Pretty Things

By Janelle Brown

Pretty Things: A Novel by [Janelle Brown]

5 out of 5 stars

“Oh what a tangled web we weave when at first we start to deceive”

Vanessa welcomes Ashley and Michael to Stonehaven to stay in the guest cottage. She is in need of validation. They are in need of the supposed money in the safe. Ashley and Michael are not who they seem. (Newsflash, either is Vanessa) Ashley is really Nina. She has been to Stonehaven before. She was there as a teen when she started dating Benny, Vanessa’s younger brother. But as in any plan, things tend to go awry. Nina wants one last score to help pay her mother’s medical bills and the police seem to be after her. Michael is one smooth criminal.  There will be a twist and then you will turn and then you will be twisted again.

I really enjoyed the realizations that Nina and Vanessa undergo. There is just something about women finding their footing that makes me want to cheer. There was a twist that I felt in my gut and was hoping I was wrong. I wasn’t and that broke my heart. Every twist was perfect for the story. It fueled the eventual outcome perfectly.  It is definitely a book you can’t put down because you will want to know just where it is going.

Thanks to Netgalley and Random House for my advance copy.

Little Secrets

By Jennifer Hillier

Little Secrets: A Novel by [Jennifer Hillier]

4 out of 5 stars

She has a secret.

He has a secret.

They all have a secret!

The secrets abound in this mystery/thriller. It begins on the sad note of a child being taken and we see the family one year later. Marin is holding on by a fingernail. Her husband is having an affair. When she finds out, she begins a new quest, getting rid of her. That is the beginning of so many twists that your head will spin. I have to say that I caught on early to one of the main secrets but that didn’t stop me from reading on. I knew I was right but I had no idea to what extent everything played out. It was crazy! It was one of those books where you find yourself saying Oooohhhh a lot. The characters are all multi-layered. Marin is heartbreaking but resilient.

If you love a good twisty book, this is definitely the one for you.

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

The Familiar Dark

By Amy Engel

The Familiar Dark by [Engel, Amy]

4 out of 5 stars

Dark is the perfect word for this novel. It is extremely dark and hard to read at times, which in my opinion, makes it even more readable. It takes you to places that you don’t really want to go to but you get a deep understanding of why characters behave the way they do. A story of two 12 year old girls being murder is hard enough. Reading about the grieving of the mothers is extremely hard. It is getting into the psyche of our main character Eve that proves to be the toughest road. She was not raised in the best situation. She wanted to be so much more for her daughter Junie and now, the familiar dark comes out. The unveiling of the killer is heartbreaking.

This book is wonderfully written. It is not a cheery book so it may not be for everyone but I could not put it down. I still feel a heaviness on my soul. I feel like this is maybe what the author intended.

Thanks to Netgalley and Dutton Books for a copy of this book.

Darling Rose Gold

By Stephanie Wrobel

5 out of 5 stars

I have been in a reading slump lately. I should be diving into all the books I have but maybe it is the times we are in, I don’t know. I do know that I picked up this book and finished it in two days. Fantastic!

I think we are all pretty aware of the case of Gypsy,  whose mother made her sick for most of her life until she turned the tides. This story is along those lines. Rose Gold’s mother Patty is in prison for poisoning Rose and keeping her ill for all of her young life. When she is paroled from prison, Rose Gold brings her back home to live with her and her baby boy but things are not what they seem. They are DEFINITELY not what they seem. You want twists and turns? You got them. You want a deep look into the minds of people that really are not okay? You got it. You want to feel so totally satisfied at the end of the book and maybe a little dirty? You got it.

I cannot recommend this one enough. I really look forward to whatever this wonderful author writes next.

Follow Me

By Kathleen Barber

Follow Me by [Barber, Kathleen]

4 out of 5 stars

I’m not creeped out, you’re  creeped out. Let me tell you, this book is creepy with a capital C. I think the creepiness comes from not only the writing but because it could happen to anyone with our crazy addiction to social media. Audrey Miller is what is called an “influencer” (a term I loathe) and she has an admirer. We know because we read the story in his voice as well. The story is actually a three point story with Audrey, her friend Cat (serious issues there too)  and Him. All three are completely flawed and all three make this book unputdownable. I was reading thinking “oh this guy has to be Him”. Wrong. “Oh this guy for sure.”  Wrong. I felt such a sense of dread leading up to the end. The end was really a surprise.  It was all very well-written.

Thanks to Netgalley and Gallery Books for a copy of this fantastic read.

 

The Other Mrs.

By Mary Kubica

The Other Mrs.: A Novel by [Kubica, Mary]

4 out of 5 stars

Mary Kubica is really the master at the slow ride thriller. It starts off with a simmer and then heads into a full boil of twists and shocks. It can be a little forgotten moment or a big old house filled with corners that will make you try to figure out just what the heck is going on. The story is told in three separate voices. Sadie is a doctor who has moved with her family into her husband’s sister’s old house. It also comes along with his dark, angry niece. A murder occurs in the little town and things don’t add up for Sadie. We also have Camille, a seductress who seems to want Sadie’s husband to herself. Then there is Mouse, a quiet little girl whose life turns upside with the arrival of her “fake” mom.

The three narrators give us a different view of what is going on. I felt that I knew what was going on and I partly did, I will only say that much. There were some things that were so dark that I didn’t realize what was going on. This is another hit in the thriller/mystery realm of Mary Kubica. It is definitely a page turner!

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

Dead To Her

By Sarah Pinborough

Dead to Her: A Novel by [Pinborough, Sarah]

4 out of 5 stars

If you like twisty, sordid tales of love, revenge, mystery, this is definitely the author for you. This story is a sexually fueled ride through the upper crust of Southern society and those outliers that find themselves thrust into that world. Marcie Maddox is the second wife who is taken aback by the new second wife of her husband’s partner. Keisha is a very young black woman from Britain who is the exact opposite of his first wife. As Marcie watches everyone revolve around Keisha, she too is thrown into the whirlwind. Secrets abound. Then, as anyone who reads Ms. Pinborough knows, there is a twist at the end that makes you shout “AHA!”

It is hard to put this one down. I loved the little pieces of the puzzle along the way. The voodoo was a very nice touch for the story. It was hard to feel sorry for any of them but they all did have their moments. I will warn you that there is a bit of sex and I know some people just can’t deal with that. It made sense to me with the characters. If you have never read her before, I suggest you do. Behind Her Eyes was one of my favorite reads.

Thanks to Netgalley and William Morrow for an advance copy.

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 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.

 

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.