NEVER HAVE I EVER by JOSHILYN JACKSON

Never Have I Ever

In this game, even winning can be deadly…

 

Amy Whey with her perfect husband, great step-daughter and baby Oliver, has a life she loves. A life she created. She has great friends, a job she loves teaching scuba lessons and a book club of friends. But her best friend is Char. They are a perfect little group of ordinary women.

Life is good until one day there is a new woman on the block. A woman with a fancy red sports car and a teenaged son. Angelica Roux. Even her name sounds seductive. When she insinuates herself into their lives by showing up at their book club, Amy’s internal alarm system is going off. This woman is dangerous. Instead of reading the book, she suggests a game of Never Have I Ever and Amy knows this creature knows her deepest, ugliest secret. One that could ruin everything she has built and cost her everyone in her life.

When Roux gets Amy alone she confirms Amy’s fears. But for the paltry sum of a quarter of a million dollars, Roux will quietly be on her way. Amy has no intention of giving Roux anything. And so begins Amy’s plan to find out just who Roux is and how she even knows about Amy. In a race against the clock, she takes a big gamble and tries to beat Roux at her own game.

This was a twisty one! Secrets, Lies, Betrayals, the sins of our youth coming back to haunt us. The closer I got to the end, the faster I read. She did what??? He’s who??? Oh my gosh!

Well Done!

NetGalley/ July 30, 2019  William Morrow

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SUNBURN by LAURA LIPPMAN

Sunburn

One is playing a long game. But which one?

Blurb:

They meet at a local tavern in the small town of Belleville, Delaware. Polly is set on heading west. Adam says he’s also passing through.

Yet she stays and he stays—drawn to this mysterious redhead whose quiet stillness both unnerves and excites him. Over the course of a punishing summer, Polly and Adam abandon themselves to a steamy, inexorable affair. Still, each holds something back from the other—dangerous, even lethal, secrets that begin to accumulate as autumn approaches, feeding the growing doubts they conceal.

Then someone dies. Was it an accident, or part of a plan? By now, Adam and Polly are so ensnared in each other’s lives and lies that neither one knows how to get away—or even if they want to. Is their love strong enough to withstand the truth, or will it ultimately destroy them?

Something—or someone—has to give.

Which one will it be?

My Take:

This one started out at 100 mph and didn’t let up! Lippman has given us a suspenseful tale that took me on a wild ride of What? Who? What? This one was like a Rubik’s Cube. I was changing my mind all the way to the end. And that ending!

Polly is an unlikeable character. Adam is a very likable character. Irving is a jerk. Even though she appeared to be cold and calculating I wanted to find out why. What is the truth and who is going to die in order to keep a plan alive.

Are they in love? Who is using who? Is one of them a killer? Let’s just say Lippman has this layering of suspense that keeps you on the edge of your seat!

Thanks to William Morrow for the copy!

The Escape Room by Megan Goldin

 

The Escape Room

“Welcome to the Escape Room. Your goal is simple. Get out alive.”

Escape rooms can be really fun and right now they are all over the place and getting pretty creative. The premise is simple enough. A group of people locked in a room. Together they must look at clues that will allow them to escape. The clues are rarely straight forward and more than once will have you backtracking. In the real world, if you run out of time, they just let you out and you can do the walk of shame.

This isn’t that type of story. In this story, four very competitive co-workers are told that on this Friday evening they will be participating in an escape room challenge. None of them wants to do any team building exercises, but they also want to keep their jobs and the money that goes with those jobs, so they show up in a building that is undergoing construction, waiting for an elevator to take them to the escape room.

Little do they know as the elevator rises to the 70th floor that they are already in the escape room. And for the next few days, all of their dirty little secrets, failings, and crimes come out and they must all deal with their own shameful behaviors. And most importantly, which one of them is a killer?

Yes, we find out at the end who was running the show. But I have to say it was a rather unsatisfying end.

Netgalley/ July 30th, 2019 by St. Martin’s Press

 

 

 

THE RUMOR by LESLEY KARA *Release Day*@LesleyKara @randomhouse @netgalley

The Rumor

“Rumors are like fires. No one admits to starting them and before you know it, they’re out of control.”

Joanna is a single mom by choice. Raising her son, Alfie, just down from her mom’s home. Alfie’s dad, Michael, and his mom are on the best of terms, Joanna just didn’t want to get married. Now Alfie is in school and Joanna needs to make nice with the other moms for her son. So when she joins the moms at the school gates she hears a juicy rumor. Which should have stayed at the school gates.

It gnaws at her. This case of a 10-year-old who long ago killed another child. And when she is invited to join the others for a book club, she blurts out the rumor. Once out of the mouth, it takes on a life of its own. Soon she has Michael on the hunt for the mysterious killer who may now be living in their tiny town.

Soon there is mass hysteria toward a woman in town and Joanna realizes she has put her entire family in danger. This time her words may come back to bite her!

Oh my, I loved this one! I was suspicious of every female and every time I thought we (Jo and I), had it nailed down, we were wrong! There was so much tension in this thriller. Fast paced, well written, and that ending! Whoa!

Well Done!

NetGalley/ Ballantine Books Random House

 

 

 

a family of strangers by EMILIE RICHARDS

A Family of Strangers

Emotional, Suspenseful, Domestic Drama, and Murder!  Who are these people that Ryan Gracey thought were family?

Ryan has always been told she was a change of life baby. Born prematurely when her mother went to Mexico on a trip and was all of a sudden pregnant. When she came home she had a baby and Ryans older sister was off to college.

In Ryan’s mind, her older sister, Wendy, can do no wrong. She is the perfect daughter, wife, mother and career woman. In Ryan’s mind. But all of that comes into question when in the same week her father has a heart attack, her sister calls begging her to go watch her two little girls and she’ll be home at some point. What? As Ryan drops her own life to go and help her mother and sister, she is finding some strange things at her sister’s home.  Where is Wendy? Who is Wendy?

Could Wendy be the perfect liar as well?  Ryan intends to use her crime podcast contacts to find out the truth. Where is her sister? Heck, who is her sister? It seems as if everyone has a different opinion and when the truth comes to light, it’s explosive!

Well Done!

NetGalley/Mira  June 25th, 2019 by MIRA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Last House Guest by Megan Miranda

The Last House Guest

Since All The Missing Girls, I have been a huge fan of Megan Miranda. Her style of weaving together a tale is a style I enjoy. Puzzles. Her stories are puzzles.

In this tale, the author has taken us to Littleport, Maine. One of those East Coast towns that is full to the brim with tourists in the summer and deserted the rest of the year except for the townies.

You don’t make friends with the outsiders. Ever. But somehow Sadie Loman met Avery Greer and instantly they were friends. For 10 summers. Until the final summer when Sadie is found dead on the beach below the cliffs.

The next year is a blur of Avery avoiding everyone, working on the Loman estate and living in the guest house. But with the upcoming memorial dedication for Sadie, Avery is getting some very strange vibes and she needs to prove the death was not a suicide and that she is innocent.

This was a twisty, puzzling tale of the haves and the have nots. What money can do for you and what it can not.

That said, this was not even close to the other books. It was more rambling and unclear until the last page or so.  I liked the idea of the story more than the story itself.

NetGalley Reviews/ June 18th, 2019 by Simon & Schuster

 

 

 

Just One Bite by Jack Heath *BLOG TOUR WITH EXCERPT* OUT JUNE 4th!

Just One Bite

If Dexter and Hannibal Lector had a love child it would be Timothy Blake.

We first met Blake in Hangman. He was working with the FBI and really liked Thistle, his handler. Attracted to her but afraid he may end up eating her, Blake left the job and ended up working for a crime boss disposing of bodies. The perfect job for him, right?

This one begins with Blake waiting impatiently in the middle of nowhere for a body drop off. Only things go wrong quickly and Blake ends up being called in again by Thistle and the FBI to track down a missing man. Blake is more than ready to help. Especially as the man is currently awaiting dethawing in his freezer.

But then another man goes missing. And on and on and on.

It seems there is a serial killer on the loose! As he and Thistle work together to find the killer, his actual boss is getting a bit uncomfortable with him working with the FBI and Blake may be the next body found. And as Thistle begins to thaw a bit toward him, she also has the best shot at discovering what he does and who he is.

This is some gruesome reading! And I will be reading the next one just as fast!

NetGalley/ Harlequin Hanover June 04,2019

CHAPTER ONE

 

What has a neck but no head?

 

If Charlie Warner wants you dead, first she steals your shoes.

Not in person. She has people all over Houston.

One of them is James Tyrrell, a pudgy guy with Coke-bottle glasses and scar tissue on his arm where the number 88 used to be. A coded white-supremacist tattoo—H is the eighth letter of the alphabet. The 88 means Heil Hitler. “I’m no Nazi,” I heard him say once. “But if you want to survive Huntsville prison, you gotta pick a team.”

Tyrrell will open your front door with a police-issue lock-release gun and go to your bedroom wearing latex gloves and a hairnet. He’ll steal your most expensive pair of shoes. Usually black, always shiny—the kind you might wear to a funeral. He’ll take some socks, too, but won’t touch anything else on his way out.

Two more guys will drive a white van with stolen plates to wherever it is you work. Their names are Jordan Francis and Theo Sariklis. They both have thick necks, square jaws, and crew cuts. It took me a while to tell them apart. Sariklis is the one with the drooping eyelid and the Ramones shirt. He’s been working for Warner longer than me. Francis is new—just moved here from San Jose, California. He’s the one who cracks jokes. Even in winter, he wears a wife-beater to show off his biceps. He might go to the gym after killing you.

Francis will park the van next to the driver’s side of your car. Sariklis will open the sliding door on the side of the van and wait.

You’ll walk out of the office and approach your car. When you go to open the door, Francis will grab you and drag you into the van. It takes seconds. He’s had plenty of practice—in San Jose he worked for one of the Sureño gangs. You won’t even have time to scream before Francis shuts the van door.

You’ll know who they work for. Warner doesn’t target bystanders. They’re here because you stole from her, or lied to her, or informed on her. Or maybe you didn’t pay your tab at one of her businesses. An underground casino, a bordello, a drug den.

They’ll ask you questions. The first few are a test; they already know the answers. If you lie, Francis will hold you down, while Sariklis forces a water bottle into your mouth and pinches your nose shut so it feels like drowning. They do it like that because they’re still in the parking lot. There aren’t many quiet ways to torture someone.

Just when it feels like you’re gonna die, Sariklis will take the bottle out. You’ll throw up. Then Sariklis will ask you some more questions. The real ones. Whatever Warner needs to know. Who have you told? What are their names? Where do they live? Show us the messages.

The final question is always about the PIN for your bank account. You’ll answer that one gladly. You’ll think it means they only want money. You’ll think they’re going to let you go.

After you give them your PIN, Sariklis will stick the bottle back in your mouth. This time he won’t let up. He’ll drown you, right there in the parking lot. Three minutes until your heart gives up, four until brain death.

Francis will stay in the van with your body while Sariklis takes your car, your phone and your wallet to an ATM. He’ll withdraw as much as he can, then drive to a secluded stretch of beach in Galveston.

There he’ll meet Tyrrell, who has your shoes. Sariklis will place your shoes side by side on the sand, your wallet and keys tucked inside like frightened mice. Tyrrell will do a factory reset on your phone, switch it off and hurl it into the sea. They’ll abandon your car on the side of the road, within sight of the gray ocean, and take Tyrrell’s car back to Warner’s office to give her the cash.

I’ve only been to Warner’s office once, and I had a bag on my head for the whole journey. But I was memorizing the turns, and counting the seconds. Afterward, I got them to drop me off someplace else, and I memorized that journey, too. Later I looked at a map and narrowed it down to four city blocks near Market Square Park.

They usually take you on a Friday. If you live alone, you may not be reported missing until Monday. The police will find your car and shoes around Wednesday. Some of them will say you drowned accidentally while swimming. Others will suggest that it was suicide. The shoes are too classy for a normal swim, they’ll say, and there’s no towel. Plus, your bathing suit is still at your home.

Because of the ATM withdrawal, still, others will say that you faked your death. You did have some powerful enemies, after all. Your missing phone lends credence to this theory. But anyone who suspects Warner will be smart enough not to say so.

All this is assuming you’re one of the lucky ones, and Warner doesn’t want the credit for your death. Sometimes she kills someone to send a message. No stolen shoes, no water bottle. The body turns up in dozens of pieces, each removed from a living person.

Once upon a time, Warner’s men would have just thrown your body into the ocean. The water in your lungs would make sense on the autopsy report. But the bruising around your lips and wrists, plus the damage to your gums, might raise some eyebrows. Now they have a better way.

While Sariklis and Tyrrell bring the cash to Warner’s office, Francis will take the van onto State Highway 12, alone. Your body will be in the back under a sheet, slowly going cold. Francis will drive through the dark, watching the buildings disappear and the trees get taller and taller.

Then he’ll see a beat-up Toyota Corolla parked on the shoulder, miles from anywhere. He’ll pull over. Despite what he’s seen and done, he’ll shudder before he gets out of the car.

Then he’ll slide open the van door, and give your body to me.