Review: Before I Let You In by Jenny Blackhurst

synopsis:

Karen, Eleanor, and Bea have been best friends since childhood. They know everything about each other’s lives, or at least they think they do. Now in their thirties, though their lives are beginning to diverge: Eleanor is a young wife and mother who is struggling to cope with her many responsibilities; Bea is happy being single—or so she lets people think; and Karen is a psychiatrist who, despite the secrets in her past, considers herself the anchor of the group.

But when she takes on a new patient with issues she just can’t quite put her finger on, she begins to realize she may have put her dearest friends in danger. Because her patient knows more about these three women than anyone outside their circle possible could. Or should…

review:

Holy schmoly, man! Where have I been?! Jenny Blackhurst, you are one amazing writer! You know a book is good when you take the time to stop and thank the author on Facebook for putting out some stunning work, which is exactly what I did.

Fast-paced, addictive, suspenseful – couldn’t put it down, loved it all. And can we talk about cover love? Gorgeous!

A story about deep-seeded, long term friendship and how someone comes along who knows way more about them than they should – I’m not saying any more as this is all you need to know.

I was blown away with this one, even though I figured out the twist early on (seriously wish I could turn of my inner detective and just enjoy the story, but it persists) – usually if I figure it out it’s a bummer for me but this one was so good I didn’t even care!

There are one or two steamy scenes, so heads up, reader. They didn’t feel gratuitous at all, but definitely complemented the storyline.

So glad this one is coming to the US. Now to go check out this author’s other books. Seriously, where have I been?!

Thank you to Netgalley, Jenny Blackhurst, and Atria Books for a copy of this fab book in exchange for an honest review.

4.5 stars

Review: Other People’s Houses by Abbi Waxman

synopsis:

As the longtime local carpool mom, Frances Bloom is sometimes an unwilling witness to her neighbors’ private lives. She knows her cousin is hiding her desire for another baby from her spouse, Bill Horton’s wife is mysteriously missing, and now this…

After the shock of seeing Anne Porter in all her extramarital glory, Frances vows to stay in her own lane. But that’s a notion easier said than done when Anne’s husband throws her out a couple of days later. The repercussions of the affair reverberate through the four carpool families–and Frances finds herself navigating a moral minefield that could make or break a marriage.

review:

4.5 stars! Happy pub day to Abbi Waxman and Berkley Books!

I have not laughed out loud this much and this loud at a book in who knows how long. One hilarious line after another. I bow down to your comedic delivery, Ms. Abbi Waxman. She has taken some serious topics and added some light to them, well done.

I found the central character of Frances to be my favorite – she was absolutely hilarious, and I kinda wish she was a real person because I would want to be her friend. This cast of characters all had their quirks and I found them all to be very real.

I’m actually sad this one is over, I’m going to miss these crazy characters – gimme more Abbi Waxman now! And lucky for me, I just found Waxman’s previous book at a used book sale last week and I jumped around a bunch of people to get my hands on that one stat.

Definitely for adult eyes only! – Rated R for language and adult situations.

This was a Traveling Sisters group read and I loved hearing everyone’s thoughts.

Thank you to Elisha at Berkley for sending me an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Review: Not That I Could Tell by Jessica Strawser

synopsis:

When a group of neighborhood women gathers, wine in hand, around a fire pit where their backyards meet one Saturday night, most of them are just ecstatic to have discovered that their baby monitors reach that far. It’s a rare kid-free night, and they’re giddy with it. They drink too much, and the conversation turns personal.

By Monday morning, one of them is gone.

Everyone knows something about everyone else in the quirky small Ohio town of Yellow Springs, but no one can make sense of the disappearance. Kristin was a sociable twin mom, college administrator, and doctor’s wife who didn’t seem all that bothered by her impending divorce—and the investigation turns up more questions than answers, with her husband, Paul, at the center. For her closest neighbor, Clara, the incident triggers memories she thought she’d put behind her—and when she’s unable to extract herself from the widening circle of scrutiny, her own suspicions quickly grow. But the neighborhood’s newest addition, Izzy, is determined not to jump to any conclusions—especially since she’s dealing with a crisis of her own.

As the police investigation goes from a media circus to a cold case, the neighbors are forced to reexamine what’s going on behind their own closed doors—and to ask how well anyone really knows anyone else.

review:

This is a story of friendship in the suburbs, secrets and lies and a neighbor who goes missing after a night around the campfire.

The author has gotten life in the suburbs with young children spot on (I speak from experience!) and it was a believable tale of something that could definitely happen in my neighborhood. In fact, for me, it was its strongest point – what if this happened to you? How would you handle it? What would you do?

I wish this one would have been categorized General Fiction/Women’s Fiction instead of Mystery/Thriller, for I went into this prepared for something it’s not. An enjoyable read, but more of a slow going domestic suspense with an important message.

Thank you to Netgalley, St. Martin’s Press and Jessica Strawser for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

3.5 stars

Review: Secret Houses of the Cotswolds by Jeremy Musson

synopsis:

A personal tour of twenty of the UK’s most beguiling castles, estates, palaces and manor houses in this much-loved area of western England, including Daylesford, Stanway, Sudeley Castle and Hilles House.

Author and architectural historian, Jeremy Musson, and Cotswolds-based photographer Hugo Rittson Thomas, offer privileged access to twenty houses, from castles and manor houses, as well as eighteenth- and nineteenth-century mansions, revealing their history, architecture and interiors, in the company of their devoted owners.

In the footsteps of artists and designers including Humphry and George Repton, and Victorian visionary, William Morris, who inspired the arts and crafts movement, and others such as Detmar Blow, Norman Jewson, Clough Williams-Ellis and Oliver Hill, we find a series of fascinating country houses of different sizes and atmospheres, which have shaped the English identity.

Each house has their own story, but their distinctive honey-coloured stone walls, set amongst rolling hills, in different ways express the ideals of English life.

Most of the houses included here are privately owned and not usually open to the public. In this beautifully produced book, they can now be enjoyed through the eyes of their owners, as well as an experienced architectural historian, and an award-winning photographer.

review:

A stunning look at some of the Cotswolds most gorgeous historical properties that are still standing today.

Beautiful photography illustrates the most unique features within the homes, some that are original to the structure, which have been beautifully maintained and preserved over time.

A lot of love has been shown to these properties which is a credit to the previous and current owners of these homes. I am passionate about historical preservation and to think how long some of these structures have been around – it is mind boggling. A great amount of time, money and effort would have been necessary to maintain these properties throughout time.

I loved learning a bit of the history of the houses and the current residents as well.

It is my dream to visit England, and this gorgeous book was a nice glimpse into what I only hope to see in person one day!

Thank you to Netgalley, Jeremy Musson, Hugo Rittson Thomas, and Quarto Publishing Group for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Review: The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell

synopsis:

When Elsie married handsome young heir Rupert Bainbridge, she believed she was destined for a life of luxury. But with her husband dead just weeks after their marriage, her new servants resentful, and the local villagers actively hostile, Elsie has only her husband’s awkward cousin for company. Or so she thinks. Inside her new home lies a locked door, beyond which is a painted wooden figure–a silent companion–that bears a striking resemblance to Elsie herself. The residents of The Bridge are terrified of the figure, but Elsie tries to shrug this off as simple superstition–that is, until she notices the figure’s eyes following her.

A Victorian ghost story that evokes a most unsettling kind of fear, this is a tale that creeps its way through the consciousness in ways you least expect–much like the silent companions themselves.

review:

A completely creeptastic tale that had me jumping at the slightest sounds – warning: read with all the lights on!

This a dual timeline tale, switching between the 1800’s and 1600’s, all based around a gothic castle in England with a long, tragic history. As the story unfolds, you learn more about what has occurred to put the haunted in the house.

This is a great, spooky tale, one you’ll absolutely have to suspend disbelief, but oh how great it is once you do! It does get a little gruesome at some points which was a little outside of my comfort zone, but then again, I’m a big wimp so there’s that.

Definitely recommend to historical fiction fans who are in the mood for a good scare.

Thank you to Netgalley, Laura Purcell and Penguin Books for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

3.5 stars

Cover Reveal: The Date by Louise Jensen

I am SO excited to share the cover and synopsis for Louise Jensen’s latest book, The Date! I have long been a Jensen fan, and I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next!

Here’s the BEAUTIFUL cover!😍:

synopsis:

Something bad has happened to Alison Taylor.

Her Saturday night started normally. Recently separated from her husband, Ali has been persuaded by her friends to go on a date with a new man. She is ready, she is nervous, she is excited. She is about to take a step into her new future.

By Sunday morning, Ali’s life is unrecognisable. She wakes, and she knows that something is wrong. She is home, she is alone, she is hurt and she has no memory of what happened to her.

Worse still, when she looks in the mirror, Ali doesn’t recognise the face staring back at her. She can’t recognise her friends and family. And she can’t recognise the person who is trying to destroy her…

From the no. 1 bestselling author of The Sister, The Gift and The Surrogate, The Date is a gripping page-turner that will keep you awake until the early hours. Perfect for fans of The Girl on the Train and Before I Go To Sleep.

About the author:

Louise is a USA Today Bestselling Author, and lives in Northamptonshire with her husband, children, madcap dog and a rather naughty cat.

Louise’s first two novels, The Sister and The Gift, were both International No.1 Bestsellers, and have been sold for translation to sixteen countries. The Sister was nominated for The Goodreads Awards Debut of 2016. Louise’s third psychological thriller, The Surrogate, is out now.

Louise loves to hear from readers and writers and can be found at www.louisejensen.co.uk, where she regularly blogs flash fiction.

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