Lies, Lies, Lies by Adele Parks

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Daisy and Simon have been married for years.  As in all marriages they have had their ups and downs.  So when they finally got pregnant and had their daughter Millie five years ago they were ecstatic.  Now Simon wants to have another child and Daisy is reluctant.  Millie is a handful. But Simon insists they at least go for the consult.  Daisy agrees not knowing that Simon has already started the process behind her back. And what Simon discovers will change their lives forever.

Daisy notices Simon, who has always been a heavy drinker, begin to spiral out of control with his drinking.  They begin to fight.  He drinks even more.  Daisy cannot understand what has happened to Simon.  Then Simon loses his job and begins to resent Daisy.  Now at home, he drinks even more.

Then a horrible accident destroys their family.

Daisy and Simon, who both have had secrets and lies between them are shattered to the core.  They are haunted by what happened.  Daisy refuses to see Simon.  Simon finally begins to get what little life he has left back together. But Simon has been lying.  Daisy tries to move on and begins a not so healthy relationship with someone she knew from college. She has her own lies to deal with.OIP (1)

But Simon and Daisy even with a shattered marriage have one common denominator…Millie, who they both love unconditionally.  They will do anything to keep her safe. No matter what that entails.

With so many lies, can either of them really trust the other to offer up the truth? Could they possibly work through all the falsehoods they have told? For Millie’s sake?

Up until the last page, this is an unpredictable story with hidden nuggets which make you want to read a second time to see what you may have missed.  With each lie, there is a surprise and with each surprise there is a consequence. The story will make you gasp out loud at times.  It is a masterful heart-thumping page turner, with characters you think you know, but perhaps you really never did.


Adele Parks was born in Teesside, North-East England. Her first novel, Playing Away, was published in 2000 and since then she's had seventeen international bestsellers, translated into twenty-six languages, including I Invited Her In. She's been an Ambassador for The Reading Agency and a judge for the Costa. She's lived in Italy, Botswana and London, and is now settled in Guildford, Surrey, with her husband, teenage son and cat.

Adele Parks author photo credit Sekkides

Author Website

Twitter: @AdeleParks

Instagram: @adele_parks

Facebook: @OfficialAdeleParks

Goodreads


Q&A with Adele Parks

 

Q: Please give an elevator pitch for Lies, Lies, Lies.

A: Daisy and Simon’s marriage is great. Isn’t it? After years together, the arrival of longed-for daughter Millie sealed everything in place. A happy little family of three. But Simon drinks too much and one night at a party, things spiral horribly out of control. The consequences are horrific, their little family of three will never be the same again. Lies Lies Lies explores the darkest corners of a relationship in freefall as lies are exposed and secrets will not stay hidden. A domestic noir with themes such as addiction, jealousy and secrecy raging throughout.

 

Q:  Which came first: the characters or plot line?

A: The two things are intrinsically linked and need to work together, but for me it is nearly always plot line that comes first, a hare’s breath before characters. My domestic noir or psychological thrillers (call it what you will!) are dependent on reveals, rug-pulls and twists. They only work if the author is confident about where the plot is going from the beginning. That way every word written works harder. If the author is making it up as they go along in this genre it can get complicated at best, farcical at worst! So, I had a plot. Then I thought, ‘which people in the entire world would this be most devastating for?’ At that point I draw my characters. The same circumstances that Daisy and Simon endure would have a different outcome if they didn’t have particular character traits.

 

Q: Why do you love Daisy and why should readers root for her?

A: Honestly, hand in the air, time to confess – Daisy is tricky to love to start with. She’s reserved, closed, a little judgemental. However, the more you get to know her, the more you’ll understand she’s incredibly resilient, has a strong moral compass, an incredible sense of loyalty and is a fiercely strong mom! All great qualities.

Q: What was your last 5 star read?

A: The Guest List by Lucy Foley This is a classic whodunit? Set on a beautiful windswept Irish island, the Wedding of the Year is about to take place between beautiful fashion-forwards magazine editor Jules Keegan and her TV star finance Will Slater. The novel shimmers with tension: past rivalries, family rifts and barely disguised grudges. The cake has just been cut when a body is found. As a storm is raging, no one can get on or off the island, so which of the guests is the murderer and who is dead? It’s tense, brilliantly paced and keeps the reader guessing!

 

Q: What is one thing about publishing you wish someone would have told you?

A: It is an industry for the kind and patient. That is a great thing, right? Two fabulous qualities. Nearly everyone I’ve ever met in publishing has been genuinely lovely, with a sincere passion for their work, good intentions and big hearts. However, it is not a speedy industry! I worked in a global management consultancy before I became a published novelist and was used to a very fast pace in my working life. Publishing is generally rather sedate. I hope I am known for my kindness, but I

Lies Lies Lies

 doubt I am known for my patience! I’m so glad that my last three books have been published by HarperCollins. Luckily for me, they are an incredibly nimble publishing house, not only responsive and reactive, but proactive too.

Q: Can you tell us what you’re working on now?

A: The next novel of mine that will hit the States is a novel called Just My Luck. It’s about – a lottery win so big, it changes everything for a group of friends who learn to understand what money can, can’t should and definitely should not buy!

For fifteen years, Lexi and Jake have played the same six numbers with their friends, the Pearsons and the Heathcotes. Over dinner parties, fish & chip suppers and summer barbecues, they’ve discussed the important stuff – the kids, marriages, jobs and houses – and they’ve laughed off their disappointment when they failed to win anything more than a tenner.

But then, one Saturday night, the unthinkable happens. There’s a rift in the group. Someone doesn’t tell the truth. And soon after, six numbers come up which change everything forever.

Lexi and Jake have a ticket worth £18 million. And their friends are determined to claim a share of it.

A look at the dark side of wealth, in this gripping take on friendship, money, betrayal, and good luck gone bad…


Thank you #NetGalley #MIRA/Harlequin #Lies,Lies,Lies #AdeleParks for the advanced copy. You can buy a copy now at the following links:

Harlequin 

Barnes & Noble

Amazon

Books-A-Million

Powell’s

Rules of the Road by Ciara Geraghty

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Rules of the Road is the touching story of two best friends who take a first and last road trip together and discover the true meaning of their friendship along the way.

Terry is a wife, mother and doer for everyone else.  Completely taken advantage of by her family, it’s just her job.  From finding ties for her husband, to dropping everything for a daughter who just broke up with a boyfriend to planning vacations, Terry does it all. And she relishes it. Terry does not live outside her comfort zone afraid of what she may find there, or what she may fail to find there.

Iris is her best friend.  Iris has decided to go on a trip of a lifetime and never come back.  You see, Iris is single and has Multiple Sclerosis, and rather than become a burden she would rather leave this earth before her illness begins to completely consume her which it has already started to do.

When Terry finds out about Iris’ plan, she drops everything to try and convince her that she has so much more to live for.  She decides to go with Iris on her journey to persuade her that her life is worth living.  This, Terry is sure will give her great distress in so many ways.  Terry must also take along her father Eugene who is in the throws of dementia. His nursing home is being exterminated and he has no one else able to take care of him.OIP (10)

This pilgrimage will take the three of them to places they never would have imagined seeing and put t

hem in situations they could never dream. Their travels are often funny and poignant and filled with excitement, but always looming is the end of their journey.

During the trip, Terry begins to have revelations about her past as well as with her present situation.  She realizes she may not have ever been living her true life.  Her life so far has al

ways been wanting and needing acceptance from others, fearing of letting them down, fear of so many situations she just decided to stop trying. Perhaps, she begins to think, SHE is the only one she has been letting down all these years.

Rules of the Road is a charming, amusing, sensitive story of learning to let go…letting go of your fears, letting go of your ideas about yourself and others, and especially letting go of loved ones.  I suppose you can have a rite of passage at any age, it’s just about knowing which direction you want to go and that will decide your next path.

 


CG, photo credit Doreen Kilfeather79025_2019-04-09_1632

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ciara Geraghty was born and raised in Dublin. She started writing in her thirties and hasn’t looked back. She has three children and one husband and they have recently adopted a dog who, alongside their youngest daughter, is in charge of pretty much everything.

Author Website: http://www.ciarageraghty.com/

Twitter: @ciarageraghty

Facebook: @CiaraGeraghtyBooks

Instagram: @ciara.geraghty.books


Q&A with Ciara Geraghty
Q: What message do you hope readers take away from Rules of the Road?

A: First and foremost, I hope they enjoy it. My mantra for writing is ‘A good tale, well told’. I don’t write fables or books with morals to be endured and lessons to be learned. I write about people and the messiness of their lives. Because, as everyone knows, life is messy. And complex. And complicated. I want my readers to read one of my books and maybe come away feeling less alone. That is the comfort I take from books as a reader, when I come across characters I can relate to.
Q: What’s the story behind the story of how you came to write it?

A: Female friendship and solidarity have always been very important to me. I wanted to examine the importance of female friendship, the impact it has, the difference it makes. When I was writing the book, we had two referendums in Ireland – marriage equality and access to abortion and both were passed with resounding majorities. While my book does not deal with these specific issues, it is a book about personal autonomy, bodily autonomy, a woman’s right to choose.  My subject matter suddenly felt very relevant and positive and hopeful. While the book has a dark heart – Iris, one of my main characters, is determined to end her life in a clinic in Switzerland – I always meant for the book to be ultimately uplifting and life-affirming; a love song sung by women.

During the writing of the book, my father was dying of dementia. I found the writing of Eugene – Terry’s father in ‘Rules’ who has dementia – a very cathartic experience. This is one of the great things about writing; it helps me make sense of the world and the way I feel about it.
Q: Do you have any specific writing rituals (outfit, snacks, pen,music, etc)?

A: Well, I’d love to get all ‘writery’ and say that I repair to a tall tower where I wander around in a caftan and smoke cigarettes from long, slender cigarette holders and wait for the MUSE to arrive…..Now, wouldn’t that be grand!

But, no.

Instead, I write at home, in the attic, at a desk, with a laptop. How pedestrian is that? I will say that, for me, the most important part of the process is getting my butt into the seat at the desk. The chair is an all-singing, all-dancing display of ergonomic engineering (it’s got wheels!) and this is important because one thing is for sure; I’m going to be sitting on it for a LONG time. Caftan and cigarette holders are optional (and rarely employed) but the rule I absolutely insist on is never, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, wait for the MUSE to arrive. I just steel myself and start writing. Even when I don’t want to. Especially when I don’t want to. Otherwise I’ll convince myself that the words have all dried up and the cupboard is bare.
Q: Which character do you most relate to in this novel and why?

A: There are certain traits that I have in common with aspects of both Terry and Iris. Like Iris, I am a year-round sea swimmer. Like Terry, I am a mother who is coming to terms with the fact that some of her children are – technically – grown-ups. I have lived with both of these characters for the past four years and love them both equally, for different reasons. I’d say I relate more to Terry because Iris, for the most part, has it all figured out. She is a woman who knows what she wants and then goes right ahead and gets it. Terry is less certain, she is still feeling her way through her life. She tries so hard to be all things to all people, to the detriment of her own sense of self. As a woman writer who is also a daughter, a mother, a wife, a friend, I relate to this aspect of Terry. I imagine many women these days do. It is the great burden of being a woman, as well as being one of our great strengths.
Q: What is your bucket-list trip?

A: In the current climate, even thinking about a bucket-list trip feels a bit revolutionary. Or like a plot in a science-fiction novel. However, I can reveal that tomorrow, I’m off to Kerry (in the south west of Ireland) for a week. For anyone who has never been to Kerry, I advise you to put it on your bucket-list immediately. Because of the mountains – the highest in Ireland – and the winds that rush in from the Atlantic ocean, rain is a frequent visitor there. BUT – because of the rain, the vegetation is vivid and lush and almost tropical, with the influence of the Gulf Stream. The place is falling down with ancient castles, monasteries, fairy forts and islands (including Skellig Michael for the Star Wars fans amongst you). The Atlantic may be ‘fresh’ (this is Irish for ‘biting cold’) but the waters are crystal clear and the sand is fine and white and an excellent exfoliator of skin. Afterwards, in the pub where you’re eating a bowl of seafood chowder and struggling to eavesdrop on the locals (the accent is as thick as an Aran jumper), you’ll suddenly realise you’re tingling all over. This could be your blood, doing its best to resume normal circulation after the icy immersion in the sea. Or it could be something else. Something a little more other-worldly. The magic of Kerry, rushing through your body, seeping into your bones, engaging every sense you’ve ever had. And a few you didn’t even know you had. Can you tell I’m looking forward to getting away?


ABOUT THE BOOK

In this emotional, life-affirming novel, two women embark on an extraordinary road trip and discover the transformative power of female friendship–perfect for fans of JoJo Moyes and Gail Honeyman.
The simple fact of the matter is that Iris loves life. Maybe she’s forgotten that. Sometimes that happens, doesn’t it? To the best of us? All I have to do is remind her of that one simple fact.
When Iris Armstrong goes missing, her best friend Terry—wife, mother and all-around worrier—is convinced something bad has happened. And when she finds her glamorous, 9780778309710_TS_PRDfeisty friend, she’s right: Iris is setting out on a bucket-list journey that she plans to make her last. She tells Terry there’s no changing her mind, but Terry is determined to show her that life is still worth living.
The only way for Terry to stop Iris is to join her—on a road trip that will take them on a life-changing adventure. Along the way, somehow what should be the worst six days of Terry’s life turn into the best. Told in an irresistible voice and bursting with heart, Rules of the Road is a powerful testament to the importance of human connection and a moving celebration of life in all its unexpected twists and turns.


Thank you to #NetGalley #HarperCollins #RulesoftheRoad #CiaraGeraghty for the advanced copy. You an buy the book now at the available links:

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/rules-of-the-road-ciara-geraghty/1129695990?ean=9780778309710

https://bookshop.org/books/rules-of-the-road-original/9780778309710

https://www.harlequin.com/shop/books/9780778309710_rules-of-the-road.html

https://www.booksamillion.com/p/Rules-Road/Ciara-Geraghty/9780778309710?id=7946727130223

https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780778309710

A Star Is Bored by Byron Lane

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The author of A Star is Bored, Byron Lane was Carrie Fisher’s personal assistant for three years.  He continually has stated that this book is a work of fiction…but I truly hope that he did take some liberties from his time with Ms. Fisher!

This is the funniest, laugh out loud book I have read in a very long time! The banter between the characters is incredible and witty and even though I am not suppose to I can’t help but hear Fisher’s voice in my head as I read the story, which made it even more comical.

Charlie works as an overnight writer for a boring publication.  He want to leave and dreams of having a more exciting job.  Well, be careful what you wish for!  On a tip, he applies for the job as the personal assistant to ultra celebrity Kathi Kannon.  Kannon, who just happens to be a very famous princess from a sci-fi movie lives on a property she shares with her very famous eccentric mother.  During the job interview (audition?) Charlie is extremely confused as to what Ms. Kannon is looking for in an assistant and leaves unsure of whether he even got the job.

The phone rings and Charlie gets his first inking that he got the job but still unsure of what the job entails.  As he soon finds out being Kannon’s personal assistant is a trip, both literally and figuratively.  Between doling out her pills in the morning (see bottom draw in bedroom), to taking her on hilarious vacations (see Japan), to being not only her caretaker but her protector, Charlie finds the chaos disturbingly exciting. And the perks are not so bad either.

As Charlie tries to put Kannon’s life in some sort of order, she on the other hand fights to have the continued mayhem.  There is a housekeeper who has a brain tumor who seems to do nothing but sleep at the kitchen table on a daily basis and a gardener who seems to hold hedge clippers in his hand daily, but never seems to clip anything. Added to the disorganization is Kannon’s mother who is constantly handing Charlie bags of money to make sure her daughter eats her “vegetables”.

There are almost daily trips to what Kannon calls “Vegas” which Charlie assumes are shopping jaunts. They are not. There is one extremely comical episode in which Kannon runs naked (with a bed sheet) into traffic outside her house and Charlie literally tries to reel her in. Then cleans up the public relations mess.

Entwined in the story is Charlie’s own personal dysfunctional history with a mother who died very young and an overbearing father with anger issues who screams a lot, so much so Charlie can’t get his voice out of his head. He also highlights the difficulty of trying to have any kind of personal relationship when you are on call 24/7 at the whim of a superstar. His own dating chronicles are just as funny as his personal assistant shenanigans.

But through all the craziness, Charlie and Kathi develop a relationship which cannot really be defined.  Part respect, part sibling, part parent/child but most of all devotion to each other and a mutual love.

I want to say I truly hope some of this is based in truth because in my head I want to believe Kathi Kannon and Carrie Fisher really did have these absolutely incredible you could not make this stuff up adventures.

So relax, sit back and go along for the most enjoyable ride! This would surely be a great beach read.

Thank you #NetGalley #HenryHoltandCo #ByronLane #AStarIsBored for the advanced copy.  The book will be published on July 28.

Wild Game My Mother, Her Secret and Me by Adrienne Brodeur

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Wild Game is the incredible true story of the relationship between a controlling mother and her eager to please daughter. The story, told by daughter Adrienne begins with Malabar, Adrienne’s mother, waking her up in the middle of the night when she was fourteen to tell her she had just been kissed by Ben Souther. Those simple words would forever change their lives and all their relationships.

You see Malabar was already married. And Ben Souther was her husband’s married best friend. So when she makes this proclamation to Adrienne, her husband is actually sleeping soundly in another room, and Ben’s wife in another.

And thus begins the toxic relationship between mother and daughter in which Adrienne becomes Malabar’s confidant in an affair which would span decades.  A secret which would almost destroy Adrienne’s psyche and a mother who felt nothing she said was off limits. A relationship which would have Adrienne lying to people to protect this love affair, even having to come up with and execute a plan when Malabar believed the affair was going to be exposed. She herself assists in setting up secret meetings for them, even having drinks with them while she was in college at their New York hotel hideaway.

All Adrienne ever wanted was to please her mother.  So if hearing the sordid details of their trysts or protecting the secret even though she hated lying to everybody would make Malabar happy, then that is what she would do.  But, all this secrecy and pressure finally catches up with Adrienne. There were stomach issues which could never be diagnosed, a marriage which should never have happened, and the final internal explosion of being so depressed she could not function normally.  Only then was she finally able to seek the help she needed. And while going through all this, still trying to protect her mother.

She finally became the person she was meant to be, without her mother’s provocation or hearing her mother’s voice in her head. And Malabar, could never understand why Adrienne would not want to listen.  Malabar used her daughter.  Even using a family heirloom to keep Adrienne’s trust, always telling her a necklace passed down from her great grandmother would be hers one day only to then take back what she said on many occasions.

Through therapy Adrienne is even able to forgive her mother, realizing what Malabar did was only what she had witnessed from her own mother as she grew up.  The most important aftereffect to Adrienne was to try and break this cycle if and when she had children.

This is an extraordinary memoir about a girl who had to grow up too fast, whose only goal was to please a mother who could never be pleased. She sadly put herself and her needs on the backburner and allowed this secret to haunt her life because if found out it would ruin her relationship with the person she idolized the most. Not realizing she herself is and should be the most important person in her life.

Wild Game has just come out in paperback.

The Mall by Megan McCafferty

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This quite clever young adult novel is set in a mall during the 1990’s when hair was big, makeup was blue eyeshadow, cassettes the only way to listen to music and a jean jacket a must. It’s when the real Beverly Hills 90210 was a hit.

Cassie and her boyfriend Troy who have been together for years and have a life plan for themselves get ready to begin phase two of the so called plan (college). They will spend their last summer together working as planned at the mall at the America’s Best Cookie store.  Until Cassie gets mono and has to spend weeks in bed.  When she is fully recovered she thinks life will go back to “as planned” the way it should.  Until she finds out Troy has dumped her for another girl and she cannot work at the store any longer and now has no job and she can’t tell her parents. She suddenly feels her whole life becoming a series of downward spirals.

As she interviews at other establishments and judges the employees working there (most who went to school with her) as beneath her, she accidently walks into a clothes shop which she finds is owned by the mother of her bestfriend in fifth grade.  Although they have not seen each other since, she gets hired as the bookkeeper for the rest of the summer.

Her past bestfriend Drea who is her total opposite, dates whoever, wears whatever and really doesn’t care what other people think begins teaching her about other ways of seeing people and relaxing her rigid objectives.  And Drea begins to learn from Cassie’s positive attributes.

During her summer at the mall, Cassie meets quite the cast of characters and she and Drea find themselves obsessed with finding a “legend has it” treasure hidden somewhere in the mall. Cassie begins to learn some valuable lessons. Such as what is on the outside sometimes is not what is on the inside of a person.  And looks can be deceiving. Sometimes it’s those quirks that make a person special.

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What Cassie learns from others during her last six weeks until going to college is invaluable.  True friendships will last forever and don’t judge others. Loyalty and honesty in friends really exists, real friends have each other’s backs even if they unintentionally hurt you and plans can be changed. When her stint at the mall is over, Cassie walks out very differently than when she first walked in.

The Mall is an inspiring story for young girls with strong female characters and an intriguing treasure hunt which keeps the reader fascinated until the end.

 

 


 

New York Times bestselling author Megan McCafferty returns to her roots with this YA coming of age story set in a New Jersey mall.

The year is 1991. Scrunchies, mixtapes and 90210 are, like, totally fresh. Cassie Worthy is psyched to spend the summer after graduation working at the Parkway Center Mall. In six weeks, she and her boyfriend head off to college in NYC to fulfill The Plan: higher education and happily ever after.

But you know what they say about the best laid plans…

Set entirely in a classic “monument to consumerism,” the novel follows Cassie as she finds friendship, love, and ultimately herself, in the most unexpected of places. Megan McCafferty, beloved New York Times bestselling author of the Jessica Darling series, takes readers on an epic trip back in time to The Mall.

 

Megan McCafferty writes fiction for tweens, teens and teens-at-heart of all ages. The author of several novels, she’s best known for Sloppy Firsts and several more books in the New York Times bestselling Jessica Darling series. Described in her first review as “Judy Blume meets Dorothy Parker” (Wall Street Journal), she’s been trying to live up to that high standard ever since.

Megan McCafferty

Social Linkshttps://twitter.com/meganmccafferty 


 

“The Mall was to 1991 teenagers what the iPhone is to today’s generation: EVERYTHING. This delightful novel about that particular time and place is loaded with fun, warmth, intelligence, big hair and an even bigger heart. I loved it.” — New York Times bestselling author Rachel Cohn

“Both a laugh-out-loud pean to those bygone cathedrals of the 1990s, and a zippy coming-of-age tale, THE MALL is a delightful read for any generation. So tease your hair, grab your hotdog on a stick and prepare to have a freaking blast!” — Gayle Forman, New York Times bestselling author of If I Stay and I Have Lost My Way

“What a pleasure it is to spend time in a McCafferty universe. Her writing is sharp, smart, sexy and oh-so-real. I’ll read her forever.” — Rebecca Serle, New York Times bestselling author of In Five Years

“Totally rad! This former 1990s mall teen loved The Mall, an ode to tall bangs, boys with good taste in music, and female friendship, set in the only place that mattered. What a joy to have a new book from Megan McCafferty, who knows exactly how to make us laugh, cry, and fall in love with her characters.” — Amy Spalding, author of The Summer of Jordi Perez and The New Guy

“A delightful, funny, sweet and affecting real life adventure with such a big heart, it’ll make you cry the happiest tears. The Mall is something special.” — Courtney Summers, New York Times bestselling author of Sadie


 

Thank you #NetGalley #WednesdayBooks #MeganMcCafferty #TheMall for the advanced copy.  The book will be out July 28. Buy the book now with the following link:

https://wednesdaybooks.com/the-real-deal/the-mall/

 

 

 

A Sweet Mess by Jayci Lee

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A Sweet Mess is an adorable love story about Landon Kim a workaholic food critic and Audrey Choi a successful bakery owner.  The two meet and have a one night stand thinking they will never see each other again.

But when Landon writes a scathing review of Audrey’s bakery Comfort Zone, not realizing she is the shop owner, disaster looms.  Audrey’s business begins to fail just as she has signed a contract to expand.  Audrey confronts Landon but unfortunately he has a never retract policy and refuses to write another review.

Landon feels terrible and decides to make it up to Audrey.  He offers her a paid spot on a TV cooking show which his best friend hosts.  Audrey is to design three new dishes and debut each on the show.  Audrey, who is desperate to save her business agrees to the arrangement.

There is only one catch.  They must share lodging for the duration of her stay which both of them are afraid will go terribly wrong. But they agree and of course sparks begin to fly. But something deeper begins to happen.

This story goes beyond your regular boy meets girl and they fall in love.  Added to the plot are values such as the importance of family and how even though there can be disputes the love of one’s family never dies.  Family can pick up where they left off any time. It also delves into how the trust you learn from your family at an early age can mold how you accept yourself and others later in life.

Entwined in the story are beautiful descriptions of wineries, villas and food. And of course who can resist a happy ending?

Thank you #NetGalley #St.Martin’sGriffin #JayciLee #ASweetMess for the advanced copy.  The book will be out on July 14.

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

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Galaxy “Alex” Stern has lived a very hard tough life for such a young woman. She has never had a happy go lucky type of personality. She was never liked by the other students. She has always “felt” and “seen” things no one else did. She dropped out of school early and became immersed with drug-dealing, stealing and abusive people.  So when her best friend dies and her boyfriend is murdered she ends up in a hospital with no place to go.

That is when she is asked to attend Yale University as a freshman by the dean himself. Alex jumps at the chance for some normalcy. Stunned by the invitation she looks forward to attending classes and going to parties with her roommates.  But, as we all know by now, be careful what you wish for!

What Alex discovers is that she is not living a normal campus life.  Nor is she a “normal” student.  She has been chosen and placed at Yale by important alumni who are involved in a mystical and magical underworld with secret houses on the campus.  Only a select few have the understanding of the crafts which take place.  Alex soon discovers she has a few untapped talents of her own and begins to understand why she was always so different than others.

When one of the locals from the town is murdered, Alex in her capacity as one of the underground police, so to speak, is not comfortable with who they think was the murderer.  Thus begins a race before time runs out as to who really killed the girl and why was there such a coverup.

As Alex tries to fit all the pieces together while battling not only faculty, but characters from beyond the grave, she gets assistance from an unlikely source.  A ghost who is looking for his dead wife-to-be makes a pact with her to assist her in discovering who really was the killer. In return, she will try and find information on his dead fiancee.

Alex is unsure why she has been chosen.  More important if she was chosen, why do they want to kill her?  Alex herself has some secrets.  Secrets she does not want anyone at Yale to find out. What has she seen or heard that she was not suppose to?  One thing for sure, Alex will not stop until she gets the answers she needs, regardless if she does not live.

The Ninth House is like a Harry Potter for girls, with a strong female protagonist who is smart, funny and quirky.  It’s a story filled with magic, suspense, intrigue and yes, even humor!  I am positive this is the first of many more Galaxy “Alex” Stern stories.

The Suicide House by Charlie Donlea

OIP (4)

A year ago, there was a horrific tragedy at a prestigious prep school in Indiana.  A teacher went on a grisly rampage and murdered two students, and then threw himself in front of a train attempting suicide but did not die and now is living in a vegetative state. And some of the students who witnessed the incidents have since taken their own lives, by throwing themselves in front of trains.

Now, a year later, the murder and the sordid ordeal are being brought back into the spotlight by a very popular criminal podcast.  They are calling the episodes The Suicide House due to the abandoned boarding house where the tragedy happened.  As the episodes begin, the anxiety of students and teachers at the school increases.  And then another one of the students who witnessed the murder throws himself in front of a train.

That is when cold case expert Rory Moore and her partner Lane Phillips, a forensic psychologist are asked to come to Indiana and recreate what happened that night at the isolated house which was often times used for student rituals. Perhaps clues were missed at the scene and new eyes can shed new light on that night.

Moore, who herself has a few idiosyncrasies, has just finished up solving a cold case and usually needs time to decompress, but Phillips who knows her soft spots convinces her to help him. But nothing is as it seems in this small town and their presence begins to stir things up.  Why?

The story races back and forth between what happened during the days leading up to the murders, to the new investigation and new puzzle pieces. There are chapters in which diary entries from a mysterious unknown person are read while they are in what seem to be counseling sessions.

Is someone lying? What really happened that night? What kind of burden do the students carry with them from that evening that they would want to take their own lives? Why would a teacher snap and kill his students?

The Suicide House is a heart thumping psychological case study in insanity with twists and turns that leave you craving for more.  The ending….a volcanic eruption!

This is the second book in the Moore/Phillips series and as Donlea writes in the afterward, he tries to make sure that all his books can be read as a stand alone as well.  Since I was unaware this was a series book until I read his note at the end, I can certainly say he was able to accomplish what he set out to do.

The Suicide House can be preordered right now.  Publication date is July 28.  Get it!

Thank you #NetGalley #Kensington #CharlieDonlea #TheSuicideHouse for the advanced copy.

 

Please See Us by Caitlin Mullen

OIP (3)

Please See Us is the haunting story set on the boardwalk and in the casinos of Atlantic City’s seedier side, where drugs are important and the addicts will do just about anything for a quick fix. Where women will accept abuse from men just to try and escape the life they have been dealt. And some will be killed.

In the vein of The Long Island Killer, there is someone who is killing prostitutes and escorts and dumping their bodies in a marsh.  No one is aware this is happening.  The only solace the dead women have are each other as they lie in wait for someone, anyone, to find them.

Clara is an eighteen year old boardwalk psychic who lives with her aunt above their dilapidated shop.  Her aunt Des is as crooked as they come.  Both have been banned from some casinos for stealing and escorting.  But all Clara really wants to do is put enough money away to get out of Atlantic City and find her mother who she has not seen since she was a child. Des has decided it’s time to put Clara to use and begins looking for men she can date.

When a client comes in for a reading, begging Clara for help in finding his missing niece, she tries to pacify him, but after he leaves she begins to have horrible visions. The same happens when a few other women come in for readings.  She does not understand why they all seem to be connected.

Lily is a former New York gallery worker who through circumstance beyond her control loses her job and moves in with her mom in Atlantic City where she begins working at a spa in one of the casinos. She has a bit of a drinking problem.  When Clara steals her bracelet and Lily goes looking for her she discovers a lost girl who is in way over her head.  They become friends and Clara tells Lily about the visions she is having and asks her for help. Clara believes the two of them working together can perhaps figure out what is happening to them.

As Clara and Lily delve deeper into the mystery, the reader meets the dead women and learn the stories of how they ended up in Atlantic City.  But no one is safe from this killer.  Have Clara or Lily already met him? Could one of them possibly be his next victim? Will the dead girls ever be found?

Please See Us is an incredibly different psychological thriller which not only has suspense, but also heartbreaking and makes the reader truly feel sorrow for the characters in the story who seem to be trying to begin a new life only to have that precious hope silenced.

Thank you Anne Jaconette of Gallery Books for sending me an advanced copy of this riveting book.

The Half Sister by Sandie Jones

OIP (2)

Sisters Kate and Lauren and their mom Rose have been dealing with great loss in their lives.  First, the matriarch of their family, their dad and husband, died suddenly leaving terrible grief in the close knit family.  Kate has been desperately trying to get pregnant through IVF with her husband Matt.  This is their last shot.  Lauren, who has three children with her husband Simon is beginning to realize her life is miserable.  Unbeknownst to her family, Simon is verbally and physically abusing her.

But, during their weekly Sunday dinner, a knock at the door will create a chaos no one could ever see coming.  A girl who introduces herself as Jess is looking for her father.  She claims to be his daughter.

Kate who idolized her father knows Jess is lying.  Lauren whose relationship with hem was strained at best welcomes Jess with open arms. Rose is just speechless. And then each of their worlds begin to explode.

Kate, a journalist by trade begins to investigate Jess’ claim.  She uncovers untruths, deceptions and malice.  Lauren on the other hand embraces Jess and agrees to assist her in finding out who her mother could be. Rose will have no part of this circus.  She loved her husband and he loved them all, end of story.

Then Kate and Lauren begin to remember a time years before then they heard bits of conversations and perhaps saw things which at the time meant nothing. When Kate begins questioning her mother, she shuts her down, which only makes Kate more suspicious. DID something happen years ago? What is Rose not saying? Was their father not the person they thought he was? Could Jess really be telling the truth?  What family secrets have been buried and what will happen if and when they are exposed? Will their family survive?

Sandie Jones, author of the best-selling book The Other Woman has once again written a cat and mouse thriller with so much suspense that it allows the reader to just go along for the psychological chilling ride and wait for the stunning conclusion.

My thanks to #NetGalley #MinotaurBooks #SandieJones #TheHalfSister for the advanced copy.