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



THE CHILDREN’S SECRET by NINA MONROE

The Children's Secret

“Nothing ever happens in a sleepy town like Middlebrook. Until the residents are shaken to their core, when one hot Saturday afternoon, at a back-to-school party, nine children sneak into a barn…and only eight come out unharmed.

The press immediately starts asking questions. What type of parents let their children play unsupervised in a house with guns? What kind of child pulls the trigger on their friend? And most importantly: of the nine children who were present in that barn, which one actually pulled the trigger, and why are the others staying silen
t?”

Just reading the synopsis of this book had me hooked. In today’s polarizing views on gun control, this was one I wanted to read.

Six families living in a small neighborhood. Eva and her husband and daughter recently moved here from England. Eva is hoping with school almost ready to start up, that her daughter, Lily, will make friends.

She encourages one of the other families to host a party so the kids can get to know each other. Kaitlin Wright and her husband aren’t thrilled with the idea. Their son is introverted and prefers being alone. He had a good friend, but no more.

We have a family with twins, from Pakistan, whose father is building a mosque in town. We have the single mom and former attorney whose daughter is a mystery to everyone. We have the off the grid single father who is raising three kids alone and the Rev. Avery, who is fostering two kids.

Priscilla, the mother of Astrid has forbidden her daughter to go to the party, but we all know kids. Especially in a small town where they all know each other. She’s going to go.

While the parents socialize, the kids are in the barn with the dog and horses. Until there is a scream and a gunshot. And not everyone is coming out of there on their own two feet.

But where is the gun? And so begins the battle among the families and the press. There were a lot of extremes in this tale. NO GUNS EVER! GUNS ARE FINE. Everyone has an agenda and the children aren’t talking at all.

I enjoyed the story. Although all the parents pretty much seemed the same. The children were great little characters and acted more like adults than the adults did.

NetGalley/ September 7th, 2021 by Crooked Lane 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 SOUTHERN BOOK CLUB’S GUIDE TO SLAYING VAMPIRES by GRADY HENDRIX

The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires

Fried Green Tomatoes and Steel Magnolias meet Dracula in this Southern-flavored supernatural thriller set in the ’90s about a women’s book club that must protect its suburban community from a mysterious and handsome stranger who turns out to be a blood-sucking fiend.

Well the blurb sounds like an interesting mash up. And it is.

It’s the 90’s and our narrator, Patricia Campbell, has always wanted something more out of life. She gave up her nursing career after marrying a doctor and becoming a mother. But somehow, she isn’t living her best life. The days drag on and her kids are seriously ingrates! Her husband is never home and she just can’t seem to get it together.

Her only lifeline is her book club. A group of other Charleston moms joined by their love of true-crime and suspense.

Slick, Kitty, Maryellen, and the newest, Mrs. Green. I was equal parts frustrated with these ladies and cheering for them. They all have unique personalities and hidden talents.

When Patricia’s elderly neighbor losing her mind and attacks her, biting off an ear, she gets to meet a new man. Doing the good Southern thing, bringing food to the bereaved, she meets James Harris. Sensitive, interesting and new. He makes her feel things.The husbands love him.

Then local children start to go missing and she knows he is involved. No one is listening to her and the husbands are standing with James, who is supposedly making them money on an investment.

Is he a vampire or a serial killer?

Patricia won’t let it go. She digs and digs until she has what she needs, but it may come at an awful cost. She and her book club will face a monster and nothing will be the same again.

I loved these ladies. Seriously, you do not want to mess with a Southern women who has a feeling. And with friends like these, what happens in the South stays in the South.

My mother is born and bred Charleston. This would so be her and her friends. Passing books around and solving crime!

A must-read. A really good Horror book.

CHAMELEON GIRL by LIZ FERRO

Chameleon Girl

Adapt and Thrive. This is the way of the chameleon.

And so we are introduced to Nora Horvath. A woman who is fighting demons from her past and yet still creates a life she loves. A life that she can manage. A life with enough. She loves her job and she is good at it. But she is also haunted by something just out of her grasp.

Her life is going as well as it can and she is okay with that.

As a firefighter, Nora is good at her job. Until one day when a horrifying rescue leaves her with brutal memories of an abusive past. Are these real memories? It would explain so much about the voices in her head. And she is one tough lady so she faces them head-on.

While Nora struggles to remember all of the horrible things she has endured, she is questioning her own sanity at points. But these things almost broke her. Almost.

And when everything comes out it is so horrible I don’t see how she stood it. This was such a small book but such large emotions. It doesn’t really have a genre. This feminine narrative is brilliant and heartbreaking and full of hope and courage.

Very well done debut novel!

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



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

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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 doesnโ€™t know when to quit, Sunnyโ€™s life is about to rocket to a whole new level of crazy.

Yep, definitely a good day for chardonnay.

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

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 donโ€™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 Meredithโ€™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 hasnโ€™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