MADAM by PHOEBE WYNNE

Madam

Light a fire they can’t put out…

This story takes place in Scotland. High on a cliff, stands Caldonbrae Hall. Built 150 years ago by Lord William Hope to become a boarding school for girls. He had a lot of them. With names like Temperance, Charity, and on and on.

The goal of the school is to turn out girls who are educated and ready to fulfill their role in society.

When Rose, a young Classics teacher is hired to work there she is shocked by the invitation and honored, as she is the first new hire in about 10 years.

At this point you want to ask yourself why. And it will become abundantly clear.

The girls are not at all interested in learning anything and there is quite a mystery over Rose’s predecessor. She may or may not have had an inappropriate relationship to a student or she may have just moved, no one will say and the girls aren’t even looking at her.

Rose should have listened to her own instincts and never come to Scotland, but now she’s in and it is made clear that she is going nowhere. With overt threats about her mother and the town people hating all of them, she is truly alone.

At first I thought maybe this was a ghost school. Where everyone is dead except Rose. The girls were rude and cruel to her and each other. When they finally tell her why they are all there, she is horrified and sets out to right the situation.

I have to say I did not care for Rose at all. She was rather slow in the beginning and I thought about skipping to the end as it just plodded along.

This may be a great Netflix, Handmaid’s Tale type of thing but the book itself bored me to death. This isn’t feminism at all. More like sex trafficking.

NetGalley/ May 18, 2021 St. Martin’s Press



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



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

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




CHEVY STEVENS DARK ROADS

Dark Roads

From the author who gave us Still Missing comes a new and terrifying new tale!

What’s it about?

Everyone is aware of the disappearances of young women on a dark and lonely stretch of highway in Cold Creek. Cars break down, girls hitchhike, and they either never turn up or they do in an awful and disturbing way. We are talking dark here. Dark road, dark town, dark and sketchy people.

When Hailey McBride can’t take her overbearing and very suspicious acting Uncle Vaughn (also the Police) a minute longer. She was raised in these woods and her father taught her well. For her disappearing will be easy. Surviving will not.

When she finds the girl she loves dead on the side of the road, she runs.

A year later and Amber’s sister Beth is in town looking for answers but no one wants to talk and she has no one to trust. No one wants her poking her nose into all of these deaths, especially Uncle Vaughn.

This was a dark and emotionally charged read. Hailey is a great character and I admired her tenacity and strength. With a beginning and an ending told by a dead girl,this was right up my alley.

Excellent Writing!

NetGalley/ August 3rd, 2021 by St. Martin’s Press

WHERE THE TRUTH LIES by ANNA BAILEY

Where the Truth Lies

Teenagers, isolated small town, and lots of dirty little secrets make for a dynamite combination in this suspense novel.

The town of Whistling Ridge is off. There is just something not right about the people who live there. They have a lot of secrets to keep and they are about to blow up in a big way for some folks.

Emma and her bestie, Abigail are seventeen and think they know everything about each other. Emma is about to find out just how little she knows. At a party Abigail tells Emma to go home alone as she is meeting someone in the woods. Emma doesn’t know who and Abigail won’t say. All Emma sees is a guy in shadows.

So when Abi doesn’t make it home, Emma won’t let it go. The police think she ran away and with her family who would blame her? But Emma doesn’t believe that. And she isn’t about to let it go.

When evidence is found in the woods, people are scared. It seems everyone has a dirty secret. Everyone. My favorite character was Rat. A Romanian immigrant who is gorgeous and living at the trailer park, which you know is not going to end well.

Abi’s older brother Noah loves Rat and that is an issue. Their fathers violence is an issue. But no one says a thing. Why? Because the preacher is not preaching the gospel of a disciple, he’s preaching about violence and beating the sin out of people.

The more Emma digs, the more secrets she finds that Abi had. As more secrets come to light all of the pent up rage and hate will explode into a night that will change all of their lives forever.

There were the most vile of characters in this book. There were also the most innocent of characters in this book. I think I felt this book more strongly because of the political and social climate of today.

Great writing!

NetGalley/August 3rd, 2021 by Atria Books 




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 GOOD DAY FOR CHARDONNAY by DARYNDA JONES

A Good Day for Chardonnay (Sunshine Vicram, #2)

Ms. Jones is back with our bigger than life heroine, Sunshine Vicram. In this second mystery we see Sunshine is still running a small-town police force in New Mexico.

You would think that would be pretty cush, but for Sunshine, not so much. She hasn’t had a day off in forever and her diet of coffee, donuts and wine aren’t cutting it. She needs a break.

Alas, that isn’t going to be happening any time soon. Called out for a bar fight that ends badly, Sunshine is face to face with the love of her life. Levi. Levi comes from trouble. But oh is he a looker. The boy your momma told you to stay away from. But when has Sunshine listened to anyone?

With daughter, Aurora, getting together a teen detective service with her friends, Sunshine is about to have her hands full at home and at work. Also, throw in the mix her memories are beginning to return. Who was the man who rescued her?

This cast of characters are hilarious. Even her smart-mouthed daughter! “Snitches get stitches”. Not to mention all the horrible people in town. And there are some sketchy folks. All suspects.

There are more sub-plots as well, which I like. I laughed so hard with this one. Can’t wait for the next.

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

Β 

Between policing a town her hunky chief deputy calls four cents short of a nickel, that pesky crush she has on Levi which seems to grow exponentially every day, and an irascible raccoon that just doesn’t know when to quit, Sunny’s life is about to rocket to a whole new level of crazy.

Yep, definitely a good day for chardonnay.

THE SINFUL LIVES OF TROPHY WIVES by KRISTIN MILLER

The Sinful Lives of Trophy Wives

Welcome to the exclusive and gated community of Presidio Terrace in San Francisco. Small but very exlcusive. Home to rich husbands and their trophy wives.

Brooke is a mystery writer and also the newest trophy wife. Her hubby is a tech billionaire named Jack who is twenty-two years older and fresh as a daisy. So it seems. She demurs to her husband’s taste and desires. Or so it seems, but there is a lot more to this wifey. I mean, she is a mystery writer. Published.

The new place comes with an HOA with rules that are insane, to say the least, and the most neurotic of their neighbors, Erin, a local news anchor, is the head of this tightly controlled cul-de-sac.

Erin is married to Mason. Who is a liar and a wife beater. Erin is a control freak. And when she goes too far on live television, she gets the boot. Since she has made her career her life, she has little of her marriage left. In fact, she thinks her hubby is sneaking around so they go to therapy.

Erin’s BFF is Georgia “The Black Widow”, whose first two husbands died shortly after marriage. People whisper about her but no one is brave enough to challenge her to her face. Now Georgia is about to marry Robert, who loves her dearly until he disappears and the police come knocking on the exclusive community.

During the first part of the book, I was picturing a 90’s thing going on but then it became a puzzle to figure out. By the end of the book no one was what I thought they were and I was happy!

NetGalley/ July 20th, 2021 by Ballantine Books


THE THERAPIST by B.A.PARIS

The Therapist

Alice and Leo are moving. Into a newly redone home in the exclusive and gated community of The Circle. It seems perfect.

Alice sets out to meet her new neighbors but people are giving her odd looks. When she finds out that a woman was murdered in the house suddenly the price becomes understandable. The woman, Nina, was supposedly killed by her husband.

Alice lost her own sister, Nina, a while back and has her own secrets to hide about that. But she becomes more than obsessed with why her own husband didn’t tell her someone died here. The agent knew, the neighbors knew, but for some reason Alice seemed clueless.

Alice digs into this murder and is soon grilling the neighbors, who all have their own shady dealings going on and aren’t answering her questions.

I am a fan of this author. This main character though was hard to follow because she was just so clueless.

I’ll still read her next one though!

NetGalley/ July 13th, 2021 by St. Martin’s Press