BOOK CRAVINGS


  • The Resort

    The Resort

    Author: Sue Watson
    Publisher: Bookouture
    Date Published: June 24, 2022

    This is one holiday resort that went the wrong way up! Three couples are all on vacation for different purposes: one for their honeymoon, one to heal after a failed pregnancy, and one because of the wife’s fragile condition. Shortly after meeting each other, they become fast friends with one thing in common – all the husbands have eyes for not only one of the blonde and beautiful wait staff, but also for one of the couple’s wives.

    When the waitress turns up dead, everyone knows the killer is still among them. Could it be someone from the couples’ friend group? I love how the male characters developed as just cringey and the women became allied the more they revealed the chinks in their relationships. But even though there were really only 6 people to keep track of, I had trouble placing the couples together. There were also a few spots that had me wondering if I missed something.

    But wow, the twists and the turns at the end of the book really made up for some slowing down at the mid-point. I did not see that ending coming!

  • The Other Guest

    The Other Guest

    Author: Hannah Mary McKinnon
    Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
    Date Published: June 16, 2022

    Il Mandrino is an exclusive vacation spot conceptualized by Leah’s brother-in-law, and nestled on the shores of Lake Garda, Italy. It’s also the place where her niece, Amy, met her untimely death, taking a boat out on the lake at night. Everyone said it was an accident.

    Was it?

    Leah proceeds to ruffle many feathers when she attempts to find out the truth. There are many things that don’t add up, and the closer to the truth she gets, the more in danger she is. Why does everyone, including her other niece, Olivia, refuse to talk about Amy’s death? What happened to the bartender who might have been privy to Amy’s last moments? Why does she feel threatened by her brother-in-law and what’s up with her sister, who seems to be isolating herself with migraines?

    In a parallel story, we have Joanna, who is in England, and recovering from a breakup. When she meets the friendly and good-looking Nate, she feels seen. But after he’s involved in an accident, she feels sorry for him and impulsively offers to look after him at her place…. not stopping to consider that she barely knows him!

    Helen Cooper deftly ties the two narratives together to create a beautifully written and suspenseful book about the consequences of family loyalty, misperceptions, and secrets.

    Thanks to NetGalley and Hodder & Stoughton for a reader’s copy for review.

  • Never Coming Home

    Never Coming Home

    Author: Hannah Mary McKinnon
    Publisher: Harlequin Trade Publishing, MIRA
    Date Published: May 24, 2022

    Lucas was in it for the long con. Sure, he put up with his wife’s petty annoyances and his brother-in-law’s addiction. But it would be worth it in the end once he was filthy rich! Thank goodness his annoying father-in-law had a heart attack early in his marriage. That helped speed things along, and now that his mother-in-law was losing her battle with cancer, well everything was falling into place nicely!

    Except someone knows what he did….

    Lucas thought he was clever, that he had covered every track. And that smugness will get you every time! Is it wrong that I almost wanted Lucas to get away with murder? McKinnon narrates the story through Lucas in such a darkly humorous way that his logic almost makes sense. And the ending comes powerfully and swiftly! I don’t know how this author was not on my radar, but now that she is, I will go back and read more of her books.

    Thanks to NetGalley and Harlequin Trade Publishing, MIRA for introducing me to Never Coming Home!

  • Good Neighbours

    Good Neighbours

    Author: Mary Grand
    Publisher: Boldwood Books
    Date Published: May 18, 2022

    Locked on an island attainable only by ferry, what could go wrong? When Nia comes to housesit her aunt’s house, all the neighbors seem like good neighbors. Afterall, her aunt had talked her up. Nia makes quick friends with a few of the women on the island, but pretty soon people are dying, and Nia is determined to figure out why, putting her own life at peril. Nia’s is also sabotaging her own marriage, especially when her husband comes to bring her home.

    There is a bit of voodoo, a religious cult, and a whole lot of suspects! Nia is a grown-up Nancy Drew, relentless in her pursuit of the killer and suspicious of everyone. I wanted a little more of the voodoo aspect, but it’s a plot twist that becomes apparent later in the book. All in all, I was glad to make the acquaintance of this “new to me” author.

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

  • Make Me Disappear

    Make Me Disappear

    Author: Jessica Payne
    Publisher: Bookouture
    Date Published: May 16, 2022

    This debut novel was such a fun read!

    Noelle is in a relationship with Daniel, a doctor at the same hospital where she is a nurse. At first, she can’t believe her luck in finding someone who is handsome, charming, and treats her like a queen. But what at first seemed like attention turns to control and Noelle has to find a way out. While she concocts her escape plan, it sets other things in motion that have Noelle on the run – and she’s not alone.

    It doesn’t help that Noelle’s close family is unreachable – her aunt she was so close to is dead, her pregnant sister may be in danger if Noelle reaches out to her, and Noelle isn’t sure who she can trust.

    To appreciate this book, you must really suspend your disbelief, but the characters are interesting and it’s a quick read, with a guessable but twisty ending!

    Thanks to NetGalley and Bookouture for introducing me to this new author!

  • The Appeal

    The Appeal

    Author: Janice Hallett
    Publisher: Atria Books
    Date Published: January 25, 2022

    The Appeal is the story of a fundraiser gone bad, told in a thoroughly unique way. Two legal aids are tasked with following the case as it played out in chronological order, through a series of emails, letters, and text messages. There is a large cast of characters, some with similar last names, and no chapter breaks, which made the reading a little slow for me. However, as I am familiar with both the world of fundraising and little theater, the author struck a chord with me. I loved the “whisper-down-the-lane” effect of people only hearing a snippet of information and repeating it as gospel (gossip). At first, I felt sorry for one of the main protagonists, Issy. She was described repeatedly as mousy, and she craved friendship that was often not reciprocated. But as we get further into the story, we find that everyone lies, though they would call it embellishing the truth. Issy included. The men in the book are focused on protecting the women. The women are competing to be the best. And the unsuspecting community who contributes to the fundraiser are wholly unaware of what’s going on in the background. I feel the book could have benefited by ending the correspondence sooner and/or providing chapter breaks or headings, but the story really picks up about 60% in when the legal aids are tasked with answering a series of questions to come to the proper conclusion about why a person murdered and by whom.

    While the description calls this “a wholly modern take on the epistolary novel”, I think it would help readers to understand the format going in, but I’m giving this 3.5 stars rounded up to 4 for uniqueness. Kudos to this debut author for keeping all the characters and plotlines straight.

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

  • The New Girl

    The New Girl

    Author: Ruth Heald
    Publisher: Bookouture
    Date Published: January 25, 2022

    The New Girl is the story of a woman so desperate to escape her small town and get back to the city of London, that she naively enters into a work relationship that is toxic. Sophie is so caught up in proving herself at work that she doesn’t see how she’s been manipulated. And doesn’t see the past catching up to her until it’s too late. While you’ll have to suspend disbelief a ‘la My Fair Lady, the story is well told, and the twists and turns kept the pace going at a rapid clip.

    Ruth Heald did an excellent job of describing the atmospheric and creepy apartment that Sophie is allowed to stay in rent free. You can just hear the creaks and footsteps along with Sophie, and every time she walks home alone, I want to scream at her, “take a cab!”.

    Reading The New Girl was a great way to spend a couple of cold winter nights!

    Thanks to NetGalley and Bookouture for an advance reader’s copy for review.

  • Last Seen Alive

    Last Seen Alive

    Author: Joanna Schaffhausen
    Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
    Date Published: January 25, 2022

    This is book is part of a series, and since I read four of the previous books, I was happy to see growth in some of the characters. We get to see how Ellery has grown since she was kidnapped and tortured almost 20 years ago. We also see how her relationship with her rescuer Reed has evolved. At times, I forgot I was reading fiction, and got so carried away in reading I thought it was a true crime novel. And the ending brought tears to my eyes.

    Well played, Joanna!

    Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for an advance reader’s copy.

  • The Overnight Guest

    The Overnight Guest

    Author: Heather Gudenkauf
    Publisher: Harlequin Trade Publishing, Park Row
    Date Published: January 25, 2022

    Graham, and Margo are so bored. And so rich. They can get away with anything, right? Graham’s wife Lyla knows it and is pulled into Graham and Margo’s insanely wicked game. She believes she can never get out alive. She knows too much.

    “I stretch my lips in a smile. It hurts a little.”

    For the people in Brazier’s book, being rich is 90% money and 10% artifice. So when a woman used to living by her wits on the street is unwittingly pulled into Lyla, Graham and Margo’s game, they won’t know what happened until the twisty end. Even when the game keeps on going.

    You will love to hate the characters in Good Rich People. Not one of them is innocent; some just have more motivation for the evil they do. Picture a cross between Joe Goldberg (You) and Dexter. I almost feel guilty for liking this book, but it will definitely cease all craving for a “rich people” lifestyle. While this book was way over the top, the writing style was so entertaining I couldn’t put it down!

    Thanks to NetGalley and Berkley for this eccentric romp through the Los Angeles hillside!

  • Good Rich People

    Good Rich People

    Author: Eliza Jane Brazier
    Publisher: Berkley Publishing Group
    Date Published: January 25, 2022

    Graham, and Margo are so bored. And so rich. They can get away with anything, right? Graham’s wife Lyla knows it and is pulled into Graham and Margo’s insanely wicked game. She believes she can never get out alive. She knows too much.

    “I stretch my lips in a smile. It hurts a little.”

    For the people in Brazier’s book, being rich is 90% money and 10% artifice. So when a woman used to living by her wits on the street is unwittingly pulled into Lyla, Graham and Margo’s game, they won’t know what happened until the twisty end. Even when the game keeps on going.

    You will love to hate the characters in Good Rich People. Not one of them is innocent; some just have more motivation for the evil they do. Picture a cross between Joe Goldberg (You) and Dexter. I almost feel guilty for liking this book, but it will definitely cease all craving for a “rich people” lifestyle. While this book was way over the top, the writing style was so entertaining I couldn’t put it down!

    Thanks to NetGalley and Berkley for this eccentric romp through the Los Angeles hillside!