The Look-Alike

By Erica Spindler

The Look-Alike: A Novel by [Spindler, Erica]

4 out of 5 stars

This was my very first book by Erica Spindler and I have to say, I enjoyed it quite a bit. It won’t be the last one I read.

There is something about a death in the snow at night that already leads itself into something you want to uncover. When you add an eerie suspicion that it might be you that was the target, you want to uncover more. Sienna Scott stumbled upon a murdered girl in college one night, who happened to be wearing almost the exact same jacket and gloves. When no murderer has been arrested, she begins to wonder that maybe she was the target. Take into account that her mother has a mental disorder that leads her to paranoia and fear that someone is trying to get her, you begin to wonder if she is right or she is like her mother. We travel back and forth between the past and the present where Sienna has come back home after years abroad. Not only does she have to deal with memories, the case has been reopened and Sienna is getting phone calls that have her on edge.

You will feel the mounting fear rising in your chest as the story stretches out. You start to second guess everyone and everything. There is a great group of characters lead by Sienna that has you hoping you are right about some things and wrong about some things. The mystery didn’t last throughout the whole book, I pretty much figured out the killer pretty quickly, but that didn’t take away from the story at all. Sienna is someone you will want to root for.

Thanks to Netgalley and St. Martin’s Press for a review copy of this book.

The Jetsetters

By Amanda Eyre Ward

The Jetsetters: A Novel by [Eyre Ward, Amanda]

5 out of 5 stars

I have read every single one of Amanda Eyre Ward’s books and have loved them all. Again, I have fallen in love. The very dysfunctional Perkins family has gathered together for a cruise in Europe that the matriarch Charlotte has won. She hopes that it will be a means of getting her family all together and around her more. Charlotte is a rather distant type of person. She longs for love and joy again, apart from her chardonnay and Triscuits and cheese, yet she was raised to not really show emotion. Lee is an actress with no job and carries a big family secret on her shoulders.  Cord is gay and has not come out to his family. Regan is unhappily married. Against the backdrop of Europe, so beautifully described in the book, can they find some kind of peace and family relationship?

I love how this was not all tied up in a nice little bow. It was messy and chaotic and loving and sad. It was exactly what a family is. A few times I wanted to shake a few of them and that to me is the perfect book, I become so involved in these fictional characters that they become very real to me. Amanda Eyre Ward does that to me every time.

If you have never read Amanda Eyre Ward (firstly, what is wrong with you?), you would not go wrong to read this gem. It comes out March 3.

Thanks to Netgalley and Ballantine Books for a copy of this wonderful book for my reading enjoyment.

The Better Liar

By Tanen Jones

 

The Better Liar: A Novel by [Jones, Tanen]

4 out of 5 stars

This is really quite an amazing debut novel by Tanen Jones. It is dark and twisty and perfect for reading when you are huddled in your bed with a cold. My addled cold brain was messed up enough and then I get further into this book and my head was swimming.

Leslie is looking for her sister because she needs her to collect her father’s inheritance. When she goes looking for her, she finds her dead and ends up with a young actress named Mary, who will fill the bill nicely. You can already tell that this is not going to go any which way you think it is. I do have to say that part way through I had a big “What if” question mark and I am not going to give anything away but cold be damned! I loved how it was told in the voices of Mary, Leslie, and her sister Robin. It gave a depth to the backstory and made you understand just who they were.

I loved where this book took me and I look forward to wherever Tanen Jones takes me next book.

Thanks to Netgalley and Random House Ballantine for a copy of this book.

 

Such a Fun Age

By Kiley Reid

Such a Fun Age by [Reid, Kiley]

4 out of 5 stars

I am so glad that I picked this book up for my last book of 2019. It lived up to all the hype I had read beforehand. It felt like I breezed through it even though the storyline had so many different layers. The two main characters of Alix and Emira were at such different stages in their lives but the combination made the reader want to know more. They are connected through something that I didn’t see coming, that was a great twist. It makes you think about how you would handle situations and just how politically and racially woke you are.  Emira with little Briar, Alix’s daughter, was both touching and heartbreaking. The ending had me saying Wow. That added a layer all in it’s own.

Such a Fun Age is such a great book. It is an incredible debut from someone I know I will read again.

Thanks to Netgalley and Penguin Group Putnam for a copy of this wonderful book.

 

The Wives

By Tarryn Fisher

The Wives: A Novel by [Fisher, Tarryn]

4 out of 5 stars

I am always fascinated by books about plural marriage and as we follow Thursday, the day of the week her husband shares with her, we start to see just how jealousy and curiosity can get the better of you. Thursday finds out that things are not exactly as they seem but guess what? This book is not exactly what it seems! You are reading along, watching the cracks form and then suddenly, the mirror explodes! I swear you will shout What?! I did not see the ending coming at all and boy, that shows you how well this is written. It makes you think that what you see is not always what the truth is. Thursday is a very complicated character and I will be thinking about her for a while. If you like delusional characters, shocking twists and complicated characters, this is definitely the book for you. Well done, Ms. Fisher.

Thanks to Graydon House and Netgalley for an advance copy of this book.

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek

By Kim Michele Richardson

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek: A Novel by [Richardson, Kim Michele]

4 out of 5 stars

This story really touched me and made me think of how much reading and books can change anyone’s life. Cussy Mary is one of my favorite characters that I have read this year. She is not going to let anything stop her from delivering books along her route as a Pack Horse Librarian. Her clients are all poor people in Kentucky who don’t have enough to eat, let alone read. Cussy is called Bluet by most people because she is the color blue. (I honestly had to look up the blue people of Kentucky and it is fascinating.) You will be rooting for her to find her happily ever after because she is the kindest person. She will give up food for herself to help others. I love how she could convince even the most stubborn person to get into reading something. There really is something for everyone. My hats are off to all those people who rode their horse, their donkey, or a stubborn mule like the delightful Junia, to deliver books, magazines. They expanded the minds of those who would otherwise not have it.

I was in tears throughout the book. You will feel everything that Cussy feels. There were a few stories that really got to me, especially Angelica and little Henry. The poverty and racism will hit you right in your soul.

Thanks to Netgalley and Sourcebooks Landmark for a copy of this lovely book.

Nothing To See Here

By Kevin Wilson

Nothing to See Here by [Wilson, Kevin]

5 out of 5 stars

I loved this book! I mean what’s not to love about a woman who finds herself while taking care of two children who spontaneously combust ?!

When Lillian’s friend from school calls her and offers her a job, she is skeptic but she is really in nowhere land in her life so she accepts. Lillian and Melissa have a complicated past. Melissa is now the wife of a politician with big plans. What those plans probably don’t include are the two children, Bessie and Roland, from his previous marriage. The two kids catch fire when their emotions get away from them. Lillian’s job is to keep them occupied, away from the public eye and keep them from burning everything down. What Lillian doesn’t expect is to become attached to  these two kids.

I loved the relationship between Lillian and the kids. It was wonderful watching the three of them blossom into a family. They slowly figured each other out. They were more observant than they realized. It is a very quick read, hard to put down and totally different from anything I have read before.

We Met in December

By Rosie Curtis

We Met in December: A Novel by [Curtis, Rosie]

4 out of 5 stars

Who doesn’t love a sweet romantic comedy? This is one of those books that you sit somewhere comfortable with fuzzy socks, blanket, a warm beverage, and just breath in and enjoy. An added bonus, it is set in London. Who doesn’t love a romantic comedy set in London?!

Jess decides to move away from her home to the big city. She is lucky enough to have a friend who has inherited a big house and is renting rooms out for relatively cheap. There is one rule, no relationships between roommates. Jess is fine with that and then she meets Alex. He was a lawyer who decided to chuck it all and become a nurse after his father’s illness. Lucky for Jess, his fiance dumped him because of it. There is instant attraction and we all know there has to be a few bumpy times but we also count on that happy ending.

Did I cry a bit at the end? Is the Pope Catholic? I found myself smiling a whole lot while reading. Jess is a very lovable character and Alex wasn’t too bad himself. Jess’s circle of friends were great and it rounded out a wonderfully written story. This was just the book I needed to escape with and I will look forward to more joy from Rosie Curtis in the future.

Thanks to Netgalley and William Morrow for a copy of this delightful book.

 

The Stranger Inside

By Lisa Unger

The Stranger Inside: A Novel by [Unger, Lisa]

3.5 out of 5 stars

Rain Winter is adjusting to being a stay at home mom after a job as a journalist. When a murder catches her eye, she is thrown back into her past. Rain was a survivor of an awful attack when she was young. She wasn’t the only survivor though and she begins to suspect that Henry is involved in the murder. Are there more vigilante killings including the murder of their attacker?

Though it has very dark aspects to the story, there was also a kind of peaceful redemption, in a way. The push and pull of motherhood with wanting to also be back to doing what you love was a good plot point. The characters were believable and you totally understood where they were coming from, if not always doing things the acceptable way.  There is a reveal that I didn’t see coming at all. I enjoyed the story and the conclusion was very satisfying.

Thanks to Netgalley and Park Row for a copy of this book.

The Family Upstairs

By Lisa Jewell

The Family Upstairs: A Novel by [Jewell, Lisa]

5 out of 5 stars

Lisa Jewell gets better and better with each new book and that is saying a lot because every book has been great.

In this story, Libby finds out she has inherited a house, a rather large, expensive house, on her 25th birthday. Libby was adopted and this house belonged to her birth family. The house has a history as her parents and another man were found dead of an apparent suicide pact. They seemed to have been part of a cult. Libby was found in her crib. As Libby finds out more about her family and the house, we are also learning of the story in two other voices. Her brother Henry tells us how the people who came to live upstairs in their house  changed everything. Our other narrator Lucy is homeless with her two children and when she gets a message saying that “the baby is 25”, does everything to get back to England. Just when you think you have it figured out, oh no you don’t!

I sat reading this book with a feeling of dread. You know everything is leading up to what happened and how this is going to change everything, but you just don’t know how. I had to make myself stop from turning to the end to see what happened. You know that’s the sign of a great thriller when you just need to know! The characters are all compelling. Henry is especially complex. That ending! It still gives me chills.

You will want to pre-order this one right away. Ric Munoz, this has your name written all over it. I can’t wait for the next book and the next and the next….

Thanks to Goodreads for an advance copy of this wonderful book.