The Couple At Number 9 by Claire Douglas

As this intensely twisted heart pounding story begins, we find Sutton (Saffy) Cutler and her boyfriend Tom who have just moved into Saffy’s grandmother Rose’s cottage. It was a place neither she nor her mother Lorna knew Rose even owned until she was put into a home for dementia, and they went through her possessions. Purchased years ago, Rose would apparently rent it out. Why did she never tell anyone of its existence?

When they moved in, Saffy and Tom decided to make a few renovations inside and out as they just had found out Saffy was pregnant. All was going well until the workmen discovered what looked like skeletal remains in the garden. Shocked, Saffy calls the police and her mother who is at the moment living in Spain with her younger boyfriend.

When the results of the bones come back as actual human remains, two to be exact, and they both are considered to be homicides, the police begin an investigation and Lorna returns to England to try and assist Saffy and figure out how this could possibly have happened. It certainly could have nothing to do with Rose who they found out lived in the small town with Lorna only for a short time many years ago when Lorna was about two, a period in Lorna’s life of which she has very little memory.

Rose has very confusing answers as to who lived there years ago. And as Saffy and Lorna try to investigate on their own with the tidbits they are able to make sense of, the police are interested in speaking to Rose as a person of interest when they discover the name of one of the dead seems to have disappeared around the time Rose may have been staying at the cottage, the other body still unidentified. If she had been involved, how on earth could she have kept that a secret for so many years? Could something be buried deep in her subconscious, and she just can’t remember anymore?

As Saffy and Lorna begin to make progress, there is someone out there who does not want them to continue. Lorna is accosted and threatened that if she does not find the information which is hidden in the house and get it to him Saffy will pay. And then the house is broken into and although nothing was taken, it’s very clear the person was looking for something. But What? Who is watching them? Could Rose, this sweet woman who would do anything for her family be a killer? And is so why?

But believe it or not this is only one part of this incredible story, which with the sub-plots as it all comes together makes for a scandalously delicious ending! Buckle up readers! You are in for quite the ride!

Thank you #NetGalley #HarperPaperbacks #ClaireDouglas #TheCoupleAtNumber9 for the advanced copy.

Smells Like Tween Spirit by Laurie Gelman

For all of us who thought the wonderfully funny Class Mom series by Laurie Gelman had ended with book 3, oh boy were we happily wrong! In the latest installment, Smells Like Tween Spirit, Jen Dixon is back and as hysterical as ever!

In book 4 we find Jen has left her Class Mom days behind as her young son Max heads off to Middle School, only to find out he has decided to join the wrestling team! Jen decides to join the Mat Moms, a group of women whose sons are on the team and do fundraisers and their stinky laundry. So, as she becomes acquainted with the Pioneer Middle School wrestling moms, (PMS for short) and yes, they DO have t-shirts! she must begin the old get to know their personalities routine feeling out the other moms to find out who the fun ones are and who are the villains.

As if she needs anymore to do now that she is teaching spin classes with a cult following, babysitting her granddaughter, taking care of her aging parents, with her father sinking deeper into dementia, trying to mediate her two daughters’ drama with each other as they try and open a business together and a low libido which has her making excuses to her kind of understanding husband. She even develops a stalker! Well, sort of.

Jen takes us through her holiday seasons which begins with a Halloween party at their house for the wrestlers. Nothing could go wrong there! And a quiet Christmas as her two daughters go elsewhere. It’s then that Jen realizes her life might begin to get much quieter than she really wants!

But Jen is also faced with a sadness she and her readers hoped would never come. But in the real world, this sub-plot is all too painful and is written with perfection causing the reader perhaps a few tears.

With that said, all I can say is Jen Dixon is alive and well and continues to make the readers who love her laugh through her emails and snarky foot in mouth dialogue! Welcome back Jen and thank you Laurie Gelman!

Thank you #NetGalley #HenryHolt&Co. #LaurieGelman #SmellsLikeTweenSpirit for the advanced copy.

Such a Good Mother by Helen Monks Takhar

When push comes to shove, a mother’s love for her child is endless. Their happiness is your happiness, their pain, your pain. No one should ever take what a mother won’t do for their child for granted.

Rose O’Connell has lived a rather rough life. Her father was a con man who scammed people, even his friends for his entire life. Rose, who had no mother was endlessly bullied as a child as many knew of her father’s schemes. But when her dear friend Jacq introduced her to her brother Pete and they fell in love she was sure her luck would change. And when their son Charlie was born, he became the light of her life.

Money has always been a bit of a struggle, but they have been making ends meet with Rose working for a bank and Pete being a plumber. But when Rose sees a new elite school right across the street from them where her own old school sat which is called Woolf Academy, she gets it in her mind that Charlie should go there no matter what. At the interview she meets Amala Kaur, the wealthy leader of a group of women known as The Circle who seem to be able to exert great power at the institute. Rose knows her chances of Charlie being accepted are slim, but he is accepted! And when one of The Circle women tragically dies, Amala asks her to take her place, although the other Circle women don’t believe Rose meets their standards.

Amala assures Rose that tuition would not be a problem as there are many ways she would be able to work within The Circle to make the money. At first, Rose becomes giddy with power. As the other mother’s look at her differently, as she begins to dress differently when not in her bank uniform, as she and Pete are able to eat at a fancy restaurant and are invited to powerful fundraisers, she is blinded by the materialism.

But when things begin to take a different turn and Amala begins to ask her to perhaps not be as honest as she should, it begins to affect her relationship Amala, with Pete and even Charlie who at first seemed to be having a difficult time adjusting to the school. She feels over her head and is unable to find a way out of the situations she is being put in. As she begins to discover the hidden Circle secrets, she feels the price she has to pay is not worth what she has been given. But it could be too late for her to leave. It seems she has been conned. And now her family is paying the price.

The more Rose goes against Amala, the more terrifying the stakes become for her family. But nothing will stop her from protecting those she loves, no matter what. Especially a mother who has been scorned and their child who is now being manipulated.

Such a Good Mother is an incredible psychological thriller which takes the reader along Rose’s ride of sadness for never being accepted, to Rose’s newfound strength as she fights for those she loves and will not stop until her family is whole again. With a satisfyingly twisty ending you don’t see coming!

Thank you #NetGalley #RandomHouse #SuchaGoodMother #HelenMonksTakhar for the advanced copy.

Booked on a Feeling by Jayci Lee

Lizzy Chang is an LA lawyer. It’s something she (and her mother) have dreamed about forever. Lizzy being a successful something and making lots of money. So, when this overachiever passes out during her first opening statement in her first trial, she bounces right back thanks to her best friend forever, Jack Park.

Jack is Lizzy’s safety net. He’s always been there for her even when she had no idea she needed him. But Jack has a bit of a secret. He has had a massive crush on Lizzy for years. He works as a bookkeeper at his family’s brewery in a small town called Weldon. Although he knows his family needs him, he has always seen himself as a financial something in a high-powered business in a big city like Los Angeles.

So, when Lizzy shows up in Weldon unexpectedly after her first trial is over to decompress, he’s hesitatingly excited to see her. She tells him she’ll be there for 3 weeks. He finds himself in the position of either telling her how he feels or moving on. He has also made the decision to interview for a job in LA, which would let him be able to see Lizzy more.

So as Lizzy settles herself into her little apartment over the local bookstore for her stay, she feels she is in her happy place. Books have always been Lizzy’s go to for everything. She loves everything about books, and even turned Jack onto reading years ago. But this bookstore seems to need a little help. The owner has a young son and seems a bit stretched. There is hardly any people traffic at the store, and it is in need of a facelift. Lizzy, who has a hard time sitting still even when she’s relaxing decides to assist the owner and proceeds to make it her pet project. Of course, she gets Jack’s help as well.

That’s when the Lizzy and Jack story really heats up. Especially when Lizzy sees Jack’s toolbelt! But can two best friends with the best friendship each has ever had withstand this next step? And then when Jack throws a surprise curveball into the new relationship will Lizzy, who always needs to be in control be able to handle it? Can best friends ever be anything more without hurting the friendship?

Find out in this too cute, funny, love story which will absolutely put a smile on your face!

Thank you #NetGalley #St.Martin’sGriffin #JayciLee #BookedonaFeeling for the advanced copy.