Monday, June 18, 2018

Review: Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier

Jar of HeartsTitle: Jar of Hearts 
Author:  Jennifer Hillier
Publisher: Minotaur Books 
Publishing Date:  
Pages: 320
Genre: YA Psychological Thriller/Noir
Series:  Stand Alone
Source:  Audio

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?

I came across this book on Netgalley and thought "wow what a gorgeous cover, let's see what it's about." I thought it sounded interesting and right up my alley. So I requested it, grabbed it, and then saw it was coming out on audio. So I decided to wait for the audio. I do prefer audio if I can grab it. The audio was very good and I am so glad I did get the audio. This book was pretty intense. Lots of serious issues being addressed and pretty dark. I loved it. It was good. There were a few things that didn't quite leave me satisfied but just the little things. Overall, very good reads. 
Gio was just a teenager when the worst day of her life happened. Her best friend, Angela,  was killed and she was a part of covering it up. It's 14 years and the body is finally discovered. The truth comes out and Gio has to pay the price. In more ways than just one. Gio finally feels free, the truth is out and now the nightmares can stop, she can pay her penance, and she can move on with her life. What's left of her life? 

Brody is the cop that was on the case. He was also best friends with Gio and with Angela. He was there when Angela went missing. He and Gio drifted after that. Now Brody is back in Gio's life. 

Gio's high school boyfriend went to prison for the murder of Angela Wong. It's five years later and he has escaped. Murders are happening again. Brody feels Gio is in danger and together they try to figure out the murder and keep Gio Safe. 

This book had a lot going on. The story is told in multiple timelines. Some back and forth and in order. There are flashbacks to before Angela was murdered and the night she was murdered and flashbacks of the aftermath of the murder. The story also briefly follows Gio in jail and then after she gets out of jail. Many timelines but not hard to follow at all. It flowed nicely and it never confused me. I am a big fan of flashbacks and multiple timelines. I think I say this on every review I write with multiple or dual timelines. But I really do favor stories told this way. It just keeps me in suspense and makes it all the eerier. 

I can't say whether or not I liked Gio or not. I liked her in the present, I didn't like her decisions in the past, but I understood how troubled she was. I understood how scared she was and how she came to the decisions she made. What I didn't understand is the violence that was within her. She had a tough life, but it was so little that happened to turn her into something that someone else could change. It just goes to show how important a teenagers decision can change their entire life. It was quite sad actually. I didn't like her at times but I felt for her many times. 

Brody was a great character. I just wished there was more of him in the story. I thought he was a stand-up guy and as confused and angry as he was he still cared for Gio. At times I wonder how he could forgive so easily then I would think he was so wonderful for forgiving. I really liked him. 

This book has lots of triggers with domestic abuse, rape, and just so much violence. It was pretty dark. I wouldn't recommend this to everyone. I could see how it would be too much for some but I do believe the issues addressed in this book are some important ones. I do like how the author addressed the issues. I do believe that Gio's abusive relationship was true to form. There are so many different abusive relationships out there and not all of them are the same in intensity when it comes to physical, mental, and emotional abuse.... but they are all the same with the danger and damage. 

The author did such a great job with the writing. It was done so well with the setting, the feeling, the tone, the character development. This book was layered so well and had so much depth. 

The ending was a little off for me. This was the only part where it felt a bit forced and rushed. It didn't flow as well as the rest of the book. I guess the believability kind of left me wanting. I didn't hate it and it wrapped everything up. I just think it needed a bit of tweaking for it to be perfect. 

A really fast-paced thrilling read. 

Jennifer Hillier

Jennifer Hillier writes about dark, twisted people who do dark, twisted things. Born and raised in Toronto and a proud Canadian, she spent eight years in the Seattle area, which is where all her books are set.

She loves her son, her husband, the Seahawks, and Stephen King. Not equally, but close. She's the author of five novels. Her newest psychological suspense, JAR OF HEARTS, is coming June 12, 2018 from Minotaur Books.

Learn more about her at

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