• The Prisoner

    The Prisoner

    Author: B. A. Paris
    Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
    Date Published: November 1, 2022

    Thank you, B. A. Paris, for writing an intelligent thriller that that blew my mind!

    I would never think that a book in which half of the setting takes place in the dark could be interesting, but Paris has managed to imbue this book with such a sense of realism that you actually feel like you are in the room with Amelie, The chapters move back and forth between the past and present, building suspense that grabs hold and you realize you haven’t taken a breath for a few seconds!

    Amelie is a victim of circumstances, orphaned early and lucking into a job at a prestigious magazine. But she has no idea what kind of man her boss is, or the lengths he’ll go to protect his reputation. When he offers her a business proposal, her decision will toss her into a nightmare that leads to her kidnapping. She soon starts to think that she will be safer in her dark prison, than released along with her boss.

    Many, many thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for an advance reader’s copy!

  • The Last Party

    The Last Party

    Author: Clare Mackintosh
    Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
    Date Published: November 8, 2022

    Holy bunch of suspects!

    It’s no secret that there are many people who have a reason to dislike Rhys Lloyd. But there are secrets between the wealthy members of The Shore, the resort lodges he co-built. Then there are the secrets of the Welsh townspeople who once owned a small patch of the property The Shore sits on. But there are also secrets in the town of Cwm Coed, which sits directly across from The Shore.

    All these secrets converge on the New Year’s Eve/New Year’s Day, when Rhys is found floating in Mirror Lake. There are many reports of his behavior that conflict with the coroner’s report. What really happened to Rhys that night?

    Leo Brady from England and Ffion Morgan from Wales are police on opposite sides of the dividing line between their countries, but must work together to find out the answer. I love that the author included Welsh dialect (with translations) that helped give the reader a feel for the pride that unites the community.

    Thanks to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Landmark for an advance reader’s copy.

  • The Scam

    The Scam

    Author: Evie Hunter
    Publisher: Boldwood Books
    Date Published: November 3, 2022



    No one can be trusted….

    Amongst the wealth and glitter of St Tropez, Sky Kennedy is living her best life, with the perfect man by her side. Rich and gorgeous, Karim has shown her a world she could have barely imagined, and she doesn’t want it to end.

    So when Karim suddenly sends her packing back to the UK, Sky is shocked – what could she have done to upset Karim? And will she ever see him again?

    Ryan Callahan has been tracking Karim for years and will do anything to bring the man down. He knows Karim is using Sky for his own ends and can’t believe another young woman has fallen for Karim’s lies. But maybe Sky could be the perfect bait to snare Karim once and for all…

    But Sky’s no fool and she won’t be played by either man. Because maybe there is a twist in this tale that no one saw coming….

    My Thoughts

    Sky is used to being outshined by her confident and attractive roommate, so when the handsome entrepreneur at the nightclub chooses her over Nancy, she is constantly questioning why. After a trip to St. Tropez, the relationship starts to fall apart as Sky begins to question why Karim had to leave so fast, and why he hasn’t called or texted.

    This is where the book went in a different direction than I expected when it becomes evident Karim is being surveilled by a special ops team charged with ferreting out a group of extremists that Karim is part of. However, Karim wants to leave the group, and Sky might be his ticket out.

    While I don’t normally read books about this type of espionage, the way the story unraveled was intriguing and I loved that Sky had ulterior motives of her own. The story made much more sense as the pieces fell into place.

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

    Author Bio –

    Evie Hunter has written a great many successful regency romances as Wendy Soliman and is now redirecting her talents to produce dark gritty thrillers for Boldwood. For the past twenty years she has lived the life of a nomad, roaming the world on interesting forms of transport, but has now settled back in the UK.

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  • What January Remembers

    What January Remembers

    Author: Faith Gardner
    Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
    Date Published: November 8, 2022

    This is another great book in the Jolvix Episodes. Each can be read as a standalone. This one explores the not-so-distant future, when robots become lifelike companions, with perfectly smooth skin and anatomical correctness. For the Jagger adult kids, it’s a great surprise when their father purchases January, a frozen in time version of their mother who it was presumed committed suicide 10 years prior.

    While January is still robot learning the nuances of language, she runs into her neighbor’s robot companion who has a complex view of life based on her longevity and readings of Emily Dickinson. They discuss their owners and the possibility of life outside the home.

    In the meantime, in the setting of a Christmas time family reunion, drama ensues among the 4 children: Julianna (the peacekeeper), Jesse (troubled but the mom’s favorite), , a successful showoff, and , the most like her mother, still living in the guest house and living through addiction. They each have their own reason to believe their mother was murdered.

    The best part of the book for me was how Gardner evokes both sympathy and fear through the characteristics she ascribes to January – a robotic inability to interpret things as other than black and white, along with our fear of the lengths with which tech can go wrong.

    Thanks to NetGalley, Mirror House Press, and Booksprout for an advance readers copy.

  • The Linchpin Writer

    The Linchpin Writer

    Author: John Matthew Fox
    Publisher: Bookfox Press
    Date Published: October 26, 2022

    Book Review
    The Linchpin Writer: Crafting Your Novel’s Key Moments
    By John Matthew Fox

    John Matthew Fox engages writers in discourse on the pivotal tools they can use to engage readers. At first, I thought this book would be a humble brag about the author’s accomplishments, but it was anything but, as I soon found myself gaining valuable tips, while chuckling at some of Fox’s anecdotes. He uses examples from published novels to show how to (or not to) create characters, emotion, and excitement in your stories. There are a lot of prompts for writing exercises. But my very favorite chapter was “How to Kill Your Characters”. Fox tells you when and how to disappear people in your novels, even though they may be fan favorites, “without enraging your readers”.

    Background photo courtesy of Gülfer ERGİN on Unsplash.

    Thanks to Book Sirens and the author for an advance reader’s copy.

  • Forget Me Not

    Forget Me Not

    Author: Miranda Rijks
    Publisher: Inkubator Books
    Date Published: October 26, 2022

    Anything by Miranda Rijks is an automatic buy for me, and this one did not disappoint.

    Forget Me Not felt authentic – I could feel the coldness of the blustering snow in the Swiss Alps, see the skiers slaloming down the mountainside, and feel Helen’s desperation as she searches for first her husband Paul, and then years later is shattered by another search on the mountainside.

    I loved how the story revolves around the tale of Paul and what he does for love. Stupid boy.

    And finally, I loved the elements of interior design, which Helen is trying to balance with everything else going on in her life. The delays, homeowner expectations, and clashes with contractors also ring true to life.

    Thank you, Miranda, for coming through with another creative plot and suspenseful narrative.

    Background photo courtesy of David Klein on Unsplash.

    And thanks to NetGalley, Inkubator Books and Booksprout for an advance reader’s copy for review.

  • The Nursery

    The Nursery

    Author: Sue Watson
    Publisher: Bookouture
    Date Published: October 20, 2022

    We know that Emily and her daughter Sofia have been living quietly in Sidmouth for the past 12 years. We also know that Emily was escaping her ex, and something that she did. But that quiet life is about to blow up when Emily finds her daughter chatting with a stranger online. Then her friend Nancy is hospitalized and has only Emily to turn to. To top it off, Emily was just starting to feel something for Oliver, a handsome and wealthy retiree, who she now puts on the back burner to care for her friend and be there for her daughter.

    Just when things start looking up again, Watson throws in another bombshell! Bam!

    This one was a bit of a slow burn, but you can’t lose with a book by Sue Watson. Her prose is wonderful, and you can almost feel her winking conspiratorially with you!

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

  • The Family Game

    The Family Game

    Author: Catherine Steadman
    Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Ballantine Books
    Date Published: October 18, 2022

    Oh no! I finished this book too quickly! I love locked room/scavenger hunt games and I wanted the games in this book to keep on going!

    It was so much fun to see how an outsider with secrets of her own would discern the secrets of the wealthy and powerful family she hopes to marry into. And we are right alongside Harriet as she tries to figure out why her soon to be father-in-law handed her a tape that implicates so many people.

    The only flaw in this book was that I thought the consequences of Harriet’s secret coming out were overblown. But as I’ve learned from other books, sometimes a person’s guilt is all the punishment they need. The only way out is to play the game, and the only way to play the game…is to agree to the rules of engagement…

    Background photo by Volodymyr Hryshchenko on @unsplash

    Thanks so much to NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Ballantine Books for another great Catherine Steadman thriller!

  • The Intruder

    The Intruder

    Author: Daniel Hurst
    Publisher: Inkubator Books
    Date Published: September 21, 2022

    The Intruder is another great book from Daniel Hurst! He has a knack for writing quick paced thrillers with lots of twists and turns.

    At first, William and Maria seem like the perfect union – a high powered couple that have managed a work-life balance. Despite their late evenings at the office, they still manage movie nights with the kids and date nights with each other. They seem likeable enough. But then a disgruntled employee is driven to revenge, and William’s secrets start to unravel.

    I love how Hurst portrays Maria as a totally devoted wife, an equal partner in the company, but completely clueless – until she has reason not to be. She’s quick-thinking and savvy enough to realize there’s something afoot! William’s confidence and dependence on his charm quickly devolves to bring us to a satisfying conclusion.

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

  • Violet is Nowhere

    Violet is Nowhere

    Author: Faith Gardner
    Publisher: Mirror House Press
    Date Published: September 22, 2022

    I am thrilled that Faith Gardner followed up quickly on the first book in The Jolvix Episodes, Amen, Maxine!

    This time around we get to see the main character, Violet, kidnapped and left in a cabin with absolutely no technology – no cell phone, no TV, no internet, no mirrors. But someone is stocking the fridge and leaving her clean clothes, and spa-like soap in the bathroom. It would be a great vacation home if it wasn’t for the bars on the windows, and a burner phone that has one number on it. There are no landmarks, few sounds, and no way out.

    Gardner does an amazing job of giving the reader insight into the boredom, curiosity, and hopelessness as Violet goes through each emotion. Her only connection to the outside world is the voice on the other end of the phone, Bud. She’s posted of information on social media, so he knows what she looks like as well as intimate details of her life. Even if she could look him up, Bud has virtually no social media presence.

    What do these two have in common? They have one week to find out. And the clock is ticking…

    Thanks to Booksprout and Mirror House Press for an advance reader’s copy.