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

Review:

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 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 Disappearing Act by Catherine Steadman

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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:

“Help.”

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**

Shorefall (Founders: Book 2) by Robert Jackson Bennett

5 Stars

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Del Ray

Date of publication: April 21st, 2020

Genre: Fantasy

Series: Founders

Foundryside—Book 1 (Review Here)

Shorefall—Book 2

Where you can find Shorefall: Barnes and Noble | Amazon | BookBub

Book Synopsis:

The upstart firm Foundryside is struggling to make it. Orso Igancio and his star employee, former thief Sancia Grado, are accomplishing brilliant things with scriving, the magical art of encoding sentience into everyday objects, but it’s not enough. The massive merchant houses of Tevanne won’t tolerate competition, and they’re willing to do anything to crush Foundryside.

But even the merchant houses of Tevanne might have met their match. An immensely powerful and deadly entity has been resurrected in the shadows of Tevanne, one that’s not interested in wealth or trade routes: a hierophant, one of the ancient practitioners of scriving. And he has a great fascination for Foundryside, and its employees – especially Sancia.

Now Sancia and the rest of Foundryside must race to combat this new menace, which means understanding the origins of scriving itself – before the hierophant burns Tevanne to the ground.


First Line:

“The gates are just ahead,” said Gregor.

Shorefall by Robert Jackson Bennett

My Review:

I was pretty pumped when I got the email from Del Ray/Random House asking if I wanted to review Shorefall. I had loved Foundryside and was wondering when the next book was going to be published. So, it was a no brainer what my answer was going to be.

Shorefall is the 2nd book in the Founders trilogy. I would highly recommend reading Foundryside first. You would better understand the world, the houses, Sanica, and everything else in the book.

Shorefall takes place three years after the events of Foundryside, and Orso, Sanica, Berenice, and Gregor have founded their scriving business. They have become a sort of Robin Hood to the poor but they give out scrives instead of money. After an excursion to steal one of the remaining Houses lexicons, Sanica is contacted by Valeria. Valeria has a warning. Her Maker is coming, and he is getting ready to destroy Tevanne. Sanica and her crew must prepare to fight Valeria’s Maker. But are they prepared for the toll it will take upon the group? And with the lines between good and evil blurred, will Sanica make the right choice?

Shorefall’s plotline was fast-paced. Seeing that this book takes place within a week or so of Valeria’s Maker arriving in Tevanne, there were no dropped plotlines or characters. The writing flowed beautifully when the book had to change from Sanica. There was no awkwardness either. That alone made me love the book.

It did take me some time to read Shorefall. But, and I want to stress this, it wasn’t because the book was awful and I was putting it off. Nope, it was the complete opposite. I slowed down my reading pace so I could savor this book. The writing, the language, the characters were beautifully written.

I can’t get much into the storyline or characters of Shorefall without giving away spoilers. I will say this; the characters blossomed in this book. And the storyline was fantastic. The details that the author thought to include was terrific.

I will touch upon Clef, Valeria, and Valeria’s Maker. There is a massive twist in the plot that I didn’t see coming that involves them. Looking back, it makes total sense. But when I was reading it, I was shocked. I ended up putting my Kindle down and saying, “No freaking way.

The end of Shorefall made me cry. Again, I can’t say why, but it does involve Orso and Gregor. My heart broke into smithereens during those scenes. With the way the book ended, I am not sure what is going to happen and now will be impatiently waiting for the final book!!


I would give Shorefall an Older Teen rating. There are mentions of sexual situations (no details). There is language. There is violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 16 read this book.

I would reread Shorefall. I would recommend it to family and friends.

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

The Last Human by Zack Jordan

The Last Human by [Jordan, Zack]

4 Stars

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Del Ray

Date of publication: March 24th, 2020

Genre: Science Fiction

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

Book Synopsis:

The last human in the universe is on the run from a godlike intelligence in this rip-roaring debut space opera.

Sarya is the civilized galaxy’s worst nightmare: a Human.

Most days, Sarya doesn’t feel like the most terrifying creature in the galaxy.

Most days, she’s got other things on her mind. Like hiding her identity among the hundreds of alien species roaming the corridors of Watertower Station. Or making sure her adoptive mother doesn’t casually eviscerate one of their neighbors. Again.

And most days, she can almost accept that she’ll never know the truth–that she’ll never know why humanity was deemed too dangerous to exist. Or whether she really is–impossibly–the lone survivor of a species destroyed a millennium ago.

That is, until an encounter with a bounty hunter and a miles-long kinetic projectile leaves her life and her perspective shattered.

Thrown into the universe at the helm of a stolen ship–with the dubious assistance of a rebellious spacesuit, an android death enthusiast on his sixtieth lifetime, and a ball of fluff with an IQ in the thousands–Sarya begins to uncover an impossible truth.

What if humanity’s death and her own existence are simply two moves in a demented cosmic game, one played out by vast alien intellects? Stranger still, what if these mad gods are offering Sarya a seat at their table–and a second chance for humanity?

The Last Human is a sneakily brilliant, gleefully oddball space-opera debut–a masterful play on perspective, intelligence, and free will, wrapped in a rollicking journey through a strange and crowded galaxy.


First Line:

Not so many years ago, Shenya the Widow was a void-cold killer.

The Last Human by Zack Jordan

My Review:

I usually do not read science fiction for review. That doesn’t mean I don’t read that genre. I wouldn’t say I like do not like reviewing that genre. So how did I end up with The Last Human for review? Easy, I wished for it on NetGalley and the publisher granted my wish.

The Last Human is the story of Sarya. Sarya is the adopted daughter of Shenya the Widow and she lives on a space station. But, Sarya is also the last of her species, a Human. Sarya’s mother and herself have worked carefully to hide what Sarya is. Everything was okay until a bounty hunter showed up and everything went sideways. The result was Sarya on the run with a spacesuit who can think for itself, an android who is obsessed with death and a super-smart fluffball (think a Tribble) and her protector. When two gods approach Sarya with a chance to make right past wrongs, she has to make a choice. Does she accept what they individually offer? Or does she go her own way?

The plotline for The Last Human was well written and kept my attention. There was a little bit of lag (when Sarya was inside the Observer’s brain), but the author was able to pull past it. There was also no dropped storylines or characters, which was a massive plus for me.

Sarya was an awesome character. She knew that she was Human, and she knew that she needed to keep her Humanity secret. If she didn’t, she would have been killed on sight. She loved her mother, Shenya the Widow, and was devastated when Shenya gave her life to let Sarya escape. She did make some rash decisions, but that only highlighted her Humanity. Her actions at the end of the book were exciting and thought-provoking.

The science fiction angle of the book was wonderfully written. It has been a long while since I read a space opera that I enjoyed. The worlds, the technology, the other life forms were fantastically written. I loved that the author broke the book up into the tiers of intelligence. I also loved that he gave excerpts of the rules and a glimpse into why Humanity was wiped out.

The end of The Last Human was satisfying. It raised a lot of questions for me. Those questions weren’t to do with the book but with the question “Is there life out there.


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

I would reread The Last Human. 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 Vanished Birds by Simon Jimenez

The Vanished Birds: A Novel by [Jimenez, Simon]

3 Stars

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Del Ray

Date of publication: January 14th 2020

Genre: Science Fiction, Fantasy

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

Book Synopsis:

A mysterious child lands in the care of a solitary woman, changing both of their lives forever in this captivating debut of connection across space and time.

“This is when your life begins.”

Nia Imani is a woman out of place and outside of time. Decades of travel through the stars are condensed into mere months for her, though the years continue to march steadily onward for everyone she has ever known. Her friends and lovers have aged past her; all she has left is work. Alone and adrift, she lives only for the next paycheck, until the day she meets a mysterious boy, fallen from the sky.

A boy, broken by his past.

The scarred child does not speak, his only form of communication the beautiful and haunting music he plays on an old wooden flute. Captured by his songs and their strange, immediate connection, Nia decides to take the boy in. And over years of starlit travel, these two outsiders discover in each other the things they lack. For him, a home, a place of love and safety. For her, an anchor to the world outside of herself.

For both of them, a family.

But Nia is not the only one who wants the boy. The past hungers for him, and when it catches up, it threatens to tear this makeshift family apart.


First Line:

He was born with an eleventh finger.

The Vanished Birds by Simon Jimenez

My Review:

I was on the fence about reviewing The Vanished Birds. To make up my mind, I read the first four reviews on Goodreads. That is something I never do, but I was conflicted. The reviews were evenly conflicted about the book. So, I decided to take a chance on it. For the most part, it was a good book. But some parts made me wonder why they were written, even after finishing the book.

The Vanished Birds had a slow to a medium-paced plotline. When the book focused on Nia and her relationship with Ahro/their travels until he was 16, the book moved at a medium-paced. But, when the book focused on Fumiko Nakajima (past and present) and her travels, it slowed to a crawl. I will be honest; I skimmed over a large part of her story. I started paying attention when she was on the secret base and the events afterward.

I enjoyed reading about the type of space travel that Nia used to go between planets. It fascinated me. I couldn’t imagine being in space for what I would have thought would be a few months and to find out that 15 years have passed.

Nia was a tough cookie to like during the book. She made some questionable decisions that affected the people around her. Nia kept people are arm’s length. She did unbend, slightly, when she met Ahro. She unbent, even more, when Fumiko asked her to keep him safe for 15 years. But, I couldn’t quite bring myself to like her.

When Fumiko was introduced in The Vanished Birds, I didn’t understand what her role was. I mean, it was explained relatively early on that she was the founder of the colonies in space, and she invented the engine that allowed space travel. But I didn’t know why her backstory was being told. It didn’t go with the flow of Nia’s story. Even when her story was brought to the present, I still wondered: “Why?” I also wondered why she was so invested in Ahro. It was explained, and it didn’t show her in a good light.

I loved Ahro. I loved seeing his character growth throughout the book. I wasn’t prepared for what his secret was, though. I honestly thought that it had something to do with music and his affinity for it. So, when it was revealed, I was shocked. I loved watching his relationship with Nia and her crew grow, which made what happened and who caused it such a shock.

I do wish that more time had been spent on the times they visited the planets. There were so many locations!!! All exotic and all made me want more. But that didn’t happen.

I wasn’t a fan of the last half of the book. I had questions about what was going to happen to Nia and Ahro once the dust settles. I also had questions about Fumiko. I can only assume what happened to her. And then there is the question about where Ahro originally came from and who The Kind One was.


I would give The Vanished Birds 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 Vanished Birds. I am also on the fence if I would recommend it to family and friends.

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

Steel Crow Saga (Steel Crow Saga: Book 1) by Paul Krueger

Steel Crow Saga by [Krueger, Paul]

4 Stars

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Del Ray

Date of publication: September 24th, 2019

Genre: Fantasy, LGBTQIA

Where you can find Steel Crow Saga: Barnes and Noble | Amazon | BookBub

Series: Steel Crow Saga

Steel Crow Saga—Book 1

Book Synopsis:

Four destinies collide in a unique fantasy world of war and wonders, where empire is won with enchanted steel and magical animal companions fight alongside their masters in battle.

A soldier with a curse
Tala lost her family to the empress’s army and has spent her life avenging them in battle. But the empress’s crimes don’t haunt her half as much as the crimes Tala has committed against the laws of magic… and her own flesh and blood.

A prince with a debt
Jimuro has inherited the ashes of an empire. Now that the revolution has brought down his kingdom, he must depend on Tala to bring him home safe. But it was his army who murdered her family. Now Tala will be his redemption—or his downfall.

A detective with a grudge
Xiulan is an eccentric, pipe-smoking detective who can solve any mystery—but the biggest mystery of all is her true identity. She’s a princess in disguise, and she plans to secure her throne by presenting her father with the ultimate prize: the world’s most wanted prince.

A thief with a broken heart
Lee is a small-time criminal who lives by only one law: Leave them before they leave you. But when Princess Xiulan asks her to be her partner in crime—and offers her a magical animal companion as a reward—she can’t say no, and soon finds she doesn’t want to leave the princess behind.

This band of rogues and royals should all be enemies, but they unite for a common purpose: to defeat an unstoppable killer who defies the laws of magic. In this battle, they will forge unexpected bonds of friendship and love that will change their lives—and begin to change the world.


First Line:

Dimangan heard his name and came when he was called.

Steel Crow Saga by Paul Krueger

My Review:

I have noticed a couple of themes in the books that I have been reading lately. The first one is that I saw is the plenty of strong female characters. The second is that Japanese/Chinese based fantasy is becoming more popular. Both caught my attention when I read the blurb for Steel Crow Saga. I am happy to say that I loved Steel Crow Saga!! It was a fantastic read.

Steel Crow Saga has four separate plotlines. Usually, that would be an issue for me. I lose focus on many plotlines. But, in this book, it wasn’t an issue. The author was able to keep all four plotlines separated. I had no problem keeping them straight. I also loved that while the plotlines did get merged towards the end of the book, they were still separate.

The characters in Steel Crow Saga were well written and well fleshed out. That made the book so much more enjoyable for me to read. I did have my favorite characters in the book. I loved Lee and Xiulan, separately and together. I also did like Tala and Jimuro, but Lee and Xiulan captured my heart.

The fantasy angle of the book was amazing!! I loved how shadepacting worked. To have an animal bond that close to you must be amazing. But I also could see why it was done with only animals and not humans. I thought having the bad guy having hundreds of shades was great. I also liked that the characters could steal the shades from other people. I liked it.

Another part of the book that I loved was the LGBT representation in the book. Xiulan and Lee had feelings for each other. Jimuro’s oldest friend was a transgender man. Mang, Tala’s brother, was gay. Lee, and I believe Jimuro, were bisexual. I loved it!!

I have read reviews where this book was compared to The Last Airbender and Pokemon. I did get the Pokemon vibe while reading it but I didn’t get The Last Airbender vibe. Shrugs.

I also liked that each race was a different Asian country. China, Japan, Korea, the Philippines, and India were represented. Doing that added more depth to the book. There also could be more countries that I didn’t pick up on.

There was a lot of violence and death in Steel Crow Saga. It didn’t bother me (violence in books usually don’t). But some people are bothered by violence. Unfortunately, this book couldn’t be told without the violence.

Tala and Mang’s relationship was one of the saddest ones that I have read to date. My heart broke several times whenever their relationship came up. The author also explains how he became a shade. Again, talk about my poor heartbreaking. I was in tears. What Mang asked Tala to do was awful, and it shaped her for the rest of her life.

The end of Steel Crow Saga was interesting. It was interesting because while the main storylines ended, the author left room for another book. I am curious to see what will happen with Tala and Jimuro, especially after what was revealed. I am also interested to see where Lee and Xiulan’s relationship will go. Also, I want to know what will happen with the different countries now that the war is over. I can’t wait for book 2 to come out!!


I would give Steel Crow Saga 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 Steel Crow Saga. 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!!