Book Review: Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier

Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier

Rating:  ★★★

Before I start this I just wanted to say I’m sorry for the lack of Sci Fi and Fantasy Reviews on my SFF blog… Still kind of recovering from the reading slump I guess.  On the other hand I hope these reviews of totally-unrelated-genre books help you guys find something you might enjoy too? I know most of us read pretty diversely.

Anyway- I read Hillier’s Little Secrets earlier this year (which Maddalena @ Space & Sorcery reviewed Friday and nailed it- so check her review out too) and thought I’d check out Hillier’s Jar of Hearts, which is also highly rated.

According to the blurb, 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 . . .

We first meet Geo – short for Georgina – as she is about to testify against her old highschool boyfriend for the murder of her high school best friend.  The twist? Geo helped cover it up, and she’s about to go to prison too. When Geo is finally released, she learns that her old boyfriend, Calvin James, escaped prison not long after his trial, and the Sweet Bay Strangler is back at it again.

The story is pretty straightforward. We see two timelines- Geo in highschool, how she met Calvin and the events that lead up to her friend, Angela’s murder, and everything that happens after Geo’s arrest.  I did figure out what was going on about 30 minutes before the characters did (I listened to this on audio), but otherwise I didn’t see anything coming.

I liked the characters- Geo is super interesting because she really is an awful person, but at the same time she’s sympathetic.  This seems to be Hillier’s shtick. She’s not as sympathetic as say, Marin, from Little Secrets, but the feeling is still there.  Kai is a typical good guy, knight in shining armor type.  And Calvin James is as evil a villain as you can expect to see.

Which is why it pains me to say that the ending was over the top to the point of being silly.  I actually laughed at how dumb, cartoonish, and cliche it all was.  It could have just been the mood I was in, because most readers seemed to enjoy this.

This also has content warnings for literally everything so I wouldn’t recommend it if that’s something you try to avoid (or if, like me, your just not in the right headspace for it).  I realize some of this comes with the territroy but there was a point where it just became excessive.

I listened on audio and January LaVoy’s narration is growing on me, despite some of the weird male voices.  Anyway- it’s not bad, most of it is a solid four star read.  Jar of Hearts can be found on GoodReads if you’d like to check it out for yourself.

17 thoughts on “Book Review: Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier

  1. I’ve been noticing that my ultimate rating for a book hinges on the ending. It can be completely brilliant the whole way, but if the end is over the top or ridiculous, it really ruins the book for me. And it goes the other way too. If a book is really good and then the ending is amazing, it can push my rating up a notch!

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    • I have noticed the exact same thing. I think it’s particularly noticeable in thrillers though where the ending is maybe more important than in a series or something that’s leaving room for more story.

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  2. I prefer to have likable protagonists in my thrillers (because otherwise I don’t get sucked in enough to enjoy the outside-my-comfort-zone genre) so I won’t be reading this one. However, I actually like it when I figure out the twist/mystery/secret just before the characters do. I think that’s pretty hard to do as a writer, to give your reader enough clues to be just one or two steps ahead of your characters. Too often the mystery either comes out of left field or is so obvious for so long that you can’t possibly miss it.

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  3. Sorry this didn’t work out too well, but maybe a laugh is not so bad (even if unintentional ;)) – I can think of several other reactions that would just bury this book for me 😉
    Hope your next book is better, Sarah! 😀

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  4. Those over the top endings ruin everything! And I agree – some of them can seem really very cartoonish! 🤷🏻‍♀️🤣

    Still loved reading your thoughts on this one, Sarah! ❤️

    And hey – about Sci-Fi, have you read House of Styx?! I requested it on Netgalley and it’s my first science fiction and I ADORED IT! 😍😍😍😍😍

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  5. The silly endings are wild. The police show up right after the action took place, despite no one calling them. Some dramatic murder/suicide/disappearing person thing happens. And the protagonist always thinks, “IT’S OVER.” omg, it’s never over when you experience a trauma like what we see in thrillers. I’m jumping over to your Little Secrets review because I just finished that one recently and don’t feel like reviewing it.

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    • This ending was silly because everything was just so over the top cliche. You’ve already heard this ending a million times. Probably seen it on Law and Order SVU. It just felt thoughtless- like the author was ticking boxes on a checklist.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! I just feel bad because most of the other bloggers I’ve connected with are primarily SFF bloggers and I’m over here blogging about thrillers. Most of these I got through just because I was listening rather than reading. I can listen to thrillers easily.. SFF not so much. The little details trip me up.

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