The Guilt Trip by SANDIE JONES

The Guilt Trip

I read this straight through in one sitting. I had no idea who did what until the end. This was like a ride at a theme park. I was constantly asking Who? What? No!!!

The story begins with Jack and Rachel. Married with one son at Uni. Getting ready to fly off to Portugal for Jacks brother, Will’s wedding to Ali.

Also on the trip, although no one is sure why, are Noah and Paige. Noah and Rachel have been best friends since University days. And twenty years later they are still friends but happily married to other people.

Ali is travelling with them as well. She seems to be a flighty, well put together, damsel in distress. Always looking to be alone with Jack, which is suspicious. They have all judged her through Jack’s lens since she worked for him for a short time.

When they arrive things just get weirder. Everyone is tense. Most are lying. Rachel finds out something about Ali that changes everything and the lies get crazier. You can feel the tension ratcheting up to an ending that I did not see! And as friends become enemies, there is a big screen finale!

A definite winner!

NetGalley/August 3rd, 2021 by Minotaur Books



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

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


STEEL FEAR by BRANDON WEBB AND JOHN DAVID MANN

Steel Fear

From the first chapter, I was hooked! This was a thrill ride from the beginning to the end. With no pauses!

I suspected everyone and I was wrong every time!

Navy SEAL, Finn, has just stepped foot onto the USS Abraham Lincoln, supposedly to catch a ride home after a particularly bad hitch in the Persian Gulf area. Details are sketchy, even to him. He knows something is off the minute he is onboard.

There is no leadership or communication. Morale is awful and getting worse. Just a few weeks before one of their helos crashed and everyone died. Monica, a helo pilot has lost friends and is losing more.

It appears there is a serial killer on board and the man in charge is oblivious. So with Finn and a few well -chosen allies begin to investigate, more people die. Of course, Finn is a suspect. Even in his own mind.

Only someone who has lived this could write a book so real you can hear the whine of the engines and smell the fuel of jets. And it appears these two have themselves a new career!

I can’t wait to see what is next!

NetGalley/ July 13th, 2021 by Bantam RHPG

Falling by T.J.Newman

Falling

You just boarded a flight to New York.

There are one hundred and forty-three other passengers onboard.

What you don’t know is that thirty minutes before the flight your pilot’s family was kidnapped.

For his family to live, everyone on your plane must die.

The only way the family will survive is if the pilot follows his orders and crashes the plane.

Enjoy the flight.

So that was the scariest beginning ever! And trust me it gets faster, better, more terrifying as you go along!

What decision would you make if you found out you were flying a plane that had been hijacked basically before it left the ground? They have your family. Who lives? Who dies?

This story could have only been told by this author. It is a non-stop flight of terror from the beginning until the ending.

The characters were brilliant and brave. I read this so fast you would have thought it was a real news event!

I don’t want to give anything away, but this author has hit it out of the park on her first try!

NetGalley/July 6th, 2021, by Avid Reader Press / Simon Schuster

THE NIGHT HAWKS by ELLY GRIFFITHS

There’s nothing Ruth Galloway hates more than amateur archaeologists, but when a group of them stumble upon Bronze Age artifacts alongside a dead body, she finds herself thrust into their midst—and into the crosshairs of a string of murders circling ever closer.

Book 13 in the Ruth Galloway Series

Ruth is back as head of the archaeology department at The University of North Norfolk. She’s still getting the hang of things as department head and her patience is being tried by David, the new guy, who has an abrasive personality. Ruth isn’t quite sure he knows his place.

When DCI Nelson asks her to meet him at the beach where some amateur detectorists (yes, that is how they describe themselves) who call themselves The Night Hawks have stumbled upon what looks to be Bronze Age artifacts on the beach along with a dead body washed ashore. No one seems to know him and Ruth is more interested in the future dig and what it will hold.

As they unearth the dig, they find another body. Holding a knife. But this guy hasn’t been in the land of the living for a very long time.

When the nighttime detectorists discover another murder of a couple who live at Black Dog Farm, a reference to the Black Shuck, a giant dog rumored to haunt the place. Bringing death to whoever sees him.

The people who lived there were a scientist and his wife. There are so many red herrings in here I was suspicious of everyone! These were some seriously disturbed adults. And they had a lot of secrets.

There are the children of the couple. Grown now. But odd as heck. And this David guy is always a step behind Ruth, who isn’t impressed with him.

This one was action-packed and as great as the others. Ruth is an admirable character. And who doesn’t love Nelson?

NetGalley/  June 29th, 2021 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt



Local Woman Missing by Mary Kubica

Mary Kubica is the writer who just pushes you right into the deep end on page one. I appreciate that. There is so much tension in this story! Everyone is shady. Everyone is lying. And the shocks don’t stop until the last page.

Meredith is a midwife. She has a lovely six-year-old daughter named Delilah and a husband who would rather not have his wife out at all hours of the night birthing babies.

When one of her clients goes missing after the baby is born, Meredith is suspicious of the husband. Then Meredith and Delilah go missing. Why? What do these two women have in common besides birth? When Meredith’s body is found without her daughter, the entire town is on the hunt. But with no luck.

Now, eleven years after the event, Delilah returns. Walking into town looking like she hasn’t seen daylight in a long time. While everyone wants to know what happened and where she has been, she is still shell-shocked.

This was a chilling one. However, I am missing a fingernail or two.

Very Well Done!

NetGalley/ 18 May 2021 Harlequin/Park Row

The Perfect Daughter by D.J. Palmer Publication Day! @djpalmerauthor @StMartinsPress Congratulations!

The Perfect Daughter

Another thriller from Palmer! And it is so good!

Some backstory: Grace and Arthur run the family pizza joint in town. They have two sons, Jack and Ryan. Grace though has always dreamed of being the mother to a daughter. So imagine her surprise when she finds a four-year-old little girl abandoned in the park.

The police have no idea who the child is and the child is not speaking to anyone. It’s obvious she has been traumatized but she’s kept quiet. With no family, Grace talks Arthur into letting them foster her which eventually leads to her being adopted and becoming a member of the family.

Jack nicknames her Penny and it sticks. She’s fine with it. But the question remains. Who is she? And when puberty sets in things get dark. Penny hangs around a known pyro, Maria, and they are both in trouble with the law soon. And when Arthur keels over dead at work with only Penny around, she is traumatized more. She is also blamed by Ryan for not calling 911.

Although things are tense and her behavior is odd, they finally get a diagnosis of DID. The last thing Grace thought she would see next was her teenager in jail, covered in blood, found holding a knife over her dead biological mother.

So who the heck is this kid and what has she done? Is she Eve? The kick-ass and take no names alter? Or Chloe? The perfectionist? Maybe Ruby? Although that British accent is off, she seems to be halfway decent.

While her daughter sits in an insane asylum waiting for her trial, Grace and Dr. Mitch will dig deep to find the truth, ending with both of their lives in danger.

But when ‘Penny’ takes the stand her testimony will blow your mind! Either this girl is a pro at lying or the cops are about to be very busy inside the courtroom!

Excellent as her last one!

NetGalley/ April 20, 2021, St. Martins Press