RECKLESS GIRLS by RACHEL HAWKINS

Reckless Girls

Remember The Wife Upstairs? Well, Ms. Hawkins is back with another movie worthy book!

It took me a bit to warm up to Lux and Nico. Okay, I never liked Nico. Lux was a very sympathetic character. So let’s see what all the fuss is about.

Lux has spent a few years caring for her dying mother. Her parents divorced long ago and her father found a new family. She has a lot of bad energy about that. After her mother dies, she is adrift. Having nothing and no prospects,she is at her lowest when she meets Nico.

Nico is a rich and troubled playboy who is about surface deep. When he asks Lux to go to Maui with him aboard his boat she jumps at the chance. And you just know she should not do this.

,In Maui Nico is approached by two young women who offer a lot of money to be taken to Meroe Island. Yes, it is as creepy as the name implies. Supposedly used during WWII and the subject of a lot of suspicious stories, this island is anything but inviting.

But they could use the money to repair the boat and the girls, who say they are college friends, seem friendly, so on they go.

On arrival they find they aren’t alone. Meet Eliza and her boyfriend,Jake. They have a beautiful boat and plenty of booze and food. Very quickly they become close. Until someone else arrives and threatens to break up their idyllic vacation. And when he and his boat disappear they are relieved. And that is when everything goes awry.

Everyone here has secrets. Some deadly. No one is really who they say they are. And some of them are more than willing to kill to keep them.

This was a twisty, mind screw! And I loved every page of it!

NetGalley/January 4th, 2022 by St. Martin’s

THE MIDNIGHT HOUR by ELLY GRIFFITHS

The Midnight Hour (Brighton Mysteries)

The Brighton Mysteries

Elly Griffiths is also the author of the Dr. Ruth Galloway series,which is one of my favorites.

It’s 1965 in Brighton. Emma and Sam have set up their Detective Agency and have their first big case. Impresario Bert Billington is found dead. When the results return and they learn he was poisoned, his wife, Verity Malone, who was also a theater performer, hires Emma and Sam to find out who did this and keep her name out of it.

Lucky for Emma they have Max Mephisto on the inside to push for information. Interestingly he is in town filming Dracula along with Verity’s son, Seth.

There were so many people who looked guilty! You could tell they were all hiding something, but does that something have anything to do with the case? I am most definitely happy I was not an adult woman in the ’60s. I remember my mother reading The Feminine Mystique and finding it and reading it myself. I didn’t understand most of it,but I knew I did not want to be one of those wives.

I especially enjoyed when Emma would just pop her little boy on her hip and go interview suspects. Although eventually Edgar stepped up and pulled some weight.

I also enjoyed seeing Meg become bolder.

This is Cozy with a Bite! And I loved it!

NetGalley/ November 2nd, 2021 Mariner (formerly HMH)









FROM LADLE TO GRAVE by AMY PATRICIA MEADE

From Ladle to Grave

A Tish Tarragon Mystery #5

Could a body found in a graveyard be linked to a tragic murder twenty-five years ago? Tish Tarragon is plunged into a new case when a fundraising dinner in the local church hall leads to a dark discovery.

Tish is back with another interesting catering event. Heroines of Literature. A fundraiser for St. Jude’s Episcopal Church. Things are humming along well when she notices a woman staring at her. Odd. But soon forgotten in the cleanup.

Walking home through the graveyard to lock up the hall, she literally stumbles over a body. A dead one.

The deceased has a fatal head wound and is lying on top of the Honeycutt plot. Daisy Honeycutt was murdered 25 years ago in a sensational case that shocked everyone.

The hunky Sheriff Reade is back and officially makes Tish a consultant! So off they go to solve a murder and find out why someone now wants this man dead. Could his reopening the case have something to do with it?

With twists and turns galore, I think this is the best one so far in the series. And oh that ending!

Very well done!

NetGalley/December 7th, 2021 by Severn House Publishers

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Oh William! by Elizabeth Strout

Oh William!

The Pulitzer Prize-winning, #1 New York Times bestselling author traces the enduring bond between a divorced couple in a poignant novel about love, loss, and the family secrets that can erupt and bewilder us at any point in life.

The amazing Ms. Strout has brought us back to Lucy. Reading a book by this author is like having someone talking to you about their life. There aren’t a bunch of descriptions to clutter the simple, and beautiful conversation.

Lucy tells us about her first husband, William, in this story. Their relationship is what it is. They take each other as they are. Friends, parents and secret keepers. We see the story of how they met and how and why they divorced. There is no drama in the telling of infidelity. Again, it is what it is. And that empathy towards each other is what is so beautiful. There is no judgment. Just support given and received.

Secrets long kept come to light and I loved how these two handled them. Lucy learns quite a bit about herself as well. And how others view her. And she accepts this and adjusts. Again, no drama, no extra stuffing, just a crystal clear voice of calm.

I connected at once with her almost stream- of- consciousness style of writing. It was so easy to slip into her world. A story of life, love and ,a lot of empathy.

NetGalley/ October 19th, 2021 by Random House





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

IRON WIDOW by KIRAN JAY ZHAO

While this draws on a few real characters in history, make no mistake, it is a Sci-Fy, Fantasy, Futuristic tale that touches on the place women still have in society. Second. Disposable.

And then it just dives right in to giant fighting machines called Chrysalises, transforming robots that battle with mecha aliens that have almost destroyed everything. The pilots are boys. The girls or concubine pilots give of their life force and no one seems to care that they lose their lives.

Except 18 -year-old Zetian. She has plans of revenge after her sister died during one of these fights. She doesn’t use normal weapons. She takes on her pilot with her mind and is the only one returning. With a nickname. Iron Widow.

She has turned the tables on the boys and will now use them as ‘fuel’. They are afraid of her and what she can do. They try pairing her with the strongest male pilot in Huaxia. But Zetian has tasted the power and she likes it. Now her mission is to find out why only girls are being used and disposed of.

She is one of the strongest characters I have seen. She has had enough and is not taking it anymore. This is not my usual genre but I am very glad I read it. I felt empowered and ready to fight.

Well Done.

NetGalley/September 21st, 2021 by Penguin Teen

THE FAMILY PLOT by MEGAN COLLINS

The Family Plot

Author of The Winter Sister and Behind The Red Door is back with another twisty, shocking thriller!

Twenty-six- year-old Dahlia Lighthouse is returning to her family home. A place she hasn’t been back to for years. Taking the ferry across to the island she was raised on with her twin brother Andy and much older siblings, Charlie and Tate. Their father has died and they are all coming home to bury him.

Not that they particularly want to. Raised in a mansion in the woods, the neighbors called it the Murder Mansion. Isolated and home-schooled, Dahlia is unable to get past the terrible things that happened here. Totally unprepared for life and afraid to live.

The mother is obsessed with true crime. The father goes along with it and the four children are brought up on the ABC murders instead of the alphabet. The house is filled with murder memorablilia. The town thinks they are insane. The police chief is suspicious and keeps hanging around. Everything about this place is creepy and just not right.

Dahlia spends all her time trying to find her twin brother who went missing on their sixteenth birthday. Dahlia knows he ran away because of their unnatural home life.

When they are all together there is just something not right with her sister or brother. What are they hiding?

As the handyman digs the grave for the father he is shocked, along with everyone else, to find the bones of Andy. With an ax. Every one of them handles this so differently. Dahlia knows someone killed him and she isn’t going to stop until she knows the truth.

I think you should find out the rest on your own. This was a disturbing story. My favorite kind. The mother was doing murder reenactments and the sister makes dioramas of the victims for Instagram. The brother, well he’s just nuts.

There were so many suspects in this. There is also a sub-plot going on as well. Also about murder. I stayed up way too late reading this. It was worth it!

NetGalley/ August 17, 2021 Atria




THE DARE by LESLEY KARA

The Dare

Lizzie and Alice have always been best friends. At 13, they are still there for each other. And as they leave for a walk in the country, a place they often go to jump the railroad tracks and argue and make-up and just be kids.

But this time one of them won’t come home. And one will have no clue what happened.

Lizzie has no memory of what happened. It’s all a nightmarish dream she can’t stop or make any clearer. As an epeleptic, she tries to figure out what happened before her seizure that day and deal with grief and uncalled for blame being placed on her by Alice’s sister.

Time goes on and twelve years go by. Lizzie is unpacking in the new place she and her fiancee have moved into when memories come flooding back and they still don’t make sense. As her fiancee, a GP, tries to be supportive he ends up hiring Alice’s sister as a nurse.

Now you know this isn’t going to end well, but oh my goodness, Kara strings you along until the last minutes! And what???

I loved every second of this one.

NetGalley/ August 3rd, 2021 PRHP-Ballentine

A PLACE LIKE HOME by Rosamunde Pilcher

A Place Like Home: Short Stories

Published posthumously, this is a collection of short stories by the wonderful Rosamunde Pilcher. Never before in book form, Aoife Inman has searched through the British library to collect short stories that Rosamunde Pilcher had written for magazines between 1976 and 1984. In all, there are 15 short stories.

I was a lover of The Shell Seekers and should probably read it again as an adult. Each story is of a woman and what having a home and what companionship means to them. Remember these stories were written in a different time. So most of these ladies are looking for new love or trying to reignite old flames.

Uncomplicated and sweet, and sometimes we need that. Pure Escapism.

NetGalley/July 27th, 2021 by St. Martin’s Press

FAR GONE by DANIELLE GIRARD

Far Gone (Badlands Thriller, #2)

Badlands Thriller #2

From the USA Today, bestselling author of White Out comes a story of two heroines with shattered pasts and a town with blood on its hands.

This thriller is the second in the Badlands Series. In North Dakota, where Detective Kylie Milliard in their peaceful little town. Only she knows it’s not what it looks like.

Kylie hasn’t worked a homicide in a long time, but when a couple is shot in their own home, with a baby sleeping yards away, she’s back in business.

She has two bodies, but no baby. Just a smear of blood on the basket where the baby should be. So either the killer took the baby, or someone else was in the house.

The DNA on the blood smear is shocking. It’s not a killers blood. It’s not the baby’s blood. But it is a familial march to a crime that involved a local nurse at the hospital, Lily. Ten years ago she was held captive for over a year. Raped and traumatized. Part of her brain has blocked a lot of that time for her own sanity. But things are about to get dangerous for the detective and the nurse.

As for the poor girl on the run from a killer who knows she was there, Hannah, is one of the bravest characters I’ve seen. And Lily. That poor woman had the backbone of steel.

Everyone in this story had secrets. Some harmless and embarrassing, and some downright murderous. Everyone wants to know the truth, but there are some people determined to not let that happen.

This author is always on her game. I’m pretty sure I bit a fingernail off reading this one. Which I count as a really good tale!

NetGalley/ June 15th, 2021 by Thomas & Mercer