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:, Goodreads, & BookBub, Twitter!



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Aug 272019

KEEPING LUCY by T. Greenwood
Genre: Historical Fiction; Family Life Fiction
Published by St. Matin’s Press
Publication Date: August 6, 2019
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 🔗


  • 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 or Barnes & Noble. I am providing link(s) solely for visitors that may be interested in purchasing this Book/EBook.
  • Jul 312019

    LAST SUMMER by Kerry Lonsale
    Genre: Women’s Fiction; Suspense
    Published by Lake Union Publishing
    Publication Date: July 9, 2019
    Pages: 297
    Review Copy From: Lake Union Publishing via NetGaley
    Edition: eBook
    My Rating: 5

    Synopsis (via GR)

    Lifestyle journalist Ella Skye remembers every celebrity she interviewed, every politician she charmed between the sheets, and every socialite who eyed her with envy. The chance meeting with her husband, Damien; their rapid free fall into love; and their low-key, intimate wedding are all locked in her memory. But what she can’t remember is the tragic car accident that ripped her unborn child from her. Ella can’t even recall being pregnant.

    Hoping to find the memories of a lost pregnancy that’s left her husband devastated and their home empty, Ella begins delving into her past when she’s assigned an exclusive story about Nathan Donovan, a retired celebrity adventurer who seems to know more about her than she does him. To unravel the mystery of her selective memory loss, Ella follows Nathan from the snowcapped Sierra Nevada to the frozen slopes of southeast Alaska. There she discovers the people she trusts most aren’t the only ones keeping secrets from her—she’s hiding them from herself. Ella quickly learns that some truths are best left forgotten.

    My Thoughts

    Ella Skye, a celebrity journalist, wakes up in a hospital with her husband Damien at her side, however, she has no recollection of what happened or why she is there.

    What is even worse is that Damien told her that the baby she was carrying, Simon, died during an emergency C section. However, she can’t recall being pregnant. And how is it that she was even pregnant since Damien and she never wanted children.

    Trying to process what has happened, she realizes that she can’t remember anything from the last 7 months. Is this amnesia a residual from the accident or could it be selective memory loss? And why is Damien not answering her questions from both the accident and the memories she has lost since last summer? There is one thing, however, that keeps nagging at her is that there was some type of argument between them the night of that fateful crash but she does not know what it was about. Are they holding back with secrets and betrayals?

    This was the first book that I read by this author and enjoyed her writing style. I chose to read this book via comments about it on some of the FB groups I follow. It was easy to picture the characters and scenes with the distinct words that the author wrote.

    The suspense was captivating. I was totally engrossed with this book.

    I found myself not liking some of the characters because of their actions but when the author wraps up this story in an intense and electrifying ending, I was shocked as I didn’t see it coming.

    Highly, 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 or Barnes & Noble. I am providing link(s) solely for visitors that may be interested in purchasing this Book/EBook.
  • Jul 242019

    THE TWO LILA BENNETTS by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke
    Genre: Women’s Fiction
    Published by Lake Union Publishing
    Publication Date: July 23, 2019
    ISBN-10: 1542093716
    ISBN-13: 978-1542093712
    Pages: 320
    Review Copy From: Lake Union Publishing via NetGalley
    Edition: eBook
    My Rating: 4

    Synopsis (via GR)

    Lila Bennett’s bad choices have finally caught up with her. And one of those decisions has split her life in two. Literally.

    In one life, she’s taken hostage by someone who appears to be a stranger but knows too much. As she’s trapped in a concrete cell, her kidnapper forces her to face what she’s done or be killed. In an alternate life, she eludes her captor but is hunted by someone who is dismantling her happiness, exposing one secret at a time.

    Lila’s decorated career as a criminal defense attorney, her marriage, and her life are on the line. She must make a list of those she’s wronged—both in and out of the courtroom—to determine who is out to get her before it’s too late. But even if she can pinpoint her assailant, will she survive? And if she does, which parts of her life are worth saving, and which parts must die? Because one thing’s for certain—life as Lila Bennett knew it is over.

    My Thoughts

    I became a fan of this writing duo after reading THE GOOD WIDOW 

    Lila Bennett, a ruthless defense attorney has always won her cases for her clients even if she feels that they are guilty. But then, that’s her job. But one case has haunted her for years even though she never has talked about it to anyone.

    Having a tough as nails personality, Lila knows deep down that she has not always made the right and moral decisions in her life to get what she wants. Has it all caught up with her as she has now been kidnapped to face those issues.

    The narrative takes place during her week of captivity. Each of the 5 days that she has gone missing, the chapters alternate between 2 scenarios on each particular day, of her being free and her being captured, which I found to be a bit confusing. However, with that being said, I kept turning the pages to see which was truly the reality.

    The story was a continuous read of suspense. Not only trying to figure out which was the true storyline but who was the kidnapper. Was it her husband, Ethan, who found out she had betrayed him, or was it her boss Sam who was extremely angry with a decision she made, or could it be her best friend and Sam’s wife, Carrie who had reason for revenge or even a college friend who Lila stole the prestigious internship from her?

    Without giving away any spoilers, I did figure out which was of the scenarios was the truth but was totally surprised at who the real kidnapper was and why.

    A read that will have you guessing to the very end!!!

    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 or Barnes & Noble. I am providing link(s) solely for visitors that may be interested in purchasing this Book/EBook.
    Jul 232019

    A STRANGER ON THE BEACH by Michelle Campbell
    Genre: Domestic Thriller
    Published by St. Martins’s Press
    Publication Date: July 23, 2019
    ISBN-10: 1250202531
    ISBN-13: 978-1250202536
    Pages: 352
    Review Copy From: Publisher via NetGalley
    Edition: eBook
    My Rating: 5

    Synopsis (via GR)

    There is a stranger outside Caroline’s house.

    Her spectacular new beach house, built for hosting expensive parties and vacationing with the family she thought she’d have. But her husband is lying to her and everything in her life is upside down, so when the stranger, Aiden, shows up as a bartender at the same party where Caroline and her husband have a very public fight, it doesn’t seem like anything out of the ordinary.

    As her marriage collapses around her and the lavish lifestyle she’s built for herself starts to crumble, Caroline turns to Aiden for comfort…and revenge. After a brief and desperate fling that means nothing to Caroline and everything to him, Aiden’s obsession with Caroline, her family, and her house grows more and more disturbing. And when Caroline’s husband goes missing, her life descends into a nightmare that leaves her accused of her own husband’s murder.

    My Thoughts

    HOLY S#@T!!!! What a read!!!

    I read IT’S ALWAYS THE HUSBAND and became a fan of Ms. Campbell with that book. And after reading this book, can’t wait to read SHE WAS THE QUIET ONE, which is in my pile of TBRs. Ms. Campbell is now on my “authors to read” list and should be on your’s too.

    While running on the beach in front of her new beachfront home in the Hamptons, Caroline Stark comes upon a young man staring at her house. Thinking he may be a burglar, she stops to ask who and what he is doing. His name is Aidan Callahan and this isn’t the first time that he has been there. He often stops to look at what used to be his grandfather’s land but the house that he knew is now an extraordinary dwelling.

    Not long after this meeting, Aidan was hired by a caterer to bartend at an exclusive party that Caroline has planned. But things aren’t festive. Caroline’s husband shows up with a Russian woman and everyone is talking. Is her marriage over?

    After the humiliation, Caroline goes to a local bar where Aidan works and after too many drinks, Caroline and Aidan end up at her house and a one night stand happens. However, Aidan thinks it more than that, he is in love. A love that becomes obsessive. To the point of murder?

    The premise of the story was absolutely brilliant!! The narrative chilling as the reader sees the different perspectives of events as told by Aidan, Caroline, and her family.

    You will be holding your breath one minute, gasping for air the next and finally picking your jaw off the floor!!!

    A white knuckle read that was hard to put down!! A story that will stay with you long after you read the last word.

    An exceptional Psychological Thriller. Pick up your copy asap but be prepared that you will need to read this one in one sitting!!!!

    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 or Barnes & Noble. I am providing link(s) solely for visitors that may be interested in purchasing this Book/EBook.