Perfectly Famous

US Publication – June 2, 2020

Gallery Books

🕵️‍♀️🕵️‍♀️🕵️‍♀️🕵️‍♀️

 

Description

From the USA TODAY bestselling author of Pretty Revenge—a “gripping tale of subterfuge, betrayal, and retribution” (Liv Constantine, bestselling author of The Last Mrs. Parrish)—comes the story of a journalist obsessed with finding a crime novelist who disappears after a deadly attack on her beloved daughter.

As a mother and a famous author, Ward DeFleur has it all. She lives in a beautiful estate in picture-perfect Connecticut, along with her teenage daughter, Stevie, where nothing can go wrong. Until, one night, when Stevie is brutally murdered and Ward’s entire world is shattered. Consumed by panic and grief, Ward vows never to put pen to paper again.

Enter Bree Bennett.

Bree is a recently-divorced, former-journalist-cum-housewife, desperate to fill her days with something other than Pilates classes and grocery shopping. So she decides to start writing for the town newspaper. What begins as Bree’s effort to tell Ward’s tragic narrative turns into a fixation with finding her favorite author. Unfortunately, Ward doesn’t want to be found. Even worse, Stevie’s killer is still on the loose…

This harrowing tale of one woman’s infatuation and another woman’s fear is full of explosive surprises, perfect for fans of The Night Olivia Fell and Then She Was Gone.

 

My Thoughts
Ward DeFleur has a perfectly good life. She lives with her teenage daughter, Stevie in a beautiful house in Connecticut. She is a successful author starting her latest book tour when the unthinkable happens. Stevie is found brutally beaten and dies. Ward, consumed with grief, disappears leaving her friends, fans, and life behind.

Bree Bennett is a former journalist, recently-divorced, and trying to get her career and life back on track. She becomes obsessed with Ward’s tragic story and is determined to find out where Ward has gone. What starts as an article for her newspaper, quickly turns into a game of cat and mouse. But who is the cat and who is the mouse? To Bree, nothing, not even the fact Stevie’s killer hasn’t been caught will stop Bree from finding Ward.

I loved the alternating chapters between Ward and Bree. As Bree searches for Ward, we get to see into Ward’s past and what her life looks like now. Chapters are short and I flew through this book, almost as obsessed as Bree to find out what happened to Ward. Bree’s daughter was an enigma to me, but she was a minor character and overall, she didn’t dampen my enthusiasm for Perfectly Famous. The only thing I didn’t enjoy was the ending and if this ended a few pages sooner, it would have been an almost perfect read.

I received a DRC from Gallery Books through NetGalley.

 

The House Guest

Amazon Publishing UK

US Publication – June 3, 2020

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Description

A perfect summer. A perfect stranger. A perfect nightmare.

When British twenty-somethings Ruth and Adam are offered the chance to spend the summer housesitting in New York, they can’t say no. Young, in love and on the cusp of professional success, they feel as if luck is finally on their side.

So the moment that Eden turns up on the doorstep, drenched from a summer storm, it seems only right to share a bit of that good fortune. Beautiful and charismatic, Eden claims to be a friend of the homeowners, who told her she could stay whenever she was in New York.

They know you’re not supposed to talk to strangers—let alone invite them into your home—but after all, Eden’s only a stranger until they get to know her.

As suspicions creep in that Eden may not be who she claims to be, they begin to wonder if they’ve made a terrible mistake…

The House Guest is the chilling new psychological thriller from the three million copy bestselling author of Here to Stay and Follow You Home.

 

My Thoughts

Things are looking up for Ruth and Adam. Well, at least for Ruth, who has landed a lead role in a Broadway play. Adam is a writer who hasn’t gotten his big break yet, but it is only a matter of inspiration and time. They were fortunate to meet a wealthy couple on a cruise and are now house sitting Jack and Mona’s lovely home in Brooklyn.
One night, during a terrible storm, Eden knocks on the door looking for Jack and Mona. She tells them that they are her friends and their door is always open when she visits New York. Adam and Ruth debate what to do since Jack and Mona are at a retreat and unreachable. Ultimately, they decide they should let Eden stay. No one ever told these two not to open their door to strangers and not to let them inside! It is a decision that will soon have unimaginable ramifications for Ruth and Adam.
Adam wakes up alone after a night of partying with Ruth and Eden. Both of them are gone without a trace, and when Mona and Jack return, Adam is stunned to learn they don’t know anyone by the name of Eden. What follows is a tale full of lies, betrayals, murder, and a twisted leader of a shadowy group who may have very specific plans for Ruth. It was a fast-paced read that kept me guessing and held my interest until the end, and even when I thought everything was sorted out, Mark Edwards added one final killer twist.

 

I received a DRC from Amazon Publishing UK through NetGalley.

 

Sister Dear

Harlequin – Mira

US Publication – May 26, 2020

⭐⭐⭐⭐

Description

Beauty. Wealth. Success.

She’s got it all.

And it all should’ve been mine.

When Eleanor Hardwicke’s beloved father dies, her world is further shattered by a gut-wrenching secret: the man she’s grieving isn’t really her dad. Eleanor was the product of an affair and her biological father is still out there, living blissfully with the family he chose. With her personal life spiraling, a desperate Eleanor seeks him out, leading her to uncover another branch on her family tree—an infuriatingly enviable half sister.

Perfectly perfect Victoria has everything Eleanor could ever dream of. Loving childhood, luxury home, devoted husband. All of it stolen from Eleanor, who plans to take it back. After all, good sisters are supposed to share. And quiet little Eleanor has been waiting far too long for her turn to play.

 

My Thoughts

Do you know how they say don’t judge a book by its cover? I’ve also found that I should be wary of judging it by its description. Don’t get me wrong, none of this book’s description is false, but it made me think that this was going to head in one direction, while the author took me to a different place.

 
Eleanor Hardwicke has not had an easy life. Her mother and perfect younger sister belittle her at every opportunity and when her beloved father dies, she is left adrift. Finding out that he was not her biological father, Eleanor imagines starting over with a new family, her other family. Her father Stan wants nothing to do with her, but her sister Victoria might be another story. Stan gave Victoria every advantage that money could buy, the best schools, the best vacations, only the best for his little girl. This has enabled Victoria to lead a privileged life and become who she is today. Why shouldn’t Eleanor have some part of this fairy tale life?

 
Eleanor can’t believe her luck when she is hired by Victoria to design a business web site. There is one small problem though, Victoria has no idea that Eleanor is her half-sister, and Eleanor cannot bring herself to tell her the truth. You see Victoria likes her, she truly likes her, and Eleanor can’t risk losing her. As Eleanor gets drawn deeper into Victoria’s perfect world, the facade starts to crumble. But helping Victoria comes with a price, one that Eleanor never knew she would have to pay.

 
This was one twisted tale. Eleanor was so insecure when we met her, but Victoria’s friendship makes her stronger and more confident, though not necessarily smarter. I saw some of the twists coming, but that still didn’t prepare me for the explosive ending.

 

I received a DRC from Harlequin-Mira through NetGalley.

 

All of Us

US Publication – June 2, 2020

208 Pages

🔪🔪🔪🔪.5/🔪🔪🔪🔪🔪

Description

All of Us is a riveting thriller with six compelling protagonists–who all share one body. Though legally she is Carolyn Grand, in practice she is Martha, a homemaker who cooks and cleans for her “family,” Victoria, a put-together people person, Serena, a free spirit, Kirk, a heterosexual man, Eleni, a promiscuous risk-taker, and Tina, a manifestation of what is left of Carolyn after years of childhood sexual abuse. As they jockey for control of their body, all the personalities also work together to avoid being committed to a psychiatric facility. But Carolyn’s tenuous normal is shattered when Hank Grand, the man who abused her and leased her out to pedophiles, is released from prison. Soon he begins stalking her, bringing back painful memories for all of the personalities.

When Hank is murdered in a seedy hotel room, Carolyn is immediately a prime suspect. But the man has other shady dealings, and the burden of proof weighs heavy on the police–especially when, propelled by demons of his own, one of the detectives assigned to the case finds his way into Carolyn’s very solitary life.

The police and the reader are left wondering: are any of Carolyn’s personalities capable of murder? A deeply suspenseful novel, with a truly unique cast of characters.

My Thoughts

When we first meet Carolyn Grand, she has drawn the attention of the police. It becomes apparent that the woman has mental health issues, and the decision to send her to Kings County Hospital will have ramifications throughout the story. It isn’t enough that Carolyn was sexually and physically abused as a child by someone she should have been able to trust. She kept her father’s secrets out of fear for her life until the pain and suffering became too much, and she shared the truth. Her father is sent to prison and Carolyn develops many different personalities. Eleni, Victoria, Martha, Kirk, Tina, and Serena each possess a skill set that surfaces as needed to get Carolyn through today, and the next day, and the day after that. All she wants is to be left alone to live her life the only way she knows how, but that might be asking for too much.
As the story unfolds, Carolyn is released from Kings County Hospital on the condition that she sees a therapist. Dr. Hallberstam may have a professional obligation to Carolyn, but he is anything but helpful. Her father’s release from jail and his subsequent murder and the fact that the police suspect that she is responsible weigh heavily on Carolyn and the others. I never guessed where this was heading and it was such a heartbreaking, but fascinating look into multiple personalities.
Each personality is well described and I never felt confused about who was in control of the narrative. Ultimately, it is a question of whether Carolyn should be committed and an attempt made to integrate the personalities. That is, is she isn’t arrested for the murder of her father.
This is a short, fast-paced read of 208 pages and I finished All of Us in one sitting. The book description highlights potential triggers, but for anyone who doesn’t have an issue with them, this is a unique and compelling read. Highly recommended. 4.5 stars.

I received a DRC from Grove Atlantic through NetGalley.

 

The Choice

The Choice

G.P. Putnam’s Sons

US Publication – June 2, 2020

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Description

After a night out in London with a friend, Joanna Olivia finds herself walking home alone. As she makes her way to the Tube, she hears the sound every woman dreads: footsteps behind her, getting faster and louder. She’s certain it’s the man from the bar who wouldn’t leave her alone, and she braces for the confrontation she feared since the night began. As he gets closer, she makes a snap decision, turning and pushing him before he gets to her first. The man tumbles down the stairs and lies motionless, facedown on the ground. Now what?

Addictive and compelling, The Choice follows the two paths Joanna’s future might take, depending on the choice she makes. If she calls the police right away, she can save the man’s life. Yet doing so puts her own innocence at risk, as she waits for judgment on a charge of assault and the hope that her husband and everyone she loves will stand by her. But if she runs and goes home as if nothing has happened, no one will ever know. No one saw her do it, and it’s only up to Joanna to keep quiet…forever.

My Thoughts

Joanna is enjoying a night out with a friend when a man becomes overly aggressive, forcing them to leave the bar. Joanna heads to the train station and soon realizes that someone is following her. Fearful that it is the man from the bar, she turns and pushes him and he falls down the stairs. He isn’t moving and suddenly, Joanna must make a choice, call for help or run away.

This is where things get interesting. Told through two perspectives, Reveal, where Joanna calls 999 for help, and Conceal, where she runs away from the accident. We learn what happens based on both choices, and I have to say I was surprised by the different outcomes. Without giving anything away, I expected one choice to be superior, but the author didn’t see it that way.

It is an intriguing concept. Hasn’t at least one thing happened to all of us where we don’t know what to do. I know I have wished after choosing to go right, what the outcome would have been if I went left. At first, I didn’t like how The Choice ended, but after giving it some thought, it made sense.

I received a DRC from G.P. Putnam’s Sons through Edelweiss +.

They Did Bad Things

288 pages

US Publication – June 2, 2020

😱😱😱😱😱

Description

And Then There Were None meets The Last Time I Lied in this dark and twisty psychological thriller.

In 1995, six university students moved into the house at 215 Caldwell Street. Months later, one of them was found dead on the sofa the morning after their end-of-year party. His death was ruled an accident by the police. The remaining five all knew it wasn’t, and though they went on with their lives, the truth of what happened to their sixth housemate couldn’t stay buried forever.

Twenty years later, all five of them arrive—lured separately under various pretenses—at Wolfheather House, a crumbling, secluded mansion on the Scottish isle of Doon. Trapped inside with no way out and no signal to the outside world, the now forty-somethings fight each other—and the unknown mastermind behind their gathering—as they confront the role they played in their housemate’s death. They are given one choice: confess to their crimes or die.

They Did Bad Things is a deviously clever psychological thriller about the banality of evil and the human capacity for committing horror.

My Thoughts

At the start of Lauren A. Forry’s twisty tale, They Did Bad Things, we know that something has happened at Wolfheather House on the Isle of Doon. Five former university students who shared a house at 215 Caldwell Street are brought together for the first time in years. Each lured to this remote house for different reasons. But the truth is far more sinister. Callum, their sixth housemate died accidentally, but someone knows what happened that night, and Hollis, Lorna, Ellie, Oliver, and Maeve will need to either tell the truth or die.

As shocked as they are to see each other, with no cell reception or easy way to leave, these frenemies must work together to discover who else is in the house. Told in the past and present by these characters and an unknown narrator, the question is which of them did it and why. Yes, everyone swears they are innocent and quite willing to accuse each other. Soon, the body count starts to rise and as the suspects diminish, more secrets are revealed. Out of all my many guesses, I didn’t come close to figuring this one out!

The book description states, “And Then There Were None meets The Last Time I Lied”, and I would add there are references and an overall feeling of Clue as well. I read this on Sunday and did not put it down until I was done. The characters were well-written and though I can’t say I liked any of them, nobody deserves to be murdered in an old, isolated house! I can’t believe this is the first time I heard of this author, but I will be rectifying that soon.

I received a DRC from Arcade Crimewise through Edelweiss +.

 

Buzz Books 2020: Fall/Winter

Publishers Lunch

It seems like forever in more ways than one since Buzz Books 2020:Spring/Summer edition was published. Somehow, just when I was yearning to add more books to my TBR list, Buzz Books 2020:Fall/Winter edition arrived. Oddly though, there were no horn parades, fireworks, or cake, but I recognized what this was anyway. Many, many hours of good reading to come and my TBR list sighed in satisfaction.

 
If you are not familiar with Buzz Books, it is a way to get a taste of some of the buzziest books. This edition has thirty excerpts from Fiction(Debut,
Commercial, Notables, Highly-Anticipated, and Emerging Voices), and Non-Fiction(Politics & Current Events, Social Issues, Science & Technology, History & Crime, and Biography & Memoir). In addition to excerpts, or if you don’t enjoy reading them, you can also see what many authors plan to publish.

 
As always, I devoured this book and added more than a few to my list. I had a difficult time( as usual) picking the five I was most excited to continue reading: The Witch Hunter by Max Seeck, Leave The World Behind by Rumaan Alam, The Midnight Library by Matt Haig, Before the Ruins by Victoria Gosling, and The Garden of Spite by Camilla Bruce. There are many others I could recommend, by why spend time reading this when you could be reading this book!

 

I received a DRC from Publishers Lunch through Edelweiss +. This will also be available on NetGalley( on May 14th, I believe), and the NetGalley version comes with links at the end of the excerpts to request these books!