Jan 142020

The Better Liar by Tanen Jones
Genre: Domestic Thriller
Published by Penguin Random House
Publication Date: January 14, 2020
Pages: 307
Review Copy From: Publisher via NetGalley
Edition: eBook
My Rating: 5

Synopsis (via GR)

When a woman conceals her sister’s death to claim their joint inheritance, her deception exposes a web of dangerous secrets in this addictive new thriller for fans of Megan Abbott, Gillian Flynn, and Paula Hawkins.

“Like most of the dead, I want to be remembered.”

Robin Voigt is dead. If Leslie had arrived at her sister’s cramped Las Vegas apartment just hours earlier, this would have been their first reunion in a decade. In the years since Robin ran away from home as a teenager, Leslie has stayed in New Mexico, taking care of their dying father even as she began building a family of her own. But when their father passed away, Leslie received a rude awakening: She and Robin would receive the inheritance he left them together—or not at all. Now her half of the money may be beyond her grasp. And unbeknownst to anyone, even her husband, Leslie needs it desperately.

When she meets a charismatic young woman who bears an uncanny resemblance to Robin—and has every reason to leave her past behind—the two make a reckless bargain: Mary will impersonate Robin for a week in exchange for Robin’s half of the cash. But neither realizes how high the stakes will become when Mary takes a dead woman’s name. Even as Mary begins to suspect Leslie is hiding something, and Leslie realizes the stranger living in her house, babysitting her newborn son, and charming her husband has secrets of her own, Robin’s wild, troubled legacy threatens to eclipse them both.

An electric, twisted portrait of sisterhood and the ties that bind, The Better Liar is a stunning debut with a heart-stopping, twist-after-twist finale that will beg the question: How far would you go to get what’s yours?

Advance praise for The Better Liar

“I thought I’d just skim a page or two before putting The Better Liar on my ‘to-read’ shelf, but I couldn’t help becoming so drawn in that I had to keep going. Tanen Jones has written a compulsively page-turning story. She cleverly drip-feeds nuggets of information, each more surprising than the last, until the final shocking revelation.”—Claire Fuller, author of Bitter Orange and Swimming Lessons

My Thoughts

Where do I begin?

Let’s first start with that this is a debut novel and I am hoping that there will be many more books by this author!!

Next, the title!! If you are like me and try to figure out the mystery, the reader has to start there. I knew I had to pay very close attention to the clues and the possible red herrings. Are you asking how I did? I’ll let you know!

Now the story!!! As the synopsis states, Leslie Voight Flores hasn’t seen her sister, Robin, in 10 years, when Robin ran away. However, she must try to track her down since their father’s will states that they will both receive $50,000. upon his death but that they have to receive it together. But is she too late? Now, what does she do? She needs that money!!!!

The narrative alternates between 3 characters (being vague as to not wanting to give away even a tidbit of this riveting story). For me, that meant the type of read that was “just one more chapter” to see which character will be “speaking” next and what that certain character might say.

This was definitely a page-turner, one that was very difficult to put down. Thrilling throughout and totally engrossing. However, I didn’t figure it out!!! Matter of fact, this debut novel left me with a “book hangover” going over the storyline in my mind as to what clues did I miss.

Ms. Jones is now on my radar!!! Kudos to her for such a dynamic introduction to her writing abilities!

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


  • 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.
  • Dec 272019
    True To Me by Kay Bratt
    Genre: Cozy Mystery/Romance
    Published by Lake Union Publishing
    Publication Date: December 10, 2019
    ASIN: B07RGJB1D8
    Pages: 267
    Review Copy From: Publisher via NetGalley
    My Rating: 5

    Synopsis (via GR)

    From the bestselling author of Wish Me Home comes a breathtaking novel about the secrets that families keep and one woman’s illuminating search for the truth.

    Quinn Maguire has a stable life, a fiancé, and what she thinks is a clear vision for her future. All of that comes undone by her mother’s deathbed confession—the absentee father Quinn spent thirty years resenting is not her real father at all. With that one revealing whisper, Quinn embarks on a journey to Maui, her mother’s childhood home, a storied paradise that holds the truth about her mother’s past and all its secrets Quinn is determined to uncover.

    But settling on the island has its complications, and with the fiancé she left behind questioning every choice she makes, Quinn’s quest for her truth is even more difficult than she expected. As time passes and she digs deeper into her family history and her own identity, one thing becomes clear: Maui is as beautiful as she’d always imagined, and its magic is helping uncover the woman that Quinn was always meant to be.

    My Thoughts

    This is the first book that I read by this author, but I had seen good things being said about this book, that I wanted to see if the buzz was correct. Plus I haven’t been disappointed yet by an author via Lake Union Publishing.

    It has always been Quinn Maguire and her mother as far back as she can remember especially after her father left them at an early age. No extended family members. As a child, she always wanted to search for her father to get the answers she needed. But that all changed one fateful day.

    Living in Georgia and as she lay dying, Beth, Quinn’s mother asks a favor of her only child and that is to please spread her ashes in Hawaii. Hawaii? Why? She has never heard her Mom talk about Hawaii. The other thing that came as a blow, Beth tells Quinn that Wesley Maguire wasn’t her biological father.

    Trying to get through the grief of losing her mother and now not knowing who her father is, she makes the decision that she needs to honor her mother’s wishes and do it alone, leaving her controlling fiancè Ethan behind. What transpires is once in Hawaii, is she finds out that she is part of a feud between two families that have gone on for years and who she really is. And now, it’s time to be true to herself.

    I absolutely loved this story. The writing was fluid and engrossing. I felt as I could feel the Hawaiian breezes blowing and that I knew each and every one of the characters. At times, my heart broke for Quinn as I could feel the emotional toll that she was under and the questions that were heavy on her heart. I wanted so much for her to have a happy ending. Did she? Well…….you will need to read this compelling and poignant story to find out!, which I highly recommend.

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


    • 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.
    Nov 122019

    The Poison Garden by A. J. Banner
    Genre: Domestic Thriller
    Published by Lake Union Publishing
    Publication Date: October 22, 2019
    ASIN: B07MV8HLZ2
    Pages: 203
    Review Copy From: Lake Union via NetGalley
    Edition: eBook
    My Rating: 5

    Synopsis (via GR)

    A woman’s idyllic life becomes a deceptive hall of mirrors in a thriller of exquisitely constructed psychological suspense by A. J. Banner, bestselling author of The Good Neighbor.

    Elise Watters seems to have it all—a blissful marriage, a gorgeous Victorian home surrounded by lush gardens, and a dream job running her late mother’s herbal boutique.

    But on the eve of her first wedding anniversary, Elise makes a shocking discovery that turns her life upside down and casts doubt on everything she thought she knew—about her marriage, her friends, and even herself. As she treads into dangerous territory, Elise is forced to wonder: Is her whole future at stake? Or is paranoia getting the best of her?

    If she is to believe what she sees, Elise has every reason to fear for her life…

    My Thoughts

    After reading After Nightfall, IMO a 5 star read, this author went on my radar. I was ecstatic to be approved via NetGalley and have the opportunity to read this title. However, as I have said on many occasions, I am always skeptical to read a follow-up book because will the latest book be as good as the first.

    Elise Watters, returns home a day earlier, after meeting with her financial advisor, to surprise her husband, Kiernan, since the next day is their 1st wedding anniversary. Elise and Kiernan met when he was treating her mother for a brain tumor.

    But what she finds is her husband in bed with another woman. Not only is it shocking but what she overhears is terrifying. It appears the two may be plotting for her demise.

    Over the next few days, she finds her mother’s journals that she kept in her herbal shop. Recipes of different herbs for different ailments. But also in those journals, is a warning to Elise that Kiernan can’t be trusted and if she dies it isn’t from the tumor but she has been murdered. Another warning was about an herb, the Juliet.

    She confides this to her best friend, Chantal, and even her ex-husband, Brandon, who has been doing construction on Chantal’s house and who is now helping Elise change the locks on her own house. Elise has a history of sleepwalking and one morning finds herself outside standing over her husband’s body. What has she done?

    Each character has major flaws and one of them has a plot for revenge. I tried tenaciously to figure out which one it was but at every turn, my suspicions changed. Did I eventually figure it out? And then came a stone wall. At 80% read, it appeared that the mystery was solved, but how could that be, I still had 20% to read?

    WOW…let me tell you, the last 20% was shocking! And no, I didn’t solve it, I didn’t even come close!!!

    Kudos Ms. Banner!!!! Another 5 star review!!!!

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


    • 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 302019

    29 SECONDS by T.M. Logan
    Genre: Psychological Thriller
    Published by St. Martin’s Press
    Publication Date: September 10, 2019
    ASIN: B07NTQ8HP7
    Pages: 356
    Review Copy From: St. Martin’s Press via NetGalley
    Edition: eBook
    My Rating: 5

    Synopsis (via GR)

    Give me one name. One person. And I will make them disappear . . .

    When Sarah rescues a young girl in trouble, she expects nothing in return. But her act of bravery puts a powerful and dangerous man in her debt. He lives by his own brutal code, and all debts must be repaid – in the only way he knows how.

    He offers Sarah a way to solve a desperate situation with her intolerable boss. A once-in-a-lifetime deal that will make all her problems disappear.

    No consequences. No comeback. No chance of being found out.

    All it takes is a 29 second phone call.

    Because everyone has a name to give. Don’t they?

    My Thoughts

    A Psychological Thriller that will have your heart pounding from beginning to end!

    This is the first book that I have read by this author but he is now on my radar.

    Sarah Haywood, PhD. has been working at Queen Anne University in the English Department for the past 2 years and is hoping that she is up next to obtain a permanent position. Financially she really needs this promotion since her husband has left her and their 2 children to find himself with another woman, again!

    The Department head, Alan Hawthorne, an arrogant, misogynist, well respected in the community has hinted that she could have the position, however, there is a catch but she is not interested.

    On her way home from work, after being passed over for the promotion, she witnesses an apparent child kidnapping and jumps into action. But this split-second decision will turn her life upside down. The child’s father is in her debt for saving his daughter, something that seems impossible, to have someone, anyone that has done her wrong to just vanish. She just has to name the person. But she knows she couldn’t make that decision? That is until things go from bad to worse. All it took was a 29 second phone call. And then it seems her world blows up when things go wrong, horribly wrong.

    This book will have you on the edge of your seat!! As the seconds pass, the suspense will leave you breathless. A totally chilling and thrilling read!! An exceptional read!

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


  • 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


    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


    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:



    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!



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