The Last Resort by Susi Holliday

When a group of people who don’t know each other get invited to vacation on a beautiful secluded tropical island for free to review some of the owner of the island’s products how could they not accept? But in what I would consider a terrifying updated version of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None, the invitation should have come with a dire warning.

Within a twisted plot, the group are horrifically killed off one at a time, with a nod to a sci-fi novel as they are forced to be implanted with something called a memory tracker which when activated displays memories of horrible deeds they have done which all can see.

With this tracker, they are also allowed to think of something they want and it appears. But, they can also wish for something to happen to someone and unbeknownst to them, it will happen!

But one of the guests, Amelia is not fitted for the device. She seems to be exempt from the scathing memories the other’s seem to endure looking at. As the group makes their way to the house where they will be staying, they are not only tortured by their own memories, but by the island itself. They seem to all notice Amelia’s exemption and don’t understand and start to become resentful of her.

Amelia begins to have memories which seem to have been hidden deep in the recesses of her mind. This island looks somehow familiar. But why? Could she have been here before? And as her recollection becomes even clearer she thinks she could possibly be the reason they are all here. And for those who make it to the house to enjoy the last supper, they are in for a terrible surprise.

Who is behind this and why are they torturing this group who did not know each other until embarking the plane? What is it that Amelia knows that could kill them all, and why? What kind of a monster would take joy in terrorizing people?

The Last Resort is a wonderful thriller in which the answers to questions come only after a terrifying climax. The story is so very well plotted out you may want to go back as I did to look for the missing clues the reader was given during the story!

Thank you #NetGalley #Thomas&Mercer #TheLastResort #SusiHolliday for the advanced copy.

The Other Einstein by Marie Benedict

The Other Einstein is another incredible Marie Benedict novel which once again sheds light on another unsung woman way ahead of her time but who would unfortunately never get proper credit for her true genius. A woman whose husband not only was jealous of her insightful creativity, but quite frankly punished her for her ability by intimidation.

Mitza Maric was a highly intelligent girl whose father saw the promise and potential for her to become a scientist, regardless of her gender. As a young woman she never felt pretty, as she had limp and her parents had always felt no one would ever marry her. Her father sent her to a University in Zurich for science during the 1800’s, something unheard of back then. The only woman in classes, Mitza kept her head down and excelled, much to the surprise of her teachers and classmates.

This caught the eye of one of her classmates, Albert Einstein, who developed a crush on Mitza. As he attempted to court her, she was torn between her love for science and her love for him. He promised her she could have both and she believed him. Against her father’s wishes and sadness, Mitza leaves the University without her degree.

Her love for Einstein takes many twists and turns with Mitza always giving in to Einstein’s wishes, believing him when he would say she makes it all about her and with him always promising to give her the recognition she deserves. And then Einstein deliberately leaves her name off of a paper whose concept was her idea. This paper catapults Einstein into celebrity and solidifies Mitza’s changing relationship with him.

Their romance seems to deteriorate further, perhaps due to Einstein’s jealousy of Mitza, or his own guilt for what he did, but he begins to treat Mitza as someone whose only purpose is to cater to his needs, even having her walk steps in back of him when they are out with others.

By this time, Mika’s life is filled with anger, rage and sadness. She cannot tolerate the mistreatment of this man who had once promised her a world of science and discovery in which they would create together equally, only to be made to feel not only unworthy of her intelligence, but an unacceptable partner to this man she once thought her soulmate.

As in all of Benedict’s books the research is impeccable and the storytelling mesmerizing. Stories such as these shed light on just how far women have come and brings to light the sadness and abuse women who had any intelligence endured with their only flaw being a brain.

The Chicken Sisters by KJ Dell’Antonia

Two sisters vie for the the ultimate $100,000 prize in a restaurant food competition and come out of the experience with a renewed sense of family, life and love.

Years ago two sisters created a chicken restaurant. As in some families, there was jealousy and fighting. The two sisters decided to go there separate ways and establish two restaurants…Chicken Mimi’s a down home chicken and biscuit place and Frannie’s a more upscale (they sell mozzarella sticks) chicken and biscuit place.

Amanda Moore who works at Frannie’s and is the daughter-in-law of the owner, decides to apply to a food reality show called Food Wars. Her idea is for them to come to their small town and taste both Frannie’s and Mimi’s chicken and decide which is better. Her logic being that exposure to their restaurants and the prize which Amanda is sure Frannie’s will win will have people from all over coming to the restaurant. She just has to get her sister Mae on board. You see while Amanda works at Frannie’s, Mae’s loyalty is to Mimi’s, their mother’s restaurant.

Mae, who lives in New York has a chaotic lifestyle with her two children and handsome husband. She is an organizational master with a best selling book and is not very interested in Amanda’s idea. That is until she gets let go of what was suppose to be a promising television career. Mae decides to go back home to their tiny town in Kansas to get a bit of exposure from the television show in hopes of reviving her career.

What neither sister ever expects is that the reality show, in order to create as much drama for their viewers as possible, begins to pit the two restaurants against each other, as well as the two sisters who have not been very close in quite a while. Mae and Amanda begin to turn on each other and in the process out long hidden family secrets, much to the other family member’s distress and embarrassment, but to the joy of the producers of the reality show.

Then Mae’s husband Jay, who always thought Mae lived in Kansas City, not a small town, and her family restaurant was a fancy establishment, not a chicken and biscuit joint, sees an embarrassing video going around and decides to come to the town to find out why Mae has been hiding her roots all this time.

With all this swirling around them, Amanda and Mae must come to some sort of understanding. Amanda, who is tired of running a restaurant and Mae who is tired of always trying to be perfect must learn who they really are not only to each other, but to their families and more importantly to themselves. Who will win the food war? Is it really worth winning?

The Chicken Sisters is a funny, warm-hearted story of the love and hate between families and about picking up the pieces (of chicken) and putting a generation separated family back together if possible.

Thank you #Goodreads #G.P.Putnam’sSons #KJDell’Antonia #TheChickenSisters for the advanced copy.