A Flaw In The Design by Nathan Oates

A Flaw In The Design is an absolute thriller on so many levels! With psychological twists and turns and characters who somehow grab your heart and then break it, the story is filled with one shocking revelation after another in a gripping story which will carry you through to the last page.

Gil and his wife Molly are hesitatingly awaiting the arrival of Gil’s nephew, Matthew. Gil’s late sister and brother-in-law, who died in a tragic car accident in New York City had made Gil the guardian of Matthew. Since he is seventeen, he is coming to live with Gil, his wife and their two girls in Vermont until he goes off to college next year.

But the last time Gil’s family had actually seen Matthew was many years prior he tried to hurt one of his girls, allegedly. This heinous act caused a terrible rift between himself and his sister with Gil begging her to get Matthew help.

So as Gil waits for Matthew’s plane to land, he can’t help but feel this is a bad idea. Certainly, Matthew is much older than he was when the incident occurred, but he can’t help but feel a lack of trust in the boy and have a great deal of fear in being able to protect his own family. Although Matthew became very wealthy when his parents died, and Gil will be paid generously monthly for taking Matthew in, something still does not feel right about the situation.

Seriously, what could go wrong? He would only be at their house a few short months before he heads to college and be on his own.

When Matthew arrives, he seems to fit right into the family. As a matter of fact, Molly and the girls are taken with his charm. No mention is made about what happened. Gil’s senses are heightened to make sure Matthew is not being sneaky. Gil also finds out Matthew who is still in high school will be in his writing workshop at the college he works at for credits toward his degree.

Then Gil starts to see a few flaws in Matthew’s personality. He notices he’s beginning to go outside to make secret cell phone calls. He notices a difference in the way he is behaving in front of his daughters and especially his wife Molly. Everything in him feels Matthew is hiding something. But what could it be? When he mentions this to Molly, she seems to think it’s Gil’s imagination.

Through more snooping, Gil discovers perhaps Matthew is not the saint he is trying to portray, but the bad seed he had seemed. And then Matthew writes a story in the workshop which stuns and confirms Gil’s worst fears. It’s all been an act. But when Gil confronts Matthew, he is able to turn the tables and make Gil look like the bad person.

It is now up to Gil to find a way to prove Matthew is vey dangerous. He must be stopped before he can do any more harm than he already has. Because he will.

A Flaw In The Design is a fitting title, because in reality we all have flaws. Some more dangerous than others. The story reads like being on a roller coaster. There were so many emotions along the way. So much fear for the characters which we wanted to be protected. The ending? Well…flawless!

Thank you #NetGalley #RandomHouse #NathanOates #AFlawInTheDesign for the advanced copy.

Whistleblower by Kate Marchant

Whistleblower is the poignant story of one courageous college student and a group of her friends who take on a college conglomerate where money and prestige are more important than the students who attend the school. These students will fight for the rights of those who have been harmed and by doing so will open up a buried can of worms and prove there can be strength in numbers. Of course, there may also be a bit of romance thrown in to make for an even more interesting story!

Laurel Cates is a junior at Garland University. She is on the school newspaper and trying to get published. Through a tip she accidentally stumbles upon a not so flattering story about the football coach who is revered by both faculty, students and especially the football players.

But as Laurel begins to dig deeper into the story, she discovers an even darker history, but has no proof. No one will go on the record until one person, quarterback Bodie St. James gives Laurel some information off the record which she then takes and runs with. But when the story comes out, Laurel finds herself in the position instead of being praised, is mocked by the other students, her car damaged a football player and more importantly not believed by administration.

As Brodie begins to see and understand what is really happening, his position changes and he decides, with the help of Laurel’s friends to come together and blow this secret out of the football field and into the open at a personal cost in order to help those who have been unable to speak. What will the administration do? What will the other students do? Can this story finally be told, and the coach be held accountable?

Whistleblower is an empowering enjoyable read, a sort of David versus Goliath story headed by a strong-willed woman, who if you had asked her at the beginning would have told you she always tries to just blend in, who figured out a way to give those who were unable to speak for themselves, a voice to let everyone know what really happened.

Thank you #WattpadBooks #RachelWu #KateMarchant #Whistleblower for the advanced copy.

Not That Kind Of Ever After by Luci Adams

Not That Kind Of Ever After is a charming story about a young woman who is at a crossroads in her life. While everyone is changing and growing up around her, she is at a loss as to what to do next. She continues to look for her own Prince, but only seems to be kissing frogs…so many frogs!

Bella Marble is having a sort of mid-life crisis. Turning thirty, she is nowhere near where she thought she would be in her life at this point. No boyfriend (or husband), not a writer (at all), and living in an apartment with four other singles (not ideal). But at least one of her roommates is her best friend since childhood, Ellie. But her boyfriend Mark sleeps over quite a bit, ugh! And just like that, everything changes.

Ellie and Mark decide to move out and get their own place and become engaged. A suspiciously odd couple move into Ellie’s old room, and Bella still has writer’s block. But after Bella discovers an online site where people write stories which other people read and comment on, she decides to try not only her hand at writing but decides to document her quest to find her Prince Charming. She writes about her not-so-great dates and gives them funny fairy tale headings.

Although her dates do not go too well and she continuously asks Ellie’s brother Marty for help and advice because, well, he is a player, and a handsome one at that, she begins to find she has a following on the site.

Then, her life comes crashing down around her. She and Ellie have a terrible fight and stop speaking. This has never happened before. Of course, the impetus for the fight was Mark, ugh. She then discovers her parents, whose love story has always been the basis for Bella’s Prince Charming, inform her they are getting divorced. Her stories have gone viral, and she now feels pressure to come up with more interesting fairy tales to keep her readers excited. But she can’t seem to find the mojo. Bella’s just tired. Of it all. How on earth does she get her best friend back and prove there is more to her writing than just sloppy dates.

Without Ellie, Bella turns to Marty to steer her in the right direction, only to have everything blow up in her Cinderella face! Can you truly ever find your Prince Charming? Someone who will be there for you forever? Or do you just settle for someone less. Sometimes wishing for something so desperately and getting it is far worse than what you had. Especially when the one person you’ve counted on since you were young is not by your side.

Not That Kind Of Ever After is a hysterical, empathetic look at dating, trying to change your life, trying to become a real adult and hopefully learning a few lessons about life and love.

Thank you #NetGalley #St.Martin’sGriffin #LuciAdams #NotThatKindOfEverAfter for the advanced copy.

The Magic of Lemon Drop Pie by Rachel Linden

The Magic of Lemon Drop Pie is a beautiful and yes, magical story about how some dreams can really come true, but it takes a great deal of work and much forgiveness. In this uplifting story, Lolly Blanchard lost her mother tragically while she was in college overseas. Her dream had always been to open her own restaurant in London. She had always worked in her parent’s diner, and she was excited to begin her own journey. But unfortunately, her dreams had to be put on hold as her father and baby sister at the time needed all of her to get through this terrible time. So, she heads back to Seattle to take care of both her sister and father, while thinking about her mother every day as she would make her mother’s famous Lemon Drop Pie.

Now in her 30’s, Lolly is still at the diner helping her father while her sister is in college. One day her sister finds an old list of Lolly’s. It includes things she wanted to accomplish in the future. As she peruses the list, she finds she has not been able to fulfill any. Well, she did fulfill one, but that was years ago. That was falling in love. But she can’t let her brain go back there.

Not only does she begin to regret her decision all those years ago, but as she sees her sister and father seemingly content with their lives, she grows angrier at herself. But when her elderly aunt hands her three “magical” lemon drops which can take her back to three days in her life so she can see what it would have been like, she does not believe it. Until she eats the first lemon drop and ends up in London as she sleeps.

Confused, she begins to feel sadness at the life she chose. But what she discovers through the magic of the lemon drops is that a life well-lived can mean just that. Sometimes just by loving and taking care of those around you can be the greatest gift you can ever give. And once you begin to forgive yourself, you too can begin to achieve what you really want.

As she lets go of the anger and resentment, she begins to embrace the present and makes decisions in her own life. And in that is the power.

The Magic of Lemon Drop Pie is a lovely story of love, loss, what-ifs and learning to be the person you want to be, not the person everyone else assumed you were.

The Golden Spoon by Jessa Maxwell

The Golden Spoon reads like a wonderful Agatha Christie novel, with well-developed characters, each with secrets, a great plot and a dead body to start Its surprising conclusion adds to a terrifically suspenseful murder mystery!

It all begins with the finding of a body, but we’ll get to that later. The premise of the story is six contestants have won treasured slots on a very famous baking show, called Bake Week, hosted by a lovely woman whom everyone loves, book author and baker, Betsy Martin. They excitedly converge in hopes of winning by baking their hearts out. It is filmed at Betsy’s property called Grafton in Vermont. But, unfortunately for Betsy, the executives to whom she answers to have decided to add another host/judge this year. Archie Morris, who really knows nothing about baking, but seems to know a great deal about women, has been added in hopes of raising the ratings.

The contestants include:

Stella Velasquez, a meek former journalist, turned baker. Anxiety ridden and honestly not the best baker, she can’t believe her luck as she has been obsessed with meeting the kind Betsy Martin for years.

Pradyumna Das is the former CEO of an app which he sold and made him very rich. Very laid back, he just decided to try his luck at baking and was fortunate enough to be given a slot.

Hannah Severson, from Eden Lake, Minnesota, perhaps an homage to another baker from another cozy mystery series? is a true baker. She has worked at a diner since she was fifteen and loves to bake. Hannah would be the one to watch to win the competition if she can only stay focused.

Lottie Byrne, the oldest contestant has been trying for a slot in the contest for years. A retired nurse, she is an avid baker, and she can’t wait to impress the two judges with recipes she used to bake with her mother.

Peter Gellar is a construction worker by trade. Married to Frederick, they have a three-year-old daughter. He loves to bake for his family.

Gerald Baptiste is a math teacher who believes in precision in everything. He can calculate anything and everything, and he takes measurements very seriously, whether he is baking or catching a train. Formulas are his obsession.

The story opens with the murder. But whose? Well, we don’t know! And everybody is a suspect. The story then retraces the contestants, judges and crews’ movements during the days prior to the murder. We learn a few secrets the contestants have been hiding, and it seems perhaps one of them may be sabotaging the other contestants.

As the contestants dwindle down, perhaps because of the pressure, their true colors begin to show. Some will do just about anything to stay in the spotlight. Others will do anything to get what they want. There perhaps may be one with an ulterior motive as to why they entered the contest. And of course, Betsy and Archie, although judges and hosts, are anything but friendly when the cameras turn off.

The final bombshell is who was murdered and why. With everyone as a suspect, who on earth will be able to figure out just what happened. It may take all of them to band together to smell out the killer.

The Golden Spoon is a terrific tribute to all those who enjoy cozy mysteries intertwined with Christie’s amazing ability to leave the clues in the story. Just follow the breadcrumbs!

Thank you #NetGalley #AtriaBooks #JessaMaxwell #TheGoldenSpoon for the advanced copy.

Mr. & Mrs. Witch by Gwenda Bond

Hold on for the ride of your life! On a broomstick, of course! Mr. & Mrs. Witch is a funny, cute read about two people who fall in love and decide to marry. Normally, by the time you arrive at the altar, there should be no surprises, but when Savannah Wilde and Griffin Carter reach the altar, all their secrets explode in their faces.

Savvy is a witch, although her fiancée has no idea. She honestly never thought she would fall in love, let alone marry someone, let alone a mortal, but she had instant chemistry when she met Griffin Carter, a professor.

Griffin Carter can’t believe his luck! He is marrying the love of his life, Savvy. They have known each other for a year, and they fit perfectly together in every way. He still feels a sense of angst when he thinks about the fact that although she thinks he’s a professor, he really works for a secret company who hunt witches. But thank goodness there is no reason for her to know.

So, as they both stand at the altar, ready to begin their life together, waiting to take their vows which will seal the deal, as they look around at the guests who have come to witness these glorious nuptials, they begin to notice some unsavory characters. Griffin sees a witch, but not just a witch, an important witch they have been going after for years. Savvy sees a Hunter, not just an ordinary hunter of witches, but the head of the company that tries to kill them. What on earth are they doing at the wedding?

As Savvy and Griffin stand at the altar, they both realize they have been keeping some pretty dark secrets. That’s when all hell breaks loose and both sides begin to curse the other side. Savvy and Griffin are in shock! They can’t marry! It would be a crime! So, they do the only proper thing…they scream at each other and leave with their respective families.

Unfortunately for them, Savvy has been banished from her coven and Griffin has lost his job. Even worse, they have both been put on a hitlist, by the higher ups. None of this makes any sense, and even though they both realize they can never marry; they decide to work together to figure out what is really going on.

And this is when the real fun begins, as we get to glimpse how they met and how the relationship progressed. With the help of their families, familiars and friends, the lovebirds begin to piece a not so nice puzzle together that seems to have been going on for centuries. Now, if only they can just solve it, before they are killed!

Mr. & Mrs. Witch is an exceptionally enjoyable read with plenty of mystery, sarcasm, laugh out loud moments and love.

Thank you #NetGalley #St.Martin’sGriffin #GwendaBond #Mr.&Mrs.Witch for the advanced copy.

All That Is Mine I Carry With Me by William Landay

William Landay, author of Defending Jacob, has written a spellbindingly, intoxicating, can’t put down novel about a woman’s disappearance and how it affects her family, which both her sister and one of her three children believe her husband was somehow behind the vanishing.

Jane Larkin became famous for disappearing. One day, in 1975 her very young daughter, Miranda came home from school to find her mother not home. Everything was where it should be, including her mother’s purse. So, Miranda sat down on the couch and waited. Everyone else, her two brothers, and her father came home, but not her mom. Thus began a two-decade mystery, with finger pointing and the unsolved mystery of where Jane Larkin had gone, and why.

The police are called and immediately Detective Tom Glover begins the investigation which his gut tells him has something to do with Jane’s husband, Dan, a lawyer whose cases sometimes include shady characters. But they were never able to find any actual proof that he had been involved. Jane’s sister, Aunt Katie too believes adamantly that Dan is the one and only suspect.

As for the three children, Melinda, Alex and Jeff, through the years, each sees the disappearance of their mom very differently. But one thing is for certain. Her vanishing not only haunts them but changes their lives forever as they are unable to not only process what could have happened, but also the feeling that the person who could possibly have done this still lives in the same house as them.

They each grow up with their own demons and when a friend from their childhood, who is now a writer decides he wants to write a book about the infamous missing person’s case, he begins to sift through what is known and unknown and interviews those involved, including Tom Glover who even after all these years still searches for evidence to prove his theory.

Suddenly, there is a break in the case when bones are found in the state of Vermont very near a vacation spot the family went to during the summer. Finally, Jane Larkin’s puzzle has one more piece. Pressure from the family to charge Dan with the murder finally comes to fruition. But there still is no physical evidence to tie him to what now is really known to be a murder. This tears the children further apart, with the family and Aunt Katie taking sides.

Could Dan have really done this they all ponder? Is so, how could he have lived with himself all these years. But they decide to try through the trial to put the questions to rest. Will justice finally be served? Will this family who has gone through so much ever be able to know for sure what happened to their mom, wife, sister, Jane Larkin.

All That Is Mine I Carry With Me is a heartbreaking story about loss, grief, and the secrets we all carry, some of us even to our graves and beyond. The story, riveting and original will haunt you well after you’ve finished reading.

Thank you #NetGalley #Bantam/RandomHouse #WilliamLanday #AllThatIsMineICarryWithMe for the advanced copy.

At Sea by Emma Fedor

Sometimes a fairytale romance can only be a fairytale. But love can, just like that, become a fairytale. What if by chance a man meets a woman by the sea and their relationship becomes more than just the fairytale. A love story for the ages. But what happens when the love story and the fairytale begin to crumble. What happens then?

Cara meets Brendan unexpectedly and accidentally at the beach on Martha’s Vineyard one summer day. Fresh from graduating college, Cara, an artist is staying with her aunt for the summer before heading to somewhere to try and figure out what to do with her life.

But, on that day she finds Brendan, she discovers he is life! He’s funny, spontaneous, handsome and has an incredible career as a U.S. Special Forces officer, so, he’s even mysterious! Although he cannot disclose much to Cara, she finds out his mother died in a car accident. Cara’s own mother died years ago of cancer. He is wealthy, which Cara thinks can’t hurt, and he must go on secret special assignments and be away for periods of time due to his job. But one bit of information seems to scare her. Brendan tells her the Special Forces implanted him with an experimental apparatus which allows him to breath underwater for days on end. Something no one knows about.

As their romance heats up that summer and knowing Brendan will have to leave on an assignment soon, Brendan suggests they have a child. They already know they will be together forever. Cara is not sure. Not about the being together forever, that’s a given, but she had plans for herself. She wanted her art to be featured in galleries. If she stays in Martha’s Vineyard, would that ever happen. But Cara becomes pregnant. As her due date approaches, she begins to notice a change in Brendan. He starts to become erratic, with mood swings. But perhaps it’s just the fact they are bringing a life into the world.

And then Micah is born. He is beautiful and they are happy for a while. But Brendan starts to obsess about the fact that perhaps Micah was born with the same power he has. He needs to know. Brendan starts to frighten Cara and she fears for Micah. She leaves with the baby. But one morning, she awakens to find Micah gone and no sign of Brendan. Her heart is broken, and she fears she will never see her child again.

Five years later, married to someone else and an artist on the Vineyard, someone comes up to her and tells her they saw two people, one a child swimming out in the middle of the ocean with no boat to be found. Cara is in shock. She is determined to find out if this is true. Her husband tells her she needs to let this fairytale of finding her son go. They will never be found.

But first loves never dies. No matter who thinks she is delusional, she knows this romance which started so long ago has not come to its conclusion. She will fight to the end to find her son, and the man she gave her soul to.

At Sea is a beautiful love story about trust, coping with illness, never giving up, first love and first heartbreak. Do fairytales really come true?

Thank you #NetGalley #GalleryBooks #AtSea #EmmaFedor for the advanced copy.