Monday, January 15, 2018

The Family Next Door by Sally Hepworth

A gripping domestic page-turner full of shocking reveals, perfect for fans of Liane Moriarty, Amanda Prowse and Kerry Fisher.
The small suburb of Pleasant Court lives up to its name. It's the kind of place where everyone knows their neighbors, and children play in the street.
Isabelle Heatherington doesn't fit into this picture of family paradise. Husbandless and childless, she soon catches the attention of three Pleasant Court mothers.
But Ange, Fran and Essie have their own secrets to hide. Like the reason behind Ange's compulsion to control every aspect of her life. Or why Fran won't let her sweet, gentle husband near her new baby. Or why, three years ago, Essie took her daughter to the park - and returned home without her.
As their obsession with their new neighbor grows, the secrets of these three women begin to spread - and they'll soon find out that when you look at something too closely, you see things you never wanted to see.

If you ever get to missing the ladies of Wisteria Lane, this may be the book for you. Pleasant Court is a quiet, peaceful area, where people are neighborly though not necessarily friends. They certainly don't share their secrets, of which there are many. Some are hiding their secrets not only from the world, but also from themselves.
This was a quick read and a real page turner, with more juicy secrets than any prime time soap.
4 out of 5 stars

I received an advance copy for review.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

The Beloveds by Maureen Lindley

An exploration of domestic derangement, as sinister as Daphne Du Maurier’s classic Rebecca, that plumbs the depths of sibling rivalry with wit and menace.
Oh, to be a Beloved—one of those lucky people for whom nothing ever goes wrong. Everything falls into their laps without effort: happiness, beauty, good fortune, allure.

Betty Stash is not a Beloved—but her little sister, the delightful Gloria, is. She’s the one with the golden curls and sunny disposition and captivating smile, the one whose best friend used to be Betty’s, the one whose husband should have been Betty’s. And then, to everyone’s surprise, Gloria inherits the family manse—a vast, gorgeous pile of ancient stone, imposing timbers, and lush gardens—that was never meant to be hers.

Losing what Betty considers her rightful inheritance is the final indignity. As she single-mindedly pursues her plan to see the estate returned to her in all its glory, her determined and increasingly unhinged behavior—aided by poisonous mushrooms, talking walls, and a phantom dog—escalates to the point of no return. The Beloveds will have you wondering if there’s a length to which an envious sister won’t go.

Betty Stash has never much cared for anyone or anything other than her parents house, which she expected to inherit on her mother's death. She appears to have been in a state of quiet jealous rage ever since her beautiful and "beloved" sister was born. Much of the action in this story takes place in Betty's mind for at least the first half of the book, which made it a little slow and draggy in my opinion, until at last Betty seemed to make the switch from petty, whining, narcissist to full on evil psycho.

I received an advance copy for review.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House by Michael Wolff


With extraordinary access to the Trump White House, Michael Wolff tells the inside story of the most controversial presidency of our time

The first nine months of Donald Trump's term were stormy, outrageous—and absolutely mesmerizing. Now, thanks to his deep access to the West Wing, bestselling author Michael Wolff tells the riveting story of how Trump launched a tenure as volatile and fiery as the man himself.

In this explosive book, Wolff provides a wealth of new details about the chaos in the Oval Office. Among the revelations:

— What President Trump's staff really thinks of him
— What inspired Trump to claim he was wire-tapped by President Obama
— Why FBI director James Comey was really fired
— Why chief strategist Steve Bannon and Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner couldn't be in the same room
— Who is really directing the Trump administration's strategy in the wake of Bannon's firing
— What the secret to communicating with Trump is
— What the Trump administration has in common with the movie The Producers

Never before has a presidency so divided the American people. Brilliantly reported and astoundingly fresh, Michael Wolff's Fire and Fury shows us how and why Donald Trump has become the king of discord and disunion.

Other than a few typos, which I found a bit distracting, this was a sobering look at what many of us feared was going on in the White House. Told in a quite matter of fact way that did not seem to be going for shock value or sensationalism made it all the more believable. Combined with quotes from those he interviewed are the author's own impressions. If given a choice to believe a president who has lied every single day about easily fact checked events, and an author who was seen with a visitor pass on a nearly constant basis by white house reporters, I am more inclined to believe the author than a president who claims he wasn't there. There are a few descriptions of events that have been disputed as inaccurate but I don't think an honest mistake here and there (such as similar names being confused) negate the facts. Perhaps these were due in part to a rush to publish a week or so early in response to an attempt from the president to block the publication.
 Considering the president's desperate attempt to block this publication, and considering the author's statement that some of his interviews are recorded. combined with the fact that nobody is disputing the actual quotes, I find it to be believable.

Friday, January 5, 2018

The Broken Girls by Simone St. James

 A breakout suspense novel from the award-winning author of The Haunting of Maddy Clare.
Vermont, 1950. There's a place for the girls whom no one wants--the troublemakers, the illegitimate, the too smart for their own good. It's called Idlewild Hall. And in the small town where it's located, there are rumors that the boarding school is haunted. Four roommates bond over their whispered fears, their budding friendship blossoming--until one of them mysteriously disappears. . . .

Vermont, 2014. As much as she's tried, journalist Fiona Sheridan cannot stop revisiting the events surrounding her older sister's death. Twenty years ago, her body was found lying in the overgrown fields near the ruins of Idlewild Hall. And though her sister's boyfriend was tried and convicted of murder, Fiona can't shake the suspicion that something was never right about the case.

When Fiona discovers that Idlewild Hall is being restored by an anonymous benefactor, she decides to write a story about it. But a shocking discovery during the renovations will link the loss of her sister to secrets that were meant to stay hidden in the past--and a voice that won't be silenced..

"Mary Hand Mary Hand, dead and buried under land. She'll say she wants to be your friend. Do not let her in again!"
Then : The Idlewild girls, out of sight, out of mind, unwanted. Shut away in a boarding school
 where their families rarely if ever visited. Katie, Roberta. CeCe and Sophia, four girls with not much in common other than being forced to share a room,  become the best of friends. They live in fear, not only of what the future holds, but of the legend of Mary Hand, a story passed down from generations of school residents before them, scribbled about in the margins of text books that have never been replaced. They say Mary is buried on school property, that she haunts the grounds and shows you things, horrible awful things.

Fiona has never gotten over the loss of her sister. Her murdered body found dumped in the field at the long closed Idlewild Hall. When restorations begin on the property by someone who claims to want to reopen the school, Fiona can't keep away. She is present when a body is unearthed on school property, and her investigative mind leads her to uncover long buried secrets. Not only will she uncover the truth about Mary Hand, but of what truly happened to her sister and the newly unearthed body.

Part murder mystery, part ghost story, this was a suspenseful and intriguing tale, told on 2 time lines which added a wondrous mix of historical fiction into this thrilling read.

5 out of 5 stars
I received an advance copy for review.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Becoming by Glenn Rolfe

Something ancient has wormed its way up from the earth....
A change has come today.

After Michele Cote's best friend disappears, no one believes her story about the thing responsible for his abduction. Forced to figure out the mystery for herself, Michele encounters terror she has never known, and witnesses the impossible.

When other members of the community begin to change or vanish, Sheriff Shane Davis must look beyond reason in order to stop the evil seeping into this small town. With help from an unlikely source, Sheriff Davis will come face-to-face with the truth.
You can't destroy what you don't understand. For the town of Avalon, Maine, the future is about change...for better or worse.

Becoming is the next horrifying novel from author, Glenn Rolfe. Includes the bonus novella, Boom Town

There's something fishy going on in Jade Lake, and it's not the trout casting that strange light.
Clint Truman, caring for his cancer riddled father Jack, is the first to notice a strange glow just below the surface.
"It was then he noticed, even though he wasn't breathing, that he was still alive."

Soon it will make it's presence known to the rest of the town.
"One by one, we'll all become."
An ancient evil makes it's return in the small town of Avalon. This was an action packed tale full of good old fashioned creature feature type fun. I would recommend it to all horror fans but especially those who love the old horror comics like I do.
4 out of 5 stars from me.

I received a complimentary copy for review.