One Last Secret by Adele Parks

We all have secrets. Some secrets eventually are revealed. It is inevitable, no matter how hard you try. Others will be taken to the grave. In Adele Parks’ new psychological thriller, the known, unknown gives the reader intense angst as we devour the story waiting for the last secret.

When Dora, an elite escort is invited by one of her clients to spend a week in the south of France, she hesitates. You see, she has just “retired” and is on a new path in life. But Daniel, one of her most loyal clients needs her desperately to pretend to be his girlfriend to assist him with someone he really wants to impress. So, she agrees to pretend to be with him with a very important caveat…no sex. You see, Dora has found someone she thinks she wants to spend her life with. If he knew what she was doing, he certainly would not approve.

But when she and Daniel arrive, and she meets the other guests and staff she immediately feels something is off. Dora begins to miss time as well as events in which she is told she was there but can’t remember being at. She starts to panic and decides to leave. But they now have some sort of hold on her, and she is unable to escape. Worst of all, no one knows she is there.

She begins to realize her past secrets which she has buried for so many years have become her dangerous present. Someone she knew has come back into her life to kill her. But she does not understand what on earth the motivation could be.

As hidden secrets are exposed, and Dora realizes she has lost control of her life as she knows it, she must face her painful past once again and hopefully survive. And just when she feels she might have control, there is always one last secret.

Thank you #NetGalley #Mira #AdeleParks #OneLastSecret for the advanced copy.

All The Dark Places by Terri Parlato

An astonishing psychological thriller in which one death opens the door to a chilling pandora’s box full of hidden secrets and mysteries.

Molly Bradley is content in her life. She has a wonderful husband who she trusts, great friends and a job she loves. But all that changes in just one night. As she falls asleep after the party she has just thrown for her husband’s birthday, she awakes to the worst imaginable nightmare anyone could imagine. She finds her husband Jay, a psychologist, dead in his home office. Murdered savagely.

Enter Boston Detective Rita Meyers who has been on the Boston Police force many years. She’s used to seeing death. Ruling Molly out as a suspect, she dives into who could possibly want the psychologist dead and why. They seemed to have a solid group of friends, although they tell her Jay had seemed distracted a bit the past week. He had been in the process of writing a book about psychopathic killers, even recently going to a prison to interview someone.

Molly knew he was writing a book but had no idea what it was about. When she finds out it shakes her to her core. As she tries to begin life without her best friend, she begins to believe someone tried to break into her house and is stalking her. But unbeknownst to both her friends and the police, Molly has a past in which none of them, but Jay knows about. And she refuses to give up the information because she believes her life will never be the same again.

As Molly and Jay’s friends surround her with love, Detective Meyers’ gut reaction is something is off with them. She thinks one of them knows something. Then Molly begins to get phone calls from an unknown person and receives a letter from prison and her life suddenly explodes once again taking her back to where she had once been.

Is Jay’s death related to her past? How could someone know who she really is? She has been so careful.

Detective Meyers starts to look at this murder very differently. With everyone a suspect, the pieces of this puzzle begin to fall into place. And someone does have their sights on Molly. Can she find the last piece before Molly is gone forever?

With the many twists and turns the story takes, and an amazingly shocking ending, this page turner is well worth the read!

Thank you #Goodreads #KensingtonBooks #AllTheDarkPlaces #TerriParlato for the advanced copy.

The Kiss Curse by Erin Sterling/Rachel Hawkins

The Kiss Curse is an absolutely, adorable, funny, delightful follow up to The Ex Hex by author Erin Sterling who also writes under the pen name Rachel Hawkins.

With her cousin Vivi now happily married to Rhys Penhallow and heading off on their long-awaited honeymoon, and her mother away on vacation, Gwyn Jones is put in charge of their witch shop, Something Wicked which is a tourist favorite just in time for all of Penhallow’s Halloween season. Everything seems to be going well until ANOTHER Penhallow brother show us!

Wells Penhallow, Rhys’ brother has decided he needs a change and comes to his namesake town to open none other than a witchcraft shop! Across the street from Gwyn and Vivi’s! And Gwyn is having none of it! So yes, he is handsome and has incredible hair. Lots of hair! But this is their town now and she is in charge!

Until one day as she visits Well’s store just to snoop around and a box falls on both of them and powder flies out and they unexpectedly kiss! They both believe the box has been cursed and they both are tremendously embarrassed. They decide to stay away from each other, not knowing what else the curse has in store for them, but strange circumstances seem to keep pulling them together.

It seems there is quite a bit of witchery going on in Penhallow, and some of it is not the good kind. So, Gwyn enlists some magic students to help her try and figure out what’s happening to the town. Then Gwyn’s powers begin to go on the fritz. She knows it might take the help of another powerful witch to help her figure out what darkness has been invited into the town. Ugh, Wells…

Is it possible for these two to work together without a.) killing each other or b.) falling in love?

The Kiss Curse is a fun, charming book with a wonderful mystery and enchanting characters those who read the first installment have grown to love! And with that said, there is one last Penhallow brother! I can’t wait!

Your Table Is Ready by Michael Cecchi-Azzolina

Your Table Is Ready by Michael Cecchi-Azzolina is a delicious dive into the underworld of restaurant workers with juicy tales giving all the unbelievable dirt of what the staff is up to (and it is quite a lot)! with the soup to nuts of all their high society and celebrity customers.

This can’t put down book tells intimate details of the goings on before, during and after a day of servicing customers, (in more ways than one). Azzolina explains in honest detail why sometimes customers can never get that window table with the beautiful view, or why that twenty does not seem to get you a table without a reservation. He even gives tips on how to do both!

But, for the most part it’s his stories which both amuse and sometimes shock the reader, at least this one! His accounts are from an era long ago, when there were no Human Resource departments and literally anything could happen and there was no one to complain to. It was also sadly during the beginning of the AIDS epidemic a time in which Azzolina lost many of his close co-workers and friends. In one story he explains how close he came to actually getting the disease and by sheer luck did not.

But it all starts when he was a young boy in Brooklyn looking for something to do. While all his friends were doing drugs and dying, he decided to find something else to do and that was working in a local restaurant. This led him to his amazing career. But he honestly admits he was no angel. He tells of the easy access to drugs, alcohol and the abuse which goes along with each. The drinking for the staff did not exactly start after the restaurant closed for the night but could begin as early as when someone got a bit stressed. He admits to doing many things for and to customers to make a little extra money.

But some of his stories are haunting. One in particular is about how he unknowingly made a person in the Mafia mad by innocently kicking a rude customer out at the request of his boss and being stalked and assaulted by him. It would forever change the way he managed rude customers.

The best stories are of course those in which he talks about the celebrities and people we know. The list is impressive…Dustin Hoffman, Madonna, Jackie Gleason, famous models and designers, and a not so nice Anna Wintour anecdote.

As one can imagine, working sometimes 10-to-15-hour shifts can be not only grueling but exhausting, only to have to get up and do the same thing over and over again. Relationships are difficult to maintain, and the last place a staffer wants to be on their day off is on a date at a restaurant.

Your Table Is Ready is not only an enjoyable read but could also be a bible of sorts and a how to (and not to) for those interested in the restaurant business. It’s terrifically gossipy, funny, heartwarming and sometimes cringy. I for one will never enter a restaurant the same way again!

Thank you #NetGalley #St.Martin’sPress #YourTableIsReady # MichaelCecchi-Azzolina for the advanced copy.

A Hard Day For A Hangover by Darynda Jones

A Hard Day For A Hangover is the third and sadly final installment of the Sherriff Sunshine Vicram series. But it certainly does not disappoint! It still captures Sunshine and the gangs incredibly witty, smart dialogue, with the mystery and intrigue of the other books. The incredibly quirky characters from the past stories are also included with some even having shocking revelations. But the laugh out loud dialogue makes these books hard to put down.

In this installment, Sunshine and her high school aged daughter Auri, who seems to be developing her mother’s talent for solving mysteries, in which Sunshine seriously explains to her daughter who wants to be an FBI agent that one of the requirements of being an agent is that she be a virgin, or they won’t take her, are caught up in some of their own family drama. Just who is Auri’s father, and when and how should Sunshine tell her. How will Auri take the news? In the meantime, she and Levi Ravinder and his nasty family, must navigate what comes next.

The story opens with a girl being found unconscious at the bottom of an embankment. No one seems to know who she is or where she came from. Auri takes it upon herself to investigate without her mother’s knowledge. In the meantime, with a Ravinder family prison break, and one of the towns people getting stabbed with a knitting needle, Sunshine seems to be running in circles.

The police station is still under raccoon attack as they have been unable to capture the unofficial deputy of the department even though he continues to wreak havoc on the place. And with all this going on Sunshine and Levi have finally decided to stop playing games and get serious with each other.

With another girl going missing, work is just not that much fun anymore. Auri gets too close to the truth and danger begins to unravel all around Sunshine. The ending will change the town as well as the lives of Sunshine and her family forever.

The Sunshine Vicram series has been one of the funniest mystery series I have ever read with terrific plot twists, odd characters and although I am devastated the series has ended, the final installment for those Sunshine fans will be the page turner they wished for and the ending they always wanted.

Thank you #NetGalley #St.Martin’sPress #DaryndaJones #AHardDayForAHangover for the advanced copy.

The Man I Never Met by Elle Cook

The Man I Never Met is an unexpected, wonderfully surprising, engaging story of sight unseen love and the perils which come with it.

Hannah, who lives in England answers her cell phone one day. It’s Davey from America who has a job interview in England and has a question. She tells him he has the wrong number but wishes him good luck before she hangs up.

What she never expected to happen was to get another call from Davey, telling her his good news. He got the job and is moving to England. This starts their sight unseen relationship. They begin texting each other about themselves and their lives. Then the relationship takes a new turn when they send a picture of themselves to each other. As they seem to both like what they see, they spend more time together via FaceTime, watching movies together, falling asleep together, and Hannah showing him England. They finally decide to take this relationship to a new level and with Davey coming in less than thirty days, Hannah begins to apartment hunt for him.

Then the big day arrives, and Hannah is bursting with excitement as she waits at the airport to finally meet the man of her phone dreams. But when everyone has disembarked, there is no Davey. Quite confused, she doesn’t understand what this could mean.

And then she discovers the shocking reason which will change the destiny of both their lives forever.

They try to move on, even though they cannot stop thinking about the other, many times picking their phone up to send a text to the other, but that never happens. Life goes on and yes, they both go on but with a sadness they seem never to be able to let go of.

But sometimes if the love is meant to be, no matter how hard you try to deny it, no matter how long it takes you can possibly one day find a way back to what could have been. Even though Hannah and Davey never fully met, perhaps kismet could possibly intervene, but only if they choose to listen to their feelings.

The Man I Never Met tugs at your heart and with each passing page gives hope to the hopelessness and elation to the despair as they try to find their way back to each other.

Thank you #NetGalley #Dell/RandomHouse #TheManINeverMet #ElleCook/LornaCook for the advanced copy.

A Wish for Winter by Viola Shipman

Some heartbreaks can keep us so frozen in time that we can never really move on, always wanting to play the what if game, never wanting to let go of the love, good memories, and yes, even the guilt. Some are unable to give themselves the permission to leave it all behind and start anew.

This is the case for Susan Norcross. She lost both her parents in a car accident when she was a young teenager. She blames herself. Not the person who hit them. Everything in her life is based on what they would have done or what she thinks they would have wanted her to do. Now turning forty the same age her mother was when she died, she begins to feel her life start to slip away, just as her mother’s did. Although she was raised by her grandparents and has true friends who know her pain and try to help her, she still can’t help but listen to that internal voice. Her mom’s and dad’s.

Now, she manages her family’s very popular bookstore called Sleigh By the Bay which indeed is an homage to all things Christmas all the time, even with her grandparents dressed as Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus. Both her parents and grandparents met and fell in love while dressed in Santa suits, so the name of the store is totally appropriate! Susan is still waiting for her Santa to arrive. Unfortunately, she thinks her Santa may not be coming down her fireplace anytime soon! She can’t help but feel sad because the thinks she will never experience what her parents and grandparents had.

Her best friend Holly has a different take on the problem. She thinks Susan needs to get out there and mingle with Kringle. Don’t wait for him to come to you, you go and make it happen! And that’s just what Holly convinces Susan to do. She reluctantly agrees to go on a Santa Run where everyone is dressed as Santas for a good cause. And she meets a Santa! But can only see his eyes. They agree to meet after the race. He never shows up. Typical Susan luck. End of story…or is it?

Holly devises a plan in which though mathematics she promises to find Susan’s Santa for her. At this point, Susan just wants to be left alone, but she knows Holly will never let this go. Susan agrees and what she learns is so much for than just finding someone who is wearing a Santa suit. She begins to see with the help of those around her what her life has been like and what it used to be. She learns you can let go of the pain and sorrow and still keep those happy memories alive and treasure them.

You can also begin to create new memories, for yourself and all those around you. Will Susan get her Santa ending? Well, sometimes when you least expect it, miracles happen right under your red reindeer nose!

A Wish for Winter is another Shipman masterpiece. It has all the pieces to make a beautifully made story. Love, sorrow, forgiveness, and friendship intertwined.

Thank you #NetGalley #GraydonHouse #ViolaShipman #AWishforWinter for the advanced copy.

The Lindbergh Nanny by Mariah Fredericks

So much has been written about the 1932 kidnapping of Charles Lindbergh, Jr., son of aviator Charles Sr. and his wife Anne Morrow Lindbergh. But, because she kept an extremely low profile for the rest of her life, not much is really known about Charlie’s nurse (nanny) who was the last person to see the baby alive, as well as the person who had the difficult duty of identifying his remains.

Although after the baby died, she went back to her home in Scotland, she found it difficult to get another job anywhere doing anything. She was looked at as a monster because the media had dubbed her as someone suspicious in the death. The experience affected her in so many ways. She never married or had children. It was only much later in her life that she decided to an interview to tell her story as she absolutely knew it.

Betty Gow came to the United States to be with a man she had been dating back home in Scotland. Unfortunately, that did not work out. Desperate to find a job, someone suggested her to the Lindbergh’s who were looking for a nurse for their baby Charlie. When she got the job, she couldn’t believe her luck.

Although the Lindbergh’s were a bit different, traveling frequently and leaving the baby at home, and Charles Sr. whom she dubbed as odd with “different” views, she adored the baby and got along well with the other staff. She enjoyed going out with the others from the household for drinks and even started dating a sailor named Henrik. She was very cautious with everyone, not wanting to overstep her boundaries for fear of being fired.

But everything changed the night Charlie disappeared. Suddenly she was thrust into the media and Betty became the Lindbergh Nanny forevermore. The media, suspicious of her from the start accused her of having something to do with the kidnapping. She could not fight back. And then her boyfriend was arrested.

All the while, Betty is grieving the loss of a child she adored, while suffering intolerable guilt blaming herself. If only…what if I had done… .

As much as the sensationalism of the kidnapping caused her anxiety, the trial of the kidnapper was an even greater worry as she played out different scenarios in her mind as to perhaps someone from the household possibly aiding with the kidnapping, knowingly or unknowingly. But her strength and intelligence were certainly on display as she aptly answered all questions thrown at her.

The story told by Betty is one of terror, horror, unresolved questions and dreadful guilt which lasted until the day she died.

Although most of the book is based on actual interviews, etc., Frederick’s does take liberties with some of her storytelling which she makes sure to tell the reader in the Afterward.

Although someone was brought to justice for this appalling murder, to this day there are still conspiracy theories as to who else could have been involved. But through it all no one ever really rallied around Betty Gow, the Lindbergh Nanny whose only crime was loving and taking care of a baby in her charge. Until now.

Thank you #NetGalley #MonotaurBooks #MariahFredericks #TheLindberghNanny for the advanced copy.

No Stranger Here by Carlene O’Connor

In the small town of Dingle, Ireland there has been a murder. The body of wealthy Johnny O’Reilly, horse owner was found dead on a beach, dressed in his suit as he was last seen at the party he had attended. Surrounding his body are a set of curious clues and footsteps leading away from him, but none coming towards him.

Needless to say, when someone from a prominent family in a small town is murdered, well, the gossip mill goes into overdrive. But for one former resident of the town, Dimpna Wilde who is a veterinarian like her father who still lives in Dingle, she and her son Ben have not been back there in years for many reasons. One being her marriage fell apart when her husband was accused of cheating clients and then killed himself leaving Dimpna to feel it her obligation to carry his burden, as well as her own.

So, as her animal clinic in Dublin goes into foreclosure for non-payment and her son traveling to parts unknown, when two police detectives come to her to tell her of O’Reilly’s unfortunate fate, she fears for her parents in Dingle who has a rocky relationship with him all of course, due to her. She picks up and heads back to a town which harbors nothing but horrible memories.

You see years ago, something terrible happened to Dimpna and she accidentally caused the death of one of O’Reilly’s prized horses. She has never been able to forgive herself and also feels guilty knowing her parents have had to live with her mistake while still living in the town.

What she finds as she returns is chaos. Her father unbeknownst to her is in the midst of dementia, but still working and at times unable to process what is going on. A drug which was found in the murder victim’s system seems to have come from his veterinary practice. Her parents seem to be two of many suspects in the town. So, while Dimpna reluctantly tries to put her father’s practice back in order, trying to avoid the people of her past who still haunt her to this day, she is also there to find out who really killed O’Reilly if not just for her parent’s sake.

As the detectives begin to look into the murder, and Dimpna finds interesting clues which then opens the door to her troubled past, she can’t help but think perhaps her father is to blame. But is he being set up? If so, by who? With so many suspects and with her father’s decline, she must wade lightly through the waters to find the true story. But, her curiosity could be the death of her.

No Strangers Here is quite the thriller, with a wonderfully thought-out mystery and incredible plots which will keep the reader engaged in the story up until and including the ending.

Thank you #KensingtonBooks #BetweenTheChapters #CarleneO’Connor #NoStrangersHere for the advanced arc.

Last Girl Ghosted by Lisa Unger

Last Girl Ghosted is a heart-stopping mystery ride in which you never quite know where you are going and are stunned by the time you finally get there.

Wren met him on a dating app. Against her will. She was content in the life she built for herself. Podcaster, advice columnist who grew her business to where she could live comfortably. She always tried to live in the present never wandering back to who, where and what she had come from.

But when her best friend finally convinces her to try opening her mind to allowing someone into her life other than her, she reluctantly agrees. And although she had a few misses, she finally seemed to meet someone who got her. They began spending all their time together. Sure, he was a bit of a mystery, but so was she. Sure, she never met any of his friends, but she never introduced him to her best friend. As they grew closer, she decided to tell him her deep dark secret. Something no one else knew, her best friend didn’t know the full story really. And then he just disappeared. Ghosted her. Vanished. Took himself off of all social media. When she finally goes to where she thinks he works, it doesn’t exist.

And then she questions why? Is it possible her terrible secret was too much for him? Now, regretting her decision to tell him, she decides this must be her fault. Even though he is gone, she just can’t seem to forget him.

But when she is contacted by a detective who has been looking for this man, who seems to have had few different names on the same dating app, she cannot and does not want to believe it’s the same person. It seems this man she seems to be the link to some missing women over the years. But they are missing, she is not. It can’t be the same person.

Then she begins to get strange messages. Are they from him? Is this her imagination? She is unsure who to believe, the detective she doesn’t fully trust or this man who makes her so happy. And what about those other women? Is there really a connection? So, Wren decides to find out.

What happens next is breathtaking, galvanizing race against time with shocking revelations and an ending which will blow you away.