Daughter by Kate McLaughlin

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Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, Wednesday Books

Date of publication: March 8th, 2022

Genre: Young Adult, Thriller, Mystery, Contemporary, Suspense, Crime

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

Goodreads Synopsis:

Scarlett’s life is pretty average. Overly protective mom. Great friends. Cute boy she’s interested in. And a father she’s never known – until she does.

When the FBI shows up at Scarlet’s door, she is shocked to learn her father is infamous serial killer Jeffrey Robert Lake. And now, he’s dying and will only give the names and locations of his remaining victims to the one person, the daughter he hasn’t seen since she was a baby.

Scarlet’s mother has tried to protect her from Lake’s horrifying legacy, but there’s no way they can escape the media firestorm that erupts when they come out of hiding. Or the people who blame Scarlet for her father’s choices. When trying to do the right thing puts her life in danger, Scarlet is faced with a choice – go back into hiding or make the world see her as more than a monster’s daughter.

Kate McLaughlin’s Daughter is a novel about trying right deadly choices that were never yours to begin with.


First Line:

Dayton Culver was well aware he was trespassing when he and his golden retriever, Lulu, veered off the path in the woods.

daughter by kate mclaughlin

When I first saw Daughter on NetGalley, I was mildly intrigued. But, at the time, I didn’t request it. I figured that if the book gods wanted me to read this book, they would make it happen. Well, it happened. I got the invite from SMP, and I was pretty excited to read it. But I got it at a pretty bad time. I had some personal things going on and had to push this book to the back burner. It sat on my TBR for almost two months, and during that time, I kept seeing reviews for it everywhere. Nearly all were favorable, and that kept me amped to read it. I was blown away when I read it. It lived up to my internal hype and the hype I kept seeing.

Daughter had an exciting plotline. Scarlet is your typical seventeen-year-old. She has a great group of friends, a boy that she is interested in, and a mother who is beyond overprotective. That is blown away when Scarlet finds out that her life is a lie. She has been in hiding her entire life. Why? She is the daughter of a serial killer. That same serial killer is dying and wants to talk to Scarlet. The FBI is hoping that he tells Scarlet about his remaining victims and hopes to keep her identity under wraps. But that is blown when pictures of Scarlet and her mother are leaked to the press. Overnight, Scarlet’s life is ruined. She is stalked by the paparazzi and groupies of her father. Most of her friends turn on her. But Scarlet feels connected to her father’s victims and is determined to find her way through this mess. What will Scarlet do?

I will admit, I am a true crime junkie. I watch everything and anything on serial killers. But I have never seen anything that discusses what the families of the serial killers go through. I have seen plenty of speculation but never what their trauma was and how they coped with it. So, reading a book from the perspective of a serial killer’s daughter was interesting.

The author chose to interweave news articles, web forums, and podcasts throughout the book. It made me upset and very uncomfortable to read those articles. I also got mad that one outlet released Scarlet and her mother’s home address, city, and state. I also was a little irritated by how cruel some of those articles/forums/podcasts were. Scarlet was a baby. She had nothing to do with her father’s crimes and was actively helping the FBI. What else did they want her to do?

Scarlet was a powerful young woman. Her reaction to what her mother and the FBI told her was nothing short of what I would expect from a teenager. She handled everything else with grace. I did think what the FBI asked of her was a little too much. But she was a boss when it came to talking with her father. She couldn’t have handled it any better. I also loved her idea of honoring the victims. I thought it would be healing not only for Scarlet but for the loved ones the victims left behind.

Jeffery Lake was an absolute monster. My skin crawled when I read his interactions with Scarlet, and I wanted to throw up when he told Scarlet the reason behind her “real” name. And what he did after he died, I have no words.

The thriller angle of Daughter was a bit slow at times, but it was there. It did ramp up when Scarlet and her mother traveled to Raleigh—not knowing what Lake would do or say added to that.

The suspense angle of Daughter was excellent. I never knew what direction their conversations would take. Would he give her another name, or would he play mind games with her? It was that part of the book that kept me glued to it.

The end of Daughter was a bit anti-climatic. I was waiting for the other shoe to drop or something to happen (different than the storage unit deal). Nothing happened, though. I liked seeing how Scarlet and her mother were thriving now that Lake was dead. The legacy he had left was awful, but they both were learning to live with it.

I would recommend Daughter to anyone over 21. Drug use, alcohol use, language, description of necrophilia, language, sexual situations, and mild violence.

WWW Wednesday: March 30th, 2022

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WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Personal:

Nothing too much has been going on here. I’m finally feeling better. Yay!! But now, I have allergies and they suck. The kids are feeling better too. But they can’t miss any more school. They have all missed a lot due to them being sick.

Miss R is going to an ENT next week for the second step in her sleep apnea/PLMD diagnosis. Her sleep study Dr wants an ENT to check and see if her adenoids are enlarged. If they are, she gets them removed and a sleep study to see if she still has sleep apnea. If not, then we get a CPAP machine for her. I am hoping that it’s the first case. I have a feeling that getting her to wear a mask to sleep is going to be difficult.

Mr. Z was worried that he missed out on meeting with the guidance counselor to pick out the classes for next year. He had been out all the week before and she had sent an email stating that she would be there that week. Well, I guess she wasn’t. I got an email saying that she would be at the school next week. So, he’ll get his classes. I can’t wait to see if he’s going to be in any honors classes.

Miss B had a very exciting week last week. She had signed up for her junior year classes and was informed that she qualified to earn college credits for certain classes. I had to look it up and basically, she gets to earn college credits as she does her high school classes. Then she is able to switch those credits to any state-run college and they apply to her major. So, basically, she will be halfway to her Associate’s degree by the time she graduates HS. On top of that, she has to take her Criminal Justice classes. She is taking: Criminal Law, Ethics, Court Procedures, and Introduction to Criminal Justice (which I think is lumped in with Criminal Law). She was also pulled out of class yesterday and told that she got “Most Likely to Make Someone Smile” in the yearbook for sophomore year. She was thrilled. Two of her friends also got awards too (she couldn’t remember what for).

Reading

I am doing OK with my reading. I have gotten stuck on my current book. I hate it when that happens and I am hoping to have it finished tonight (or today!!). I have 2 books that I want to have finished and reviewed by Friday. Then I need to start on my NetGalley backlog (bleh).

Watching:

I finished Curon and wasn’t pleased with how it ended. Right now, I am watching The Chosen One on Netflix. It is a paranormal thriller set in the Pantanal in Brazil. I also have been watching Pieces of Her (American drama), and Invisible City (paranormal set in Brazil) on Netflix.

So, that the catch up with me. As always, let me know if you have read any of these books and what you have thought about them.


What I Recently Finished Reading:

A ghost spirit of dark’s universe falls in love with a ghost spirit of light’s universe, and while they cannot meet, for they wander around separate realms and spacetimes, they live their love through a secret and sacred interaction.

What I am currently reading:

Welcome to Paradise. Daniel’s alchemy has hurtled them 112 years into the future where a mysterious tree-shaped structure rises into the Moroccan sky. Generations have passed, but a culture grounded in ancient Yoruba traditions has sprung up.

Peri must choose between trusting the friendly strangers she meets and following Ayoub, the terrorist-turned-pirate, into the unknown. She fights to keep her family together, but her faith is shaken. Nothing is as it seems.

Caught between two warring factions, the YUS with brain chips and the Natural Resistance Force, Peri must search within herself to discover what truly makes life worth living. How much is she willing to sacrifice for paradise?

What books I think I’ll read next:

Sierra Baker has no idea she’s in danger – until a frightening and unsettling traffic stop late one night. When Cody Parker shows up the next day and announces he’s her bodyguard, she’s even more terrified. Is Parker on the level? Or is this the shadowy stranger who stopped her car the night before?

Her partner Alex assures Sierra the danger is real – the Russian mob is after her. Parker has been sent to protect her. But she and Cody are oil and water. Complete opposites who agree on nothing. Except for their irresistible attraction to each other.
Two against the Taliban, two wildly different agendas — both crazy risky!

Laila’s not the type of woman who needs rescuing. Except for a tiny rule-breaking penchant, she’s a model CIA agent—smart, resourceful, brave, and very very determined.. But right now she’s in a tight situation—in more than one way. She’s hiding from the Taliban in a network of pitch-dark interlocking caves, so narrow a cat could barely thread its way through them. A cat or an agent trained for it.

And that would be Jase, her designated rescuer.

Once her CIA training agent, he’s the last man she’d get involved with, even though he’s the hottest guy she’s ever met. He’s bossy. Intimidating. Way too alpha. And a strict rule follower.

All traits on her ‘no fly’ list.

Set against the tense U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, this rapid-fire tale begins with electrifying action, moves on to fast-flying sparks, and never lets up. Laila’s on the way to Kabul to leave the country, where she also teaches a class of village girls, when her driver betrays her. She outwits him, but it’s only a matter of time till the Taliban track her down.

She’s never been so glad to see Jase.

Romance should be the last thing on either’s mind as they frantically crawl and slither their way through the claustrophobic caves, desperate to find an exit. Still, infatuation sparks.

And smolders.

But neither can afford to take their eyes off their own goals. Jase’s is simple–to rejoin his team and deliver Laila safely to Kabul. But Laila has a more ambitious
agenda, one that will require breaking rules, disobeying orders, and endangering the whole team.
Scarlet’s life is pretty average. Overly protective mom. Great friends. Cute boy she’s interested in. And a father she’s never known – until she does.

When the FBI show up at Scarlet’s door, she is shocked to learn her father is infamous serial killer Jeffrey Robert Lake. And now, he’s dying and will only give the names and locations of his remaining victims to the one person, the daughter he hasn’t seen since she was a baby.

Scarlet’s mother has tried to protect her from Lake’s horrifying legacy, but there’s no way they can escape the media firestorm that erupts when they come out of hiding. Or the people who blame Scarlet for her father’s choices. When trying to do the right thing puts her life in danger, Scarlet is faced with a choice – go back into hiding or make the world see her as more than a monster’s daughter.

Kate McLaughlin’s Daughter is a novel about trying right deadly choices that were never yours to begin with.
Wealthy Washington suburbanites Marissa and Matthew Bishop seem to have it all—until Marissa is unfaithful. Beneath their veneer of perfection is a relationship riven by work and a lack of intimacy. She wants to repair things for the sake of their eight-year-old son and because she loves her husband. Enter Avery Chambers.

Avery is a therapist who lost her professional license. Still, it doesn’t stop her from counseling those in crisis, though they have to adhere to her unorthodox methods. And the Bishops are desperate.

When they glide through Avery’s door and Marissa reveals her infidelity, all three are set on a collision course. Because the biggest secrets in the room are still hidden, and it’s no longer simply a marriage that’s in danger.
Inspired by a true story, this exciting debut explores a mystery about missing girls: When a girl goes missing, does she become the people others imagine her to be?

On December 1, 1946, Paula Jean Welden put on a bright red parka, left her Bennington College dorm for a hike, and vanished into the thin mountain air. Paula Jean’s disappearance captivated the post-war nation, leading to news articles, false sightings, rumors, psychic visions, and a short story by Shirley Jackson. Inspired by this unsolved mystery, quantum girl theory asks: does a missing girl become the person—or even the people—others imagine her to be? Or was she already someone else entirely?

At the center of this brilliant jigsaw puzzle of a novel is Paula Jean herself, now known as Mary Garrett, a clairvoyant with a concealed past, hustling for reward money by searching for missing girls. In 1961, a poster about a missing girl lures Mary to a town in the Jim Crow south, where she discovers that it’s not just one white girl who’s disappeared; two Black girls have vanished as well. With everyone from the white girl’s mother to the local sheriff resenting her presence in town, Mary can’t trust anyone. And then there are the strange visions that come to Mary, a phenomenon she calls “the sight”. As stories appear from other lives Paula Jean might have lived—a circus showgirl hiding from her past; a literary forger on the verge of discovery; a McCarthy–era informant in love with a woman she meets in a Communist cell—a reader may be prompted to ask whether Mary herself can be trusted.

Beautifully written, provocative, and original, Quantum Girl Theory is both a mesmerizing mystery and a startling thought-experiment about people and girls, asking whose disappearances—whose lives—matter, even as it explores the ways we may be haunted by the lives we did not lead. Or did we?
He doesn’t believe in love…

Traveling nurse Janie Atwood has come to Cold River to uncover old family secrets and maybe, if she’s lucky, find a new home. That the gorgeous, glowering sheriff next door thinks her caring for his elderly neighbor is a nefarious scheme is a bonus. Having never been anything but a good girl, Janie finds Zack Kittredge’s simmering suspicion an excellent reason to try being a little dangerous instead…

She doesn’t believe in squandering it…

Sheriff Zack Kittredge is okay with being… intense. He takes his loner status as seriously as he takes his responsibilities to protect Cold River. And he thinks cheerful Janie might be a threat to the town. But the more he gets to know her, the more he faces the truth―she’s brighter than sunshine and he’s like a moth to her flame. When Janie suggests he could use a few charm school lessons, he surprises them both by accepting. He doesn’t need help. But it’s clear he might need her…

Because the only thing hotter than the summer sun in the Rockies is the forbidden passion that burns between them…

WWW Wednesday: March 23rd 2022

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WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Personal:

I know that it has been a month since I last did a WWW Wednesday. My excuse: I got super busy and for some reason, everything seemed to happen on a Tuesday and Wednesday. Crazy, right!!

Everyone in my family got sick with this awful cold that is going around. Now, I know it’s a cold because I covid tested Miss R and Mr. Z when they got it and each time it was negative. I have it right now and I feel like a truck ran me over. Miss B also got a nasty stomach bug that is making the rounds plus the cold. Fun times in my household.

Miss R is doing well. She is still having issues with her bully at school. Last week, Miss R dropped her chapstick and the little girl picked it up, used it, and then told the other kids that Miss R took it from her. Then she started calling her names. Miss R was in tears when I picked her up from school. Then I reminded her that she is getting over a cold and her germs are all over that chapstick, and now that little girl will be getting her cold. It made her feel better, but still.

Mr. Z got into the high school that he wanted. The wonderful thing about living in this area is that we have an option of 3 additional high schools to apply to if they don’t want to go to the city-run high school. You do have to apply to get into them. The school Mr. Z got into only takes 75 kids out of the whole county and the other 2 take 100 kids. If you don’t get accepted, you get put on a waiting list and will attend your local high school. He was thrilled to get in (he’s taking the computer programming academy). I also think he’s thrilled about the later start and finish times (school starts at 9 am and ends at 4 pm).

Miss R is doing well. We do have to work on her driving. She has a level 1 provincial license and needs 60 hours to move up to level 2. She has 4….lol. I am terrified to drive with her (she drifts and brakes too much) and BK is working a ton. Guess I am going to have to suck it up and take her…lol.

Reading

I am actually doing pretty well with my reading. I have caught up with all of my February backlogs. I do have 4 indie author books to read before the end of the month, but that should be a piece of cake. I am also caught up on reviews (this never happens). Having BK traveling for work again has helped me out on that end….haha.

Watching:

I have been watching a lot of foreign supernatural shows. I just finished Curon (an Austrian/Italian TV series) and am watching Dark (a German TV series) on Netflix. I am also watching Fringe on Paramount Plus and The Stand on HBO Max.

So, that the catch up with me. As always, let me know if you have read any of these books and what you have thought about them.


What I Recently Finished Reading:

An impossible crime. A detective on the edge of madness. The future of time travel at stake.

January Cole’s job just got a whole lot harder.

Not that running security at the Paradox was ever really easy. Nothing’s simple at a hotel where the ultra-wealthy tourists arrive costumed for a dozen different time periods, all eagerly waiting to catch their “flights” to the past.

Or where proximity to the timeport makes the clocks run backward on occasion—and, rumor has it, allows ghosts to stroll the halls.

None of that compares to the corpse in room 526. The one that seems to be both there and not there. The one that somehow only January can see.

On top of that, some very important new guests have just checked in. Because the U.S. government is about to privatize time-travel technology—and the world’s most powerful people are on hand to stake their claims.

January is sure the timing isn’t a coincidence. Neither are those “accidents” that start stalking their bidders.

There’s a reason January can glimpse what others can’t. A reason why she’s the only one who can catch a killer who’s operating invisibly and in plain sight, all at once.

But her ability is also destroying her grip on reality—and as her past, present, and future collide, she finds herself confronting not just the hotel’s dark secrets but her own.

What I am currently reading:

A heartless psychopath with size 16 shoes, nursing home hookers and an irreverent Las Vegas homicide detective with a gambling habit set the tone for this off-beat tale of revenge and retribution.

Blackjack addict Frank Savic is deeply in debt and facing family problems when he’s asked to delay his retirement to catch a vigilante killer who murders other murderers in a manner the veteran cop has never seen.

While dead bodies stack up in quick succession, the motorcycle-riding policeman also finds himself reluctantly involved with a desperate mother who will do anything to get justice for her dead son.

Savic, his investigation complicated by a suspected FBI coverup and a prison bribery scandal, is unaware that the murderer might be the solution to his own financial and domestic dilemma.

Add a vengeful killer who seeks justice for his own unbearable loss and you have a teasing psychological thriller that blurs the line between
good and evil and where surgical bone saws and spiders are just tools of the trade.

Yes, there are spiders.

What books I think I’ll read next:

A ghost spirit of dark’s universe falls in love with a ghost spirit of light’s universe, and while they cannot meet, for they wander around separate realms and spacetimes, they live their love through a secret and sacred interaction.
Scarlet’s life is pretty average. Overly protective mom. Great friends. Cute boy she’s interested in. And a father she’s never known – until she does.

When the FBI show up at Scarlet’s door, she is shocked to learn her father is infamous serial killer Jeffrey Robert Lake. And now, he’s dying and will only give the names and locations of his remaining victims to the one person, the daughter he hasn’t seen since she was a baby.

Scarlet’s mother has tried to protect her from Lake’s horrifying legacy, but there’s no way they can escape the media firestorm that erupts when they come out of hiding. Or the people who blame Scarlet for her father’s choices. When trying to do the right thing puts her life in danger, Scarlet is faced with a choice – go back into hiding or make the world see her as more than a monster’s daughter.

Kate McLaughlin’s Daughter is a novel about trying right deadly choices that were never yours to begin with.
Wealthy Washington suburbanites Marissa and Matthew Bishop seem to have it all—until Marissa is unfaithful. Beneath their veneer of perfection is a relationship riven by work and a lack of intimacy. She wants to repair things for the sake of their eight-year-old son and because she loves her husband. Enter Avery Chambers.

Avery is a therapist who lost her professional license. Still, it doesn’t stop her from counseling those in crisis, though they have to adhere to her unorthodox methods. And the Bishops are desperate.

When they glide through Avery’s door and Marissa reveals her infidelity, all three are set on a collision course. Because the biggest secrets in the room are still hidden, and it’s no longer simply a marriage that’s in danger.
On December 1, 1946, Paula Jean Welden put on a bright red parka, left her Bennington College dorm for a hike, and vanished into the thin mountain air. Paula Jean’s disappearance captivated the post-war nation, leading to news articles, false sightings, rumors, psychic visions, and a short story by Shirley Jackson. Inspired by this unsolved mystery, quantum girl theory asks: does a missing girl become the person—or even the people—others imagine her to be? Or was she already someone else entirely?

At the center of this brilliant jigsaw puzzle of a novel is Paula Jean herself, now known as Mary Garrett, a clairvoyant with a concealed past, hustling for reward money by searching for missing girls. In 1961, a poster about a missing girl lures Mary to a town in the Jim Crow south, where she discovers that it’s not just one white girl who’s disappeared; two Black girls have vanished as well. With everyone from the white girl’s mother to the local sheriff resenting her presence in town, Mary can’t trust anyone. And then there are the strange visions that come to Mary, a phenomenon she calls “the sight”. As stories appear from other lives Paula Jean might have lived—a circus showgirl hiding from her past; a literary forger on the verge of discovery; a McCarthy–era informant in love with a woman she meets in a Communist cell—a reader may be prompted to ask whether Mary herself can be trusted.

Beautifully written, provocative, and original, Quantum Girl Theory is both a mesmerizing mystery and a startling thought-experiment about people and girls, asking whose disappearances—whose lives—matter, even as it explores the ways we may be haunted by the lives we did not lead. Or did we?
Welcome to Paradise. Daniel’s alchemy has hurtled them 112 years into the future where a mysterious tree-shaped structure rises into the Moroccan sky. Generations have passed, but a culture grounded in ancient Yoruba traditions has sprung up.

Peri must choose between trusting the friendly strangers she meets and following Ayoub, the terrorist-turned-pirate, into the unknown. She fights to keep her family together, but her faith is shaken. Nothing is as it seems.

Caught between two warring factions, the YUS with brain chips and the Natural Resistance Force, Peri must search within herself to discover what truly makes life worth living. How much is she willing to sacrifice for paradise?
He doesn’t believe in love…

Traveling nurse Janie Atwood has come to Cold River to uncover old family secrets and maybe, if she’s lucky, find a new home. That the gorgeous, glowering sheriff next door thinks her caring for his elderly neighbor is a nefarious scheme is a bonus. Having never been anything but a good girl, Janie finds Zack Kittredge’s simmering suspicion an excellent reason to try being a little dangerous instead…

She doesn’t believe in squandering it…

Sheriff Zack Kittredge is okay with being… intense. He takes his loner status as seriously as he takes his responsibilities to protect Cold River. And he thinks cheerful Janie might be a threat to the town. But the more he gets to know her, the more he faces the truth―she’s brighter than sunshine and he’s like a moth to her flame. When Janie suggests he could use a few charm school lessons, he surprises them both by accepting. He doesn’t need help. But it’s clear he might need her…

Because the only thing hotter than the summer sun in the Rockies is the forbidden passion that burns between them…
Sierra Baker has no idea she’s in danger – until a frightening and unsettling traffic stop late one night. When Cody Parker shows up the next day and announces he’s her bodyguard, she’s even more terrified. Is Parker on the level? Or is this the shadowy stranger who stopped her car the night before?

Her partner Alex assures Sierra the danger is real – the Russian mob is after her. Parker has been sent to protect her. But she and Cody are oil and water. Complete opposites who agree on nothing. Except for their irresistible attraction to each other.
Two against the Taliban, two wildly different agendas — both crazy risky!

Laila’s not the type of woman who needs rescuing. Except for a tiny rule-breaking penchant, she’s a model CIA agent—smart, resourceful, brave, and very very determined.. But right now she’s in a tight situation—in more than one way. She’s hiding from the Taliban in a network of pitch-dark interlocking caves, so narrow a cat could barely thread its way through them. A cat or an agent trained for it.

And that would be Jase, her designated rescuer.

Once her CIA training agent, he’s the last man she’d get involved with, even though he’s the hottest guy she’s ever met. He’s bossy. Intimidating. Way too alpha. And a strict rule follower.

All traits on her ‘no fly’ list.

Set against the tense U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, this rapid-fire tale begins with electrifying action, moves on to fast-flying sparks, and never lets up. Laila’s on the way to Kabul to leave the country, where she also teaches a class of village girls, when her driver betrays her. She outwits him, but it’s only a matter of time till the Taliban track her down.

She’s never been so glad to see Jase.

Romance should be the last thing on either’s mind as they frantically crawl and slither their way through the claustrophobic caves, desperate to find an exit. Still, infatuation sparks.

And smolders.

But neither can afford to take their eyes off their own goals. Jase’s is simple–to rejoin his team and deliver Laila safely to Kabul. But Laila has a more ambitious agenda, one that will require breaking rules, disobeying orders, and endangering the whole team.

March 2022 TBR

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March is the month of spring, Daylight Savings, and St. Patrick’s Day (which is also my brother’s birthday).

I plan on doing a lot of reading this month. I need to catch up on my NetGalley TBR (which is huge….39 books).

So, here’s my list. Please let me know if you have read or are reading any of these books!!


February backlog:

A biting novel from an electrifying new voice, Such a Pretty Smile is a heart-stopping tour-de-force about powerful women, angry men, and all the ways in which girls fight against the forces that try to silence them.

There’s something out there that’s killing. Known only as The Cur, he leaves no traces, save for the torn bodies of girls, on the verge of becoming women, who are known as trouble-makers; those who refuse to conform, to know their place. Girls who don’t know when to shut up.


2019: Thirteen-year-old Lila Sawyer has secrets she can’t share with anyone. Not the school psychologist she’s seeing. Not her father, who has a new wife, and a new baby. And not her mother—the infamous Caroline Sawyer, a unique artist whose eerie sculptures, made from bent twigs and crimped leaves, have made her a local celebrity. But soon Lila feels haunted from within, terrorized by a delicious evil that shows her how to find her voice—until she is punished for using it.

2004: Caroline Sawyer hears dogs everywhere. Snarling, barking, teeth snapping that no one else seems to notice. At first, she blames the phantom sounds on her insomnia and her acute stress in caring for her ailing father. But then the delusions begin to take shape—both in her waking hours, and in the violent, visceral sculptures she creates while in a trance-like state. Her fiancé is convinced she needs help. Her new psychiatrist waves her “problem” away with pills. But Caroline’s past is a dark cellar, filled with repressed memories and a lurking horror that the men around her can’t understand.


As past demons become a present threat, both Caroline and Lila must chase the source of this unrelenting, oppressive power to its malignant core. Brilliantly paced, unsettling to the bone, and unapologetically fierce, Such a Pretty Smile is a powerful allegory for what it can mean to be a woman, and an untamed rallying cry for anyone ever told to sit down, shut up, and smile pretty.
A mysterious plague that causes random bouts of violence is sweeping the nation. Now three generations of women must navigate their chilling new reality in this moving exploration of identity, cycles of abuse, and hope.

Chelsea Martin appears to be the perfect housewife: married to her high school sweetheart, the mother of two daughters, keeper of an immaculate home.


But Chelsea’s husband has turned their home into a prison; he has been abusing her for years, cutting off her independence, autonomy, and support. She has nowhere to turn, not even to her narcissistic mother, Patricia, who is more concerned with maintaining the appearance of an ideal family than she is with her daughter’s actual well-being. And Chelsea is worried that her daughters will be trapped just as she is–until a mysterious illness sweeps the nation.

Known as The Violence, this illness causes the infected to experience sudden, explosive bouts of animalistic rage and attack anyone in their path. But for Chelsea, the chaos and confusion the virus causes is an opportunity–and inspires a plan to liberate herself from her abuser.
1866. In a coastal village in southern England, Nell picks violets for a living. Set apart by her community because of the birthmarks that speckle her skin, Nell’s world is her beloved brother and devotion to the sea.

But when Jasper Jupiter’s Circus of Wonders arrives in the village, Nell is kidnapped. Her father has sold her, promising Jasper Jupiter his very own leopard girl. It is the greatest betrayal of Nell’s life, but as her fame grows, and she finds friendship with the other performers and Jasper’s gentle brother Toby, she begins to wonder if joining the show is the best thing that has ever happened to her.

In London, newspapers describe Nell as the eighth wonder of the world. Figurines are cast in her image, and crowds rush to watch her soar through the air. But who gets to tell Nell’s story? What happens when her fame threatens to eclipse that of the showman who bought her? And as she falls in love with Toby, can he detach himself from his past and the terrible secret that binds him to his brother?

Moving from the pleasure gardens of Victorian London to the battle-scarred plains of the Crimea, Circus of Wonders is an astonishing story about power and ownership, fame and the threat of invisibility.
The past comes back to haunt psychologist Alex Delaware and Detective Milo Sturgis when they investigate a grisly double homicide and uncover an even more unspeakable motive in this riveting thriller from the #1 New York Times bestselling master of suspense.

Los Angeles is a city of sunlight, celebrity, and possibility. The L.A. often experienced by Homicide Lt. Detective Milo Sturgis and psychologist Alex Delaware, is a city of the dead.

Early one morning, the two of them find themselves in a neighborhood of pretty houses, pretty cars, and pretty people. The scene they encounter is anything but. A naked young man lies dead in the street, the apparent victim of a collision with a moving van hurtling through suburbia in the darkness. But any thoughts of accidental death vanish when a blood trail leads to a nearby home.

Inside, a young woman lies butchered. The identity of the male victim and his role in the horror remain elusive, but that of the woman creates additional questions. And adding to the shock, Alex has met her while working a convoluted child custody case. Cordelia Gannett was a self-styled internet influencer who’d gotten into legal troubles by palming herself off as a psychologist. Even after promising to desist, she’s found a loophole and has continued her online career, aiming to amass clicks and ads by cyber-coaching and cyber-counseling people plagued with relationship issues.

But upon closer examination, Alex and Milo discover that her own relationships are troublesome, including a tortured family history and a dubious personal past. Has that come back to haunt her in the worst way? Is the mystery man out in the street collateral damage or will he turn out to be the key to solving a grisly double homicide? As the psychologist and the detective explore L.A.’s meanest streets, they peel back layer after layer of secrets and encounter a savage, psychologically twisted, almost unthinkable motive for violence and bloodshed.

This is classic Delaware: Alex, a man Milo has come to see as irreplaceable, at his most insightful and brilliant.
An impossible crime. A detective on the edge of madness. The future of time travel at stake.

January Cole’s job just got a whole lot harder.

Not that running security at the Paradox was ever really easy. Nothing’s simple at a hotel where the ultra-wealthy tourists arrive costumed for a dozen different time periods, all eagerly waiting to catch their “flights” to the past.

Or where proximity to the timeport makes the clocks run backward on occasion—and, rumor has it, allows ghosts to stroll the halls.

None of that compares to the corpse in room 526. The one that seems to be both there and not there. The one that somehow only January can see.

On top of that, some very important new guests have just checked in. Because the U.S. government is about to privatize time-travel technology—and the world’s most powerful people are on hand to stake their claims.

January is sure the timing isn’t a coincidence. Neither are those “accidents” that start stalking their bidders.

There’s a reason January can glimpse what others can’t. A reason why she’s the only one who can catch a killer who’s operating invisibly and in plain sight, all at once.

But her ability is also destroying her grip on reality—and as her past, present, and future collide, she finds herself confronting not just the hotel’s dark secrets but her own.

March TBR:

Scarlet’s life is pretty average. Overly protective mom. Great friends. Cute boy she’s interested in. And a father she’s never known – until she does.

When the FBI show up at Scarlet’s door, she is shocked to learn her father is infamous serial killer Jeffrey Robert Lake. And now, he’s dying and will only give the names and locations of his remaining victims to the one person, the daughter he hasn’t seen since she was a baby.

Scarlet’s mother has tried to protect her from Lake’s horrifying legacy, but there’s no way they can escape the media firestorm that erupts when they come out of hiding. Or the people who blame Scarlet for her father’s choices. When trying to do the right thing puts her life in danger, Scarlet is faced with a choice – go back into hiding or make the world see her as more than a monster’s daughter.

Kate McLaughlin’s Daughter is a novel about trying right deadly choices that were never yours to begin with.
If Avery Chambers can’t fix you in 10 sessions, she won’t take you on as a client. Her successes are phenomenal–she helps people overcome everything from domineering parents to assault–and almost absorb the emptiness she sometimes feels since her husband’s death.

Marissa and Mathew Bishop seem like the golden couple–until Marissa cheats. She wants to repair things, both because she loves her husband and for the sake of their 8-year-old son. After a friend forwards an article about Avery, Marissa takes a chance on this maverick therapist, who lost her license due to controversial methods.

When the Bishops glide through Avery’s door and Marissa reveals her infidelity, all three are set on a collision course. Because the biggest secrets in the room are still hidden, and it’s no longer simply a marriage that’s in danger.


The Golden Couple is the next electrifying novel from Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen, the #1 New York Times bestselling author duo behind You Are Not AloneAn Anonymous Girl, and The Wife Between Us.
Inspired by a true story, this exciting debut explores a mystery about missing girls: When a girl goes missing, does she become the people others imagine her to be?

On December 1, 1946, Paula Jean Welden put on a bright red parka, left her Bennington College dorm for a hike, and vanished into the thin mountain air. Paula Jean’s disappearance captivated the post-war nation, leading to news articles, false sightings, rumors, psychic visions, and a short story by Shirley Jackson. Inspired by this unsolved mystery, quantum girl theory asks: does a missing girl become the person—or even the people—others imagine her to be? Or was she already someone else entirely?

At the center of this brilliant jigsaw puzzle of a novel is Paula Jean herself, now known as Mary Garrett, a clairvoyant with a concealed past, hustling for reward money by searching for missing girls. In 1961, a poster about a missing girl lures Mary to a town in the Jim Crow south, where she discovers that it’s not just one white girl who’s disappeared; two Black girls have vanished as well. With everyone from the white girl’s mother to the local sheriff resenting her presence in town, Mary can’t trust anyone. And then there are the strange visions that come to Mary, a phenomenon she calls “the sight”. As stories appear from other lives Paula Jean might have lived—a circus showgirl hiding from her past; a literary forger on the verge of discovery; a McCarthy–era informant in love with a woman she meets in a Communist cell—a reader may be prompted to ask whether Mary herself can be trusted.

Beautifully written, provocative, and original, Quantum Girl Theory is both a mesmerizing mystery and a startling thought-experiment about people and girls, asking whose disappearances—whose lives—matter, even as it explores the ways we may be haunted by the lives we did not lead. Or did we?
A psychopath with size 16 shoes, nursing home hookers and an irreverent Las Vegas homicide detective with a gambling habit set the tone for this off-beat tale of revenge and retribution.

Blackjack addict Frank Savic is deeply in debt and facing family problems when he’s asked to delay his retirement to catch a vigilante killer who murders other murderers in a manner the veteran cop has never seen.

While dead bodies stack up in quick succession, the motorcycle-riding policeman gets reluctantly involved with a desperate mother who will do anything to get justice for her dead son.

Savic, his investigation complicated by a suspected FBI coverup and a prison bribery scandal, is also unaware that the quirky murderer might also be the solution to his own financial and domestic dilemma.

Add the brooding backdrop of Venice, Italy…and a vengeful killer who reads Shakespeare, and you have a teasing psychological thriller where surgical bone saws and spiders are just tools of the trade.

Yes, there are spiders.

The Paradise Tree by R.A. Denny (not on Goodreads yet)

USA Today bestseller Caitlin Crews returns with Summer Nights with a Cowboy, another emotional romance in her stunning cowboy series Kittredge Ranch….
He doesn’t believe in love…

Traveling nurse Janie Atwood has come to Cold River to uncover old family secrets and maybe, if she’s lucky, find a new home. That the gorgeous, glowering sheriff next door thinks her caring for his elderly neighbor is a nefarious scheme is a bonus. Having never been anything but a good girl, Janie finds Zack Kittredge’s simmering suspicion an excellent reason to try being a little dangerous instead…

She doesn’t believe in squandering it…


Sheriff Zack Kittredge is okay with being… intense. He takes his loner status as seriously as he takes his responsibilities to protect Cold River. And he thinks cheerful Janie might be a threat to the town. But the more he gets to know her, the more he faces the truth―she’s brighter than sunshine and he’s like a moth to her flame. When Janie suggests he could use a few charm school lessons, he surprises them both by accepting. He doesn’t need help. But it’s clear he might need her…

Because the only thing hotter than the summer sun in the Rockies is the forbidden passion that burns between them…
Sierra Baker has no idea she’s in danger – until a frightening and unsettling traffic stop late one night. When Cody Parker shows up the next day and announces he’s her bodyguard, she’s even more terrified. Is Parker on the level? Or is this the shadowy stranger who stopped her car the night before?

Her partner Alex assures Sierra the danger is real – the Russian mob is after her. Parker has been sent to protect her. But she and Cody are oil and water. Complete opposites who agree on nothing. Except for their irresistible attraction to each other.
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