The Dare by Lesley Kara

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Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Ballantine Books

Date of publication: August 3rd 2021

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense

Purchase Link: Amazon | WorldCat

Format Read: Unedited ARC

Received From: Publisher


Goodreads Synopsis:

As a child, it was just a game. As an adult, it was a living nightmare.

‘This time it’s different. She’s gone too far now.
She really has.’

When teenage friends Lizzie and Alice decide to head off for a walk in the countryside, they are blissfully unaware that this will be their final day together – and that only Lizzie will come back alive.

Lizzie has no memory of what happened in the moments before Alice died, she only knows that it must have been a tragic accident. But as she tries to cope with her grief, she is shocked to find herself alienated from Alice’s friends and relatives. They are convinced she somehow had a part to play in her friend’s death.

Twelve years later, unpacking boxes in the new home she shares with her fiancé, Lizzie is horrified to find long-buried memories suddenly surfacing. Is the trauma of the accident finally catching up with her, or could someone be trying to threaten her new-found happiness?

Twelve years is a long time to wait, when you’re planning the perfect revenge . . .


First Line:

She’d created a little altar on the chest of drawers in her bedroom.

The Dare by Lesley Kara

I am a big fan of mystery/thriller books. They make up 80% of the books that I read and review. So, when I had gotten the review request for The Dare, it was an immediate acceptance.

The plotline for The Dare was interesting. Alice and Lizzie were best friends, and they did everything together. But, when Alice died, Alice’s family blamed Lizzie for her death. Why? She was found having a seizure by the train tracks and had no memory of the events before Alice’s death. Alice’s family blamed her, but Lizzie never forgave herself. Twelve years later, Lizzie still has no memories of Alice’s death, but she has moved on with her life. Her epilepsy is under control, and she is engaged to a wonderful man. But, as she’s unpacking, she comes across a box that stirs up memories. What happened the day Alice died? Was Lizzie at fault? And who is trying to get at the truth? Will it cost Lizzie everything that she has worked so hard for?

I am not overly familiar with epilepsy or how it affects the brain. So, I thought using it as part of the plotline was fascinating. Lizzie could not remember what happened after she left her house with Alice. All she knows is that she was with her, and then she was on the ground, being tended to by EMTs. A massive chunk of time was missing, and Lizzie could not tell people what happened to Alice because she didn’t know. Like I said earlier in this paragraph, it was fascinating.

Lizzie made for an interesting main character. She had lost her closest friend to a horrible accident, and Alice’s family blamed her for it. Lizzie had to live with a debilitating illness and hope that the medications she’s taking will curb the seizures. But she had done well with her life. She had a fiancee who cherished her and parents who loved her. Her outlook on life was good. But then, life starts to go sideways for her. It was how she dealt with everything that struck me (in a good way).

Parts of the book were written from the angle of an unknown person. It starts when this person was a child and goes to when they are an adult. I was surprised at who that person was (the author does reveal it halfway through the book). I was even more surprised at what that person was going to do.

The mystery angle of the book was well written. There were a couple of mystery angles. One is the obvious one (did Lizzie kill Alice). The other is what is Catherine’s plan (I did figure that out). And the third angle (which was introduced halfway through the book) deals with Lizzie, her mother, and secrets that her mother had been keeping. They were all wrapped up at the end of the book, and the author did it in such a way that you couldn’t help but pity everyone involved.

The suspense angle of the book was also well written. It was closely tied in with the mystery angle and complimented it. I was kept on the edge of my seat, trying to figure out what would happen next.

The end of The Dare was good. There was a twist in the storyline that made me go, “Whoa.” I didn’t see it coming, and it surprised me (in a good way). It was also bittersweet because of what was revealed.


I would recommend The Dare to anyone over the age of 21. There is mild language, violence, and sexual situations.

WWW Wednesday: July 28th 2021

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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:

Well, these last few weeks have been a rollercoaster for me. I know I haven’t been posting a lot but that is because I have a ton going on. And the next three upcoming weeks are going to be just as busy.

The kids are doing fine. They all had dentist appointments a couple of weeks ago. Miss B and Miss R have cavities. Miss R also has to go in for cleanings every three months instead of every six months. The reason: Her gums are growing over her braces. Of course, insurance only covers the every 6 months visits. The other visits are being paid out of pocket. Mr. Z had no cavities and has taken delight in rubbing them in his sisters’ faces.

Miss B is taking her actual driving lessons this week. They were supposed to be 4-8, 4-8, and 8-12. But, I got a text yesterday cancelling her 4-8 (it rescheduled for Sunday 1-5) and this morning, I got a text asking if we could move her lesson to 12-4. She’s super nervous but I told her just to listen to the instructor and pay attention.

I know I have mentioned taking Jesper in. What I haven’t mentioned is that we also took his brother in (and we’re keeping him). Jesper is a tuxedo and he’s going to be a big boy (huge paws and he’s already 4.4 pounds at 10 weeks old). His brother, who we named Loki, is a long-haired dark grey tabby, who is also going to be a big boy (bigger paws than Jesper and 3.8 pounds at 10 weeks old). His mom left him under our house for 5 days. I was afraid he was going to get eaten (coyotes, owls, snakes, and hawks are huge here). So, we ended up trapping him under the house. He’s a little timid (the kids scare him but he loves BK and me). They both had a vet visit on Tuesday and they are 100% healthy. No fleas and most importantly, no worms. They had their first kitten shots and go back in 3 weeks.

Their mom is still around. She showed up on Friday (we trapped Loki on Thursday) and hasn’t left our back deck. I was lost with what to do with her until I talked to my vet. Now, I am working with a local dog rescue (go figure….lol). They have a rescue who will pay for her spay and first vet visit. After she recovers, she’s going up to New Jersey to find a home. I should have mentioned that I believe that she is a Lynx Point Siamese that someone dumped (along with the kittens)…smh. She is one of the friendliest cats that I have ever met and she is gorgeous. I have a friend who will be keeping her in the house until the transport can take her up to New Jersey.

So, that’s what I have been doing these past weeks and why I haven’t been posting my daily stuff. Hopefully, once I get Mama (that’s what I call her) taken care of, I can relax a bit and post more.

Reading

I have been reading a ton, despite being busy. I am averaging finishing 4-5 books a week. Plus, I am reading paperbacks (which I have to add to my Goodreads Currently Reading). I am reading Siege and Storm (BK bought the entire series and the Six of Crows series) and The Night She Disappeared (won that in a giveaway).

Blog

I haven’t done anything with the blog besides changing my theme. I do plan on editing past posts but I think I am going to do that after my kids go back to school (August 23rd!!)

Watching

Right now, it is all about the Olympics. BK and I watch it at night from 8pm to about 930/10pm and I watch a recap in the morning. Before the Olympics, we were watching Westworld and I started watching Cold Case when BK traveled.


What I Recently Finished Reading:

I have one rule: Never mix business with pleasure.
I was never much good at following rules.


Alright, so my new partner isn’t the worst. It doesn’t hurt that Logan is big, tall, and smokin’ hot. I started out hating him, but this human hunk is starting to grow on me…when we’re not fighting like cats and dogs. Even our co-worker thinks there’s something going on between us. Is there something between us? Humans like him and faeries like me don’t usually click, but we’re on a case in Arizona and things are getting pretty freakin’ hot. I’m so tempted to break the rules on dating people at work, but there’s a catch —

I’m under review.

Well…that’s not completely true. The entire Occult Crimes Division is under review, as in me, my partner, my boss, Jake from IT…everybody. Evidently, hunting ghosts is kind of expensive, and now the accountants are asking questions. If Logan and I can’t prove to these hard-asses how vital our work is to the FBI, the OCD will cease to exist.

No pressure or anything. I just have to save my entire department from impending doom.
During the eye of a hurricane, evil strikes.

Six strangers get stuck on an island during a roaring hurricane. They have nothing in common, but five of them will have to join forces to survive the night. Meanwhile, the sixth wants nothing more than to kill every single one of them.

Join Annette, Chad, Heather, Spencer, and Kate on the worst night of their lives. Can they survive or will the killer maniacally laugh while eviscerating them? Filled with gore, terror, and the little moments between humans that can make or break their budding friendships.

What I am currently reading:

A young woman’s escalating obsession with a seemingly perfect man leads her down a dangerous path in this novel of suspense brimming with envy, desire, and deception.

Eyes aren’t the windows to the soul. Emails are.

Cassie Woodson is adrift. After suffering an epic tumble down the corporate ladder, Cassie finds the only way she can pay her bills is to take a thankless temp job reviewing correspondence for a large-scale fraud suit. The daily drudgery amplifies all that her life is lacking–love, friends, stability–and leaves her with too much time on her hands, which she spends fixating on the mistakes that brought her to this point.

While sorting through a relentless deluge of emails, something catches her eye: the tender (and totally private) exchanges between a partner at the firm, Forest Watts, and his enchanting wife, Annabelle. Cassie knows she shouldn’t read them. But it’s just one look. And once that door opens, she finds she can’t look away.

Every day, twenty floors below Forest’s corner office, Cassie dissects their emails from her dingy workstation. A few clicks of her mouse and she can see every adoring word they write to each other. By peeking into their apparently perfect life, Cassie finds renewed purpose and happiness, reveling in their penchant for vintage wines, morning juice presses, and lavish dinner parties thrown in their stately Westchester home. There are no secrets from her. Or so she thinks.

Her admiration quickly escalates into all-out mimicry, because she wants this life more than anything. Maybe if she plays make-believe long enough, it will become real for her. But when Cassie orchestrates a “chance” meeting with Forest in the real world and sees something that throws the state of his marriage into question, the fantasy she’s been carefully cultivating shatters. Suddenly, she doesn’t simply admire Annabelle–she wants to take her place. And she’s armed with the tools to make that happen.

What books I think I’ll read next:

As a child, it was just a game. As an adult, it was a living nightmare.

‘This time it’s different. She’s gone too far now.
She really has.’

When teenage friends Lizzie and Alice decide to head off for a walk in the countryside, they are blissfully unaware that this will be their final day together – and that only Lizzie will come back alive.

Lizzie has no memory of what happened in the moments before Alice died, she only knows that it must have been a tragic accident. But as she tries to cope with her grief, she is shocked to find herself alienated from Alice’s friends and relatives. They are convinced she somehow had a part to play in her friend’s death.

Twelve years later, unpacking boxes in the new home she shares with her fiancé, Lizzie is horrified to find long-buried memories suddenly surfacing. Is the trauma of the accident finally catching up with her, or could someone be trying to threaten her new-found happiness?


Twelve years is a long time to wait, when you’re planning the perfect revenge . . .
Tara Park doesn’t do serious relationships. Neither does she hop into bed with virtual strangers. Especially when that particular stranger is her best friend’s new brother-in-law. It isn’t an easy decision, though. Seth Kim is temptation personified. His unreasonably handsome looks and charming personality makes him easy on the eyes and good for her ego.

When a friendly game of Truth or Dare leads to an uncomplicated four-date arrangement with Seth, Tara can’t say she minds. But their dates, while sweet and sexy, have a tendency to hit roadblocks. Thankfully, their non-dates and chance meetings get frequent and heated.

Seth is leaving for a new job in Paris in a month and a no-strings attached fling seemed like a nice little distraction for both… But soon Seth realizes that Tara Park doesn’t come in a “nice & little” package–she’s funny and bold, sweet and sexy, and everything he ever wanted and never expected to find. Neither of them are ready for something serious and both have past relationship baggage they’ve been ignoring, but with a shot at forever on the line will they follow their hearts and take a chance on happily-ever-after?
Their back! Julian and Rome are taking their show on the road. This time it is to lovely old England in search of Camelot. While there the Knight and Dragon will be trying to solve the mystery of the Talismans, the mystery of their shadowy stalker and the mystery of sibling rivalry. Prepare to meet some new faces and, of course, some new Darkbrands as the two further their adventures across the pond.

WWW Wednesday: July 28th 2021

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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?


What I Recently Finished Reading:

Tessa James has worked and planned tirelessly to open her own millinery shop. All she needs now is a loan from the lord who sired and abandoned her. The only problem is, she doesn’t even know his name. What’s a woman to do to find him but enter the aristocratic world by becoming a governess?

Guy Whitby, the new Duke of Carlin, has returned to London after years abroad to discover that his young daughter Sophy has become a wild-child known for scaring away every governess who’s crossed his doorstep. When Tessa James applies for the job, he hires her in desperation despite his misgivings that she’s too bold and beautiful–and that she might be fibbing about her qualifications.


Their blooming attraction leads them on a completely unexpected path to love that neither wants to deny. But when an old enemy threatens Guy’s family, their forbidden romance goes up in flames. Can they still learn to love and trust each other as forces try to tear them apart?

This was an OK Regency romance. The female main character was way too independent for the era and the male main character was way too trusting. But, the romance was sweet and I loved how Tessa was with Sophy.


What I am currently reading:

Got a faerie problem? I’m your girl.
Magic gone awry? Not a problem.
But when kids go missing and the search comes up dry, my boss decides I need a partner.
The pain in the ass kind.
Now I have a problem.


As a field agent in the FBI’s ultra-elite Occult Crimes Division…aka the OCD, it’s my job to investigate cases of the magical variety. I’m the best at it, but it seems my employer doesn’t share my confidence when he pairs me up with the bureau’s newest golden boy. Turns out he’s the biggest tool I’ve ever met.

Logan Hawthorne.
Arrogant. Attractive as hell.
Oh yeah–and human.


I don’t have time to teach this smug & straight-laced suit about the shadow realm of faerie that exists below our feet. I’ve got a list of missing kids a mile long and no time to waste in finding the creature who’s snatching them.

Now if only there was an explanation for this talking cat..

I started Wiretaps & Whiskers last night and so far, I am liking it. But, again, I am only a couple of chapters in, so my liking it could change.


What books I think I’ll read next:

The order I will be reading these books are indie author ARC, NetGalley ARC, NetGalley ARC, NetGalley ARC, indie author ARC, indie author ARC.

I have one rule: Never mix business with pleasure.
I was never much good at following rules.

Alright, so my new partner isn’t the worst. It doesn’t hurt that Logan is big, tall, and smokin’ hot. I started out hating him, but this human hunk is starting to grow on me…when we’re not fighting like cats and dogs. Even our co-worker thinks there’s something going on between us. Is there something between us? Humans like him and faeries like me don’t usually click, but we’re on a case in Arizona and things are getting pretty freakin’ hot. I’m so tempted to break the rules on dating people at work, but there’s a catch —


I’m under review.

Well…that’s not completely true. The entire Occult Crimes Division is under review, as in me, my partner, my boss, Jake from IT…everybody. Evidently, hunting ghosts is kind of expensive, and now the accountants are asking questions. If Logan and I can’t prove to these hard-asses how vital our work is to the FBI, the OCD will cease to exist.

No pressure or anything. I just have to save my entire department from impending doom.
Eyes aren’t the windows to the soul. Emails are.

Cassie Woodson is adrift. After suffering an epic tumble down the corporate ladder, Cassie finds the only way she can pay her bills is to take a thankless temp job reviewing correspondence for a large-scale fraud suit. The daily drudgery amplifies all that her life is lacking–love, friends, stability–and leaves her with too much time on her hands, which she spends fixating on the mistakes that brought her to this point.

While sorting through a relentless deluge of emails, something catches her eye: the tender (and totally private) exchanges between a partner at the firm, Forest Watts, and his enchanting wife, Annabelle. Cassie knows she shouldn’t read them. But it’s just one look. And once that door opens, she finds she can’t look away.

Every day, twenty floors below Forest’s corner office, Cassie dissects their emails from her dingy workstation. A few clicks of her mouse and she can see every adoring word they write to each other. By peeking into their apparently perfect life, Cassie finds renewed purpose and happiness, reveling in their penchant for vintage wines, morning juice presses, and lavish dinner parties thrown in their stately Westchester home. There are no secrets from her. Or so she thinks.

Her admiration quickly escalates into all-out mimicry, because she wants this life more than anything. Maybe if she plays make-believe long enough, it will become real for her. But when Cassie orchestrates a “chance” meeting with Forest in the real world and sees something that throws the state of his marriage into question, the fantasy she’s been carefully cultivating shatters. Suddenly, she doesn’t simply admire Annabelle–she wants to take her place. And she’s armed with the tools to make that happen.
Tara Park doesn’t do serious relationships. Neither does she hop into bed with virtual strangers. Especially when that particular stranger is her best friend’s new brother-in-law. It isn’t an easy decision, though. Seth Kim is temptation personified. His unreasonably handsome looks and charming personality makes him easy on the eyes and good for her ego.

When a friendly game of Truth or Dare leads to an uncomplicated four-date arrangement with Seth, Tara can’t say she minds. But their dates, while sweet and sexy, have a tendency to hit roadblocks. Thankfully, their non-dates and chance meetings get frequent and heated.

Seth is leaving for a new job in Paris in a month and a no-strings attached fling seemed like a nice little distraction for both… But soon Seth realizes that Tara Park doesn’t come in a “nice & little” package–she’s funny and bold, sweet and sexy, and everything he ever wanted and never expected to find. Neither of them are ready for something serious and both have past relationship baggage they’ve been ignoring, but with a shot at forever on the line will they follow their hearts and take a chance on happily-ever-after?
As a child, it was just a game. As an adult, it was a living nightmare.

‘This time it’s different. She’s gone too far now.
She really has.’

When teenage friends Lizzie and Alice decide to head off for a walk in the countryside, they are blissfully unaware that this will be their final day together – and that only Lizzie will come back alive.

Lizzie has no memory of what happened in the moments before Alice died, she only knows that it must have been a tragic accident. But as she tries to cope with her grief, she is shocked to find herself alienated from Alice’s friends and relatives. They are convinced she somehow had a part to play in her friend’s death.

Twelve years later, unpacking boxes in the new home she shares with her fiancé, Lizzie is horrified to find long-buried memories suddenly surfacing. Is the trauma of the accident finally catching up with her, or could someone be trying to threaten her new-found happiness?

Twelve years is a long time to wait, when you’re planning the perfect revenge . . .
During the eye of a hurricane, evil strikes.

Six strangers get stuck on an island during a roaring hurricane. They have nothing in common, but five of them will have to join forces to survive the night. Meanwhile, the sixth wants nothing more than to kill every single one of them.

Join Annette, Chad, Heather, Spencer, and Kate on the worst night of their lives. Can they survive or will the killer maniacally laugh while eviscerating them? Filled with gore, terror, and the little moments between humans that can make or break their budding friendships.
Their back! Julian and Rome are taking their show on the road. This time it is to lovely old England in search of Camelot. While there the Knight and Dragon will be trying to solve the mystery of the Talismans, the mystery of their shadowy stalker and the mystery of sibling rivalry. Prepare to meet some new faces and, of course, some new Darkbrands as the two further their adventures across the pond.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books on My Summer TBR

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Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

How it works:

She assigns each Tuesday a topic and then posts her top ten list that fits that topic. You’re more than welcome to join her and create your own top ten (or 2, 5, 20, etc.) list as well. Feel free to put a unique spin on the topic to make it work for you! Please link back to That Artsy Reader Girl in your own post so that others know where to find more information.


When I saw this prompt, I decided to go a different route. I decided that I wanted to put up my top ten ARC’s that I hope to read this summer.

So, here they are!! Let me know if you have read any of them.


1. When a Duke Loves a Governess by Olivia Drake

Tessa James has worked and planned tirelessly to open her own millinery shop. All she needs now is a loan from the lord who sired and abandoned her. The only problem is, she doesn’t even know his name. What’s a woman to do to find him but enter the aristocratic world by becoming a governess?

Guy Whitby, the new Duke of Carlin, has returned to London after years abroad to discover that his young daughter Sophy has become a wild-child known for scaring away every governess who’s crossed his doorstep. When Tessa James applies for the job, he hires her in desperation despite his misgivings that she’s too bold and beautiful–and that she might be fibbing about her qualifications.

Their blooming attraction leads them on a completely unexpected path to love that neither wants to deny. But when an old enemy threatens Guy’s family, their forbidden romance goes up in flames. Can they still learn to love and trust each other as forces try to tear them apart?

2. The Living and the Lost by Ellen Feldman

Millie Mosbach and her brother David escaped to the United States just before Kristallnacht, leaving their parents and little sister in Berlin. Now they are both back in their former hometown, haunted by ghosts and hoping against hope to find their family. Millie works in the office responsible for rooting out the most dedicated Nazis from publishing. Like most of their German-born American colleagues, the siblings suffer from rage at Germany and guilt at their own good fortune. Only Millie’s boss, Major Harry Sutton, seems strangely eager to be fair to the Germans.

Living and working in bombed-out Berlin, a latter day Wild West where the desperate prey on the unsuspecting; spies ply their trade; black markets thrive, and forbidden fraternization is rampant, Millie must come to terms with a past decision made in a moment of crisis, and with the enigmatic sometimes infuriating Major Sutton who is mysteriously understanding of her demons. Atmospheric and page-turning, The Living and the Lost is a story of survival, love, and forgiveness, of others and of self.

3. Heard It in a Love Song by Tracey Garvis Graves

Love doesn’t always wait until you’re ready.

Layla Hilding is thirty-five and recently divorced. Struggling to break free from the past—her glory days as the lead singer in a band and a ten-year marriage to a man who never put her first—Layla’s newly found independence feels a lot like loneliness.

Then there’s Josh, the single dad whose daughter attends the elementary school where Layla teaches music. Recently separated, he’s still processing the end of his twenty-year marriage to his high school sweetheart. He chats with Layla every morning at school and finds himself thinking about her more and more.

Equally cautious and confused about dating in a world that favors apps over meeting organically, Layla and Josh decide to be friends with the potential for something more. Sounds sensible and way too simple—but when two people are on the rebound, is it heartbreak or happiness that’s a love song away?

4. The Therapist by B.A. Paris

When Alice and Leo move into a newly renovated house in The Circle, a gated community of exclusive houses, it is everything they’ve dreamed of. But appearances can be deceptive…

As Alice is getting to know her neighbours, she discovers a devastating secret about her new home, and begins to feel a strong connection with Nina, the therapist who lived there before.

Alice becomes obsessed with trying to piece together what happened two years before. But no one wants to talk about it. Her neighbors are keeping secrets and things are not as perfect as they seem

5. The Ballerinas by Rachel Kapelke-Dale

Fourteen years ago, Delphine abandoned her prestigious soloist spot at the Paris Opera Ballet for a new life in St. Petersburg––taking with her a secret that could upend the lives of her best friends, fellow dancers Lindsay and Margaux. Now 36 years old, Delphine has returned to her former home and to the legendary Palais Garnier Opera House, to choreograph the ballet that will kickstart the next phase of her career––and, she hopes, finally make things right with her former friends. But Delphine quickly discovers that things have changed while she’s been away…and some secrets can’t stay buried forever.

Moving between the trio’s adolescent years and the present day, The Ballerinas explores the complexities of female friendship, the dark drive towards physical perfection in the name of artistic expression, the double-edged sword of ambition and passion, and the sublimated rage that so many women hold inside––all culminating in a twist you won’t see coming, with magnetic characters you won’t soon forget.

6. The Maid by Nita Prose

Molly Gray is not like everyone else. She struggles with social skills and misinterprets the intentions of others. Her gran used to interpret the world for her, codifying it into simple rules that Molly could live by.

Since Gran died a few months ago, twenty-five-year-old Molly has had to navigate life’s complexities all by herself. No matter—she throws herself with gusto into her work as a hotel maid. Her unique character, along with her obsessive love of cleaning and proper etiquette, make her an ideal fit for the job. She delights in donning her crisp uniform each morning, stocking her cart with miniature soaps and bottles, and returning guest rooms at the Regency Grand Hotel to a state of perfection.

But Molly’s orderly life is turned on its head the day she enters the suite of the infamous and wealthy Charles Black, only to find it in a state of disarray and Mr. Black himself very dead in his bed. Before she knows what’s happening, Molly’s unusual demeanor has the police targeting her as their lead suspect. She quickly finds herself caught in a web of deception, one she has no idea how to untangle. Fortunately for Molly, friends she never knew she had unite with her in a search for clues to what really happened to Mr. Black—but will they be able to find the real killer before it’s too late?

A Clue-like, locked-room mystery and a heartwarming journey of the spirit, The Maid explores what it means to be the same as everyone else and yet entirely different—and reveals that all mysteries can be solved through connection to the human heart.

7. The Sisters Sweet by Elizabeth Weiss

Leaving was my sister’s choice. I would have to make my own.

All Harriet Szász has ever known is life onstage with her sister, Josie. As “The Sisters Sweet,” they pose as conjoined twins in a vaudeville act conceived of by their ambitious parents, who were once themselves theatrical stars. But after Josie exposes the family’s fraud and runs away to Hollywood, Harriet must learn to live out of the spotlight—and her sister’s shadow. Striving to keep her struggling family afloat, she molds herself into the perfect daughter. As Josie’s star rises in California, the Szászes fall on hard times and Harriet begins to form her first relationships outside her family. She must decide whether to honor her mother, her father, or the self she’s only beginning to get to know.

Full of long-simmering tensions, buried secrets, questionable saviors, and broken promises, this is a story about how much we are beholden to others and what we owe ourselves. Layered and intimate, The Sisters Sweet heralds the arrival of an accomplished new voice in fiction.

8. The Dare Lesley Kara

As a child, it was just a game. As an adult, it was a living nightmare.

‘This time it’s different. She’s gone too far now.
She really has.’

When teenage friends Lizzie and Alice decide to head off for a walk in the countryside, they are blissfully unaware that this will be their final day together – and that only Lizzie will come back alive.

Lizzie has no memory of what happened in the moments before Alice died, she only knows that it must have been a tragic accident. But as she tries to cope with her grief, she is shocked to find herself alienated from Alice’s friends and relatives. They are convinced she somehow had a part to play in her friend’s death.

Twelve years later, unpacking boxes in the new home she shares with her fiancé, Lizzie is horrified to find long-buried memories suddenly surfacing. Is the trauma of the accident finally catching up with her, or could someone be trying to threaten her new-found happiness?

Twelve years is a long time to wait, when you’re planning the perfect revenge . . .

9. The Dating Dare by Jayci Lee

Tara Park doesn’t do serious relationships. Neither does she hop into bed with virtual strangers. Especially when that particular stranger is her best friend’s new brother-in-law. It isn’t an easy decision, though. Seth Kim is temptation personified. His unreasonably handsome looks and charming personality makes him easy on the eyes and good for her ego.

When a friendly game of Truth or Dare leads to an uncomplicated four-date arrangement with Seth, Tara can’t say she minds. But their dates, while sweet and sexy, have a tendency to hit roadblocks. Thankfully, their non-dates and chance meetings get frequent and heated.

Seth is leaving for a new job in Paris in a month and a no-strings attached fling seemed like a nice little distraction for both… But soon Seth realizes that Tara Park doesn’t come in a “nice & little” package–she’s funny and bold, sweet and sexy, and everything he ever wanted and never expected to find. Neither of them are ready for something serious and both have past relationship baggage they’ve been ignoring, but with a shot at forever on the line will they follow their hearts and take a chance on happily-ever-after?

10. What We Devour by Linsey Miller

Lorena Adler has a secret—she holds the power of the banished gods, the Noble and the Vile, inside her. She has spent her entire life hiding from the world and her past. She’s content to spend her days as an undertaker in a small town, marry her best friend, Julian, and live an unfulfilling life so long as no one uncovers her true nature.

But when the notoriously bloodthirsty and equally Vile crown prince comes to arrest Julian’s father, he immediately recognizes Lorena for what she is. So she makes a deal—a fair trial for her betrothed’s father in exchange for her service to the crown.

The prince is desperate for her help. He’s spent years trying to repair the weakening Door that holds back the Vile…and he’s losing the battle. As Lorena learns more about the Door and the horrifying price it takes to keep it closed, she’ll have to embrace both parts of herself to survive.

Top Ten Tuesday: Most recent ARC’s from NetGalley

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Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

How it works:

She assigns each Tuesday a topic and then posts her top ten list that fits that topic. You’re more than welcome to join her and create your own top ten (or 2, 5, 20, etc.) list as well. Feel free to put a unique spin on the topic to make it work for you! Please link back to That Artsy Reader Girl in your own post so that others know where to find more information.


When I saw today’s TTT, I had to take a step back and think about the prompt. Since I do IMWAYR and WWW, everyone is fairly up to date with what I am reading and have read. That is when I decided to take it in a different direction. I am going to do the last 10 NetGalley ARC’s I recieved.

What was the last ARC you recieved? Or read? Were you excited? Let me know!! I am curious and am looking to expand my own already overfilled TBR shelf!!


1. What We Devour by Linsey Miller

Lorena Adler has a secret—she holds the power of the banished gods, the Noble and the Vile, inside her. She has spent her entire life hiding from the world and her past. She’s content to spend her days as an undertaker in a small town, marry her best friend, Julian, and live an unfulfilling life so long as no one uncovers her true nature.
But when the notoriously bloodthirsty and equally Vile crown prince comes to arrest Julian’s father, he immediately recognizes Lorena for what she is. So she makes a deal—a fair trial for her betrothed’s father in exchange for her service to the crown.
The prince is desperate for her help. He’s spent years trying to repair the weakening Door that holds back the Vile…and he’s losing the battle. As Lorena learns more about the Door and the horrifying price it takes to keep it closed, she’ll have to embrace both parts of herself to survive.

I got an email from Sourcebooks yesterday with the invite. It surprised me because I haven’t received invites from that publisher before. I am pretty excited to read this book. I mean, look at the cover and read the blurb!!

2. The Dating Dare by Jayci Lee

Tara Park doesn’t do serious relationships. Neither does she hop into bed with virtual strangers. Especially when that particular stranger is her best friend’s new brother-in-law. It isn’t an easy decision, though. Seth Kim is temptation personified. His unreasonably handsome looks and charming personality makes him easy on the eyes and good for her ego.

When a friendly game of Truth or Dare leads to an uncomplicated four-date arrangement with Seth, Tara can’t say she minds. But their dates, while sweet and sexy, have a tendency to hit roadblocks. Thankfully, their non-dates and chance meetings get frequent and heated.

Seth is leaving for a new job in Paris in a month and a no-strings attached fling seemed like a nice little distraction for both… But soon Seth realizes that Tara Park doesn’t come in a “nice & little” package–she’s funny and bold, sweet and sexy, and everything he ever wanted and never expected to find. Neither of them are ready for something serious and both have past relationship baggage they’ve been ignoring, but with a shot at forever on the line will they follow their hearts and take a chance on happily-ever-after?

This was an invite to review from Saint Martin’s Press. I chose to accept this book because it sounded sweet. I haven’t been reading a ton of romance and I figured this will be an easy read.

3. The Dare by Lesley Kara

As a child, it was just a game. As an adult, it was a living nightmare.

‘This time it’s different. She’s gone too far now.
She really has.’

When teenage friends Lizzie and Alice decide to head off for a walk in the countryside, they are blissfully unaware that this will be their final day together – and that only Lizzie will come back alive.

Lizzie has no memory of what happened in the moments before Alice died, she only knows that it must have been a tragic accident. But as she tries to cope with her grief, she is shocked to find herself alienated from Alice’s friends and relatives. They are convinced she somehow had a part to play in her friend’s death.

Twelve years later, unpacking boxes in the new home she shares with her fiancé, Lizzie is horrified to find long-buried memories suddenly surfacing. Is the trauma of the accident finally catching up with her, or could someone be trying to threaten her new-found happiness?


Twelve years is a long time to wait, when you’re planning the perfect revenge . . .

This was an invite to review from Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine. I am a fan of Lesley Kara’s books (I have read her previous 2 books) and I like thrillers.

4. The Sisters Sweet by Elizabeth Weiss

Leaving was my sister’s choice. I would have to make my own.

All Harriet Szász has ever known is life onstage with her sister, Josie. As “The Sisters Sweet,” they pose as conjoined twins in a vaudeville act conceived of by their ambitious parents, who were once themselves theatrical stars. But after Josie exposes the family’s fraud and runs away to Hollywood, Harriet must learn to live out of the spotlight—and her sister’s shadow. Striving to keep her struggling family afloat, she molds herself into the perfect daughter. As Josie’s star rises in California, the Szászes fall on hard times and Harriet begins to form her first relationships outside her family. She must decide whether to honor her mother, her father, or the self she’s only beginning to get to know.

Full of long-simmering tensions, buried secrets, questionable saviors, and broken promises, this is a story about how much we are beholden to others and what we owe ourselves. Layered and intimate, The Sisters Sweet heralds the arrival of an accomplished new voice in fiction.

The Sister’s Sweet was a wish granted to me by the publisher through NetGalley. I tend to make a lot of wishes on there and I normally don’t get a ton of them granted. But this one, I did. It looks like a good read.

5. The Maid by Nita Prose

Molly Gray is not like everyone else. She struggles with social skills and misinterprets the intentions of others. Her gran used to interpret the world for her, codifying it into simple rules that Molly could live by.

Since Gran died a few months ago, twenty-five-year-old Molly has had to navigate life’s complexities all by herself. No matter—she throws herself with gusto into her work as a hotel maid. Her unique character, along with her obsessive love of cleaning and proper etiquette, make her an ideal fit for the job. She delights in donning her crisp uniform each morning, stocking her cart with miniature soaps and bottles, and returning guest rooms at the Regency Grand Hotel to a state of perfection.


But Molly’s orderly life is turned on its head the day she enters the suite of the infamous and wealthy Charles Black, only to find it in a state of disarray and Mr. Black himself very dead in his bed. Before she knows what’s happening, Molly’s unusual demeanor has the police targeting her as their lead suspect. She quickly finds herself caught in a web of deception, one she has no idea how to untangle. Fortunately for Molly, friends she never knew she had unite with her in a search for clues to what really happened to Mr. Black—but will they be able to find the real killer before it’s too late?

A Clue-like, locked-room mystery and a heartwarming journey of the spirit, The Maid explores what it means to be the same as everyone else and yet entirely different—and reveals that all mysteries can be solved through connection to the human heart.

This was another wish granted by Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine. I don’t read a ton of straight mystery novels. But the blurb caught my eye. I can’t wait to read this book!!

6. Scorpion by Christian Cantrell

Around the world, twenty-two people have been murdered. The victims fit no profile, the circumstances vary wildly, but one thing links them all: in every case the victim is branded with a number.

With police around the globe floundering and unable to identify any pattern, let alone find a killer, CIA Analyst Quinn Mitchell is called in to investigate.

Before long, Quinn is on the trail of an ice-hearted assassin with seemingly limitless resources – but she’s prepared for that.


What she isn’t prepared for is the person pulling the strings…

This was an invite to review from Random House Publishing Group – Random House. Normally, I don’t read books like these, But I read the blurb and went “Hmmm, I think I’ll give it a try.

7. Ember of Night by Molly E. Lee

I am a weed.

Unloved by my abusive, alcoholic dad. Unwanted by my classmates. Unnoticed by everyone else.

But I’d suffer anything to give my kid sister a better life—the minute I turn eighteen, I’m getting us the hell out of here. And some hot stranger telling me I am the key to stopping a war between Heaven and Hell isn’t going to change that.

Let the world crumble and burn, for all I care.

Draven is relentless, though. And very much a liar. Every time his sexy lips are moving, I can see it—in the dip of his head, the grit of his jaw—even if my heart begs me to ignore the signs.


So what does he want?

I need to figure it out fast, because now everyone is gunning for me. And damn if I don’t want to show them what happens when you let weeds thrive in the cracks of the pavement…

We can grow powerful enough to shatter the whole foundation.

This was a wish granted by Entangled. I was taken by the cover (which is fantastic) and the blurb!! Unfortunately, my review is going to be slightly late. I got the email 2 weeks ago and didn’t check my dates. So, yeah, my bad.

8. Not Your Average Hot Guy by Gwenda Bond

All Callie wanted was a quiet weekend with her best friend. She promised her mom she could handle running her family’s escape room business while her mom is out of town. Instead a Satanic cult shows up, claiming that the prop spell book in one of the rooms is the real deal, and they need it to summon the right hand of the devil. Naturally they take Callie and her friend, Mag, along with them. But when the summoning reveals a handsome demon in a leather jacket named Luke who offers to help Callie stop the cult from destroying the world, her night goes from weird to completely strange.

As the group tries to stay one step ahead of the cult, Callie finds herself drawn to the annoying (and annoyingly handsome) Luke. But what Callie doesn’t know is that Luke is none other than Luke Morningstar, Prince of Hell and son of the Devil himself. Callie never had time for love, and with the apocalypse coming closer, is there room for romance when all hell’s about to break loose?

This was an email invite from Saint Martin’s Press. This book strongly reminds me of the show Lucifer (from the plotline). Just from that observation, I am excited to read this!!

9. A Duke in Time by Janna MacGregor

Katherine Vareck is in for the shock of her life when she learns upon her husband Meri’s accidental death that he had married two other women. Her entire business, along with a once-in-a-lifetime chance to be a royal supplier, is everything she’s been working for and now could be destroyed if word leaks about the three wives.

Meri’s far more upstanding brother, Christian, Duke of Randford has no earthly clue how to be of assistance. He spent the better part of his adult years avoiding Meri and the rest of his good-for-nothing family, so to be dragged back into the fold is…problematic. Even more so is the intrepid and beautiful Katherine, whom he cannot be falling for because she’s Meri’s widow. Or can he?


With a textile business to run and a strong friendship forming with Meri’s two other wives, Katherine doesn’t have time for much else. But there’s something about the warm, but compellingly taciturn Christian that draws her to him. When an opportunity to partner in a business venture brings them even closer, they’ll have to face their pasts if they want to share each other’s hearts and futures.

This was an email invite from St. Martin’s Press. The book was an auto accept for me. I love Janna MacGregor’s books and have read the all but 2 of The Cavensham Heiresses Series.

10. The Ballerinas by Rachel Kapelke-Dale

Fourteen years ago, Delphine abandoned her prestigious soloist spot at the Paris Opera Ballet for a new life in St. Petersburg––taking with her a secret that could upend the lives of her best friends, fellow dancers Lindsay and Margaux. Now 36 years old, Delphine has returned to her former home and to the legendary Palais Garnier Opera House, to choreograph the ballet that will kickstart the next phase of her career––and, she hopes, finally make things right with her former friends. But Delphine quickly discovers that things have changed while she’s been away…and some secrets can’t stay buried forever.

Moving between the trio’s adolescent years and the present day, The Ballerinas explores the complexities of female friendship, the dark drive towards physical perfection in the name of artistic expression, the double-edged sword of ambition and passion, and the sublimated rage that so many women hold inside––all culminating in a twist you won’t see coming, with magnetic characters you won’t soon forget.

This was an email invite from St. Martin’s Press. I was a little iffy if I wanted to read this book. What made me accept the book was the blurb.

The Rumor by Lesley Kara

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4 Stars

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Ballantine Books

Date of Publication: June 18th, 2019

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense

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

Book synopsis:

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

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

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

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

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

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


First Line

It’s happening again.

The Rumor by Lesley Kara

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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