Review: The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager


Two truths and a lie:

1. This book rocked.

2. Riley Sager is a thriller writing phenom.

3. I hate reading.

Pretty sure you’ve got me figured out.

Disclaimer: I get really really ridiculously excited about good thrillers now and tend to use an excess of exclamation points, so this is just a preemptive “please excuse my flabbergabbling.”

This is a true thriller in the sense of the word – it’s thrilling with understated suspense and it will creep you out in the best way possible.

So compulsively readable and intriguing, I could not put this one down until I knew how it ended. Oh the twists and the turns and the theories that I had, that were all wrong by the way! It’s also super cinematic – I could totally see this one being turned into a film.

Riley Sager has weaved an intoxicating tale of girls gone missing at a sleep away camp. There is a huge cast of characters, none of which you will trust, and a highly unreliable narrator.

I loved how every flashback chapter was an answer to the question the previous chapter put forward. Everything was connected. You had all the pieces but no answers and had to figure it all out with the main character.

The best kind of stories are the ones that can scare you silly without any violence. And that is exactly what you will find here.

There is one teensy tiny detail of the conclusion that I have a question about and I need to discuss further. Riley Sager, shoot me an email so we can discuss!

4.5 super creepy stars!

Thank you to Dutton Books for my review copy! This was a buddy read with the Traveling Sisters – Berit, Brenda, Holly B, Mackenzie and Marialyce. Loved that you were all as equally enthusiastic about this one as I was!


Two Truths and a Lie. The girls played it all the time in their tiny cabin at Camp Nightingale. Vivian, Natalie, Allison, and first-time camper Emma Davis, the youngest of the group. The games ended when Emma sleepily watched the others sneak out of the cabin in the dead of night. The last she–or anyone–saw of them was Vivian closing the cabin door behind her, hushing Emma with a finger pressed to her lips.

Now a rising star in the New York art scene, Emma turns her past into paintings–massive canvases filled with dark leaves and gnarled branches that cover ghostly shapes in white dresses. The paintings catch the attention of Francesca Harris-White, the socialite and wealthy owner of Camp Nightingale. When Francesca implores her to return to the newly reopened camp as a painting instructor, Emma sees an opportunity to try to find out what really happened to her friends.

Yet it’s immediately clear that all is not right at Camp Nightingale. Already haunted by memories from fifteen years ago, Emma discovers a security camera pointed directly at her cabin, mounting mistrust from Francesca and, most disturbing of all, cryptic clues Vivian left behind about the camp’s twisted origins. As she digs deeper, Emma finds herself sorting through lies from the past while facing threats from both man and nature in the present.

And the closer she gets to the truth about Camp Nightingale, the more she realizes it may come at a deadly price.

Review: The Forgotten Room by Ann Troup


3.5 stars

An intriguing mystery and police procedural based around an old, gothic mansion and the secrets of the family who lives within its walls.

This was a deeply woven story with a large cast of characters. After a skull is found on the grounds of an old house and a massive drama unfolds, like dominos falling down – one suspicious death after another. And a nurse who has been called in to help is caught in directly in the middle. Who is responsible for all the crazy things that are happening? What really happened inside the house?

This is equal parts mystery and police procedural, I definitely enjoyed the perspective from the detectives as it was intriguing how they operate. And the comic relief from some of the officers was very well received in this gruesome tale.

A bit too grizzly for my taste, but overall a very strong and well written story that I would recommend if you’re not of the faint of heart.

Thank you to HQ Digital for my review copy. This book is now available.


Can the past ever be forgotten?

As soon as nurse Maura Lyle sets foot inside the foreboding Essen Grange, she feels shivers ripple down her spine. And the sense of unease only increases when she meets her new patient, Gordon Henderson.

Drawn into the Henderson family’s tangled web of secrets and betrayals, Maura can ignore the danger lurking behind every door no longer. Even the door she has been forbidden from opening…

Essen Grange is a house with dark and cruel intentions. But now that darkness has turned on her, can Maura escape before it’s too late?

Blog Tour Book Review: The Bakery at Seashell Cove by Karen Clarke


I’m so excited to be closing out the blog tour for Karen Clarke’s The Bakery at Seashell Cove.

Karen Clarke has become a fast favorite. I read The Beachside Christmas and never looked back – she is an absolute sure thing and always delivers on the laughs while creating characters you really grow to love.

This is the second installment in the Seashell Cove series and I was so excited to be back with Cassie, Meg, and Tilly and to hear more about their lives and their antics.

I especially love how each book centers around one of the characters but the other central figures still play into the story. You get to see what they’re up to and get to enjoy them even more.

That being said, this one totally works as a stand-alone as well.

In this book, we get to learn more about Meg – her relationship with her fiancé, her love of baking, and her family life. There are several different story lines, all of which pulled at my heartstrings and had me rooting for Meg. Not to mention the food! I don’t even have a sweet tooth (I know, I’m strange!) but my mouth was watering at all the descriptions of the cakes and other goodies Meg was whipping up.

You really can’t go wrong with a Karen Clarke book, I can recommend all of her books confidently, and this one is no exception!

Thank you a mil to Bookouture for my copy of The Bakery at Seashell Cove, and for having me as apart of this blog tour with so many other great bloggers. This book is now available!


A warm welcome and delicious chocolate gateau are always on the menu at the Bakery at Seashell Cove – and this summer, romance is in the air…

Meg Larson thought she had everything she wanted: she works in the local bakery, she’s months away from marrying her high-school sweetheart, and home is beautiful, sunny Seashell Cove, where the sky is blue, the sea is turquoise and the sand is golden.

Except that the bakery is up for sale and her fiancé Sam’s more interested in bikes than their relationship. When Meg receives shocking news about her family, he’s on a cycling tour and ignoring her calls – and posting selfies on Facebook with a female cyclist he looks far too cosy with…

Luckily the bakery’s estate agent, Nathan, is understanding and funny, and as the summer goes on an unexpected friendship blossoms. When the bakery is given a second lease of life under a mysterious new owner, Meg realises a change might be exactly what she needs too.

Will Meg find the happy-ever-after she dreams of in Seashell Cove?

Author Bio:

Karen Clarke writes romantic comedy novels. Her BEACHSIDE series is set in the fictional seaside town of Shipley and features recurring characters, but each book can be read as a standalone. She is currently working on a new, three-book series set in Devon.

Karen has also written three romcoms with a paranormal twist, all available to download

When she’s not working on her novels, Karen writes short stories for women’s magazines and has had over three hundred published globally. Some of them can be read in her short story collection ‘BEHIND CLOSED DOORS…and other Tales with a Twist’

Karen lives in Buckinghamshire with her husband and three grown-up children.



Author Social Media Links:





Review: A Place For Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza


A Place for Us unfolds the lives of an Indian-American Muslim family, gathered together in their Californian hometown to celebrate the eldest daughter, Hadia’s, wedding–a match of love rather than tradition. It is here, on this momentous day, that Amar, the youngest of the siblings, reunites with his family for the first time in three years. Rafiq and Layla must now contend with the choices and betrayals that lead to their son’s estrangement–the reckoning of parents who strove to pass on their cultures and traditions to their children, and of children who in turn struggle to balance authenticity in themselves with loyalty to the home they came from.

In a narrative that spans decades and sees family life through the eyes of each member, A Place For Us charts the crucial moments in the family’s past, from the bonds that bring them together to the differences that pull them apart. And as siblings Hadia, Huda, and Amar attempt to carve out a life for themselves, they must reconcile their present culture with their parent’s faith, to tread a path between the old world and the new, and learn how the smallest decisions can lead to the deepest of betrayals.


Like coming home.

Like a long, slow hug.

Like a song that you can’t get out of your head.

A Place For Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza is one of the most extraordinary, thought provoking pieces of literature I have read in a very long time and I cannot recommend it highly enough. I am so very honored to have been included in this beautiful group of reviewers and to have read something so spectacular together with them.

It is my fear that I cannot possibly do this gorgeous book justice with a review. So this is not a review; these are my thoughts on what is sure to be one of the most moving, beautifully written pieces of work I will ever read.

For me personally, I tend to judge the strength of a book on its “unputdownability” however in this case, I had the absolute opposite response: I stretched it out for as long as I could and savored very single beautiful, heartfelt word.

The writing has been compared to “spun glass” and that is precisely what you will find here. So delicately and beautifully detailed, the words will grab ahold of you, take you on an emotional journey and never let you go.

In essence, this is a story of a family who is trying to understand how to exist in a world where their two cultures are colliding. But this could be the story of any family, which is what affected me so deeply – the daily struggles, attempting to do what you think is best for yourself and your children – and how these decisions can affect your family dynamic forever.

This book affected me profoundly on many different levels, from the emotional pull I felt for these characters to the excitement of learning about a new culture.

You will find beautiful customs. You will find struggle and deeply human connection. You will feel and you will empathize and you will find a story that will touch your heart. Highly, highly recommend. One thousand stars.

A massive thank you to SJP for Hogarth for providing me with a copy of this extraordinary book. And thank you to the other Traveling Sisters for the most profound discussion.

Review: How Hard Can It Be? by Allison Pearson


Kate Reddy is facing her 50th birthday. Her children have turned into impossible teenagers; her mother and in-laws are in precarious health; and her husband is having a midlife crisis that leaves her desperate to restart her career after years away from the workplace. Once again, Kate is scrambling to keep all the balls in the air in a juggling act that an early review from the U.K. Express hailed as “sparkling, funny, and poignant…a triumphant return for Pearson.”

Will Kate reclaim her rightful place at the very hedge fund she founded, or will she strangle in her new “shaping” underwear? Will she rekindle an old flame, or will her house burn to the ground when a rowdy mob shows up for her daughter’s surprise (to her parents) Christmas party? Surely it will all work out in the end. After all, how hard can it be?


A rollicking good time!

I’ve never met a book so quotable and hilarious! If I would have started highlighting while reading, my whole book would be glowing yellow right now.

Kate Reddy is quickly approaching 50 and is dealing with everything that comes with it – trying to re-enter the workforce after years at home, body and memory changes, and family matters that come with children maturing into teenagers.

For those of us who have aged with Bridget Jones, you will appreciate this tale equally.

This is a sequel to I Don’t Know How She Does It (there’s a film with the same title featuring a Sarah Jessica Parker) but it worked great as a stand-alone.

By the way: So glad that I now know what a “belfie” is – that’s one less term me and my old self has to look up in urban dictionary.

A giant thank you to Marissa at St. Martin’s Press for a copy of this book!

Blog Tour: Father Figure by James J. Cudney

I’m very pleased to be apart of the blog tour for James J. Cudney’s latest novel, Father Figure. I’ve been able to chat about books with James throughout my years blogging and he’s always been a kind soul.

Below you can find an excerpt from the book – happy reading and enjoy!

Publication Date: April 2, 2018

Genre: Contemporary Fiction/ Drama




Between the fast-paced New York City, a rural Mississippi town, and a charming Pennsylvania college campus filled with secrets, two young girls learn the consequences of growing up too quickly. Struggling to survive in a claustrophobic, unforgiving world, they embark on a journey to overcome all the pain, disappointment, and horror of their experiences.

Amalia Graeme, abused by her mother for most of her life, longs to escape her desolate hometown, connect with others, and fall in love. Contemplating an impending loss of innocence and conflicting feelings between her boyfriend and the dangerous attraction she’s developed for an older man, Amalia suffers devastating, life-altering tragedies. No matter where she turns, someone or something always steals her hope of finding happiness, protection, and love.

Brianna Porter, a sassy yet angst-ridden teenager raised in New York City, yearns to determine her life’s true purpose, conquer her fear of abandonment, and interpret an intimidating desire for her best friend, Shanelle. All the confusion stems from desperately needing to find the father whom her mother refuses to reveal, but an unexpected discovery of a journal leads Brianna to a shocking revelation about her missing parent. Unfortunately, by casting the net to find him, she’s unleashed a tragic history that was meant to stay buried and might now completely change everyone’s futures.

Through alternating chapters set two decades apart, each girl’s plight unfolds revealing the parallels between their lives and the subsequent collision that is bound to happen. In an emotional story filled with mystery, romance, and suspense, fate intervenes forcing someone to make a dreadful decision that will leave permanent scars.


The red sweater is something important to Amalia, but she loses it when her mother takes another swing to knock down her daughter. This shows how awful Janet can truly be. Red becomes a theme in the book and aligns with the color of the cabin on the cover.

Amalia grabbed her bag and keys shuffling everything together to leave with her mother. In her rush, she dropped the bag to the floor. The red blouse spilled from its only protection unaware of the trouble its presence would generate. It was the only article of clothing Amalia owned that made her feel special, nor did it try to hide her body from the rest of the world.

“What is that doing here? I told you to get rid of it yesterday morning.” The room grew a few degrees cooler as Janet’s icy expression penetrated the surface of Amalia’s waning facade.

“I… I just… forgot it was… in my bag when I brought it here today,” stammered Amalia.

“Give it here.”

“No, Momma. I’m bringing it home.”

“Someday, you’ll understand, girl.” Janet refocused her triumphant gaze from Amalia to her husband. “Have you got a pair of scissors in this store, Peter?”

Amalia closed her eyes and pictured what could have been if she’d met Bryan at the lake. She chastised herself for foolishly letting down her guard imagining the possibility of something positive happening in Brant. It was merely another one of her nightmares masquerading as a silly little girl’s daydream. Fighting back was a lost cause, and so was her blouse. Amalia grabbed the scissors from the rusty mason jar and walked with unparalleled defeat toward her mother.

“Stay right there, child. I’m not gonna be the one to destroy it. Give those scissors to your father.”

Peter’s deep-set eyes grew wide with disbelief despite remaining glued to a pile of dirt in the corner. “Janet, let her keep the shirt, please. She’s not going to wear it anywhere.”

“Cut it up now, Peter. The girl needs to learn another lesson. Apparently, so do you.” Janet banged her fist against the nearest wall rattling the pipes. “Make it quick. Greg will be ready for dinner in three hours.”

As the harassment in Janet’s voice punched holes in his body, Peter’s courage went limp with burden. His shaky fingers, normally quite firm and adept from building his model trains and boats, slid into the scissors. Amalia turned away at the nagging graze of one blade against the other, grateful when the fabric muffled the awful scrape of her last hopes being dashed away for the summer. “I love you, Daddy,” she mouthed to his despondent eyes and walked behind her mother to the car praying for silence on the ride home.

About the Author:

James is my given name; most call me Jay. I grew up on Long Island and currently live in New York City, but I’ve traveled all across the US (and various parts of the world). After college, I spent 15 years working in technology and business operations in the sports, entertainment and media industries. Although I enjoyed my job, I left in 2016 to focus on my passion: telling stories and connecting people through words. My debut novel is ‘Watching Glass Shatter,’ a contemporary fiction family drama with elements of mystery, suspense, humor and romance. To see samples or receive news from my current and upcoming books, please subscribe with your email address at my website:

What do I do outside of writing: I’m an avid genealogist (discovered 2K family members going back about 250 years) and cook (I find it so hard to follow a recipe). I love to read; between Goodreads and my blog at, I have over 500 book reviews which will give you a full flavor for my voice and style. On my blog, I started the 365 Daily Challenge, where I post a word each day that has some meaning to me, then converse with everyone about life. There is humor, tears, love, friendship, advice and bloopers. Lots of bloopers where I poke fun at myself all the time. Even my dog has a weekly segment called “Ryder’s Rants” where he complains about me. All these things make up who I am; none of them are very fancy or magnanimous, but they are real and show how I live every day.

A bit of humor: Everything doubles as something else when you live in NYC. For me, it’s the dining room, my favorite space in the apartment, where more than just my cooking is on display! As I look out the windows onto a 12th floor terrace, various parts of nature (trees, bushes, flowers, bugs & animals) inspire me to write. Ryder, my 10-year old shiba inu, usually lays on my feet, growling when I shift positions too many times or when I forget to share my food! Although he’s only 20 pounds, he’s quite strong and pushy. But how else can you pen the best story possible without these things by your side?

Author Links


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Blog Tour Schedule

June 4th

Reads & Reels

Valerie’s Musings

Julia’s Picks

Splashes into Books

Bri’s Book Nook

June 5th

The Scribbling Site

Brizzlelass Books

The Voluptuous Book Diva

Jessica Rachow

The Book Collective

June 6th

Kim Knight

Finding Life Through Pain

Beware of the Reader

Nesie’s Place

Run Wright

June 7th

Audio Killed the Bookmark

Jennie Reads

Touch My Spine Book Reviews

Bobo’s Book Bank

Crystal’s Book World

Dash Fan Book Reviews

By Hook or By Book

June 8th

Life at 17

Port Jerricho

Sinfully Wicked Reviews

Globe Flowers Blog

Blog Tour Organized By:

84, Charing Cross Road mini review and Goodreads 2018 Reading Challenge completed!

A random post for the day!

First, I completed my Goodreads reading challenge🎉 I’m not a challenge gal myself so I underestimated at 50 books, but still…I’ve read 50 books so far this year! Woohoo! I’m considering doing a goal of one book next year because, no pressure 🤗 How’s your challenge going?

Also, I finished 84 Charing Cross Road last night and it was such a charming, lovely book. I nearly teared up at the end but I reigned it in just in the nick of time.

This is a nonfiction book that is a series of letters between a bookeller in London and a bibliophile in New York who have never met and their relationship that lasts for years and years. I’m not usually one for epistolary books, but this one is just wonderful. A quick, sweet read perfect for book lovers.

Have you read this one?