A Stranger in the House by Shari Lapena @sharilapena

Goodreads|Amazon|Author Website

Release date: July 27, 2017

Publisher: Bantam Press

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Blurb:

Why would you run scared from a happy home?

You're waiting for your beloved husband to get home from work. You're making dinner, looking forward to hearing about his day.

That's the last thing you remember.

You wake up in hospital, with no idea how you got there. They tell you that you were in an accident; you lost control of your car whilst driving in a dangerous part of town.

The police suspect you were up to no good. But your husband refuses to believe it. Your best friend isn't so sure. And even you don't know what to believe . . .

Review:

Last summer I was raving about Lapena's debut, The Couple Next Door, so naturally I've been super excited about reading A Stranger in the House. I was thrilled to find that many of the things that I loved about TCND were found in this book, there was the same great addictive quality to her writing, there were secrets galore and the ever so popular untrustworthy narrators.

The premise of this is fantastic with just the right amount of creepy and it starts with a bang. Karen is driving like a bat out of hell and she gets into a terrible accident. She doesn't remember anything about where she was, why was she in a rough part of town? Who was she meeting there? There are SO MANY questions, but I'm going to stop here because this is one of those books you need to go into as blind as possible in order to have the best experience.

Detective Rasbach is back which was a pleasant surprise for me as I really liked him in TCND. It was a great addition, it gives the book a series vibe without actually being a part of a series so if you haven't read Lapena's first book, you're fine to start with this one. There are no alternating timelines or crazy switches in perspectives here, though you do see things through the eyes of Karen, her husband Tom, her neighbor Brigid and Rasbach.

This was a true page turner, I read it in one sitting and was glued to every page. I loved not knowing who to trust and I changed my mind several times about who was being honest. There were many twists and turns and again, like in her debut Lapena kept the twists coming all the way until the end. I just love when an author can still surprise me in the last few pages!

If you're a fan of Lapena you'll love this and if you've never read her before but enjoy thrillers with an unreliable cast of characters with secrets, check this out. I think this will be another huge summer hit, don't miss it.

Overall rating: 4.5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: The Truth We Bury by Barbara Taylor Sissel

Goodreads|Amazon

Release date: July 25, 2017

Publisher: Lake Union

Genre: Mystery/Domestic Suspense

Blurb:

In this intense, multilayered domestic drama, two families become entangled in a web of lies, secrets, and betrayal that results in an act of violence so shocking their love may not survive.
On the outside, Lily Isley’s life seems perfect: a wealthy husband, a ritzy gated community in Dallas, and a handsome son, AJ—a decorated marine about to be married to his love, Shea. But when a bridesmaid is murdered in AJ’s apartment and he can’t be found, Lily’s world collapses and a long-held family secret is at risk of exposure.
Dru Gallagher’s life took a different course. After her ex-husband, suffering from post-traumatic stress, threatened her and her daughter, Shea, with a shotgun, Dru was forced to leave her marriage and forge ahead as a working-class single mom. Now, the anger she sees in war veteran AJ’s eyes is heartbreakingly familiar—and makes Dru deeply afraid for her daughter’s safety…especially after Shea’s best friend and maid of honor is found dead.
With a killer on the loose and time running out, Lily and Dru, two very different women, unite in a single goal: to save their precious children from scandal, even from death. But will the mothers’ protection be enough, or will the fateful secret they expose—and the truth it reveals—destroy every hope of love?

Review:

I had high hopes for this book, I love a good domestic suspense and the premise for this captured my attention easily. I'm so torn about how I actually feel about The Truth We Bury, there were parts I liked and parts I didn't at all, so I'll just explain my stance and let you decide what you think.

There was something compulsive about this book, I read it really fast and it mostly held my attention. The authors writing style was solid and she clearly has a talent. This would be a great read for a book club as there are several themes and issues one could dissect and discuss. One that I really appreciated was the subject of PTSD. It explored how it effects not only those suffering from it, but also how it impacts their families and loved ones. The families whose lives intersect had plenty of secrets and what's a domestic suspense without loads of secrets?!

While all of what I mentioned previously was great, there was something lacking overall that made this an enjoyable read for me. This is told using dual narratives, that of two mothers whose children are engaged. I always like this style, I just felt there needed to be more distinction between their sections here. The characters also fell a bit flat for me, they needed to be more fleshed out and I didn't really care about them all that much which is always a sign that something is missing for me. The pacing was also on the slow side and I would've liked things to be more suspenseful than they were. The premise was solid, there just needed to be more meat, you know what I mean?

Overall, this wasn't a bad read, it just wasn't one of my favorites. It was light, an emotional mystery that I felt was lacking depth. I found it to be pretty predictable and was left wanting more in the end.

Overall rating: 2.5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Blog Tour: Death Plays a Part by Vivian Conroy @VivWrites


Goodreads|Amazon US|Amazon UK
Release date: July 7, 2017

Publisher: HQ Digital

Genre: Cozy Mystery 

Blurb: 

With high tide comes murder…

When her beloved London theatre closes for renovations, costume maker Guinevere is excited to start a job at Cornisea castle, a centuries-old keep on a small tidal island off the coast of Cornwall. Imagine a whole summer full of stories of hidden treasures, fab food and long walks with her perky dachshund Dolly.


But when a reenactment of a medieval trial in the castle dungeons ends in real-life murder, and accusations threaten the castle’s future, Guinevere and Dolly dig deep into the island community’s best-kept secrets to unmask the killer and save their Cornish summer.

I’m delighted to welcome you to my stop on the blog tour for Death Plays a Part


Review: 

Every once in awhile I like to change things up and pick up a cozy mystery, there’s something comforting about these light mysteries that make for a nice change of pace. Death Plays a Part is the first book in a new series with an adorable and sweet lead character named Guinevere. Fans of this genre will adore her, she’s just a lovely character with that perfect combination of curiosity and charm that’s so appealing. 

This was a quick read with fairly fast pacing, the action begins right away, almost as soon as Guinevere arrives in Cornisea. The setting was both pretty and slightly spooky, it has a deep history and the residents like to tell old ghost stories and legends which added drama to the story. There was a gossipy, small town feel as well, especially as many of the members of the town had secrets they intended to keep. There were plenty of suspects to choose from and Conroy really kept me on my toes trying to figure out whodunnit. 

This was a good old fashioned mystery with no gory descriptions or graphic violence. Guinevere and Oliver made quite the pair of amateur sleuths and both were lovely and very likable. This was an enjoyable read with a puzzling mystery and I can’t wait to see what Guinevere and her sweet dog Dolly get up to next!

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy. 

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #imwayr

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a weekly post to share what you recently finished reading, what you’re currently reading, and what you plan on reading this week. It’s hosted by Kathryn at Bookdate

What I Read Last Week: 


Bring Her Home was a fantastic mystery/thriller. 

The Other Twin was a great psychological thriller that dealt with relevant, timely social issues. 

The Bookshop at Water’s End was a lovely summer read. 

The Marriage Pact was a bizarre read, but I did like it overall. 

The Captain’s Daughter was a gorgeous, atmospheric read. 

Reported Missing was a slow burning thriller, a bit different than I expected. 

Let the Dead Speak was an outstanding police procedural. 
Currently Reading: 


Up Next: 



I’m on the blog tour for all three of these books so I’ll definitely have reviews up for them, but as for what else I’ll be reading this week, who knows? I’m having fun reading a few books that I really want to read so I’ll probably continue that. Unless the books from my review pile decide to taunt me 😜

How was your week? 

Blog Tour: Lift And Separate by Marilyn Simon Rothstein @NounsandVerbs1 @TLCBookTours


Goodreads|Amazon
Release date: December 1, 2016

Publisher: Lake Union

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Blurb: 

Marcy Hammer’s life has been turned upside down. Her husband, the head of a global brassiere empire, didn’t think twice about leaving her after thirty-three years of marriage for a 32DD lingerie model. Now Harvey the Home-Wrecker is missing in action, but Marcy’s through thinking about what a cliché he is. What she needs now is a party-size bag of potato chips, a good support system, and a new dress.


Striking out on her own is difficult at first, but Marcy manages to find traces of humor in her heartbreak. Even while devastated by Harvey’s departure, she still has her indomitable spirit and her self-respect. She has no intention of falling apart, either, even when her adult children drop a few bombshells of their own and she discovers a secret about her new, once-in-a-lifetime friend. Life may be full of setbacks, but by lifting herself up by her own lacy straps, Marcy just may be able to handle them all. 

I’m thrilled to be kicking off the blog tour for Lift And Separate. If you would like to follow the rest of the tour here is the schedule! 

Monday, July 17th: Novel Gossip

Wednesday, July 19th: West Metro Mommy Reads

Monday, July 24th: Bookchickdi

Wednesday, July 26th: A. Holland Reads

Monday, July 31st: Girl Who Reads

Tuesday, August 1st: Why Girls are Weird

Wednesday, August 2nd: From the TBR Pile

Thursday, August 3rd: Readaholic Zone – author guest post

Friday, August 4th: BookNAround

Monday, August 7th: Must Read Faster

Tuesday, August 8th: Just One More Chapter

Wednesday, August 9th: Jathan & Heather

Date TBD: Writer Unboxed

Date TBD: BookBub Blog

Review: 

The vast majority of women’s fiction (or chick lit, whatever label you want to put on it works) features a lead character in her thirties, at the oldest. Nothing wrong with that, I’m in my thirties and can usually relate to these types but it does get a bit stale sometimes. In Lift And Separate Marcy is in her late fifties and I really loved reading things from the perspective of a woman with more life experience than me. She was wickedly funny, resilient and totally genuine, exactly the type of heroine that you want to root for. She finds herself in a bit of a cliched situation when her husband of thirty three years cheats on her with a much younger woman. But this book is far from cliched, it was authentic and sharply funny. 

I really enjoyed the authors writing style, there was so much humor in the storyline despite the fact that Marcy was experiencing the hardest time in her life. She’s extremely vulnerable and she protects herself by being sarcastic which is something I do myself, so clearly I loved that! I also loved watching her growth throughout the story, even though life threw her several curveballs in a short amount of time she handled herself with humor and grace, a total class act. 

This was a highly entertaining read, perfect to read on a weekend afternoon. There was something really satisfying about the authors style, a fluidity that had me turning the pages quickly. I can definitely recommend this one to fans of women’s fiction, especially anyone looking for a fresh spin on the genre. 

Overall rating: 4/5

Review: Let the Dead Speak by Jane Casey 


Goodreads|Amazon
Release date: July 25, 2017

Publisher: Minotaur Books

Genre: Mystery/Thriller, Police Procedural

Blurb: 

When eighteen-year-old Chloe Emery returns to her West London home she finds her mother missing, the house covered in blood. Everything points to murder, except for one thing: there’s no sign of the body.


London detective Maeve Kerrigan and the homicide team turn their attention to the neighbours. The ultra-religious Norrises are acting suspiciously; their teenage daughter and Chloe Emery definitely have something to hide. Then there’s William Turner, once accused of stabbing a schoolmate and the neighborhood’s favorite criminal. Is he merely a scapegoat, or is there more behind the charismatic façade?


As a body fails to materialize, Maeve must piece together a patchwork of testimonies and accusations. Who is lying, and who is not? And soon Maeve starts to realize that not only will the answer lead to Kate Emery, but more lives may hang in the balance.


With Let the Dead Speak, Jane Casey returns with another taut, richly drawn novel that will grip readers from the opening pages to the stunning conclusion.

Review: 

My friend Renée at It’s Book Talk first brought this series to my attention with her amazing review and I just knew that I had to give it a try. Since I didn’t have time to start at the beginning, I just jumped in here. While it worked out great (I had no problems in doing so) I am going to add the earlier books to my TBR because this one was that good. I’m wondering how I ever missed this series to begin with?! I must’ve been buried under a pile of other books. 

This opens with a gripping first chapter, Chloe returns home to a gruesome scene, there is blood everywhere and her mom is missing. So naturally, I was all in right away and my attention never wavered once throughout this roller coaster ride of a book. I’m not going to discuss plot points any further, the blurb tells you just enough, but it’s safe to say that this was an awesome read. 

Two distinct things made this book stand out for me in a sea of police procedurals. First, the characterization is outstanding. Maeve is a beautifully crafted protagonist and is so multidimensional. Clearly her and Derwent have a complicated past and I’m definitely going to go back at some point and explore that angle. Their chemistry was fantastic and they have that kind of rapport with one another that makes you laugh while also feeling like you’re watching a genuine relationship between two people who are fond of each other. 

The second thing that made this a standout for me was that it’s a tightly plotted, multilayered mystery. At no time while I was devouring this did I have any idea what was truly going on or what would happen next. The twists were all shocking and unexpected and the pacing was dead on. The various subplots added to the story and provided an additional layer to peel back, it was just fantastic. 

This was one of the best police procedurals I have come across in quite some time. It was riveting and such an addictive read, I really can’t recommend it highly enough! If you’re like me and are new to the author, you can definitely jump into the series at this point. But remember, I regret not having read the earlier books, so you may want to do yourself a favor and just start at the beginning. 

Overall rating: 5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy. 

Blog Tour: Reported Missing by Sarah Wray @Sarah_Wray @bookouture


Goodreads|Amazon US|Amazon UK
Release date: July 14, 2017

Publisher: Bookouture 

Genre: Psychological Thriller 

Blurb: 

Four months ago, Rebecca Pendle’s husband disappeared. So did 14-year-old Kayleigh Jackson.


Just a coincidence? Rebecca wants to believe so… But as the police start to draw parallels between Chris and Kayleigh, it’s getting harder for her to trust his innocence.


Faced with an angry town that believes Chris has abducted the teenager, Rebecca tries to discover the truth.


But what she finds shocks her more than she ever thought. How well does she really know the man she loves?


A completely gripping, suspenseful thriller, with a shocking twist. Fans of Louise Jensen, K.L Slater and and The Girl on the Train will be hooked until the very last page.

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Reported Missing


Review: 

The premise of Reported Missing totally drew me in, imagine your spouse goes missing on the exact same day that a teenaged girl does. The media jumps to the obvious conclusion that Rebecca’s husband was involved in Kayleigh’s disappearance, and at first glance, it’s easy to see why. But things aren’t always as they seem and Wray takes the reader on a complicated path full of secrets and misdirection. 

The pacing of this book starts out slow, which I know can be frustrating for some people, but it worked well for me here. The slow and steady pacing made the book  more thought provoking and the second half did speed up a bit. This is very character driven, the author spends a lot of time showing how Rebecca’s life has changed since Chris vanished. She is such a mess and it was simultaneously heartbreaking and fascinating watching her unravel. Her out of control paranoia and fear caused me to experience the same feelings which is always a good sign to me!

Reported Missing was a different type of thriller, it was smart and well thought out and it didn’t rely on crazy, far fetched plot twists though it did have some surprises. It had solid writing, an interesting premise and an unexpected ending, overall an engrossing read. 

About the Author: 


Sarah Wray is originally from Yorkshire but now lives in Newcastle-upon-Tyne where she works as a technology writer and editor. She won a Northern Writers’ Award (Arvon Award) in 2015 for an early version of her first novel.

Website|Facebook|Twitter

Review: The Captain’s Daughter by Meg Mitchell Moore


Goodreads|Amazon|Author Website
Release date: July 18, 2017

Publisher: Doubleday Books

Genre: Women’s Fiction 

Blurb: 


Growing up in Little Harbor, Maine, the daughter of a widowed lobsterman, Eliza Barnes could haul a trap and row a skiff with the best of them. But she always knew she’d leave that life behind. Now that she’s married, with two kids and a cushy front-row seat to suburban country club gossip in an affluent Massachusetts town, she feels adrift.


When her father injures himself in a boating accident, Eliza pushes the pause button on her own life to come to his aid. But when she arrives in Maine, she discovers her father’s situation is more dire than he let on. Eliza’s homecoming is further complicated by the reemergence of her first love–and memories of their shared secret. Then Eliza meets Mary Brown, a seventeen-year-old local who is at her own crossroad, and Eliza can’t help but wonder what her life would have been like if she’d stayed.


Filled with humor, insight, summer cocktails, and gorgeous sunsets, The Captain’s Daughter is a compassionate novel about the life-changing choices we make and the consequences we face in their aftermath. 

Review: 

Are you guys going to kill me if I add yet another book to your summer reading list? I’m going to assume you’re all like me and add new books to your TBR daily, so naturally you’ll be happy to add another book. What’s one more anyway?! 

Meg Mitchell Moore is a new to me author and I really had no idea what to expect when I picked up The Captain’s Daughter, but if pushed I would’ve said that I was expecting a fun, lighthearted beach read, something simple. While it most definitely was all of those things it was also insightful, touching and captivating too. 

This is told through multiple narratives, very reminiscent of one of my favorite authors, Elin Hilderbrand. There was that same great beachy vibe and the writing style was also similar. The conversational dialogue felt so genuine, it was as if I was listening to real people talk to each other. The whole book felt really authentic, from the location, to the characters to the situations they were in and the problems they were facing. 

One of my favorite things about this book was the stunning coastal setting the author portrayed. I’ve never been to an East Coast beach before and Mitchell Moore made me feel like I was actually in the town of Little Harbor, Maine. The characterization was also excellent, the residents were all very salt of the earth types who lead relatively simple lives, they were all very endearing. I especially connected with Mary, a local teen who crosses paths with Eliza. There was something so raw and vulnerable about her that really spoke to me. 

While this didn’t have any super heavy themes, it did have some good, strong ones, such as the power of feeling connected to your true home and the importance of familial relationships and being true to oneself. I’m a new fan of Meg Mitchell Moore now and am excited that I discovered a new author! 

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy. 

The Marriage Pact by Michelle Richmond 


Goodreads|Amazon|Author Website
Release date: July 25, 2017

Publisher: Bantam

Genre: Mystery/Thriller 

Blurb: 

In this relentlessly paced novel of psychological suspense, New York Times bestselling author Michelle Richmond crafts an intense and shocking tale that asks: How far would you go to protect your marriage?


Newlyweds Alice and Jake are a picture-perfect couple. Alice, once a singer in a well-known rock band, is now a successful lawyer. Jake is a partner in an up-and-coming psychology practice. Their life together holds endless possibilities. After receiving an enticing wedding gift from one of Alice’s prominent clients, they decide to join an exclusive and mysterious group known only as The Pact.


The goal of The Pact seems simple: to keep marriages happy and intact. And most of its rules make sense. Always answer the phone when your spouse calls. Exchange thoughtful gifts monthly. Plan a trip together once per quarter. . . . Never mention The Pact to anyone.


Alice and Jake are initially seduced by the glamorous parties, the sense of community, their widening social circle of like-minded couples. And then one of them breaks the rules. The young lovers are about to discover that for adherents to The Pact, membership, like marriage, is for life. And The Pact will go to any lengths to enforce that rule. For Jake and Alice, the marriage of their dreams is about to become their worst nightmare.

Review: 

Im going to start this out a little differently than I normally do as I have a bit of a warning for you before I get into my actual review. First of all, if you have problems suspending disbelief this is probably not the book for you. The entire concept of The Pact and how Alice and Jake wind up joining is pretty far fetched and unbelievable. Quick example, it’s a binding contract and they both sign it extremely quickly and with almost no hesitation. Did I mention Alice is a lawyer? BUT, if you can get past the probability of something like this actually taking place, then this book is highly entertaining and a whole lot of fun!

I’ve had a long fascination with cults and in particular as of late Scientology, as I’m a huge fan of Leah Remini’s documentary series about this strange “religion”. (Anyone else watch this?! Would love to chat) Anyway, as soon as the details of this marriage pact were discussed I was totally reminded of Scientology. It’s eerily similar in the massive list of rules and regulations members must follow and in several other ways as well, but I don’t want to spoil it by saying more. I was also getting a strong Stepford Wives vibe, which is such an odd combination, but honestly? It mostly worked really well for me. Yes, I had issues in the beginning believing anyone as intellectual as Jake and Alice were supposed to be would actually want to be a part of something as freaky as The Pact, but I’m so glad that I kept going as it ended up being the perfect balance of creepy, downright strange and highly disturbing. 

Domestic suspense is one of my favorite sub genres, I tend to binge read these types of books as there’s something so addicting about martial strife. I’m always looking for a unique spin on things and this provided that in a few ways. The entire story is told from Jake’s perspective and I loved that as generally it seems to be the wife telling the tale. The other aspect that gave it a fresh feeling was that Jake and Alice were a united front fighting a common enemy. Normally the wife is usually searching for the truth about her husband or something similar and seeing a unified couple was great. 

As much as I did binge read this, the pacing is kind of strange. Most of the chapters are on the short side with the exception of a select few, but it still was a heavy, dense read. Jake spends quite a bit of time doing a lot of self introspection and analyzation, so it almost breaks up the otherwise fast pacing and excitement of the current storyline. The ending was ambiguous, which is not my favorite, but it did work well here. 

It sounds like I have quite a few complaints, and I guess I do, but I still really enjoyed this book. The whole thing is so bizarre, maybe my mixed reaction is an indication of just how bizarre this read actually was, I’m not exactly sure. I would recommend this to the right reader, I know some of my friends would hate it and others would love it, but I hope I’ve given you enough information to be able to decide for yourself if you’re interested or not. 

Overall rating: 4/5

Review: The Bookshop at Water’s End by Patti Callahan Henry @pcalhenry


Goodreads|Amazon|Author Website
Release date: July 11, 2017

Publisher: Berkley 

Genre: Women’s Fiction 

Blurb: 

The women who spent their childhood summers in a small southern town discover it harbors secrets as lush as the marshes that surround it…


Bonny Blankenship’s most treasured memories are of idyllic summers spent in Watersend, South Carolina, with her best friend, Lainey McKay. Amid the sand dunes and oak trees draped with Spanish moss, they swam and wished for happy-ever-afters, then escaped to the local bookshop to read and whisper in the glorious cool silence. Until the night that changed everything, the night that Lainey’s mother disappeared.


Now, in her early fifties, Bonny is desperate to clear her head after a tragic mistake threatens her career as an emergency room doctor, and her marriage crumbles around her. With her troubled teenage daughter, Piper, in tow, she goes back to the beloved river house, where she is soon joined by Lainey and her two young children. During lazy summer days and magical nights, they reunite with bookshop owner Mimi, who is tangled with the past and its mysteries. As the three women cling to a fragile peace, buried secrets and long ago loves return like the tide.

Review: 

The Bookshop at Water’s End is told from multiple perspectives giving four different women all the chance to narrate and tell their personal story.  Bonny and Lainey have been best friends since they were children and Piper is Bonny’s troubled daughter, and finally Mimi is the owner of the bookshop. These women ranged in age from nineteen to eighty and the author did such a brilliant job of creating distinct and powerful voices for each of them. As I write this, I’m trying to decide who my favorite character is and I’m struggling, which only proves my point that the characterization is amazing! 

This is mainly told in the present day as Bonny, Lainey and Piper all spend some time at Bonny’s parents house in Watershed. There are also a few chapters that flashback to the late seventies/early eighties during the three summers that Bonny and Lainey spent there together. Watershed was a fantastic setting and the author truly brought it to life. I kept going back and looking at that beautiful cover while I was reading and it just fits perfectly with the setting she created. 

The main focus of the story surrounds the three women as they struggle with their own personal problems, but the past plays a heavy role in their current dilemmas. Lainey’s mom disappeared and was never seen again and the addition of this mystery added something special and heartbreaking to the text. 

This was a wonderful summer read with depth, there are some lessons to be learned from it and the themes were also beautiful. The power and beauty of female relationships played a heavy role here and the friendship between Bonny and Lainey was just lovely. There was such a good, strong flow to the writing, it was so easy to get caught up in the characters lives and be swept away to Watershed. At it’s heart, it’s the story of women finding their place in the world and finally finding their true home. There is just something magical about this book that I really enjoyed, it’s special. 

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.