Thursday, August 25, 2022

{I've Been Reading} Into the Woods

Into the Woods by Lorraine Murphy 

Karen knots that, within hours, her missing daughter's hearing aids will lose their charge and the eight-year-old will be plunged into terrifying silence. Almost before calling the police, she's streaming live on Facebook, hoping her army of follows can help find Scarlett. This domestic thriller plunged right into the action, making me care about the characters and their fates. Karen's life isn't as perfect as the image she shows to the outside world and as the search progresses, questions arise. I read the book almost straight through and thoroughly enjoyed it. 

Six Feet Deep Dish by Mindy Quigley 

Delilah O'Leary's new Chicago restaurant has a crime theme, playfully mocking the building's past connection to gangsters...and, as of the night of her soft open, it also has a fresh crime scene just outside. The food sounds fantastic. The plot is complex and interesting. At first, I felt like I'd come into the middle of the series instead of the first book because some of the relationships already have a lot of conflict, but the more I read the more that choice made sense. I found myself disagreeing with Delilah more than once, but I enjoyed reading the book and I'm curious to see where things go in future titles. 
Make sure to read the recipes at the end -- they're written by the characters and a lot of fun! 

The Favor by Nora Murphy 

Leah and McKenna are living similar lives although the two have never actually met. Both women are facing the same problems and  when their paths cross, they each recognize that fact. This one got off to a slow start, but I was holding my breath and crossing my fingers by the end. It didn't grab me quickly, but once it did, it didn't let go. It has a lot in common with a classic thriller, but telling you which one would spoil the plot.

Disclosure -- The publisher provided me with an ARC. This post contains affiliate links. 

Tuesday, August 09, 2022

{I've Been Reading} Stay Awake

Stay Awake by Megan Goldin

After waking up in the back of a taxi with no idea how she got there and discovering that her apartment has been completely refurnished and is occupied by strangers, Liv Reese is in a panic. She doesn't have her purse or phone with her, only a knife stained with blood and written warnings on both hands telling her to stay awake. Two years have passed since the last thing she remembers and none of her loved ones are answering their phones.

The plot cuts between Liv in the present and Liv in the time period she remembers from two years earlier, alternating with chapters from the point of view of New York police officers who are investigating a murder where STAY AWAKE was written in blood on the victims apartment window. I really enjoyed this one. Some of the  time jumps were a little confusing, but I think that was because Liv herself is so confused. The author does a great job making it all work, but a couple of times I found myself asking why people who knew Liv from before didn't realize that something was very wrong. 

One of my biggest complaints about the domestic thrillers I've read lately is that I don't care enough about the characters to car what happens to them. The more I learn about Liv through her own interactions with others and through the police investigation, the more I wanted her to be okay and hoped she wasn't responsible for that bloody knife. 

Such a Good Mother by Helen Monks Takhar

Rose O'Connell still lives in the neighborhood where she grew up. The place has evolved around her. She didn't fit in when she was young, and she definitely doesn't fit in now. She gets her young son a coveted spot at the Woolf Academy, a school located in a building that was once the  public school where she spent her own childhood. After a member of the Circle, an elite group of mothers who control everything that happens at the academy, dies, Rose somehow manages  to get herself a spot in the group. The other women are not welcoming and Rose's son is deeply unhappy at the school, but she refuses to let go or consider any other options for her family. I didn't like Rose at all and felt that the plot dragged. By the very end, I was starting to understand the point of the thing but, for me,  it was too little, too late. 

Disclosure -- The publishers provided me with advance review copies. This post contains affiliate links. 

Wednesday, August 03, 2022

{I've Been Reading} The Swell


The Swell by Allie Reynolds

The first book I read by Allie Reynolds had the characters trapped at an icy ski resort. In The Swell, a woman finds herself on a remote beach in Australia, surrounded by unwelcoming strangers. I absolutely love the way this author immediately created such a vivid, hostile setting. Kenna has just dropped everything and  travelled to Australia after learning that her best friend is about to get married. She sees too many red flags that she's hoping she can convince Mikki to reconsider her hasty decision.... which is why she ignores so many danger signs and lets herself get dragged along to Sorrow Bay. A group of dedicated surfers is living there almost full time, jealously guarding their perfect waves from outsiders. Surfing was everything to Kenna until a tragic accident killed the love of her life and she gave it up. But now she finds herself being initiated into this group of strangers, even though she can tell they're keeping secrets and that bad things have happened in Sorrow Bay. This one genuinely creeped me out. There's a cultish feeling to the tribe of surfers and knowing that Kenna had no way to leave the isolated spot on her own really increased the tension. I highly recommend this one if you want to immerse yourself into a tense thriller.


Just Like Home by Sarah Gailey 

Vera's dying mother has called her home to the house her father built, the house where her father tortured his victims in the basement under Vera's bedroom. And, like a good daughter, Vera goes to help her. But her mother refuses any help with her personal care, insisting that she's made arrangements for that. Vera's job is to sort through closets and cupboards, digging through what was left after the murder investigations. Her mother has rented rooms to a series of artists and writers who have pillaged the place for inspiration and bits and pieces to add to their work. There's one still living in an outbuilding. While Vera's mom will barely speak to her, this guy wants to pry for details.  This book is a slow burn that takes some incredibly creepy turns. I don't know what I was expecting, but that ending definitely wasn't it! 

Disclosure -- The publishers provided me with advance review copies. This post contains affiliate links. 


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