Nightcrawling by Leila Mottley

A dazzling novel about a young black woman who walks the streets of Oakland and stumbles headlong into the failure of its justice system–the debut of a blazingly original voice that “bursts at the seams of every page and swallows you whole” (Tommy Orange, best-selling author of There There)

When I saw that the author wrote this at 17 and lived on the streets of Oakland, I was floored.

The language is what I would expect from a teenager. All the feels are there.

Kiara and her brother, Marcus, live in East Oakland. A roach-infested hovel. That is all they can afford and they honestly can’t afford that. While Marcus is pretending to make a rap record, Kiara is hustling all over the dirty streets of Oakland looking for money. Their family fell apart long ago when her mom went to prison. Just teenagers themselves, Kiara also looks out for the little boy next door whose mother is an addict and never home.

After one drunk misunderstanding with a man turns into a career on the streets called night crawling. And since the johns are the cops, she is in it until they say she isn’t.

But then her name is connected to an internal investigation in the police department. A huge scandal involving officers and prostitutes.

The last thing Kiara wants is to be in any kind of limelight. She just wants to live.

This book was not pretty to read. It was raw, ugly, and made me cry and cringe quite a bit. But I am glad I read it and I hope we hear from this author again!

NetGalley/  June 7th, 2022 by Knopf Publishing Group



THE CHILDREN ON THE HILL by Jennifer McMAHON

A genre-defying new novel, inspired by Mary Shelley’s masterpiece Frankenstein, which brilliantly explores the eerie mysteries of childhood and the evils perpetrated by the monsters among us.

I was more than willing to go down the rabbit hole with this one. I do love a good ghost/horror story and with a Mary Shelley-inspired piece, who could resist?

Our narration goes back and forth between 1978/80 to 2019.

In 1978 the highly regarded psychiatrist, Dr. Helen Hildreth, is working with the mentally ill in Vermont. A beautiful place on the surface. Her unorthodox methods carry over to home as well. At home, she is just grandmother to Vi and Eric, whose parents were killed in a car accident.

The kids are homeschooled and their lessons may be unorthodox, but they are also brilliant. Gran has her lab in the basement and lets them play with the mice. Eric collects injured animals from everywhere, filling his room with crippled critters. Violet is more into fighting monsters.

They have their own Monster Hunters Club where they look for clues and look for monsters who walk among us. And they don’t have to look far.

One day Gran brings them home a girl. Iris. She looks rough and has obviously had some type of brain surgery. She doesn’t talk at all but after a bit, the kids get her interested in the world and the monsters. She and Vi become inseparable.

Fast Forward to 2019. Lizzy Shelley is the host of the popular podcast Monsters Among Us and is hunting an elusive monster in Louisiana when she receives an email from a mnstrgirl. Come home, to Vermont, and find me. Lizzy understands that her past has caught up to her and one of the monsters is calling to her. Only this time she knows the monster is real because it is her sister.

Lizzy heads to Vermont to find a missing girl that a monster supposedly has taken and killed. Against all of her better judgment, Lizzy dives in and finds out just what and who a monster really is.

This was a really good read. All those ghost stories told around the campfire have nothing on this scary tale. I was shocked at the end and that is the best ending!

NetGalley/ April 26th, 2022 by Gallery/Scout Press





THE FALL by RACHAEL BLOK

The sins of the past echo in the present in the new literary thriller from Rachael Blok.

The wind is cold this high up. The man shouts out, but nobody hears. The cathedral roof has caught his fall, but it will not hold him for long. The night is dark. And it is such a long way down…

And so begins The Fall. It’s Good Friday at St. Albans cathedral and Willow is late. It’s dark and the exhibition materials she is bringing to St. Albans are late. It’s dark and while she is walking she could swear she could hear a scream. As she is leaving a man falls from the top of the cathedral.

DCI Jansen thinks it looks like a suicide. But this is an elderly man. How did he even get way up there and why? Digging into the past he finds the man was a verger here for a long time. He also helped out at a local mental hospital where a nurse went missing. And what does it all have to do with a pregnant woman, a child, and over fifty years of secrets and silence?

As Willow’s own family history becomes entangled in this case everyone is beginning to look suspicious.
A morally bankrupt verger has a lot of secrets and untangling them all was wickedly good!

NetGalley/ April 14th, 2022 Head of Zeus an Aries Book



THE OTHER DR. GILMER by BENJAMIN GILMER

The Other Dr. Gilmer: Two Men, a Murder, and an Unlikely Fight for Justice

A rural physician learns that a former doctor at his clinic committed a shocking crime, leading him to uncover an undiagnosed mental health crisis in our broken prison system–a powerful true story expanding on one of the most popular This American Life episodes of all time.

This is a true-crime as well as a biography. Dr.Benjamin Gilmer became a doctor later in life than most. And he has accepted a job at a clinic in rural North Carolina. Cane Creek Clinic serves an area of the poorest of the poor. He also is replacing another doctor who just happens to have had the same surname. Only this Dr. Gilmer is in prison for murdering his own father.

Benjamin is somewhat obsessed with the story and how and why a doctor would suddenly do something so outside of his beliefs. Is he mentally ill? Was there past abuse? As he listens to the staff and patients tell him about the former doctor, Benjamin becomes convinced that Dr. Gilmer had been going through withdrawals from an anti-depressant. An SSRI. Dr. Gilmer himself had complained that his brain wasn’t working right, but still they sent him to prison.

Benjamin meets This American Life journalist Sarah Koenig and together they work relentlessly to get the man out of prison. But the prison system isn’t in the business of caring about your mental status. So they are just beating their heads against a wall of politics and ignorance. This country obviously needs reform in our mental health system and our prison system.

This was a story that I did know about. And I admire the good doctor for giving it his all for so long. One thing I did not understand was how he earned a living while doing all of this work. It didn’t seem as if he was at work a lot and his small family was barely hanging on financially. I wish that had been addressed.

NetGalley/ March 1st, 2022 by Ballantine Books





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




Songs in Ursa Major by Emma Brodie

Songs in Ursa Major

Songs in Ursa Major is a love story set in 1969 through today. It is about so much more than the music industry in the ’70’s. Although that is a story that never gets old.

Jane Quinn lives on an island off the coast of Massachusetts. She sings with her band along with her friends. She lives with her Grandma Elsie and her Aunt Grace. Where her mother is is quite a mystery.

When Jane meets folk singer Jesse Reid who is recovering from an accident at the facility her aunt works at she begins a relationship that will push and pull them for years. Jesse’s star is on the rise and the nasty record company has decided Jane will be his girlfriend and her band will open for him. Fine, looks good. Until it isn’t. Jane wants to sing her own songs in her own way and she will sacrifice love for that.

When she discovers Jesse’s dark secret she is out of there. Black balled by a nasty producer, she returns home and tries to make peace with all of the secrets in her own life. Starting with her mother.

Obviously the music industry is cutthroat. The record company owns you and your music. What Jane does is brave and I love her character. This was a book for music lovers. The lyrics, the emotions, the love, the sacrifice! Oh my I loved this book so much!

NetGalley Review/22 June 2021 Knopf Doubleday

THE DROWNING KIND by Jennifer McMahon

Be careful what you wish for.

It’s 1929, and 37- year- old Ethel Monroe, watches her husband play with the local children and is desperate to give him a child of his own. She’s tried everything, including superstitious legends about keeping a robin’s egg in your bra. Nothing is working. Until her husband takes her to a fancy hotel in Vermont where there is a spring that seems to be able to cure the sick.

The fancy new resort caters to people coming to take the waters. Well, not the town people. They know all about the springs. When the owner befriends Ethel she also tells her a secret. The spring can grant wishes. But we all know nothing is free, there is always a cost. And the cost Ethel will pay will ensure that her family and their family will always be at the springs.

Cut to now and we meet Jax. Jax is a social worker. She works with trauma victims and children. Maybe she chose that path because her sister was haunted by mental illness. Lexie hasn’t been in touch with reality for a long time so when Jax finds nine missed calls from her sister and a voice mail that is scary and manic, she ignores them. The next day Lexie is found dead. Drowned in the pool full of spring water. Black as the devil’s soul and already quite crowded.

As she cleans up the house and all the paperwork and journals that Lexie had, she realizes that Lexie was researching not only the history of their family but the history of the property and the springs. Measuring them at different times and areas and recording the depth and what she saw. Now she wants Jax to join her.

McMahon is brilliant at ghost stories. Tales we tell around the campfire and scare ourselves silly. I am not ashamed to say I lost a fingernail to this book. Spooky, ghastly, ghostly, this one is twisted and horrific. Just the way I like them.

NetGalley/ April 06, 2021 Gallery Scout Books

THE WIFE UPSTAIRS by RACHEL HAWKINS

The Wife Upstairs

Jane is new to Alabama, running from a past she won’t discuss.

Sharing an apartment with a creepy guy and walking dogs in the ritzy neighborhood of Thornfield Estates. Your typical Macmansion homes with bored, gossipy, nosy housewives with way too much time on their hands to notice if a shiny thing or two goes missing.

Jane both looks down on them and wants to be them. The curse of the have nots.

There is a sadness in the little cul de sac, however. Two of the women have recently disappeared and are presumed drowned. Having been best friends for life they go out for a night boat ride and never return.

When Jane meets Eddie Rochester, whose wife Bea was one of the women who presumably drowned, she is in love. Here is a man who could give her everything she wants. And when he asks her to move in, odd things start happening. Thumps from upstairs. Feeling as if she is not alone and is being spied on she digs into Bea’s past and her friendship with her bestie.

What she finds will shock her and may just kill her!

A story with a wife in the attic?? You may think you know what and why, but I can assure you it is much worse!

Delightfully evil!


NetGalley/ January 5th, 2021 by St. Martin’s Press

Little Threats by Emily Schultz

Little Threats

The year is 2008 and Kennedy Wynn is finally being released from prison. Maybe now she can find out if she is really guilty or not.

It’s the summer of 1993 and the Wynn twins, Kennedy and Carter are doing what every teen does and seeing just how much they can get away with. They don’t worry about money, they have plenty and are well known in their Richmond neighborhood.

But one night of partying leads to one friend dead and another accused but not remembering anything that happened.

This was a really slow burn for the longest time. When it finally all came together things heated up nicely and the ending was satisfying.

There are a lot of hard to read portions. But in the end I was glad I stuck with it!

NetGalley/ November 10th, 2020 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons



AFTER ALL I’VE DONE by MINA HARDY

After All I've Done

Writing as Mina Hardy, New York Times bestselling author Megan Hart delivers a thrilling new psychological suspense for fans of The Woman in the Window and When the Lights Go Out.

Diana Sparrow was in a car accident five months ago that left her broken and missing quite a bit of her memory. She’s beginning to have nightmares that don’t make sense about that night. Nightmares that are so real they make her doubt everything she is told. 

The official story is she hit a deer and totaled her car. She is lucky to be alive. They say she has anesthesia amnesia. Maybe her memory will return and maybe it won’t. 

She has so many questions. Why is her best friend, Val, ignoring her? Everyone acts like they know something she doesn’t. And they do. Even her husband and his mother.

But Diana is not believing any of it. As fragments of her memory return, she also finds that everyone is lying to her. And she also finds out she isn’t a very nice person.
But then not one of them is. Harriet, the mother in law was terrifying to me. You could see crazy written all over her but I had no idea how this would end.  WHAT????

Well Done!

NetGalley/ November 10th, 2020 by Crooked Lane Books