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"You're in danger. You and Amanda."

The warning draws Bonnie Wheeler to a place she has never been:

To the brutally slain body of her husband's ex-wife . . .

To the shattering of her perfect world by a murdered woman's secrets . . .

To a place where every truth becomes a lie—and every loved one is a stranger . . .

To a gathering darkness that threatens her innocent child—and herself . . .

To a home where nothing is safe, and there's no one she can trust.

No one.

Published: HarperCollins on
ISBN: 9780061952111
List price: $6.99
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Really enjoyed this one. Whimsical ,yet frightening. Kept me turning the pages.more
SPOILER ALERTI'm not really a fan. The book keeps swinging back between now and 15 years ago, which I found confusing at the beginning and annoying later on. The characters are not really sympathetic. Lisa (the girl that goes missing) is a bit of a dreamer. Evie, her cousin, comes off as underhanded. Later on it seems that she means well, but then again, she could have just opened up to Sam or Lisa about her home situation, instead of betraying Lisa to the town kids. That might have had some effect. And I'm sure she had enough opportunity to set things right later on, but she didn't. Sam, Lisa's brother, is annoyingly rational and unbelieving as a child and annoyingly closed as an adult. The most sympathetic is Phoebe, Sam's girlfriend, even though she is not portrayed very positively in the beginning. But that's not enough to carry the story.Then there's the story itself. I think the main theme about the book (and I'm sure that's what is supposed to make the book interesting) is the BIG question: are there really faeries, or is everyone who thinks so nuts? It keeps going back and forth between the two options, in the end the story sort of chooses one of the two (and in my opinion it's not the best one even though I usually prefer it if magic wins out), but even then it's possible to argue the other way. Sure, you could call it artsy or clever or whatever, but I just found it annoying. On top of everything else, the faeries were no fun either. Overall, I suppose it was well thought out, but this was really not my thing.more
This is the first Joy Fielding book I've given a one star rating. I hate to say it was blech, as others may get some entertainment from it, but it was blech to me. The female protagonist once again was a victim ALL THROUGH THE BOOK. I have nothing against Fielding's protrayal of women in crisis, but I am TIRED of the "poor little me" syndrome. Always, some evil person is doing something awful to the protagonist. The dream sequences are getting old too. This makes the 10th book of Fielding's I 've read in a row, so maybe I'm burnt out. I do want to say that the ending was a not what I expected. To Joy Fielding's credit, she always manufactures an original plot and that is why I have stuck with her, but this book was tiring..more
Gaah. The evil that men do. For a minute though, I really thought she might say that faeries are real. Hard to put this one down.more
I really enjoyed this book. It had the feel of a V.C. Andrews novel, who being one of my favorite authors, made it a nice surprise. Suspense was built nicely throughout the whole book. Some things I figured out rather quickly but some took to the end to give me the light bulb effect. The only thing holding it from a 5 star is I thought the ending was a little confusing and left me with a few unanswered questions. Will definitely read more from this author.more
Don’t Breathe a WordI loved this book. It wasn’t anything like I expected. This isn’t a average fairy story. You are better off without any preconceived notions about this story, so I’ll be brief on its description. A 12 year old girl, Lisa, tells her brother that she has found a door into another world and is leaving to meet the King of the Fairies. She goes to Reliance, a mysterious abandoned town of the past within the woods behind her home, and disappears. Nobody seems to know what exactly happened to her.Years later, Phoebe becomes involved with Sam, Lisa’s brother, and questions Lisa’s disappearance, the fairies, and Reliance. Her quest for the truth leads to so many twists and turns I couldn’t begin to describe them all. The characters in this book are so real. I soon forgot there are no such things as fairies…or are there? The character descriptions and imagery are strong. An imaginative tale that kept me glued. A creepy and entertaining read.more
What do I think? It's written well enough(but in a disjointed way, due to chapter by chapter changes in time frame) but, honestly, I wish I had never read it. It's creepy as heck and a really unpleasant story.more
A small girl dreams of fairyland and the fairy king, then disappears. The mystery of her disappearance remains unsolved and grief and guilt color the life of her brother as he grows to adulthood. In the present day, his girlfriend struggles with her own dysfunctional childhood and her anxiety about an undisclosed pregnancy, but begins to realize that her boyfriend's family history may be even more horrific than her own. This story is a chiller, and suspenseful to the last few pages. Some of the plot twists stretch the reader's credibility and the children, as portrayed, seem unbelievably naive, but still, a good read.more
Jennifer McMahon has become a master of suspense. Her stories are unique and intense. In that regard, this one is no different.Before Lisa disappears, at age 12, she tells her younger brother Sam a fairy tale where she is the Queen of the Fairies. He never believed in fairies but remembers this, and her disappearance, as he grows into a practical solid young man.Now grown, Sam and his girlfriend Phoebe, receive a strange call that leads to odd events. Phoebe grows increasingly concerned, while Sam is confused. He begins to question everything he thought he knew. Suddenly he is forced to reckon with a promise he made long ago, as it comes back to haunt him.In alternating chapters, we are told this story by Lisa, fifteen years ago, and Phoebe in present day. It is a story of mixed suspense, fantasy, and psychological thriller. It will keep you guessing and wondering. When all is said and done, the book is a bit disturbing and unnerving, which I believe it is meant to be.more
Don’t Breathe a Word, by Jennifer McMahon, is a story that grips from the start. The introduction of a missing child is one that strikes fear into anyone who has loved a child. Lisa is missing and her brother, Sam, is just as much a victim. He grew up always wondering what happened to Lisa, never knowing that the truth was very close. Phoebe, a broken woman herself, is in love with the now adult Sam. They are planning a future together when Sam gets a call from someone who claims to be Lisa. The story really gets going as deception and memories of literal fairy tales are brought to the forefront.The novel is cleverly written. We get to know Lisa and her story before she disappears. She believes in fairies and her fairy king who will make her his queen. Sam never does believe but when things start spiraling out of his control, he has to question the truth. The twists and turns the story takes, kept me very interested and although the ending was disturbing, it made sense. It’s definitely worth a read.more
This is a very eerie book about a girl who believes in fairies and than goes missing. Told in the present and fifteen years in the past the author does a fantastic job keeping the reader intensely involved and quite literally in the dark. One of the most psychlogically suspenseful book I have read this year.more
When Phoebe was twenty, she was passing through Harmony, Vermont living a wild life. She stops outside a housed where a young girl, Lisa has disappeared, amid rumors that she was taken by fairies.Fifteen years later, Phoebe is living in Harmony with Sam, Lisa's younger brother. Phoebe is fascinated by Lisa's story that she ran away with the King of the Fairies. Sam believes none of it, just that she was abducted and he refuses to talk about it. Then Phoebe gets a call from a little girl telling her and Sam where to find Lisa's old book, The Book of Fairies. Sam gets a call from his cousin Evie, who lived with Sam and Lisa that summer along with her mother, Hazel. Sam and Phoebe go spend the weekend with Evie and her husband Elliot. Weird things start to happen. An old woman comes to the cabin singing a song Lisa used to sing. She then stabs Evie and Sam and Phoebe run after her. But nothing is what it seems and they have no idea what is happening. No one is who they seem to be and they wonder if Lisa is still alive.The narration alternates between Phoebe today and Lisa fifteen years ago. Lisa is fascinated with the stories that her family is descended from the last remaining man of Reliance, a village that used to be in the woods near Harmony, a village where everyone just disappeared. Phoebe has her own issues as she had a bad childhood and has nightmares of a shadow man that would come through a trap door under her bed.This story was captivating, dark, and very mysterious. There were so many twists and turns that I didn't know who to trust and what to believe. This was less a supernatural novel than a thriller yet a disturbing fairy-tale like story. It was almost like following a treasure map and even when I got to the end, I'm not sure what I found but I did have the shivers.This is the second McMahon novel I read, after Promise Not to Tell. While I enjoyed that one, this one really went up a couple of notches. I could not put this down and it stayed with me even after I was done.I highly recommend this one!my rating 5/5more
A young girl disappears in the woods, leaving no real clues where she’s gone or who might have taken her. She told her brother and cousin she was going to live with the King of Fairies. It couldn’t be true, could it? Except her brother had chased after fairy bells in the woods, too.Fifteen years later, Lisa is still missing. Her brother, Sam, hasn’t gotten over her disappearance. His girlfriend, Phoebe, has her own suspicions about fairies. When they receive a mysterious call that leads them to Lisa’s Book of Fairies, they reunite with Sam’s cousin, Evie, at a remote cabin. Evie “knows” things, including that Phoebe may be pregnant. An old woman shows up at the door, singing Lisa’s childhood songs, only to stab Evie and run off, stripping off a disguise and revealing she’s a young woman. Phoebe and Sam give chase, but the young woman tells police the couple abducted her. Back at the cabin, there’s no trace Phoebe and Sam stayed there and no sign of Evie.Once home, Phoebe and Sam discover the Evie they met at the cabin isn’t the real Evie. They find themselves drawn deeper and deeper into the mystery of Lisa’s disappearance. Was she taken by the King of the Fairies? Or was a more sinister, all-too-human villain behind her disappearance?The bones of a good story lie beneath Jennifer McMahon’s Don’t Breathe a Word. What starts off as a young teen’s desire to believe in something magical, to be something more than ordinary pick up a sinister undertone as the plot progresses. As McMahon writes, “What if things happened to you—special, magic things—because you’d been preparing for them? What if by believing you opened a door?”Chapters flip between Phoebe’s investigation into Lisa’s disappearance and 15 years earlier to Lisa’s attempts to contact the Fairy King. The chapters from Lisa’s point of view are stronger. McMahon does well when writing about the transition to being an adult while wanting to cling to parts of childhood like believing in fairies. Her teen and preteen characters are believable, making mistakes and assumptions that real teens would. The plot in these chapters is a bit muddy at times, but that can be excused by gaps in Lisa’s knowledge of her family’s history.The Phoebe chapters are more problematic, with some inconsistencies in how characters act and one too many plot twists and reverses. A hint of deus ex machina in the form of a late-introduced character to provide answers doesn’t help.As those answers come, the end of the novel feels rushed as information is dumped on the reader through a discovered diary. The full scenes McMahon was able to portray of the young Lisa give way to quick flashes and hints of scenes that may have played better if more fully developed.more
I first discovered Jennifer McMahon when I reviewed her novel, Island of Lost Girls, back in 2008.Her latest book, Don't Breathe A Word, is a page turning thriller, drawing again on the exploration of past influencing present, and how childhood beliefs shape the future. But, boy oh boy, does she do it in a very creepy fashion!Fifteen years separate the two stories being told. In the past, Lisa, her brother Sam and cousin Evie all lived in the small Vermont town of Harmony. They often played in the woods behind their house. And in those woods there once was a small village called Reliance. All that is left are the stone foundations. Or is it? It is said that all the residents simply vanished one day, leaving only a baby crying in his cradle - Sam and Lisa's great grandfather. And then Lisa vanishes too.... "Three nights ago, she went into the woods behind her house and never came out again. She said there was a door in those woods, somewhere in the ruins of an old town long abandoned. She told her little brother she'd met the King of the Fairies and he was going to take her home to be his queen." Phoebe is just drifting through Harmony that day and follows a strange little girl into the woods to 'just have a look'.Fast forward 15 years. Sam and Phoebe are lovers, a chance meeting bringing them together before Phoebe realizes who Sam really was. When Lisa's 'fairy book' resurfaces and they start receiving calls from someone claiming to be Lisa, the past is reopened, re-explored and remembered in alternating chapters, past and present.When we're little we pretend there are fairies and fairytales enthrall us. But some of them are frightening as well. "You know how sometimes, sometimes when you're just sitting there, you catch this movement in the corner of your eye - just a shadow, really - and you blink, sure you imagined it?"What if those tales were based on reality? Or could it be some lowlife using those tales to lure a girl away?I have to say that McMahon kept me guessing right up until the very last page. One moment I was convinced the story was headed one way, only to be proven wrong in the next chapter. A truly odd mixture of suspense, thriller, mystery and fantasy. But intriguing? Oh yes!On a sidenote, I've always been intriged by McMahon's choice of cover art. All of her novels involve children and each cover has featured a child with striking eyes that seem to look right at you.more
I loved how the story alternated between past and present! It's a psychological thriller, a fantasy,and a fairy-tale that will keep you on the edge of your seat! The characters are well written and very likable.It also has strange dark really creepy characters that will make you want to scream! The story is enchanting,unpredictable and at times Down right eerie!It's A great read! I highly recommend it and look forward in reading more of Jennifer McMahon's books. ♥:more
In a word, weird. This book started out very weird, a little too off-the-wall for me. I thought, "Here we go." but then it evolved into this intriguing mystery that I couldn't put down. I needed to know what in the world was going on and then after every twist and turn imaginable, it came to an end that I didn't like but I guess it fit the bill.Would I recommend this book? I would but I'd forewarn the reader that's weird.more
This book was given to me by NetGalley for review. It is about a little girl, Lisa, who goes missing and it switches from the time she goes missing to 15 years later. 15 years later her brother, Sam, and his girlfriend, Phoebe, is trying to figure out what happen to this little girl. Mixed up in this mystery is a fairy story. Did Lisa get kidnapped or did she go into the land of the fairies? I really liked the writing style in this book and really like the character of Phoebe. She is full of curiosity and also self-doubt. She never seems to have much confidence in herself and is always trying to save others rather than dealing with her own issues. I don't want to give too much away but the fairy element to the story was really intriguing too. I kept reading and reading because I needed to know what happened. Were there really fairies or are the fairies a result of the childrens' imagination? I have never really read a book quite like this. It had all the elements of a mystery novel but it had the added element of fantasy as well. I have to say at times it did get a bit confusing (near the end). I also have to say that I'm not too sure how I feel about the ending. Again, I don't want to give anything away but a part of me thinks it was a perfect ending but in another way I feel like it left a lot of questions. Overall I did enjoy reading this book and I give it 3.5 stars out of 5.more
DON'T BREATHE A WORD, by Jennifer McMahon, is an engaging mystery/fantasy story that will keep you glued to the pages until the very end. My expectations going into this book were definitely met, but the experience was unlike I ever imagined. McMahon weaves a phenomenal story that convinced me to believe one thing, then something totally different, and even at the end I still don't know what I believe.I don't remember the last time I read a book this good but were so mixed on my emotions (all good emotions I assure you). I loved the idea that there was some faerie lore mixed into this contemporary mystery. The book flip flops between the present day life of Phoebe and the events leading up to Lisa's disappearance fifteen years earlier. There was not one narrator I would choose over the other but every time a chapter ended I was like, "No you can't stop there! I want more!"Secrets were a big theme in this book. Every single character had a secret that ultimately was revealed, causing organized insanity to their lives and more questions to be answered. There were so many twists and turns in this book, and with each new revelation the suspense built and built until it all came crashing down at the end. But even when I thought I knew everything, McMahon threw one more twist at the end that was insane!Overall, a fabulous book. It combines a contemporary mystery with fantasy so I believe the crossover will please many readers.Cover note: Love! Love! The girl is exactly how I would picture Lisa, innocent but also hiding a secret in her eyes.more
Don't Breathe a Word is the third Jennifer McMahon book I've read. I loved Promise Not to Tell and was highly disappointed by Dismantled. So, this really could've gone either way for me. Not only because of my previous thoughts on her book, but also because I've been going through a bit of a reading slump lately, so it's been taking a lot longer than usual for me to be impressed by a book. Luckily for everyone involved, I loved Don't Breathe a Word (and am completely cured from my reading slump). Don't Breathe a Word is a novel that is VERY hard to classify because it has a little bit of everything. It's a horror, fantasy, psychological thriller, fairy-tale, and so many more things. Usually when an author throws everything but the kitchen sink in a book I get annoyed because very rarely is it done well. But in this book, it was done extremely well. I enjoyed all of the elements embedded in it and it didn't make the book seem like the author couldn't choose which direction she wanted to go in and just decided 'to hell with it'. While all of those genres are my favorites, I definitely enjoyed the horror and the psychological thriller aspects of it. This novel is creepy. Seriously, chill up your spine type of creepy. The weird thing is that Don't Breathe a Word didn't affect me when it got all dark and shadow-like at night, but it freaked me out during the daytime. I was alone in the house and getting a pen from my bedroom when I heard this huge, house-shaking type of grumbling sound. My first irrational thought was "Oh my God, it's Teilo, the King of the Fairies." I kid you not. It just popped into my head and then I rolled my eyes at my own stupidity (of course it being May 21st, 2011 my second irrational thought was "Those people are right. The world is ending!" A second eye-roll occurred.) I think I was so creeped out because we're taught as little kids that fairies are these cute, sweet, yet somewhat mischievious magical creatures (Tinkerbell, anyone?). Yet in this book, they seem very malevolent and for some reason, that scared the hell out of me. However, my absolute favorite part of the book (in that whole "what the hell? Can this be more disturbing?!" kind of way) were the family dynamics between all of the characters. It was seriously twisted. So much that I had no idea what the hell was going on most of the time and what imagined was not even half as bad as what actually occurred. In fact, that may have been more creepy than the evil fairies. All in all, I highly recommend Don't Breathe a Word. It's creepy, twisted, unpredictable (and this is coming from someone who tends to predict everything that happens in these types of novels), and one hell of a page-turner. If you're going through a particular brutal reading slump, pick this up. If you're not going through a particular brutal reading slump, pick it up anyway. You won't be disappointed.more
Hello creepy fairy story.This book is a thriller, no doubt about it. It had all the elements of a creepy, spine-tingling terror, mixed with dark fantasy, mixed with just... strange family stuff that makes up the perfect page-turner.Don't Breathe a Word alternates between Lisa, 15 years before the present time, and Phoebe, in present time. Lisa and Phoebe have a connection in that Phoebe had heard about Lisa's disappearance and visited the house where Lisa lived, and while she was there she glimpsed Sam, her current partner.Phoebe's been through her tough knocks, but that's nothing compared to the family that Sam comes from. Filled with strange characters from Evie to his Aunt Hazel and his own parents, this story went from dark and spooky to incredibly creepy and twisted in a hurry. I have one real complaint however, and it tends to be a common complaint with these types of books. The climax is carefully worked toward in the first 75% of the book and it felt like the last 25% was just a haphazard rush of trying to spring the "TADA" on the reader all at once. There was so much happening, so much that didn't make a lot of sense and I'd have to go back and read it two or three times to understand the impact it was supposed to have. I'm still not quite clear on a few things as well, which makes the resolution difficult. I just would have hoped for a more clear explanation, or the same care taken to give it as was taken to build the story up to it.I'm definitely interested in checking out more of Jennifer McMahon's books, however. I love getting caught up in a thriller and am always on the lookout for authors who craft an interesting story.more
Psychological games abound in this mystery-thriller by Jennifer McMahon. Although I found myself taking notes toward the end in order to keep some things straight in my mind, the plot really isn’t that complicated. But it required me to concentrate in order to better deal with some heavy-duty revelations.The ending is good. Very good. It’s not sappy or happy and left me questioning who the real victims are and if my feelings of sympathy toward certain characters are misplaced or well-deserved.What helps is the author keeps the reader at a distance with her choice of POV’s. It’s never in the first person, so no one ever really knows the true thoughts or motivations of any of the characters. It would bring too much clarity. She compliments the readers intelligence by letting them decide what to believe, what to fear, and what to take away at the end.McMahon’s storytelling is powerful enough to give us enough information, but does not hand-hold anyone. I hate that.Yet, there is no closure. For some there may be, depending on if you have made, and stand by, decisions you made about the characters all along.When I got to the last page, I literally yelled, “Noooooooooo!” I was shocked more than surprised as I saw it coming, but didn’t want it too. I guess the best endings are the ones that make you emotional in some way: mad, happy, sad. They should evoke an emotion so strong it lingers long after you’ve finished reading it.That my friends is a great story, and an even better storyteller. I can’t wait to read McMahon’s other books.I am not a huge mystery reader, but Don’t Breathe A Word has made me want to read more. That is if I can continue to get novels that are as good as this one.more
In this stunning novel by Jennifer McMahon the line between reality and fantasy is blurred by secrets and lies, madness and myth. Lisa is twelve years old when she disappears in the woods behind her home. Legend considers the woods dangerous, an entire village had once vanished leaving behind only an infant boy, but for Lisa, it is a place of magic, a door to the realm of the fairies ruled by King Teilo and her greatest wish is become his Queen. Fifteen years later, Lisa's brother Sam, and his girlfriend Phoebe, receive a cryptic phone call and find a young girl in the ruins of Reliance, emaciated and incoherent. Somewhere, lurking in the shadows, is the truth of what happened to Lisa, but whose truth do you believe?“What if things happened to you—special, magic things—because you’d been preparing for them? What if by believing, you opened a door?”Pushing against the edges of reality, this novel is a successful blend of psychological thriller, suspense, horror and magical realism. It's an ambitious combination which McMahon achieves with a carefully constructed plot. Told in alternating chapters of past and present, the transition's are generally smooth, though the format demands concentrated attention at times. The two perspectives provide both misdirection and clues that sometimes compete with each other, emphasizing the idea that the truth lies somewhere in between. McMahon slowly builds an atmosphere of oppressive unease, where everything is just sightly 'wrong' in both timelines. The story takes disturbing twists just when you may begin to make assumptions about Lisa's fate and what happened that night in the woods. The juxtaposition of innocent childhood fantasy and corrupted adult desire at the conclusion is confronting. The climax is chillingly ambiguous, but I loved the final delicious flick of doubt.Don't Breathe A Word is a compelling yet disturbing contemporary tale where dreams and nightmares breathe in shadows and the veil between reality and fantasy is gossamer thin. Hauntingly enigmatic, Jennifer McMahon asks you - do you believe?more
To be honest, I've had mixed emotions with this book from the get go. I didn't like the prologue and it took a while for things to get interesting, but when they did I found myself wanting to keep going. Things never play out the way you’d expect in this story and I think that is truly what makes it worth a read.“Don’t Breathe a Word” of Lisa, a twelve year old girl who went missing in the woods behind her house. Lisa was a young girl that believed in fairy tales and fairies, things...moreTo be honest, I've had mixed emotions with this book from the get go. I didn't like the prologue and it took a while for things to get interesting, but when they did I found myself wanting to keep going. Things never play out the way you’d expect in this story and I think that is truly what makes it worth a read.“Don’t Breathe a Word” of Lisa, a twelve year old girl who went missing in the woods behind her house. Lisa was a young girl that believed in fairy tales and fairies, things children like to believe in, but it’s those very things that cause trouble in her life. But it’s not just her life that gets turned upside down, her beliefs – they impact her family, too.While I may have disliked “Don’t Breathe a Word” in the beginning, the payoff at the end made me change my mind. Jennifer McMahon crafts a lovely mystery that will keep you on the edge of your seat. Not everything is what it appears to be.more
Twelve-year-old Lisa loves fairy tales. One summer night, she tells her brother, Sam, that she is going to meet the king of the faeries and become his queen. Once she leaves the house, Sam never sees or hears from her again. Fifteen years later, Sam and his girlfriend, Phoebe, receive a strange call from someone claiming to be Lisa. She says she has returned from Fairyland and they are to meet her at the old town in the woods where she disappeared from all those years ago.The book alternates between present day and fifteen years ago as it slowly reveals what Lisa experienced on the days before her disappearance, and what Sam and his girlfriend Phoebe are going through as they prepare for her “return”. This book is in no way a cute little fairy tale. It is dark, mysterious, supernatural and very creepy. It’s rife with mystery, family secrets, and supernatural elements. You never know where the story is headed. As soon as you think you have it figured out, it takes another twist. It balances on a precarious cliff between being believable and totally ridiculous, and that is what makes it work so well. This is an Adult fiction book, but older teens may enjoy it. I wouldn’t recommend it for younger teens.(Advanced Readers Copy courtesy of NetGalley)more
I want to say this was a fantasy story but I’m held up by reality on this one. Did I like this book? Yes and no. Yes, in that the story was well paced, full of twists, and slightly disturbing in a way that makes you keep reading because you must absolutely know what happens and are afraid to put the book down for fear of not finding out. No, in that sometimes reality is too disturbing and you want to walk away and forget what you read and imagined and go back to a life happy without disturbing images in your head. Lisa is an imaginative child so much so that she not only imagines but believes she has found the fairy king in the woods behind her house. Woods full of strange tales, horror stories, and dilapidated stone homes. When she goes missing, there’s more to the story of a girl and a fairy king and it’s so much more disturbing than anyone, especially her brother, may have wanted to imagine. Her brother, now a man in his twenties happy in his life and relationship with his girlfriend, Phoebe, Sam would rather forget parts of his childhood and move on but it’s not meant to happen. When a woman claiming to be his sister appears saying she’s returned from the land of the fairies, the simple life Sam and Phoebe have together is ruined. Sometimes when you’re reading, especially a story about a young girl gone missing, you know it’s going to turn out badly and all that was at work was sad, despicable, human behavior. But sometimes you also want to believe there is another fantasy world where she could have been taken and McMahon does a good job of making you really wonder about that. Is it all an elaborate ruse to fool you and hide psychotic behavior? Why can’t there be a happy ending here? I can tell you, without ruining anything, there is no happy ending here and yes, at times you will find yourself repulsed by the characters behavior. You’ll be uncomfortable with the lies they yield and live. You’ll be utterly disgusted and disturbed by what they do. Sadly, it’s also compelling and I’ll admit I had a hard time reading and putting this book down. That’s also what’s making me a little wishy-washy on this. Did I not like it because it made me uncomfortable? Well written books should do that to a certain extent. But ultimately, I can’t say I loved it and I don’t honestly know if it was because of the subject matter. Having a visceral reaction to something I read doesn’t mean it’s not good if my reaction was negative, does it? Either way this book gets credit for holding me nearly hostage for several hours to finish it before my heart stopped pounding. If nothing else, McMahon knows how to get hold of a reader.more
This book skipped around in time - every chapter took place in a different decade. The book chapters also each featured a different protagonist - the more modern ones featured a woman in her thirties named Phoebe, the chapters from 15 years prior featured a young girl named Lisa.At the crux of the story lies the mystery of what, exactly, happened to a 12-year-old girl named Lisa, who disappeared one summer. The most logical train of thought - 12-year-old girl disappears and has been missing for 15 years - isn't pretty. The flashbacks and the interesting people Phoebe and her boyfriend (who happens to be Lisa's younger brother) Sam encounter when the possibility that Lisa's returned, however, makes the reader question this concept of reality.The summer that she disappeared, Lisa thought she was contacting fairies, and was going to be brought into the fairyland to become Teilo (the fairy king) 's queen.So 15 years later, Sam and his cousin Evie begin receiving strange messages and encountering odd situations that seem like the sorts of things that fairies who are unpredictable and frightening might be perpetrating, & have to wonder - was Lisa right? Was she in the fairy kingdom for 15 years? & is she now back?I really, really enjoyed this book. For some reason, the length of the book surprised me (464 pages). The novel still read very quickly, however, while not being insipid or stupid.There was one thing that sometimes irked me about the book - the protagonist changes. Every chapter had that different focus - one for Phoebe, one for Lisa - and sometimes, it was a little jarring.I recommend reading this book.more
I don't know exactly, but the book warns not to cross them. The fairies can grant wishes, bring good luck, but if you get on their bad side...." Page 219Phoebe received a phone call asking to inform Sam to look in the attic in the crawl space. When Phoebe delivered the message, Sam knew what he would find.....the book his missing sister of 15 years had left there before she disappeared.More strange happenings occurred after the phone call and after finding the book. When Sam and friends went on a camping trip....someone resembling Lisa appeared at their door singing a familiar song; then that same person broke into the cabin even though none of the doors or windows had been tampered with. The camping trip then turned into a true nightmare....the campers were being accused of holding someone hostage and of not actually occupying the cabin. To make matters worse, a note on their car had the same picture that was on one of their camping companion's legs.....it was of Teilo, The King of the Fairies. When Sam and Phoebe arrived home from the camping trip, their house had been ransacked, but nothing had been taken....were they looking for the book? About a week later, Teilo also ransacked their friend Evie's place.As Phoebe found things out about Lisa's disappearance in Reliance, a town that has nothing left but foundations, more strange facts surfaced about the disappearance and of Lisa and Evie's childhood friendship. She even found things out about Sam that she really didn't want to know. Another phone call came from a girl/woman that urged Sam to meet her in the woods at their usual childhood place in Reliance. Things got a lot more involved after this most recent phone call.The book went back and forth from present-day events to events that took place 15 years ago when Lisa disappeared. The book was intense and mostly about changelings, how fairies live, and the puzzle that needed to be solved....the puzzle was: Where had Lisa been for 15 years, and were there really fairies doing all this damage and mind control? Even though this isn't my genre of choice the book's premise did get you hooked as you continued reading. You will find out that fairies are not a very nice sort of people. The book was somewhat “creepy.” This is one of the last entries in a Book of Fairies…it will show you the eeriness of the book. “If you have read this book all the way to the end, you know the truth. We are here, walking among you. We are stronger, faster, smarter. We walk with silent footsteps. We can see into your dreams. And we lie. Always remember that we lie.” 4/5more
“Once you go through that door out there, you can’t come back, no matter how bad you might want to.”Twelve year old Lisa went missing in the woods behind her house 15 years ago and was never found. That summer, Lisa, her brother Sam, and their cousin Evie, were beginning to hear strange sounds emanating from the woods, the site of the abruptly abandoned town, Reliance. Locals whispered that the Devil lived there, and many said they heard bells ringing, muttering in a language no one could recognize, and some saw green mists in the shape of body. Legends claimed that there was a door that led to another place, a place where Lisa believed that she would meet Teilo, The King of the Fairies. “What if things happened to you—special, magic things—because you’d been preparing for them? What if by believing, you opened a door?”15 years after Lisa’s disappearance, Sam and his girlfriend, Phoebe, receive a mysterious phone call from a frightened girl instructing them on the hiding place of a book no one has seen since that fateful summer—The Book of Fairies. Who was the girl? Why was she frightened? What did she know?As Sam and Phoebe scramble to find the answers, and learn once and for all what happened to Lisa so many years before, they will have to untangle the web of lies they’ve been told, and figure out who they can trust in a crime that is steeped in myth and fable. “Storytelling wasn’t about making things up. It was more like inviting the stories to come through her, let themselves be told.”A skeptic of all things supernatural, Sam believes that Lisa’s disappearance had nothing to do with fairies, or silly stories told by mothers to keep their children out of the forest. But Phoebe knows about things that go bump in the night, of haunted and hunted people, of doors that shouldn’t open, but nevertheless, do. Jennifer McMahon does a wonderful job of balancing the supernatural and realistic throughout this darkly atmospheric novel of the loss of innocence and the corruption of a soul. The suspense builds to an explosive climax, maintained throughout this long tale. Though rereading some passages was necessary, this is a fast read; I finished it in a day, simply because I could not put it down. At the end, it is certain the reader will come away with more questions than answers, which makes it an even better read.more
This book sounded so good. A 12 year old girl who was obsessed with the idea of fairies in the woods behind her house disappeared one summer. Fifteen years later, her brother and his girlfriend get new information and start looking afresh.Unfortuately, the story was just unbelievable. Not necessarily the fairy parts -- that aspect was handled well, leaving room for both believers and skeptics to enjoy the story. But the actions of the brother and the girlfriend were not credible. Lack of willingness to call police when appropriate, acceptance of flakey stories at face value, etc.more
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Reviews

Really enjoyed this one. Whimsical ,yet frightening. Kept me turning the pages.more
SPOILER ALERTI'm not really a fan. The book keeps swinging back between now and 15 years ago, which I found confusing at the beginning and annoying later on. The characters are not really sympathetic. Lisa (the girl that goes missing) is a bit of a dreamer. Evie, her cousin, comes off as underhanded. Later on it seems that she means well, but then again, she could have just opened up to Sam or Lisa about her home situation, instead of betraying Lisa to the town kids. That might have had some effect. And I'm sure she had enough opportunity to set things right later on, but she didn't. Sam, Lisa's brother, is annoyingly rational and unbelieving as a child and annoyingly closed as an adult. The most sympathetic is Phoebe, Sam's girlfriend, even though she is not portrayed very positively in the beginning. But that's not enough to carry the story.Then there's the story itself. I think the main theme about the book (and I'm sure that's what is supposed to make the book interesting) is the BIG question: are there really faeries, or is everyone who thinks so nuts? It keeps going back and forth between the two options, in the end the story sort of chooses one of the two (and in my opinion it's not the best one even though I usually prefer it if magic wins out), but even then it's possible to argue the other way. Sure, you could call it artsy or clever or whatever, but I just found it annoying. On top of everything else, the faeries were no fun either. Overall, I suppose it was well thought out, but this was really not my thing.more
This is the first Joy Fielding book I've given a one star rating. I hate to say it was blech, as others may get some entertainment from it, but it was blech to me. The female protagonist once again was a victim ALL THROUGH THE BOOK. I have nothing against Fielding's protrayal of women in crisis, but I am TIRED of the "poor little me" syndrome. Always, some evil person is doing something awful to the protagonist. The dream sequences are getting old too. This makes the 10th book of Fielding's I 've read in a row, so maybe I'm burnt out. I do want to say that the ending was a not what I expected. To Joy Fielding's credit, she always manufactures an original plot and that is why I have stuck with her, but this book was tiring..more
Gaah. The evil that men do. For a minute though, I really thought she might say that faeries are real. Hard to put this one down.more
I really enjoyed this book. It had the feel of a V.C. Andrews novel, who being one of my favorite authors, made it a nice surprise. Suspense was built nicely throughout the whole book. Some things I figured out rather quickly but some took to the end to give me the light bulb effect. The only thing holding it from a 5 star is I thought the ending was a little confusing and left me with a few unanswered questions. Will definitely read more from this author.more
Don’t Breathe a WordI loved this book. It wasn’t anything like I expected. This isn’t a average fairy story. You are better off without any preconceived notions about this story, so I’ll be brief on its description. A 12 year old girl, Lisa, tells her brother that she has found a door into another world and is leaving to meet the King of the Fairies. She goes to Reliance, a mysterious abandoned town of the past within the woods behind her home, and disappears. Nobody seems to know what exactly happened to her.Years later, Phoebe becomes involved with Sam, Lisa’s brother, and questions Lisa’s disappearance, the fairies, and Reliance. Her quest for the truth leads to so many twists and turns I couldn’t begin to describe them all. The characters in this book are so real. I soon forgot there are no such things as fairies…or are there? The character descriptions and imagery are strong. An imaginative tale that kept me glued. A creepy and entertaining read.more
What do I think? It's written well enough(but in a disjointed way, due to chapter by chapter changes in time frame) but, honestly, I wish I had never read it. It's creepy as heck and a really unpleasant story.more
A small girl dreams of fairyland and the fairy king, then disappears. The mystery of her disappearance remains unsolved and grief and guilt color the life of her brother as he grows to adulthood. In the present day, his girlfriend struggles with her own dysfunctional childhood and her anxiety about an undisclosed pregnancy, but begins to realize that her boyfriend's family history may be even more horrific than her own. This story is a chiller, and suspenseful to the last few pages. Some of the plot twists stretch the reader's credibility and the children, as portrayed, seem unbelievably naive, but still, a good read.more
Jennifer McMahon has become a master of suspense. Her stories are unique and intense. In that regard, this one is no different.Before Lisa disappears, at age 12, she tells her younger brother Sam a fairy tale where she is the Queen of the Fairies. He never believed in fairies but remembers this, and her disappearance, as he grows into a practical solid young man.Now grown, Sam and his girlfriend Phoebe, receive a strange call that leads to odd events. Phoebe grows increasingly concerned, while Sam is confused. He begins to question everything he thought he knew. Suddenly he is forced to reckon with a promise he made long ago, as it comes back to haunt him.In alternating chapters, we are told this story by Lisa, fifteen years ago, and Phoebe in present day. It is a story of mixed suspense, fantasy, and psychological thriller. It will keep you guessing and wondering. When all is said and done, the book is a bit disturbing and unnerving, which I believe it is meant to be.more
Don’t Breathe a Word, by Jennifer McMahon, is a story that grips from the start. The introduction of a missing child is one that strikes fear into anyone who has loved a child. Lisa is missing and her brother, Sam, is just as much a victim. He grew up always wondering what happened to Lisa, never knowing that the truth was very close. Phoebe, a broken woman herself, is in love with the now adult Sam. They are planning a future together when Sam gets a call from someone who claims to be Lisa. The story really gets going as deception and memories of literal fairy tales are brought to the forefront.The novel is cleverly written. We get to know Lisa and her story before she disappears. She believes in fairies and her fairy king who will make her his queen. Sam never does believe but when things start spiraling out of his control, he has to question the truth. The twists and turns the story takes, kept me very interested and although the ending was disturbing, it made sense. It’s definitely worth a read.more
This is a very eerie book about a girl who believes in fairies and than goes missing. Told in the present and fifteen years in the past the author does a fantastic job keeping the reader intensely involved and quite literally in the dark. One of the most psychlogically suspenseful book I have read this year.more
When Phoebe was twenty, she was passing through Harmony, Vermont living a wild life. She stops outside a housed where a young girl, Lisa has disappeared, amid rumors that she was taken by fairies.Fifteen years later, Phoebe is living in Harmony with Sam, Lisa's younger brother. Phoebe is fascinated by Lisa's story that she ran away with the King of the Fairies. Sam believes none of it, just that she was abducted and he refuses to talk about it. Then Phoebe gets a call from a little girl telling her and Sam where to find Lisa's old book, The Book of Fairies. Sam gets a call from his cousin Evie, who lived with Sam and Lisa that summer along with her mother, Hazel. Sam and Phoebe go spend the weekend with Evie and her husband Elliot. Weird things start to happen. An old woman comes to the cabin singing a song Lisa used to sing. She then stabs Evie and Sam and Phoebe run after her. But nothing is what it seems and they have no idea what is happening. No one is who they seem to be and they wonder if Lisa is still alive.The narration alternates between Phoebe today and Lisa fifteen years ago. Lisa is fascinated with the stories that her family is descended from the last remaining man of Reliance, a village that used to be in the woods near Harmony, a village where everyone just disappeared. Phoebe has her own issues as she had a bad childhood and has nightmares of a shadow man that would come through a trap door under her bed.This story was captivating, dark, and very mysterious. There were so many twists and turns that I didn't know who to trust and what to believe. This was less a supernatural novel than a thriller yet a disturbing fairy-tale like story. It was almost like following a treasure map and even when I got to the end, I'm not sure what I found but I did have the shivers.This is the second McMahon novel I read, after Promise Not to Tell. While I enjoyed that one, this one really went up a couple of notches. I could not put this down and it stayed with me even after I was done.I highly recommend this one!my rating 5/5more
A young girl disappears in the woods, leaving no real clues where she’s gone or who might have taken her. She told her brother and cousin she was going to live with the King of Fairies. It couldn’t be true, could it? Except her brother had chased after fairy bells in the woods, too.Fifteen years later, Lisa is still missing. Her brother, Sam, hasn’t gotten over her disappearance. His girlfriend, Phoebe, has her own suspicions about fairies. When they receive a mysterious call that leads them to Lisa’s Book of Fairies, they reunite with Sam’s cousin, Evie, at a remote cabin. Evie “knows” things, including that Phoebe may be pregnant. An old woman shows up at the door, singing Lisa’s childhood songs, only to stab Evie and run off, stripping off a disguise and revealing she’s a young woman. Phoebe and Sam give chase, but the young woman tells police the couple abducted her. Back at the cabin, there’s no trace Phoebe and Sam stayed there and no sign of Evie.Once home, Phoebe and Sam discover the Evie they met at the cabin isn’t the real Evie. They find themselves drawn deeper and deeper into the mystery of Lisa’s disappearance. Was she taken by the King of the Fairies? Or was a more sinister, all-too-human villain behind her disappearance?The bones of a good story lie beneath Jennifer McMahon’s Don’t Breathe a Word. What starts off as a young teen’s desire to believe in something magical, to be something more than ordinary pick up a sinister undertone as the plot progresses. As McMahon writes, “What if things happened to you—special, magic things—because you’d been preparing for them? What if by believing you opened a door?”Chapters flip between Phoebe’s investigation into Lisa’s disappearance and 15 years earlier to Lisa’s attempts to contact the Fairy King. The chapters from Lisa’s point of view are stronger. McMahon does well when writing about the transition to being an adult while wanting to cling to parts of childhood like believing in fairies. Her teen and preteen characters are believable, making mistakes and assumptions that real teens would. The plot in these chapters is a bit muddy at times, but that can be excused by gaps in Lisa’s knowledge of her family’s history.The Phoebe chapters are more problematic, with some inconsistencies in how characters act and one too many plot twists and reverses. A hint of deus ex machina in the form of a late-introduced character to provide answers doesn’t help.As those answers come, the end of the novel feels rushed as information is dumped on the reader through a discovered diary. The full scenes McMahon was able to portray of the young Lisa give way to quick flashes and hints of scenes that may have played better if more fully developed.more
I first discovered Jennifer McMahon when I reviewed her novel, Island of Lost Girls, back in 2008.Her latest book, Don't Breathe A Word, is a page turning thriller, drawing again on the exploration of past influencing present, and how childhood beliefs shape the future. But, boy oh boy, does she do it in a very creepy fashion!Fifteen years separate the two stories being told. In the past, Lisa, her brother Sam and cousin Evie all lived in the small Vermont town of Harmony. They often played in the woods behind their house. And in those woods there once was a small village called Reliance. All that is left are the stone foundations. Or is it? It is said that all the residents simply vanished one day, leaving only a baby crying in his cradle - Sam and Lisa's great grandfather. And then Lisa vanishes too.... "Three nights ago, she went into the woods behind her house and never came out again. She said there was a door in those woods, somewhere in the ruins of an old town long abandoned. She told her little brother she'd met the King of the Fairies and he was going to take her home to be his queen." Phoebe is just drifting through Harmony that day and follows a strange little girl into the woods to 'just have a look'.Fast forward 15 years. Sam and Phoebe are lovers, a chance meeting bringing them together before Phoebe realizes who Sam really was. When Lisa's 'fairy book' resurfaces and they start receiving calls from someone claiming to be Lisa, the past is reopened, re-explored and remembered in alternating chapters, past and present.When we're little we pretend there are fairies and fairytales enthrall us. But some of them are frightening as well. "You know how sometimes, sometimes when you're just sitting there, you catch this movement in the corner of your eye - just a shadow, really - and you blink, sure you imagined it?"What if those tales were based on reality? Or could it be some lowlife using those tales to lure a girl away?I have to say that McMahon kept me guessing right up until the very last page. One moment I was convinced the story was headed one way, only to be proven wrong in the next chapter. A truly odd mixture of suspense, thriller, mystery and fantasy. But intriguing? Oh yes!On a sidenote, I've always been intriged by McMahon's choice of cover art. All of her novels involve children and each cover has featured a child with striking eyes that seem to look right at you.more
I loved how the story alternated between past and present! It's a psychological thriller, a fantasy,and a fairy-tale that will keep you on the edge of your seat! The characters are well written and very likable.It also has strange dark really creepy characters that will make you want to scream! The story is enchanting,unpredictable and at times Down right eerie!It's A great read! I highly recommend it and look forward in reading more of Jennifer McMahon's books. ♥:more
In a word, weird. This book started out very weird, a little too off-the-wall for me. I thought, "Here we go." but then it evolved into this intriguing mystery that I couldn't put down. I needed to know what in the world was going on and then after every twist and turn imaginable, it came to an end that I didn't like but I guess it fit the bill.Would I recommend this book? I would but I'd forewarn the reader that's weird.more
This book was given to me by NetGalley for review. It is about a little girl, Lisa, who goes missing and it switches from the time she goes missing to 15 years later. 15 years later her brother, Sam, and his girlfriend, Phoebe, is trying to figure out what happen to this little girl. Mixed up in this mystery is a fairy story. Did Lisa get kidnapped or did she go into the land of the fairies? I really liked the writing style in this book and really like the character of Phoebe. She is full of curiosity and also self-doubt. She never seems to have much confidence in herself and is always trying to save others rather than dealing with her own issues. I don't want to give too much away but the fairy element to the story was really intriguing too. I kept reading and reading because I needed to know what happened. Were there really fairies or are the fairies a result of the childrens' imagination? I have never really read a book quite like this. It had all the elements of a mystery novel but it had the added element of fantasy as well. I have to say at times it did get a bit confusing (near the end). I also have to say that I'm not too sure how I feel about the ending. Again, I don't want to give anything away but a part of me thinks it was a perfect ending but in another way I feel like it left a lot of questions. Overall I did enjoy reading this book and I give it 3.5 stars out of 5.more
DON'T BREATHE A WORD, by Jennifer McMahon, is an engaging mystery/fantasy story that will keep you glued to the pages until the very end. My expectations going into this book were definitely met, but the experience was unlike I ever imagined. McMahon weaves a phenomenal story that convinced me to believe one thing, then something totally different, and even at the end I still don't know what I believe.I don't remember the last time I read a book this good but were so mixed on my emotions (all good emotions I assure you). I loved the idea that there was some faerie lore mixed into this contemporary mystery. The book flip flops between the present day life of Phoebe and the events leading up to Lisa's disappearance fifteen years earlier. There was not one narrator I would choose over the other but every time a chapter ended I was like, "No you can't stop there! I want more!"Secrets were a big theme in this book. Every single character had a secret that ultimately was revealed, causing organized insanity to their lives and more questions to be answered. There were so many twists and turns in this book, and with each new revelation the suspense built and built until it all came crashing down at the end. But even when I thought I knew everything, McMahon threw one more twist at the end that was insane!Overall, a fabulous book. It combines a contemporary mystery with fantasy so I believe the crossover will please many readers.Cover note: Love! Love! The girl is exactly how I would picture Lisa, innocent but also hiding a secret in her eyes.more
Don't Breathe a Word is the third Jennifer McMahon book I've read. I loved Promise Not to Tell and was highly disappointed by Dismantled. So, this really could've gone either way for me. Not only because of my previous thoughts on her book, but also because I've been going through a bit of a reading slump lately, so it's been taking a lot longer than usual for me to be impressed by a book. Luckily for everyone involved, I loved Don't Breathe a Word (and am completely cured from my reading slump). Don't Breathe a Word is a novel that is VERY hard to classify because it has a little bit of everything. It's a horror, fantasy, psychological thriller, fairy-tale, and so many more things. Usually when an author throws everything but the kitchen sink in a book I get annoyed because very rarely is it done well. But in this book, it was done extremely well. I enjoyed all of the elements embedded in it and it didn't make the book seem like the author couldn't choose which direction she wanted to go in and just decided 'to hell with it'. While all of those genres are my favorites, I definitely enjoyed the horror and the psychological thriller aspects of it. This novel is creepy. Seriously, chill up your spine type of creepy. The weird thing is that Don't Breathe a Word didn't affect me when it got all dark and shadow-like at night, but it freaked me out during the daytime. I was alone in the house and getting a pen from my bedroom when I heard this huge, house-shaking type of grumbling sound. My first irrational thought was "Oh my God, it's Teilo, the King of the Fairies." I kid you not. It just popped into my head and then I rolled my eyes at my own stupidity (of course it being May 21st, 2011 my second irrational thought was "Those people are right. The world is ending!" A second eye-roll occurred.) I think I was so creeped out because we're taught as little kids that fairies are these cute, sweet, yet somewhat mischievious magical creatures (Tinkerbell, anyone?). Yet in this book, they seem very malevolent and for some reason, that scared the hell out of me. However, my absolute favorite part of the book (in that whole "what the hell? Can this be more disturbing?!" kind of way) were the family dynamics between all of the characters. It was seriously twisted. So much that I had no idea what the hell was going on most of the time and what imagined was not even half as bad as what actually occurred. In fact, that may have been more creepy than the evil fairies. All in all, I highly recommend Don't Breathe a Word. It's creepy, twisted, unpredictable (and this is coming from someone who tends to predict everything that happens in these types of novels), and one hell of a page-turner. If you're going through a particular brutal reading slump, pick this up. If you're not going through a particular brutal reading slump, pick it up anyway. You won't be disappointed.more
Hello creepy fairy story.This book is a thriller, no doubt about it. It had all the elements of a creepy, spine-tingling terror, mixed with dark fantasy, mixed with just... strange family stuff that makes up the perfect page-turner.Don't Breathe a Word alternates between Lisa, 15 years before the present time, and Phoebe, in present time. Lisa and Phoebe have a connection in that Phoebe had heard about Lisa's disappearance and visited the house where Lisa lived, and while she was there she glimpsed Sam, her current partner.Phoebe's been through her tough knocks, but that's nothing compared to the family that Sam comes from. Filled with strange characters from Evie to his Aunt Hazel and his own parents, this story went from dark and spooky to incredibly creepy and twisted in a hurry. I have one real complaint however, and it tends to be a common complaint with these types of books. The climax is carefully worked toward in the first 75% of the book and it felt like the last 25% was just a haphazard rush of trying to spring the "TADA" on the reader all at once. There was so much happening, so much that didn't make a lot of sense and I'd have to go back and read it two or three times to understand the impact it was supposed to have. I'm still not quite clear on a few things as well, which makes the resolution difficult. I just would have hoped for a more clear explanation, or the same care taken to give it as was taken to build the story up to it.I'm definitely interested in checking out more of Jennifer McMahon's books, however. I love getting caught up in a thriller and am always on the lookout for authors who craft an interesting story.more
Psychological games abound in this mystery-thriller by Jennifer McMahon. Although I found myself taking notes toward the end in order to keep some things straight in my mind, the plot really isn’t that complicated. But it required me to concentrate in order to better deal with some heavy-duty revelations.The ending is good. Very good. It’s not sappy or happy and left me questioning who the real victims are and if my feelings of sympathy toward certain characters are misplaced or well-deserved.What helps is the author keeps the reader at a distance with her choice of POV’s. It’s never in the first person, so no one ever really knows the true thoughts or motivations of any of the characters. It would bring too much clarity. She compliments the readers intelligence by letting them decide what to believe, what to fear, and what to take away at the end.McMahon’s storytelling is powerful enough to give us enough information, but does not hand-hold anyone. I hate that.Yet, there is no closure. For some there may be, depending on if you have made, and stand by, decisions you made about the characters all along.When I got to the last page, I literally yelled, “Noooooooooo!” I was shocked more than surprised as I saw it coming, but didn’t want it too. I guess the best endings are the ones that make you emotional in some way: mad, happy, sad. They should evoke an emotion so strong it lingers long after you’ve finished reading it.That my friends is a great story, and an even better storyteller. I can’t wait to read McMahon’s other books.I am not a huge mystery reader, but Don’t Breathe A Word has made me want to read more. That is if I can continue to get novels that are as good as this one.more
In this stunning novel by Jennifer McMahon the line between reality and fantasy is blurred by secrets and lies, madness and myth. Lisa is twelve years old when she disappears in the woods behind her home. Legend considers the woods dangerous, an entire village had once vanished leaving behind only an infant boy, but for Lisa, it is a place of magic, a door to the realm of the fairies ruled by King Teilo and her greatest wish is become his Queen. Fifteen years later, Lisa's brother Sam, and his girlfriend Phoebe, receive a cryptic phone call and find a young girl in the ruins of Reliance, emaciated and incoherent. Somewhere, lurking in the shadows, is the truth of what happened to Lisa, but whose truth do you believe?“What if things happened to you—special, magic things—because you’d been preparing for them? What if by believing, you opened a door?”Pushing against the edges of reality, this novel is a successful blend of psychological thriller, suspense, horror and magical realism. It's an ambitious combination which McMahon achieves with a carefully constructed plot. Told in alternating chapters of past and present, the transition's are generally smooth, though the format demands concentrated attention at times. The two perspectives provide both misdirection and clues that sometimes compete with each other, emphasizing the idea that the truth lies somewhere in between. McMahon slowly builds an atmosphere of oppressive unease, where everything is just sightly 'wrong' in both timelines. The story takes disturbing twists just when you may begin to make assumptions about Lisa's fate and what happened that night in the woods. The juxtaposition of innocent childhood fantasy and corrupted adult desire at the conclusion is confronting. The climax is chillingly ambiguous, but I loved the final delicious flick of doubt.Don't Breathe A Word is a compelling yet disturbing contemporary tale where dreams and nightmares breathe in shadows and the veil between reality and fantasy is gossamer thin. Hauntingly enigmatic, Jennifer McMahon asks you - do you believe?more
To be honest, I've had mixed emotions with this book from the get go. I didn't like the prologue and it took a while for things to get interesting, but when they did I found myself wanting to keep going. Things never play out the way you’d expect in this story and I think that is truly what makes it worth a read.“Don’t Breathe a Word” of Lisa, a twelve year old girl who went missing in the woods behind her house. Lisa was a young girl that believed in fairy tales and fairies, things...moreTo be honest, I've had mixed emotions with this book from the get go. I didn't like the prologue and it took a while for things to get interesting, but when they did I found myself wanting to keep going. Things never play out the way you’d expect in this story and I think that is truly what makes it worth a read.“Don’t Breathe a Word” of Lisa, a twelve year old girl who went missing in the woods behind her house. Lisa was a young girl that believed in fairy tales and fairies, things children like to believe in, but it’s those very things that cause trouble in her life. But it’s not just her life that gets turned upside down, her beliefs – they impact her family, too.While I may have disliked “Don’t Breathe a Word” in the beginning, the payoff at the end made me change my mind. Jennifer McMahon crafts a lovely mystery that will keep you on the edge of your seat. Not everything is what it appears to be.more
Twelve-year-old Lisa loves fairy tales. One summer night, she tells her brother, Sam, that she is going to meet the king of the faeries and become his queen. Once she leaves the house, Sam never sees or hears from her again. Fifteen years later, Sam and his girlfriend, Phoebe, receive a strange call from someone claiming to be Lisa. She says she has returned from Fairyland and they are to meet her at the old town in the woods where she disappeared from all those years ago.The book alternates between present day and fifteen years ago as it slowly reveals what Lisa experienced on the days before her disappearance, and what Sam and his girlfriend Phoebe are going through as they prepare for her “return”. This book is in no way a cute little fairy tale. It is dark, mysterious, supernatural and very creepy. It’s rife with mystery, family secrets, and supernatural elements. You never know where the story is headed. As soon as you think you have it figured out, it takes another twist. It balances on a precarious cliff between being believable and totally ridiculous, and that is what makes it work so well. This is an Adult fiction book, but older teens may enjoy it. I wouldn’t recommend it for younger teens.(Advanced Readers Copy courtesy of NetGalley)more
I want to say this was a fantasy story but I’m held up by reality on this one. Did I like this book? Yes and no. Yes, in that the story was well paced, full of twists, and slightly disturbing in a way that makes you keep reading because you must absolutely know what happens and are afraid to put the book down for fear of not finding out. No, in that sometimes reality is too disturbing and you want to walk away and forget what you read and imagined and go back to a life happy without disturbing images in your head. Lisa is an imaginative child so much so that she not only imagines but believes she has found the fairy king in the woods behind her house. Woods full of strange tales, horror stories, and dilapidated stone homes. When she goes missing, there’s more to the story of a girl and a fairy king and it’s so much more disturbing than anyone, especially her brother, may have wanted to imagine. Her brother, now a man in his twenties happy in his life and relationship with his girlfriend, Phoebe, Sam would rather forget parts of his childhood and move on but it’s not meant to happen. When a woman claiming to be his sister appears saying she’s returned from the land of the fairies, the simple life Sam and Phoebe have together is ruined. Sometimes when you’re reading, especially a story about a young girl gone missing, you know it’s going to turn out badly and all that was at work was sad, despicable, human behavior. But sometimes you also want to believe there is another fantasy world where she could have been taken and McMahon does a good job of making you really wonder about that. Is it all an elaborate ruse to fool you and hide psychotic behavior? Why can’t there be a happy ending here? I can tell you, without ruining anything, there is no happy ending here and yes, at times you will find yourself repulsed by the characters behavior. You’ll be uncomfortable with the lies they yield and live. You’ll be utterly disgusted and disturbed by what they do. Sadly, it’s also compelling and I’ll admit I had a hard time reading and putting this book down. That’s also what’s making me a little wishy-washy on this. Did I not like it because it made me uncomfortable? Well written books should do that to a certain extent. But ultimately, I can’t say I loved it and I don’t honestly know if it was because of the subject matter. Having a visceral reaction to something I read doesn’t mean it’s not good if my reaction was negative, does it? Either way this book gets credit for holding me nearly hostage for several hours to finish it before my heart stopped pounding. If nothing else, McMahon knows how to get hold of a reader.more
This book skipped around in time - every chapter took place in a different decade. The book chapters also each featured a different protagonist - the more modern ones featured a woman in her thirties named Phoebe, the chapters from 15 years prior featured a young girl named Lisa.At the crux of the story lies the mystery of what, exactly, happened to a 12-year-old girl named Lisa, who disappeared one summer. The most logical train of thought - 12-year-old girl disappears and has been missing for 15 years - isn't pretty. The flashbacks and the interesting people Phoebe and her boyfriend (who happens to be Lisa's younger brother) Sam encounter when the possibility that Lisa's returned, however, makes the reader question this concept of reality.The summer that she disappeared, Lisa thought she was contacting fairies, and was going to be brought into the fairyland to become Teilo (the fairy king) 's queen.So 15 years later, Sam and his cousin Evie begin receiving strange messages and encountering odd situations that seem like the sorts of things that fairies who are unpredictable and frightening might be perpetrating, & have to wonder - was Lisa right? Was she in the fairy kingdom for 15 years? & is she now back?I really, really enjoyed this book. For some reason, the length of the book surprised me (464 pages). The novel still read very quickly, however, while not being insipid or stupid.There was one thing that sometimes irked me about the book - the protagonist changes. Every chapter had that different focus - one for Phoebe, one for Lisa - and sometimes, it was a little jarring.I recommend reading this book.more
I don't know exactly, but the book warns not to cross them. The fairies can grant wishes, bring good luck, but if you get on their bad side...." Page 219Phoebe received a phone call asking to inform Sam to look in the attic in the crawl space. When Phoebe delivered the message, Sam knew what he would find.....the book his missing sister of 15 years had left there before she disappeared.More strange happenings occurred after the phone call and after finding the book. When Sam and friends went on a camping trip....someone resembling Lisa appeared at their door singing a familiar song; then that same person broke into the cabin even though none of the doors or windows had been tampered with. The camping trip then turned into a true nightmare....the campers were being accused of holding someone hostage and of not actually occupying the cabin. To make matters worse, a note on their car had the same picture that was on one of their camping companion's legs.....it was of Teilo, The King of the Fairies. When Sam and Phoebe arrived home from the camping trip, their house had been ransacked, but nothing had been taken....were they looking for the book? About a week later, Teilo also ransacked their friend Evie's place.As Phoebe found things out about Lisa's disappearance in Reliance, a town that has nothing left but foundations, more strange facts surfaced about the disappearance and of Lisa and Evie's childhood friendship. She even found things out about Sam that she really didn't want to know. Another phone call came from a girl/woman that urged Sam to meet her in the woods at their usual childhood place in Reliance. Things got a lot more involved after this most recent phone call.The book went back and forth from present-day events to events that took place 15 years ago when Lisa disappeared. The book was intense and mostly about changelings, how fairies live, and the puzzle that needed to be solved....the puzzle was: Where had Lisa been for 15 years, and were there really fairies doing all this damage and mind control? Even though this isn't my genre of choice the book's premise did get you hooked as you continued reading. You will find out that fairies are not a very nice sort of people. The book was somewhat “creepy.” This is one of the last entries in a Book of Fairies…it will show you the eeriness of the book. “If you have read this book all the way to the end, you know the truth. We are here, walking among you. We are stronger, faster, smarter. We walk with silent footsteps. We can see into your dreams. And we lie. Always remember that we lie.” 4/5more
“Once you go through that door out there, you can’t come back, no matter how bad you might want to.”Twelve year old Lisa went missing in the woods behind her house 15 years ago and was never found. That summer, Lisa, her brother Sam, and their cousin Evie, were beginning to hear strange sounds emanating from the woods, the site of the abruptly abandoned town, Reliance. Locals whispered that the Devil lived there, and many said they heard bells ringing, muttering in a language no one could recognize, and some saw green mists in the shape of body. Legends claimed that there was a door that led to another place, a place where Lisa believed that she would meet Teilo, The King of the Fairies. “What if things happened to you—special, magic things—because you’d been preparing for them? What if by believing, you opened a door?”15 years after Lisa’s disappearance, Sam and his girlfriend, Phoebe, receive a mysterious phone call from a frightened girl instructing them on the hiding place of a book no one has seen since that fateful summer—The Book of Fairies. Who was the girl? Why was she frightened? What did she know?As Sam and Phoebe scramble to find the answers, and learn once and for all what happened to Lisa so many years before, they will have to untangle the web of lies they’ve been told, and figure out who they can trust in a crime that is steeped in myth and fable. “Storytelling wasn’t about making things up. It was more like inviting the stories to come through her, let themselves be told.”A skeptic of all things supernatural, Sam believes that Lisa’s disappearance had nothing to do with fairies, or silly stories told by mothers to keep their children out of the forest. But Phoebe knows about things that go bump in the night, of haunted and hunted people, of doors that shouldn’t open, but nevertheless, do. Jennifer McMahon does a wonderful job of balancing the supernatural and realistic throughout this darkly atmospheric novel of the loss of innocence and the corruption of a soul. The suspense builds to an explosive climax, maintained throughout this long tale. Though rereading some passages was necessary, this is a fast read; I finished it in a day, simply because I could not put it down. At the end, it is certain the reader will come away with more questions than answers, which makes it an even better read.more
This book sounded so good. A 12 year old girl who was obsessed with the idea of fairies in the woods behind her house disappeared one summer. Fifteen years later, her brother and his girlfriend get new information and start looking afresh.Unfortuately, the story was just unbelievable. Not necessarily the fairy parts -- that aspect was handled well, leaving room for both believers and skeptics to enjoy the story. But the actions of the brother and the girlfriend were not credible. Lack of willingness to call police when appropriate, acceptance of flakey stories at face value, etc.more
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