‘I was hooked and read it in two sittings.’ Sandra reviews #thriller If She Wakes by Erik Therme.

Today’s team review is from Sandra. She blogs here https://www.firthproof.co.uk/index.php/book-reviews

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Sandra has been reading If She Wakes by Erik Therme

If She Wakes is the second book in the Harlow series and sequel to If She Dies which I reviewed last year. At the end of the first book there were a lot of loose ends and a feeling it was not all over yet – I can now see why. It is now two years since Tess and Josh’s daughter died, and her grief is compounded by the recent death of her brother. After a car accident leaves Torrie in a coma, Tess and Josh are caring for their nephew, Levi. When Torrie’s sisters turn up, Tess is suspicious because Torrie had previously claimed she had no family. Their appearance just adds to Tess’s problems because none of them is being entirely truthful.

Once again the story is told entirely from Tess’s point of view, we are inside her head and privy to all her obsessive thoughts. Tess is a wonderfully drawn and fascinating character whose grief has pushed her very close to the edge; she is hanging on with her fingernails. She may be paranoid but maybe someone really is out to get her. Despite appearances, Tess has not really changed all that much. Her marriage is in a slightly better place now, but starts to show cracks again with the strain of all that is happening.  To me, Josh is still as unsupportive and irritating as he was before – no wonder Tess doesn’t tell him everything.

I’m not sure putting the backstory in the prologue works too well; perhaps not giving so much information all at once would be better, and might encourage readers to seek out If She Dies first. The pace is erratic at times, but the writing is gripping and the surprising twist near the end comes out of nowhere – I was hooked and read it in two sittings. The ending seems to suggest that there will be a third book to look forward to. Thanks to Erik Therme for a digital copy that I review as a member of Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT

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Who do you trust when everyone is lying?

My name is Tess Parker.

Two days ago, I was in a car accident with my sister-in-law, Torrie. Before she slipped into a coma, she asked my husband and me to care for her four-month-old son, Levi.

Yesterday, a woman claiming to be Torrie’s estranged sister knocked on our door. But Torrie has no siblings . . . or so she said. She and my brother were only together a short time before he left, and Torrie has clearly been keeping secrets.

Today, another of Torrie’s “sisters” has come to town. Both say the other is lying about who they are.

Neither of them is telling the truth.

Both of them want Levi.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

Book #2 of The Harlow Series of Suspense #Thrillers. Georgia reviews If She Wakes by Erik Therme.

Today’s team review is from Georgia. She blogs here https://www.georgiarosebooks.com

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Georgia has been reading If She Wakes by Erik Therme

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I didn’t realise when I chose this book that it was a sequel. I wouldn’t usually read the second book without reading the first, but found this one works as a standalone story.

However, here is a lot of information given in the prologue and chapter one to bring the reader up to speed. For me this level of exposition slowed down the opening. I probably didn’t take in the detail as well as I should have done as I prefer it drip fed; pertinent details given at relevant points in the story. Once past that though the story flowed.

Tess is in a car accident with her sister-in-law, Torrie, who ends up in a coma, but not before saying a few things that make little sense to Tess. Tess and her husband, Josh, take in Levi, Torrie’s son, which brings its own emotional difficulties as they lost their child in book one.

A woman turns up claiming to be Torrie’s sister and before long another sister arrives which is confusing as Torrie had told Tess and Josh she had no family. The other problem is that they both want Levi.

This is a perfectly well told story but lacks a little of the suspense element that makes a book a real page-turner for me. I think maybe it was just over wordy in places which slowed the pace. However, I did like the way it ended. There is no cliff-hanger here but there is an epilogue which leads very well into the next in the series. Recommended, but start with book 1.

3 stars.

Desc 1

Who do you trust when everyone is lying?

My name is Tess Parker.

Two days ago, I was in a car accident with my sister-in-law, Torrie. Before she slipped into a coma, she asked my husband and me to care for her four-month-old son, Levi.

Yesterday, a woman claiming to be Torrie’s estranged sister knocked on our door. But Torrie has no siblings . . . or so she said. She and my brother were only together a short time before he left, and Torrie has clearly been keeping secrets.

Today, another of Torrie’s “sisters” has come to town. Both say the other is lying about who they are.

Neither of them is telling the truth.

Both of them want Levi.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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Terry Reviews #Thriller If She Wakes by Erik Therme, For Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT

Today’s team review is from Terry. She blogs here https://terrytylerbookreviews.blogspot.com/

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Terry has been reading If She Wakes by Erik Therme.

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3*
I didn’t realise when I opened this novel on my Kindle that it was a sequel, as I don’t look a book up on Amazon after choosing it for review so I can’t be influenced by others.  I gather that in the first book, Tess and Josh’s daughter Lily was killed in an RTA by Brady, after which Tess stalked his family (wife Meg and daughter Amy), and Meg faked Amy being kidnapped.  Also, Tess’s brother Colin died of cancer – he was married to Torrie, and they have a son, Levi.  I learned this from a prologue and first chapter that contained a little too much exposition; a brief ‘story so far’ in the introduction might have worked better.


The title refers to Torrie, who falls into a coma early in the story, the rest of which centres around Tess and Josh’s necessary but difficult relationships with Torrie’s family members, as care for Levi is of prime importance.  Mysteries abound concerning Torrie and her family.  Although certain conclusions are reached by the end of the book, it’s clear that it’s making way for a third novel as the story is by no means finished.


I’m afraid I found this novel a little ‘flat’; it flowed well and is professionally presented; the author has thought up a reasonable plot and delivered it, and the characters are fairly well represented.  The emotional problems within Tess and Josh’s marriage are well written and realistic, but none of the characters are likeable (you need at least one person to root for!) and I felt that the conversation and narrative lacked spark.  An example: ‘I nod, as if I didn’t already know this. “Better to go tonight and get it done, as something might change in the morning, and we wouldn’t have time.  I’ll go.  I just need a few minutes to relax after I finish clearing the table.  It’s been a long day”.’  It’s all like that.  Nothing wrong with it, but it just didn’t grab me.  A couple of times I got a little excited by what appeared to be the beginning of a good plot line, but each time it fizzled out quickly. The twist at the end was over-explained and a bit tenuous, I thought.


It’s not bad, but for me it was just ‘okay’.  This is, of course, always so subjective, and others might feel differently, particularly if they loved the first book.

Desc 1

Who do you trust when everyone is lying?

My name is Tess Parker.

Two days ago, I was in a car accident with my sister-in-law, Torrie. Before she slipped into a coma, she asked my husband and me to care for her four-month-old son, Levi.

Yesterday, a woman claiming to be Torrie’s estranged sister knocked on our door. But Torrie has no siblings . . . or so she said. She and my brother were only together a short time before he left, and Torrie has clearly been keeping secrets.

Today, another of Torrie’s “sisters” has come to town. Both say the other is lying about who they are.

Neither of them is telling the truth.

Both of them want Levi.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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Book #2 of a #thriller series. Frank reviews If She Wakes by Erik Therme, for Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Today’s team review is from Frank. Find out more about him here https://franklparker.com/

Rosie's #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Frank has been reading If She Wakes by Erik Therme

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Imagine a situation in which a woman tells you that her sister is mentally deranged and not to be trusted. Then the sister tells you that it is really the first sister whose mental health is questionable. Add to that a narrator who exhibits signs of being paranoid. Sound like a recipe for an excellent psychological thriller? I’m sure it is. I’m not so sure that Erik Therme has pulled it off with this one, however.

To be fair, I kept reading, needing to find out what was really going on. To that extent the author succeeds, by keeping the reader guessing. And it was a pleasant surprise to find, in a book set in what is supposedly one of the most gun loving states in a gun loving nation, a protagonist who hates guns and is horrified when she discovers one of the characters owns a pistol. Most of the other characters seem to be equally ill disposed towards such weaponry, exhibiting a preference for the use of a handy rock as weapon of choice.

The book has two problems from my perspective. The first is my fault. I should have realised that it is the second book in a series and that I needed to have read the first in order to fully understand what was going on. There are two parallel plots: the first is continuing the story that I suppose was begun in book 1. The other was a new story involving the narrator and the family of her late brother’s widow.

For me there were too many references to past events that were never fully explained, The other problem with the book is that too many characters are permitted to delay the action by being given long monologues in which they explain their motivations while the protagonist patiently waits to be attacked or kidnapped.

Those are my reasons for rating “If She Wakes” at only three stars. If you have read and enjoyed the first book in this series, then I have no doubt that you will also enjoy this one. Don’t, however, make the mistake I made and try to read it as a stand-alone novel.

Desc 1

Who do you trust when everyone is lying?

My name is Tess Parker.

Two days ago, I was in a car accident with my sister-in-law, Torrie. Before she slipped into a coma, she asked my husband and me to care for her four-month-old son, Levi.

Yesterday, a woman claiming to be Torrie’s estranged sister knocked on our door. But Torrie has no siblings . . . or so she said. She and my brother were only together a short time before he left, and Torrie has clearly been keeping secrets.

Today, another of Torrie’s “sisters” has come to town. Both say the other is lying about who they are.

Neither of them is telling the truth.

Both of them want Levi.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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