Tuesday, October 31, 2023

{I've Been Reading} The Better Mother



 The Better Mother by Emily Shiner

Zoe has a perfect life with her husband and young daughter. When a thirteen-year-old boy shows up on their doorstep, claiming to be her husband's son, her first response is to welcome him into their lives. I loved this domestic thriller. The author immediately presents Zoe as a likeable character with a strong marriage, a wonderful mother to her young daughter. So when things start going wrong and her suspicions begin to mount, its easy to empathize with her.  I'm not sure I loved the ending, but it was a very enjoyable read right up until the last bit which had me questioning why that touch was needed. 

The Perfect Girl Friend by Hayley Smith

Lauren and Jay meet at a music festival and feel an immediate connection, spending more of the weekend in his camper van than watching the acts that they came to see. When it's over, he suggests that instead of returning to her own life she joins him at his off the grid cottage.  At first sight, the place is nothing like she'd imagined. Wallpaper is falling from the walls. Everything is stained and shabby. Then she sees the garden. It's paradise and Lauren ignores every chilling red flag that pops up along the way. She goes along with things that make no practical sense, but there's a reason she's so happy to embrace this new lifestyle. This is a fantastic domestic thriller that kept me turning pages and guessing until the very end. I loved it! 


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

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

{I've Been Reading} Sieve and Let Die


Sieve and Let Die by Victoria Hamilton

When an irate customer who made a scene at her friend's pharmacy is later found dead on the building's back steps, Jaymie jumps right into the investigation. I didn't realize how many of the Vintage Kitchen mysteries I've somehow missed. There have been lots of changed in Jaymie's life since the last book I read, but being behind on those developments didn't diminish my enjoyment of the book at all. I was  able to jump right in and enjoy the mystery. It was a fun read with lots of intriguing plot elements. 

The Night of the Sleepover by Kerry Wilkinson

Leah has always been a heavy sleeper. The night that three of her best friends vanished from a slumber party, she didn't awaken or hear a thing. She has no idea where they went and the official investigation never came up with an explanation. Twenty-five years later, a true crime documentary about the missing girls is being filmed and all of the old theories and ideas are suddenly being stirred up again. This one is  a slow burn with some intriguing twists. The ending surprised and satisfied me, but I haven't made up my mind whether I'm going to read the sequel when it comes out in December. 

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

Wednesday, October 11, 2023

{I've Been Reading} Room For Rent


Room For Rent by Noelle W. Ihli

Nya has been working her way through college, struggling to make ends meet.  With one semester left to go, she believes that the worst is behind her. She's found a cheap place to live and signed the rental agreement online. For such low rent she didn't expect much, but her first reaction when she sees the house and the man she'll be sharing it with is to run. The profile picture made her think that Sidney was a young woman, not the creepy guy in the corner of the drum circle. Then it sinks in that she has no other options. She'll have to sleep in her car or find a way to co-exist with an angry stoner who lives in filth and roams the house in his underwear. 

Even as the situation worsens, Nya does everything she can to make her living situation tolerable. If she can just hang on for four more months she'll be able to leave the state and move in with her former roommate's family. Right now, though, she has no one to turn to, no one who can help her. There's nothing for her to do except go to class, study hard, and to avoid Sidney, who is getting worse by the day. The book works so well because Nya is such a likeable protagonist. that I wanted to see her safe. You may see some of the twists coming, but it's definitely a page turner.

Let it Crow! Let it Crow! by Donna Andrews 

After her mentor, Faulk, becomes injured and unable to compete, blacksmith Meg Langslow agrees to be part of Blades of Glory, a reality show that has its competitors making knives and reproductions of historical swords. She has plenty of other things she'd rather be doing, but friends have invested in the new show and to help them out, she'll do what she can to save the production from disaster. I picked this one up based on the description and title and quickly realized that it wasn't the first book about these characters. Turns out it's the thirty-fourth and I've got a LOT of catching up to do because I want to know all about Meg and her friends and family. I loved the characters and the setting, an over the top Gothic castle all decked out for Christmas, and the plot kept me guessing. How did I not manage to stumble across this series sooner?! 

The Followers by Bradeigh Godfrey

Domestic thrillers about social influencers are some of my favorites, right up there with domestic thrillers about new moms. For the first few pages of this one, I was having serious doubts.  Molly Sullivan has been sharing intimate detail of her life with her followers for five years and in the first chapter she's live streaming a pap smear to raise awareness about cervical cancer. She shares everything on her feed, including a photo she took of herself with her new fiancé. He doesn't want to be sharing anything online, for good reason. Molly takes down the picture as soon as he objects, but by then it's  already too late. The plot didn't go where I thought it would and had me actually crying by the end. The character development is fantastic.  I LOVED this one! 

Disclosure -- The publisher provided me with an advance review copy. This post contains affiliate links. 

Thursday, October 05, 2023

{I've Been Reading} Downpour

Downpour by Christopher Hawkins

Have you ever gotten a splinter from a rotten old bench or fence post?  That's what this book is like, in the best possible way. Downpour tells the story of Scott, a man who was trapped in a rotting farmhouse with his family even before the rain started eating away at the shingles and boards or changing the living things unlucky enough to be caught outside in it. I read this one straight though. It's a relentless slow burn that I didn't want to put down. 

Let Him In by William Friend 

Hart House has a troubling history. The most recent tragedy was Alfie's wife, Pippa, who died in the cellar. Now his twin daughters have an imaginary friend. Sometimes he appears as a man, sometimes as a black snake, sometimes as a bird or fish. He takes them on adventures into the night and wants them to call him "daddy." Alfie turns to Pippa's twin sister, Julia a psychiatrist who grew up in Hart House and knows a lot more about what might be going on than she'll willing to admit. This is a chilling, atmospheric horror novel with lots of creepy layers, including a cultish religion and ties to children's literature.  

The New Husband Brian R. O'Rourke

Mary's husband is hours later returning from a thirty day wellness retreat but when he does arrive at theier house she can't believe the changes to his mood and appearance. He's cheerful, in far better shape than he was when he left, and can't keep his hands off of her. The changes are amazing, but  they're not all for the better. I was getting definite Stepford vibes, but couldn't figure out what the author was up to. Brent refuses to talk about the retreat. An elderly neighbor pulls Mary aside and insist he's a different man altogether. I did figure out what was going on, but the author still had me holding my breath until the last page. Can't recommend this one enough if you're into domestic thrillers and it's on Kindle Unlimited! 

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


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