The Herd by Andrea Bartz

OIP The Herd is about a group of women who have been best friends since college.  These women are strong and feminists and willing to go above and beyond not only for themselves, but for their cause.  They believe they know everything about each other.  But do they?

THE HERD, HER D is a women’s only working space in New York.  The wait list to become a member, very long.  It’s conception the idea of one of the friends, Eleanor who is now The HERD’s CEO.

As THE HERD took off, she and the group of friends were able to make it what it has become, popular to women, empowering to women, but distasteful to some men.  So much so that the three offices had recently been vandalized with graffiti in the bathroom.

The women: Eleanor who has always been in charge and always been the go to person for the other friends.  Hanna is a PR person for THE HERD as well as a few other companies.  Katie is Hanna’s kid sister who is a writer who has recently moved to New York after a book deal went very bad.  Mikki rounds out the group as one of Eleanor’s right hands.

Everything is coming together for a merger with another company when Eleanor suddenly disappears on the night of the big announcement.  Everybody begins to scramble to find her.  But no one knows where she could be.

And with Eleanor’s disappearance the flood gates open as to who Eleanor really was and what was she hiding.  What lies had been told not only by Eleanor, but by each of the other women through the years. Could they even trust one another?

As they delve deeper into Eleanor’s life, they soon realize she may not really have been who they thought she was…but neither have they, because they all have a secret they have been hiding for many years. Something which could destroy them all.

Can the women stay strong in the hopes of finding out what happened to Eleanor, or are they on the road to destroying THE HERD and each other.

Bartz, whose first book The Lost Night, which is another fantastic read, has once again succeeded in keeping the suspense flowing and the reader guessing until literally the last page.

Thank you to #NetGalley #Ballentine/RandomHouse #TheHerd #AndreaBartz for the advanced copy.

Lock Every Door by Riley Sager

OIP Jules Larsen has just lost her job, her boyfriend and her apartment.  With no family and no money she finds herself sleeping on her best friend’s couch.  While searching the want ads she stumbles upon a job opportunity as an apartment sitter at THE most exclusive apartment building in New York City, the Bartholomew.

The job would consist of staying at one of the gorgeous, luxury apartments directly across the street from Central Park, for three months with a stipend of four thousand dollars per month.  Who could possibly pass up this offer?

But Jules soon learns there are some very strange rules attached to the commitment.  No visitors, no nights spent away from the apartment and never bother the other residents. Odd she thinks, but the money would be able to put her back on her feet.

After moving in she discovers a resident is Greta Manville, who wrote a book years ago called Heart of a Dreamer which Jules and her now missing sister would read together. There first introduction does not go as well as she would have imagined. She also discovers she is not the only apartment sitter.

Although being warned the Bartholomew had an eerie, sad history with possible hauntings, Jules spends her first few days becoming acquainted with the complex. She befriends another sitter named Ingrid whose personal problems mimic her own.  When Ingrid does not show up at a planned meeting and Jules finds out she left the Bartholomew without notice during the middle of the night, she becomes alarmed.

While searching for Ingrid, Jules is then plunged into the frightening reality of living in the Bartholomew.  It certainly is not what it seems to be.  She is determined to find out what has happened to her friend and in doing so opens up a Pandora’s Box of greed, privilege and murder, proving the saying, if it’s too good to be true, it probably is. Now Jules must find her way out of the Bartholomew before she too becomes a part of the mysterious Bartholomew’s legacy.

With each turn of the page the anxiety builds and the story begins to unfold into a very sordid and quite unexpected ending.  Very much worth the read!

Unfollow Me by Charlotte Duckworth

OIP When a popular social media mommy blogger suddenly goes dark, none of her followers can understand why.  So they do only what followers should do.  Go to social media to ask why and to give their opinion.  But none of them could have ever imagined the real reason why.

Violet Young is a married mother of three who has a successful YouTube channel and blog.  She holds nothing back.  And because of this she has many mothers who follow her because they know she understands them.  She is just like them.  She is one of them.

So when she shuts down all her social media overnight her followers not only don’t understand why, but go through a sort of withdrawal.

Lily has been following Violet’s media since her son was born.  She is a bit obsessed with Violet and her happy family.  As a single struggling parent in a going no where job, no real friends and Violet’s posts her only “real” companionship, she determines its her loyal duty to find out what has happened to Violet.

Yvonne is a photographer who is married to a handsome personal trainer.  They have been trying to have a child for a while and have been unable.  Yvonne follows Violet’s comings and goings for other reasons, none which are healthy.

Henry is Violet’s husband who although he lends his support to his wife on social media would rather keep their private life private.  He would also prefer she give him some attention rather than her followers.

These characters all have something in common.  They are all living with secrets and lies. Some unknown to the outside world and some even unrecognized in themselves. And just when you think you have them figured out another curveball is thrown!

Unfollow Me is a story about what social media can do to people from the media star themselves to their followers.  It shows the entitlement some people feel once you have allowed them into your life.  And how some followers can go from empathizing with their media “crush” to crushing them with their criticism.

Thank you #NetGalley #CrookedLaneBooks #CharlotteDuckworth #UnfollowMe for the advanced copy.

Writers & Lovers by Lily King

OIP I was fortunate enough to receive a copy of this incredible book from the publisher before it became a Read With Jenna Book Club pick.

Casey Peabody is a 31 year old nomad.  She has lived and loved and traveled.  Now back in Massachusetts working as a waitress in an upscale restaurant, still in mourning since her mother’s untimely death abroad, having just broken up with another boyfriend and not understanding why, debt collectors chasing her about her student loans, and still trying to finish a novel she has been writing forever, she realizes it may be time to grow up.

Living in the decrepit room of a friend of her brother’s yard, with a father she knows she has disappointed her whole life, and who has some seedy baggage himself, and a brother who lives states away, Casey begins to experience physical anxiety about her situation.

Then her life becomes complicated.  She meets and falls for two men.  Both writers, one famous and older, and one young, but with a steady job.  But both soon become the inspiration along with her late mother’s constant guidance to renew her pursuit to finish her book.

With this new motivation also comes a need to reflect on her past life, both family and social and her need to please everyone but herself.  How her lack of confidence in herself came from people she once adored, but she can now see were not healthy for her. Casey needs to become an adult and figure out her life without her mother’s loving presence.

The story is thoughtful, serious, yet funny.  The writing is smooth and flows.  The ending inspiring. All want-to be-writers should put this exceptional novel on their To Be Read list!

Thank you to #NetGalley #GrovePress #LilyKing #Writers&Lovers for the advanced copy.


I Really Needed This Today by Hoda Kotb

OIP So every morning I get up, get myself a cup of coffee and sit down at my computer to go through my emails.  As a blogger, I get quite a few.  But there is one which I look forward to each morning.  My fellow blogger, Susanlovesbooks delivers an inspirational quote each morning. It’s truly a great way to start my day.

With that said when I saw I Really Needed This Today by Hoda Kotb I first thought of Susan and then decided to purchase the book. And my friends, I am so glad I did!

The book is filled with a daily quote, 365 of them with Hoda’s comments about what each quote means to her and perhaps what it could mean to her reader as well.  There are inspiring quotes, funny quotes and some extremely profound quotes.  I believe the book itself is a love story to her friends, family, her children and fiancé, as well as an uplifting read to her devoted fans, some who have been with her as she journeyed through cancer, divorce, messy breakups, finding love and children.

One touching example is “Sisters mean you always have back-up”. Hoda goes on to explain that when she was diagnosed with breast cancer she had to undergo an MRI.  Being scared and overwhelmed and a bit claustrophobic, she didn’t think she would be able to do this.  Her sister Hala who had taken her to the appointment saw the distress she was in.  She told the technician to start the machine.  She was then told she needed to leave the room due to the radiation.  She pulled up a chair next to Hoda and said, “Nope, start the machine, I’m staying right here.”

Another quote which stuck with me is “Do more of what makes you happy”. Hoda explains, first, figure out what that is and second, just do it! So simple, yet so wise! And I now find myself thinking this each time I need to make a decision.

There are also funny little inspirational takeaways as well as extremely heartfelt thoughts.  If you only read one of these inspirations a day, I guarantee your life will change for the better.

Just as mine does each morning while checking emails and drinking coffee…