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!
Fern and Rose are twins. And as different as two people could be. Rose is married and seems to be happy with life except for the fact that she can’t get pregnant.
Fern is more of a free spirit but has severe sensory issues. The world and it’s inhabitants are a bit too extra for her.
But they both have secrets. Rose protected Fern from their crazy mother. Or did she?
Rose manipulates Fern into having a baby for her. And as soon as she is pregnant Rose turns into someone Fern doesn’t know at all.
I loved Fern. She has all these issues but she finds love with someone who understands them perfectly. But in the end, will she be able to stand up to Rose? Or will her mother actually save the day and expose who is the sociopath here?
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.
I do love Scandinavian Noir! And this one is creepy, scary, and oh so gory! Once I started reading it I could not stop. Okay, I could, but I didn’t.
Alice wants to make a documentary. She’s low on money and equipment but she has a good friend who will put up some money if he can come along. An old friend/enemy has also agreed to come and Alice hated asking her but she is good and interested.
Alice has been a bit obsessed with the residents who just vanished from the old mining town. In 1959 the mine closed and that same year her grandmother’s entire family disappeared. Sure people came in and looked around but all they found were empty houses and in the square one dead woman tied to a pole and in the school, a baby crying. They took the baby and the town was just forgotten. But not by Alice.
When her small team arrives the place is deserted. It looks as if people got up from dinner and never came back. From the first night, they all can feel something isn’t right. They are not alone here. As things heat up they don’t even trust each other. Every one of them has secrets and one is a real shocker.
Reading this book was like watching the Blair Witch Project. You wanted to turn away but you wanted to know the who and why of everything. I loved every scary, gory moment of this one!
NetGalley Review/ March 23rd, 2021 by Minotaur Books
At the wedding of the year, a killer needs no invitation
What could be more romantic than a wedding on the Isle Isola? Surrounded by cliffs and water with an over the top villa where you can get lost if you aren’t careful.
Claire Hunter is an artist. On the rise and to top it off, she is marrying Jack Compton of the uber wealthy Compton family. The Comptons have secrets. A lot of secrets.
When Claire and Jack arrive at the villa, things begin to go wrong. A skeleton has been found and it has everyone on edge. Brothers are fighting, the help is sketchy at best. When her wedding dress is ruined and people start dying, she has to find out who is trying to get rid of her. And what happened to Jack’s first wife?
And then the power goes out, and things get even scarier.
J.T. Ellison is always on point with her books. No one does menacing characters and twisty plots like Ellison.
Will this one have a happy ending or will the wedding of the year become something more sinister?
NetGalley/ March 9th, 2021 by MIRA
A Sneak Peek
Beginnings and Endings
She is going to die tonight.
The white dress, long and filmy, hampers her effort to run. The hem catches on a branch; a large rend in the fabric slashes open, exposing her leg. A deep cut blooms red along her thigh, and the blood runs down her calf. Her hair has come loose from its braid, flies unbound behind her like gossamer wings.
In her panic, she barely notices the pain.
The path ahead is marked by towering cypress and laurel, verdant and lush. A gray stone waist-high wall is all that stands between her and the cliffside. It is cool inside this miniature forest; the sky is blotted out by the purple-throated wisteria that drapes across and between the trees. Someone, years ago, built an archway along the arbor. The arch’s skeleton has long since rotted away and the flowers droop into the path, clinging trails and vines that brush against her head and shoulders. It should be beautiful; instead it feels oppressive, as if the vines might animate, twist and curl around her neck and strangle her to death.
She tries not to look down to the frothing water roiling against the rocks at the cliff’s base. She thinks the ruins are to her right. From what she remembers, they are between the church and the artists’ colony, the four cottages cowering on the hillside, empty and waiting.
A horn shrieks, and she realizes the ferry is pulling away. A crack of lightning, and she sees the silhouette of the captain in the pilothouse, looking out to the turbulent seas ahead. A gamble that he makes it before the storm is upon them.
Don’t panic. Don’t panic.
Where is the church?
There it is, a flash of white through the trees. The stuccoed walls loom, the bell tower hidden behind the overgrown foliage. Now the path is moving upward, the grade increasing. She feels it in her calves and hopes again she is going the right way. The Villa is on the hill, on the northwest promontory of the island. If she can reach its doors, she will be safe.
It is too quiet. There are no birds, no creatures, no buzzing or cries, just her ragged, heavy breath and the scree shuffling underfoot as she climbs. The furious roar of the water smashing its frustration against the rocks rises from her left, echoing against the cliffside.
The dogs begin to howl.
Climb. Climb. Keep going.
She must get to the Villa. There she can call for help. Lock herself inside. Maybe find a weapon.
A branch snaps and she halts, breathless.
Someone is coming.
She startles like a deer, now heedless of the noise she’s making. Fighting back a whimper of fear, she breaks free of the cloistered path to see an old decrepit staircase cut into the stone. Careful, she must be cautious, there are gaps where some steps are missing, and the rest are mossy with disuse, but hurry, hurry. Get away.
She winds up the steps, clinging to the rock face, until she bursts free into a sea of scrubby pines. Two sculptures, Janus twins, flank a slate-dark path into a labyrinth of rhododendron and azalea.
This isn’t right. Where is she?
A hard breeze disrupts the trees around her, and a rumble of thunder like a thousand drums rolls across her body. Lightning flashes and she sees the Villa in the distance. So far away. On the other side of the labyrinth. The other side of the hill.
She’s gone the wrong way.
A droplet of water hits her arm, then her forehead. Dread bubbles through her.
She is too late. The storm is upon her.
The howls of the dogs draw closer. The wind whistles hard and sharp, buffeting her against the stone wall. She can’t move, deep fear cementing her feet. Rain makes the gauzy dress cling to the curves of her body, and the blood on her thigh washes to the ground. None of it matters. She cannot escape.
When he comes, at last, sauntering through the storm, the barking beasts leaping and growling beside him, she is crying, clinging to the wall, the lightning illuminating the ruins; the ancient stones and stark, headless statues the only witness to her death.
She goes over the wall with a thunder-drowned scream, the jagged rocks below her final companions.
From the author of Tell Me Lies, comes a new and twisty story of lies, revenge and love.
Three points of view here, Heather, Burke and Skye. Three people who could not be more different and yet are joined by a bond that only two of them know about.
Heather had a hard life and blames Skye’s mother for that and the death of her little brother years ago. But Heather can hold a grudge! Even her husband, Burke, isn’t sure about her. But she has a plan and for better or worse she drags Burke in.
Skye is trying to live her life on her own terms. With unlimited funds, you would think that would be a piece of cake. It is not. And when she meets Burke, well sparks fly.
But is any of it real? And how far is Heather willing to go in order to exact revenge on a dead woman?
Twisty and full of flawed characters just trying to get by in life. The ending was very satisfying.
Second in a new series set in Alaska from beloved cozy author Paige Shelton, Cold Wind will chill your bones.
We all know Shelton from her cozy mysteries and with this new series she has given us a thriller series that is sure to be a hit.
Beth Rivers is still hiding out from the unknown man who kidnapped her and isn’t going back home until he is found.
Beth Rivers is still in Alaska. The unidentified man who kidnapped her in her home of St. Louis hasn’t been found yet, so she’s not ready to go back. The more time she stays in Benedict the more it feels like home. She has started writing again. She is a successful thriller writer and is living inside one of her books.
When a major mudslide turns up a body in an old trapper’s cabin and Beth has two girls turn up at her door. Covered in mud and not speaking a word, there is a mystery there. No one knows them but the man running the general store keeps turning up.
Beth is determined to find out if the girls and the body are connected. There are so many odd people who seem sketchy. There is something very scary going on here and it needs to be solved.
This was an edge of your seat mystery and thriller. I read this one straight through. I just could not find a stopping point. I can’t wait to see what happens next.
DIE HARD meets TALK RADIO in this heart-pounding, relentlessly fast-paced thriller from the New York Times bestselling author of The Fourth Monkey—master of suspense, J.D. Barker.
“I’m going to offer you a choice.”
J.D. Barker is truly a master of suspense and horror! Makes my black little heart all fluttery whenever I see his name on a book. This one is really scary because I can see this happening at any time.
Jordan Briggs is the female Howard Stern. Brash, in your face, controversial. A total bad-ass. She has no filter and doesn’t care in the least what she has to do to stay at the top of the ratings board. But this single- minded dedication to success has cost her. Her husband is now her ex. She hasn’t spoken to her mother in years. If not for Charlotte, her eleven -year -old daughter, she would be alone and she doesn’t seem too bothered about that.
If you get the impression she’s a pretty shallow and unpopular human being then you are correct.
Until… one day a caller asks if she would like to play a game. Angry because her boss has scheduled an interview with a rather shady senator, she decides to play along. And that sets into motion a series of events that lead to her past and the present colliding in awful ways.
Jordan has made some bad decisions in this business. Not very moral or ethical. And now she is about to pay for all of those. Consequences are always there waiting.
Is it odd to say I felt worse for the killer than Jordan? I understood his motivation although I didn’t agree with his deeds. You never know how your words and actions ripple out into the world until they find that one unstable person who is going to show you how much they matter.
Dare I say that I’ve replaced James Patterson with Barker? Well, I have.
NetGalley/ February 22nd, 2021 by Hampton Creek Press
The Net Force Thriller Series is created by Tom Clancy and Steve Pieczenik and written by Jerome Preisler.
As the world experiences more and more terrorist attacks, the place to be is in cyber-security! With the President giving us an entire agency just for those terrorist acts that you can’t see and Net Force is more than up for the challenge.
This time we are at the edge of the Carpathian Mountains. Where an evil genius has built a seemingly impenetrable fortress from which to oversee his evil plans. Only this time he will be using cyber-space to destroy a lot of lives. Because he is also a next level hacker. With no morals at all.
Just as the team is getting close to the compound, back at base camp, the master of hacking has either hacked our weapons and turned them against us, or we have a traitor in our midst. Because all of a sudden our buildings are being blown up by our own equipment!
And as we all expected, Russia is involved. Hoping to cripple the United States by taking control of the entire internet and do more than steal our credit card numbers. They want to use the internet to pretty much nuke us. And make it look as if we did it ourselves.
If you haven’t read any of the series of books, you should. There is no gentle introduction to the story. No. It is a non-stop, heart -pounding, edge of your seat ride until the last page. I so did not want this to be over. I kept trying to turn another page, but no.
NetGalley/ Harlequin/ Hanover Square December 01, 2020