The Sinful Live of Trophy Wives by Kristin Miller

Book Cover
The Sinful Lives of Trophy Wives by Kristin Miller

Publisher: Random House Publishing Books – Ballantine, Ballantine Books

Date of publication: July 20th, 2021

Genre: Thriller, Fiction, Mystery, Suspense

Purchase Links: Amazon | Audible | B&N | World Cat

Format Read: Unedited ARC

Got Book From: Publisher

Trigger Warnings: Domestic Violence, Cheating

Goodreads Synopsis:

Mystery writer Brooke Davies is the new wife on the block. Her tech-billionaire husband, Jack, twenty-two years her senior, whisked her to the Bay Area via private jet and purchased a modest mansion on the same day. He demands perfection, and before now, Brooke has had no problem playing the role of a doting housewife. But as she befriends other wives on the street and spends considerable time away from Jack, he worries if he doesn’t control Brooke’s every move, she will reveal the truth behind their “perfect” marriage.

Erin King, famed news anchor and chair of the community board, is no stranger to maintaining an image–though being married to a plastic surgeon helps. But the skyrocketing success of her career has worn her love life thin, and her professional ambitions have pushed Mason away. Quitting her job is a Hail Mary attempt at keeping him interested, to steer him away from finding a young trophy wife. But is it enough, and is Mason truly the man she thought he was?

Georgia St. Claire allegedly cashed in on the deaths of her first two husbands, earning her the nickname “Black Widow”–and the stares and whispers of her curious neighbors. Rumored to have murdered both men for their fortunes, she claims to have found true love in her third marriage, yet her mysterious, captivating allure keeps everyone guessing. Then a tragic accident forces the residents of Presidio Terrace to ask: Has Georgia struck again? And what is she really capable of doing to protect her secrets?

First Line:

Pain is the first thing I remember.

The Sinful Lives of Trophy Wives by Kristin Miller


I will be the first one to admit this: I judged The Sinful Lives of Trophy Wives by the title of the book. Since Kristin Miller is a new author to me, I assumed that this book would be something like Joan Collins writes. So I wasn’t surprised when I started reading TSLOTW and realized that this book was nothing like Joan Collin’s books. Instead, this was a psychological thriller.

The Sinful Lives of Trophy Lives follows three women: Brooke, Erin, and Georgia. Brooke moves into the gated community with her husband, Jack. Erin is married to Mason and has just quit her job to focus on her marriage. Georgia, also known as “Black Widow” because of the deaths of her previous husbands, is engaged to be married. There are dark secrets that the three women keep. These secrets could destroy lives if revealed. What are they, and will they be revealed?

The plot for The Sinful Lives of Trophy Wives is fast-paced. This book starts with a literal bang and doesn’t stop until the last page. The author was able to keep the pacing of the book up, even with the three separate POVs. I loved it!! I also loved that there was a slight lag too.

I loved Brooke, Erin, and Georgia, and I loved how the author kept me on edge with their characters. Just when I thought I knew those ladies, the author threw a tidbit or had them do something that made me go, “Really!!” It made for a good read because I didn’t know how these characters would end up.

The mystery/thriller angle of the book was well written. There were red herrings all over the place, and nothing was what it seemed. As soon as I thought I figured out what was going on, the author did a 180 and changed things. I loved it!!!

The secondary characters made the book too. Mason, Jack, and so many others. There were ones I loved and ones that I loathed.

There was a secondary storyline that involved Brooke and her past. I did predict what happened, but I didn’t expect what grew out of it. That took me by surprise!!

I wasn’t surprised at what was revealed about the deaths of Georgia’s husbands. I guessed that pretty early in the book. But I was surprised at who was involved and why that person got involved. So that made me look at that character differently.

I am going to warn that domestic violence is discussed at various points. For example, there are scenes where a woman gets beat by her husband in front of a child and another scene of a husband smacking his wife where the bruises couldn’t be seen and covered up with makeup.

The end of The Sinful Lives of Trophy Wives was insane. I almost couldn’t keep up with everything that the book revealed. There was a huge twist that shocked me. I did not see it coming, and it blindsided me. But, once it was announced, it made perfect sense.

I enjoyed reading The Sinful Lives of Trophy Wives. This book hooked me from page one, and I couldn’t put it down.

I would recommend The Sinful Lives of Trophy Wives to anyone over the age of 21. There are trigger warnings, which I discussed above. They are domestic violence and cheating. There are also scenes of pill-popping, sexual harassment (Erin’s male boss told her to get on her knees and beg for her job), and lots of drinking.

The Disappearing Act by Catherine Steadman

Book Cover

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Ballantine Books

Date of publication: June 8th, 2021

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, Contemporary

Purchase Links: Amazon | Audible | B&N | WorldCat

Format Read: Unedited ARC

Received From: Publisher

Goodreads Synopsis:

A British actress discovers the dark side of Hollywood when she is the only witness to the sudden disappearance of a woman she meets at an audition in this psychological thriller from the New York Times bestselling author of Something in the Water and Mr. Nobody.

Once a year, actors from across the globe descend on the smog and sunshine of Los Angeles for pilot season. Every cable network and studio looking to fill the rosters of their new shows enticing a fresh batch of young hopefuls, anxious, desperate and willing to do whatever it takes to make it. Careers will be made, dreams will be realized, stars will be born. And some will be snuffed out.

British star Mia Eliot has landed leading roles in costume dramas in her native country, but now it’s time for Hollywood to take her to the next level. Mia flies across the Atlantic to join the hoard of talent scrambling for their big breaks. She’s a fish out of water in the ruthlessly competitive and faceless world of back-to-back auditioning. Then one day she meets Emily, another actress from out of town and a kindred spirit. Emily is friendly and genuine and reassuringly doesn’t seem to be taking any of it too seriously. She stands out in a conveyor-belt world of fellow auditionees. But a simple favor turns dark when Emily disappears and Mia realizes she was the last person to see her, and the woman who knocks on Mia’s door the following day claiming to be her new friend isn’t the woman Mia remembers at all.

All Mia has to go on is the memory of a girl she met only once . . . and the suffocating feeling that something terrible has happened. Worse still, the police don’t believe her when she claims the real Emily has gone missing. So Mia is forced to risk the role of a lifetime to try to uncover the truth about Emily, a gamble that will force her to question her own sanity as the truth goes beyond anything she could ever have imagined.

Actress and author Catherine Steadman has written a gripping thriller set in a world close to home that asks the question: In a city where dreams really do come true, how far would you go to make the unreal real?

First Line:

Have you ever asked yourself what kind of story the story of your life is?

I usually don’t read books that are written by famous actresses/actors. I have read a few books that have soured me on even picking books up by them. The books I have read were awful, and I felt that they were published because of the name associated with them and not because the book was good. So, I was surprised when I saw that Catherine Steadman had starred in two of my favorite British dramas: Downton Abbey and The Tudors. And that made me very apprehensive about reading The Disappearing Act.

I was surprised when I started reading The Disappearing Act, and I was enjoying it. It hit everything I like in a mystery/thriller/suspense novel. I won’t go as far as to say that Ms. Steadman changed my mind about reading books written by famous actresses/actors, but it has made me more open to trying them.

The Disappearing Act occurs mainly in L.A., briefly being set in London at the beginning and end of the book. I felt that the author captured the frantic pace and the darkness under the glittery facade perfectly.

The Disappearing Act is a medium-paced book for the first half of the book. The author spends a lot of time building up Mia’s backstory and her first week or so in L.A. It might get tedious, but it is well worth the wait. The second half of the book zips right along.

I liked Mia but felt she was very naive for someone in her profession. She was almost too nice at various points in the book. I mean, she kept a stranger’s keys and fed a meter for nearly two days. She was also too trusting. There were parts in the book where I just wanted to shake her and tell her to stay away from so and so. But I couldn’t, and I had to watch her get more and more involved in this mystery.

Speaking of mystery, the author did a great job of keeping what was going on under wraps until the end of the book. I was shocked when specific facts came out. And I was even more shocked with how the book ended. It was not what I expected at all.

There is a small romance introduced as the book’s plot started to take off. Again, I wasn’t sure where it was going, and I was surprised when it was mentioned at the end of the book.

The end of The Disappearing Act was interesting. I say interesting because it wasn’t how I expected the book to end. I thought that it was going to end like your typical mystery/thriller. I wasn’t upset by it, but it did confuse me.

I enjoyed reading The Disappearing Act. It took some time to get the plot going, but it was terrific once it did.

I would recommend The Disappearing Act to anyone over the age of 21. There is violence and mild language.

In Her Shadow by Kristin Miller

In Her Shadow: A Novel by [Miller, Kristin]

3.5 Stars

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Ballantine Books

Date of publication: April 21st, 2020

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, Women’s Fiction

Where you can find In Her Shadow: Barnes and Noble | Amazon | BookBub

Book Synopsis:

A pregnant young woman becomes obsessed with the disappearance of her lover’s wife–only to discover that she may be headed for the same fate–from New York Times bestselling author Kristin Miller.

Once his secretary, Colleen is now pregnant with Michael’s baby. When he brings her to his opulent estate, Ravenwood, she is abruptly thrust into a life of luxury she’s never known. But Colleen finds the immense house suffused with the memory of Michael’s beautiful wife, Joanna, who left months ago and who haunts her imagination. It quickly becomes apparent that there is little room for a new mistress of this house: The staff greets her with hostility, and there are entire wings and corridors from which she is prohibited to enter.

Then bones are unearthed in the grove across the street.

When Michael falls under the suspicion of the detectives investigating the case, the soon-to-be mother of his child finds herself hurled deeper into her boyfriend’s dark past–a past that threatens to upend all her dreams. But the terrifying secrets lurking in the shadows of Ravenwood pale in comparison to the drastic measures Colleen will take to stake a claim to her new life.

Inspired by Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca, In Her Shadow is the chilling story of one woman’s desperate desire to be loved and the ghosts that get in her way–but only if she lets them.

First Line:


In Her Shadow by Kristin Miller

My Review:

When I read the blurb for In Her Shadow, I was intrigued. Seeing the comparisons to Rebecca caught my interest right away. The blurb deepened my interest in the book. It sounded perfect for me. Then I read it. While I liked some parts of the book, there were other parts that I didn’t like. Those parts did factor in my rating of the review.

In Her Shadow had a fast plotline, which I liked. The book takes place within a week of Colleen moving into Michael’s house, Ravenwood. There were no dropped characters and, more importantly, no dropped storylines. The flow of the book was ok. Because the book had several different POV’s (always in 3rd person), the flow did get interrupted. I felt that if the author kept to Colleen, Michael, and maybe Joanna’s POV, the book would have had a better flow to it. I did not need to read about the detective, Michael’s friends, the cook, or the maid’s POV.

I liked, and felt terrible, for Colleen during the first half of In Her Shadow. She was thrust into a world that she did not know about. She had to deal with a staff that treated her like she was invisible. Adding to that, she was pregnant, and it was high risk. I didn’t blame her for feeling that she was overshadowed in the first days there. I also didn’t blame her for becoming obsessed with Joanna and her legacy. But, saying that, I wasn’t expecting what she found out.

I didn’t like Michael. From the beginning, he came across as skeevy. I had my doubts about him from the start. I mean, who moves on less than a month after his wife disappears? And then gets his new girlfriend pregnant? That was a huge WTF for several people in the book and me. But, as skeevy as he was, I didn’t quite believe that he killed Joanna. He was a coward and a bit of a wuss, but he didn’t spark that “I’m a killer” vibe to me.

The secondary characters most definitely made the book. From the police detective to Joanna’s best frenemy to Michael’s best friend, those characters breathed life into the book when it needed it.

The mystery angle of the book (Joanna’s disappearance) was well written, but it held no mystery for me. I was able to guess what happened to her before the author got there. I also guessed certain specific details that occurred before they happened (if that makes sense).

The thriller angle of the book was very well written. The author was able to keep me on my toes during those scenes.

The end of In Her Shadow was intense. Considering the prologue, I was expecting the book to end a certain way. I was not expecting what happened to happen. But, as I mentioned in the above paragraph, there was a huge plot twist that took me by surprise. I was not expecting what was revealed. I also was not expecting the final chapter or the countdown. Does that mean another book is in the works?

I would give In Her Shadow an Adult rating. There is sex. There is language. There is violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would reread In Her Shadow. I would recommend it to family and friends.

**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**

The Other People by C.J. Tudor

The Other People: A Novel by [Tudor, C. J.]

4 Stars

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Ballantine Books

Date of publication: January 28th, 2020

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense

Where you can find The Other People: Barnes and Noble | Amazon | BookBub

Book Synopsis:

A gripping new thriller about a man’s quest for the daughter no one else believes is still alive, from the acclaimed author of The Chalk Man and The Hiding Place.

Driving home one night, stuck behind a rusty old car, Gabe sees a little girl’s face appear in the rear window. She mouths one word: ‘Daddy.’ It’s his five-year-old daughter, Izzy.

He never sees her again.

Three years later, Gabe spends his days and nights travelling up and down the motorway, searching for the car that took his daughter, refusing to give up hope, even though most people believe that Izzy is dead.

Fran and her daughter, Alice, also put in a lot of miles on the motorway. Not searching. But running. Trying to keep one step ahead of the people who want to hurt them. Because Fran knows the truth. She knows what really happened to Gabe’s daughter.

Then, the car that Gabe saw driving away that night is found, in a lake, with a body inside and Gabe is forced to confront events, not just from the night his daughter disappeared, but from far deeper in his past.

His search leads him to a group called The Other People.

If you have lost a loved one, The Other People want to help. Because they know what loss is like. They know what pain is like. They know what death is like.

There’s just one problem . . . they want other people to know it too.

First Line:

She sleeps.

The Other People by C.J. Tudor

My Review:

The Other People is about Gabe and his search for his missing daughter. Gabe’s wife and daughter were murdered while he was on the way home. At the time, Gabe didn’t know that and was surprised when he saw his daughter’s face appear in the back window of the car in front of him. That set off a series of events. Gabe was accused of their murder and the cleared. Then the car is found and new evidence that his daughter wasn’t the one that died. But, Gabe isn’t prepared for the truth. He also wasn’t ready for a secret that he has kept buried to be exposed. What happened the night his wife and daughter were killed? Will Gabe get his answers?

I know that it is only a few weeks into the new year, but this has to be the best mystery/thriller/suspense book that I have read to date. I couldn’t put this book down!! Put it this way, I read it in two hours. It was that good!!

The plotline in The Other People does get off to a slow start. It did take me a couple of chapters before I got immersed in it. There was also a small amount of lag in the book, right around where Fran left Alice with her mother. But the author was able to get the book back on track.

Gabe was amazing in The Other People. He knew that he saw his daughter the night of the murder, and he never gave up hope that she was alive. I did feel bad for him at the beginning of the book because he was utterly destroyed by what happened. I also admired his restraint when he found out what his in-laws had done. I would have gone ballistic. And of course, there was the issue of his secret. I wish that it had been released earlier in the book.

Fran was an enigma throughout the book. I didn’t understand why she was on the run until she went to her mothers. Then a little bit of her story fell into place. At that point, I understood why she did what she did. My heart broke for her.

I figured out Alice’s story reasonably early in the book. But I couldn’t understand what was happening to her with the stones. Then it was explained and man, it was creepy. Again, my heart went out to her.

The plotline with Gabe looking for his daughter was amazing. The author was able to show his frustration, worry, anger, and hope. I was a little irritated by how the police treated him. But once concrete evidence was found (and Gabe told them what his father in law did), they took him seriously.

The plotline with Fran and Alice was interesting. Right away, I guessed what was going on. But I never guessed why it happened, who Fran was running from and how it was connected to Gabe. That all took me by surprise. Add in the secondary storyline with Fran’s sister and The Sandman, and yeah, I was blown away.

There was a paranormal element in the book that I wished it had more power in the book. It was interesting because of how Alice brought the stones in. But, the connection to Gabe’s secret was something that I didn’t even see coming.

The end of The Other People was interesting. I say interesting because there were a couple of twists in the plot. I didn’t see either of them coming. The author did a great job of combining all of the storylines, even ones that I thought were done with. But, it was the very end of the book that gave me chills.

I would give The Other People an Adult rating. There are sexual situations. There is language. There is violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would reread The Other People. I would recommend it to family and friends.

**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**

The Perfect Wife by J.P. Delaney

The Perfect Wife: A Novel by [Delaney, JP]

3 Stars

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Ballantine Books

Date of publication: August 6th, 2019

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense

Where you can find The Perfect Wife: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | BookBub

Book synopsis:

A missing woman receives a second chance at life, thanks to her billionaire husband–but the consequences are deadly in this gripping psychological thriller from the New York Times bestselling author of The Girl Before.

Abbie awakens in a daze with no memory of who she is or how she landed in this unsettling condition. The man by her side claims to be her husband. He’s an icon of the tech world, the founder of a lucrative robotics company. He tells Abbie that she is a gifted artist, an avid surfer, a loving mother to their young son, and the perfect wife. He says she had a terrible accident five years ago, and that, through a huge technological breakthrough, she has been brought back from the abyss. She is a miracle of science. 

But as Abbie pieces together memories of her marriage, she begins questioning her husband’s motives–and his version of events. Can she trust him when he says he wants them to be together forever? And what reallyhappened to Abbie half a decade ago?

My review:

When I started reading The Perfect Wife, I was expecting a psychological thriller. I was expecting to read about Abbie’s remembering what happened to her the night of her accident. I was even expecting a few twists to the plot, which the book delivered. What I wasn’t expecting was the science fiction angle of the book. That took me by surprise.

The plotline of The Perfect Wife was interesting. Abbie wakes up wondering who she was. She is filled in by her husband. Abbie is an AI. She is a replica of Tim’s wife who went missing over five years ago. Abbie’s memories of her marriage show that Tim and herself are in love and happy. But Abbie can’t help but think that something is missing. That memories are missing. Abbie soon embarks on a mission to discover her missing memories. She also wants to find out what happened to Abbie 5 years earlier. Did she disappear? Or did something more sinister happen?

I liked Abbie, but I couldn’t get a feel for the AI. She was bland, personality- wise, for 90% of the book. I couldn’t connect to either version of her, which irritated me because I wanted to in the worse way. Abbie before was much more enjoyable.

Tim creeped me out. I understood that he was devastated by Abbie disappearance. But to make an AI that had her memories was creepy. Even creepier was how he was before Abbie. Talk about chills!!

Danny was also an essential character in The Perfect Wife. The author did a tremendous job of describing his form of autism. The author also did a fantastic job of explaining the various schools/treatments that Abbie and Tim tried.

I wasn’t a fan of the switch between 2nd person POV and 3rd person POV. I don’t like 2nd person POV. Add in that it kept switching to 3rd person and I was like “What” during some parts of the plotline. I kept having to reread chapters, and I am not a huge fan of doing that.

The end of The Perfect Wife confused me. I had to read it a few times. Even now, after I have finished the book, I still don’t get it. The author did wrap up the “What Happened To Abbie” storyline well but it didn’t jive with the rest of the story. Plus, what happened to Abbie and Danny at the end. I couldn’t figure out which one was the truth.

I would give The Perfect Wife an Adult rating. There is sex. There is language. There is violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I am on the fence if I would reread The Perfect Wife. I am also on the fence if I would recommend it to family and friends.

I would like to thank the author, the publisher, and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review The Perfect Wife.

**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**

Have you read The Perfect Wife?

What are your thoughts on it?

Do you think that there will eventually be AI’s that look like human beings?

Let me know!!

The Rumor by Lesley Kara

The Rumor: A Novel by [Kara, Lesley]

4 Stars

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Ballantine Books

Date of Publication: June 18th, 2019

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense

Where you can find The Rumor: Barnes and Noble | Amazon | BookBub

Book synopsis:

A single mom discovers just how deadly gossip can be in this irresistible debut thriller inspired by a sensational true crime story, for fans of Big Little Lies, The Couple Next Door, and The Widow.

Joanna is desperate to ingratiate herself with a popular clique of mothers at her son’s new school. But when she tries to impress them by repeating a rumor she overheard at the school gates, there’s no going back. . . .

Rumor has it that a notorious killer, a woman who has been released from prison years after her brutal crime, is living under a new identity in Joanna’s seaside town. So who is the supposedly reformed murderer now living in their neighborhood? Suspicion falls on everyone.

Joanna becomes obsessed with the case, pawing through decades-old records in an attempt to name the killer. But her curiosity not only ostracizes her from the community, but exposes her son and his father to a heartless psychopath who has killed–and may kill again. 

How dangerous can one rumor become? And how far will Joanna go to protect those she loves from harm, when she realizes what she’s unleashed?

Joanna is going to regret the day she ever said a word….

First Line

It’s happening again.

The Rumor by Lesley Kara

I am guilty of judging a book by its blurb. When I read the blurb, I thought that it was going to be a run of the mill suspense/thriller/mystery. I thought that I would be able to figure out who the killer was by the middle of the book. Yeah, well, that didn’t happen. I was taken by surprise by The Rumor , and I loved it.

The murderer in The Rumor is based on a real crime. Mary Bell killed a four-year-old and a three-year-old in 1968. The author had Sally follow Mary’s path in life. I was chilled reading those parts of The Rumor. The question that burned in my mind as I was reading was, “What can drive a ten-year-old to kill?

The plotline in The Rumor was fast paced. There were no slow interludes. Everything that occurred in the book, happened within a few weeks of Joanna repeating the rumor. There was no lag, and there were no dropped or missing storylines.

Joanna became a hot mess during the book. The minute she repeated that rumor, she was on a fast track to collide with the killer. There were times where I wanted to shake her, though. Mainly with her personal life. I did feel bad for her at the end of the book. What she learned shocked me as much as it shocked her.

I was surprised at who the child killer was. When it was revealed, my mouth dropped open, and I said, out loud, “No effing way.” I was not expecting it to be that person. The author did a fantastic job of throwing out red herrings and pointing fingers at various people in the book. I loved it!!

The end of The Rumor was intense. Everything was revealed in a showdown that I can only describe as epic. I couldn’t put the book down because I needed to know what was going to happen. What chilled me was the last chapter. I got chills up and down my spine when I read it.

I would give The Rumor an Adult rating. There is sex. There is language. There is violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would reread The Rumor. I would recommend it to family and friends.

**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**

The Liar’s Child by Carla Buckley

The Liar's Child

4 Stars

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group-Ballantine, Ballantine Books

Date of publication: March 12th, 2019

Genre: General Fiction, Suspense, Mystery, Thriller

Where to find The Liar’s Child: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Goodreads synopsis:

In this intense and intimate family portrait that moves at a thriller’s pace, a troubled woman faces a gripping moral dilemma after rescuing two abandoned children from a hurricane.

On the outskirts of North Carolina’s Outer Banks sits The Paradise, an apartment complex where renters never stay long enough to call the place “home”–and neighbors are seldom neighborly. It’s ideal for Sara Lennox, who moved there to escape a complicated past–and even her name–and rebuild a new life for herself under the radar. But Sara cannot help but notice the family next door, especially twelve-year-old Cassie and five-year-old Boon. She hears rumors and whispers of a recent tragedy slowly tearing them apart.

When a raging storm threatens then slams the coastal community, Sara makes a quick, bold decision: Rescue Cassie and Boon from the storm and their broken home–without telling a soul. But this seemingly noble act is not without consequences. Some lethal.

Carla Buckley crafts a richly rewarding psychological portrait, combining a heart-wrenching family drama with high-stakes suspense, as the lives of three characters intertwine in an unforgettable story of fury, fate–and redemption.

My review:

I was so excited to read this book. I had read the blurb and thought “This could be a good book”. And guess what, it was a good as I thought it was going to be.

I am going to come straight out and say it, this book was amazing. It was everything that I thought it was going to be and then some. The book is slow to start and I would hate it but in this case, it was needed. There was so much background that the author needed to build up before the story got going. And when the story got going, it didn’t stop.

Family dynamics were a huge focal point in The Liar’s Child. Cassie and Boon had a dysfunctional family. By the descriptions given, it seemed like she was bipolar at the least. She was also known to take off with the kids. Hank, their father, was the only stable person in their lives but he worked a ton of hours. He was never around. I had no doubt that this was the reason why Cassie started hanging around with the kids that she did. I also don’t doubt that was the reason why Boon was the way he was.

Sarawas an enigma. The author made it a point of not releasing a ton of information about her background. Heck, even her name was fake. She was in the Witness Protection program because of a case that she had no choice but to testify in. It was that or jail. Sara was at The Paradise under duress.

To be honest, I didn’t like Sara very much during the book. She was always scheming, seeing who could get her what. She formed friendships to get things. Take her friendship with her boss. She used it to get to her computer and to steal booze from the customers. Let’s not forget to add that she used her boss’s boyfriend to get laid and get a car. I also wanted to know why she was so hot to get out of the Witness Protection program. I understand that she chafed at being watched but hello, she got involved with human trafficking. Which is a bad thing.

I did feel bad for Cassie. She was acting out, hardcore. At 12, she shouldn’t have had to step into her mother’s shoes. While I didn’t agree with how she rebelled (sleeping around, doing drugs, skipping school) but I definitely could understand why. She did love Boon and she did try to protect him. But she also resented him. There were times in the book where I thought that she was going to need a good therapist.

Hank came across as a pushover. He allowed his wife to do whatever she wanted and chose to turn a blind eye to what she was doing. Even when she almost killed Boon, he still coddled her. It should have been a relief when she left. But it seemed to add more stress to him. I didn’t understand exactly why he was so stressed out until the end of the book. That’s when I did an “aha“. But, even that wasn’t what it seemed.

The plotline with the hurricane was almost anti-climatic compared to what was going on with the people. I liked that it didn’t take over the book but instead was the background for everything that happened after the middle.

I am still trying to figure out why Sara decided to take the kids. It wasn’t because she wanted to rescue them or felt bad for them. She felt that they were a pain in the butt and told them so. So why did she? I know that she saw a lot of herself in Cassie. So maybe that called to her. Who knows.

The book wrapped up on a happy note. I was happy to see everyone was thriving and doing well. I wasn’t happy to see that Hank was where he was but I understood why he did it. Never underestimate a parent’s love for their child.

I would give The Liar’s Child an Adult rating. There is sex (not graphic). There is language. There is violence. There are triggers. They would be the abandonment of a parent, death of a parent, horrific accident involving a child, dealing children services, destruction from a hurricane, underage sex, talk of drug use and a child becoming ill. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would reread The Liar’s Child. I would also recommend this book to family and friends.

I would like to thank the publisher, the author, and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review The Liar’s Child.

All opinions stated in this review of The Liar’s Child are mine.

After She’s Gone (Hanne Lagerlind-Schon: Book 2) by Camilla Grebe

After She's Gone: A Novel (Hanne Lagerlind-Schon Book 2) by [Grebe, Camilla]

4 Stars

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Ballantine Books

Date of publication: February 26th, 2019

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense

Series: Hanne Lagerlind-Schon

The Ice Beneath Her—Book 1

After She’s Gone—Book 2

Where you can find After She’s Gone: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Bookbub


In a small backwater town in Sweden, a young boy with a dark secret comes across a diary. As a cold case investigation suddenly becomes eerily current, a police investigator mysteriously disappears. What links these seemingly random events?

As atrocious acts from the past haunt the present and lives are changed forever, some will struggle to remember – while others struggle to forget . . .

The new thriller from the acclaimed author of THE ICE BENEATH HER, described as ‘Scandi-noir at its powerful bleakest’ by the Daily Mail and ‘unsettling, menacing and compulsively written’ by Heat, this is another slice of tense and twisted drama that will chill you to the bone.

My review:

I seem to be reading a lot of police mysteries/thrillers that are set in Finland/Sweden/Iceland lately. I don’t know why I am drawn to them, but I am. It is a combination of fascination with how their laws work and the culture.

The first 30-35% was slow. I don’t like books with slow beginnings. But, in this case, it worked. This plotline needed to be built up. I needed to read about what happened to Malin and Jake. I needed to see what formed them into the people that they were. I also needed to read about what was happening to Hanne through her diary. Once all the backstories were explained, then the ball started rolling. And man did it catch momentum.

Jake was the character I connected with. He had a lot of turmoil over the past year and kept to himself. It was his secret and what he thought about himself because of it that hurt my heart. His character growth came when he started to read Hanne’s diary. He related to Hanne and started to care for her. Not going to give anything away but Jake was the true hero of the book. He came to accept himself for what he was. His actions at the end of the book broke a cold case wide open and released secrets that were long buried.

I didn’t care for Malin. While she was a great detective, I didn’t care for her on a personal level. Her dislike for her fellow team member had no reason. She didn’t like him. I did agree with Manfred that she was racist. She protested way too much throughout that scene. She wasn’t a sympathetic character. Even with everything that was revealed at the end, I couldn’t help but go “Oh well” when it happened.

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I felt awful for Hanne. I couldn’t imagine what it would be like to be losing my memory. Especially if I had a job where my memory has to be sharp. Hanne’s confusion and sadness came across the pages. I understood why she needed the diary. To be honest, I thought that Peter was drugging her at one point in the book. His secretiveness (or what Hanne perceived to be) was suspicious. I also wondered if she was going to remember everything that happened to her.

I thought that the plotlines were well written. I got involved with the mystery behind who the woman was and how she could be related to the girl found 8 years earlier. The author did a fantastic job of pointing out latent racism. The resentfulness that people had against the refugees could have been pulled from the headlines. Same with the bullying that Jake endured.

I was surprised at the end of the book. I wasn’t expecting the “bad guys” to be who they were. It was a twist that came out of nowhere. I was thinking how Malin and her partner picked up was the killer. Also, the confession was chilling. Talk about no remorse. I was also surprised at how Malin was tied into what happened. Again, a twist that I didn’t see coming.

I would give After She’s Gone an Adult rating. There are sex and sexual references (nothing graphic). There is violence. There is language. There are triggers. They would be imprisonment, refugees, bullying, and homophobia.

I would reread After She’s Gone. I would also recommend this book to family and friends.

I would like to thank the publisher, the author, and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review After She’s Gone.

All opinions stated in this review of After She’s Gone are mine.

Have you read After She’s Gone.

Let me know your thoughts!!

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Bright Ruin (Dark Gifts: Book 3) by Vic James

Bright Ruin (Dark Gifts #3)

4 Stars

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group-Ballantine, Del Ray

Date of publication: October 9th, 2018

Genre: young adult, science fiction, dystopia

Series: Dark Gifts

Gilded Cage – Book 1 (review here)

Tarnished City – Book 2 (review here)

Bright Ruin – Book 3

Where you can find Bright Ruin: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Goodreads synopsis:

Magically gifted aristocrats rule–and commoners are doomed to serve. But a rebellion threatens the old order. The dystopian trilogy that began with Gilded Cage and Tarnished City concludes.

In a world where the lower classes must endure ten years of forced service to unfairly advantaged, magically powered rulers, a teenage boy dreams of rebellion, his older sister yearns for love and knowledge, and a dangerous young aristocrat seeks to remake the world with his dark gifts. In Bright Ruin, the final book in the trilogy set in modern-day England, our heroes will lead a revolution that will transform–or destroy–the world.

My review:

This book. Has left me. Wordless. Talk about having everything turned upside down and inside out. I can’t even get my thoughts together to write a review that makes sense…lol. But I will try.

I was excited to read Bright Ruin. I had loved the previous two books in the Dark Gifts trilogy and I was expecting to feel the same about Bright Ruin. Which I did. But this book also left me with a what the heck feeling. Why? Because of the ending. But I will get to that later in the review.

Out of all the characters in the book, I thought Gavar shined in this book. His character development from Gilded Cage was amazing. He went from being a pawn of his father to someone who decided to shake off the yoke of oppression that he lived under. I did have my doubts about him while reading Bright Ruin. I had doubts about his allegiances. But, I came to realize that the only one he was loyal too was Libby and through association, Daisy. That everything he did in Bright Ruin was to safeguard them. Of course, he was doing it under duress but still.

Speaking about Gavar brings me to Silyen. I didn’t know what to make of him for most of the book. The author did a great job at keeping his true intentions under wraps until the end of the book. Even when Luke and he met the King, I still had doubts about his true intentions. I should have known after the King’s death scene that Silyen had something up his sleeve. I also should have known when he made that deal with DogA life and an escape“. Grrrr. I also should have known his true intentions towards Luke. Thinking back, there were enough hints, I didn’t add them up. I will say that the kiss was electric and I am glad it was left at that.

I didn’t like Abi as much as I did in the first two books. I don’t know why I didn’t. I do think that she saw something in Gavar that surprised her. She saw goodness and the potential to help instead of harm. Which is why she trusted him with the plans to help break her parents out of where they were being held. Which is why she didn’t blame him for what happened when she found out the truth. I did like the change in her from the first book. She went from someone who accepted what life was thrusting at her to someone who dared to change things. That change was electric. A big part of that change was Jenner’s betrayal at the Blood Festival. But the other half of that change happened when things went sideways when her parents were rescued. Those events shaped her into who she became at the end of the book.

I thought Luke was useless in this book. Until Silyen took him to Crovan’s island. Then I realized, hey he is useful. I thought his relationship with Silyen was one of master and slave. But, as I read Luke’s part of the book, I realized that Luke was providing Silyen with something. I didn’t know what. Like I mentioned above, I was shocked at the kiss between them. But, I was also shocked by what Luke did at Silyen’s request. That took more bravery than anyone in the entire book. But, like I said above, I should have known it was coming. That whole death scene with the King was a huge indicator of what was going to happen. I failed to see it.

I want to mention how much I liked Dog in this book. I loved that the author gave him a voice and a purpose in this book. I also liked that his humanity was showing more and more. It counteracted nicely with what I knew about him.

It was the last chapter that bothered me. Luke’s storyline was not resolved. As was Coira’s, the King’s and Silyen’s. To end the book the way it did make me go “WHHHHHYYYYYY????” I can only hope that the author is going to do some sort of sequel to Bright Ruin. Something that explained what happened.

What I liked about Bright Ruin:

A) Gavar.

B) The kiss between Luke and Silyen

C) Dog

What I disliked about Bright Ruin:

A) What Silyen asked Luke to do

B) The end of the book

C) Abi. Just didn’t like her

I gave Bright Ruin a 4-star rating. This is a fantastic dystopian book. The characters were well fleshed out and the world building was amazing. I did have an issue with the ending. Other than that, loved the book.

I would give Bright Ruin an Older Teen rating. There is no sex (other than that amazing kiss between Silyen and Luke). There is violence. There is mild language. I would recommend that no one under the age of 16 read this book.

I would reread Bright Ruin. I would also recommend this book to family and friends.

I would like to thank Random House Publishing Book-Ballantine, Del Ray, and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review Bright Ruin.

All opinions stated in this review of Bright Ruin are mine.

**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**

A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult

A Spark of Light

4 Stars

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group, Ballantine Books

Date of publication: October 2nd, 2018

Genre: General Fiction, Women’s Fiction

Where you can find A Spark of Light: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Goodreads synopsis:

The warm fall day starts like any other at the Center—a women’s reproductive health services clinic—its staff offering care to anyone who passes through its doors. Then, in late morning, a desperate and distraught gunman bursts in and opens fire, taking all inside hostage.

After rushing to the scene, Hugh McElroy, a police hostage negotiator, sets up a perimeter and begins making a plan to communicate with the gunman. As his phone vibrates with incoming text messages he glances at it and, to his horror, finds out that his fifteen-year-old daughter, Wren, is inside the clinic.

But Wren is not alone. She will share the next and tensest few hours of her young life with a cast of unforgettable characters: A nurse who calms her own panic in order to save the life of a wounded woman. A doctor who does his work not in spite of his faith but because of it, and who will find that faith tested as never before. A pro-life protester disguised as a patient, who now stands in the crosshairs of the same rage she herself has felt. A young woman who has come to terminate her pregnancy. And the disturbed individual himself, vowing to be heard.

Told in a daring and enthralling narrative structure that counts backward through the hours of the standoff, this is a story that traces its way back to what brought each of these very different individuals to the same place on this fateful day.

Jodi Picoult—one of the most fearless writers of our time—tackles a complicated issue in this gripping and nuanced novel. How do we balance the rights of pregnant women with the rights of the unborn they carry? What does it mean to be a good parent? A Spark of Light will inspire debate, conversation . . . and, hopefully, understanding.

My review:

I went into reading A Spark of Light with an open mind. I am not a person who likes to read things that can start debates and cause strife in real life. Which is why I stick to romance/fantasy/horror..etc. So reading A Spark of Light for review is not something I would do. But I liked the blurb. I wanted to see what the author had to say about the Pro-Choice/Pro-Life debate. I wanted to see where this book would go. I will tell you all this. I was not expecting such a well-written book that explored both sides of the debate.

What I liked about this book was how it was written. It started at the end and ended at the beginning. This is a different written style then what I am used to and it could have failed. But, for me, it didn’t. I felt that it revealed everything at the right time. It wasn’t without its faults. There were times, at the beginning of the chapters, where I was confused by what was going on. But that cleared up after the first paragraph. Other than that, this writing style worked for me.

I also liked how the characters were portrayed. Instead of having a clear line between good and bad, the author blurred it. Which I thought was fantastic. Because of the topic she chose to write about, those lines should be blurred. The only one whose line wasn’t blurred was the shooter, George. But even then, I couldn’t help but have some pity for him.

I did like how the author handled the Pro-Choice/Pro-Life debate. She explored both sides and why the people felt the way they did. Take, for instance, the Dr. His decision to do abortions came from his mother dying of one in a backroom one when he was younger. He was deeply faithful but he also understood that women needed the correct medical help if they wanted to end a pregnancy. Or the undercover pro-choicer. She was trying to ease the guilt for an abortion she had when she was a teenager. She felt by being a fanatic about it, she would be absolved of sin. The author made me think about what each of those people was going through. What brought them to that clinic at that exact point in time.

The end of the book was good but I wasn’t satisfied. I wanted to know how the other storylines ended. The only one that was mentioned was Wren and we knew what happened to the other people who were within the clinic. Also, I wanted to know what happened to Beth. My frustration level with the ending was through the roof.

What I liked about A Spark of Light:

  1. Well written book
  2. The writing style
  3. How the author handled the Pro-Choice/Pro-Life debate.

What I disliked about A Spark of Light:

  1. The shooter
  2. How Beth was treated in the hospital
  3. The ending

I gave A Spark of Light a 4-star review. This is a well-written book that will make you think about the Pro-Choice/Pro-Life debate. I did have an issue with storylines not being ended and that did figure into my review. Other than that, I enjoyed reading this book.

I would give A Spark of Light an Adult rating. There is sex, but it is not graphic. There is language. There is violence. There are also scenes where abortions are done (both at home and at the clinic). I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would reread A Spark of Light. I would also recommend this book to family and friends. But I would throw in a warning about the abortion scenes.

I would like to thank Ballantine Books, Random House Publishing Group, and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review A Spark of Light.

All opinions stated in this review of A Spark of Light are mine.

**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**