When the Lights Go Out by Mary Kubica – #TLCBookTours Review

Posted 25 September, 2018 by Heather in Blog, Blog Tour, Book Review, Heather, Heather Book Review / 2 Comments

I received this book for free from the TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

When the Lights Go Out by Mary Kubica – #TLCBookTours ReviewWhen the Lights Go Out by Mary Kubica
Published by Park Row on September 4, 2018
Genres: Adult, Cancer, Contemporary, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Mystery, Psychological Suspense
Pages: 336
Format: ARC
Source: TLC Book Tours
Buy on Amazon
4.5 Stars

A woman is forced to question her own identity in this riveting and emotionally charged thriller by the blockbuster bestselling author of The Good Girl, Mary Kubica 

Jessie Sloane is on the path to rebuilding her life after years of caring for her ailing mother. She rents a new apartment and applies for college. But when the college informs her that her social security number has raised a red flag, Jessie discovers a shocking detail that causes her to doubt everything she’s ever known.

Finding herself suddenly at the center of a bizarre mystery, Jessie tumbles down a rabbit hole, which is only exacerbated by grief and a relentless lack of sleep. As days pass and the insomnia worsens, it plays with Jessie’s mind. Her judgment is blurred, her thoughts are hampered by fatigue. Jessie begins to see things until she can no longer tell the difference between what’s real and what she’s only imagined.

Meanwhile, twenty years earlier and two hundred and fifty miles away, another woman’s split-second decision may hold the key to Jessie’s secret past. Has Jessie’s whole life been a lie or have her delusions gotten the best of her?

“Kubica brilliantly unravels the lives of two women in this tense and haunting tale of identity and deceit. WHEN THE LIGHTS GO OUT will keep you questioning everything-and everyone-until the riveting conclusion. A twisty, captivating, edge-of-your-seat read.” –Megan Miranda, New York Times bestselling author of ALL THE MISSING GIRLS

Thrillers and suspense are my favorite, and psychological suspense hold a special place in my heart. When the Lights Go Out is haunting, tense at times, beautiful, and heartbreaking throughout, and it certainly held my attention throughout the entire book. Told from two points of view in different times: twenty-ish year-old Jesse in present day, who has just lost her mother Eden to a long battle with cancer, and Eden twenty years earlier starting in 1996 and hopping around to present day.

Jesse struggles with who she is beside her mother’s daughter, especially since it’s always just been the two of them. She was always curious about who her father was, but Eden wouldn’t tell her anything about him.  When Jesse applies to attend college, her social security number comes up fraudulent and belonging to a three-year-old girl who died twenty years ago in another state. While Jesse deals with insomnia after she slept through her mother’s last moments, her sleepless nights turn her waking moments into twisted nightmares as hallucinations start to creep in and take over, leaving her questioning her sanity as she searches for her origins, not wanting to believe that her mother could have kidnapped her as a child.

Eden is a happy newlywed dealing with infertility and a supportive husband that doesn’t want her to work outside of the home. As her world starts to close in as they try one fertility treatment after another with nothing resulting in a healthy baby, Eden’s marriage and life starts to crumble. Her husband Aaron leaves her when Eden becomes obsessed with having a baby, and even when they can’t afford the treatments any more, she still won’t give up. Her behavior becomes more erratic and unpredictable and desperate, and she just knows that she was meant to be a mother. And we know that she was somehow–to Jesse. My only problems with Eden’s points of view is that they felt very old fashioned–in both tone and language. I had to double check the date at the top of the chapter several times to see that they occurred in the 1990s and not in the 1950s. They just seemed very old timey to me.

Ultimately, how did Jesse come to be with Eden? You’ll have to read When the Lights Go Out to find out. Just a caution about the ending, which has caused a little bit of controversy from what I’m reading. I was okay with the twist ending, but I can see how people are divided about how things turned out.


I give When the Lights Go Out a 4.5 out of 5. The pacing was perfect throughout, with just enough being revealed in Eden’s points of view to keep the suspense building until the end. Jesse’s plight was equally tense as her health–both physical and mental–spiral out of control the longer she doesn’t sleep. I highly enjoyed the setting for Jesse in and around Chicago, as I always love reading about places that I know and love with fictional characters milling about. The picturesque lakeside cottage that Eden and Aaron owned, along with the quaint town they settled near added to the innocent atmosphere of the beginnings of their marriage. Mary Kubica’s writing was smooth, held my interest throughout, and was descriptive enough to guide my imagination.


Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

About Mary Kubica

Mary Kubica is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of THE GOOD GIRL and PRETTY BABY.  She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, in History and American Literature. She lives outside of Chicago with her husband and two children and enjoys photography, gardening and caring for the animals at a local shelter.

Connect with Mary Kubica

Website | Facebook | TwitterInstagram | Goodreads




Excerpt Tour:

Monday, August 20th: Palmer’s Page Turners

Tuesday, August 21st: Books and Cats and Coffee

Wednesday, August 22nd: Mystery Suspense Reviews

Thursday, August 23rd: Book Reviews and More by Kathy

Friday, August 24th: A Bookworm’s World

Monday, August 27th: Novel Gossip

Tuesday, August 28th: Books & Spoons

Wednesday, August 29th: Read Love Blog

Friday, August 31st: From the TBR Pile


Instagram Tour:

Monday, September 3rd: @brookesbooksandbrews

Tuesday, September 4th: @chapter_break

Tuesday, September 4th: @girlandherbooks

Wednesday, September 5th: @kate.olson.reads

Thursday, September 6th: @jennblogsbooks

Friday, September 7th: @bookishconnoisseur

Saturday, September 8th: @pnwbookworm

Sunday, September 8th: @girlsinbooks


Review Tour:

Tuesday, September 4th: Literary Quicksand

Wednesday, September 5th: Diary of a Stay at Home Mom

Thursday, September 6th: Books & Bindings

Thursday, September 6th: Book Reviews and More by Kathy

Friday, September 7th: No More Grumpy Bookseller

Monday, September 10th: Booktimistic and @booktimistic

Monday, September 10th: The Book Diva’s Reads

Tuesday, September 11th: Thoughts on This ‘n That

Wednesday, September 12th: Books and Cats and Coffee and @booksncatsncoffee

Thursday, September 13th: Thoughts from a Highly Caffeinated Mind

Friday, September 14th: Becky on Books

Friday, September 14th: From the TBR Pile

Monday, September 17th: Moonlight Rendezvous

Monday, September 17th: Staircase Wit

Tuesday, September 18th: @booknerdnative

Wednesday, September 19th: Palmer’s Page Turners

Thursday, September 20th: Mystery Suspense Reviews

Friday, September 21st: Girl Who Reads

Monday, September 24th: Novel Gossip and @novelgossip

Tuesday, September 25th: Bewitched Bookworms

Tuesday, September 25th: Why Girls are Weird

Wednesday, September 26th: @hollyslittlebookreviews

Thursday, September 27th: Mama Reads Blog

Thursday, September 27th: Jathan & Heather

Friday, September 28th: Kritter’s Ramblings


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I'm a PhD chemist who loves sarcasm, music, and books-paranormal, mystery, thriller, suspense, horror, and romance. Most of my free time is spent at the martial arts studio these days--whether practicing Combat Hapkido or reading books while watching my son's Taekwondo classes, or even working up a sweat with Kickboxing for fun. Goodreads

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