial killer? Welcome to Geo’s world! Geo was a complicated character... I found her very likable, but I knew she had a huge dark secret, and had done something bad.... I mean she was in jail and she wasn’t claimin 4.5 Creepy Stars 🌟🌟🌟🌟.5 “Who do you Think you are? Runnin’ ‘round leaving scars. Collecting your jar of hearts. And tearing love apart.“ Christina Perri 🎵Jar of Hearts🎵 What if you had thought you got away with murder for 14 years? What if you found out your high school boyfriend was a serial killer? Welcome to Geo’s world! Geo was a complicated character... I found her very likable, but I knew she had a huge dark secret, and had done something bad.... I mean she was in jail and she wasn’t claiming that she was innocent.... but how big a part did she play in the murder of her high school BFF Angela? Loved how this story was told... Clues were given and memories were revealed at the perfect pace... I felt the tension and terror that Geo felt throughout the entire story.... The parts of the book that took place in prison were interesting, however some of them were downright disturbing.... but at least in prison she was safe from Calvin her ex-boyfriend who was a serial killer, or was she? Kaiser who was BFFs with both Angela and Geo in high school was Geo’s arresting officer... Kaiser has always had a thing for Geo, so he was very conflicted.... really liked him and couldn’t help but think... had she just dated him all of this could have been avoided... so many twists and an ending I did not see coming... Absolutely recommend to fans of the psychological thriller with a bit of a darker side🖤🖤🖤 *** many thanks to the publisher for my copy of this book ***

  9. 5 out of 5

    Diane S ☔

    Intense and unsettling. It is a little more graphic than I usually read, not terribly though, and there are a few sex scenes, which I have to admit are necessary to the storyline. Three highschool best friends, one ends up dead, another in jail, and the third serves his community. How did this come to be? The story is told in alternating current events with back flashes of the events that led to these circumstances. It is tightly plotted, revelations are not revealed until the author decides they Intense and unsettling. It is a little more graphic than I usually read, not terribly though, and there are a few sex scenes, which I have to admit are necessary to the storyline. Three highschool best friends, one ends up dead, another in jail, and the third serves his community. How did this come to be? The story is told in alternating current events with back flashes of the events that led to these circumstances. It is tightly plotted, revelations are not revealed until the author decides they are necessary.. I thought this book was going to go one way, but I hoped not as that would have made this storyline way too predictable. She didn't, with a marvelous sleight of hand she revealed something that turned the whole plot. I seldom think thrillers would make a good book discussion but this is an exception to that belief. One of the characters, won't reveal who, presented me with a moral dilemna, causing me a great deal of thought, and a very uncomfortable feeling. Too many debatable choices, different sides of a personality, couldn't figure out what exactly kind of person this was, and I don't refer to meaningless mistakes. So as far as thrillers go, this is very character driven, and one that may be a step above others I have recently read. I will, however, go back to wimpy reader status. This was a bit of shock to my system. ARC from Netgalley.

  10. 5 out of 5

    j e w e l s [Books Bejeweled]

    FOUR STARS After feeling duped into reading a few too many light weight “thrillers” that are promoted as dark and twisted, all I can say is: Thank God!! this book doesn’t read like chick-lit! It really is dark and twisted, a bit gritty and graphic and best of all, set in the Pacific Northwest!! Hooray! Also, the pacing is extremely fast, I read the entire thing in a matter of hours. All good things, yes? Ok, to be honest, YES! My minor complaints: a little deeper characterization would have been m FOUR STARS After feeling duped into reading a few too many light weight “thrillers” that are promoted as dark and twisted, all I can say is: Thank God!! this book doesn’t read like chick-lit! It really is dark and twisted, a bit gritty and graphic and best of all, set in the Pacific Northwest!! Hooray! Also, the pacing is extremely fast, I read the entire thing in a matter of hours. All good things, yes? Ok, to be honest, YES! My minor complaints: a little deeper characterization would have been most welcome. Also, the book felt too short! I wanted so much more to the final reveal. The ending felt rushed and was over too soon. JAR OF HEARTS refers to a mason jar of cinnamon candy hearts, not a jar of real hearts (whew!)...This isn't a Jeffrey Dahmer story, but it does sidle right up to the borderline between thriller and too many violent details. I know, I know, I love my dark and disturbed characters! BUT, I don't really enjoy reading graphic details first hand in a novel. I like to keep my distance and let the the investigator read the autopsy report. Thankfully, this one is brief on the Patricia Cornwell-type ickiness, but it gets a bit close for me. The mystery feels fresh and original, even if it's not. It's written in an engaging, addictive manner and I was immediately pulled into the complicated friendship between Georgina, Angela, and Kaiser. When Calvin enters the story, all their lives are changed forever. The high school flashback parts are brief and essential to the story. I never felt like the story lagged, even between time switchbacks. The parts of the story focused on life in a women's prison were fascinating to me! Most of the book felt very authentic, realistic and thoroughly researched. Well done, Jennifer Hillier! Now I just need to dig out my copy of Creep, I LIIIIIIKE YOU AND WANT TO READ MORE! I definitely would recommend this book if you enjoy a serial killer/crime fiction every once in awhile. This one is fast, engrossing, gritty-- but, not too graphic. JUST about perfect! Thanks to NetGalley and the author for my galley copy. The book is set to be released on Tuesday, June 12, 2018. All opinions are my own.

  11. 3 out of 5

    Mary Beth *Traveling Sister*

    4.5 stars Geo's best friend, Angela Wong, vanished without a trace, when she was in high school. No one found out what happened to her until 14 years later. Her remains were found in the woods behind Geo's house. Angela died when she was 16 years old. She was murdered She now has a successful job, and all that is lost when she is arrested. Geo 's boyfriend, Calvin James is also arrested. Geo knew for 14 years what happened to Angela and told no one. She kept that secret. Kaiser Brody is the detectiv 4.5 stars Geo's best friend, Angela Wong, vanished without a trace, when she was in high school. No one found out what happened to her until 14 years later. Her remains were found in the woods behind Geo's house. Angela died when she was 16 years old. She was murdered She now has a successful job, and all that is lost when she is arrested. Geo 's boyfriend, Calvin James is also arrested. Geo knew for 14 years what happened to Angela and told no one. She kept that secret. Kaiser Brody is the detective, and He was also one of Geo's friends in highschool. Geo is sentenced to prison for five years and Calvin is sentenced for life. While everyone thinks they finally know the truth, there are dark secrets buried deep. Now new bodies begin to turn up, killed in the same way as Angela Wong. This book had everything I love in a thriller. I couldn't stop thinking of this book. It's a dark thriller with lots of twists and turns. It is a little graphic. I kept on guessing and guessing wrong until the end. This story will stick with me for a long time. It is very tense. It is full of secrets and lies. The ending is shocking and disturbing. The characters were very well done. They all were realistic. I had so many different emotions for Geo. I also loved the writing style. I read Jennifer Hillier's book Creep and I now want to finish the rest of that series. I want to thank Netgalley, Jennifer Hillier, and St. Martin's Press, Minotaur Books for the copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

  12. 5 out of 5

    Larry H

    That's the feeling I get when a book that everyone else has been raving about turns out to be as amazing as you hoped. In this case, believe the hype—Jennifer Hillier's Jar of Hearts is pretty fantastic!! "The past is always with you, whether you choose to think about it or not, whether you take responsibility for it or not. You carry the past with you because it transforms you. You can try to bury it and pretend it never happened, but that doesn't work. Geo knows that from experience. Because b That's the feeling I get when a book that everyone else has been raving about turns out to be as amazing as you hoped. In this case, believe the hype—Jennifer Hillier's Jar of Hearts is pretty fantastic!! "The past is always with you, whether you choose to think about it or not, whether you take responsibility for it or not. You carry the past with you because it transforms you. You can try to bury it and pretend it never happened, but that doesn't work. Geo knows that from experience. Because buried things can, and do, come back." Georgina Shaw and her two best friends, Angela Wong and Kaiser Brody, were pretty much inseparable in high school. But one night everything changed. Angela went missing one night after a party, and Geo and Kaiser's friendship was never the same. No one knew, or even suspected, the secret that was weighing her down. Who could imagine that she could have anything to do with Angela's disappearance? Fourteen years later, Geo is an executive on the fast track at a pharmaceutical company in Seattle, engaged to the firm's CEO. She's poised to have it all, and then Angela's remains are found buried in the woods not far from where Geo grew up. The Seattle police department, where Kaiser now works as a detective, has discovered that Angela was an early victim of Calvin James, a serial killer responsible for at least three other murders, who has been dubbed the Sweetbay Strangler. While the police view Calvin as a cold-blooded killer, he was Geo's first boyfriend when she was in high school. A few years older than she was, Calvin was sexy, volatile, and controlling, and while their relationship was far from perfect given his temper, she couldn't get enough of him, and he was just as obsessed with her. But the night Angela died, everything changed. Geo carried the secret of what really happened to Angela for 14 years, and when it is finally exposed, and she winds up in prison, her carefully planned life is turned upside down. But as she takes the punishment she deserves, she—and her hometown—are once again shattered by the discovery of more murders, similar to those of the Sweetbay Strangler. It is only then that Geo realizes just how dangerous secrets and lies can be. I tried to be really careful with my plot description, because Hillier lets her plot unfold slowly, teasing out details, and she had me hooked on this book from start to finish. Geo is a fascinating character, and I kept hoping there would be reasons to continue rooting for her. I also loved Kaiser's character, and really loved the dynamics of the two of them interacting after so long apart. I wasn't completely surprised by the plot, but I still loved this book. Hillier did a great job with keeping the story moving and not getting too bogged down in reminiscences, since so much of the plot was driven by modern-day events. This is a terrific thriller, full of suspense as well as the realization that what happens in your youth can never be put completely behind you. Grab this one before they turn it into a movie or television miniseries!! See all of my reviews at itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com, or check out my list of the best books I read in 2017 at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2018/01/the-best-books-i-read-in-2017.html.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Kendall

    "You carry the past with you because it transforms you." Stop right there..... this is your thriller for the summer!! I'm going through a book hangover after finishing this. Jennifer Hillier I'm a HUGE fan of your work after this masterpiece. I can't wait to see what you come out with next!! The past always comes back to haunt you one way or another. I think we've all experienced this at one point or another in our lives... but Georgina Shaw knows this too well. At the age of sixteen, Georgina's "You carry the past with you because it transforms you." Stop right there..... this is your thriller for the summer!! I'm going through a book hangover after finishing this. Jennifer Hillier I'm a HUGE fan of your work after this masterpiece. I can't wait to see what you come out with next!! The past always comes back to haunt you one way or another. I think we've all experienced this at one point or another in our lives... but Georgina Shaw knows this too well. At the age of sixteen, Georgina's best friend Angela Wong disappeared without a trace. No one knew what took place that night except of course for Geo. Years later, Angela's remains are found near Georgina's father's property in the woods. It becomes clear to law enforcement that Calvin James has killed Angela. You ask who is this Calvin James? Calvin is Georgina's first love and boyfriend she had while in high school. Oh.. and of course let me add this spice to the mix... Calvin is also a serial killer who has killed three other women. Georgina and Calvin's relationship ended quickly after the disappearance of her best friend Angela. Geo hasn't seen Calvin since she was sixteen. Upon finding Angela's remains, detective Kaiser Brody with the Seattle PD who was also Geo and Angela's closest friend in high school arrested Calvin and Geo herself for the murder. What happened that night? Did Geo help kill her best friend Angela? Or is Calvin solely responsible? Upon Geo's release from prison 5 years later, she is trying to get her life settled and move forward. But, as we all know the past always comes to haunt us. A body has been find in woods by her father's property... yet again.... are these cases related? Is someone trying to send Geo a message knowing the bodies are in the same woods and area that Angela was found?! Oh my GOSH you guys... this book was AHHHHMAZZINGGG. I cannot tell you enough that you can't miss this one. One of my top stellar reads this year so far!! This is exactly the type of thriller that I LOVE. Twists and turns galore, strong and in depth characters, beautiful writing style, and of course devouring in a day!! I seriously could not put this masterpiece down!! I had so many questions running through my head reading this!! But, man Hillier you know how to captivate your readers and more importantly know how to DELIVER. 5 beautiful heart stars!!! Thank you so much to Netgalley and St. Martins Press Minotaur books for the advanced arc. Publication date: 6/12/18 Published to GR: 5/21/18

  14. 4 out of 5

    Miriam Smith

    Oh my! I was extremely excited and very much looking forward to reading this highly anticipated book after seeing some fabulous reviews for it. I can more than happily confirm that after I'd finished reading, it was everything I had expected and MORE! Frighteningly vivid and so tense there were times I didn't realise I was holding my breath, I was so immersed in the moments and the well developed characters. It truly felt as though I was actually standing in the story viewing it as a spectator. S Oh my! I was extremely excited and very much looking forward to reading this highly anticipated book after seeing some fabulous reviews for it. I can more than happily confirm that after I'd finished reading, it was everything I had expected and MORE! Frighteningly vivid and so tense there were times I didn't realise I was holding my breath, I was so immersed in the moments and the well developed characters. It truly felt as though I was actually standing in the story viewing it as a spectator. Such a professionally written and polished story with an intense clarity to detail, it really did make for a sick, twisted and utterly compelling novel. The women's prison scenes at the start were truly scary and certainly had me on the edge of my seat. "Jar of Hearts" is told between the present day and the past as it actually happened and although I did start to work out the twist towards the last quarter of the book this didn't effect my enjoyment of the story as I was hooked into still seeing how it all came together at the end. And what an ending! I haven't read any of Jennifer Hillier's other books but I am now very keen to read more by her because if they are anything like this one, then they will be fabulous too! A word of warning though - there is a continuous flow of sensitive and explicit scenes throughout, very much needed for the telling of the whole story, so therefore if you are easily offended or squeamish then this sadly may not be for you. Fast paced, creepy, twisted, dark, gruesome, stomach churning, enthralling, addictive etc etc etc I could go on! I SO LOVED this book, it was everything I seek in a serial killing thriller and I will be certainly be putting this book in my top ten possibly even my top five for 2018!! A fabulous 5 stars and more!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader

    **4.5 exciting stars to Jar of Hearts! ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥.5 Jar of Hearts is about three best friends, Angela, Georgina, and Kaiser- one was murdered, one is in prison, and one is searching for answers. Angela Wong was 16 years old when she went missing, not to be found until 14 years later... During this time no one ever suspected one of her best friends, Georgina, was involved. But Angela’s remains were found near Georginia’s childhood home, and she has been implicated in some way. Kaiser is now a police d **4.5 exciting stars to Jar of Hearts! ♥️ ♥️ ♥️ ♥️.5 Jar of Hearts is about three best friends, Angela, Georgina, and Kaiser- one was murdered, one is in prison, and one is searching for answers. Angela Wong was 16 years old when she went missing, not to be found until 14 years later... During this time no one ever suspected one of her best friends, Georgina, was involved. But Angela’s remains were found near Georginia’s childhood home, and she has been implicated in some way. Kaiser is now a police detective, and he discovers that Angela was a victim of Calvin James, a serial killer. It’s not that simple, though. Georgina was involved, obsessively involved, with Calvin at the time of Angela’s death, and she knew what happened to her best friend all this time but said nothing. And now more bodies have turned up. Whatever really happened is complex and fraught with layers upon layers of secrets. Jar of Hearts is a well-written, tragic tale of friendship, obsession and murder. There were some graphic scenes that churned my stomach, but the overall pay-off in the form of this compulsively addictive thriller was worth it for me in the end. It was that good. Thriller fans, rejoice! Jennifer Hillier is one to watch! Thank you to Jennifer Hillier, Minotaur Books/St. Martin’s Press, and Netgalley for the ARC. Jar of Hearts will be released on June 12, 2018. My reviews can also be found on my blog: www.jennifertarheelreader.com

  16. 5 out of 5

    Elyse

    Audiobook....Library overdrive....read by January LaVoy! (excellent reader) This was one of the most brilliantly addictive, sophisticated, creepy, complex, wonderful suspense thriller murder-mystery novel I’ve read. Can we call a book in this genre masterful? I can’t find anything wrong with it. The words ‘fleshed out’ are not words I usually use in my reviews... but author Jennifer Hillier is sure skilled at it... Her characters are both flawed and likable - Only once did I ‘laugh’... when I did I Audiobook....Library overdrive....read by January LaVoy! (excellent reader) This was one of the most brilliantly addictive, sophisticated, creepy, complex, wonderful suspense thriller murder-mystery novel I’ve read. Can we call a book in this genre masterful? I can’t find anything wrong with it. The words ‘fleshed out’ are not words I usually use in my reviews... but author Jennifer Hillier is sure skilled at it... Her characters are both flawed and likable - Only once did I ‘laugh’... when I did I almost couldn’t stop laughing. Only once did I feel genuine deep sadness — and when I did - it was quick - ‘Most’ of the time my personal emotions were removed at arms distance... But HOT DAMN if this wasn’t one HELL OF A GREAT *unputdownable*!!!! Fabulous- Fantastic- with a knock them out of the park exquisite ending!!!

  17. 3 out of 5

    Susanne Strong

    4 Fabulous Stars. You know that old saying, “the past will always come back to haunt you?” Well, no one's past could ever possibly out do Georgina (Geo) Shaw’s. Geo is now an uber successful business woman. She had the best friends in High School. The kind of friends you never forget, the kind that haunt you. They did everything together. Until the day Geo met Calvin James. He is older, absolutely gorgeous and quite devious. He is also controlling and manipulative, yet Geo is drawn to him. It’s th 4 Fabulous Stars. You know that old saying, “the past will always come back to haunt you?” Well, no one's past could ever possibly out do Georgina (Geo) Shaw’s. Geo is now an uber successful business woman. She had the best friends in High School. The kind of friends you never forget, the kind that haunt you. They did everything together. Until the day Geo met Calvin James. He is older, absolutely gorgeous and quite devious. He is also controlling and manipulative, yet Geo is drawn to him. It’s that whole moth and flame thing yet again, and boy does she get burned. Geo, however, is not the only one. Angela Wong (one of Geo’s best friends), is sixteen when she goes missing. Calvin James gets arrested for her murder. Fourteen years later, so does Geo. Now, instead of wearing pin-striped suits, she wears, pinstripes. Life, isn’t exactly what you’d call good. Then, right before she gets out, it gets even worse. New bodies are found - in the exact same location they found Angela And the M.O.? Well it’s her old boyfriends’ of course. Talk about a happy homecoming. Are you intrigued yet? The answer better be yes! “Jar of Hearts” by Jennifer Hillier was one of the better psychological suspense novels I’ve read in awhile. Though a few things were a little unbelievable, there were several jaw dropping moments that absolutely rocked. All in all, the novel was gripping, terrifying and totally cray cray and I highly recommend it. I read this with Kaceey! We had the best time reading it together. :) Thank you to NetGalley, St. Martin’s Press, Minotaur Books and Jennifer Hillier for an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review. Published on NetGalley, Goodreads, Twitter, Instagram and Amazon on 6.19.18.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kaceey - Traveling Sister

    Question - What if your childhood sweetheart turns out to be a serial killer? Dark, chilling, edge of your seat thriller. Jennifer Hillier pulls out all the stops on this one! And dark and chilling is exactly what you’ll get here in spades! Jennifer Hillier is the queen of obsessive, misguided love. I read one of her previous books a few years ago Creep and thought it was brilliant. Now Ms. Hillier has done it again. And this time it’s over the top! Calvin is the boy every teenage girl’s father war Question - What if your childhood sweetheart turns out to be a serial killer? Dark, chilling, edge of your seat thriller. Jennifer Hillier pulls out all the stops on this one! And dark and chilling is exactly what you’ll get here in spades! Jennifer Hillier is the queen of obsessive, misguided love. I read one of her previous books a few years ago Creep and thought it was brilliant. Now Ms. Hillier has done it again. And this time it’s over the top! Calvin is the boy every teenage girl’s father warns her against. He’s big trouble through and through. But isn’t that what draws every teenage girl in? The ultimate bad boy. Georgina is just 16 when she falls for the charms of the first older boy to show her attention. It isn’t long before her grades begin slipping and her lifelong friendships are wavering. She’s in way over her head and not totally sure she even wants to find a way out. There’s been a lot of positive buzz around this book and it absolutely deserves every bit of it. It had just the right amount of twists to keep you guessing but not so many that you lose your way. Well written from beginning to end. I thoroughly enjoyed it! Highly recommend! A buddy read with Susanne! Thank you to NetGalley, St Martin’s Press and Jennifer Hillier for an ARC to read in exchange for an honest review.

  19. 3 out of 5

    (Bern) Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas

    "Everyone has a single defining moment in life, something that thrusts them irrevocably into a new direction, something that affects them at their core, something that changes them forever." Georgina (Geo) Shaw's defining moment was the day she met Calvin James. The moment he entered her life, he changed it forever. Geo and her two best friends, Angela and Kaiser are inseparable. They spend all of their time together until Geo's relationship with Calvin changes things. Then one night, followin "Everyone has a single defining moment in life, something that thrusts them irrevocably into a new direction, something that affects them at their core, something that changes them forever." Georgina (Geo) Shaw's defining moment was the day she met Calvin James. The moment he entered her life, he changed it forever. Geo and her two best friends, Angela and Kaiser are inseparable. They spend all of their time together until Geo's relationship with Calvin changes things. Then one night, following a party they all attended, Angela goes missing. Her remains turn up 14 years later near Geo's childhood home. Kaiser, now a police detective uncovers that she was one of four of Calvin James, a.k.a. The Sweetbay Strangler's victims. "A relationship isn't supposed to make you feel out of control; it's not supposed to consume you; its not supposed to change you into someone you don't want to be." What happened to Angela that fateful night? How did she become the Sweetbay Strangler's first victim? That is just one of the questions eventually answered by the story. There really ended up being so much more going on here than I initially anticipated. Jar of Hearts was an engrossing tale of love, obsession, jealousy and murder. "In every story, there's a hero and villain. Sometimes one person can be both." Ultimately, we all have a bit of hero and villain, a touch of good and bad within us. The characters in this novel were a perfect example of this inner conflict. Jar of Hearts definitely kept me turning the pages in rapid succession!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    Because buried things can, and do, come back. Life begins once again for Georgina "Geo" Shaw at the age of thirty-five. Sorta like being in a holding pattern without exhaling for those five lost years in Hazelwood Correctional Institution. Imprisonment certainly stakes its claims on the exterior, but self-imposed solitary confinement clutches the criminal offender's heart on the inside. Plenty of hearts in that ol' jar affected by shaky decisions. Much like the lyrics of the Christina Perri song. Because buried things can, and do, come back. Life begins once again for Georgina "Geo" Shaw at the age of thirty-five. Sorta like being in a holding pattern without exhaling for those five lost years in Hazelwood Correctional Institution. Imprisonment certainly stakes its claims on the exterior, but self-imposed solitary confinement clutches the criminal offender's heart on the inside. Plenty of hearts in that ol' jar affected by shaky decisions. Much like the lyrics of the Christina Perri song. That, and the reality that there are no do-overs in life. Back when Geo and her best friend, Angela Wong, were mere sixteen year olds, wisdom wasn't a prevalent quality in the young. Never really caught on since. Choose your friends carefully and take to the road when you hear that jar opening. Geo claimed silence about the disappearance of Angela. With degree in hand, she goes on to become the youngest executive at Shipps Pharmaceuticals. Rich and successful.....until they found Angela's dismembered body in the woods. Calvin James got life and our girl Geo got five years. Knowledge of the crime doesn't melt away like those candy hearts. Jennifer Hillier presents a storyline filled with straight-up details and descriptors. Know that going into this one. Not for the faint-of-heart (Sorry!) Hillier paints a might picture of life behind bars in a women's jail and the survival gene dominating in some and missing in others. Geo, upon release, has been honed into a totally different mindset. As she tries to reclaim her old life in Seattle, the horrors of today's nightmares are newly found bodies in the woods. Are there any connections to the past still lurking out there for Geo? And a very large, "by the way", do we have all the missing links threading their way like tendrils around our girl Geo? Hillier won't necessarily throw some of those details into that transparent jar.....not quite yet. I received a copy of Jar of Hearts through NetGalley for an honest review. My thanks to Minotaur Books and to Jennifer Hillier for the opportunity.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jasmine from How Useful It Is

    About: Jar of Hearts is a thriller written by Jennifer Hillier. It will be published on 6/12/18 by Minotaur Books, an imprint of St. Martin’s Press, paperback, 320 pages. The genres are thriller, mystery, and fiction. My Experience: I started reading Jar of Hearts on 3/11/18 and finished it on 3/18/18. This book is an excellent read! I love how the book is divided into different parts with its unique focus. I like the mention about a couple, Bowens, who waited to start a family and then suffered About: Jar of Hearts is a thriller written by Jennifer Hillier. It will be published on 6/12/18 by Minotaur Books, an imprint of St. Martin’s Press, paperback, 320 pages. The genres are thriller, mystery, and fiction. My Experience: I started reading Jar of Hearts on 3/11/18 and finished it on 3/18/18. This book is an excellent read! I love how the book is divided into different parts with its unique focus. I like the mention about a couple, Bowens, who waited to start a family and then suffered the unexpected consequences. I like the Kent family, how there’s no way to judge people when they seem so loving at first. It’s a good reminder to readers about people, and that people do change. I like following both Geo and Kai, their point of views are both interesting. I love the pace and plot. I love reading this book and it’s one to wake me up in the middle of the night to read it. I really didn’t want this book to end! This book is told in the third person point of view following Georgina (Geo) Shaw as she recounts her involvement in her best friend’s murder and cover up in an open courtroom. Fourteen years ago, Angela Wong, 16, was reported missing. Only recently her remains were found and everyone is brought to court. Geo is currently a successful career woman and is engaged to be married to a millionaire, but the past has caught up to her and now she will be sent to jail for five years due to her accomplice role in Angela’s murder 14 years ago. She puts the blame to her former boyfriend Calvin for the killing and dismembering of Angela Wong. Calvin James is also known as the Sweetbay Strangler, a serial killer. He has murdered 3 other women since the murder of Angela. Another point of view is the detective handling the case, none other than Geo and Angela’s high school best friend, Kaiser (Kai) Brody. Kai is overworked chasing down this serial killer. Kai didn’t have enough time to celebrate throwing the Sweetbay Strangler to jail before he made an escape and was never caught again. Now 5 years later, Geo will soon be released from jail and Kai is finding himself investigating yet another body, but this time with a child and is buried in the same location as Angela’s all those years ago. Kai’s investigations into these murders left him puzzling because it resembles the serial killer and yet it’s different. This book is broken into 5 parts switching between Geo and Kai. This book is very well written and developed. I love Geo’s high school friendships. I love that when the past caught up to her, that she’s a young successful professional. I love how the author points out about how people and the media devour the news of professionals who fails because I felt the same. I love the glimpse of life in jail. I love the details of how it happened. I love how the mystery is slowly revealing itself. I love the steamy romance. I love how each chapter ends with a heart-stopping shock! I love the cover of this book and I love every word written in this story. I love the unexpected plot twists. This book is definitely one I want to read over and over again and I highly recommend everyone to read it. It’s a must! Pro: diversity, fast paced, page turner, easy to read, mystery, suspense, adrenaline rush, serial killer, karma, friendship, successful professionals, romance, cover Con: none I rate it 5 stars! ***Disclaimer: Many thanks to Minotaur Books for the opportunity to read and review. Please be assured that my opinions are honest. xoxo, Jasmine at www.howusefulitis.wordpress.com for more details

  22. 5 out of 5

    Holly B

    Chills and Thrills Aplenty.... A serial killer is at the "heart" of this one.  This is my first book by Jennifer Hillier and I really enjoyed how she unpeeled each part of the story layer by layer.  I found myself being drawn in and totally absorbed in the murder mystery. It is a very dark story with flawed characters and some disturbing and graphic parts I needed skim over (not going to lie)..... BUT I couldn't stop reading it either.  Many secrets are revealed as the story progresses and each Chills and Thrills Aplenty.... A serial killer is at the "heart" of this one.  This is my first book by Jennifer Hillier and I really enjoyed how she unpeeled each part of the story layer by layer.  I found myself being drawn in and totally absorbed in the murder mystery. It is a very dark story with flawed characters and some disturbing and graphic parts I needed skim over (not going to lie)..... BUT I couldn't stop reading it either.  Many secrets are revealed as the story progresses and each time I was shocked ( a good sign in my book)! Plenty of clues along the way and a secret behind the jar of hearts that was like a code to break.  A deeper message will emerge. A huge serving of heartbreak for these characters and a tale of how someones actions can impact so many. Georgina is one of the main players and while her actions were deplorable, I tried to find some redeeming qualities in her. I was fascinated by her experiences in prison (cringe). A compelling, addictive, gritty read that has an explosive end.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Taryn

    The past is always with you, whether you choose to think about it or not, whether you take responsibility for it or not. You carry the past with you because it transforms you. You can try to bury it and pretend it never happened, but that doesn’t work. Geo knows that from experience. Because buried things can, and do, come back. The Sweetbay community was mystified when popular high school cheerleader Angela Wong went missing. Georgina (Geo) stood dutifully by her best friend’s parents sides fo The past is always with you, whether you choose to think about it or not, whether you take responsibility for it or not. You carry the past with you because it transforms you. You can try to bury it and pretend it never happened, but that doesn’t work. Geo knows that from experience. Because buried things can, and do, come back. The Sweetbay community was mystified when popular high school cheerleader Angela Wong went missing. Georgina (Geo) stood dutifully by her best friend’s parents sides for years, never letting on that she knew their daughter's true fate. Fourteen years later, Angela's remains have been found and Geo is paying the price for her lies. As she is led back to her cell after testifying against her ex-boyfriend Calvin Davis—now known as the Sweetbay Strangler—he slips a cryptic message in her hand: "You're welcome. ❤" Geo revealed some terrible misdeeds to the jury, but she didn't tell them everything. After five years of serving time at Hazelwood Correctional Facility (aka "Hellwood"), Geo is set to be released. Once again, she's starting over. But just before her release, a dismembered woman is found buried in the same spot Angela was found. Is someone trying to send Geo a message? Whoever said lying was hard was so, so wrong. Lying was easy. Lying was like a hot knife slicing through room-temperature butter. Lying was a bunch of words strung together in a pretty sentence designed to make the other person feel like everything was fine. Telling the truth, however, was impossible. When sixteen-year-old Geo began an intense, toxic relationship with twenty-one-year-old Calvin, she altered the course of her and her two best friends' lives. Geo, Angela, and Kaiser all had their roles within the friend group, but Geo became a completely different person when she was with Calvin. The dynamics of the little group changed completely. What motivated Geo's participation during that terrible night and her secrecy in the years that followed? Fear? Love? Jealousy? Geo did everything she could to put that night behind her, but Kaiser is now a Seattle PD detective committed to getting justice for Angela. Unfortunately, his resurfacing feelings for Geo might be clouding his judgment: "You see what you want to see, not what’s there." But the guilt? It never leaves. It hangs around like a bad smell that no amount of bleach can eliminate. You can get yourself a new life, get yourself a new love, go to jail for the terrible thing you helped do . . . but the guilt is still there, stinking like an invisible piece of rotting garbage underneath your bed that won’t go away no matter how many attempts you make to clean it. Because that smell—of rotting flesh, of rotting soul—is you. This book was so well-paced and engaging that I almost forgot I was reading! One of the elements that kept the story moving was the perfect balance between Kaiser's investigation and Geo grappling with the consequences of her actions, both in prison and at home. She is forced to start over from nothing after the cushy life she built on top of her lies has tumbled down, but this isn't the first time she's had to hit the reset button. Geo is a survivor. The events in her life have slowly chipped away at her until she feels like there's nothing good left, but she's always managed to pick herself up and move forward. She compartmentalized to keep her sanity, but she never forgot that she was living free on borrowed time. Despite everything we learn about Geo in the first chapter, I couldn't help but feel for her. Love—healthy love, the kind that doesn’t hurt or bruise or take away someone’s sense of self-worth—is like anything else that’s important in life. It has to be taught. Sometimes when a person is caught up in their emotions, it's difficult to see what's obvious to everyone else. Small lies and decisions can snowball until it becomes too late or overwhelming to change course. Jar of Hearts really appealed to my Orange is the New Black and Law & Order: SVU watchin’ heart! It's a compelling tale that I think fans of the genre will enjoy. Warning: There’s a high ick-factor and some of the descriptions are graphic: domestic violence, more than one rape, and gruesome murders. __________ I received this book for free from NetGalley and St. Martin's Press/Minotaur Books. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. It will be available on June 12, 2018.

  24. 3 out of 5

    Jen

    Lots of shockers going on here. One that will keep you up at night wondering how the heck this will play out. Well, turns out I know nothing. Either no foresight or Jennifer Hillier is just one damn talented thrill writer. What we get: body pieces; life in a women’s prison; a serial killer on the lose but targeting the one he adores. What happens when one makes a wrong decision that can shape a life like a domino effect. Hillier threw in a few more kinks that had me say, this is f**ed up! Kudos! 4.5⭐ Lots of shockers going on here. One that will keep you up at night wondering how the heck this will play out. Well, turns out I know nothing. Either no foresight or Jennifer Hillier is just one damn talented thrill writer. What we get: body pieces; life in a women’s prison; a serial killer on the lose but targeting the one he adores. What happens when one makes a wrong decision that can shape a life like a domino effect. Hillier threw in a few more kinks that had me say, this is f**ed up! Kudos! 4.5⭐️ for a fast paced, disturbing thriller that had me turning the pages. Cinnamon hearts ♥️ I must say, will always remind me of this spicy 🌶 story.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Carol

    M.U.R.D.E.R.E.R!JAR OF HEARTS is the story of three high school buddies, one popular and beautiful (who flaunts it)....and who is murdered, another beauty who is haunted by memories of violence and death....and trying to survive prison life (yikes!) and a man who pines for his first love, but continues to search for truth and justice.And that's just the beginning....there's SO much more here! A serial killer with close connections to our three friends is on the loose....AGAIN! Graves are discove M.U.R.D.E.R.E.R!JAR OF HEARTS is the story of three high school buddies, one popular and beautiful (who flaunts it)....and who is murdered, another beauty who is haunted by memories of violence and death....and trying to survive prison life (yikes!) and a man who pines for his first love, but continues to search for truth and justice.And that's just the beginning....there's SO much more here! A serial killer with close connections to our three friends is on the loose....AGAIN! Graves are discovered, and secrets unveiled, with one that holds a very personal message, taking us even deeper into this well-plotted dark tale of a disturbed mind.JAR OF HEARTS is my first Jennifer Hillier novel and one fine crime-mystery in my book with all the right ingredients. Multi-layered...twisted...with some ICK...flawed characters, and oh boy....the whole truth is a real killer! But wait!....just one question....what happened to the...umm....eb's??? Ha! Anyway......... Don't miss this one! Many thanks AGAIN to St. Martin's Press via NetGalley for the early reading opportunity in exchange for review.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Shannon

    Thank you to Minotaur for sending me a copy for my honest review. I have not read anything by Jennifer Hillier before but I am told her Creep/Freak series is legit. I’ll be one clicking on amazon very soon! Oh my goodness!!! This book was everything! The story is told in 5 parts with alternating POVs between Geo, aka Georgina, and Kaiser, a detective and an old friend. The chapters are mostly in present day but we also have flashbacks of Geo and Kaiser’s high school years. Right in the first cha Thank you to Minotaur for sending me a copy for my honest review. I have not read anything by Jennifer Hillier before but I am told her Creep/Freak series is legit. I’ll be one clicking on amazon very soon! Oh my goodness!!! This book was everything! The story is told in 5 parts with alternating POVs between Geo, aka Georgina, and Kaiser, a detective and an old friend. The chapters are mostly in present day but we also have flashbacks of Geo and Kaiser’s high school years. Right in the first chapter we know Geo, a successful business woman, is on trial. Fifteen years ago, Angela, Geo’s BFF, had gone missing. Now, at age 30, Geo is on trial for helping her ex boyfriend, Calvin, hide Angela’s body. She gets hit with 5 years while Calvin gets sentenced for life. I was getting all types of Orange is the New Black vibes while Geo was in jail. She gets smart real quick learning who to stick with during her sentence. It quickly passes and Geo is about to get out and start a new life. The day before she gets released she sees on the news that Calvin has escaped! Kaiser and his partner are called to a scene that’s eerily familiar from Angela’s case. Kaiser is certain it is Calvin’s doing. He must find him immediately before more bodies show up. I don’t want to give any more away. I loved this. I loved that some of the main characters were mixed. I love that Geo was smart and never had doubts. I also loved Kaiser. I loved everything! Ugh so good. I am not doing this book justice by my words. Just do yourself a favor and read this book. Out in June!! 5 awesome stars!! Highly recommend!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Joint

    More than a little disturbing, sufficiently creepy, and exceptionally hard to put down. I actually had someone ask me what I was reading because I had a grossed out look on my face at one point. There are some pretty disturbing moments in this book, but it doesn't seem gratuitous, it's all moving the story along the way it has to. It doesn't seem like it's purely for shock value. This would be an excellent book to read as a group. I read it alone, and found myself wanting people to discuss it wi More than a little disturbing, sufficiently creepy, and exceptionally hard to put down. I actually had someone ask me what I was reading because I had a grossed out look on my face at one point. There are some pretty disturbing moments in this book, but it doesn't seem gratuitous, it's all moving the story along the way it has to. It doesn't seem like it's purely for shock value. This would be an excellent book to read as a group. I read it alone, and found myself wanting people to discuss it with! Geo was on her way to the top. She was already successful, and more money and power seemed inevitable. She was engaged to be married to a rich man. She had designer clothing and a fancy car. Now, she's exiting prison. The man is no longer hers, she doesn't have that great corporate job, and everyone thinks she is at least partially responsible for the murder of her best friend Angela as a teenager. Oh, how the mighty have fallen. How can we reconcile that woman who had her whole life together with who she is now... and who she was as a teenager? Fourteen years after her best friend disappeared, her remains were found nearby Geo's house. Her death is connected with a serial killer... Geo's former boyfriend and first love. Another old best friend, Kaiser, is alive and well and has become a police officer. He still feels like he doesn't know quite everything about what happened that night so many years ago... and as bodies very suddenly start to turn up in the same manner Angela was killed, he is definitely right. Geo may have gone to jail for five years for her involvement, but does anyone know the real story? This book definitely sucks you in. You question every single character. While some of my theories worked out, I was definitely in store for more than a few surprises. 4.5 stars from me and recommended to fans of thrillers who don't mind a lot of disturbing elements. I received a copy of this book from St. Martin's Press/Minotaur Books. Thank you! My review is honest and unbiased.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Carol (Bookaria)

    This was a great psychological thriller. It follows Georgina Shaw, a young and successful executive who was convicted because of her involvement with her best friend’s disappearance 14 years ago. Days before completing her sentence, Geo is released and new bodies start piling up, an investigations is reopened and Geo finds herself in the eye of the storm once again. I enjoyed reading this novel, the plot and writing kept me captivated. The author did a great job of keeping the story suspenseful w This was a great psychological thriller. It follows Georgina Shaw, a young and successful executive who was convicted because of her involvement with her best friend’s disappearance 14 years ago. Days before completing her sentence, Geo is released and new bodies start piling up, an investigations is reopened and Geo finds herself in the eye of the storm once again. I enjoyed reading this novel, the plot and writing kept me captivated. The author did a great job of keeping the story suspenseful while at the same time creating interesting and well-developed characters. I also liked that the book had a good number of characters with diverse backgrounds, although diversity is not one of the elements of the novel, I still liked that there were a few characters with diverse backgrounds. This is the first book I’ve read from this author and I’m looking forward to reading more. Overall, I enjoyed it and recommend it to readers of thrillers, mysteries, and contemporary fiction. Received ARC from the publisher via Netgalley

  29. 5 out of 5

    Shelby *trains flying monkeys*

    Three best friends. Angela Wong was the most popular girl. Everyone wanted to be her friend. Everyone wanted to be her. Geo Shaw, her best friend who always took second string to her. And Kai, a shy guy who just followed Geo around. Then one night Angela disappears. The story starts off in present day when Geo is being arrested for her crimes in relation to Angela's murder. By that SAME KAI! (He's a cop now) Then we find out that Geo's boyfriend from back in the day is a serial killer. This was bett Three best friends. Angela Wong was the most popular girl. Everyone wanted to be her friend. Everyone wanted to be her. Geo Shaw, her best friend who always took second string to her. And Kai, a shy guy who just followed Geo around. Then one night Angela disappears. The story starts off in present day when Geo is being arrested for her crimes in relation to Angela's murder. By that SAME KAI! (He's a cop now) Then we find out that Geo's boyfriend from back in the day is a serial killer. This was better than watching soap operas with my Gran! I kept expecting him to give her the "Jar of Hearts" and it turning out around this type.... *spoiler alert* He didn't. It was still dark juicy goodness through out the book. It's not a flowery book because you know I would have given it one star if it was. So be ready when you go into it. Booksource: Netgalley in exchange for review

  30. 5 out of 5

    Lola

    This was absolutely ADDICTIVE. Jar of Hearts reminded me that mystery thrillers can make my heart beat faster than if I was running a marathon. If they’re not stopping it altogether or making my blood curdle, that is. This one almost did. It’s not that I enjoy playing detective, but it’s difficult not to imagine scenarios that could have occurred and point fingers when you are presented with one or multiple crime scenes and suspects. And yet, this ‘‘revelation’’ completely blew me away. I did not This was absolutely ADDICTIVE. Jar of Hearts reminded me that mystery thrillers can make my heart beat faster than if I was running a marathon. If they’re not stopping it altogether or making my blood curdle, that is. This one almost did. It’s not that I enjoy playing detective, but it’s difficult not to imagine scenarios that could have occurred and point fingers when you are presented with one or multiple crime scenes and suspects. And yet, this ‘‘revelation’’ completely blew me away. I did not expect it at all, and of course I won’t tell you more about it, but know that I’ve never read a mystery thriller like this one in the past. Ever. There are three main characters—Geo, Kaiser and Calvin, though flashbacks with Angela appear frequently. Each and every character, including the secondary ones, is fully developed and affective. Regardless of the importance of their role—small or big—all of them made me feel something, especially Georgina Shaw and her ex-boyfriend. Georgina Shaw is the woman who covered for her ex-boyfriend, Calvin James, who murdered her best friend, Angela Wong, when she was sixteen. When the truth finally comes out, fourteen years later, she and Calvin are sent to prison, but her sentence is short and Calvin is there to greet her in the most horrifying of ways when she eventually returns home. I could not put this down. I didn’t downright ‘‘like’’ any of the characters, except for the old lady Geo meets in prison, but I was interested in the ones introduced to me and I truly wanted to understand Geo and even found myself sympathizing with her at different moments. Plus none of the characters is predictable. Unpredictability is exactly what I need in my mystery thrillers and Jennifer Hillier granted my wish tenfold. Blog | Youtube | Twitter | Instagram | Google+ | Bloglovin’

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