the santa suit by mary kay andrews

The Santa Suit

From May Kay Andrews, the New York Times bestselling author of Hello, Summer, comes a novella celebrating the magic of Christmas and second chances in The Santa Suit.

Ivy Perkins is moving on from Atlanta, her ex and her half of the business. Looking for a fresh start away from everything. She has pretty specific wants. A white farmhouse with land. So sight unseen, she purchases what looks like an adorable farmhouse in North Carolina.

Four Roses Farm must have used photoshop, because the house is going to need a lot of work. It looks as if the former owners just up and left everything behind.

As Ivy is clearing out, she finds a beautiful Santa suit. It’s old and well-made and in the pocket she finds a note from a little girl, written long ago. This little gem becomes a mission for Ivy. Who is this little girl? And why all the Christmas stuff?

The former owners, the Roses, were the town Santa and Mrs. for a long time. They did a lot to help the community and even though Ivy isn’t really a Christmas person, the town may change her mind.

With some help from a hot realtor and a new friend, she may find not only her purpose but love again.

A lovely Novella of the magic of Christmas and the enduring love of family. This really lifted my spirits at a time when we all need a little of that.

NetGalley/September 28th, 2021 by St. Martin’s Press

THE STOWAWAY by JAMES S. MURRAY and DARREN WEARMOUTH

The Stowaway

The Stowaway, a suspenseful masterpiece that leaves a cruise ship stranded at sea with a serial killer hiding aboard…

Sounds like a good premise. Stranded in the middle of the Atlantic with a serial killer. What better place? Like a buffet for serial killers.

This story begins with Maria Fontana. A single mother of two. Maria is on the jury of a sensational trial of alleged serial killer, Wyatt Butler, who reeks of guilt and disdain. As the final day of deliberations arrives, she is still torn over the evidence. Will she vote guilty?

Jump to a couple of years later and the media frenzy has died down, Maria has met a good man and they are going on a two week cruise across the Atlantic. Maria can’t help but look over her shoulder and hold her kids tight. And when people start dying, she is hypervigilant. Especially when there are children being killed in horrific ways and then posed with the next victims clothing. Everywhere she looks she sees Wyatt Butler.

While the Security Chief thinks she may be seeing things that aren’t there, Maria knows. A mother knows. Her children are not safe and neither is she.

It’s hard not to give anything away here. This was a fast-paced, well written thriller. I’m sure my heart rate was elevated the entire time. And that ending. Very nice.

NetGalley/ September 21st ,2021 by St. Martin’s Press

When SPARKS Fly by Helena Hunting

We all know I am not a romance fan. But a Rom-Com? Yes, I’m in. And this author does a great job with balancing.

Avery Spark and her sisters run Spark House, an event hotel. It keeps them all super busy and Avery is the most passionate about the business and sports. She still lives with her best friend, Declan, who is a great friend and a player with the ladies.

Nobody has time for relationships and nobody is looking for one. For some reason Declan will never settle down. But their little group of three guy friends and Avery enjoy playing soccer and hanging out. Just one of the boys.

And things are going great until Declan lets her down and she ends up in a bad car accident. Since Declan can work from and needs to assuage his guilt over not being there for her, he decides to take care of her every need. Medical and emotional.

The more time they spend together the more the relationship evolves into something that may end their friendship or turn them into a couple. But it’s all so new and they are both so scared of loss, we just don’t know how it will end!

This was funny and sad and sexy and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

NetGalley/ St.Martin’s Griffin September 21,2021

HER PERFECT LIFE by HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN

Her Perfect Life

Meet Lily Atwood. Famous television reporter with everything going for her. Money, awards, a producer who does her every bidding and a seven-year-old daughter who is adorable! Her life is perfect. Maybe. But secrets have a way of coming out at the most inconvenient of times. And Lily is keeping some big ones.

Lily now has an anonymous source feeding her stories. The stories pan out but the source becomes questionable when he begins feeding Lily information about herself. Who is this person and what do they know about her?

It becomes clear that someone is playing with her life. Does it have anything to do with the disappearance of her sister years ago? Or maybe her child’s father come to haunt her? With literally no one to trust she will have to trust her gut and maybe one other person. Maybe.

This was a twisty one. A total mind screw. With Ryan, it’s always a thrill ride as you try and untangle the knots of intrigue!

NetGalley/September 14th, 2021 by Forge Books



SCANDAL IN BABYLON by BARBARA HAMBLY

Scandal in Babylon

The year is 1924. Emma Blackstone was barely married to her husband when he was shipped off to war and was killed. Followed by her brother and more tragedy with her parents deaths. So young for so much death.

Emma is a curious and scholarly sort. She cringes at the inaccuracies in the Roman piece they are filming.

While Emma is getting an education in America and Hollywood in particular, she has nothing to go back to in England. And things could be worse.

Such as Kitty’s first husband, Rex showing up unexpectedly in her dressing room with a bullet through the head. Kitty may be flighty and naughty but a killer she is not.

This being the twenties in Hollywood, there are gangsters, slick movie producers, shady cops and insane competition for the title of IT girl. Is that what this is about? A frame? Or has Kitty dallied with the wrong man?

I loved all of the old Hollywood gossip and petty jealousy. These women were so young and vulnerable. They worked hard hours and partied the rest of the time.

I enjoy Hollywood Historical Fiction. I liked Emma, although there was a bit too much quoting of Latin phrases. And I just didn’t feel we really knew her. I am sure she will grow and entertain us as the series goes on.

NetGalley/ September 7th, 2021 by Severn House Publishers

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THE CHILDREN’S SECRET by NINA MONROE

The Children's Secret

“Nothing ever happens in a sleepy town like Middlebrook. Until the residents are shaken to their core, when one hot Saturday afternoon, at a back-to-school party, nine children sneak into a barn…and only eight come out unharmed.

The press immediately starts asking questions. What type of parents let their children play unsupervised in a house with guns? What kind of child pulls the trigger on their friend? And most importantly: of the nine children who were present in that barn, which one actually pulled the trigger, and why are the others staying silen
t?”

Just reading the synopsis of this book had me hooked. In today’s polarizing views on gun control, this was one I wanted to read.

Six families living in a small neighborhood. Eva and her husband and daughter recently moved here from England. Eva is hoping with school almost ready to start up, that her daughter, Lily, will make friends.

She encourages one of the other families to host a party so the kids can get to know each other. Kaitlin Wright and her husband aren’t thrilled with the idea. Their son is introverted and prefers being alone. He had a good friend, but no more.

We have a family with twins, from Pakistan, whose father is building a mosque in town. We have the single mom and former attorney whose daughter is a mystery to everyone. We have the off the grid single father who is raising three kids alone and the Rev. Avery, who is fostering two kids.

Priscilla, the mother of Astrid has forbidden her daughter to go to the party, but we all know kids. Especially in a small town where they all know each other. She’s going to go.

While the parents socialize, the kids are in the barn with the dog and horses. Until there is a scream and a gunshot. And not everyone is coming out of there on their own two feet.

But where is the gun? And so begins the battle among the families and the press. There were a lot of extremes in this tale. NO GUNS EVER! GUNS ARE FINE. Everyone has an agenda and the children aren’t talking at all.

I enjoyed the story. Although all the parents pretty much seemed the same. The children were great little characters and acted more like adults than the adults did.

NetGalley/ September 7th, 2021 by Crooked Lane Books



Whisper Cottage by Anne Wyn Clark

Whisper Cottage

How well do you know the woman next door? 



-Stina and Jack are expecting a baby. So they move out of the city to Avoncote. In a rather shabby but cute semi-detached cottage. There is a lot of work to be done on the cottage beginning with the re-thatching of the roof. And since they are joined to their elderly neighbor, Mrs. Barley, hers will be done as well.

It’s while the men work on the roof that they find a bizarre find in the chimney next door. mummified cats. And then the odd noises in the night begin. And the questions. Why is everyone in town afraid of Mrs. Barley? Is she just a nice old lady or is she something much worse? Is that a man Stina sees in her window? Is it the same man she keeps seeing outside, but no one else does?

For one, this story made me look at my neighbor a bit closer. Stina was just not a character I clicked with. I’m not fond of weak women. This is a good look at what secrets and rumors can do to a life and a town. And that was powerful.

,NetGalley/ September 2nd 2021 by Avon

MURDER MOST FAIR by ANNA LEE HUBER

Murder Most Fair (Verity Kent, #5)

A Verity Kent Mystery #5

It’s always a treat to catch up with Verity and friends. I love that each book picks up right where the other one left off.

It’s 1919 and Verity has spent November with Sidney relaxing and healing from their last adventure.

Hoping things have settled down with the war over, they look forward to some much needed together time.

Until Verity’s Great Aunt llse shows up with her maid from Germany. The same aunt who aided her in sneaking into Germany during the war. But the war hasn’t been good for Germans. They are turning on anyone who aided the enemy and Aunt llse looks to be in very delicate health. Someone is threatening her and she has returned to England hoping to recover and figure out why she is being targeted.

While the family heads to Verity’s parents in Yorkshire, her aunt is still experiencing hostility and someone may be looking to even the score. Using her Secret Service contacts Verity must find out if this is about aiding deserters or something else all together.

Alas, the ever-present Lord Ardmore is a suspect, because, well he usually is a suspect.

This is one of my favorite Historical Fiction writers. Her characters are strong women and men who respect them.

Well Done!

NetGalley/August 31st, 2021 by Kensington Publishing Corporation



THE SOUTHERN BOOK CLUB’S GUIDE TO SLAYING VAMPIRES by GRADY HENDRIX

The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires

Fried Green Tomatoes and Steel Magnolias meet Dracula in this Southern-flavored supernatural thriller set in the ’90s about a women’s book club that must protect its suburban community from a mysterious and handsome stranger who turns out to be a blood-sucking fiend.

Well the blurb sounds like an interesting mash up. And it is.

It’s the 90’s and our narrator, Patricia Campbell, has always wanted something more out of life. She gave up her nursing career after marrying a doctor and becoming a mother. But somehow, she isn’t living her best life. The days drag on and her kids are seriously ingrates! Her husband is never home and she just can’t seem to get it together.

Her only lifeline is her book club. A group of other Charleston moms joined by their love of true-crime and suspense.

Slick, Kitty, Maryellen, and the newest, Mrs. Green. I was equal parts frustrated with these ladies and cheering for them. They all have unique personalities and hidden talents.

When Patricia’s elderly neighbor losing her mind and attacks her, biting off an ear, she gets to meet a new man. Doing the good Southern thing, bringing food to the bereaved, she meets James Harris. Sensitive, interesting and new. He makes her feel things.The husbands love him.

Then local children start to go missing and she knows he is involved. No one is listening to her and the husbands are standing with James, who is supposedly making them money on an investment.

Is he a vampire or a serial killer?

Patricia won’t let it go. She digs and digs until she has what she needs, but it may come at an awful cost. She and her book club will face a monster and nothing will be the same again.

I loved these ladies. Seriously, you do not want to mess with a Southern women who has a feeling. And with friends like these, what happens in the South stays in the South.

My mother is born and bred Charleston. This would so be her and her friends. Passing books around and solving crime!

A must-read. A really good Horror book.

CHASING THE BOOGEYMAN by RICHARD CHIZMAR

Chasing the Boogeyman

It’s summer in 1988 and recent grad, Richard Chizmar returns home. Only it’s not the home he knew. A string of girls go missing and then are found violently murdered.

Suddenly his hometown is full of police, reporters, and the town is scared. A curfew is in effect and information is scarce. But Richard is a journalist and begins digging into the story with a fellow journalist. This is his account of what happened during that time.

I’m going to go against a lot of people here. I was bored and in the end I felt cheated.

NetGalley/Gallery Books August 17th, 2021 by Gallery Books