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Amen Maxine

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A new marriage. A perfect home. A machine that says it’s all a lie. Welcome to Silicon Valley, where the weather is perfect, the income is high … and Rowena Snyder is miserable. A transplant from New York, Rowena moved into her husband Jacob’s idyllic childhood home with their new baby. But suburbia isn’t Rowena’s cup of Starbucks. And she’s got serious anxiety and depression A new marriage. A perfect home. A machine that says it’s all a lie. Welcome to Silicon Valley, where the weather is perfect, the income is high … and Rowena Snyder is miserable. A transplant from New York, Rowena moved into her husband Jacob’s idyllic childhood home with their new baby. But suburbia isn’t Rowena’s cup of Starbucks. And she’s got serious anxiety and depression to boot. Jacob, worried about their marriage, scores a new product currently in beta testing from his tech job: Maxine, a “digital friend” that bonds with an individual by continually gathering their personal data. Along with functioning like an upscale digital assistant, Maxine has “advice” and “prediction” modes that have shown promise for patients with mental health issues. To Rowena’s shock, the device turns out to be not just helpful, but eerily accurate, predicting events before they occur. It’s a godsend until Maxine offers a series of increasingly bone-chilling predictions that will change Rowena’s life forever. This domestic suspense novel set in a near-future dystopia asks, who do you trust more—your mind, your man, or your machine?


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A new marriage. A perfect home. A machine that says it’s all a lie. Welcome to Silicon Valley, where the weather is perfect, the income is high … and Rowena Snyder is miserable. A transplant from New York, Rowena moved into her husband Jacob’s idyllic childhood home with their new baby. But suburbia isn’t Rowena’s cup of Starbucks. And she’s got serious anxiety and depression A new marriage. A perfect home. A machine that says it’s all a lie. Welcome to Silicon Valley, where the weather is perfect, the income is high … and Rowena Snyder is miserable. A transplant from New York, Rowena moved into her husband Jacob’s idyllic childhood home with their new baby. But suburbia isn’t Rowena’s cup of Starbucks. And she’s got serious anxiety and depression to boot. Jacob, worried about their marriage, scores a new product currently in beta testing from his tech job: Maxine, a “digital friend” that bonds with an individual by continually gathering their personal data. Along with functioning like an upscale digital assistant, Maxine has “advice” and “prediction” modes that have shown promise for patients with mental health issues. To Rowena’s shock, the device turns out to be not just helpful, but eerily accurate, predicting events before they occur. It’s a godsend until Maxine offers a series of increasingly bone-chilling predictions that will change Rowena’s life forever. This domestic suspense novel set in a near-future dystopia asks, who do you trust more—your mind, your man, or your machine?

30 review for Amen Maxine

  1. 4 out of 5

    Meredith (Slowly Catching Up)

    Original and Twisty "Fate is constantly rerouted." Amen Maxine is a domestic suspense novel about a digital assistant that is brought into a marriage on the edge. Rowena and Jacob moved from NYC to Silicon Valley to raise their newborn, Michelle. Rowena hates her new life in California. She is depressed, anxious, and lonely, which is having an impact on her marriage. When Jacob brings home a beta model of Maxine, a digital personal assistant, who can offer advice and use predictive behavior tech Original and Twisty "Fate is constantly rerouted." Amen Maxine is a domestic suspense novel about a digital assistant that is brought into a marriage on the edge. Rowena and Jacob moved from NYC to Silicon Valley to raise their newborn, Michelle. Rowena hates her new life in California. She is depressed, anxious, and lonely, which is having an impact on her marriage. When Jacob brings home a beta model of Maxine, a digital personal assistant, who can offer advice and use predictive behavior technology to "see the future," Rowena reluctantly invites the machine into her life. Soon Maxine shares dire predictions with Rowena, resulting in the implosion of her life as she knew it. Told through Rowena’s eyes, I enjoyed her voice. She is sharp, snarky, and a hot mess. Maxine is the only other voice added to the story, and I am still not sure if Maxine is innocent or sinister, which are interesting elements to consider since Maxine is a computer. This is a fast-paced, tension packed read with some surprising twists and turns. I enjoyed several aspects of this book, including the doubt Maxine casts on all characters. The ending still has me pondering who was the true villain. This is a thought-provoking read, and it deserves all of the hype its been receiving. Thank you to all of my GR friends who put this book on my radar! I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley and the publisher.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Sujoya

    Rowena Snyder is a stay-at-home mother who gave up her career and life in New York to move to Silicon Valley with her new husband Jacob, who works for a tech firm. Living in the house her husband grew up in, Rowena spends most of her time with her six-month-old daughter Michelle but misses her life in New York, her mother and her friends. She also suffers from anxiety and takes prescription medication for her condition. Her husband takes every opportunity to bring up her mental health, often unk Rowena Snyder is a stay-at-home mother who gave up her career and life in New York to move to Silicon Valley with her new husband Jacob, who works for a tech firm. Living in the house her husband grew up in, Rowena spends most of her time with her six-month-old daughter Michelle but misses her life in New York, her mother and her friends. She also suffers from anxiety and takes prescription medication for her condition. Her husband takes every opportunity to bring up her mental health, often unkindly, and his response to her problems is always to remind her to take her medication. Enter ”Maxine”, an AI device in its beta testing stage– a “Digital Friend” for Rowena gifted by her thoughtful husband Jacob. Maxine once familiarized with Rowena’s life and other data quickly becomes an integral part of Rowena’s life. Advice Mode? “Amen Maxine” Prediction Mode? “Amen Maxine” As the cracks begin to appear in her marriage and she continues to feel boxed in, Rowena finds comfort in her interactions with Maxine and takes Maxine’s advice and predictions to heart. After all, the predictions have been accurate and the advice have been solid. But as the narrative progresses Maxine’s predictions become very personal and increasingly disturbing. With its crisp writing, fast-paced narrative with enough twists and turns that keep you hooked, and a main character you keep rooting for, this futuristic thriller is nothing like I have ever read before. With our dependence on technology and reliance on gadgets to make our lives easier, the premise of this novel does not come across as too far-fetched or unbelievable. The ending does require you to suspend disbelief but with a premise that is original in scope and exceptionally well-written, I found Amen Maxine by Faith Gardner to be Unique and Unputdownable! Many thanks to NetGalley and Mirror House Press for a digital review copy of this unique novel. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jayme

    MOVE OVER ALEXA! MAXINE is coming to town!! In the NOT SO distant future, in a ranch style house in Silicon Valley, live “The Snyders”!!! The ROBO vacs are constantly on the move, the feather dusters are flying around, and air quality in the nursery is continually monitored. After a whirlwind courtship and unplanned pregnancy, our deliciously snarky protagonist, Rowena, was whisked away from a promising career as a book editor in NY, to live with her new husband, Jacob and their baby Michelle, in MOVE OVER ALEXA! MAXINE is coming to town!! In the NOT SO distant future, in a ranch style house in Silicon Valley, live “The Snyders”!!! The ROBO vacs are constantly on the move, the feather dusters are flying around, and air quality in the nursery is continually monitored. After a whirlwind courtship and unplanned pregnancy, our deliciously snarky protagonist, Rowena, was whisked away from a promising career as a book editor in NY, to live with her new husband, Jacob and their baby Michelle, in what was once his childhood home, in sunny California. Despite loving her daughter fiercely-she couldn’t be more UNHAPPY! “Take a pill, BABE” -is the advice of her “loving” hubby-who spends long hours working at a “ Disneyland like” tech company, before coming home, to put on goggles so he can game. What happened to the attentive, interesting guy she was dating? The pills don’t seem to be improving his wife’s ANXIETY or MOODS, so Jacob scores an AI assistant being beta tested from his employer-MAXINE. Designed to go a step further than others on the market, this AI can do more than assist-she is designed to become a FRIEND- one who can offer ADVICE and PREDICTIONS. But, can you TRUST HER? Rowena must decide because what Maxine has just predicted is CHILLING. In a marketed saturated with the SAME-this is a wildly entertaining, unique story which had me eagerly picking up my Kindle, whenever I could! Although the ending was maybe a bit too easy, this is one I can easily recommend if you have enjoyed books like “The Echo Wife” by Sarah Gailey and/or “The Perfect Wife” by J.P. Delaney. Thank You to INDIE author Faith Gardner, and Mirror House Press for my gifted ARC! It was my pleasure to offer a candid review! Available July 23, 2022-pre-order NOW, so you don’t miss this one!!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Kaceey

    Just one word… “WOW”! I grabbed this book on a whim after reading the stellar five-star review from GirlWithThePinkSkiMask. (Thank you Pink!). I'm not typically a sci-fi reader but the storyline intrigued me and I knew I had to give it a whirl! It far exceeded all my expectations! I was super-glued to the pages from start to finish! Rowena is a new mother. And that’s not the only big change in her life. After discovering she was pregnant and after only a short time together, she quickly married Jac Just one word… “WOW”! I grabbed this book on a whim after reading the stellar five-star review from GirlWithThePinkSkiMask. (Thank you Pink!). I'm not typically a sci-fi reader but the storyline intrigued me and I knew I had to give it a whirl! It far exceeded all my expectations! I was super-glued to the pages from start to finish! Rowena is a new mother. And that’s not the only big change in her life. After discovering she was pregnant and after only a short time together, she quickly married Jacob. Immediately moving across the country to start her life as a new mother and bride. It was a very bold move, leaving behind everything that made her feel secure. Her job, apartment and friends. Now, Rowena’s anxiety is growing and Jacob certainly isn’t helping. Until he surprises her with a new devise called Maxine. Similar to Alexa but with an elevated complexity. Rowena has herself a new best friend and companion. Now, under the weight of Jacob’s gaslighting, the marriage is crumbling. But all is well… Maxine is there to offer support and maybe just a little friendly advice. This book was so cleverly written I found myself gasping in shock over and over as Rowena tried to keep her life in order. So many times I wanted to reach into the pages and help her! Now the big question! Do I want my own Maxine? Hmmm….kind of! But not sure I’m ready for everything she can do! 🙈 Bottom line - This is a must read! Just make sure to set aside a weekend because once you start you won’t be setting this one down! Thank you to NetGalley Mirror House Press and Faith Gardner

  5. 4 out of 5

    Kay

    Wow! Who can I trust, the husband, the wife, or the AI? Rowena is a new mom who left her friends, family, and career to be an at-home mom in Silicon Valley where her husband, Jacob lives and works. This unfamiliar lifestyle has taken a toll on her so Jacob brought home a digital assistant from his company that is still in the beta testing phase. The little box shows promising results in helping those with anxiety and depression. Rowena is uncomfortable having it in the house considering it a spyi Wow! Who can I trust, the husband, the wife, or the AI? Rowena is a new mom who left her friends, family, and career to be an at-home mom in Silicon Valley where her husband, Jacob lives and works. This unfamiliar lifestyle has taken a toll on her so Jacob brought home a digital assistant from his company that is still in the beta testing phase. The little box shows promising results in helping those with anxiety and depression. Rowena is uncomfortable having it in the house considering it a spying device used for collecting personal data for marketing. It even has advice and a prediction function which confirms to be shockingly accurate. Rowena finds herself dependable on her new "friend" more and more. Amen Maxine is a terrific combo of domestic suspense - psych thriller with a mild sci-fi vibe. The story moves along at a relatively fast pace and keeps me guessing and doubting. It's definitely a page-turner. My small complaint is Rowena is hard to like and is another "pill-popping" unreliable narrator. Thank you Mirror House Press and Netgalley for this DRC. Available now and also on KU.

  6. 5 out of 5

    GirlWithThePinkSkiMask

    Thank you Mirror House Press and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book before publication. IYKYK, my reviews are ALWAYS honest. Writing: 5/5 | Plot: 5/5 | Ending: 5/5 THE PLOT Rowena is a new mom struggling with her newfound role, her relationship, and her mental health. When her husband Jake gives her Maxine, a digital buddy, Rowena's life start to look up, until her new machine friendo makes a startling prediction. THIS BOOK IS LIKE... Trying a new restaurant on a whim and finding Thank you Mirror House Press and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book before publication. IYKYK, my reviews are ALWAYS honest. Writing: 5/5 | Plot: 5/5 | Ending: 5/5 THE PLOT Rowena is a new mom struggling with her newfound role, her relationship, and her mental health. When her husband Jake gives her Maxine, a digital buddy, Rowena's life start to look up, until her new machine friendo makes a startling prediction. THIS BOOK IS LIKE... Trying a new restaurant on a whim and finding out it makes the best (insert fave food here) you've ever had. MY OPINION SOUND THE ALARM BECAUSE IT'S A BANGER ALERT. I'm so glad I found this lil indie treat. Yes, sci-fi isn't my usual genre, but this is very light on the sci-fi. It's more like: this shit will happen, but give it a few years. All of the tech mentioned is already in existence, except for maybe the crib that monitors the baby's blood pressure. But as someone who works in cybersecurity, I promise you, none of what the author proposed is outlandish. And as a former copywriter, I loved the little mentions about line editing. Lmao literally me when I read books. Faith Gardner has a way with words. Not only is she funny af, but she makes you feel all the things. AND I MEAN ALL. I literally recoiled at some gaslighting scenes. Gardner is a master at writing distinct and "real" characters. I'm not a mother, but yet I could completely understand Rowena's "struggles" (I'm hesitant to call them struggles because dealing with a scream machine with putty for a brain would be difficult for anyone). Also, as someone who hasn't touched a public door handle, handgrips on public transportation, or a crosswalk button in a solid decade, I can totally relate to her concerns about the un-sanitized maracas at the baby and me class. HELL. NAH. As usual, I wanted to fight the husband (grade A wagyu beef bum). Even though the story was "predictable", the plot was still well-executed. Gardner set the stage for why Rowena would trust Maxine the machine, so when it threw a proverbial grenade in her life, you could understand why Rowena believed it. The ending was chefs kiss. If I wanted to get away with murder, that's how I would do it. For legal reasons, that last sentence was a joke. Obviously. It also made me think... would I like a Maxine in my life? I say yes. Isn't knowing something awful might happen better than not knowing? Some would say the unknown is the beauty of life, but as someone who used to read the endings of books to determine if it was a worthwhile emotional endeavour, I would appreciate a lil heads up. All in all, a wonderfully crafted, original book peppered with humour. Just an FYI, this is not so much a thriller as a character-driven contemporary with an undercurrent of suspense. PROS AND CONS: Pros: everything duh it's 5s across the board Cons: nadaaaaa

  7. 4 out of 5

    Melissa (LifeFullyBooked)

    Excellent fast-paced thriller! I had witnessed many of my reviewer friends rating this book highly, so I decided to pick it up and see what the buzz was all about. I was not disappointed! Rowena has left her life in New York City behind as she has moved to California with her new husband Jacob and their baby Michelle. She's a bit miserable after quitting her job in publishing to be a stay at home mom, but Jacob's job at a tech company provides well. He brings home a "Maxine" device, which is an ad Excellent fast-paced thriller! I had witnessed many of my reviewer friends rating this book highly, so I decided to pick it up and see what the buzz was all about. I was not disappointed! Rowena has left her life in New York City behind as she has moved to California with her new husband Jacob and their baby Michelle. She's a bit miserable after quitting her job in publishing to be a stay at home mom, but Jacob's job at a tech company provides well. He brings home a "Maxine" device, which is an advanced AI digital assistant with advice and prediction settings. The more Maxine interacts with Rowena, the smarter she gets about Rowena's life. All is well until Maxine predicts that Jacob is going to kill Rowena. Can she trust Maxine? Is there something sinister going on? I liked the flow of the story and although I called a few of the things that happened, there are many surprises and it's never quite clear who to trust. There's an underlying theme here examining how much we can trust these digital devices, as well as examining how much we can trust other people. And in the end, I think it brings up more questions than answers, which isn't necessarily a bad things because there are shades of grey in both cases. The ending is a bit too pat and convenient, but overall this is a smart, fascinating story that readers will devour. I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book, all opinions are my own.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Carolyn Walsh

    Many thanks to NetGalley and Mirror House Press for the opportunity to read an advance copy of this uniquely original and delightful book. It can be classified as a twisty mystery and a deeply satisfying character-based psychological thriller. It also has elements of science-fiction. It is based in the near future in the Silicon Valley area. New and improved technology and its gadgets have been developed and tested in the foreseeable future. The science fiction element of the story is believable Many thanks to NetGalley and Mirror House Press for the opportunity to read an advance copy of this uniquely original and delightful book. It can be classified as a twisty mystery and a deeply satisfying character-based psychological thriller. It also has elements of science-fiction. It is based in the near future in the Silicon Valley area. New and improved technology and its gadgets have been developed and tested in the foreseeable future. The science fiction element of the story is believable. Imagine owning a Beta version of a personal assistant, the future in Artificial Intelligence, called Maxine. It is a box the size of a loaf of bread. It not only has the internet to access and answer factual questions, but can follow your thoughts by your email, texts, and even vocal communications with others, their bank accounts and everyone's personal records. You speak to it, and it responds in a friendly personal manner. It can also give you advice and make predictions about your future based on information input. This is a crisply written, wonderfully paced story with unexpected twists and turns. Author Faith Gardner has a talent for drawing the reader into the character's emotions, causing one to wonder what is real or false in the thoughts and behaviour presented. Who is deceitful and playing games with people and their mental health? Who is spinning out of control and descending to a dark place emotionally? Does Maxine make a satisfying personal assistant? Who is being gaslighted? Can Maxine's predictions be believed, and is her advice reliable? I won't spoil the story by summarizing the plot. I enjoyed the depth of the characters and found them memorable, even Maxine! The storyline was engaging. This was my favourite thriller this year, and the book was hard to put down. The reader is put in a quandary of who to believe, the scheming 'nice guy', a couple of unstable women, or a friendly machine. Recommended! Amen, Maxine.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Terrie (trailer-traveling with spotty Wi-Fi) Robinson

    "Amen Maxine" by Faith Gardner is a Domestic Thriller set in the near future! Rowena is a new wife, a new mom, and a New York transplant to California's Silicon Valley. She also suffers from anxiety and depression. Currently she feels anxious about her new surroundings and depressed about not knowing anyone. Her prescription med's don't seem to be working and she's missing her old life in New York! Her new hubby, Jacob, works for a high tech company and being concerned about his wife's mental hea "Amen Maxine" by Faith Gardner is a Domestic Thriller set in the near future! Rowena is a new wife, a new mom, and a New York transplant to California's Silicon Valley. She also suffers from anxiety and depression. Currently she feels anxious about her new surroundings and depressed about not knowing anyone. Her prescription med's don't seem to be working and she's missing her old life in New York! Her new hubby, Jacob, works for a high tech company and being concerned about his wife's mental health, brings home a new AI product currently being beta tested by his employer. "Maxine, a digital friend" functions as a digital assistant by bonding with an individual, offering advice and predictions that have shown positive result for patients with mental health issues. Rowena is reluctant, but as the new marriage begins to show signs of wear, she turns to Maxine and their bonding develops and intensifies. Maxine's advice is supportive and her predictions are accurate. Then Maxine's predictions become disturbingly closer to home and Rowena is tempted to pull the plug on Maxine... I don't normally read this genre but I just had to find out what all the hype was about and I'm so glad I did. Every time I started reading it, I couldn't get enough and every time I set it down, I kept thinking about it and couldn't wait to pick it back up! This story is set in the near future with AI digital devices that do everything from dusting and vacuuming your home, to mowing your lawn and driving your car. So Maxine's presence in the mix seems quite the 'everyday norm'. It's both creative and feels believable. The author has created a great mix of characterizations and the characters are well developed making it easy to get to know them. The pace never slows down and the writing style is easy to read yet held my attention through the entire book. This is a fun book that I loved reading and I look forward to more from this author. I highly recommend this to all readers of all genres! Thank you to NetGalley, Mirror House Press, and Faith Gardner for an ARC of this book. It has been an honor to give my honest and voluntary review.

  10. 4 out of 5

    L.A.

    This was an exceptional Must Read book!!!! I read reviews before requesting it and I feel every "Amen, Maxine" comment! Just WOW!! Alexa is disturbing enough when I see her all aglow as I speak, but Maxine, an artificial intelligence, is taking it to a whole level of chilling, disturbing behavior. She was created to help those with mental health issues. I think she would create them for me. Maxine has feelings and portrays warmth for her owner Rowena even going as far as ordering her a pleasure This was an exceptional Must Read book!!!! I read reviews before requesting it and I feel every "Amen, Maxine" comment! Just WOW!! Alexa is disturbing enough when I see her all aglow as I speak, but Maxine, an artificial intelligence, is taking it to a whole level of chilling, disturbing behavior. She was created to help those with mental health issues. I think she would create them for me. Maxine has feelings and portrays warmth for her owner Rowena even going as far as ordering her a pleasure toy when her husband Jacob was lacking in that area. Rowena was a book editor in N.Y. before marrying Jacob with a brief stint of dating online she moved to Cali to his hometown with their infant daughter Michelle. Jacob is busy with his Tech company producing infamous levels of technology that he was able to bring home to beta test. When loneliness sets in with Ro, her husband becomes manipulative and creates self doubt in her. She questions her judgment and intuition. Her distorted reality is relieved by Maxine, an artificial intelligence machine, a gift from Jacob. When Ro turns the prediction mode on, Maxine details what will happen next in her life. When the prediction occurs, she realizes Maxine is not as artificial as she thought. One of the predictions given was Jacob is having an affair with a coworker, so given the address from Maxine, she checks it out on a whim and becomes devastated by this interaction. It gets deeper and without giving anymore away, you have to read this one to believe it. It is hard to put down once it begins. The ending was good, but may have been too easy to believe, but I'll take it considering the whole book trumps that ending!! Jacob manipulates, lies and gaslights throughout becoming one of the worst husbands in fiction history. Even lying as much as to tell Ro his first wife died of cancer...hmmm...how could he? Faith Gardner, I must read more of your books if they are anything of the gems you have created here. Thank you NetGalley and Mirror House Press for this ARC in exchange for my honest review!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Linda

    Amen and Hallelujah..... Faith Gardner, you have created a stunner here with Amen Maxine. If you're looking for a complete out-of-the-ordinary head slammer of a read, look no further. This one comes with all the bells and whistles: Engaging, attention-getting, thought provoking, futuristic and womaned by a lead character like no other. Eeeeeek! Rowena Synder lived within the hustle and bustle of New York City. Midnight bars, Uber at the ready, and friends who had her back. She loved her editor's j Amen and Hallelujah..... Faith Gardner, you have created a stunner here with Amen Maxine. If you're looking for a complete out-of-the-ordinary head slammer of a read, look no further. This one comes with all the bells and whistles: Engaging, attention-getting, thought provoking, futuristic and womaned by a lead character like no other. Eeeeeek! Rowena Synder lived within the hustle and bustle of New York City. Midnight bars, Uber at the ready, and friends who had her back. She loved her editor's job and was challenged at every moment. But then she fell in love and fell pregnant. The order is debatable. Jacob was the least likely choice for her, but she went with it when motherhood was on the horizon. Not only was her mind and her body changing, but so was her address. Jacob talks her into moving back to his childhood home in California lock, stock, and barrel with a mother-in-law who thinks every day deserves a full-out party. After Michelle is born, Rowena begins to doubt her decisions. She's miserable in Silicon Valley with Jacob working extremely long hours on projects. Add to that the fact that Rowena suffers from intense anxiety and fringes on depression. She's had concerning mental health issues in the past. To the rescue, Jacob brings home a "digital assistant" from the beta testing stage. Rowena looks around at the tech swarming around her already lifestyle: auto vacuum system, programmed refrigerator, towel folding device, and a mattress that registers Michelle's heartbeat and body temp. Maxine becomes her friend.....something she's in short supply of. With Jacob constantly gone, Maxine fills the void.....until a sinister message is blurted out by Maxine. Oh, Alexa on steroids. Amen Maxine is a joy of a read. Faith Gardner injects humor and snappy dialogue in all the right places. She gets into the head and the inner workings of Rowena brilliantly. Rowena becomes human and vulnerable in our eyes while living in the age of robotics on the rise. The storyline moves at a rapid pace and you can't look away. You're compelled to keep a finger on the pulse of Rowena at all times. You can't let her slip away. I found Amen Maxine on Amazon for Kindle. One of the most engaging reads of 2022. Ya gotta grab it. It's that good.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Holly B

    4.5 STARS Can I get an amen? I heard from a friend that I should read this book. She sounded the alarm- GirlWithThePinkSkiMask, so Thank you Pink as well as many other GR besties! Hello Maxine! She's a Pandora's box disguised as a hunk of metal. She emits a lovely sequence of musical beeps, lights up in a rainbow of colors, and listens to your conversations at home and on your cell phone. Creepy you say? Well she is also a very curious machine, she is concerned and really cares about you. Jacob b 4.5 STARS Can I get an amen? I heard from a friend that I should read this book. She sounded the alarm- GirlWithThePinkSkiMask, so Thank you Pink as well as many other GR besties! Hello Maxine! She's a Pandora's box disguised as a hunk of metal. She emits a lovely sequence of musical beeps, lights up in a rainbow of colors, and listens to your conversations at home and on your cell phone. Creepy you say? Well she is also a very curious machine, she is concerned and really cares about you. Jacob brings Maxine home to his wifey, Rowena. Her new "digital" friend. Maxine is the devil on Rowena's shoulder, a sort of life whisperer. She brings her comfort, and advice, helps with shopping lists. One day she makes a prediction that would make anyone's heart beat out of their chest. Rowena asks Maxine, "What did you say?" As if she hadn't heard her. No turning back now........ This was very entertaining and fast-paced with a housewifing/overwhelmed protagonist who really cracked me up. Throw in some fun little high tech futuristic novelties and I never wanted to put it down. The ending felt a little too easy and left me wanting more. OUT NOW / Available on Amazon

  13. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    Jacob and Rowena Snyder are a newly married couple with a beautiful daughter, Michelle. They recently made the move from NYC to Silicon Valley where Jacob works for the high tech company, Jolvix. Rowena has battled anxiety and depression most of her life and she tries to control the mood swings and panic attacks with medication yet she still seems to be struggling. Jacob's answer is always the same: Just take another pill. Rowena, on the other hand, doesn't want to "take another pill." One day J Jacob and Rowena Snyder are a newly married couple with a beautiful daughter, Michelle. They recently made the move from NYC to Silicon Valley where Jacob works for the high tech company, Jolvix. Rowena has battled anxiety and depression most of her life and she tries to control the mood swings and panic attacks with medication yet she still seems to be struggling. Jacob's answer is always the same: Just take another pill. Rowena, on the other hand, doesn't want to "take another pill." One day Jacob brings home Maxine, a digital friend, to help keep Rowena company and to calm her nerves. However, rather than bringing her peace of mind she's predicted the worst things imaginable making Rowena question everything she knows. Do you believe your husband, a machine, or your own unstable mind? That is the question! "To lie is alarming. But more alarming is when you lie so sweet it tastes like the truth." Praise to you Faith Gardner for writing a completely unique thriller. Books, television, and movies have all been suffering with a lack of original ideas but this book decided it didn't want to play by the same rules as everyone else and for that I am thankful. I wondered in the beginning if this book would require too much suspension of disbelief for me to enjoy properly. I don't have or use an Alexa nor do I have any desire to so buying into the Maxine plotline seemed a little ridiculous at first but I needn't have worried. I was 100% invested and that's probably because I found Rowena so likeable that the momma bear in me just wanted to protect her. I'd also like to acknowledge that in the authors note she mentions that this was self-published and that she scoured the pages to catch any typo's and grammatical errors and I have to say she did a phenomenal job because nothing caught my eye or stood out. If you're sick of the same old, same old standard thrillers then this may be the sweet treat you're looking for. Maxine predicts: You'll enjoy this. Amen, Maxine! 😉 4 stars! Thank you to NetGalley and Mirror House Press for my complimentary copy!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Darla

    This one will keep you on your toes. Who or what can be trusted? I saw several of my GR friends raving about this book and now I know why. This is brilliant. Rowena and her husband Jacob have just moved to California from NYC and have a new baby named Michelle. Rowena is struggling with being a stay-at-home mom after working in publishing. So many of us women remember that feeling. Jacob works in the tech sector and brings home Maxine to "help" Rowena. The AI features turn Maxine into more than This one will keep you on your toes. Who or what can be trusted? I saw several of my GR friends raving about this book and now I know why. This is brilliant. Rowena and her husband Jacob have just moved to California from NYC and have a new baby named Michelle. Rowena is struggling with being a stay-at-home mom after working in publishing. So many of us women remember that feeling. Jacob works in the tech sector and brings home Maxine to "help" Rowena. The AI features turn Maxine into more than a digital assistant. Rowena's dedication to her daughter and doubts about her husband are so relatable. The book group scenes are a hoot, too. This would make a fabulous read for an IRL book group. So much to discuss regarding social media and the ways we might rely on technology in unhealthy or unsafe ways. As with The Echo Wife, this book brings some issues with advancing technology to the forefront. Just because we can, does that mean we should? Faith Gardner has a promising future if this first adult indie title is any indication of things to come. I will be watching for her books in the future. Thank you to Mirror House Press and NetGalley for a DRC in exchange for an honest review.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Misty Marie Harms

    Rowena is new to motherhood, marriage, and California. She is struggling with anxiety and depression. Her condescending ass of a husband Jacob isn't helping matters. Enter Maxine. A new "digital friend" that can give advice, predications, and help a gal out when in need. Soon Maxine is making eerie predications and also revealing some dark secrets about Jacob. Rowena's marriage is not what it seems. Jacob is an even bigger ass than I first thought. Seriously, throw the whole dude out. Unique rea Rowena is new to motherhood, marriage, and California. She is struggling with anxiety and depression. Her condescending ass of a husband Jacob isn't helping matters. Enter Maxine. A new "digital friend" that can give advice, predications, and help a gal out when in need. Soon Maxine is making eerie predications and also revealing some dark secrets about Jacob. Rowena's marriage is not what it seems. Jacob is an even bigger ass than I first thought. Seriously, throw the whole dude out. Unique read with crazy twists.

  16. 5 out of 5

    NZLisaM

    Rounded up to 4.5. With thriller’s involving troubled marriages, and untrustworthy husband’s, saturating the book market, this author definitely brought something new to the table in Amen Maxine. New York native Rowena met her husband Jacob online during a lockdown for the latest pandemic. Next came a whirlwind courtship in person, an unplanned pregnancy, a quickie marriage, and a move all the way to sunny California to live in Jacob’s childhood home. As much as Rowena loves her baby daughter Miche Rounded up to 4.5. With thriller’s involving troubled marriages, and untrustworthy husband’s, saturating the book market, this author definitely brought something new to the table in Amen Maxine. New York native Rowena met her husband Jacob online during a lockdown for the latest pandemic. Next came a whirlwind courtship in person, an unplanned pregnancy, a quickie marriage, and a move all the way to sunny California to live in Jacob’s childhood home. As much as Rowena loves her baby daughter Michelle, and despite her new home being equip with all the latest mod cons, she’s struggling to adjust to suburbia, craves her old life in NYC, and anxiety and depression has her feeling overwhelmed and lonely. To help her cope, Jacob, who works for a successful tech company, gifts her a prototype Artificial Intelligence (AI) Robot called Maxine (currently being beta-tested). Maxine is specifically designed to be a companion assistant to offer support, advice, and predictions to make Rowena’s life less stressful. Rowena is surprised how useful, helpful, and accurate Maxine actually is, and quickly warms to the device. Until Maxine makes a dire prediction that shocks her to the core. Suddenly, Rowena’s not sure who she trusts more – her husband, or the machine? I was equal parts fascinated and creeped out by this futuristic, dystopian, sci-fi, tech thriller. And if none of the above sounds like your jam, never fair, as Amen Maxine’s main focus was on domestic/marriage drama, and psychological suspense. I loved the character of Rowena, was completely rooting for her, and enjoyed her humorous sarcastic thoughts and observations. Jacob came across as a total douchebag from the get go – condescending and misogynistic, the tone in which he kept addressing Rowena as “babe” really grated my cheese. For someone who loathes household chores I loved reading about all the latest technical gadgets Rowena had in her smart home – some of which we have in our houses already – but these one’s sounded even better. As much as It freaked me out I could see why Rowena became attached to Maxine. The AI Robot was designer to be paired with one human being only, similar to the notion of a soulmate, and was utterly devoted to serving its recipients needs. Rowena in turn started to attribute human emotions and empathy to Maxine, which gave the machine more influence over her. It was all very interesting and unique, and the near-future world the author created felt very authentic and possible. A daunting thought! I’d like to thank Netgalley, Mirror House Press, and Faith Gardner for the e-ARC. Amen Maxine is available just over a week from now, 23rd July, 2022.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Rosh

    In a Nutshell: Contains the usual psych/domestic thriller ingredients of gaslighting, mental health issues and an unreliable narrator. What makes it different is the outstanding role that AI plays in the proceedings. Works pretty well because of the intelligent and twisty writing. However, requires a fair bit of suspension of disbelief at the end. Story Synopsis: Rowena Snyder is a newly-married young mum who has left her job as an editor and moved from NY to her husband Jacob’s childhood home in In a Nutshell: Contains the usual psych/domestic thriller ingredients of gaslighting, mental health issues and an unreliable narrator. What makes it different is the outstanding role that AI plays in the proceedings. Works pretty well because of the intelligent and twisty writing. However, requires a fair bit of suspension of disbelief at the end. Story Synopsis: Rowena Snyder is a newly-married young mum who has left her job as an editor and moved from NY to her husband Jacob’s childhood home in California. Not only does Rowena miss her old lifestyle and friends, but her anxiety and depression are exacerbated in the new location. To help Rowena, Jacob gets home a new product that is still in beta testing at the tech company he works with. Enter “Maxine”, the digital AI who bonds with any one individual and can “do anything to help”. In addition to the usual assistance, Maxine also has ‘advice’ and ‘prediction’ modes that promise to help patients with mental health issues. Rowena unwillingly tries Maxine, is amazed at how accurate she/it is, and trusts her entire life to her new artificial friend. Then Maxine begins making some chilling predictions and Rowena isn’t sure whom to trust anymore. The story comes to us in the first person perspective of Rowena. Where the book worked for me: 😍 Not once did I feel that I was reading an indie work. Such polished language, such smart plotting, and such complicated character development! All without a single typo. Take a bow, author! 😍 It is quite fast-paced, though it drags for a couple of chapters in the second half. I completed this within a day. That’s always a bonus. 😍 This is a strange mix of genres that usually don’t work well for me but this time, the combo delivered. The content begins as a contemporary drama, goes into suspense and upgrades to a medley of psychological thriller and domestic thriller. All this accompanied by dashes of sci-fi. Just be prepared for more of dramatic than thrilling content in the initial half. 😍 I loved how the intrusion of AI in our lives is depicted so accurately, even though some of the tech in the book is set in the future. The data collecting with or without your permission is scarily accurate. At the same time, I yearned for some of the gadgets that Rowena has in her house. If anyone manufactures those robotic feather dusters, consider me a willing customer. 😍 Though a lot of the story is guessable, there were enough twists to keep me hooked. 😍 I adored Sam’s character. I wish she had an even greater role in the story. She enlivened the proceedings. 😍 While not a typical unreliable narrator, Rowena casts enough of doubt on the occurrences to keep me questioning even her motives. Most of the characters aren’t trustworthy and this kept me on my toes while reading. I liked how Rowena wasn’t just presented as the typical new mother with postpartum depression but her issues went much beyond that. 😍 😍 😍 Everything to do with books that is sprinkled so generously in the content. Rowena’s attempt to concentrate on her e-reader while her mind is disturbed. Her longing for her old hard copies. Her desire to shun parties in favour of books. Her habit of quoting from her favourite books quite casually during her narration. (The geek in me relished those Easter eggs in the writing. But I confess, I wasn’t a fan of the Jane Eyre-esque “Dear Reader” – that breaking of the fourth wall didn’t make sense.) Rowena’s remarks about line-editing (not just in the books she reads but also in the assumed book of her life.) The fact that she doesn’t get the idea of book clubs. (One of my absolute favourite lines in the book was, “Book clubs have never made sense to me. Books are where I go to escape people.” Heck yeah, baby!) The book lover in me loved the book lover in her. Where the book could have worked better for me: 😒 I am kinda tired of the portrayal of male characters in contemporary thrillers because their only role seems to be to gaslight the women in their lives under a façade of care and concern. This trope is getting boring, though it is handled fairly well in this story. 😒 Rowena’s grudge against Jacob is based mainly on all the lies he tells her. But she too doesn’t refrain from lying to the people in her life. Pot calling the kettle black. 😒 Some of the secondary characters’ behaviour didn’t make sense at times. Can’t reveal more without going into spoilers. 😒 The ending is too farfetched, too rushed, and too neat. I would have forgiven all other shortcomings but an OTT ending is never my favourite. It also left me a curious cat because it didn’t tell me some things I really wanted to know! 👀 Overall, the pace, the AI angle, the layered characters and the twisty plot have an edge over the exaggerated ending and the hackneyed portrayal of the main characters. Definitely worth a shot – it is one of the better dramatic thrillers I have read this year. Amen, Maxine – indeed! 3.75 stars. My thanks to Mirror House Press and NetGalley for the DRC of “Amen Maxine”. This review is voluntary and contains my honest opinion about the book. ——————————————— Connect with me through: My Blog | The StoryGraph | Facebook | Twitter

  18. 4 out of 5

    Debra

    Welcome to Silicon Valley. Where smart devices reign supreme. Everything is copasetic- at least on the surface. Wowza, this was such an original and captivating novel! This book lives up to the hype and then some! While everyone else seems to love living in Silicon Valley, it is not Rowena Snyder's cup of tea. She is from the east coast (New York) and misses it. Rowena moved to the west coast after meeting, falling in love and marrying Jacob. They have a beautiful daughter and yet, Rowena is miser Welcome to Silicon Valley. Where smart devices reign supreme. Everything is copasetic- at least on the surface. Wowza, this was such an original and captivating novel! This book lives up to the hype and then some! While everyone else seems to love living in Silicon Valley, it is not Rowena Snyder's cup of tea. She is from the east coast (New York) and misses it. Rowena moved to the west coast after meeting, falling in love and marrying Jacob. They have a beautiful daughter and yet, Rowena is miserable. Her anxiety and depression are constant companions in her life. Take a Pill! Anyone else want to take that pill and shove it right down someone's big mouth? Jacob says he is worried about Rowena and bring home a 'Maxine' who will be Rowena's digital friend. Maxine is programed to make predictions and interact with Rowena. Who wouldn't be skeptical, but this is the age of smart devices. Rowena is initially concerned but soon finds that Maxine has been helpful, caring and appears to be looking out for her. But then, Maxine makes a prediction that changes everything.... Amen Maxine Loved it!!! As I mentioned, this book is original, unique, and compelling. I was captivated from page one and did not want to put this book down. This book was full of interesting characters who ran the gambit from being caring to manipulative and all things in between. I loved the who-or what-can-be-trusted aspect of the book. I knew from the beginning who I didn't like but I wasn't sure how things were going to play out. What a ride this book was! Again, this book lives up to the hype! I loved its originality and felt it was very well thought out and after a few twists and turns, this book left me extremely satisfied. Clever, well thought out, well written and riveting! #AmenMaxine #NetGalley Thank you to Mirror House Press and NetGalley who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All the thoughts and opinions are my own. Read more of my reviews at www.openbookposts.com

  19. 5 out of 5

    Elyse Walters

    “The moment I saw you I knew I wanted to take care of you, Jacob said”. “As a person who had long felt like an island, an only child, my father gone, my mother forever teetering on the edge of I’ll health, someone who had to beg her professors for extensions because I was constantly in my own way, someone who spent my evenings researching diseases I might have, someone who had been often told by lovers eventually that I was too much, someone whose one grace in life were books which could be ope “The moment I saw you I knew I wanted to take care of you, Jacob said”. “As a person who had long felt like an island, an only child, my father gone, my mother forever teetering on the edge of I’ll health, someone who had to beg her professors for extensions because I was constantly in my own way, someone who spent my evenings researching diseases I might have, someone who had been often told by lovers eventually that I was too much, someone whose one grace in life were books which could be opened and immediately beautifully thankfully eliminate my own existence, someone who was depressed and anxious and who had dark thoughts that are not worth repeating, someone who saw a passing bus and saw escape, someone who saw a bottle of pills and saw a one-way door, someone who saw an open window many stories up in the middle of a fight and saw a way out of her own head . . . Jacob was a gift”. Rowena Synder had struggled socially since moving to California from New York. It surprised her. The further she got into adulthood, she found it harder to make friends. It used to seem so easy. She made friends in college classes with other nerds majoring in English, bonding over Virginia Woolf and Toni Morrison and a love-hate relationship with critical theory. Once she moved to Cupertino, in her husband‘s childhood house, Rowena was busy raising their six month year old daughter Michelle. She didn’t have many personal connections. She thought she was suffering from some maternal imposter syndrome, because even though she gave birth to a baby and spent every waking hour with Michelle, Rowena felt like a fraud- as though she didn’t learn the secret codes to parenthood. Rowena was taking Lorazepam to treat her anxiety. She went to see a therapist, a family friend of her mother-in-law Shelly. The therapist use to babysit her husband Jacob when he was growing up. Shelly told Rowena that she believed she had postpartum anxiety— generalized anxiety, and social anxiety— basically, all the anxieties. The therapist swooned over how adorable ‘Jakey’ was as a child — knew no appropriate boundaries and was a nutcase herself. “Amen Maxine” is an irresistible feathery light-weight thriller. There were nugatory and pointless observations—roads that went nowhere— topics brought up that added little or no consequence — but they were often the parts I found most fun…. …..I was laughing hysterically during a Mommy and Me music class with a teacher named ‘Twinkle’…. ……There was a couples getaway retreat in Bodega Bay…that was as funny as the earlier ‘Mommy and Me’ music class. ….The non-stop entertainment choices in this book were endless. ……I enjoyed Rowena’s inner voice. She gave up trying to get through Proust. She then tried to read a memoir for her mother-in-law‘s book club—that was so saccharine it was almost harder to read than Proust. My favorite parts of ‘Amen Maxine’ was the balmy savvy sunshine dialogue between Maxine (Robotic assistant-friend to Rowena) > a gift from Jacob brought home from his Silicon Valley high tech company. When Proust or the sugary-sweet memoir wasn’t doing it for Rowena (Ro), she turned to Maxine. Still unsure of Maxine’s talents and abilities — Rowena asked Maxine if she might sum up “Make It Reign: Find Your Inner Queen?” Of course Maxine could bring up the book. She offered an assessment: “It’s generally a well received book with 91% of raters liking it. However, professional reviews have been tepid; the most-cited reason for criticism in publications scanned appears to be that it seems to there into self-help and can go on tangents regarding politics”. Rowena was dying of laughter as Maxine continued to deliver her analysis of the “Make it Reign: Find Your Inner Queen”. I was laughing just as much as Rowena was. Their conversation continued for several more pages of wonderful smart amusing laughter. It was clear Maxine had some impressive talents. There are pages — among pages — among pages- of totally adorable charming unique reading engaging enjoyment. “Amen Maxine” just raised the bar of thriller possibilities. “When life itself feels impossible, impossibilities start to resemble possibilities”. Kudos to debut author Faith Gardner. A thriller-writer *star* is born.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Nina

    After reading a positive review about this book, I just had to read it myself. It’s a very interesting plot; Rowena has just married and moved with her husband and baby to his home. She feels lonely and gets a AI-machine that can predict the future. When Maxine, the AI, predicts that her husband will kill her, Rowena don’t know what she should do. The book is a real page-turner, in addition to it being beautifully written. The author manages to dive deep into Rowena’s psyche. You feel how anxious After reading a positive review about this book, I just had to read it myself. It’s a very interesting plot; Rowena has just married and moved with her husband and baby to his home. She feels lonely and gets a AI-machine that can predict the future. When Maxine, the AI, predicts that her husband will kill her, Rowena don’t know what she should do. The book is a real page-turner, in addition to it being beautifully written. The author manages to dive deep into Rowena’s psyche. You feel how anxious she is, and how much she struggles to find her place. She’s an interesting character, as are the others. I also liked the parts where she interacts with Maxine. Rowena struggles with how much she relies on Maxine, and I also started to question how a future would look if machines can predict what would happen next. Would we automatically live like the predictions were true? This is a question that will probably be very important in the future, considering how advanced artificial intelligence is already. The only reason I didn’t give the book five stars, is that the ending felt a bit off. I don’t want to spoil what happens, but I didn’t like the illogical choices Rowena made after what happened, even if she was distraught and people can act illogical then. All in all a very enjoyable book, and I will read future books by the author. Thanks to netgally and Xpresso book tours for this arc!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Nancy (Trying to catch up with reviews)

    Well, if this is Faith Gardner's first dabble in adult fiction, sign me up for the next one. After accidentally getting pregnant, Rowena finds herself married, a housewife, and now living in Silicon Valley which is quite the opposite of her former life as a book editor in NYC. With such big changes, Rowena's anxiety grows which in turn puts a huge strain on her marriage. Her husband, Jacob, works for a tech company and brings home Maxine, a digital friend which is being beta tested, to help Rowe Well, if this is Faith Gardner's first dabble in adult fiction, sign me up for the next one. After accidentally getting pregnant, Rowena finds herself married, a housewife, and now living in Silicon Valley which is quite the opposite of her former life as a book editor in NYC. With such big changes, Rowena's anxiety grows which in turn puts a huge strain on her marriage. Her husband, Jacob, works for a tech company and brings home Maxine, a digital friend which is being beta tested, to help Rowena. Amen Maxine is a page-turning, well written, and original domestic suspense novel with dark undertones. Simply put, I devoured this one. I loved Maxine and Rowena's relationship while absolutely hating Jacob and their therapist who both made me want to throat punch them many times throughout the book. I thought the storytelling was excellent. I always enjoy quick chapters that leave me wanting just "one more chapter" before bed. Well, with this one, I definitely didn't stop at just one more chapter. In her author's note she states that she tried her best to fix every typo and invited the reader to let her know if an error was spotted. Kudos to the author, she gets extra points for this from me because typos in books are a pet peeve of mine. 5 shiny stars. Many thanks to the author, Mirror House Press, and Netgalley for my eARC which I thoroughly enjoyed.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Dutchie

    The premise of this one may seem super unrealistic, a machine similar to Alexa can predict your future or more so give you a heads up if something bad may happen to you. We can all roll our eyes at that but how many times have I had a conversation with my husband about a trip I'd like to take or product I may like to buy without ever touching a device only to the next time I look at it to have it promoting that. This is real! Rowena has just had a child and dealing with all things that come with The premise of this one may seem super unrealistic, a machine similar to Alexa can predict your future or more so give you a heads up if something bad may happen to you. We can all roll our eyes at that but how many times have I had a conversation with my husband about a trip I'd like to take or product I may like to buy without ever touching a device only to the next time I look at it to have it promoting that. This is real! Rowena has just had a child and dealing with all things that come with that, new baby, birthday parties, sleepless nights but on top of that she has a severe anxiety disorder. Her Silicon Valley tech husband thinks trying "Maxine" may help her get through it all. Win/Win for both of them. Until Maxine starts predicting the future if Rowena gives the ok to unlock this special feature. Which of course she does. Why not? All in all this was a super fast read and while I wasn't blown away by it , it had a very interesting concept and couldn't put it down. As an aside - I thought the author did an awesome job relating to Rowena's anxiety. I also have an anxiety disorder and could totally relate to everything Rowena was anxious about. Thought how the author did that was very well articulated.. I will certainly read more by this author. I started seeing this pop up everywhere on GR and was completely caught out of left field that I had no idea this book was trending so highly. So glad I got a copy. Thanks so much to Netgalley and the publisher/author for granting me an advanced copy.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Nicole

    Amen Maxine is an absolute masterpiece! I absolutely loved this book! It was refreshing and unique, everything I was looking for. Maxine the robot both terrified me and intrigued me as she made her increasingly alarming predictions. I was sad when it ended. I wanted more! Jacob Snyder thought the move from New York city to his childhood home would be great for his family. His wife Rowena, a relatively new mom is having trouble adjusting to suburban life. She is depressed and suffers from anxiety. Amen Maxine is an absolute masterpiece! I absolutely loved this book! It was refreshing and unique, everything I was looking for. Maxine the robot both terrified me and intrigued me as she made her increasingly alarming predictions. I was sad when it ended. I wanted more! Jacob Snyder thought the move from New York city to his childhood home would be great for his family. His wife Rowena, a relatively new mom is having trouble adjusting to suburban life. She is depressed and suffers from anxiety. Jacob has the perfect remedy for his wife; a new product his team and himself having been working on currently in beta testing named Maxine. Maxine is a high tech, digital friend that continuously gathers data from its user in order to better assist them. She has different modes including “prediction” and “advice”. Maxine begins to make numerous predictions with astounding accuracy. As the severity of her predictions increase, Rowena becomes worried. “Because who would you believe, if it came down to it-a dead man who was also a liar, an unhinged woman, or a machine?” Amen Maxine is available July 23, 2022 Thank you to Netgalley and Mirror House Press for this arc in exchange for my honest review.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jonann loves book talk❤♥️❤

    If you are looking for something unique, Faith Gardner's book Amen Maxine is amazing. The quick read lived up to the hype and kept me glued to the pages. Synopsis: Rowena appears to be suffering postpartum mental health issues after the birth of her daughter. Rowena's husband Jacob works for a high-tech development company that produces an electronic personal assistant called Maxine. Those suffering from depression have found it helpful as a digital friend. Rowena is delighted when she discovers If you are looking for something unique, Faith Gardner's book Amen Maxine is amazing. The quick read lived up to the hype and kept me glued to the pages. Synopsis: Rowena appears to be suffering postpartum mental health issues after the birth of her daughter. Rowena's husband Jacob works for a high-tech development company that produces an electronic personal assistant called Maxine. Those suffering from depression have found it helpful as a digital friend. Rowena is delighted when she discovers that Maxine not only acts as a companion, but can accurately predict future events. This proves to be a bright spot in Rowena's life until Maxine voices terrifying cryptic predictions. Amen Maxine introduces a very interesting concept. Would you be interested in knowing the future if you could? Faith Gardner's book is fascinating and different from anything I've read. My introduction to the author's writing has me intrigued and excited to read more from her. Amen Maxine by Faith Gardner is available on July 23rd. (5⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐) Thank you, NetGalley and Mirror House Press, for allowing me to review this incredible book. Your kindness is appreciated.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Bharath

    This book had consistently good reviews and I was looking forward to it. Though, I am a little tired of the psychological thriller genre, this was good! Rowena Snyder has moved to the Bay Area with her husband Jacob, from New York. She has been an editor with a publishing house and now has given up her job to take care of her young daughter Michelle. Jacob works in a technology company, which has a lot of the perks now associated with Silicon Valley. Rowena’s mental state isn’t that good, for a c This book had consistently good reviews and I was looking forward to it. Though, I am a little tired of the psychological thriller genre, this was good! Rowena Snyder has moved to the Bay Area with her husband Jacob, from New York. She has been an editor with a publishing house and now has given up her job to take care of her young daughter Michelle. Jacob works in a technology company, which has a lot of the perks now associated with Silicon Valley. Rowena’s mental state isn’t that good, for a combination of reasons, and she has been prescribed anxiety pills. She also feels under constant scrutiny from Jacob and his mom. In a party, an accident with a toaster causes a fire, driving up her anxiety a notch higher. She has no friends except for a recent budding friendship with Sam. Jacob brings home “Maxine”, an AI gadget in beta testing which serves as an assistant to any one person. It constantly listens & learns with the ability to converse, advice & predict. It acts when it hears the confirmation phrase “Amen Maxine”. Maxine becomes a friend, and surprises her with some remarkable predictions such as an earthquake. However, after a few days it makes a disturbing prediction that Rowena is in danger. The writing is very good and the book progresses very smoothly – building layers to the characters, as well as Maxine. As I mentioned, a lot of reading of this genre meant that Rowan’s character felt very usual in many ways. As is also usual, to introduce a touch of intrigue and the unexpected, the behaviours & emotions are overstated (especially Jacob’s), and the motives understated. This book incorporates the use of AI in the plot very well, and raises some good questions on developer intent, trust & learning from circumstances. The twists & revelations near the end were good. The ending was a bit unusual, but also tame compared to what transpired before that. Overall, a different storyline in this genre and recommended for the novel elements in the plot. Thanks to Netgalley, the publisher and author for a free electronic review copy.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Faith Gardner

    I used to think rating your own book five stars was tacky, but then I remembered I’m a tacky bitch.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Rachel the Page-Turner

    This was such a fun, fast read that I finished it in one sitting! I love dystopian fiction, especially near-future dystopia, and this was a really good science-fictiony thriller. Rowena and her husband, Jacob, have moved from New York City to California, and she is miserable. She misses her job as a book editor, she misses her mother, and she misses her best friend. People in California seem so different, so fake, and while she’s relatively happy in her marriage and beyond happy with her infant d This was such a fun, fast read that I finished it in one sitting! I love dystopian fiction, especially near-future dystopia, and this was a really good science-fictiony thriller. Rowena and her husband, Jacob, have moved from New York City to California, and she is miserable. She misses her job as a book editor, she misses her mother, and she misses her best friend. People in California seem so different, so fake, and while she’s relatively happy in her marriage and beyond happy with her infant daughter, she’s very depressed … depressed and anxious enough that people are starting to talk behind her back. Her husband seems to be one of the ones instigating the talk - she’s heard him whispering about her more than once. He’s very concerned about her mental health, and decides to bring her a helper: a robot named Maxine. Maxine is an AI prototype from his company, and is poised to be the next best personal assistant. Aside from features similar to Alexa or Siri, Maxine has two additional features: advice, and predictions. Let Maxine listen to you at home, work, or while out, and she’ll soon start offering the perfect advice and giving you startling predictions. If you want, she’ll just make your shopping lists and keep your calendars. If you want, she’ll give you driving directions, book reviews and gift recommendations. If you want, she’ll be your confidant and best friend - in fact, she’s partially designed to help those with anxiety and depression. Rowena isn’t sure at first, but soon begins to take Maxine’s advice, and listening to those predictions. The advice always makes a positive impact, and the predictions are almost always uncannily on point. As she begins talking more and more to Maxine, her husband becomes more and more worried … what does Rowena tell Maxine when he isn’t around? More importantly, what does Maxine tell Rowena? I hope my description doesn’t make this sound cheesy, because it isn’t. It’s a fascinating look at what artificial intelligence could be capable of, and of how robots are slowly turning into something less for the future, and more for the present. It’s also a fascinating look at this young mother, and as someone who also suffers from anxiety and depression, it was tough to see her suffer. Could Maxine change everything and end her suffering? This is the author’s first adult fiction novel (she previously wrote YA) and I’d say she did a really good job. This was interesting, had a good plot, was very original and quite entertaining. The ending was the only part I wasn’t sure about … I had a couple of ideas about how it would all end, but it felt a little abrupt. Still, this is a solid four-star book that I would definitely recommend. (Thank you to XPresso Book Tours, Faith Gardner, and NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for my review.)

  28. 5 out of 5

    The Cats’ Mother

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I don’t enjoy being the outlier with the unpopular opinion, and I had high hopes for this one, as it had lots of 5-stars when I requested it, and I thought the premise sounded interesting. However, since the main point of a review is to help other readers decide whether to buy or start a book, I’m going to explain why I’ve given this 2 stars and stress that this is NOT a bad book, I just really didn’t enjoy reading it. I’m aware this reflects my personal preferences and is not a criticism of the I don’t enjoy being the outlier with the unpopular opinion, and I had high hopes for this one, as it had lots of 5-stars when I requested it, and I thought the premise sounded interesting. However, since the main point of a review is to help other readers decide whether to buy or start a book, I’m going to explain why I’ve given this 2 stars and stress that this is NOT a bad book, I just really didn’t enjoy reading it. I’m aware this reflects my personal preferences and is not a criticism of the author, but if I steer someone who shares my bias profile away from it, that’s not a bad thing. I look for low star reviews when I’m debating whether to acquire a book as some people’s negatives (eg not enough romance) are positives for me! In this case, there was nothing lower than a 4 when I requested it. Amen Maxine is a near-future psychological suspense novel about a young mother, Rowena, whose whirlwind lockdown romance and subsequent unplanned pregnancy have left her stuck at home with a baby on the other side of the country. Away from her limited family and friends in New York, with her new husband Jacob working long hours at his tech job in Silicon Valley and facing frequent interference from her rather inappropriate mother-in-law, Rowena is lonely and isolated. When Jacob brings home an advanced AI Digital Assistant called Maxine, that his company is beta-testing, in the hope it will help her, Rowena is initially suspicious, but with her mental health unravelling, reluctantly tries it out. She soon finds that Maxine’s warm supportive counsel and uncanny predictive abilities are invaluable - so when warned that loving adorable geek Jacob is going to try to kill her, who should she believe? My problem here was I was expecting an intriguing speculative fiction story, but this is fundamentally another unreliable narrator/possibly dangerous husband domestic suspense like all the others of the past few years, and since there’s really only two possibilities - either you are being gaslit into losing your mind or he really is out to get you - the plots of these hold little suspense for me. Even worse was that I couldn’t stand Rowena - without wanting to victim-blame someone with chronic psychiatric issues, she’s pathetic: temperamentally unsuited to motherhood, she’s gone ahead with it anyway (I could start ranting here about recent events but I won’t, this is not the place) and just allowed herself to drift into the situation she finds herself in, then does nothing to try and fix her problems other than popping lorazepam like candy. She’s vain, snobby and judgemental, with horrendous double standards - she’s enraged when she thinks Jacob is lying or cheating, but lies constantly to both herself and the people around her, and is emotionally unfaithful at the first opportunity, fantasising about her new friend and only not doing anything about it because her interest is unreciprocated. The whole novel is told from Rowena’s first person present perspective - experiencing her endless internal monologue and chronic neuroses was deeply unpleasant, and I did contemplate DNFing, but did want to know how it turned out. Maxine was the most interesting character here - an increasingly self-aware AI who may or may not have her best interests at heart. The way Rowena gradually learns just how much access she has given Maxine into her life, including her bank accounts, private calls and past history was genuinely creepy - think of the way Facebook listens to us in order to target advertising and dial it up to 11! The author subtly shows us how robots are likely to populate our homes in a way that felt realistic - in fact at times I couldn’t tell what was futuristic and what currently exists in affluent sections of the USA. The writing was fine, I liked that the pandemic & lockdowns are referenced but clearly in the past, and there were some mildly amusing characters like the truly awful therapist and Rowena’s snarky best friend Dane. Ultimately, if you love psychological/domestic suspense and tend not to be bothered by the issues I am raised, ignore me, read the glowing 5 star recommendations and buy the book, whereas if it’s the light sci-fi aspects that appeal to you or you like protagonists with gumption, look elsewhere. Thanks to NetGalley and Mirror House press for the ARC, I am posting this honest review voluntarily. Amen Maxine is published on July 23rd.

  29. 4 out of 5

    SabiReads

    Thank you NetGalley, Xpresso Book Tours and Faith Gardner for letting me read “Amen Maxine” in exchange for an honest review. So, I requested this based on a recommendation by my Goodreads buddy TheGirlWithThePinkSkiMask. I trust in her, so here we are. And she was totally right. I did not expect to like it as much as i did. THis book is MAGNIFICENT! The writing is AMAZING and the story so well thought out. I usually start with the cover first, as in my book, first impressions count. A young wom Thank you NetGalley, Xpresso Book Tours and Faith Gardner for letting me read “Amen Maxine” in exchange for an honest review. So, I requested this based on a recommendation by my Goodreads buddy TheGirlWithThePinkSkiMask. I trust in her, so here we are. And she was totally right. I did not expect to like it as much as i did. THis book is MAGNIFICENT! The writing is AMAZING and the story so well thought out. I usually start with the cover first, as in my book, first impressions count. A young woman’s face on the cover, the second half of her face covered by some kind of digital blurred technical stuff that I have no idea what to call. Pixelation? Anyway. In all honesty, not a cover I would have picked up myself, but I had trust in this one. I usually shy away from novels that have a dystopian feeling. Technical, geeky things are more my husbands cup of tea than mine. But have trust my friend. Sometimes it is good to push your boundaries. “A new marriage.
A perfect home.
A machine that says it’s all a lie.” Rowena and Jacob met online. A whirlwind romance that leads to a pregnancy and marriage. She moves from trendy New York to Silicon Valley, California into the childhood home of her new husband. Picture perfect? Not for Rowena. She struggles with the life she has left behind - a rising editor-, anxiety and being a new mother. She is also a tad neurotic. That is usually a turn off for me. But Gardner describes her in a very relatable way. As a result of her struggles, her husband brings home a digital friend, Maxine (a beta production if his company). I pictured her like a more insisting and straight forward version of Alexa. Alexa 2mil.0. Then Maxine starts to listen to whats happening in the house and in Rowena’s life. Is Jacob as nice as he seems? It makes you realise that we are really not too far away from this being reality. Devices listening in, us relying on these devices. Depending on them, just like Rowena is doing. But how far would you go? How much can you rely on digital assistants and how much can you trust yourself? I immediately fell for Rowena. An introvert who prefers books over people. My kind of woman. Yes, she is already neurotic, but her new family very subtly makes her even more paranoid. Sneaky. They agreed on honesty, that is not what she got. It is a perfect sign if you immediately like a character. Full points here. I also feel like mentioning that i like the unusual names she picked. The writing is so down to earth, straight from the horses mouth. The book sucked me in right away. I tend to know right away if I will enjoy a book or not. This one screamed YES at me right away. At the halfway point it really gets going. I loved every second of the book! A definite recommendation. Maybe even best book I have read this year.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Karly

    My Rating System: 4⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ticked most boxes ALMOST LOVED IT!!! Silicone Valley… Perfect Weather, cash flow galore, a new marriage, a new baby - Rowena Snyder is living in misery. Ro moved from NYC to be with her new loving husband Jacob and gorgeous baby Michelle, but she’s struggling. She’s suffering from severe anxiety and depression and fears death is around every corner. Jacob worried about his new bride having no friends and being miserable brings her home a new “digital friend” that is My Rating System: 4⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ticked most boxes ALMOST LOVED IT!!! Silicone Valley… Perfect Weather, cash flow galore, a new marriage, a new baby - Rowena Snyder is living in misery. Ro moved from NYC to be with her new loving husband Jacob and gorgeous baby Michelle, but she’s struggling. She’s suffering from severe anxiety and depression and fears death is around every corner. Jacob worried about his new bride having no friends and being miserable brings her home a new “digital friend” that is in beta testing from his techo job. Rowena finds out that the “digi friend” bonds with only her by collecting her personal data and is paranoid and sceptical at first. As she begins to trust Maxine she uses more of her functions like her “prediction” mode and her “advice” mode which all turns out to be really helpful and accurate. That is until one day Maxine announces a prediction that is terrifies Rowena and changes her life forever… it begs the question - who should she trust a Man or a Machine!!! This was another recommendation from GirlWithThePinkSkiMask and she gave this a very Stella 5 stars so I was like I need some of that 5 star action. ⭐️ This one started out really slow for me and Rowena was getting on my nerves… I mean don’t get me wrong I felt for her but she was bothering me… after about the first 30% the book really finds its feet and takes off… from the outset I HATED Jacob with a passion!!! Nope what a POS!!! 🤬 You can really get in Rowena’s head and feel for her once the author paints that picture - you can see how she is being isolated and feels like shes going crazy. You can understand her panic and paranoia and you can even understand why she turns to a machine as a friend, confidant and trusted alley. 🤖 My god the scenes with the highly unprofessional therapist had my fuming - I wanted to slap her face. Also the MIL and the nasty book club ugh - hateful. Poor Rowena nothing was going right for her - no wonder Maxine was a comfort. Oh and Sam, I wont go into it too much so there are no spoilers, but I was rooting for Rowena and Sam - I wanted there to be a thing, was there a thing… hmmm who knows you will have a read. 😯 The author does a really good job of making you really identify with the story and there is humour laced throughout which I appreciated. It is not normally my genre of choice but I enjoyed the nods to the futuristic gadgets, it had me thinking would I have one of those….ooooh that would be handy. 👩‍🔧 I blasted through this one in a day and I felt that as the end came into sight some of the things that happened were predictable but I was ok with that - I didn’t pick everything and I was pleasantly surprised with how this one landed. It is not so hard to believe that machines will be running our lives in the fairly near future - I for one am not interested in a self driving car or a Maxine but I can absolutely see the appeal. 🧐 Give this indie author a go she has a great writing style, excellent humour and a very dark side that will appeal to the thriller lover in you. 💖 Thank you to Mirror House Press, NetGalley and the author for an advanced copy of this book for an honest review.

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