• The Revenge List

    The Revenge List

    Author: Hannah Mary McKinnon
    Publisher: Harlequin Trade Publishing, MIRA
    Date Published: May 23, 2023

    Frankie is her own worst enemy. Her anger has gotten her into trouble enough times that she has finally agreed with her boss (her dad) that she should start anger management classes. But how do you do that when you’re even angry at the instructor?

    When Frankie is instructed to make a list of people she should forgive, She ranks herself at the top of the list because she’s angry about something that happened a long time ago. She’s also mad at: her dad, her grouchy neighbor, a woman who bullied her in high school, her high school boyfriend, a guy she went to college with, someone she worked with, a client, an unknown person, and the “bastard who killed my mother”.

    When accidents involving the people on her list start piling up, Frankie starts to get nervous. And even worse, she’s starting to make herself a target, showing up at all of the “accident” sites.

    While McKinnon’s previous book (Never Coming Home) was a five star read for me, I had trouble reconciling the humor in this book. It made it read like a slightly elevated cozy and I wanted the telling to be a little more serious. That’s just my opinion. There’s plenty to enjoy from the plot to the twists and you might love the dark humor that’s instilled throughout the book!

    Thanks to NetGalley and Harlequin Trade Publishing, MIRA for an advance reader’s copy.

  • The Wedding Day

    The Wedding Day

    Author: Sue Watson
    Publisher: Bookouture
    Date Published: May 17, 2023

    Poor Alice.  If it wasn’t for bad luck, she wouldn’t have any luck at all!

    She moves from England to escape possible legal issues to what she believes is a blissful escape on the beautiful island of Corfu.  She’s long been fascinated by the cases of older women who have gone missing there, middle-aged, with money, and no one looking for them.

    But Alice’s sister warns her that she might still be wanted for an investigation back in England, because “someone, somewhere always knows something”!

    This book has plenty of elements to keep you on your toes:

    • Missing women
    • Bitter divorce
    • Husband with secrets
    • Wife with secrets
    • Creepy cousin
    • Noises in the night
    • Intimacy issues
    • Money issues

    Even though you might want to shake Alice a million times while reading The Wedding Day, it’s only because we, the readers, see all, know all.  Well, until the twists that will catch even you, dear reader, unaware!

    Thanks to NetGalley and Bookouture for this entertaining read!

  • The Silent Wife

    The Silent Wife

    Author: Ruth Harrow
    Publisher: Inkubator Books
    Date Published: May 14, 2023

    Why would a woman walk out of her house in the middle of cooking dinner? That’s what James wonders when he hears the smoke alarms going off as things are burning on the stove. But Sarah’s sister Kate thinks she knows why. Because running is what Sarah does.

    And even though Kate is hesitant to get the police involved, she is worried about her brother-in-law, James, so much so that she is spending an awful lot of time with him and well…. we know where that is going. James thinks Sarah is telling lies, Sarah thinks James is telling lies. Kate’s husband, Chris, might be telling lies. And Kate is forced to tell some white lies. So many lies!

    We eventually find out about the secrets in Sarah’s past – one that is predictable, and one that comes out of left field. By the time Kate unravels what has actually driven Sarah from her home and marriage, Kate’s in serious trouble – and so is her marriage.

    To me, the sign of a good book is still thinking about it when you go on to the next book, and that’s exactly how I felt about The Silent Wife. As with her other books, Ruth Harrow knows how to tell a suspenseful tale!

    Thanks to NetGalley, Inkubator Books, and Booksprout for an advanced reader’s copy.

  • Don’t Look Back

    Don’t Look Back

    Author: Jo Spain
    Publisher: Quercus Books
    Date Published: May 11, 2023

    This book takes us from London, to the Caribbean, to County Donegal Ireland, and back again. It has a really well written complicated plot that was tied together beautifully by author Spain.

    The characters in the book are a) damaged b) on the border of criminality through their connections/actions or c) both. Three of the characters have a history of abuse in their lives that is a unifying theme in the book.

    But it is Rose’s fear and need to be on the run from her past that drives the story. Even when she’s on a Caribbean island for a belated honeymoon she’s arranged with her new husband, Luke. But then she presents him with the real reason they’re on the island: she’s been attacked by her ex, and now there’s a dead body in Luke’s apartment. She wants to run; Luke wants to stay and fight. He calls in a woman from his past, Mickey, a former attorney and now an advocate who helps women in similar situations.

    But now, the unexpected has happened, and Mickey isn’t sure whose side she’s on. And now there’s more than one person running.

    I enjoyed Spain’s book, The Perfect Lie, and as with that, this book did not disappoint. It’s an intelligent story that will keep you riveted.

    Thanks to NetGalley and Quercus Books for an advance reader’s copy.

    Background photo courtesy of Peter Fogden at Unsplash.

  • The Vanishing of Class 3B

    The Vanishing of Class 3B

    Author: Jackie Kabler
    Publisher: HarperCollins UK, One More Chapter
    Date Published: May 11, 2023

    This book blew me away! Every little piece of the plot was well thought out and kept you guessing through the entire story!

    It’s a typical day in a little village named Littleford. A group of 10 children and 4 teachers board a minibus for a field trip. Only it’s not the brand-new Mercedes minibus, it’s a reliable clunker rented from a local taxi company. So, when the children and teachers don’t return as expected, with no communication, there is no GPS tracker on the bus. None of the teachers are answering their phones, and the children aren’t allowed phones. And it’s starting to get dark.

    While the parents and school personnel imagine the various scenarios that might be happening (no cell service, traffic emergencies, an accident), when police are called on the scene they are starting to suspect that this might be a kidnapping. But when no ransom call comes in, even with a few wealthy parents among the group, the police are stymied – where could a bus and 10 kids and 4 adults have disappeared to?

    And then the call comes with the startling message, “One of you has a secret. We know what it is. And if you want to keep it a secret, it’s time to PAY.”

    Throughout the book, we’re privy to a few secrets the parents are hiding. But when the parents get together, we learn there is more than one family with a secret. But whose is big enough for a ransom?

    I thoroughly enjoyed Kabler’s use of suspense as she built her characters around a situation many parents fear but think could never happen to them, all the while maintaining the suspense and moral choices these families must make.

    Thanks to NetGalley and One More Chapter for an advance reader’s copy.

    Background photo courtesy of @cuellar on Unsplash.

  • No One Needs to Know

    No One Needs to Know

    Author: Lindsay Cameron
    Publisher: Random House Publishing Group-Ballantine, Bantam
    Date Published: May 9, 2023

    I absolutely loved this book! It had all the consequences. The consequences of using social media unwisely – to spread rumors, to bully, or to share secrets. The consequences of having affairs, of competing for your child’s advancement in the cutthroat world of private school admissions, and most of all, the consequences of living a high-profile lifestyle as a one percenter.

    While the idea of an anonymous site where you can bare your soul (and there are several real-life sites) has a heady draw for the moms on the UES (Upper East Side) of NYC, the backlash can be quick and vicious. So, when a picture taken at a private teen dance goes public, there is blood in the water!

    Each of the families involved in the scandal that erupts has secrets and lies, and once the police get involved after one of them goes missing, it’s confession time. Not because they’ve decided to tell the truth; but because the UrbanMyth site has been hacked, releasing the so-called “anonymous” information.

    This was a fast-paced read, filled with not-so-nice people, gray areas and ethical choices that will keep you mesmerized. This is my second 5 star read from Lindsay Cameron and I can’t wait for her next book!

    Thanks to NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group – Bantam for an advance reader’s copy.

  • The Bride to Be

    The Bride to Be

    Author: Daniel Hurst
    Publisher: Inkubator Books
    Date Published: May 7, 2023

    Soon to be married Kate sees a couple in the bridal shop and is immediately taken with the beautiful Tess, so much so that she is now obsessing over the dress Tess picked out…and her fiancé Tristan!

    The more Kate fantasizes about being with Tristan, the more she realizes her fiancé, Mark, is not the one for her. There’s a twist you might see coming, but a couple more you won’t. Should we root for Kate to end up with Tristan? That’s the $6,000 question (you’ll get the pun when you read the book 😉

    The story ended a little too quickly, I was hoping for a little more to tie it together. I also was thinking of the author’s recent nuptials and hoping the story wasn’t inspired by his own wedding preparations, lol!

    Thanks to NetGalley, Inkubator and Booksprout for another great book from Daniel Hurst!

  • For You and Only You

    For You and Only You

    Author: Carolyn Kepnes
    Publisher: Random House
    Date Published: April 25, 2023

    So many dead bodies. RIP…RIP…RIP. And yet somehow, we knew that was coming because Joe is the serial killer we love to love!

    But can we talk about Caroline Kepnes and her incredible word play? Songs, books, movies, cultural references, oh my! Throwbacks to the previous books and the TV series (“Everyone’s pissed in a copy of coffee at some point”). And some tongue in cheek jabs at the book business, publishing and Harvard, and yes that right jab at Goodreads girls got me where it hurts! But like Joe, I’m going to relentlessly pursue my loves (books) and pushing out reviews on Goodreads and socials.

    This book veered a little off course from the first three in the series…. this time, the girl, Wonder, loves him. No, she doesn’t. But now she does. And he loves her. But now he doesn’t. So luckily, we still have the same Joe-lusional thinking – he’s right, and there’s something wrong with everyone else. The books beg the question, can you truly be happy for someone whose star is rising while yours might be on the downslide? But also, he’s got a nemesis, SB, and she “sees” him. Because maybe she’s just a little more warped than he is…

    How can I ever thank YOU – NetGalley, Random House and Caroline Kepnes for bringing this bit of smart writing into my life!

  • Where Are the Children Now?

    Where Are the Children Now?

    Author: Mary Higgins Clark, Alafair Burke
    Publisher: Simon & Schuster
    Date Published: April 18, 2023

    Can history repeat itself? How many coincidences are too many? That is the question the police are trying to figure out. Melissa is the daughter of Nancy Harmon who was featured in Mary Higgins Clark’s original “Where Are the Children”. In this standalone sequel co-authored by Alafair Burke, Melissa gains a stepdaughter through marriage…only to awake to find her missing. Just like her mother before her, Melissa is suspected of having a role in the kidnapping.

    While her posts on social media are drawing out a troll, Melissa’s publicist thinks it’s good for business. But Melissa has her suspicions about who the lurker is. As a true crime podcaster, Melissa uses her research skills and the memory of her own kidnapping as she comes to the conclusion that not everyone around her is telling the truth.

    The characters are so well developed you’ll feel like you know the whole family – Nancy, Mike (Melissa’s brother who was kidnapped along with her), Kate, Charlie and even Patrick, Melissa’s ex. The pacing is just tense enough to keep you reading and guessing along with Melissa. And the ending is just short of heartbreaking.

    Kudos to Alafair for keeping MHC alive in our minds and hearts.

    Background photo courtesy of quentinlagache on Unsplash.

    Thanks to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster for this fascinating read.

  • A Sorrow Called Sarah

    A Sorrow Called Sarah

    Author: Charlotte Roddy
    Publisher: BooksGoSocial
    Date Published: April 18, 2023

    The unnamed narrator is the sister of Sarah, the popular, outgoing sister who the MC looked up to as a child. As an adult, the narrator/true crime reporter interviews Bradley Stanfield, a serial killer and the presumed murderer of her sister. In true Silence of the Lambs fashion, he toys with her, offering up information if she will visit him on consecutive days.

    But there’s a twist (you knew that was coming !) With the serial killer in jail, bodies of women who look just like Sarah are surfacing in Golden State Park. Did the police get it wrong? Is Sarah’s killer still out there? And why is Stanfield intimating she should dig deeper, while her family says leave it alone? The final reveal will answer all of your questions.

    Thanks to NetGalley and BooksGoSocial for this interesting debut novel from Charlotte Roddy.