Monday, April 6, 2020

The Swap by Robyn Harding



Low Morrison is not your average teen. You could blame her hippie parents or her looming height or her dreary, isolated hometown on an island in the Pacific Northwest. But whatever the reason, Low just doesn’t fit in—and neither does Freya, an ethereal beauty and once-famous social media influencer who now owns the local pottery studio.

After signing up for a class, Low quickly falls under Freya’s spell. And Freya, buoyed by Low’s adoration, is compelled to share her darkest secrets and deepest desires. Finally, both feel a sense of belonging...that is, until Jamie walks through the studio door. Desperate for a baby, she and her husband have moved to the island hoping that the healthy environment will result in a pregnancy. Freya and Jamie become fast friends, as do their husbands, leaving Low alone once again.

Then one night, after a boozy dinner party, Freya suggests swapping partners. It should have been a harmless fling between consenting adults, one night of debauchery that they would put behind them, but instead, it upends their lives. And provides Low the perfect opportunity to unleash her growing resentment.


TITLE: The Swap
AUTHOR: Robyn Harding
PUBLISHER:Gallery Books
PUBLISH DATE:June 23, 2020
FORMAT: E-book
GENRE: Thriller, Suspense

REVIEW

The Swap by Robyn Harding
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A convoluted and twisty tale of deception and obsession, The Swap is just what I have come to expect from author Robyn Harding.

First off, The Swap has a fantastic cast of characters! On one hand, you have Freya, the gorgeous and charming social media influencer, on the other you have Jamie, the barren wife who only needs a child to feel fulfilled and somewhere in the middle is Low, an awkward weird teenager whose obsession will ultimately lead to murder and betrayal. Interested yet? Read on! When a wild night of magic mushrooms and booze leads to …. Yep, you guessed it, a swap, things begin to spiral out of control, leading to a shocking climax that left me stunned and I must admit, surprised. This is an ending I did not see coming! I had actually already played out what I thought was going to happen in my head, so, yep, surprised!

This is a captivating story that didn’t let up. Fast paced and riveting, filled with dysfunctional relationships and deadly secrets – right to the very end. It is pure unadulterated thrills and suspense and I loved every second of it.

A big thank you to Gallery Books, Robyn Harding, and NetGalley from providing me with a DRC in exchange for my honest review.


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Sunday, March 29, 2020

Victims for Sale by Nish Amarnath




BBC stringer Sandy lives as a paying guest with the Sawants, a regular, quiet family. Or so she thought. Until she woke up to a woman with a knife … and a dark secret.
It is only after she runs a sting operation on a home for the differently abled that Sandy makes a connection between an institute acting as a front for something sinister and the strange family she lives with. Chasing the truth up a trail of brutal murders, Sandy must evade the clutches of a thriving sex racket and expose the predators before her time runs out.
 




TITLE: Victims for Sale
AUTHOR: Nish Amarnath
PUBLISHER: Harper Collins
PUBLICATION DATE: Janurary 25, 2018
FORMAT: Paperback
ISBN: B078HJL7Q5


Victims for Sale by Nish Amarnath

REVIEW

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Sandy, a sheltered young Indian woman travels to London after a life- changing event. She's there to follow her educational dreams but instead discovers a shocking crime racket involving the disabled and the innocent. The family her parents chose to look after her while she is in London, the Sawant's at first seem wonderful but it isn't long before Sandy's inquisitive mind starts noticing odd occurrences that lead her to crimes of the most hideous nature. Sandy must dig deep for bravery and use every bit of intelligence she possesses to help these innocent victims!

The characters are well developed and interesting, Sandy is a perfectly flawed heroine; brave and intelligent yet recognizing her limitations. The secondary characters are equally well developed. There are some dark scenes in Victims for Sale, I think this is important, Ms. Amarnath does't lessen the severity of the sex trafficking crime.

Victims for Sale is a gritty dark story about human trafficking; it’s a thrilling mystery with a brave journalist at the heart of the story. Shocking and eye-opening, the author brings to light the travesties of these innocent victims.

A big thanks to @mmbtours for inviting me to be on this tour and gifting me a copy of Victims for Sale in exchange for my honest review.
 


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Thursday, March 26, 2020

Little Universes by Heather Demetrios




One wave: that’s all it takes for the rest of Mae and Hannah Winters’ lives to change.

When a tsunami strikes the island where their parents are vacationing, it soon becomes clear that their mom and dad are never coming home. Forced to move to Boston from sunny California for the rest of their senior year, each girl struggles with secrets their parents’ death has brought to light, and with their uncertainty about the future. Instead of bringing them closer, it feels like the wave has torn the sisters apart.

Hannah is a secret poet who wants to be seen, but only knows how to hide. The pain pills she stole from her dead father hurl her onto the shores of an addiction she can’t shake and a dealer who turns her heart upside down. When it’s clear Hannah’s drowning, Mae, a budding astronaut suddenly launched into an existential crisis—and unexpected love—must choose between herself and the only family she has left.


TITLE: Little Universes
AUTHOR: Heather Demetrios
PUBLISHER: Macmillan Audio
PUBLICATION DATE: April 7, 2020
FORMAT: Audio
ISBN: 1250622727

Little Universes by Heather Demetrios
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

MY REVIEW

“I will live on one of those stars. I will laugh on one of them. And when you look up in the sky, it will seem to you that all the stars are laughing. Only you will have the stars that can laugh.”
--Heather Demetrios, Little Universes

Little Universes by Heather Demetrios was a bit of a sob-fest for me. There’s an abundance of sadness in this story but also an equal amount of joy. The power of sisterhood is explored in grief, addiction and mental illness but along with this are the wonders that are found in forgiveness, family, and love.

As different as two sisters can be, Mae and Hannah traverse life without their parents after a tragic accident takes them. Hannah, suffering from depression and drug addiction, spirals with the loss while adopted Mae, ever responsible and incredibly smart, tries her best to hold them together.

Each chapter is told in the alternating voice of each girl and is beautifully poetic in the telling. At first at odds with one another, each for different reasons, the mending of their relationship is poignant, raw, and realistic. This is a beautiful story about emotionally wrought girls who find the strength within themselves and each other to overcome tragedy and circumstance.


All the stars for Little Universes, this is a book that I’ll be recommending to everyone. 

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

The Honey-Don't List by Christina Lauren

Carey Douglas has worked for home remodeling and design gurus Melissa and Rusty Tripp for nearly a decade. A country girl at heart, Carey started in their first store at sixteen, and—more than anyone would suspect—has helped them build an empire. With a new show and a book about to launch, the Tripps are on the verge of superstardom. There’s only one problem: America’s favorite couple can’t stand each other.James McCann, MIT graduate and engineering genius, was originally hired as a structural engineer, but the job isn’t all he thought it’d be. The last straw? Both he and Carey must go on book tour with the Tripps and keep the wheels from falling off the proverbial bus.Unfortunately, neither of them is in any position to quit. Carey needs health insurance, and James has been promised the role of a lifetime if he can just keep the couple on track for a few more weeks. While road-tripping with the Tripps up the West Coast, Carey and James vow to work together to keep their bosses’ secrets hidden, and their own jobs secure. But if they stop playing along—and start playing for keeps—they may have the chance to build something beautiful together…From the “hilariously zany and heartfelt” (Booklist) Christina Lauren comes a romantic comedy that proves if it’s broke, you might as well fix it.

TITLE: The Honey-Don't List
AUTHOR: Christina Lauren
PUBLISHER: Gallery Books
PUBLISH DATE: March 24, 2020
ISBN: 1982123915

The Honey-Don't List by Christina Lauren
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

MY REVIEW

I’m a little embarrassed to admit that this is my first book by the authors Christina Lauren! I’m also kicking myself because I enjoyed it so much! Christina Lauren will be on my auto-read list from here on out!

The Honey-Don’t List is quirky and compelling with an exceptional writing style. Starting in the present with a police interview alternating between the two narrators of the book, James and Carey, it moves on to past history that brought me to the present. James and Carey work for a married couple, Melissa (Melly) and Rusty, that host a home renovation show, own a very popular home décor store, and are authors of a new book. Carey works for Melly and has for a while and James is fairly new to assisting Rusty. Melly and Rusty are not the easiest of people to work for and maybe their perfect on-camera marriage and personas aren’t so perfect? Throw in a bus tour with them all - what could go wrong?

The characters are well written and believable in their roles, Carey is snarky and so bright, I really loved her. The rest of the characters are equally enjoyable in their roles. This was an extremely quick read for me, mostly because I had a hard time putting it down. There is romance, comedy, a little mystery, and heart-felt emotion in The Honey-Don’t List, making this such an enjoyable read.

A big thank you to NetGalley, Gallery Books, and Christina Lauren for providing me with a copy of The Honey-Don’t List in exchange for my honest review.



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Friday, March 20, 2020

Bloom by Kenneth Oppel


BLOOM by KENNETH OPPEL



The first book in bestselling author Kenneth Oppel’s new trilogy

It was just rain.

But after the downpour, odd black plants begin to shoot up.

Suddenly—

They. Are. Everywhere.

They take over fields and twine around houses. They bloom and throw off toxic pollen—and feed.

Strangely, three Salt Spring Island teens seem immune. Anaya, Petra and Seth. What’s their connection? What’s their secret? A week ago, they wouldn’t have thought they had one.

But they’d better figure it out fast—the invasion has already begun.
 





TITLE: Bloom (The Overthrow #1)
AUTHOR: Kenneth Oppel
PUBLISHER: Harper Collins
PUBLICATION DATE: February 11, 2020
FORMAT: Kindle
ISBN: 1443450316


Bloom by Kenneth Oppel
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“So, this must be the Miracle Three”
-Colonel Pearson, Bloom


I thoroughly enjoyed Bloom – The Overthrow #1 by Kenneth Oppel, it’s a solid sci-fi book with more than a touch of horror; it’s suspenseful, thrilling, and quite frankly, a bit terrifying in its potential. Strange and extremely sturdy and indestructible black plants begin growing at an unbelievably rapid rate after a heavy rain that covers the entire earth. People begin to have strong allergic reactions to the strange new pollen in the air, everyone except three teenagers on Salt Spring Island. Anaya, Petra, and Seth each have something a bit different about them aside from their immunity to the toxic pollen and other nasties that the invasive plants bring to earth, it is these differences that will bring them together but will also set them apart from the rest of the world’s population.

The story-line in Bloom is fast-paced and set over a period of three weeks, two weeks earlier and one week after and is told in multiple narratives focusing on the three teenagers. Bloom is not lacking in action and suspense and there were times I felt anxiety at what was happening: Soccer field and man-eating acid spewing plants is as much as I will say about this because I really don’t want to spoil the suspense for anyone but seriously, I could not help but think of Audrey in Little House of Horrors minus the ‘feed me, Seymour’ humor!

The base science and botany mixed in with fiction made this a compelling read along with the extremely well written characters. Each main character had an interesting back history that helped me get to know them better without boring me. The ending left me wanting more and I am looking forward to the second in this series, I have no doubt it will be just as great as Bloom.

Although Bloom is geared towards younger readers, I think Bloom is a book that anyone with an interest in science fiction or just a great story, will enjoy immensely.

A big thank you to NetGalley, Random House Children, Knopf Books for Young Readers, and Kenneth Oppel for providing this copy of Bloom in exchange for my honest opinion.


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Thursday, March 19, 2020

White Out by Danielle Girard



White Out by Danielle Girard
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

After surviving a car accident on an icy road in Hagen, North Dakota, Lily Baker regains consciousness with no idea where or who she is. Scattered Bible verses and the image of a man lying in a pool of blood haunt her memory.
The same night of the accident, a young woman is murdered and tossed in a dumpster. Kylie Milliard, Hagen’s only detective, doesn’t immediately recognize the victim, but Kylie soon discovers that Lily and the dead woman share a dark past…if only Lily could remember what it was.
Lily and Kylie both want answers. But Kylie has to play by the book. Lily has to play it safe. And the more Lily learns about her identity, the more she fears the truth.


TITLE: White Out
AUTHOR: Danielle Girard
PUBLISHER: Thomas & Mercer
PUBLICATION DATE: August 1, 2020
FORMAT: Kindle
ISBN: B07RW8TB3D

MY REVIEW

White Out by Danielle Girard is a perfectly blended murder mystery and thriller with a wonderfully complex cast of characters; an amnesic woman, a female detective surrounded by small minded men in a small town and a seriously sketch tavern owner who’s more likely drunk than not. A series of seemingly random events unfolds but there’s more to the story than those involved are willing to admit and it seems everyone has a secret … or five. It’s up to Detective Kylie Hilliard to put the pieces together, not an easy task but her investigation will keep you on the edge of your seat and turning pages.

White Out is quickly paced and action packed, convoluted and baffling in the best possible way and, I’m happy to say, the first book in the Badlands Thriller series. I’m excited to see where Ms. Girard takes this series. My sincere thanks to Ms. Girard for providing me with a DRC of White Out in exchange for my honest review.


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Tuesday, March 17, 2020

My Name Is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout



My Name Is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Lucy Barton is recovering slowly from what should have been a simple operation. Her mother, to whom she hasn't spoken for many years, comes to see her. Her unexpected visit forces Lucy to confront the tension and longing that have informed every aspect of her life: her impoverished childhood in Amgash, Illinois, her escape to New York and her desire to become a writer, her faltering marriage, her love for her two daughters.
Knitting this powerful narrative together is the brilliant storytelling voice of Lucy herself: keenly observant, deeply human, and truly unforgettable. In My Name Is Lucy Barton, one of America's finest writers shows how a simple hospital visit illuminates the most tender relationship of all-the one between mother and daughter.

TITLE: My Name is Lucy Barton

AUTHOR: Elizabeth Strout & Rona Munro

NARRATOR: Laura Linney

PUBLISHER: Random House/Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group

PUBLICATION DATE: February 4, 2020

FORMAT: Audio

ISBN:9780593169476

 MY REVIEW

I suspect I said nothing because I was doing what I have done most of my life, which is to cover for the mistakes of others when they don't know they have embarrassed themselves. I do this, I think, because it could be me a great deal of the time.” 
-My Name is Lucy Barton, Elizabeth Strout

My Name is Lucy Barton is the first I’ve read by Elizabeth Strout, or should I say, listened to, thanks to the generosity of Libro.FM and Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group. My Name is Lucy Barton is narrated by Laura Linney and I found both the story and the teller to be spectacular in their ability to touch on my feelings as both a mother and a daughter. This is one of those story’s that evoked a whole range of emotions from me as it explored the dysfunctional relationship between a daughter and her mother in the past, in the present and a look in to the future. The motivating force of Lucy’s analysis is her admission to the hospital and her mother’s unlikely visit from Amgash, Illinois; giving an in-depth look at the relationship that Lucy has with her mentally ill father and the abuse she, her siblings, and her mother suffered from not only from him but from the community as a whole.

While this isn’t an edge-of-your-seat book, I found it no less compelling than the majority of thrillers I listen to. There’s a certain wistfulness and poignancy that I found appealing, making this a story worth listening to whether you take anything away from it or not.

Thursday, March 12, 2020

The Truth About Keeping Secrets by Savannah Brown


Sydney's dad is the only psychiatrist for miles around their small Ohio town.
He is also unexpectedly dead.
Is Sydney crazy, or is it kind of weird that her dad-a guy whose entire job revolved around other peoples' secrets-crashed alone, with no explanation?
And why is June Copeland, homecoming queen and the town's golden child, at his funeral?
As the two girls grow closer in the wake of the accident, it's clear that not everyone is happy about their new friendship.
But what is picture perfect June still hiding? And does Sydney even want to know?
THE TRUTH ABOUT KEEPING SECRETS is a page-turning, voice led, high school thriller.



TITLE: The Truth About Keeping Secrets
AUTHOR: Savannah Brown
PUBLISHER: Sourcebooks Fire
PUBLISH DATE: April 7, 2020
ISBN: 1728209676


REVIEW

The Truth About Keeping Secrets by Savannah Brown
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“I heard the universe laugh. One tragedy doesn't disqualify you, it said. There’s still a lifetime of mild irritation to look forward to.”

The Truth About Keeping Secrets is a stellar debut from Savannah Brown. It’s centered on Sydney who just recently lost her father in a car accident. Her father, the psychiatrist in a small town, knew everyone’s secrets and Sydney is finding it difficult to accept his death as accidental. When the beautiful and popular June Copeland shows up to her father’s funeral, Sydney needs to know why.

There are a lot of issues addressed in The Truth About Keeping Secrets, grief and all its many emotions is what hit me the strongest but it also explores sexuality and social pressures. Interestingly, I thought this was going to be more of a thriller/mystery and I have to say, I like it all the more for what it wasn’t.

The writing is absolutely beautiful and flawless. I loved the way Ms. Brown wrote Sydney – deeply flawed, she has this dry sarcastic sense of humor she uses as a way to cope with all the craziness that life is throwing at her.

Fantastic debut by a gifted new writer! I’m looking forward to what Ms. Brown does next. A big thank you to Sourcebooks Fire for providing me with a copy in exchange for my honest review.




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Wednesday, March 11, 2020

The Roxy Letters by Mary Pauline Lowry



Meet Roxy. She’s a sometimes vegan, always broke artist with a heart the size of Texas and an ex living in her spare bedroom. Her life is messy, but with the help of a few good friends and by the grace of the goddess Venus she’ll discover that good sex, true love, and her life’s purpose are all closer than she realizes.

Bridget Jones penned a diary; Roxy writes letters. Specifically: she writes letters to her hapless, rent-avoidant ex-boyfriend—and current roommate—Everett. This charming and funny twenty-something is under-employed (and under-romanced), and she’s decidedly fed up with the indignities she endures as a deli maid at Whole Foods (the original), and the dismaying speed at which her beloved Austin is becoming corporatized. When a new Lululemon pops up at the intersection of Sixth and Lamar where the old Waterloo Video used to be, Roxy can stay silent no longer.

As her letters to Everett become less about overdue rent and more about the state of her life, Roxy realizes she’s ready to be the heroine of her own story. She decides to team up with her two best friends to save Austin—and rescue Roxy’s love life—in whatever way they can. But can this spunky, unforgettable millennial keep Austin weird, avoid arrest, and find romance—and even creative inspiration—in the process?


TITLE: The Roxy Letters
AUTHOR: Mary Pauline Lowry
FORMAT: Physical and Audiobook
PUBLISHER: Simon and Schuster
PUBLICATION DATE: April 7, 2020
ISBN: 1982121432

REVIEW 

The Roxy Letters by Mary Pauline Lowry
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed The Roxy Letters and I both listened to it and read it, all in the space of two days; thanks to the kindness of Simon & Schuster and Libro FM. At the beginning, I found Roxy to be a tad annoying and a bit self-absorbed but as the story moves on, Roxy develops insight; it’s refreshing to see how her letters begin to change from the beginning to the end. I’m happy I was able to listen to this along with reading because it was an all-together different experience. The cadence and inflection of the narrators’ voice really changed the way I looked at Roxy. Was she stuck in her own self-induced stagnation? Working the same job in the deli at Whole Foods because she wasn’t driven to change or was it because life had just happened in a succession of the same misguided efforts at happiness that seemed to blend in to years.

The Roxy Letters is a story of one woman’s journey to self-discovery and is fully centered around Roxy writing letters to Everett, her ex-boyfriend who is now a roommate out of necessity. She uses these letters to communicate her grievances with him but soon they become a therapeutic outlet against everything that’s going wrong in her world. Focusing on the injustices of the world and her town of Austin, Texas. There are many comical moments, some sad, and some that address a lot of the problems in todays world. A fun read and a wonderful audiobook. Adapting to the format of Roxy’s letter writing is the biggest hurdle, once done, it’s a very enjoyable read!
#Simonandschuster #libro.fm


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Wednesday, March 4, 2020

The Boy from the Woods by Harlan Coben


In the shocking new thriller from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Run Away, a man whose past is shrouded in mystery must find a missing teenage girl before her disappearance brings about disastrous consequences for her community . . . and the world.

The man known as Wilde is a mystery to everyone, including himself. Decades ago, he was found as a boy living feral in the woods, with no memory of his past. After the police concluded an exhaustive hunt for the child's family, which was never found, he was turned over to the foster system.
Now, thirty years later, Wilde still doesn't know where he comes from, and he's back living in the woods on the outskirts of town, content to be an outcast, comfortable only outdoors, preferably alone, and with few deep connections to other people.
When a local girl goes missing, famous TV lawyer Hester Crimstein--with whom Wilde shares a tragic connection--asks him to use his unique skills to help find her. Meanwhile, a group of ex-military security experts arrive in town, and when another teen disappears, the case's impact expands far beyond the borders of the peaceful suburb. Wilde must return to the community where he has never fit in, and where the powerful are protected even when they harbor secrets that could destroy the lives of millions . . . secrets that Wilde must uncover before it's too late.


REVIEW

The Boy from the Woods by Harlan Coben
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The news of a new Harlan Coben book is news to celebrate! Some of my favorite books are penned by Mr. Coben! So, when I received this lovely finished copy of The Boy from the Woods, most graciously from Grand Central Publishing, there was, indeed, some revelry going on, complete with indelicate squealing and awkward happy dancing. 💃 I. Am. Not. Ashamed. 💃

The Boy from the Woods is one heck of a suspenseful thriller with every plot twist well thought out and perfectly placed, making it a compelling and engaging read that was hard to put down. I cannot express how delighted I was to see Hester Crimstein get the role she deserves! She is a sassy 70-year-old criminal attorney who is one of my favorite characters. When Hester’s teenage grandson, Matthew asks her to look into a terribly bullied girl he believes is missing or in danger. Hester enlists the aid of Wilde, aptly named because 30 years ago he was discovered as a child living ‘wild’ in the woods fending for himself. Hester’s now deceased son, David befriended Wilde while he was still living in the woods and they remained best friends until David’s untimely death. Wilde is now Matthews Godfather and somewhat of a loner who prefers the comfort of the woods. As he and Hester delve into the mystery of the missing girl, Naomi Pine, they discover there’s much more happening behind the scenes and a whole cast of characters that have something to hide.


The Boy from the Woods is absolutely brilliant and entertaining, a page turner from cover to cover! I highly recommend!

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Friday, February 28, 2020

The New Girl by Harriet Walker





How far would someone go to replace you? A new mother on maternity leave grows increasingly paranoid about her ambitious young temp in this Hitchcockian debut from the fashion editor at The Times (UK) .

Margot is the object of every woman's envy: as an editor at Haute, she has a glamorous job, a beautiful new baby girl, a seemingly perfect life. But when Margot's lifelong friend, Winnie, loses her own newborn boy, their shared dream of pushing strollers together turns to ash. And then there is the matter of Margot's maternity temp: bright, plucky, ambitious Maggie--the young woman Margot chose, but who now seems to be trying to eclipse her in every possible way.

When a cyber-stalker emerges, mocking Margot's façade of perfection and threatening to expose a dark secret she's spent years repressing, Margot feels attacked from all sides. Soon, the innocent preoccupations of motherhood spiral quickly--and perhaps lethally--into a frightening and irretrievable paranoia.

The New Girl is whiplash-paced, and a harrowing look into the profound sense of insecurity that prowls deep in the psyches of women everywhere.

Title: The New Girl
Author: Harriet Walker
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Publication Date: May 19, 2020
Pages: 304
ISBN: 1984819976


The New Girl by Harriet Walker
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The New Girl by Harriet Walker explores one woman’s fear and insecurities, another’s grief, and the secret that binds them together. It’s a complex look at the relationship between women and those around them. There’s a lot going on in this book, Margot, the fashion editor of a popular magazine appears to have it all; she’s always impeccably dressed in all the top fashions, attends every show with only the best VIP seating, and is coolly aloof. Perfect in every way. At least to the outside eye. But when she becomes pregnant and has to find her replacement while on maternity leave, she chooses Maggie, a ‘provincial’ funny girl who always seems one step away from a major gaffe or an embarrassing stain on her shirt. Certainly, she won’t be a threat, right? But this all changes when Maggie begins to develop a sense of self-confidence and her true self shines through, suddenly, everyone loves Maggie and to a threatened Margot, Maggie is loved more than her. Is Maggie gunning to oust Margot from her coveted job?
Margot and her best friend from childhood, Winnie, are pregnant together and couldn’t be more excited to share this journey together. When the unthinkable happens, their worlds fall apart and some seriously messed up things start to happen.

The New Girl really shines the light on the power of social media and the power we’ve given it over our lives. Stalkers following our every move, plotting when to ‘bump’ into us ALA You but Ms. Walker cleverly turns it around and shows how the average viewer of social media can let it affect our own sense of self and what we take away from a simple photo. Whole stories can be made from one single photo, depending on the viewer and their frame of mind, keeping in mind that adults are just as susceptible to online bullying and self-esteem issues as our younger counter-parts.

The tension builds slowly at first, setting up well-layered and beautifully flawed characters and then kept me engaged and on edge until the last page. This is a must read for those that love the genre, like myself, and for those that love the challenge of thinking they can figure out the who-dunnit before the end of the book. I betcha can’t!

A big thank you to Random House Publishing Group – Ballentine, Harriet Walker, and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of The New Girl in exchange for my honest review.

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Monday, February 24, 2020

The Night Swim by Megan Goldin

In this new thriller from the author of The Escape Room, a podcast host covering a controversial trial in a small town becomes obsessed with a brutal crime that took place there years before.
After the first season of her true crime podcast became an overnight sensation and set an innocent man free, Rachel Krall is now a household name―and the last hope for thousands of people seeking justice. But she’s used to being recognized for her voice, not her face. Which makes it all the more unsettling when she finds a note on her car windshield, addressed to her, begging for help.
The small town of Neapolis is being torn apart by a devastating rape trial. The town’s golden boy, a swimmer destined for Olympic greatness, has been accused of raping a high school student, the beloved granddaughter of the police chief. Under pressure to make Season Three a success, Rachel throws herself into interviewing and investigating―but the mysterious letters keep showing up in unexpected places. Someone is following her, and she won’t stop until Rachel finds out what happened to her sister twenty-five years ago. Officially, Jenny Stills tragically drowned, but the letters insists she was murdered―and when Rachel starts asking questions, nobody seems to want to answer. The past and present start to collide as Rachel uncovers startling connections between the two cases that will change the course of the trial and the lives of everyone involved.
Electrifying and propulsive, The Night Swim asks: What is the price of a reputation? Can a small town ever right the wrongs of its past? And what really happened to Jenny?

Hardcover352 pages

Publisher: St. Martin's Press

Expected publication: August 4th 2020

ISBN: 125021968X


My Review


The Night Swim by Megan Goldin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I just finished The Night Swim by Megan Goldin and I am so literally stunned right now. To say this is one of the best books I’ve read would be an understatement. This is a compelling story, heartbreaking and emotionally wrecking yet so brilliantly told that I couldn’t put it down. Two crimes, two stories – one in the present, one in the past but both equally traumatic and far reaching in its victims.

The Night Swim is told in dual narrative, one from true crime podcaster, Rachel, traveling to the small seaside town of Neapolis to cover the rape trial of the town’s golden boy and Hannah, the younger sister of Jenny Stills, murdered, she believes, 25 years ago. Ms. Goldin intertwined the two stories impeccably, leaving no stone unturned all while keeping the tension high and the suspense at nail-biting level.

The characters are amazingly well-layered and beautifully flawed. I was captivated in their telling of the story with all it’s brutality that shines a light on stories that need to be told; the message that it carries is a powerful one and one that will continue to divide people of all ages and genders.

The plot! Oh my! Small town secrets! I live in a small tourist town so a lot of what the author described hit home to me! There’s a lot of truth there, it’s fiction yes, but truth as well. What lengths will some go to in order to protect their reputation? Those of someone they love? Just how far does the ‘Good Ole’ Boy’ club go? Rachel digs deep and puts herself in some perilous situations to get to the truth and isn’t easily intimidated.

The Night Swim is an outstanding book and I have high hopes that this could be a series and if it is, it’s one that I will not only faithfully read but will look forward to.

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Monday, February 17, 2020

Saint X by Alexis Schaitkin


































Claire is only seven years old when her college-age sister, Alison, disappears on the last night of their family vacation at a resort on the Caribbean island of Saint X. Several days later, Alison’s body is found in a remote spot on a nearby cay, and two local men – employees at the resort - are arrested. But the evidence is slim, the timeline against it, and the men are soon released. The story turns into national tabloid news, a lurid mystery that will go unsolved. For Claire and her parents, there is only the return home to broken lives.Years later, Claire is living and working in New York City when a brief but fateful encounter brings her together with Clive Richardson, one of the men originally suspected of murdering her sister. It is a moment that sets Claire on an obsessive pursuit of the truth - not only to find out what happened the night of Alison’s death but also to answer the elusive question: Who exactly was her sister? At seven, Claire had been barely old enough to know her: a beautiful, changeable, provocative girl of eighteen at a turbulent moment of identity formation.

As Claire doggedly shadows Clive, hoping to gain his trust, waiting for the slip that will reveal the truth, an unlikely attachment develops between them, two people whose lives were forever marked by the same tragedy.

REVIEW

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I just finished listening to Saint X and I have such mixed emotions right now. When I first saw the book and all the buzz around it, my mind immediately went to the Natalee Holloway case. Although there’s only one comparison that can be made and that is that both girls go missing while on a tropical vacation. Sadly, Natalee Holloway remains missing.

The story-line of Saint X is slowly revealed in the most part by the main character, Claire, a child of seven when her 18-year-old sister Alison disappears on the fictional Caribbean island of Saint X. Alison is soon found deceased with no forensic evidence and a fairly sketchy cause of death. The last two men she’s seen with are residents of the island and employees of the resort that Alison and Claire are staying at.

As a young adult, Claire – who now goes by her middle name, Emily, happens upon Clive Richardson – one of the accused and known as Gogo by his friends - driving a cab in NYC and soon becomes obsessed with him, she begins to follow him and haunts his steps searching for answers to what happened the night her sister died. There are parts we hear from Gogo, about his childhood on the island and what brought him to NYC. The effect that Alison’s death had on both him and Edwin, the other man last seen with Alison, and the island as a whole.

A big part of Saint X is exploring the depths that grief can take a person; a parent, a sister, a friend or someone accused of a crime – guilty or not. Lives are changed irrevocably by one tragic moment in time. Although time passes, Alison’s ghost is always there, often idolized and anglicized by her parents often tormenting Claire with the possibilities of what might have been. Mostly viewed by Claire’s perspective; it is with an unreliable and often skewed observation that we see the events unfold so it’s up to the reader to decipher what seven-year-old to 30-something Claire is telling us and this works for the story.

This is a powerful story that takes it’s time in the telling but it’s one that I really enjoyed. A big thank you to MacMillan Audio for providing me with an ALC in exchange for my honest review.


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Friday, February 14, 2020

The Last Flight by Julie Clark


Two women. Two Flights. One last chance to disappear.

Claire Cook has a perfect life. Married to the scion of a political dynasty, with a Manhattan townhouse and a staff of ten, her surroundings are elegant, her days flawlessly choreographed, and her future auspicious. But behind closed doors, nothing is quite as it seems. That perfect husband has a temper that burns as bright as his promising political career, and he's not above using his staff to track Claire's every move, making sure she's living up to his impossible standards. But what he doesn't know is that Claire has worked for months on a plan to vanish.

A chance meeting in an airport bar brings her together with a woman whose circumstances seem equally dire. Together they make a last-minute decision to switch tickets ― Claire taking Eva's flight to Oakland, and Eva traveling to Puerto Rico as Claire. They believe the swap will give each of them the head start they need to begin again somewhere far away. But when the flight to Puerto Rico goes down, Claire realizes it's no longer a head start but a new life. Cut off, out of options, with the news of her death about to explode in the media, Claire will assume Eva's identity, and along with it, the secrets Eva fought so hard to keep hidden.

The Last Flight is the story of two women ― both alone, both scared ― and one agonizing decision that will change the trajectory of both of their lives.


Hardcover288 pages
Expected publication: June 2nd 2020
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
ISBN 1728215722

REVIEW


The Last Flight by Julie Clark
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Last Flight by Julie Clark is a thrilling story about two women desperate to escape their current lives, so desperate that when they meet in an airport, a split decision is made, one that will alter the course of both their lives in ways that they couldn’t possibly foresee.

“We have one thing in common. Each of us is desperate enough to take the risk. To turn our backs on who the world demands we be.”

The Last Flight is a well-written and thought-provoking story; it features a compelling plot and a multitude of suspenseful events that build up and intensify, chapter after chapter, and kept me flipping pages both eagerly and anxiously until the very last word. Claire and Eva, the main characters are extremely well-layered and I quickly became emotionally invested in their plight, concerned and empathetic to their situations, even when I was disappointed with what one of them was really up to. It’s hard for me to put a book down when I’m worried for the people that I’ve become attached to and I did worry about them! Another thing I liked was how The Last Flight builds up the tension slowly, it creeps up on you in a subtle way and hangs on until the last page. If you are a fan of psychological or domestic thrillers – especially those with badass female protagonists who’ve had enough then you really need to read The Last Flight.

A big thank you to Sourcebooks Landmark and author Julie Clark for providing me with a copy of The Last Flight in exchange for my honest review.


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Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Wicked As You Wish by Rin Chupeco



Tala Warnock has little use for magic – as a descendant of Maria Makiling, the legendary Filipina heroine, she negates spells, often by accident. But her family’s old ties to the country of Avalon (frozen, bespelled, and unreachable for almost 12 years) soon finds them guarding its last prince from those who would use his kingdom’s magic for insidious ends.
And with the rise of dangerous spelltech in the Royal States of America; the appearance of the firebird, Avalon’s deadliest weapon, at her doorstep; and the re-emergence of the Snow Queen, powerful but long thought dead, who wants nothing more than to take the firebird's magic for her own – Tala’s life is about to get even more complicated….


Hardcover432 pages
Expected publication: March 3rd 2020
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
ISBN1492672661




Wicked As You Wish by Rin Chupeco
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Wicked as you Wish by Rin Chupeco is a bridge apart from her past books that I’ve read; it doesn’t carry the same feeling of darkness that The Girl from the Well or The Bone Witch series does but I found it to be just as compelling. Although it took a little time for me to get in to the story, I’m glad I stuck with it.

Prince Alexei of Avalon is new to Arizona in the Royal States of America and is living undercover since the Snow Queen encased his Kingdom in ice. Tala has the ability negate or to break spells and when Avalon’s guardian, the firebird arrives, Tala, Alex, and others are sent to Avalon to fight the evil Snow Queen and her icy minions.

The merging of a variety of folk-lore and fairy-tales hit some of my all-time favorites and incorporated some new. As with all of her books, the world-building is phenomenal and intricate, vivid and imaginative, all the war from the Royal States of America to Avalon.

Ms. Chupeco has brought the magic in the most unlikely of places and a wonderful cast of characters that I quickly fell in love with. The cast is well-layered, diverse, flawed and I quickly became invested in their stories. If you like high fantasy mixed with folk-lore/fairy-tales and runaway Princes then this is the book for you. I’m looking forward to the next in the series.

A big thank you to Sourcebooks Fire and Rin Chupeco for providing me with Wicked as you Wish in exchange for my honest review.


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Monday, February 10, 2020

Little Secrets by Jennifer Hillier


From the author of Jar of Hearts, a mother driven to the edge by the disappearance of her son learns her husband is having an affair with the woman who might have kidnapped him.

Four hundred and eighty seconds. That’s how long it took for someone to steal Marin Machado's four-year-old son.
Marin had the perfect life. Married to her college sweetheart, she owns a chain of upscale hair salons, and Derek runs his own company. They're admired in their community and are a loving family. Up until the day Sebastian is taken.
A year later, Marin is a shadow of herself. The FBI search has gone cold. The publicity has faded. She and her husband rarely speak. The only thing keeping her going is the unlikely chance that one day Sebastian reappears. She hires a P.I. to pick up where the police left off, but instead of finding him, she discovers that Derek is having an affair with a younger woman.
Kenzie Li is an artist and grad student—Instagram famous—and up to her eyeballs in debt. She knows Derek is married. She also knows he's rich, and dating him comes with perks: help with bills, trips away, expensive gifts. He isn't her first rich boyfriend, but she finds herself hoping he'll be the last. She's falling for him—and that was never part of the plan.
Discovery of the affair sparks Marin back to life. She's lost her son; she's not about to lose her husband, too. Kenzie is an enemy with a face, which means this is a problem Marin can fix. But as she sets a plan in motion, another revelation surfaces. Derek's lover might know what happened to their son. And so might Derek.

Hardcover352 pages

Expected publication: April 21st 2020

Publisher: Minotaur Books

ISBN 1250154227 


Little Secrets by Jennifer Hillier
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Enthralling and compelling, Hillier delivers an emotionally wrenching story jam-packed with all the thrills and twists I love in a great book. Characters that I empathized with, characters that I didn’t but I was invested in them all just the same. Little Secrets is a quickly paced book with a story-line that had me glued to the pages, almost inhaling the story as it opened its secrets to me. Shocking and riveting, my emotions were on a roller coaster the entire book. I cannot wait to see what Jennifer Hillier does next!

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Friday, February 7, 2020

A Good Girl's Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson



The case is closed. Five years ago, schoolgirl Andie Bell was murdered by Sal Singh. The police know he did it. Everyone in town knows he did it.

But having grown up in the same small town that was consumed by the murder, Pippa Fitz-Amobi isn't so sure. When she chooses the case as the topic for her final year project, she starts to uncover secrets that someone in town desperately wants to stay hidden. And if the real killer is still out there, how far will they go to keep Pip from the truth?

A debut YA crime thriller as addictive as Serial and as page-turning as One of Us Is Lying.






REVIEW

A Good Girl's Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Thrillers are one of my favorite genres and I’ve been reading a lot of them lately, Adult and Young Adult. A Good Girls Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson just made it to my favorites list! It is a complex puzzle of a story with the perfect amount of smoke screens and diversions to keep me turning pages and second guessing myself.

“And though this story does have its monsters, I’ve found that it is not one that can be so easily divided into the good and the bad.”

The characters are so well-layered and personable, it was easy to become emotionally invested in them. Pippa, the main character, is a girl after my own heart and one of my favorite sorts of characters. She is brave and heroic with an incredibly nerdy sarcastic personality. She is an empathetic and ethical voice in the midst of chaos and deceit. The secondary characters are just as well developed and intertwined into the story impeccably.

The story itself is both a crime mystery and a suspenseful thriller, and as I said earlier, it is deliciously complex and I was invested right from the start, partly because the plot, while strongly character driven, also has an irresistible mystery at its heart; I was thoroughly hooked by the second chapter. It is quickly paced and the ending is satisfying and brilliant. To say I thoroughly enjoyed this would be an understatement! 5 stars for this beauty and I cannot wait to see what Holly Jackson does next.

A big thank you to Random House Childrens, Holly Jackson, and NetGalley for providing me with this DARC in exchange for my honest review.


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Monday, February 3, 2020

The Sunday Girl by Pip Drysdale



The Girl on the Train meets Before I Go to Sleep with a dash of Bridget Jones in this chilling tale of love gone horribly wrong …

Some love affairs change you forever. Someone comes into your orbit and swivels you on your axis, like the wind working on a rooftop weather vane. And when they leave, as the wind always does, you are different; you have a new direction. And it’s not always north.

Any woman who’s ever been involved with a bad, bad man and been dumped will understand what it feels like to be broken, broken-hearted and bent on revenge. Taylor Bishop is hurt, angry and wants to destroy Angus Hollingsworth in the way he destroyed her: Insidiously. Irreparably. Like a puzzle, he’d slowly dissembled … stolen a couple of pieces from, and then discarded, knowing that nobody would ever be able to put it back together ever again. So Taylor consulted The Art of War and made a plan. Then she took the next step – one that would change her life forever.

Then things get really out of control – and The Sunday Girl becomes impossible to put down.

Kindle EditionUS288 pages
Expected publication: May 5th 2020
Sourcebooks Landmark

The Sunday Girl by Pip Drysdale
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Sunday Girl by Pip Drysdale is one of those books that I was compelled to read and when I wasn’t reading it – because, you know, adulting – I was wondering what was going to happen next. I know it’s a good one when I’m thinking about it at the grocery store! The Sunday Girl is an absolutely brilliant psychological thriller of one woman’s attempt at revenge and the mayhem that follows.

Taylor is an educated, nice young woman dating Angus, a substance abusing womanizer. Before their break-up she thought they would marry and live happily, after all, she was his Sunday Girl.

“You always know where your heart belongs when it gets to Sunday and there’s only one person in the whole world you want to curl up with on the sofa” –Angus, The Sunday Girl

That is until he breaks up with her right before their ski vacation and he takes another girl. To make matters worse, he uploads a compromising video of her on a porn site and then won’t answer her calls. This leads a very hurt and very angry Taylor to take matters into her own hands. Utilizing The Art of War by Sun Tzu as her inspiration, Taylor begins to plot her revenge.

Master Sun said, “Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt.”

As Taylor’s plans begin to fall apart and her revenge backfires, she realizes that the Angus she once loved is always a step ahead of her and her life may be in danger. There is an epic battle going on in the classic style of cat and mouse but who is the cat and who is the mouse?

The Sunday Girl is a riveting and compelling page turner, a cautionary tale of the times that had me on the edge throughout the whole book. Tense and atmospheric, Ms. Drysdale brilliantly utilizes strategic passages from The Art of War at the beginning of each chapter, which created the perfect appetizer for the delicious meal to follow!

A big thank you to Sourcebooks Landmark and Pip Drysdale for providing me with a copy of The Sunday Girl in exchange for my honest opinion.


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