Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

In the Vines

Rate this book
Family ties so strong you can’t escape… Mary Olivia Pentecost, known as Mop, was born into one of the wealthiest families in the country—and one of the most guarded. Now, two years after her mother’s mysterious death, Mop is seeking closure on the disquieting tragedy by returning to the New England seaside estate of her cloistered Aunty Liv—once her closest relative and confidante. But behind the walls of the isolated estate, the shadows of the past are darker than Mop imagined. The puzzles of the family history are not to be shared, but unearthed. With each revelation comes a new, foreboding threat—and for Mop, the grave suspicion that to discover Aunty Liv’s secrets is to become a prisoner of them. How well do we know the people we love? How well do we want to know them? The answers are as twisted as a tangle of vines in this throat-clutching novel of psychological suspense.

277 pages, Kindle Edition

First published July 17, 2018

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Shannon Kirk

16 books417 followers
My top 14 books of all time are as follows, in the following order--as in, if I was allowed only 14 books to bring to a deserted island where I was marooned for the rest of my life, these are what I would pack:

1. Love in the Time of Cholera (Gabo)
2. Orphan Master's Son (Adam Johnson)
3. The Mummy Market (Nancy Brelis), tragically out of print, which makes ZERO sense because it's a classic
4. The Incarnations (Susan Barker) AMAZING
5. Life of Pi (Yann Martel)
6. Night Circus (Erin Morgenstern)
7. Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden)
8. Swamplandia, and every single word ever written by: (Karen Russell)
9. Everything is Illuminated (Jonathan Safran Foer)
10. The Keep, Jennifer Egan
11. The Sea (John Banville)
12. Someone Else's Love Story, Joshilyn Jackson.
13. Kiss the Girls (Patterson)
14. The Great Alone, Kristin Hannah

Further to my literary likes, I consider Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Charles Dickens to be actual, literal geniuses; if we had brain scans of their brains, we wouldn't understand what we're seeing. I prefer more prose than dialogue; prefer poetry over intricate plot, but love if I can have both (hence, Love in the Time of Cholera being #1 and Orphan Master's Son #2).

But I'm never really consistent with this anyway. If I'm pulled to keep reading the book, I'll keep reading the book.

My reviews are all and will only ever be of books I love. I do not finish books I don't like, so it's not fair for me to review them.

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
290 (22%)
4 stars
377 (28%)
3 stars
367 (28%)
2 stars
163 (12%)
1 star
103 (7%)
Displaying 1 - 29 of 225 reviews
Profile Image for j e w e l s.
315 reviews2,418 followers
August 4, 2018
FIVE FRIGHTENING STARS to the Kindle version with audio--It's FABULOUS!!!!!!!

Allow me to collect myself. I might need a puff of Albuterol.

And now, I will be off building a new Hall of Fame shelf. This shelf shall be titled "NOVEL LONG SPASM OF TERROR" and it shall contain this one and only book. With a spotlight shining down on it. And maybe an occasional strobe light. And scary music.

If Misery and Sharp Objects and Dolores Claiborne all banged into each other, rolled around on a dangerous cliff and fell into the raging Atlantic Ocean together, a mermaid would rise up from the depths raising this beautiful book to the heavens.

Mermaids and other lovely things are detailed in this uniquely Gothic thriller. Yet, it is so crazy, I can only think of if as an ugly kind of beauty. The writer, Shannon Kirk, is one to watch, friends. She is uberly talented and I can't even imagine how she conceived of this story and wrote it in such a technically difficult structure. Amazing.

Ahem...move over, Gillian Flynn and Stephen King, there’s a new Queen in town.

In the Vines starts in the middle of a terrifying scene and only gets more terrifying from there. Until the 50% point, you will HAVE NO IDEA WTF IS GOING ON. AND IT WILL SCARE YOU TO DEATH. THE DREAD. THE FEAR. OH MY. MY.

I didn't know anything about this book, except that all the cool kids have been raving about it! When it became available to me "free" as an Amazon Kindle First Read with the Audible sync (or something like that), I snatched it up and am so happy I did. I would recommend reading it with your eyeballs first because it is super confusing -in a good way-when you start. Then, when you've got a handle on the story, listen to the first rate audiobook. The audio actresses are PHENOMENAL. Also, my new favorite lit kitty is Popover!

Check out my friend, Gare https://www.instagram.com/p/Bl29ylPFi.... He's put his famous skills to work in imaginary casting with Sarah Paulson as Aunty Liv. Perfection. Everything about this book screams horror movie.

I don't want to say anymore. Except this: IN THE VINES is the story of a wealthy New England family. There is much love between them. There is also hatred and obsession. Secrets and rage. Adoration and sheer psychotic-ness. It is an almost strictly female cast of characters that is exhausting in the best way possible. Now, just go read the freakin' book!
Profile Image for MarilynW.
1,202 reviews3,050 followers
March 25, 2021
This was a very hard book for me to read when it came to not only the graphic violence but also the violence that my mind imagined because the story unfolds in such a way that my mind had way too much time to think about what may have happened. That did not mean I didn't want to read and finish the book because I was very much interested in finding out what was happening and what had happened to Mop and her family.

Mop comes from one of the most wealthy families in the country, a family steeped in secrets of their own and others. Something very bad happens two years before the book starts and we are taken though the events by both Mop and her Aunty Liv. Mop loses her mom to those events two years ago and has lived in a mental and emotional fog, blocking out everything but her studies and volunteer work, at college. Mop has now come home to attempt to face what had happened back then and also to reconcile with her Aunty Liv, who cut everyone out of her life, after the tragic events.

It's obvious that things are not right with Aunty Liv but also Mop knows that she has repressed memories of past events and is going to try to dig into what she knows and what she questions. This starts of landslide of horribleness and truth although reading things from Aunty Liv's perspective always had me doubting if she is even capable of knowing truth. Aunty Liv is one crazy lady, some of the crazy brought on, I believe, by her all encompassing power over others due to secrets held for decades and more.

This is a very good, terrifying book. Hard to read a book with your eyes closed but that's what I wanted to do. I could not stop reading until I had finished this book. Thank you to Thomas & Mercer and NetGalley for this ARC.

Published July 17th 2018
Profile Image for Tina.
542 reviews925 followers
March 25, 2021
I'm not even sure where to begin with this one. It's been on my TBR forever. This was a gothic psychological thriller that kept me turning the page while it continued to get more BIZARRE and CRAZIER by the minute!

A very rich New England family has secrets. The cast of characters are odd and unlikeable. The first chapter hits you with a BAM but the writing style is a bit strange. With each chapter the time and setting changes so you must really stay alert.

I fall short at calling this one clever as for me it was just odd. If you like atmospheric and gothic and crazy this one might just be up your alley. The title is perfect.

I'd like to kindly thank NetGalley and Thomas and Mercer Publishers for granting me access to this Advanced Reader Copy.
Profile Image for Dennis.
818 reviews1,619 followers
May 17, 2018
2018 is the year for gothic noir suspense.

In the Vines is a disturbingly creepy story set in New England, with Mary Olivia Pentecost (Mop) and her Aunt Liv Vandonbeer playing center stage. Mary Olivia and her family are one of the most wealthy families in America, dating their genealogical power back to the inception of the United States. Mop has a strong and very loving relationship with her family, but her closest relative is her "Aunty" Liv. Liv resides by herself in her own estate, rather than at the Rye estate with Mop, her parents, and her paternal aunt. Mop has established a life of her own with her Aunty Liv—falling in love with the neighbor's son Manny and basically looking at her aunt as a second mother. Aunty Liv is very close with Mop's mother, Johanna, and they have a trifecta of strength together.

This family is far from perfect, but with wealth comes power. The family ties of both the Vandonbeer and Pentecost crests are stronger than any obstacle that comes their way. As Mop gets older, she realizes the power of her family name and the secrets they hold dear. With a family surrounded by secrets and betrayals, the only way they can survive with the power and fortune that they share, is by venturing through it together.

I really didn't want to give you a more detailed synopsis of In the Vines because the story is told in such a peculiar, original way. The mystery behind In the Vines is why this book is so powerful and intriguing to me. I guarantee that you will be surprised in how this story plays out—the synopsis doesn't give you even a hint of what to expect. We start the story in the present, with Mop dealing with a situation (to put lightly), and we continue on with the story by transitioning between time frames and point of views. In the Vines starts off with a modern-day Grey Gardens vibe, but will knock the socks right off of you if unprepared. It's a graphic, chilling, and refreshingly honest read about how family dynamics, no matter how rich or poor they can be, are the most challenging.

In the Vines starts off with mystery and confusion. You really don't know what the hell is going on, and that's the point. The intrigue of the first half of the story left me guarded, confused, and in anticipation for what's to come. Once the main story arc arrives at it's climax, everything falls into place. Overall, In the Vines is an original, mysterious, gothic, fun read that delivers.

Thank you Amazon Publishing for the free advanced copy in exchange for an honest review. In the Vines will be released on July 17 so make sure to put this on your TBR list. I'm serious.
Profile Image for Michelle .
913 reviews1,411 followers
July 24, 2018
Holy crap! This book is about as odd as they come.

The story centers around Mary Olivia Pentecost, Mop, to her loved ones and the mysterious death of her mother, Johanna, two years prior.

What happened that night that her mother threw her burning body to the churning waves below?

Chapters alternate between Mop and Aunty Liv, past and present, and both are telling us a dark and disturbing story that lead us to this treacherous night.

The first chapter is perfection. In present time Mop is hiding in a burnt out cellar while a hatchet wielding mad woman is screaming and trying to break in. If that doesn't hook you then I don't know what will.

This book has me so torn. Some parts were brilliant. Other times I found myself confused. A lot of this book is really over written with long wordy descriptions. I liked it in the beginning but as I got closer to the end I began finding it tedious and just wanted everybody to get to the point. For a book under 300 pages it seemed to take forever to read.

Kudo's to Shannon Kirk for creating one of the CRAZIEST characters I have read about in awhile. Actually TWO of the CRAZIEST characters I have read in a while. Heck, it may even be three but I really can't be sure. That's how bat shit crazy this book is. 4 stars!

Thank you to NetGalley and Thomas & Mercer for providing me with a digital ARC in exchange for my honest review.
Profile Image for Felicia.
254 reviews944 followers
August 1, 2018
The poem at the beginning of the book, penned by Shannon Kirk, is so dark and profound it left me breathless. And then...AND THEN I read the first chapter and knew I was a goner. The first scene of this story left me horrified for a narrator I had yet to meet.

"There is a woman in black with a nail gun, firing it into the sky and screaming at the woman with the hatchet."

Seriously, what in the actual helicopter is happening??!

This story is like a ride on a derailed crazy train told from the view of two protagonists, Mop and her Aunty Liv, boomeranging between the past and the present seamlessly. Mop has returned home after the tragic death of her mother two years earlier only to find her beloved Aunty Liv is no longer the woman she once knew and is plagued with secrets that Mop is determined to uncover. What follows is a head first dive into the utter madness that has consumed her Aunt's life.

All craziness aside, Shannon Kirk's writing is beyond compare.This book reads like a 277 page poem penned by Poe. It's horrifyingly beautiful, like a Tim Burton production contained within pages. Certainly not a style that everyone will enjoy, but for those that are so inclined, prepare yourself for a slow descent into the heart of this story. This is the longest short book I've ever read, 277 pages felt more like 500, though I can't explain why.

I was provided an ARC of this book by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Kristy.
1,059 reviews130 followers
July 11, 2018
This story is bananas.

It’s like every Poe story smushed into one. And I haven’t decided if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.

The timeline is a bit all over the place, present and two weeks ago (Mop) and two years ago (Aunty Liv) with many past memories interspersed. Surprisingly this works and the story feels cohesive even if it is jumping around. The writing is very atmospheric albeit a bit wordy. In fact, I think it would have made a great novella or short story as I felt a lot of scenes were too descriptive, the information over abundant.

Family secrets are revealed and psychopathy shines through in this crazy thriller with a touch of horror.
Profile Image for Amy.
1,945 reviews1,898 followers
June 30, 2018
If you’re craving a super dark and highly compelling read to binge on this summer, look no further because In the Vines has all of that and much more. This was a creepy gothic read that bordered on horror at some points, it sure as hell scared me half to death and you guys know how much I love that!

This is told alternately from Mop’s point of view and her Aunty Liv’s and it does jump around time wise, but everything is clearly labeled and easy to follow. Mop was a great character, but what does it say about me that I loved the mentally unstable and totally unhinged Aunty so much? (No need to answer that one 😜) Following her down a rabbit hole full of dark secrets and bat shit crazy musings was the most fun I’ve had in awhile, Kirk is such an outstanding writer that seeing Aunty’s stream of consciousness felt incredibly authentic, a true glimpse into the mind of someone living in total hysteria and paranoia.

Besides the fabulous characterization the level of detail in Kirk’s writing is truly amazing. Her prose is so rich and packed full of meticulously detailed descriptions that this is one book I would recommend that you savor. The atmosphere she created of a seaside New England mansion that’s the center of several family tragedies and horrifying secrets was vividly drawn and extremely creepy. I could wax poetic for ages about how much I enjoyed her writing style, but I won’t bore you and will just finish by saying read the damn book, SO GOOD!

In the Vines in three words: Immersive, Rich and Menacing.
Profile Image for Shannon.
166 reviews330 followers
June 3, 2018
Thanks to Amazon Publishing partner I was gifted In The Vines by Shannon Kirk via Netgalley. Wow! This was such a fun, creepy, crazy read!

I have a rule. A rule that is pretty stupid on my part but still, my rule. If I can’t read a book within two days, I lose interest 🤷🏻‍♀️ Why am I like this? No clue, just my thing. Well, this gem broke my rule. With life, school, recitals, etc my reading time this week was limited. So, to my surprise I ended this gem on day 4. I could NOT stop! I had to know what was going on!

Enter Mop, Mary Olivia Pentecost, the daughter of Johanna Vandonbeer Penetecost and niece of (Liv) Lynette Viola Vandonbeer. Three very close women that come from the richest family in New England.

Mop’s mother jumped into the ocean behind “Aunty” Liv’s property two years ago. Mop hasn’t seen or heard from Aunty in those two years. Aunty was like a second mother to her niece so now Mop feels alone and unloved. Well, that’s about to change and ohh Lordy does it get W-I-L-D!

Good god this was addicting! Told in two different POVs, Mop’s and Aunty’s from past and present with somewhat long chapters. If you know me, I like my chapters short but that did NOT take away any enjoyment while reading this. I know I am not saying much about the story but it’s because I feel like there are many story lines within this book. A LOT goes down and I could 👏🏼 not 👏🏼 get 👏🏼 enough! Who doesn’t love disturbing women 😈 Lies, SECRETS, gothic, disturbing AF, betrayals... ooo juicy!!!! 4.5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.💫
Profile Image for Bill Kupersmith.
Author 1 book205 followers
August 29, 2018
This story represents itself as an old New England family gothic, though real old New England families don’t have names like Pentecost and Vandonbeer. (They also tend to resemble inmates of a homeless shelter.) We have two narrators, Lynette Olivia Vandonbeer (known as Liv and Aunty [with a Y not an ie]) and her niece Mary Olivia Pentecost (known as Mop—I’m not making this up!). Both Liv and Mop speak in a very “poetic” style, chiefly achieved by using nouns where literate people use verbs. (Mop seems to have studented that at Princeton.) So we get such beauties as: “she squirrelled her eyes at me like I was hallucinating”; “Aunty alighted her green orb eyes on me and didn’t blink”; “flopping pink hibiscus stabbed a vapor of high-octane sugar up my nostrils” (I reckon Mop didn’t do organic chem at Princeton—I don’t think octane is a sugar); “I wish to jackhammer this tar”; “As I tweezered my fingers in my back pocket to pull the note out”; “Lasering my eyes along the wall”; “I magnetized myself back into the main hall.”; “my father’s black Lamborghini … the one hosting low-profile tires” (“Buongiorno, Segnior Pirelli! Le bevande son laggiu ” I suppose is how a Lamborghini "hosts" a tire!).

Not only do Kirk's speakers excel at diction, we are also treated to lots of similes. Two of my favorites Mopery descriptions: “With the apparent effort of a Mack truck, shifting up some nonexistent eighth gear to drive vertically up a building, she ratcheted her horror doll head two notches to meet my face again”; and recounting a love scene: “He pushed up inside me while I stood, my right leg raised and bent, so he could enter at the right angle and thrust. Our sexual geometry, just right. We pulsed against the barn’s side room in a rabid passion, my back banging against the peeling paint. He felt like the greatest scratching sandpaper to an unquenchable urge, and I reciprocated by soothing his heat in an agreeable wet.” I love that adjective “agreeable” and it’s even better when we realize that Aunty has converted a stall inside the barn into her own private ICU. Mop’s lover Manuel (he’s socially acceptable! Son of a rich Spanish hotelier, not an undocumented alien pool boy), “exhaled as if he’d finished a grueling sprint, and pulled away one inch, which felt like ten miles to me. ‘Holy shit, Mop. That was amazing,’ he said.”

Listening to Liv, you can also learn how to talk like Kirk’s notion of New England aristocrats. Never use a generic name like car, handbag, shoes, or upholstery: say “Audi” “Valentino” “Tory Burch flats” and “Zimman’s” instead. You don’t have crockery; you have “yellow ware.” (I’d never heard of that and looked it up online – it’s what everybody’s mom had when I was a child till they invented Pyrex.)

The author is equally uninformed about Roman Catholicism: “nuns” don’t say “novenas” on rosaries or live in a “rectory” even if they’re called Aunt Sister Mary Patience Pentecost

A full-scale review requires discussion of the characters and plot, but I lack the fortitude to tackle them. Let’s just say they are worthy of the style. This must be the most pretentiously over-rated book I’ll read this year. Perhaps ever. It puts Luckiest Girl in the World on the same shelf with Henry James.
Profile Image for Erin (from Long Island, NY).
449 reviews155 followers
November 15, 2019
4.5 rounded up & yes, yes, yes for the audio!!! This book is insane. & I read twisty, “shocking” books just about daily but nope, this 1 just about takes the cake! The author has somehow managed to inject genuine feeling & dare I say, beauty?? Into this incredibly stunning, Armageddon-ish family drama. It was so good. And absolutely terrifying! I don’t want to say much, you should just go in blind. Buckle up & descend into madness.. And as the story is revealed you’ll realize that you just may understand some of these people, and oh I don’t know.. I loved them.😂 Outrageous, macabre, but incredibly well done.. It was an incredible ride and then I absolutely LOVED the end. (Am I gushing yet? Just be lucky you don’t have to listen to me in person!😂) Oh & if you ever listen to books on audio, please listen to this 1! The voices were PERFECT!! I swear I was in a (creepy, mesmerizing, horrifying) movie. Ugh SO GOOD!!
Profile Image for Jan.
424 reviews255 followers
August 20, 2018

The writing style and I just didn't get along too well unfortunately.

What I liked:
-The author did a great job with creating a Gothic, dark setting that I could visualize.
-The characters were certainly unique; both flawed and memorable.

What I didn't like:
-There was a lot going on here, with all the different characters, past and present, as well as different story lines that didn't seamlessly come together for me.
-It felt like some of the violence, language, and horror throughout was over the top.
-All the scenes with the character labeled 'companion'. Was I not supposed to figure out who this was until it was revealed at the very END of the book?

This book has a lot of fans, so don't let this review throw you off. Give it a go-maybe you will have better luck than I did.

ARC provided by NetGalley
Profile Image for Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede.
1,937 reviews797 followers
July 17, 2018
Sometimes a book just doesn't work for me. I want to like it, but the story just doesn't rock my boat. Unfortunately, In the Vines is one of them. I was really looking forward to reading the book, however, from the start did I feel a bit confused when it came to the story, with the jumping between present and past.

We have the story from two years earlier with Mop's aunt having an affair with a married man. She's waiting for him to reveal this to his wife, but things go a bit wrong there. In the present story, we get Mop's situations as she is hiding from a crazy person with her "companion". These stories are interwoven until the end when Mop's situation is explained.

I think my problem was that the story just didn't live up to my expectations, I wanted a creepy family story, and this one was more puzzling. I wanted to know the truth, why is Mops hiding from someone that wants to kill her? But, her aunt's storyline failed to impress me. On the plus side was Mops storyline better, her arriving at her aunt's place for the first time in two years and finding out that her aunt is a bit ... odd...

In the Vines is a book that, if you are engrossed in the story will thrill you. The mystery is interesting. However, I admit that I speed read now and then towards the end. I liked the flashbacks to Mops growing up and I also found the beginning (the restaurant scene) pretty cool. I just wished I had like the story a bit more...

I want to thank Thomas & Mercer for providing me with a free copy through NetGalley for an honest review!
Profile Image for Tracy Frenette.
165 reviews18 followers
September 21, 2019
In The Vines by Shannon Kirk

How well do we know the people we love? How well do we want to know them? The answers are as twisted as a tangle of vines in this throat-clutching novel of psychological suspense.

"Flowers In The Attic meets 'The Tell-tale Heart' with a dash of Psycho. A fascinating portrayal of madness, wealth, and decaying family legacy."

This gothic thriller will have you gasping the entire way through.⭐⭐⭐
Profile Image for Erin Beall.
445 reviews119 followers
July 24, 2018
4 stars.

What the................................................. did I just read?

This book is not for anyone with high blood pressure. It is not for anyone who wants to think critically about post-traumatic stress, schizophrenia, or any other mental illness. It is not for anyone who has anything to do in the next 10 hours because you will be GLUED to this thing until it's over.

This book is insane. INSANE. And I really enjoyed it.
Profile Image for Jessica.
810 reviews106 followers
July 16, 2018
Mary Olivia Pentecost, better known as Mop, was born into wealth. Her family hails from old money and lives tucked away on large estates in New England. All of her life Mop has been close to her Aunty Liv. That is until two years ago when her mother mysteriously died at Liv’s estate. The story of her death was that one night in the back cottage where she usually stayed, she fell asleep with a lit cigarette in her hand, which ultimately caused a fire. Waking in a burning down cottage, Mop’s mother discovered her body in flames and decided the only solution was to jump into the ocean from a nearby cliff. This decision ultimately killed her, although no body has been found to corroborate the story.

Over the course of the two years since Mop’s mother died the tragedy has held Mop and Aunty Liv in its grasp. Aunty Liv has shut away her home. Literally layering locked chains upon the gates to keep visitors out. Mop has become a shadow of her former self. In an attempt to heal, Mop decides the time has come to reunite with Liv and sneaks onto her to estate. What she finds there is a world of darker secrets than she could ever imagine. Are the bonds of family strong enough to forgive all the wrongs Mop has found?

IN THE VINES is a slow-burn journey into the lives of a family hiding a myriad of secrets. Kirk expertly paces IN THE VINES to unravel the actual events of Mop’s mother’s death two years ago, as well as the current situation we find Mop and Aunty Liv in. There is mystery surrounding every page of this book, as the reader stays in a state of confusion for many of the first chapters. That state of confusion is exactly what continued to drive me to binge read this book. I desperately needed to understand what was happening with Mop and Aunty Liv currently and what exactly happened in the past. Through the use of alternating narratives with timeline changes, the reader is able to catch up to both storylines almost simultaneously. Once you realize what exactly has happened and is currently happening there’s no stopping with reading this book. Just when you think that will be enough to sell you, let me also mention that Kirk has some of the most beautiful writing I’ve recently read. I was transported to New England through her atmospheric and realistic writing style. This book is one I highly recommend picking up this summer, but please know if you’re looking for an instant thriller, this isn’t that. It’s methodical, entertaining, and downright shocking at moments. All worth the slow-burn to get to a fantastic ending!

A special thank you to Thomas & Mercer for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review!
Profile Image for Heidi.
1,064 reviews218 followers
August 3, 2018
Woah! What a crazy ride this book was! I think I spent a majority of time with a dazed, “What the ...????” look on my face, not quite sure what I had let myself in for. There is A LOT of crazy stuff going on with this story, told through two different POVs and quite a few separate timelines, and I admit it took me a little while to get my bearings.

In the present, we have Mary Olivia Pentecost, better known as Mop, who is being chased through the bush by a crazy woman with an axe. Whilst trying to survive this frantic attack, Mop reflects on the events that have led to her current predicament. We also hear about those from her “Aunty” Liv’s POV, starting with an encounter in a diner two years ago, which set some pretty crazy events in motion. Even if I wanted to sum this story up for you, I would not know how to put the kaleidoscope of frantic images it painted in my head into words. Such was the impact of the story that I felt slightly crazed myself and had to ingest this in small doses – certainly not before bed, when the chaotic images would filter into my dreams (or nightmares). What a fantastic, trippy movie this book would make!

Kirk has a unique voice like no other I have come across, her words tumbling across the pages with an urgency reflecting the actions and thoughts of her characters, which are not always “sane”. This is not your typical thriller with people thinking in a logical and calculating manner, but a thrill ride of emotions that mirror a disturbed mind. So vivid were the pictures she evoked that the final scenes will stay in my memory as some of the most disturbing and thrilling I have come across in a thriller. Perhaps I should sit with this for a while and let it digest rather than pound out my review whilst still reeling with shock and disbelief, but it was that kind of book!

Apart from characters that leap from the pages like spectres from a horror movie, Kirk manages to serve up the perfect claustrophobic and atmospheric setting on a rather grand coastal estate in New England. I have never been there, but could picture the lush gardens perched atop towering cliffs so vividly that it made for armchair travel of the best kind. The idyllic setting is in such a stark contrast with the crazy minds of the characters, that it offers a fleeting but deceitful relief from the actions playing out, but do not be fooled, because it will also host the most horrific scenes of the story!

Now, I am a reader who struggles with suspension of disbelief, and there were a few moments when it almost crossed the line for me, but “Aunty” always managed to have a perfectly reasonable explanations for even the craziest stuff that went down. So who am I to argue? I certainly wouldn’t take on this formidable woman, for reasons that will become evident as soon as you read this book. Liv is a nurse, and she knows plenty of ways to dispose of an enemy, so tread lightly here, dear reader! Sorry, Aunty, I really didn’t mean anything by it, I’ll keep my mouth shut now *shuffles off quietly into a corner*. So if you’re game, go and read it for yourself and let yourself be carried away into the crazy world of In the Vines!
3.5 stars

Thank you to Netgalley and Thomas & Mercer for the free electronic copy of this novel and for giving me the opportunity to provide an honest review.

*blog* *facebook* *instagram*

Profile Image for Kelly.
814 reviews38 followers
August 4, 2018
This is one of the craziest books I have read. Gothic suspense is my thing (see my review of Silent Companions for one I love), so I definitely expected to love it. The writing style is odd and really slowed me down. While some of it was effective literary device to keep the reader in the dark and build up to big twists other parts of it just made me feel bogged down. If super crazy is your thing then definitely give this one a try because I know lots of people who loved it.
Profile Image for Janelle Janson.
711 reviews449 followers
July 18, 2018
Thank you so much Amazon Publishing and Thomas & Mercer for providing my free gorgeous copy of IN THE VINES by Shannon Kirk - all opinions are my own.

I am literally obsessed with this disturbing, mysterious, and chilling novel. The story centers around Mary Olivia Pentecost (aka Mop), who comes from an established, affluent family in New England. She was very close to her family, especially her Aunty Liv, until two years ago, Mop’s mother, Johanna mysteriously died by jumping off a cliff into the ocean behind Liv’s property and Mop hasn’t seen her aunt since. Mop has been in a terrible state, a shell of her previous self, so one day she decides to visit her aunt and makes her way into the estate, but what she finds is a world of insanity and dark secrets.

WOW, this book is highly addictive! The first few chapters left me in a state of confusion, but that is the genius of it. Right from the start, I had to keep reading because this book is SO damn good. The story is told from two perspectives, Mop and Aunty Liv, in alternating timelines with gripping storylines that concurrently come together to one magnificent end. It’s a compelling and intensely clever plot with characters I could not get enough of, especially Aunty Liv who is endearingly unhinged. Kirk’s prose is absolutely gorgeous - page after page of beautiful lyrical language and masterful storytelling. The gothic New England atmosphere is immersive with rich, vivid descriptions that I totally got lost in. With so many secrets and lies within this toxic family, you will not want to stop reading. IN THE VINES is unsettling, twisted, and a slow burn that you savor, but easily devour.
Profile Image for Lorrie McCullers.
114 reviews3 followers
June 4, 2018
I tried 3 times to get into this book, but I just couldn't!

The premise itself is a good one: a woman dies while staying at her sister's guest house, which results in tearing the family apart. But then all the other plot points come in -- the sister is having an affair, she stalks the wife, there's a lady being kept in a barn... what? There's just too much going on. Combine that with the storyline jumping back and forth between past, recent past, and now and it just makes for a mish-mash that is hard to follow. Furthermore, you get to where you just don't care what happens to these characters.
Profile Image for Bridget.
Author 0 books94 followers
August 6, 2018
Oh, wow! In The Vines was outstanding!! I could not get enough of this book and I would love to see a duology if not a trilogy and see how those Vandonbeer genetics evolve in MOP?! I think she is a bit more like Aunty Liv than maybe she thinks.

In The Vines is a beautifully written (lyrical!) book about Mary Olivia Pentecost, or Mop for short and her Aunty Liv whom has been her best friend, next to her mom, since childhood. She has come back to Aunty Liv's sprawling, gothic estate to find closure and also to find out exactly what happened to her mother the night that she died. Throughout her search she unearths many dark family secrets and as she finds herself in imminent danger, she soon realizes she is in way over her head and she maybe should not have started pulling that string as it all begins to unravel and fall apart.

In The Vines is dark, disturbing, exciting and I absolutely could not put it down!. I had to stop myself from constantly reading parts to my husband (which I did) and then asking him, "WHO thinks like that? I love this author!" and then there was the audio book..... Janie, Mary and Joseph! The audio book is a MUST have! I did make my husband listen to much of Aunty Liv's internal dialogue. This was fantastic! The book on its own was a very well written solid read and the audio only added that much more and was so very realistic and exciting!

I am absolutely looking forward to reading more of Shannon Kirk's work.

Special thanks to Netgalley and Thomas And Mercer Publishing for an opportunity to read and review In The Vines.
Profile Image for exorcismemily.
1,265 reviews338 followers
November 19, 2018
I'm setting this one aside for right now. I may just be burned out on thrillers; I'm not sure. I haven't been able to connect with this one, though. The writing is gorgeous, but it's just a bit slower than I expected but. There are some mysteries going on, but they haven't kept my attention very much. I feel like things are going in circles. Anyway, I may pick it up again another day.
Profile Image for Heather~ Nature.books.and.coffee.
680 reviews164 followers
September 14, 2018
Well that was pretty crazy. Once this book got going I was hooked. Started out a bit confusing for me. I almost wanted to put it down. Thennn.....insanity lol!! I loved how this book was written...so unique! Thank you to amazon publishing for this review copy! I loved the wild ride of Aunties inner dialogue!! Craziness!!
Profile Image for Steve.
341 reviews
February 21, 2018
These short sentences. Are like a sledgehammer. pounding my brain. Nothing good to say. About this book.
Profile Image for Mikaela Garcia.
703 reviews54 followers
October 7, 2020
I never get it into the story. I was perplexed by the time loop between Mop and Aunty. It took time to know about the abuse she been thought her childhood and her parent's relationship have been thought. I never like her family situation. It reminds me too much about other thriller books I've read.

I like Shannon Kirk writing, that will Shannon have big cred for.
Profile Image for Megan L (Iwanttoreadallthebooks).
835 reviews38 followers
July 25, 2019
In the Vines by Shannon Kirk is easily one of the most original novels I have ever read. Mary Olivia Pentecost, also known as Mop, was born into a life of privilege, as a member of one of the wealthiest families in the country. Two years ago, she experienced a terrible and mysterious tragedy when her mother died under unexplained circumstances. In the present, Mop is looking for some closure and comes back to the New England estate of her isolated Aunty Liv. As Mop desperately tries to understand her mother's death, the family secrets are uncovered and lies begin to unravel. Mop quickly realizes that the answers she seeks may pose a deadly threat to her family and her own survival.

WOW. In the Vines is an incredibly innovative and creative novel unlike anything I have ever read. Kirk's writing style is so unique and distinctive and I loved that there were elements of her novel that reminded me of Edgar Allen Poe, Alfred Hitchcock, and Stephen King. Kirk created an atmosphere of unrelenting tension and terror that kept escalating as she misdirected the reader with unexpected twists and turns. I loved that there was no way to predict what was going to happen next and how incredibly crazy it all was! It was delightfully creepy the whole time and I felt uncomfortable, in a good way, as I was reading it.

I will say that I struggled with the first half. I found it to be incredibly slow-paced and it was also confusing and frustrating because I felt like I didn't know where the story was going. I was also annoyed by the constant repetition of certain words and phrases. However, the second half moved at a blisteringly fast pace. I also understood what Kirk was trying to achieve the repetitiveness and by the end, it really added to the story. For those who are struggling to get through the fast half, I recommend that you keep going as you will not regret it!

Kirk is a masterful storyteller with an utterly fresh and unique way of creating stories. I read her most recent book, Gretchen, and it was a five star read for me! Kirk's books have a way of worming their way into your mind and not letting go, even after you have finished reading them. In the Vines wasn't perfect but by the end, I really enjoyed it.

4 stars!
Profile Image for abdulia ortiz-perez.
634 reviews36 followers
February 14, 2019
I received this book from the author herself. Omg I was so excited to sign copy from her.

What a great thrill and suspense it was to read. What a great psychological thrill! This novel had everything in it. The thrill, the suspense, the psychological, romance and the twist is crazy. This novel will keep you thinking and guessing. When you think you right, well let me just say that you might be wrong. This had me all over the place. My heart beating so fast! I couldn't believe what I was reading. If had me in shock. Every page, every chapter was a page turner. I couldn't believe my eyes what I was reading. I highly recommend everybody get this book and read it. It will surprise you in every way.

The storyline was very good!
The theme and setting was well put together. The characters was well put together in the story.
This story will have in a rollercoaster with all the spooky and secrets. Was so well put in the story.
Everything all in one book.
It was just perfect!
I highly recommend everybody get this and read it.
What a great read! This had me hooked from the beginning. What a Rollercoaster! The sitting, theme, and the Characters had me pulled so in. Everything was well put together and it was just perfect. This novel would have you guess and thinking all the way to the end. What a great thrill and suspense. I love a great suspense that would have me think and guessing. This novel did just that to me. To the point that am wrong. When the ending comes am on shock. I wouldn't of never believe or guess. Like OMG!
Highly recommend everybody get this book and read it. Its so good!
Can't wait for her next book.
736 reviews23 followers
July 14, 2018
Thank you Amazon Publishing #Partner for the free copy of this book, in exchange of an honest review.

I rate this book a 4 out of 5 Stars.

So, I started this in "Mop's" P.O.V. and I'll be honest here, I was so confused, but that's the beauty of this book, you read those first few pages and then you have to keep reading further to see what the hell is going on. This dark, gothic, suspense is told in alternating chapters, characters, and times, while that may sound confusing, it's really not.

This book made me stay up deliriously late, I was so intrigued by what was happening. Kirk uses such peculiar word choices, that it's impossible to figure out who the references are alluding to, i.e. "my companion", "hatchet wielder", her, etc. It was such a clever way to keep the reader guessing, and on their toes. Which prevents it from falling into the predictable book trap.

I loved this book, I found it dark, and delicious, and so different from anything I've read lately. I have a feeling this book is going to be huge. I found Kirk's writing to be very lyrical, and eloquent. I pictured myself at the Vandonbeer Estate, being in the gardens, reading in the library. It was a world that I was easily lost in. Which made for a great reading experience. There was something very reminiscent to the writing style of Edgar Allen Poe, for the modern day.

This book is out July 17th, I will include some helpful links below.  Also, Shannon is one of the most interactive authors, I've come across which is outstanding. You guys should give her a follow on Instagram and Twitter.
Displaying 1 - 29 of 225 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.