Sep 122019
 

THE NANNY by Gilly Macmillan
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Published by William Morrow
Publication Date: September 10, 2019
ISBN-10: 0062875558
ISBN-13: 978-0062875556
Pages: 400
Review Copy From: William Morrow
Edition: HC/eBook
My Rating: 5

Synopsis (via GR)

The New York Times bestselling author of What She Knew conjures a dark and unpredictable tale of family secrets that explores the lengths people will go to hurt one another.

When her beloved nanny, Hannah, left without a trace in the summer of 1988, seven-year-old Jocelyn Holt was devastated. Haunted by the loss, Jo grew up bitter and distant, and eventually left her parents and Lake Hall, their faded aristocratic home, behind.

Thirty years later, Jo returns to the house and is forced to confront her troubled relationship with her mother. But when human remains are accidentally uncovered in a lake on the estate, Jo begins to question everything she thought she knew.

Then an unexpected visitor knocks on the door and Jo’s world is destroyed again. Desperate to piece together the gaping holes in her memory, Jo must uncover who her nanny really was, why she left, and if she can trust her own mother…

In this compulsively readable tale of secrets, lies, and deception, Gilly Macmillan explores the darkest impulses and desires of the human heart. Diabolically clever, The Nanny reminds us that sometimes the truth hurts so much you’d rather hear the lie.

My Thoughts

Holy Moly!!! My head is still spinning!!

I read a previous novel by Ms. Macmillan, I KNOW YOU KNOW, and knew I had to read her latest book.

Jo and her daughter Ruby have reluctantly returned to her London childhood home and her mother after the sudden death of her husband. The move from California was only made because Jo needed financial assistance. Jo and her mother, Lady Virginia Holt has always had a strained relationship, especially since the day that her mother sent her beloved Nanny Hannah away.

After their arrival, Jo takes Ruby out on a canoe on the estate’s lake and makes a gruesome discovery, a human skull. Virginia does not want the police involved, but why? Does she know more about the death on the estate that occurred years ago? However, Jo does report it and an investigation ensues.

Then there comes a knock on the door and Jo comes face to face with her cherished Nanny Hannah. But Virginia has doubts that this is the “real” Hannah”.

The author’s written narrative creates such a vivid description of the characters and settings that I felt I was transported into the story.

The suspense had me turning the pages as fast as I could read! There were red herrings at every turn that I kept bouncing between characters as to who was the murderer and who was the victim, who was the better liar and who had the deepest secrets. The ending!!!! The ending was explosive that I am still reeling from it.

An exceptional and thrilling read that had me white-knuckled from the first page to the last word!!

Thank you, Ms. Macmillan, for another entertaining read!!

Purchase Links: Amazon 🔗 | Barnes & Noble 🔗 | Goodreads 🔗

REVIEW DISCLAIMER

  • This blog was founded on the premise to write honest reviews, to the best of my ability, no matter who from, where from and/or how the book was obtained, and will continue to do so, even if it is through PICT or PBP.
  • I received a copy of this book, at no charge to me, in exchange for my honest review. No items that I receive are ever sold…they are kept by me, or given to family and/or friends.
  • I do not have any affiliation with Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble. I am providing link(s) solely for visitors that may be interested in purchasing this Book/EBook.
Sep 112019
 

What She Never Said by Catharine Riggs Banner

 

 

What She Never Said

by Catharine Riggs

on Tour August 19 – September 20, 2019

Synopsis:

What She Never Said by Catharine Riggs

How much would you pay to keep a secret? Ruth Mosby is the VP of operations at Serenity Acres, where the privileged elite go to die. For a hefty fee, wealthy retirees can live the good life in this posh Santa Barbara community—even after they outlive their money. But the savvy new boss has a new rule: if you can’t pay, you can’t stay.

Guests whisper about an “Angel” who assists with suicides. Ruth has another word for it: murder.

Ruth enlists her neighbor, an ex-detective named Zach, to discover the Angel’s secret identity. However, the two have a painful history, and Ruth has dark secrets all her own. To solve the mystery, Ruth must descend her golden tower—but can she bear the consequences of revealing her own sinister truths?

Why Readers LOVE What She Never Said:

“Riggs keeps the tension high to the dramatic climax.”
Publishers Weekly

What She Never Said is a fast-paced, compulsive read—and I speak as a slow-paced, easily distracted reader.”
—Ashley Dyer, award-winning author of the Lake & Carver series.

“A compelling read that will keep you awake well into the night.”
—T.R. Ragan, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author

Beneath the weight of metastasizing secrets, idyllic veneers buckle to reveal shocking truths that will haunt readers long after the final page.
—P. J. Vernon, acclaimed author of the debut thriller, When You Find Me

MY THOUGHTS/REVIEW

5 stars

Where do I begin because there is so much to say?! But I am apologizing in advance because this is going to be a very vague review so I won’t let too much slip.

This is the second book in the Santa Barbara Suspense series, however, it read well as a stand-alone but I will be reading the first book soon.

Being a retired RN and having worked within the elderly community, I was instantly drawn in from the first page, as the synopsis states the setting is Shady Acres, an elite geriatric facility where the patients are called guests. But there is someone who is assisting with suicides. Or is it murder? And who is in and what is this group within the complex that are members of “The Goodnight Club”?

This book was so engrossing that I finished it in one sitting, which is very rare for me. I literally could not put it down as there were so many aspects that I had to know how it ended.

Shady Acres has just been sold to a huge conglomerate company that their bottom line is first money and second, their image and lastly the patients. Right before the sale, Ruth Mosby, VP of Operations has found pink post-its with a guest’s name and date of their death but hasn’t told anyone about this. She is more concerned about being named the new Director.

Since the sale, more patients have died especially those that are destitute. Not only are the patients dying, but a nurse has also been found murdered in the parking lot, which it is rumored that he was the complex’s drug dealer.

Ms. Riggs has created characters that pull the reader into their lives wanting to know what their dark secrets, betrayals, guilt, depression, past traumas, substance abuse, regrets, shame, and more, which is why I just kept turning the pages.

The suspense did not let up and had me guessing as to who were the leaders of this exclusive group, “The Goodnight Club”. Who was “The Angel” carrying out the passing of the residents? Who was “The Ambassador” or the go-between and who was the “leader” that passed the pink post-it notes getting the word to those above her/him.

Is The Angel an empath for these aging people that want to die with dignity, or is there a serial killer working amongst them?

Totally engrossing!! Chilling!! Will have you on the edge of your seat!!!

Book Details:

Genre: Psychological Suspense
Published by: Thomas & Mercer
Publication Date: September 10, 2019
Number of Pages: 377
ISBN: 1542042135 (ISBN13: 9781542042130)
Series: Santa Barbara Suspense #2
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

RUTH MOSBY

ONE

Monday, May 6

My goal each day is ten thousand steps. A Fitbit monitors my progress. One. Two. Three. Four. This morning I’ll reach six thousand steps. Only four thousand left after that. It’s nice the days have grown longer. I’ll walk the harbor loop after work. Five. Six. Seven. Eight. I speed up the slope of Orpet Park through the grove of moth-eaten oaks.

At the summit of the steepest hill, I catch a peek of ocean gray. The islands are invisible today, shrouded in waves of lowering fog. June gloom. That’s what the locals call it, although we’ve barely stepped into May. Locals? I am a local. Or should be after thirty-some years. But oh no. Not in Santa Barbara. You can’t be a local unless you’re born here. Ridiculous but true. Sometimes I wonder why I stay. But at my age, where would I go?

Cresting the final hill, I catch my first glimpse of the mission bells. They’re a sad reminder of my walks with Carlyn and the chats we had every day. She thought the Queen of the Missions was a sign of God’s blessing on our tony beachside town. I wonder what she thinks of God now. I wonder what she thinks of me.

I continue past the mission lawn, verging on parched and dry. The agaves look weathered and dusty; they’re wilted at the tips. A handful of elderly tourists snap photos of the iconic scene. Their foreign chatter disrupts the calm, so I cross the street to the rose garden and follow the rutted trail. A lone dog shoots into view, and I slow my rapid gait. The golden Lab jumps, twists, and barks, nabbing a Frisbee in his mouth.

“Morning,” his master calls to me, a smile gracing his youthful face.

“Morning.” I lock my gaze on my running shoes. How did he miss the DOGS ON LEASH signs staggered every twenty feet? Or maybe he didn’t but somehow believes he’s above the city’s rules. I make a mental note to call animal control and continue on my way.

I pick up my pace for the final ten blocks, feeling better than I have in weeks. Turning down my narrow driveway, I cringe at the sight of my neighbor standing on his porch.

“Morning, Ruth,” he calls.

“Morning, Zach.”

Zach limps down his steps and through his drought-stricken garden, a frown rumpling his grizzled face. He’s dressed in board shorts and a tattered T-shirt, mended flip-flops shielding his feet. “You hear those kids partying last night?” he asks.

“No,” I lie. “Was it loud?”

“Hell yeah. I can’t believe they allow short-term rentals in our neighborhood. We’ve got to put a stop to that.”

“Well, kids will be kids.” I fail to mention I called the police at ten sharp. That’s when the noise ordinance kicks in.

“I’m going to complain at today’s city council meeting. Want to come along?” The breeze shifts, and I catch a whiff of spoiled milk. Zach has taken to strategic bathing, which results in an occasional stench.

“I would, but I have to work.”

“Bummer. There’s a better chance if we complain together.”

I nod, thinking he’d have a better chance if he made an effort to clean himself up. When we moved into the neighborhood decades ago, Zach had been a handsome man with an easy smile and a mop of thick black hair. A homicide detective whose pretty wife, Tina, taught art at the nearby elementary school. The perfect neighbors on a perfect street of tiny Craftsman homes. Then their son died in a tragic accident, and Tina passed soon after that. A broken man, Zach took early retirement and nearly drank himself to death. He’s in recovery now and has replaced the booze with an obsession for neighborhood affairs. “What about my petition?” he asks. “You plan on signing that?”

I bite my lower lip. “I’m not sure.”

“Construction begins next week.”

“I wish I could, but . . .”

Mumbling under his breath, he eyes me with a frown. He’s also taken to talking to himself. Is dementia creeping up? “But what?” he asks.

“I don’t think it’s wise for someone in my position to take a political stance.”

“Your position?” He rolls his eyes. “You work at an old folks’ home.”

“I work in a life-care community.”

“Same thing.”

“No, it’s not.”

His frown deepens into a crevasse. “So, you’re okay with those homes coming down?” He nods at the four vacant bungalows located directly across the street. They’re slated for demolition, to be replaced by a ten-thousand-square-foot mansion with an Olympic-sized swimming pool. Our future neighbors are a flashy young couple with toddler twins and an army of well-groomed staff. Seems our former middle-class neighborhood is attracting the fashionable Hollywood types.

“I’m not okay with it,” I say, “but what can we do? The planning commission has made their decision. We’re not going to change their minds.”

“But if we don’t take action, it won’t be long before people like us can’t live in this town.”

“At least we’ll make a mint when we sell.”

“You’re not thinking of moving, are you?”

“Of course not.” Although I might if the price is right.

Zach sniffs and takes a swipe at his nose. “I just wish we could stop these assholes. They even complained about my new picket fence.”

I hold my voice steady. “They did?” Last month, Zach replaced his aging fence with a synthetic version that lists from side to side.

“Hell yes. City says my fence is four inches too tall, and I’ve got one month to replace the thing.

Where the hell am I going to get that kind of money? My pension only goes so far.” He searches my face with his electric-blue eyes. They’re the only part of him that haven’t aged.

“That’s terrible,” I say, dropping my gaze and backpedaling down the driveway. “Got to get to work. Have a nice day.” I hurry through the gate, swimming through waves of guilt. What if Zach finds out I turned him in? He’ll be angrier than a cornered wasp. But by the time I step out of the shower, I’ve pushed away all my self-doubt. Is it my fault his fence is too tall? For God’s sake, rules are rules.

***

Excerpt from What She Never Said by Catharine Riggs. Copyright © 2019 by Catharine Riggs. Reproduced with permission from Catharine Riggs. All rights reserved.

 

 

Author Bio:

Catharine Riggs

Catharine Riggs lives and writes on California’s central coast. Before her dive into thrillers, Riggs worked as a business banker, adjunct college instructor, and a nonprofit executive. What She Never Said is the second novel in her loosely linked Santa Barbara Suspense series. The first, What She Gave Away, was published by Thomas & Mercer in September of 2018.

Catch Up With Catharine Riggs On:
www.CatharineRiggs.com, Goodreads, & BookBub, Twitter!

 

 

Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!



 

 

Enter To Win!:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Catharine Riggs. There will be 4 winners. Two (2) winners will each receive one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card and Two (2) winners will each receive one (1) print copy of What She Never Said by Catharine Riggs. The giveaway begins on August 18, 2019 and runs through September 22, 2019. Open to U.S. addresses only. Void where prohibited.

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Aug 302019
 

THE STARTER WIFE by Nina Laurin
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Published by Grand Central Publishing
Publication Date: June 11, 2019
ISBN-10: 1538715716
ISBN-13: 978-1538715710
Pages: 352
Review Copy From: Author
Edition: Signed TPB
My Rating: 4

Synopsis (via GR)

Local police have announced that they’re closing the investigation of the suspected drowning of 37-year-old painter Colleen Westcott. She disappeared on April 11, 2010, and her car was found parked near the waterfront in Cleveland two days later, but her body has never been found. The chief of police has stated that no concrete evidence of foul play has been discovered in the probe.

I close the online search window, annoyed. These articles never have enough detail. They think my husband’s first wife disappeared or they think she is dead. There’s a big difference.

My phone rings, jarring me away from my thoughts, and when I pick it up, it’s an unknown number. The only answer to my slightly breathless hello is empty static.

When the voice does finally come, it’s female, low, muffled somehow. “Where is it, Claire? What did you do with it? Tell me where it is.”

A woman. A real flesh-and-blood woman on the other end of the phone. She’s not just in my head.

A wave of panic spreads under my skin like ice water. It’s Colleen.

My Thoughts

I had added this title to my GR TBR shelf back on May 23, 2019, after seeing many comments about it in some of the Facebook book groups that I am a member of. There was a giveaway for it in another group that I am a member of, Bloom With Tall Poppy Writers and was notified I was a winner. YES!!!!

Eight years ago, Byron Westcott, Professor of Literature, lost his wife, Colleen to suicide but her body was never found. Even though he was considered a possible suspect at the time, the police announced they were closing the case due to lack of evidence that it was anything other than a suicide. Friends of the couple, right before Colleen’s death, saw that she was not emotionally stable and appeared to be either overindulging with alcohol and/or drugs.

Claire Greene is touring the college for her MFA and meets Byron and is instantly attracted to him feeling that it is love at first sight, even though there is a 20 year age difference. Six months later they are married and on all accounts, believes she has a perfect life. Until recently things just aren’t the same. She then receives a phone call from a woman, that she believes is Colleen and she is now on a mission to find out what happened to her.

But soon after, Claire is exhibiting the same delusions and paranoia that resembled what Colleen experienced the last few weeks of her life.

Reading the entire book felt like a tennis match, I kept going back and forth with my thoughts on who was the victim and who could possibly be a suspect of nefarious acts. At every twist and turn in the book, and there were many, I would change my thinking as to what the real truth was. After reading the 4th page before the ending, I audibly gasped. I still had 3 pages to read!! And those final 3 pages left me stunned.

Without giving away spoilers, I finished the book with a few unanswered questions, which is why I gave it 4 stars!! I felt that the ending wasn’t satisfying, however, the suspense was so intense that I read this book in 2 sittings.

I will be checking out Ms. Laurin’s previous novels as I also saw many positive comments on those books.

Purchase Links: Amazon 🔗 | Barnes & Noble 🔗 | Goodreads 🔗

REVIEW DISCLAIMER

  • This blog was founded on the premise to write honest reviews, to the best of my ability, no matter who from, where from and/or how the book was obtained and will continue to do so, even if it is through PICT or PBP.
  • I received a copy of this book, at no charge to me, in exchange for my honest review. No items that I receive are ever sold…they are kept by me, or given to family and/or friends.
  • I do not have any affiliation with Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble. I am providing link(s) solely for visitors that may be interested in purchasing this Book/EBook.
Aug 272019
 

KEEPING LUCY by T. Greenwood
Genre: Historical Fiction; Family Life Fiction
Published by St. Matin’s Press
Publication Date: August 6, 2019
ASIN: B07J4RMRNT
Pages: 306
Review Copy From: St. Martin’s Press via NetGalley
Edition: eBook
My Rating: 5

Synopsis (via GR)

From the author of Rust & Stardust comes this heartbreaking story, inspired by true events, of how far one mother must go to protect her daughter.

Dover, Massachusetts, 1969. Ginny Richardson’s heart was torn open when her baby girl, Lucy, born with Down Syndrome, was taken from her. Under pressure from his powerful family, her husband, Ab, sent Lucy away to Willowridge, a special school for the “feeble-minded.” Ab tried to convince Ginny it was for the best. That they should grieve for their daughter as though she were dead. That they should try to move on.

But two years later, when Ginny’s best friend, Marsha, shows her a series of articles exposing Willowridge as a hell-on-earth–its squalid hallways filled with neglected children–she knows she can’t leave her daughter there. With Ginny’s six-year-old son in tow, Ginny and Marsha drive to the school to see Lucy for themselves. What they find sets their course on a heart-racing journey across state lines—turning Ginny into a fugitive.

For the first time, Ginny must test her own strength and face the world head-on as she fights Ab and his domineering father for the right to keep Lucy. Racing from Massachusetts to the beaches of Atlantic City, through the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia to a roadside mermaid show in Florida, Keeping Lucy is a searing portrait of just how far a mother’s love can take her.

My Thoughts

Warning: have plenty of tissues nearby!!

It’s 1969 and Ginny Richardson has just had an emergency C-section but doesn’t get to hold or see her newborn daughter, Lucy. The doctor explains that the baby has severe disabilities and should be institutionalized, which her father-in-law has already committed the baby to Willowridge School for both the baby’s and family’s sake.

But 2 years later, Ginny’s best friend informs her that the school has been the subject of an exposé that it the residents are treated poorly, is horrifically filthy and that the caretakers are less than desirable. Ginny, at this point, decides to visit the school and her daughter against the controlling and arrogant father-in-law’s decision. What she finds is unbearable. She decides to take Lucy, and with her BFF Marsha, go on the run for a week, hoping that her husband and his father, change their minds that Lucy needs to be part of their family and in their home. Only to find out, her father-in-law’s firm is representing the school.

This story touched me to my core as I have been involved in similar instances and the author nailed it!!!!

I mention similar events. When my sister was born with Cerebral Palsy, 9 1/2 years prior to my birth, my parents were told to institutionalize her as she would not live past 16, have severe disabilities and to just forget about her. As told to me by several relatives, my father cold-cocked the doctor and took my sister home. She will be 73 this year living in assisted living for the past 8 years, with a more active social life than me.

While in High School, we went to a similar school for my psychology course. It was horrific with the same problems as Willowridge in the story. To this day, I can remember Joey, the 5 year old boy with big brown eyes that clung to me. I often wonder what happened to him and thankfully, that “school” also closed.

The narrative, characters, and emotions are raw, straight from the heart and soul. The reader will feel every emotion that Ginny was feeling, love, fear, guilt, betrayal and self doubt!!

KEEPING LUCY will tug at your heartstrings. And as a mother, understand the love a mother has for her child. A compelling and profound read that I highly recommend!

Purchase Links: Amazon 🔗 | Barnes & Noble 🔗 | Goodreads 🔗

REVIEW DISCLAIMER

  • This blog was founded on the premise to write honest reviews, to the best of my ability, no matter who from, where from and/or how the book was obtained, and will continue to do so, even if it is through PICT or PBP.
  • I received a copy of this book, at no charge to me, in exchange for my honest review. No items that I receive are ever sold…they are kept by me, or given to family and/or friends.
  • I do not have any affiliation with Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble. I am providing link(s) solely for visitors that may be interested in purchasing this Book/EBook.
  • Aug 202019
     

    THE MURDER LIST by Hank Phillippi Ryan
    Genre: Psychological/Legal Thriller
    Published by MacMillan/Forge
    Publication Date: August 20, 2019
    ASIN: B07GV9B15X
    Pages: 352
    Review Copy From: Macmillan/Forge via NetGalley
    Edition: eBook
    My Rating: 5

    Synopsis (via GR)

    Law student Rachel North will tell you, without hesitation, what she knows to be true. She’s smart, she’s a hard worker, she does the right thing, she’s successfully married to a faithful and devoted husband, a lion of Boston’s defense bar, and her internship with the Boston DA’s office is her ticket to a successful future.

    Problem is–she’s wrong.

    And in this cat and mouse game–the battle for justice becomes a battle for survival.

    The Murder List is a new standalone suspense novel in the tradition of Lisa Scottoline and B. A. Paris from award-winning author and reporter Hank Phillippi Ryan.

    My Thoughts

    Rachel North, the wife of Jack Kirkland, high profile defense attorney, has decided to also study law and when she graduates they plan are becoming partners in his law practice. He is also a member of the Committee for Public Counsel Services or aka The Murder List, where defense attorneys do pro bono cases for indigents that have committed murder. But he isn’t too happy that she will be interning under the Assistant District Attorney, Martha Gardiner. As a prosecutor, Gardiner feels that she lost the biggest case of her career against Jack and that loss cost her total embarrassment and possibly a chance to become the next D.A. However, Rachel feels that this internship will help her down the road and an honor since Ms. Gardiner chose her because of the potential, she saw in Rachel.

    The story alternates between the present and 6 years earlier when Rachel worked as the Chief of Staff for Senate President Thomas Rafferty. Also during this time she had jury duty and ironically it was a case where Jack Kirkland was defending a person from The Murder List and Martha Gardiner was the prosecutor, which she won.

    After this case, Rachel receives a note from Jack asking her to meet him as he would like to get a grasp on what went wrong, what was the jurors’ opinions and the reason for the loss. She decides to meet him for coffee and while at the coffee shop, she receives a frantic call from Senator Rafferty, who is also a friend of Jack’s, that one of their coworkers has been found murdered and that the police need to talk to her. But this leads to the case that Jack and Martha again go head to head and she loses.

    Now 6 years later, while Rachel is interning, Martha Gardiner reopens the case. And then the cat and mouse game begins. Who is manipulating whom? Who really killed Dani? And who is lying about the evidence in this case and who has the most to lose?

    This is the first book I read by this author but I have been wanting to for a very long time. And after finishing this book, I am wondering why did I wait so long?

    The suspense anxiety is palpable. I kept going back and forth between characters as to who was the biggest conspirator and who was controlling the situation.

    This was a white knuckle read at warp speed. A riveting read!! With an ending that was mind-blowing.

    Highly, highly recommend! And trust me, I will never put off reading another book by this amazing and esteemed author!

    Purchase Links: Amazon 🔗 | Barnes & Noble 🔗 | Goodreads 🔗

    REVIEW DISCLAIMER

  • This blog was founded on the premise to write honest reviews, to the best of my ability, no matter who from, where from and/or how the book was obtained, and will continue to do so, even if it is through PICT or PBP.
  • I received a copy of this book, at no charge to me, in exchange for my honest review. No items that I receive are ever sold…they are kept by me, or given to family and/or friends.
  • I do not have any affiliation with Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble. I am providing link(s) solely for visitors that may be interested in purchasing this Book/EBook.