Nanny Needed by Georgina Cross

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Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Bantam

Date of publication: October 5th 2021

Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Suspense

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

Goodreads Synopsis:

A young woman takes a job as a nanny for an impossibly wealthy family, thinking she’s found her entre into a better life–only to discover instead she’s walked into a world of deception and dark secrets.

Nanny needed. Discretion is of the utmost importance. Special conditions apply.

When Sarah Larsen finds the notice, posted on creamy card stock in her building’s lobby, one glance at the exclusive address tells her she’s found her ticket out of a dead-end job–and life.

At the interview, the job seems like a dream come true: a glamorous penthouse apartment on the Upper West Side of NYC; a salary that adds several zeroes to her current income; the beautiful, worldly mother of her charge, who feels more like a friend than a potential boss. She’s overjoyed when they offer her the position and signs the NDA without a second thought.

In retrospect, the notice in her lobby was less an engraved invitation than a waving red flag. For there is something very strange about the Bird family. Why does the beautiful Mrs. Bird never leave the apartment alone? And what happened to the nanny before her? It soon becomes clear that the Birds’ odd behaviors are more than the eccentricities of the wealthy.

But by then it’s too late for Sarah to seek help. After all, discretion is of the utmost importance.


First Line:

The children are chattering.

Nanny needed by georgina cross

I love psychological thrillers. So when I read the blurb for Nanny Needed, I knew that this would be a book that I would enjoy.

Nanny Needed is a story about Sarah. Sarah is living with her boyfriend in New York City and barely making ends meet when she finds a flyer in the lobby of her building. The flyer is for a nanny position in a very affluent area of NYC. Throwing caution to the wind, Sarah decides to apply and gets hired, much to her surprise. But she soon regrets her decision when she finds out her nannying position isn’t what it seems. What is going on in the Bird house? What secrets is Mr. Bird trying to keep from coming out? And how does Sarah figure into everything?

Nanny Needed is a fast-paced book, but it does start slow. There is some lag towards the middle of the book, but it was expected. With what happened and Sarah’s state of mind, I wasn’t surprised by it at all.

I liked Sarah. She started the book as overwhelmed but happy. When she saw the flyer for the nanny position in her lobby, she thought it was a sign, and she was thrilled that she hit it off with Collette. After signing NDA’s and agreeing to a 3-month trial, she realizes what her job would be. Then everything hits the fan. I don’t think that I would have dealt with everything as well as Sarah did. She had some fantastic coping skills (in hindsight, I am not surprised).

The thriller angle was interwoven with the mystery angle, and they were both very well written. There were a few twists in the plotline. One twist I saw coming and called it the minute that Sarah interviewed for the job.

The other major twist, I didn’t see coming, and I was floored. I had to take a break to process what I read. That is how insane the twist was!!

The end of Nanny Needed was almost anti-climatic but perfect. I enjoyed that it not only ended the way it did but there was practically no resolve when the twist was revealed. I will say, without getting into spoilers, that I understand why Stephen did what he did. I would have wanted to know too, but what it cost everyone was almost too much. And poor Sarah!!!

I would recommend Nanny Needed to anyone over the age of 21. There is language and mild violence.

The Hollywood Spy (Maggie Hope: Book 10) by Susan Elia MacNeal

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Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Bantam

Date of publication: July 6th, 2021

Genre: Mystery, Historical Fiction, Thriller

Series: Maggie Hope

Mr. Churchill’s Secretary—Book 1

Princess Elizabeth’s Spy—Book 2

His Majesty’s Hope—Book 3

The Prime Minister’s Secret Agent—Book 4

Mrs. Roosevelt’s Confidante—Book 5

The Queen’s Accomplice—Book 6

The Paris Spy—Book 7

The Prisoner in the Castle—Book 8

The King’s Justice—Book 9

The Hollywood Spy—Book 10

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

Format Read: Unedited ARC

Received From: Publisher


Goodreads Synopsis:

Los Angeles, 1943. As the Allies beat back the Nazis in the Mediterranean and the United States military slowly closes in on Tokyo, Walt Disney cranks out wartime propaganda and the Cocoanut Grove is alive with jazz and swing each night. But behind this sunny façade lies a darker reality. Somewhere in the lush foothills of Hollywood, a woman floats, lifeless, in the pool of one of California’s trendiest hotels. When American-born secret agent and British spy Maggie Hope learns that this woman was engaged to her old flame, John Sterling, and that he suspects her death was no accident, intuition tells her he’s right. Leaving London under siege—not to mention flying thousands of miles—is a lot to ask. But John was once the love of Maggie’s life . . . and she won’t say no.

Maggie is shocked to find Los Angeles as divided as Europe itself—the Zoot Suit Riots loom large and the Ku Klux Klan casts a long shadow. As she marvels at the hatred in her home country, she can’t help but wonder what it will be like to see her lost love once again. But there is little time to dwell on memories once she starts digging into the case. As she traces a web of deception from the infamous Garden of Allah to the iconic Carthay Theater, she discovers things aren’t always the way things appear in the movies—and the political situation in America is more complicated, and dangerous, than the newsreels would have them all believe.


First Line:

It was 1943 and America was at war.

The Hollywood Spy by Susan Elia MacNeal

I have a fascination with World War II. And being fascinated with it, I have read a ton of books that have taken place in various countries during World War II. But, to my knowledge, I never have read a book set entirely in Los Angeles during World War II. When I read the blurb and saw where this book was set, this book caught my interest.

The Hollywood Spy is book 10 in the Maggie Hope series. Readers can read this book as a standalone, but I highly recommend that the other books be read first. There are people and events referenced that I had no clue about, and it drove me nuts.

There were two distinct plotlines in The Hollywood Spy. The first being the plotline where Maggie is investigating the death of John’s fiancee. The second involved the KKK and a plotline to cause as much mayhem as possible. I had zero problems keeping the plotlines separate.

The pacing and flow of The Hollywood Spy were good. It did take forever for the book to get going, but once it did, it kept up a steady pace until the end of the book. The same goes for the flow of the book. It flowed nicely between characters and plotlines, with little to no lag.

I liked Maggie and thought she was a relatable character. She dealt with everything that life threw at her with grace and a bit of humor. I also liked that she was super bright but had to be careful not to tread on people’s toes.

The mystery angle of The Hollywood Spy was interesting. There were so many twists and turns in the plotline that I didn’t know where it would take me. I wasn’t that surprised at who the killer ended up being or why that person did it. Considering the times and how close-minded people were (and still are), it made sense.

There was a massive twist in the plotline with John and Maggie. I did not see it coming, and it took me 100% by surprise when he dropped that bomb on her. It also saddened me because what I was hoping wasn’t going to happen.

I do want to add that racism and homophobia are very much a part of this book. Seeing that it is set in the 1940s, I wasn’t that surprised that it was portrayed. It was still heartbreaking to read (the scene with the nanny in the diner made me cry). It was even more painful because 80+ years later, there is still blatant racism. The author discussed this in her author’s note at the end of the book.

The end of The Hollywood Spy was well written. The author ends the storylines in the book but is left open enough for book 11.


The Hollywood Spy was a well-written mystery. I enjoyed reading it and was kept on edge with the different twists and turns that the plot took.

I would recommend The Hollywood Spy for anyone over the age of 21. There is violence and language. There are implied sexual situations.

The Night Window (Jane Hawk: Book 5) by Dean Koontz

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4 Stars

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Bantam

Date of publication : May 14th, 2019

Genre: Mystery, Thriller

Series: Jane Hawk

The Bone Farm—Book 0.5

The Silent Corner—Book 1 (review here)

The Whispering Room—Book 2 (review here)

The Crooked Staircase—Book 3 (review here)

The Forbidden Door—Book 4 (review here)

The Night Window—Book 5

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

Book synopsis:

#1 New York Times bestselling author Dean Koontz brings Jane Hawk’s one-woman war to an explosive climax as the rogue FBI agent wages her final battle against a terrifying conspiracy–for vengeance, for justice, and for humanity’s freedom. 

Groundbreaking, wholly involving, eerily prescient and terrifyingly topical, Dean Koontz’s Jane Hawk series sets a new standard for contemporary thrillers. Since her sensational debut in The Silent Corner, readers have been riveted by Jane Hawk’s resolute quest to take down the influential architects of an accelerating operation to control every level of society via an army of mind-altered citizens. At first, only Jane stood against the “Arcadian” conspirators, but slowly others have emerged to stand with her, even as there are troubling signs that the “adjusted” people are beginning to spin viciously out of control. Now, in the thrilling, climactic showdown that will decide America’s future, Jane will require all her resources–and more–as she confronts those at the malevolent, impregnable center of power.


My review:

I was excited when I saw that The Night Window was available for review. I was waiting for this book. I needed to see how Jane Hawk’s quest to bring down the Arcadian’s would end. And I wasn’t disappointed. This book was a fast-paced ride from beginning to end.

All the storylines were fast paced and well written. I had issues putting the book down, that is how into I got. I needed to find out if Jane was going to expose the Arcadians and reunite with her son. I needed to know if Tom was going to outwit Hollister. Also, let’s not forget the secondary storylines. Instead of distracting me from the storyline, they added to it. They added that little bit of extra depth to the book that was needed.

Jane, by far, was my favorite character in The Night Window. Her determination to protect her child and to expose the Arcadian’s came off the pages. She took more risks in this book. Her near misses with the Arcadian’s were incredible and nerve- wracking. I did feel bad for her, though. She was exhausted from all the running that she had to do. She wanted to be with her son. She wanted it to be over and justice for her husband.

I wanted to shake Vikram. He took a lot of risks to help Jane. Like going to Ricky and getting the modified RV. He made me nervous. But he was brilliant. It was that brilliance that kept them ahead of the Arcadians. It was also that brilliance that had him do what he did during the last chapters.

Warwick Hollister was one of the evilest characters that I have read to date. The glimpses of him that I got in the previous books didn’t prepare me for what was in this book. I shuddered every time he appeared in the book. But, I did enjoy his descent into madness. Without giving anything away, let’s say that he got paid back tenfold.

The Night Window was a perfect fit into the thriller genre. As with any of his books, Dean Koontz knows how to deliver a thriller. I was kept on edge the entire book. The build-up of that angle was fantastic.

The mystery angle wasn’t there for me. I wasn’t feeling it. The only time I even got a tiny bit of feel for it was when the Arcadians were chasing after Jane and Vikram. But even then, it was more of a thriller.

I loved the end of The Night Window. I did not expect it to go the way it did. But, in hindsight, it was the only way. The author did what few do. The author did what few do — showing what happens after the fact. It was also a fitting ending to the series.


I would give The Night Window an Adult rating. There is no sex (but there are references to sexual situations). There is violence. There is language. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would reread The Night Window. I would recommend this book to family and friends.

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


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

All opinions stated in this review of The Night Window are mine.


Have you read The Night Window?

What were your thoughts on it?

Do you think that something like the Hamlet List could exist?

Let me know!!

The Forbidden Door (Jane Hawk: Book 4) by Dean Koontz

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Stars

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Bantam

Date of publication: September 11th, 2018

Genre: Mystery, Thriller

Series: Jane Hawk

The Bone Farm—Book 0.5

The Silent Corner—Book 1 (review here)

The Whispering Room—Book 2 (review here)

The Crooked Staircase—Book 3 (review here)

The Forbidden Door—Book 4

The Night Window—Book 5 (expected publication date: May 14th, 2019)

Where you can find The Forbidden Door: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Goodreads synopsis:

When this relentless rogue FBI agent comes knocking, her adversaries will have to answer—with their lives—in the latest thrilling Jane Hawk novel by the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Silent Corner.

“We’re rewriting the play, and the play is this country, the world, the future. We break Jane’s heart, we’ll also break her will.”

She was one of the FBI’s top agents until she became the nation’s most-wanted fugitive. Now Jane Hawk may be all that stands between a free nation and its enslavement by a powerful secret society’s terrifying mind-control technology. She couldn’t save her husband, or the others whose lives have been destroyed, but equipped with superior tactical and survival skills—and the fury born of a broken heart and a hunger for justice—Jane has struck major blows against the insidious cabal.

But Jane’s enemies are about to hit back hard. If their best operatives can’t outrun her, they mean to bring her running to them, using her five-year-old son as bait. Jane knows there’s no underestimating their capabilities, but she must battle her way back across the country to the remote shelter where her boy is safely hidden . . . for now.

As she moves resolutely forward, new threats begin to emerge: a growing number of brain-altered victims driven hopelessly, violently insane. With the madness spreading like a virus, the war between Jane and her enemies will become a fight for all their lives—against the lethal terror unleashed from behind the forbidden door.

Don’t miss any of Dean Koontz’s gripping Jane Hawk thrillers:
THE SILENT CORNER • THE WHISPERING ROOM • THE CROOKED STAIRCASE • THE FORBIDDEN DOOR • THE NIGHT WINDOW


My review:

I am not going to go on a crazy fangirl but I love me some Dean Koontz. I have fangirled in earlier reviews and in hindsight, it made me look like a nerd. So, yes I love Dean Koontz. And yes, I have read almost every single book that he has written. That includes what he was written under his pseudonym and excludes any books written from 2007-2017.  I have enjoyed reading the Jane Hawk series. So when I saw that The Forbidden Door was up for review, I jumped on it. And did a happy dance when I got accepted.

The Forbidden Door is the 4th book in the Jane Hawk series. Jane is trying to get to her son after learning that her friends died protecting him. Her son is safe with an autistic genius. A genius who is nervous about being in charge of a child but determined to protect him as much as he can. While she is traveling to get her son, the Arcadians are searching for her in-laws. They want to adjust Nick’s parents and use them to find out where Jane’s son is. They think that if they have the son, then they will be able to bring Jane to her knees. But, that is not the case. Nick’s parents have become ghosts and force the Arcadians to search for them. The Arcadians also have another huge issue, besides Jane trying to take them down. Recently adjusted people are being driven insane. They are committing heinous crimes. Can Jane reach her son before the Arcadians? Can the Arcadians contain the epidemic of adjusted people going insane? Will the Arcadians find Nick’s parents?


What I liked about The Forbidden Door:

I loved Jane. She was as fresh and as complex as she was in the first 3 books. I like that the author chose to highlight her maternal instinct. I also liked how he balanced it with her need to find justice for Nick’s and all the other adjusted people’s deaths. Her interactions with Luther, Bernie, Travis, and Cornell were awesome. Plus, I liked seeing a heroine that wasn’t afraid to use shady connections to help her.

I was so happy to see Luther make an appearance in the book. I had missed him in book 3. I was wondering what happened to Rebecca, Jolie, and Twyla (and yes, I am still tickled that I see my name in a book!!). My wondering about them wasn’t answered. I was glad to see that Jolie was safe. It was Rebecca and Twyla that was my concern. I wanted to know where they were. I am hoping that my questions are answered in book 5.

I loved that Cornell was in this book. I liked that the author went more into his background and his autistic tendencies. I liked, that in spite of his limitations, that he was able to hide Travis for as long as he did. His terror at taking care of Travis made me sad for him. He was afraid that he was going to fail him. He was a gentle giant.

Travis was a remarkable kid. It didn’t seem like all the upheavals that went on in his life affected him. The only sign I saw was when he called JaneMommy” instead of “Mom“. I am wondering if his character will be in book 5 and what will happen to him.

As with all books, the secondary characters are key to keeping the book flowing. The author did a great job at introducing various characters and keeping them constant for the entire time they are in the book. He also brought in secondary characters that were in the other books. Techno Arcadians and good guys.

There were 3 major plotlines in The Forbidden Door. What I enjoyed was that the author was able to bring them all together at the end of the book. I also liked that none of them were resolved. None. It made me very excited about book 5!!

The first plotline is the one involving Jane and her trek to get Travis. She revisited some familiar people. She also made some new allies. Ferrante was a remarkable one. His obsession with blood skeeved me out. What he asked Jane to do got me even more skeeved.

The second plotline involved the Arcadians and their search for Nick’s parents. I loved it because I had no clue where they went. That ending chapter, when all was revealed, was interesting. I am hoping that this plotline is revisited. I want to know what happens to Egon.

The third plotline involved the Arcadians and the people that they adjusted going insane. This plotline was introduced late in the book. I am curious to see what is going to happen with that. Will all the adjusted people start going insane? Or just the ones recently infected?


What I disliked about The Forbidden Door:

There were a few things that I didn’t like about The Forbidden Door.

I did not like the Arcadians. The single-mindedness that they showed to their cause. They kept using the brain-altering drug even though they knew that it was driving people insane. They turned almost a whole town to track Travis down. And how did that turn out? Not so great for their cause. I also didn’t like how Laurie was treated by Janis. And man, Janis’s psychotic break. It was awful.

I did think that the storyline with the Arcadians hunting down Nick’s parents was a bit drawn out. While I understand why it went on for so long, I started to get bored by it.


The end of The Forbidden Door was great. None of the storylines were ended. Instead, they were all left up in the air. Normally, I would be complaining about this. But because there is going to be a book 5, I know that the storylines will be ended in that book. So, it is fine with me.

I gave The Forbidden Door a 4-star rating. I liked the plotlines and the characters. The only thing that I didn’t like about The Forbidden Door were the Arcadians. I also thought that storyline about them hunting down Nick’s parents dragged on for longer than it needed to.

I would give The Forbidden Door an Adult rating. There is no sex. But there are scenes that discuss child sexual abuse and one man contemplating raping a child. There is violence. There is a disturbing scene where a man is attacked and his chin is almost bitten off. There is language. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would reread The Forbidden Door. I would also recommend this book to family and friends. I would include a warning about possible triggers (see above).

I would like to thank Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Bantam, and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review The Forbidden Door.

All opinions stated in this review of The Forbidden Door are mine.

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

The Whispering Room (Jane Hawk: Book 2) by Dean Koontz

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5 Stars

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Bantam

Date of publication: November 21, 2017

Genre: General Fiction, Mystery, Thriller

Number of pages: 528

POV: 3rd person

Series: Jane Hawk

The Silent Corner – Book 1 (review here)

The Whispering Room – Book 2

The Crooked Staircase – Book 3 (expected publication date: June 2018)

Where you can find The Whispering Room: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

Jane Hawk–fiction’s most relentless, resourceful, stunning new heroine–continues her battle against a murderous conspiracy in the riveting sequel to The Silent Corner.

“No time to delay. Do what you were born to do. Fame will be yours when you do this.” 

These are the words that ring in the mind of mild-mannered, beloved schoolteacher Cora Gundersun–just before she takes her own life, and many others’, in a shocking act of carnage. When the disturbing contents of her secret journal are discovered, it seems certain that she must have been insane. But Jane Hawk knows better.

In the wake of her husband’s inexplicable suicide–and the equally mysterious deaths of scores of other exemplary individuals–Jane picks up the trail of a secret cabal of powerful players who think themselves above the law and beyond punishment. But these ruthless people bent on hijacking America’s future for their own monstrous ends never banked on a highly trained FBI agent willing to go rogue–and become the nation’s most wanted fugitive–in order to derail their insidious plans to gain absolute power with a terrifying technological breakthrough.

Driven by love for her lost husband and by fear for the five-year-old son she has sent into hiding, Jane Hawk has become an unstoppable predator. Those she is hunting will have nowhere to run when her shadow falls across them.

Trigger warning: None

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