The Invited by Jennifer McMahon

The Invited: A Novel by [McMahon, Jennifer]

3.5 Stars

Publisher: Doubleday Books, Doubleday

Date of publication: April 30th, 2019

Genre: Mystery, Thriller

Where you can find The Invited: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | BookBub

Book synopsis:

A chilling ghost story with a twist: the New York Times best-selling author of THE WINTER PEOPLE, returns to the woods of Vermont to tell the story of a husband and wife who don’t simply move into a haunted house, they start building one from scratch, without knowing it, until it’s too late…

In a quest for a simpler life, Helen and Nate abandon the comforts of suburbia and teaching jobs to take up residence on forty-four acres of rural land where they will begin the ultimate, aspirational do-it-yourself project: building the house of their dreams. When they discover that this charming property has a dark and violent past, Helen, a former history teacher, becomes consumed by the legend of Hattie Breckenridge, a woman who lived and died there a century ago. As Helen starts carefully sourcing decorative building materials for her home – wooden beams, mantles, historic bricks — she starts to unearth, and literally conjure, the tragic lives of Hattie’s descendants, three generations of “Breckenridge women,” each of whom died amidst suspicion, and who seem to still be seeking something precious and elusive in the present day.


My review:

Helen and Neal are living the dream. After inheriting money from Helen’s father, they decided to build their own house in Vermont. Shortly after they start building, Helen hears about the legend of Hattie Breckenridge. Her obsession begins when Hattie manifests in the new home. While she is out collection materials that were involved with each descendants death, Nate is obsessing over a white deer. What is the connection? Will the secrets that the town has long suppressed come back to haunt the people? Who is willing to kill to keep them that way? And how does Helen figure into all of this? Who is she supposed to save and why?


I was intrigued by a thriller set in Vermont. I can count on one hand how many books I have read that took place there. Out of all of those books, zero were thrillers. Which was the main reason I decided to request the book. I am happy to say that the author did pull it off.

The main plot line of The Invited was an interesting one. I haven’t read a book where the haunted house was built. Every other thriller that involves ghosts, the house were already built. It was a refreshing change.

The plot line with Helen and her obsession with finding Hattie’s descendants was written beautifully. I agreed with Nate at one point in the book. I thought that it was morbid that Helen was bringing in items that were present during a violent death to put in their new house. But at the same time, I got why Helen was doing it.

I thought I figured out Olive’s story line reasonably early in the book. Yeah, word to the wise, don’t do that because it came back to bite me in the butt. I was thrown for a loop not once but twice. I will say that I thought Olive would have made a great detective. I am not going to say much more than that.

I liked that I got to see what Hattie, Jane, Ann, and Gloria went through before their deaths.Out of all of the story lines, I was surprised by Jane’s. I was surprised at what she revealed.

I thought that the characters in The Invited were well written and well rounded out. The author did a great job of giving them depth. Their stories pulled at my heart: Olive’s, the most. Even the characters I didn’t like were well written.

The Invited fit well with the thriller genre. There were times in the book where I didn’t know what was going to happen or who it was going to happen too.

I loved how the paranormal angle of the book was written. It wasn’t overpowering. There was just the right amount of ghosts in the book. Which is something I never thought I would say. Plus, Hattie never harmed anyone. She manifested only to Helen.

If I liked the book so much, why the 3.5-star rating. I didn’t like how Riley’s story line turned out. I don’t like it when a character does a sudden 180, which Riley did. It baffled me.

The ending bothered me. Why reveal what it revealed then? Why to the person it was shown to? I don’t get bothered by endings, but this one got to me. There were too many whys, what ifs and a wth on my end.


I would give The Invited an Adult rating. There is no sex. There is violence. There is language. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would reread The Invited. I would recommend this book to family and friends.

**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**


I would like to thank the author, the publisher, and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review The Invited.

All opinions stated in this review of The Invited are mine.


Have you read The Invited?

What are your thoughts?

Do you believe in the paranormal?

Let me know!!

Burntown by Jennifer McMahon

Burntown: A Novel by [McMahon, Jennifer]

Title: Burntown

Author: Jennifer McMahon

Publisher: Doubleday Books

Date of publication: April 25th, 2017

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Women’s Fiction

POV: 3rd person

Number of pages: 304

Where you can find this book: Amazon

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

The major new novel from New York Times bestselling suspense writer Jennifer McMahon.

Eva grew up watching her father, Miles, invent strange and wonderful things in the small workshop behind their house on the river that runs through their old mill town. But the most important invention of all was the one that Miles claimed came from the mind of Thomas Edison himself–a machine that allowed one to speak with loved ones long passed. Smuggled out of Edison’s laboratory, the blueprints were passed down to Miles, and he’s been using them to protect Eva, her mother, Lily, and her brother, Errol, ever since.

Then, one night when a storm is raging and the river is threatening to flood, the machine whirrs to life on its own. Danger, it says. You’re in terrible danger. The next thing Eva knows is waking up on the side of the river and seeing her mother’s grim face. Eva’s father and brother are dead, their house has been washed away and an evil man is searching for them both. They need to hide.

Eva changes her name to Necco–a candy she always loved–and tries to put everything in her past behind her as she adapts to her new life off the grid. But when her boyfriend is murdered and her mother disappears, she knows that the past is starting to catch up to her.

What really happened the night of the flood? As Necco searches for the truth, her journey unites her with two women who are on desperate quests of their own. And as the trio follows the clues to solving the mystery of Necco’s past, they discover that sometimes it’s the smallest towns that hold the strangest secrets.

My review:

I really wasn’t too sure what to feel about this book. It had everything I like about mysteries in it: an unknown villain, a plucky heroine, and a good cast of supporting characters. The only thing that this book lacked was a plotline that stayed engaging. I lost interest in the book after Hermes was killed and both Theo, Pru and Fred were introduced into the story. While I wanted to find out who Snake Eyes/Chicken Mask Man was and if Necco/Eva had the plans for the machine that can talk to the dead, I almost didn’t finish the book because I couldn’t get involved.

I also didn’t like that there were so many points of view. If the author had just kept with Necco and Theo, I would have been fine with it. But you had Martin, Pru and Fred’s point of view added in. While I appreciated it, again, my focus was lost with so many points of view and I felt that it took away from the story.

I also wish that the machine that could talk to the dead was featured more in the book. I was fascinated by it from what was described and I really felt that the author could have gone a whole different direction with the story if Martin hadn’t told Errol to destroy it.

I did like Necco. She was so strong even when everything that she had been told by her mother ended up being all false. Honestly, that would have broken me.

When it was revealed who Snake Eyes/Chicken Mask Man was and his ties to Necco, I was very surprised. I was only surprised because that character I assumed died. Don’t ask me why I assumed that because it was never mentioned. But that person was never mentioned in the book again, so I just assumed that person died. Guess I was wrong.

The end of the book was your typical HEA with the mystery being blown wide open.

How many stars will I give Burntown: 3

Why: I just couldn’t connect with the characters or get into the storylines. I wish I did or else this review would be different….sigh.

Will I reread: Maybe

Will I recommend to family and friends: Maybe

Age range: Adult

Why: Violence and language

**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**