Thursday, January 23, 2020

Malice by Pintip Dunn




What I know: a boy in my school will one day wipe out two-thirds of the population with a virus.

What I don’t know: who he is.

In a race against the clock, I not only have to figure out his identity, but I’ll have to outwit a voice from the future telling me to kill him. Because I’m starting to realize no one is telling the truth. But how can I play chess with someone who already knows the outcome of my every move? Someone so filled with malice they’ve lost all hope in humanity? Well, I’ll just have to find a way—because now they’ve drawn a target on the only boy I’ve ever loved... 




REVIEW
Malice by Pintip Dunn

Hardcover400 pages
Expected publication: February 4th 2020
Publisher: Entangled: Teen

My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

“Once upon a time stream, *BLANK* invents a virus that will wipe out two-thirds of humanity.”

Malice by Pintip Dunn is a story about one girls’ love for her family, her friends and doing what’s right, no matter the cost to herself. It is an engaging story with page-turning twists, turns, and just enough red-herrings to keep me turning pages. It has a captivating story-line and a strong science fiction element that I found fascinating.

Alice is a wonderful main character; she is extremely likeable and has a strong moral code. She’s taken care of her genius yet absent minded older brother, Archie, since their mother left, leaving them with an emotionally unavailable father. When a voice from the future claiming to be Alice 10 years from now hijacks her brain with the news that someone she loves will create a virus that will wipe out most of the population, it’s up to Alice to discover who stop them. Future Alice asks her to do certain things, the requests are at first benign, embarrassing but harmless but then the requests become increasingly more alarming and Alice must find out who the creator of the virus is and stop them before they can do harm - no matter the cost.

I would recommend this to anyone who is a fond of the genre and this includes thrillers, suspense, and science fiction with a dash of romance on the side.


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Monday, January 20, 2020

The New Husband by D.J. Palmer




Just because you love someone doesn't mean you know them.

Nina Garrity learned that the hard way after discovering that her missing husband, Glen, had been leading a double life with another woman. But Glen's gone--presumably drowned while fishing on his boat--so she can't confront him about the affair or any of his other misdeeds. A year and a half after the accident, Nina considers herself a widow, even though the police never found a body. Following a chance encounter with Simon Fitch, a teacher from her daughter Maggie's middle school, Nina finds love again and has hopes of putting her shattered life back together.

Simon, a widower still grieving the suicide of his first wife, has found his dream girl in Nina. His charm and affections help break through to a heart hardened by betrayal. Nina's teenage son, Connor, embraces Simon as the father he wishes his dad could have been, but Maggie sees a far darker side to this new man in their lives. Even Nina's good friends wonder if Simon is supremely devoted--or dangerously possessive.

But Nina is committed, not only to her soon-to-be new husband but also to resuming her former career as a social worker. Before she can move forward, however, Nina must first clear her conscience that she's not making another terrible choice in a man. In doing so, she will uncover the shocking truth: the greatest danger to her, and her children, are the lies people tell themselves.


Hardcover, 384 pages
Expected publication: April 14th 2020 
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
ISBN 1250107490

The New Husband by D.J. Palmer
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐πŸ’«

Here’s the thing: I kind of saw what was happening in The New Husband by D.J. Palmer yet I was compelled to keep reading because what unfolded along the pages as I kept reading was so freaking disturbing that I couldn’t look away. The tension and atmosphere made it really difficult to put down.

To begin with, Nina’s husband, Glen, disappears with no trace off a boat while fishing. Betrayals are then revealed, leaving Nina and her two children, Maggie and Connor, torn and hurt while also trying to properly grieve. Enter Simon, a beloved Middle School teacher who has an endless supply of ‘family’ money and is basically just what Nina and Connor need at that very time in their lives. Maggie, though, isn’t quite as easily fooled. She has a feeling about Simon and it isn’t a good one.

Maggie is my favorite character; she is instinctive in her need to protect her family and her awareness of the danger lurking beneath the surface. Nina is also a strong and admirable character; she is naΓ―ve at times but in the nature of the story it works well with what’s happened in the past. The secondary characters are as well-developed as the main, Ben, in particular is kind of my hero. The story-line flows quickly and surely through a multitude of twists and turns, thrills and suspense. The subject of domestic violence is explored showing the victims angst and suffering at the hands of her abuser. It’s a subject that I will never tire of seeing because it will always be a story that needs to be told.

"Sometimes we make poor choices on this journey. Instead of sitting in judgement of those choices, let's help each other get back on the right path.
That's what I've learned from the greatest challenge I've ever faced. That's how it changed me."


I highly recommend this to any fan of psychological thrillers, mystery, or suspense.

A big thank you to NetGalley, St. Martin’s Press, and D.J. Palmer for providing The New Husband in exchange for my honest review.

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Thursday, January 16, 2020

The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James





The secrets lurking in a rundown roadside motel ensnare a young woman, just as they did her aunt thirty-five years before, in this new atmospheric suspense novel from the national bestselling and award-winning author of The Broken Girls.

Upstate NY, 1982. Every small town like Fell, New York, has a place like the Sun Down Motel. Some customers are from out of town, passing through on their way to someplace better. Some are locals, trying to hide their secrets. Viv Delaney works as the night clerk to pay for her move to New York City. But something isn't right at the Sun Down, and before long she's determined to uncover all of the secrets hidden…


Hardcover336 pages
Publication: February 18th 2020
Publisher: Berkley
ISBN 0440000173


The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James is quite possibly one of the best suspenseful ghost stories I’ve read in a long time. It jumps right in to the action and suspense, creating an eerie atmosphere combined with a chilling murderer and creepy things that go bump in the night.

"Come on in the building seemed to say with its jagged up-and-down lights, its blue and yellow neon cheeriness. Get some sleep. Take it easy until the sun comes up again. And if you see someone sitting at the end of your bed, pay them no mind. That's just one of my secrets. And I'm not going to tell."

Welcome to The Sun Down Motel located in Fell, New York. It’s 1982 and young Viv has started as night clerk to fund her dream of becoming an actress in New York City. But something just isn’t right at The Sun Down and as Viv digs deeper, she discovers the history it holds is ominous and dark.

The night it all ended, Vivian was alone... She felt like crying. She felt like screaming. She felt sick.
"I don't want to go in there. But I will. Because I always do."


Jump forward to 2017 and 20-year-old Carly arrives in Fell, looking for answers to her Aunt Viv’s mysterious disappearance 35 years prior. A disappearance that was never solved and no one in Carly’s family ever talked about. Carly takes a job as The Sun Down Motels night clerk, the very same job her aunt held and starts to look for answers.

Cleverly written in alternating timelines, The Sun Down Motel is so compelling I had a hard time putting it down. The characters are beautifully well-written and developed; I quickly became invested in their plight and worried for their welfare. The weaving of the paranormal into the story is done brilliantly and just so freaking creepy that I had chills for most of the book.

This is a must read for any fan of thrillers, suspense, mystery, and a good ghost story!
A big thank you to Netgalley, Berkley Publishing Group, and Simone St. James for providing a DRC of The Sun Down Motel in exchange for my honest review.

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Tuesday, January 14, 2020

American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins


TambiΓ©n de este lado hay sueΓ±os. On this side too, there are dreams.

Lydia Quixano PΓ©rez lives in the Mexican city of Acapulco. She runs a bookstore. She has a son, Luca, the love of her life, and a wonderful husband who is a journalist. And while there are cracks beginning to show in Acapulco because of the drug cartels, her life is, by and large, fairly comfortable.

Even though she knows they’ll never sell, Lydia stocks some of her all-time favorite books in her store. And then one day a man enters the shop to browse and comes up to the register with a few books he would like to buy—two of them her favorites. Javier is erudite. He is charming. And, unbeknownst to Lydia, he is the jefe of the newest drug cartel that has gruesomely taken over the city. When Lydia’s husband’s tell-all profile of Javier is published, none of their lives will ever be the same.

Forced to flee, Lydia and eight-year-old Luca soon find themselves miles and worlds away from their comfortable middle-class existence. Instantly transformed into migrants, Lydia and Luca ride la bestia—trains that make their way north toward the United States, which is the only place Javier’s reach doesn’t extend. As they join the countless people trying to reach el norte, Lydia soon sees that everyone is running from something. But what exactly are they running to?

American Dirt will leave listeners utterly changed. It is a literary achievement filled with poignancy, drama, and humanity. It is one of the most important books for our times.

Already being hailed as "a Grapes of Wrath for our times" and "a new American classic," Jeanine Cummins's American Dirt is a rare exploration into the inner hearts of people willing to sacrifice everything for a glimmer of hope.



Audio CD
Expected publication: January 21st 2020
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Original Title: American Dirt
ISBN: 1250260612 

MY REVIEW

American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I listened to American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins pretty much non-stop since I received it, most kindly from Macmillan Audio, and my life was consumed by this novel. Lydia and Luca’s plight has touched me so deeply and this gorgeously written story not only broke my heart, it gave me inspiration and hope. American Dirt will stay with me for the rest of my life and I do believe this is THE book of our times and that everyone should read it.

The relationship between Lydia and her son Luca is powerful and fierce. Lydia struggles to keep Luca safe in a world that is violent and in turmoil, danger is everywhere yet there is kindness, too. I quickly became emotionally invested in them and at times I was frantic with worry or whooping with joy, crying with Lydia, worried about Luca or I sat pensively, thinking because that is what American Dirt evoked. So many different emotions and feelings but also thoughts of real people in real situations much like this.

The narration provided by Yareli Arizmendi is spectacular and an absolute joy to listen to. Ms. Arizmendi’s reading of American Dirt transported me to every scene in the book with her beautiful voice and style, creating just the right atmosphere and making it such a compelling listening experience. If you enjoy audiobooks, you will really love American Dirt in audio. If not, I’d give American Dirt a try.

Thank you so very much to MacMillan Audio and Jeanine Cummins for providing me with American Dirt in exchange for my honest review.


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Saturday, January 11, 2020

You Are Not Alone by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen









You probably know someone like Shay Miller.
She wants to find love, but it eludes her.
She wants to be fulfilled, but her job is a dead end.
She wants to belong, but her life is so isolated.

You probably don’t know anyone like the Moore sisters.
They have an unbreakable circle of friends.
They live the most glamorous life.
They always get what they desire.

Shay thinks she wants their life.
But what they really want is hers.


Format: Hardcover
Pages: 352 pages
Publication: March 3rd 2020
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
ISBN1250202035 

You Are Not Alone by Greer Hendricks
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐πŸ’«

Seriously, wow, just wow! You Are Not Alone (YANA) by authors Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen is such a unique concept in the suspense & psychological thriller genre. To begin with, I thought I knew where it was going and then … I didn’t. Another notable thing about YANA is that it has a fairly large cast of characters. For me, this is usually a bad thing. If I have to pay too much attention to a large cast of main characters, I quickly lose interest and start to forget who is who. Not so in this instance. While there are three actual main characters, the secondary characters play a huge supporting role and are present in many of the chapters. One of the main characters and narrators, Shay, is an unsure and awkward 31 year-old-woman that is down on her luck. Living with her crush and his new girlfriend, she’s truly the third wheel. She’s a market researcher who is currently temping because she’s lost her job under suspicious allegations. If there’s one thing Shay knows, it’s statistics.

"Numbers never lie. Statistics, charts, percentages-they don't contain hidden agendas or shades of gray. They're pure and true. It isn't until people start meddling with them, spinning and shaping them, that they become dishonest."

A tragic occurrence puts her in the path of the Moore sisters, Cassandra and Jane, beautiful and successful, to Shay, they seem to have everything she’s missing in her life. With the boost of their friendship, Shay starts to become more of the woman she longs to be. Really great things start to happen for her and her luck seems to be changing. And this is where I’m going to leave it! To say anymore would be to spoil and I think this is a book that the reader should go into without any expectations. You Are Not Alone is a page-turner and was a constant guessing game for me. It’s a disturbing thrill ride with a maze of plot twists, a fantastic story-line and a dynamic ending.

A big thank you to St. Martin’s Press and authors Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen for providing me with a copy of You Are Not Alone in exchange for my honest review.

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Wednesday, January 8, 2020


















π‘―π’‚π’‘π’‘π’š π‘Ύπ’†π’…π’π’†π’”π’…π’‚π’š π‘­π’“π’Šπ’†π’π’…π’”! My WOW turned in to Thankful Wednesday!

Thank you Macmillan Audio for the most wonderful #bookmail! American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins arriving in a little brown envelope was a most welcome surprise! Summary provided below!
-
π™Œπ™Šπ™π˜Ώ: What's your favorite or go-to paranormal character/genre? The Fae? Vampires? Were-folk? Shifters? Spirits? Or something else?
-
π™ˆπ˜Όπ™Šπ™π˜Ώ: I have always been drawn to any story about the Fae! Light and Dark! I find them both fascinating and compelling to read about! I love the back history that often goes into the stories and the creative process many writers incorporate into the old myths and folktales. -

π‘¨π’Žπ’†π’“π’Šπ’„π’‚π’ π‘«π’Šπ’“π’• π‘Ίπ’–π’Žπ’Žπ’‚π’“π’š
-
Already being hailed as "a Grapes of Wrath for our times" and "a new American classic," American Dirt is a rare exploration into the inner hearts of people willing to sacrifice everything for a glimmer of hope.

Lydia Quixano Perez lives in the Mexican city of Acapulco. She runs a bookstore. She has a son, Luca, the love of her life, and a wonderful husband who is a journalist. And while there are cracks beginning to show in Acapulco because of the drug cartels, her life is, by and large, fairly comfortable.

Even though she knows they'll never sell, Lydia stocks some of her all-time favorite books in her store. And then one day a man enters the shop to browse and comes up to the register with four books he would like to buy--two of them her favorites. Javier is erudite. He is charming. And, unbeknownst to Lydia, he is the jefe of the newest drug cartel that has gruesomely taken over the city. When Lydia's husband's tell-all profile of Javier is published, none of their lives will ever be the same.


Since this arrived, I haven't been able to stop listening! AMERICAN DIRT will be released on January 21, 2020!

Monday, January 6, 2020

The Perfect Couple by Jackie Kabler






The perfect couple…or the perfect lie?

A year and a half ago, Gemma met the love of her life, Danny. Since then, their relationship has been like something out of a dream. But one Friday evening, Gemma returns home to find Danny is nowhere to be seen.

After two days with no word from her husband, Gemma turns to the police. She is horrified with what she discovers – a serial killer is on the loose in Bristol. When she sees the photos of the victims she is even more stunned…the victims all look just like Danny.

But, the detectives aren’t convinced by Gemma’s story. Why has no one apart from Gemma seen or heard from Danny in weeks? Why is there barely a trace of him in their flat? Is she telling them the truth, or are there more secrets and lies in this marriage than meets the eye?


Format: Kindle Edition
Expected publication: April 17th 2020
Publisher: One More Chapter
Edition Language English


The Perfect Couple by Jackie Kabler
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐/5

MY REVIEW

First sentence:

             It was the silence I noticed first.

The Perfect Couple by Jackie Kabler is a quickly paced thriller that was really hard for me to put down. Gemma is married to Danny O’Connor who mysteriously disappears while she is away on a work-related trip. Gemma returns home to find that Danny has disappeared; leaving behind his clothing, passport, and other essentials. What could have happened, she wonders? Tune into DCI Helena Dickens and DS Devon Clarke as they’re working a case in Bristol where the victims share an eerie similarity. When Gemma calls to report Danny missing, they discover that Danny also shares a striking resemblance to the previous victims. And the plot thickens!

Thrillers are one of my favorite genres and when a thriller like The Perfect Couple has a bendy twisty plot that surprises me at the end, well, that’s a true pleasure to read. The characters are well-written and believable in their roles, perfectly wringing my emotions even for the bad guy. The story is told in alternating narratives between Gemma and the detectives, not always my favorite but it works beautifully in this story.

The Perfect Couple is definitely a page turner and a remarkable thriller by an author that I will always read from now on! Perfect for any fan of mystery, thrillers, and suspense.

A big thank you to NetGalley, Harper Impulse, Killer Reads, One More Chapter, and Jackie Kabler for providing The Perfect Couple for my honest review




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Monday, December 30, 2019

The Night Country by Melissa Albert



From Goodreads: The highly anticipated sequel to Melissa Albert’s beloved, New York Times bestselling debut The Hazel Wood!

In The Night Country, Alice Proserpine dives back into a menacing, mesmerizing world of dark fairy tales and hidden doors. Follow her and Ellery Finch as they learn The Hazel Wood was just the beginning, and that worlds die not with a whimper, but a bang.

With Finch’s help, Alice escaped the Hinterland and her reclusive grandmother’s dark legacy. Now she and the rest of the dregs of the fairy tale world have washed up in New York City, where Alice is trying to make a new, unmagical life. But something is stalking the Hinterland’s survivors―and she suspects their deaths may have a darker purpose. Meanwhile, in the winking out world of the Hinterland, Finch seeks his own adventure, and―if he can find it―a way back home...


Hardcover: 352 pages
Expected publication: January 7th 2020
Publisher: Flatiron Books
ISBN 1250246075

The Night Country by Melissa Albert
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I loved Melissa Albert’s The Hazel Wood and I loved The Night Country just as much. Alice and Finch are two of my favorite characters, each for different reasons. Alice, awkward and unsure of herself in any situation, always rises to the occasion, sometimes in a really round-about way but her intent is always true. She has deep questions about who she is and her depth of actual goodness:

“To be honest, I don’t know if I’ve even got a soul. If a soul is what makes you human, then I probably don’t. Unless a soul is something you can grow, like, after the fact. And I don’t think it is. So. No Soul.”

Finch is complex yet so freaking decent and good. Whatever the worlds throw at him, he always does the right thing - no matter the cost to himself; he’s a hero in The Night Country but won’t realize it. He is adventurous, trustworthy, and just so authentically Finch! The addition of new characters is something I really liked in The Night Country, Sophia, who we meet in the end of The Hazel Wood plays a prominent secondary role and I loved reading about her. She is quirky and odd and wonderful. I loved hearing about all of them! The ex-stories are scattered about and are as interesting and dark in our world as they were in the Hinterland.

The story-line is complex and compelling, dark and bloody but there are periods of happiness and light. When the ex-stories and Hinterlanders start to settle in to New York City, they think they are the ones to fear until the strange murders begin. Because of their unique deaths, all start to look suspiciously upon Alice.

“We were predators set loose in a world not made to withstand us. Until the summer we became prey.”

The worlds that Ms. Albert creates are astonishing and fascinating! Finch is a traveler and I didn’t get to explore as much as I would’ve liked. There were bits and pieces of his travels through the Hinterland and his travels with Iolanthe but I would’ve loved more! Ms. Albert is such a skilled world builder and I hope that there is a third book in this series. I feel like there will be because there’s still so much to explore! And, I want more! More of Alice and Finch, more ex-stories and Hinterlanders, more of the many worlds that lay just beyond! As Finch says:

“Jesus, Are all these books doors? To which Io responds, “A book is always a door.”

This is one of my favorite series, obviously, and I listened to The Hazel Wood on audio before I started The Night Country and it was just as fascinating as it was the first time I read it. This is a series that I would recommend to any reader who enjoys a good dark fairy tale, a bit of fantasy, or just a really compelling series. I feel like I need to say again that I am HOPEFUL (wishful) for a third book in this series!

A big thank you to NetGalley, Flatiron Books, and Melissa Albert for providing me with a copy of The Night Country in exchange for my honest review.

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Friday, December 27, 2019

Oona Out of Order by Margarita Montimore


Just because life may be out of order, doesn’t mean it’s broken.

It’s New Year’s Eve 1982, and Oona Lockhart has her whole life before her. At the stroke of midnight she will turn nineteen, and the year ahead promises to be one of consequence. Should she go to London to study economics, or remain at home in Brooklyn to pursue her passion for music and be with her boyfriend? As the countdown to the New Year begins, Oona faints and awakens thirty-two years in the future in her fifty-one-year-old body. Greeted by a friendly stranger in a beautiful house she’s told is her own, Oona learns that with each passing year she will leap to another age at random. And so begins Oona Out of Order

Hopping through decades, pop culture fads, and much-needed stock tips, Oona is still a young woman on the inside but ever changing on the outside. Who will she be next year? Philanthropist? Club Kid? World traveler? Wife to a man she’s never met?

Oona Out of Order is a remarkably inventive novel that explores what it means to live a life fully in the moment, even if those moments are out of sequence. Surprising, magical, and heart-wrenching, Montimore has crafted an unforgettable story about the burdens of time, the endurance of love, and the power of family. - From Goodreads



Hardcover: 352 pages
Expected publication: February 25th 2020 
Publisher: Flatiron Books
ISBN 1250236606

REVIEW

Oona Out of Order: A Novel by Margarita Montimore
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐πŸ’«

Question: If you could jump to any age and spend a year there, would you? What age would you choose?

“The mirror exposed time’s passage, yes, but eclipsed her heart’s true mileage. The lined face, the extra pounds, the hair chemically treated to hide the its gray. Each year the body was hers, but her mind was out of sync with her reflection. Always playing catch-up, trying to re-arrange the scrambled pieces of her life.”

Oona Out of Order by Margarita Montimore takes the concept of leaping into a different age but puts a completely different spin on it then I’ve seen in past books/movies. Oona never knows what age she’ll land in and this is what made the book so compelling to me.

Every New Year’s Eve on her birthday, at midnight, Oona will leap into a different age and she never knows when, where or what to expect. The only hint she gets on arrival to her new age is a letter that her present self writes to her leaping self. The letters are always a bit vague and without any real direction so Oona has to wing most of it.

Oona is 19 years old when she makes her first leap. She lands in her 51-year-old self with absolutely no idea of what’s transpired over the years. Watching Oona’s journey of self-discovery, her ability to make the leaping work for her financially and the fact that it’s almost impossible to change fate made this a page-turner for me. Throughout the book, Oona has few constants but one is her mother, Madeline, a free-spirited and sassy lady that I loved. Madeline’s story is a great secondary story aside Oona’s. I feel like I should also mention that there are impressive music references throughout the book and that Oona has kick-ass taste in music!

This is a fun story but along with this is heartbreak and sadness. It’s unusual concept, well-developed main character and secondary characters, and a plot that kept me turning pages made Oona Out of Order difficult to put down!

I highly recommend this to any fan of Contemporary Fiction with a side of time-travel.

A big thank you to Flatiron Books and Margarita Montimore for providing me with a physical copy of Oona Out of Order in exchange for my honest review.


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Monday, December 23, 2019

Good Girls Lie by J.T. Ellison



Good Girls Lie by J.T. Ellison
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐/5

Pages: 464 pages
Publication Date: December 30th 2019
Publisher: Mira Books
ISBN: 0778309185

Goode girls don’t lie…

Perched atop a hill in the tiny town of Marchburg, Virginia, The Goode School is a prestigious prep school known as a Silent Ivy. The boarding school of choice for daughters of the rich and influential, it accepts only the best and the brightest. Its elite status, long-held traditions and honor code are ideal for preparing exceptional young women for brilliant futures at Ivy League universities and beyond. But a stranger has come to Goode, and this ivy has turned poisonous.

In a world where appearances are everything, as long as students pretend to follow the rules, no one questions the cruelties of the secret societies or the dubious behavior of the privileged young women who expect to get away with murder. But when a popular student is found dead, the truth cannot be ignored. Rumors suggest she was struggling with a secret that drove her to suicide.

But look closely…because there are truths and there are lies, and then there is everything that really happened.



REVIEW

There are truths, and there are lies, and then there is everything that really happened, which is where you and I will meet. My truth is your lie, and my lie is your truth and there is a vast expanse between them.

Good Girls Lie by J.T. Ellison is a thriller of a most complex and convoluted nature and I absolutely loved it! The paragraph I outlined above is absolutely perfect and captures the essence of the story. Who’s lying and who is telling the truth? And, whose truth is it?

Good Girls Lie has a cast of compelling characters that at times were unreliable narrators but had me so emotionally invested that I literally had to keep turning pages to satisfy my curiosity. The setting alternates between Virginia and the U.K. but the majority is set in a fictional boarding school for the privileged daughters of the elite and wealthy. I really enjoyed the world building and found the history behind the fictional school fascinating; after reading the authors note, I discovered there is a mix of schools and Ms. Ellison’s own experiences that the Goode School is constructed from.

The plot is tightly woven and thought-provoking; it moves along quickly and I was delighted to find that I didn’t know what I thought I knew! I absolutely love when a book - especially a thriller - has this effect on me! There are the requisite plot twists and red herrings, definitely, but they are well-crafted, well-placed, and above all else, they made sense! Especially when that ah-ha moment hits! Even after I thought all was done, Ms. Ellison had a surprise ending that kept the suspense going.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys the mystery/suspense or psychological thrillers.

A big thank you to NetGalley, Harlequin MIRA, and J.T. Ellison for allowing me to review Good Girls Lie in exchange for my honest review.


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Saturday, December 21, 2019

Keystone by Katie Delahanty


When Ella Karman debuts on the Social Stock Exchange, she finds out life as a high-profile "Influencer" isn't what she expected. Everyone around her is consumed by their rankings, in creating the smoke and mirrors that make them the envy of the world.

But then Ella’s best friend betrays her, her rankings tank, and she loses—everything.

Leaving her old life behind, she joins Keystone, a secret school for thieves, where students are being trained to steal everything analog and original because something—or someone—is changing history to suit their needs.

Partnered with the annoyingly hot—and utterly impossible—Garrett Alexander, who has plenty of his own secrets, Ella is forced to return to the Influencer world, while unraveling a conspiracy that began decades ago.

One wrong move and she could lose everything—again. - From Goodreads

Paperback390 pages
Expected publication: January 7th 2020
Publisher: Entangled: Teen
ISBN: 640638245

Keystone by Katie Delahanty
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐/5


REVIEW


Keystone by Katie Delahanty is original and unique, looking at a future dystopian world in which everyone is graded on the Social Stock exchange. Think Instagram on major steroids and then times that by 1000. It’s the current currency and if you don’t rank or are unrankable, life can be pretty difficult. As Ella says:

“My parents taught me Index ranking is everything. If you don’t rank, you don’t matter.”

Ella is the main character and narrator – gifted with extreme intuitive sense; she is the daughter of two major influencers but they have a secret. When Ella becomes indebted to a group of high-ranking mean girls, they use her parents secret to manipulate her into an act that has serious consequences.

Ella, now Elisha, is taken under the wing a woman who is part of Keystone; a school that teaches the art of thieving everything ‘analog and original’ for the main purpose of obstructing those in power from changing history.

"Our Mission is to steal analog history – to preserve the truth – before corporations and the government can alter the past to benefit their personal futures."

Ella must now prove her worth by actions not rankings. There are, of course, mean girls at Keystone but Ella also makes friends there, real friends and they are interesting characters to read about. Most of the students at Keystone have grown up there, learning how to steal from a very young age and have a distinct advantage over Ella. They also don’t know that prior to coming to Keystone she was a highly ranked social elite. More secrets and a lot of competition ensue!
I liked the pace of this book; it starts out with a lot of action and takes a now and then approach. I found it worked well in this story. It slowly unveils the story behind Ella and what drives her. There’s a cliff-hanger ending so it’s my guess that there’s another book coming and I’m happy about that!

I recommend this for any fan of YA dystopian with a dash of romance and intrigue!

A big thank you to NetGalley, Entangled Publishing – Entangled: Teen, and Katie Delahanty for providing Keystone in exchange for my honest review.


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Thursday, December 19, 2019

The Girls Weekend by Jody Gehrman

The Girls Weekend The Girls Weekend by Jody Gehrman
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐/5

Their reunion just became a crime scene . . .

June Moody, a thirty-something English professor, just wants to get away from her recent breakup and reunite with girlfriends over summer break. Her old friend and longtime nemesis, Sadie MacTavish, a mega-successful author, invites June and her college friends to a baby shower at her sprawling estate in the San Juan Islands. June is less than thrilled to spend time with Sadie--and her husband, June's former crush--but agrees to go.

The party gets off to a shaky start when old grudges resurface, but when they wake the next morning, they find something worse: Sadie is missing, the house is in shambles, and bloodstains mar the staircase. None of them has any memory of the night before; they wonder if they were drugged. Everyone's a suspect. Since June had a secret rendezvous with Sadie's husband, she has plenty of reason to suspect herself. Apparently, so do the cops.

A Celtic knot of suspense and surprise, this brooding, atmospheric novel will keep you guessing as each twist reveals a new possibility. It will remind you of friendships hidden in the depths of your own past, and make you wonder how well you really know the people you've loved the longest. - From Goodreads

REVIEW

The Girls Weekend by Jody Gehrman is a quickly paced thriller with an entertaining story-line. I had only one problem with The Girls Weekend and that lay in the main character and narrator, June Moody; she’s just not a very likeable gal. At. All. Generally, when reading, I either empathize with a main character or at the very least, can see their point; investing me in their story or plight. I don’t have to love them to love the book. I had a hard time becoming mentally engaged with June; she was at turns weak and whiney and then strong and noble. Make no mistake, I love a flawed character but June just didn’t make sense to me. The other characters, primarily Em and Leo, I really enjoyed, they were well-developed and interesting.

I really liked the way this thriller played out. I had two suspects in mind at the beginning but as everyone’s back stories with Sadie played out, it seems more and more people had a reason to kill Sadie. There are plenty of smoke-screens that kept me guessing, plenty of twists to keep things interesting and a fast-moving plot which made for a page turner, despite my dislike for Jane (Ok, I’ll stop ragging on Jane).

This is a good book for any fan of the thriller/mystery/suspense genre.

A big thank you to NetGalley, Crooked Lane Books, and Jody Gehrman for providing me with The Girls Weekend in exchange for my honest review.

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Monday, December 16, 2019

Review: The Snowdonia Killings




The Snowdonia Killings by Simon McCleave
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐/5

The Snodonia Killings is the first in the DI Ruth Hunter Crime Thriller series. It is a brilliantly written thrill ride with some of the most descriptive prose I've ever read! Wonderful characters that leap off the page in a setting that's as bleak as it is gorgeous. Well done, Simon! Well done! I am looking forward to more of your work!

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Friday, December 13, 2019

The Return by Rachel Harrison

The Return The Return by Rachel Harrison
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐/5


An edgy and haunting debut novel about a group of friends who reunite after one of them has returned from a mysterious two-year disappearance.

Julie is missing, and the missing don't often return. But Elise knows Julie better than anyone, and she feels in her bones that her best friend is out there, and that one day she'll come back. She's right. Two years to the day that Julie went missing, she reappears with no memory of where she's been or what happened to her.


Hardcover: 304 pages
Expected publication: March 24th 2020
Publisher: Berkley
ISBN: 0593098668

My Review

First sentence:

What do you mean she's missing?

So, I really wanted to love this book. Everything about it screamed READ.ME.NOW.! And … I did but I didn’t love it as much as I thought I would. If you read the summary, you’ll see that Julie (Jules) goes missing for 2 years and then suddenly returns with no recollection of where she’s been. She reunites with her three BFF’s on a long weekend to a remote hotel.

Let me start with the good! The story-line is well-paced and incredibly creepy; in fact, I read this while my husband was at deer camp and I actually got up and locked the doors. So, the eerie atmosphere was there and it definitely played on my imagination. I feel like the author set up a really great and compelling story that had all the chills and thrills that I love in a good horror story. I liked that until the end, I wasn’t quite sure what exactly happened to Jules, clearly something horrible was happening and frankly, I’m not positive I know now. This isn’t to say there was a cliff-hangar or an open ending, I think this is Ms. Harrison’s intent, it’s meant to provoke a certain feeling and to play on the imagination.

While the story was captivating and scary, I didn’t love the characters. There is a strange co-dependency among these women that didn’t make sense and I just didn’t understand it; their friendship felt forced and fragmented. They were friends in college and then scattered to different cities and states – it just didn’t seem like outside of college drinking shenanigans that there was much to bond them in the level of friendship that the author wanted to portray. Then there’s the fact that these women are fairly close to thirty but I felt more like I was eaves dropping on teenagers. This still didn’t take much away from the solid story-line and the terror I felt in the last 4 chapters.

All in all, this is a good horror and a great debut novel. 3.5 ⭐

A big thank you to NetGalley, Berkley Publishing Group, and Rachel Harrison for providing a copy of The Return in exchange my honest review.

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Friday, December 6, 2019

Golden in Death by J.D. Robb






Golden in Death by J.D. Robb

Hardcover, 400 pages
Expected publication: February 4th 2020 
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
ISBN 1250207207 

In the latest thriller in the #1 New York Times bestselling series, homicide detective Eve Dallas investigates a murder with a mysterious motive and a terrifying weapon.

Pediatrician Kent Abner received the package on a beautiful April morning. Inside was a cheap trinket, a golden egg that could be opened into two halves. When he pried it apart, highly toxic airborne fumes entered his body and killed him.

After Eve Dallas calls the hazmat team and undergoes testing to reassure both her and her husband that she hasn't been exposed it's time to look into Dr. Abner's past and relationships. Not every victim Eve encounters is an angel, but it seems that Abner came pretty close though he did ruffle some feathers over the years by taking stands for the weak and defenseless. While the lab tries to identify the deadly toxin, Eve hunts for the sender. But when someone else dies in the same grisly manner, it becomes clear that she's dealing with either a madman or someone who has a hidden and elusive connection to both victims.


My Review


My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐/5

Golden in Death by J.D. Robb is the 50th book in the futuristic In Death series featuring bad-ass Lieutenant Eve Dallas and her incredibly unique investigative skills. As with all of Robb’s In Death books, it’s not hard to fall in love with the cast of main characters. They are a bit like family and I love them just as they are; the good, the bad, and a little bit snarky.

Golden in Death begins with Lt. Eve Dallas and Detective Peabody investigating a case in which a toxin filled golden egg is delivered to a well-loved physician and trying to figure out why he was targeted. There are red-herrings and dead ends but the team is dogged and determined to get to the bottom of the mysterious deaths. Of course, tech guru Rourke makes his appearances to offer aid to Eve and Peabody in the case. Eve and Rourke’s personal relationship is just as sweet as ever with Eve seeming to accept that she needs him more than she wants to admit and she is all the better for it.

The side characters are entertaining and the big bad was a surprise. Twists, turns, and a fast-moving plot made Golden in Death an extraordinary read and as with all of Robb’s books, I had a hard time putting it down.

This a fantastic book for any fan of the series, J.D. Robb, or the suspense/mystery/thriller genre!

A big thank you to Macmillan for the gifted copy of GOLDEN IN DEATH by J.D. Robb in exchange for an honest review!


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Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Reputation by Sara Shepard

Reputation Reputation by Sara Shepard
⭐⭐⭐⭐/5

HAPPY PUBLICATION DAY TO REPUTATION


In this fast-paced new novel from Sara Shepard, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Pretty Little Liars, a tight-knit college town scrambles for answers when an e-mail hack reveals life-changing secrets and scandals.

Aldrich University is rocked to its core when a hacker dumps 40,000 people's e-mails—the entire faculty, staff, students, alums—onto an easily searchable database. Rumors and affairs immediately leak, but things turn explosive when Kit Manning's handsome husband, Dr. Greg Strasser, is found murdered. Kit's sister, Willa, returns for the funeral, setting foot in a hometown she fled fifteen years ago, after a night she wishes she could forget. As an investigative reporter, Willa knows something isn't right about the night Greg was killed, and she's determined to find the truth. What she doesn't expect is that everyone has something to hide. And with a killer on the loose, Willa and Kit must figure out who killed Greg before someone else is murdered.

Told from multiple points of view, Reputation is full of twists, turns, and shocking reveals. It's a story of intrigue, sabotage, and the secrets we keep—and how far we go to keep them hidden. Number one bestseller Sara Shepard is at the top of her game in this brand-new adult novel.



Paperback384 pages
Expected publication: December 3rd 2019
Publisher: Dutton
ISBN: 1524742902


REVIEW

First Paragraph:

Maybe you got it at birth. Maybe you gained it through hard work. Perhaps you have yours because you’re charitable, or ambitious, or an asshole. It’s your reputation. Everyone’s got one. And if you think reputations don’t matter, you’re wrong.

Reputation by Sara Shepard is one heck of a soap opera read! While it isn’t a deeply thought-provoking book, it is certainly entertaining with trifling characters that I loved to hate – sometimes those are the best ones! AND … a hacker exposing everyone’s secret emails? Yes, please! It has all the hallmarks of a page turner – murder, mystery, indiscretions, juicy gossip, and red-herrings-a-go-go. Since I’m a fan of the Pretty Little Liars series, I was expecting the lies, the many twists, and cover-ups to be a tad over the top but this just made the book all that much more compelling to me. I didn’t go into Reputation with the expectation that it would be life-changing and deep; I read it for pure and unadulterated entertainment and I was not disappointed!

Reputation is an engaging page-turner with a thrilling mystery at its heart!

A big thank you to NetGalley, Penguin Group Dutton, and Sara Shepard for providing Reputation for my honest review.

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