Friday, February 2, 2024

No One Can Know by Kate Alice Marshall

No One Can Know
by Kate Alice Marshall
Published January 23, 2024 by Flatiron Books

The author of What Lies in the Woods returns with a novel about three sisters, two murders, and too many secrets to count.


Emma hasn't told her husband much about her past. He knows her parents are dead and she hasn't spoken to her sisters in years. Then they lose their apartment, her husband gets laid off, and Emma discovers she's pregnant―right as the bank account slips into the red.


That's when Emma confesses that she has one more asset: her parents' house, which she owns jointly with her estranged sisters. They can't sell it, but they can live in it. But returning home means that Emma is forced to reveal her secrets to her husband: that the house is not a run-down farmhouse but a stately mansion, and that her parents died there.


Were murdered.


And that some people say Emma did it.


Emma and her sisters have never spoken about what really happened that night. Now, her return to the house may lure her sisters back, but it will also crack open family and small-town secrets lots of people don’t want revealed. As Emma struggles to reconnect with her old family and hold together her new one, she begins to realize that the things they have left unspoken all these years have put them in danger again.



Review
5 Stars

No One Can Know is a sinister tale of three sisters and the secrets they’ve kept since the night of their parents murder. They’ve been estranged for so long that they no longer know one another anymore, but it’s obvious they all have their own agenda. As they return to their childhood home, it is apparent that neither the town, or each other, have forgotten the events of that night. For the town, that means continuing to blame Emma, the middle sister, for the murders despite the investigation never closing. For the other sisters, it means covering up the parts in it they played, no matter how small. The story they told as children is about to be unraveled. It’s an every-man-for-himself thriller that I could not stop reading, at least once I got out of my reading slump.


I loved the changing character POVs and the flashbacks to the past, it gave such a great insight into who the sisters were at the time of the murder and the total impact it had on them and continued to as adults. We’re given the chance, as readers, to form a bond with Emma, to carry sympathy for her, even as the story twists. We see how she gave up her inheritence, how she's the nice quiet one, the way she works hard for her marriage. However, we meet the other siblings through her lense. That tainted perspective was actually super fun for me, because it made it harder for me to figure out truth from fiction. JJ was the perfect one, but she's shed that skin now, and Daphne just freaked me out from start to finish. Even as we get to know their past and their whys, Emma's perception carried on in my mind. Seeing how they work together and attempt to dig one another down was just fascinating.


With family drama, police corruption, and even a second murder, the pace of No One Can Know is breakneck. There is so much happening, but Kate Alice Marshall weaves it together so perfectly. It’s a haunting tale that I truly could not figure out, which means instant 5 stars from me!


Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Only If You're Lucky by Stacy Willingham

Only If You're Lucky
Stacy Willingham
Published January 16, 2024

Lucy Sharpe is larger than life. Magnetic, addictive. Bold and dangerous. Especially for Margot, who meets Lucy at the end of their freshman year at a liberal arts college in South Carolina. Margot is the shy one, the careful one, always the sidekick and never the center of attention. But when Lucy singles her out at the end of the year, a year Margot spent studying and playing it safe, and asks her to room together, something in Margot can't say no—something daring, or starved, or maybe even envious.

And so Margot finds herself living in an off-campus house with three other girls, Lucy, the ringleader; Sloane, the sarcastic one; and Nicole, the nice one, the three of them opposites but also deeply intertwined. It's a year that finds Margot finally coming out of the shell she's been in since the end of high school, when her best friend Eliza died three weeks after graduation. Margot and Lucy have become the closest of friends, but by the middle of their sophomore year, one of the fraternity boys from the house next door has been brutally murdered... and Lucy Sharpe is missing without a trace.

A tantalizing thriller about the nature of friendship and belonging, about loyalty, envy, and betrayal—another gripping novel from an author quickly becoming the gold standard in psychological suspense.



Review
5 Stars


I love stories about the toxic relationships girls and women have, because they're realistic in ways many of us do not want to admit. The things we give into, the bullying we allow, the pervasive desire to be like one another or be better. In Only if You're Lucky, Stacy Willingham tells the story of enigmatic Lucy and the desperate to start over Margot. Life seems beautiful, like popularity and all the trappings of it are at Margot's feet. Lucy, however, leaves a dust in her wake that has Margot questioning everything. Is she who she says she is, or are they all pawns in the personal broadway show?

This one was as twisted as it comes, with Willingham taking us on a wild, dark academia journey through the perspective of Margot. We see her naivety, her desperate desire to fit in, her broken heart over her best friend she lost prior to beginning college. We also, from her perspective alone, see the beautiful Lucy, the other friends they share a home with, and the partying fraternity brothers next door, including Margot's former friend's ex. It's twisted as it sounds and so perfectly college. What's also twisted? The truths hidden and the lies mixed into every word. Nothing is as it seems and as a thriller fan, I loved that I couldn't figure this one entirely out. There are loose strings, there is horror on these pages, and yet I could not put it down. These are the sort of characters you hate to love and a story that requires only one sitting. This one sucked me in and I need everyone to read it now.

Friday, November 17, 2023

Plot Twist by Erin La Rose

PLOT TWIST
Author: Erin La Rosa 
ISBN: 9781335458117
Publication Date: November 14, 2023
Publisher: Canary Street Press

Readers who love books about books will fall for Erin La Rosa's latest rom com—a friends (with benefits)-to-lovers story about a romance author who's never been in love, and needs to find out why before her next manuscript is due! For fans of BY THE BOOK and BOOK LOVERS.

Romance author Sophie Lyon’s ironic secret just went viral: she’s never been in love. Though her debut novel made readers swoon, Sophie’s having trouble getting her new characters to happily-ever-after, and she blames it on her own uninspired love life. With a manuscript deadline looming, Sophie makes an ambitious plan to overcome her writer’s block: reunite with her exes to learn why she's never fallen in love—and document it all for her millions of new online followers. Which also means facing her ex-girlfriend Carla, the one person Sophie could have loved.

Luckily, Sophie’s reclusive landlord, Dash Montrose—a former teen heartthrob—has social media all figured out and offers to help. But he doesn't mention that he’s an anonymous online crafter, a hobby that helps him maintain his sobriety. No one knows about his complicated relationship with alcohol and he intends to keep it that way. His family is Hollywood royalty, so Dash has to steer clear of scandal.
As Sophie and Dash grow closer, they discover a heat between them that rivals Dash's pottery kiln. But Sophie needs to figure out who she is outside her relationships, and Dash isn’t sure he’s stable enough for the commitment she deserves. So Sophie suggests what any good romance author would: a friends-with-benefits arrangement. Surely a casual relationship won’t cause any trouble…

Buy Links: 
Review
5 Stars

 A romantic journey full of character growth, spice, and laughter, Plot Twist is destined to be a Tik-Tok sensation. With writers block and zero romantic prospects, author Sophie embarks on a foray into the exes of her past, asking them why they think they didn't work out. As she shares her findings with the world, she starts to wonder if she's been the problem all along. For Dash, the reclusive, self-aware, brooding, famous neighbor, Sophie is the problem. She's tempting, sultry, beautiful, makes him laugh, makes him want more. He suggested her social media look into her exes to help clear writers block, but now he just wants her to stop and be with him. Only, he's not ready to be with anyone. As the title predicts, these two are meant to be, but a plot twist has got to happen.

I really enjoyed this book, loved it in fact. It's cute and sexy, the kind of book that's fun to read, that keeps you smiling, even as you sort of want to throw your Kindle at the wall. La Rosa's Plot Twist is super fun to read, feels authentic to reality, and features the character development I always think romance reads skip over. These two work on themselves first (yay for personal growth), putting their wildly strong chemistry on hold to cheer one another on. Sure, I yelled at them to be together, but it wouldn't have been the Plot Twist journey I loved if they hadn't done the work and denied themselves.

Author Bio

ERIN LA ROSA is a writer living in Los Angeles. As a writer for BuzzFeed, she frequently writes
about the perils and triumphs of being a redhead. Before BuzzFeed, Erin worked for the comedy websites Funny or Die and MadAtoms, as well as E!s Fashion Police, Wetpaint, and Ecorazzi. Erin has appeared on CNN, Headline News, Jimmy Kimmel, and The Today Show on behalf of BuzzFeed. She is the author of Womanskills and The Big Redhead Book.
Social Links: 

Wednesday, August 16, 2023

Long Shot by Kennedy Ryan

Long Shot
(Hoops #1)
by Kennedy Ryan
Published August 8, 2023 by Bloom Books
First published March 20, 2018

From award-winning author Kennedy Ryan comes the soul-gripping, unforgettable first installment of the Hoops trilogy.


Iris DuPree meets August West in a sports bar during her last semester of college. It's the conversation of a lifetime and sends sparks flying in every direction. The connection is undeniable…but the timing is all wrong. August is poised for the NBA draft, and Iris belongs to another man―basketball's "golden boy" and August's long-time rival.


The two go their separate ways, but they often recall that electric night and what could have been. While August has embarked on his all-star life, studded with wealth and fame, Iris's perfect public relationship has become a nightmare behind closed doors. A tarnished dream of fool's gold.


When August re-enters her life, the world seems briefly bright again, but Iris's darkest nights are not over yet. To survive, she must build her own strength and trust that her bond with August can endure after all this time.


Even when her fraudulent prince has vowed never to let her go.

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"Hope is the gap between what if and what is, but you have to fill that gap with a lot of hard work."

Review
5 Stars

Iris and August. Star-crossed, the one that got away, never really meant to be. That's what it feels like upon first meeting, when the two connect in a way neither has with another before, only to find there's something, or someone, in the way. Their worlds collide on the night of the Big Dance, but it's at the game that August discovers Iris chose his nemesis, Caleb, long before he'd stood a chance. They never forget the feeling, but each moves forward with the life they selected. August a star rookie for a new team and Iris, the partner to another star rookie. Unbeknownst to August, though, Iris wants to get away, because her basketball prince isn't a nice one, he's a tyrant.


August is the basketball star you dream about, with an ego and a heart. He's an alpha without the a-hole, a young man raised well with his dreams secured. Iris is a driven, stubborn women with huge sports dreams as well, but she's tied to a wealthy, controlling boy who only knows how to get his way. Long Shot is a story of basketball, dreams, and a wilting flower who finds a way to bloom in the darkness. It's about lust, love, heartache, and the way you hold onto your hopes with a long shot dream of them coming true. It's passionate and difficult, a story that will break you apart and put you back together. A story that, for some, will resonate in ways that they felt a book might never. For others, it will be an eye opener into the pain that many experience and the overwhelming joy and strength that comes from making it through. It's a lengthy book, but it needs to be to tell you the whole story, the true story for many, and to give you the ending readers, romance lovers, and people in general deserve to have.


If you didn't know I am a massive college basketball fan, now you know. Sometime in high school I just decided that was the sport and age group I was going to be a fan of and I went all in. March Madness is my time, I am Iris in front of the TV, so Long Shot, from the first time I read it to now, the second time, is relatable from a sports girl perspective. The extra time Ryan takes to get into the game, the feeling, some of the stats, is so important to paint the full picture and really, it's time well spent for readers like me.


Long Shot is the first in the Hoops series and it's an incredibly romantic, angsty read that I cannot recommend enough.

Saturday, July 29, 2023

The Quiet Tenant by Clémence Michallon

The Quiet Tenant
Clémence Michallon
Published June 20, 2023 by Knopf

Aidan Thomas is a hard-working family man and a somewhat beloved figure in the small upstate New York town where he lives. He’s the kind of man who always lends a hand and has a good word for everyone. But Aidan has a dark secret he’s been keeping from everyone in town and those closest to him. He’s a kidnapper and serial killer. Aidan has murdered eight women and there’s a ninth he has earmarked for Rachel, imprisoned in a backyard shed, fearing for her life. 


When Aidan’s wife dies, he and his thirteen-year-old daughter Cecilia are forced to move. Aidan has no choice but to bring Rachel along, introducing her to Cecilia as a “family friend” who needs a place to stay. Aidan is betting on Rachel, after five years of captivity, being too brainwashed and fearful to attempt to escape. But Rachel is a fighter and survivor, and recognizes Cecilia might just be the lifeline she has waited for all these years. As Rachel tests the boundaries of her new living situation, she begins to form a tenuous connection with Cecilia. And when Emily, a local restaurant owner, develops a crush on the handsome widower, she finds herself drawn into Rachel and Cecilia’s orbit, coming dangerously close to discovering Aidan’s secret.


Told through the perspectives of Rachel, Cecilia, and Emily, The Quiet Tenant explores the psychological impact of Aidan’s crimes on the women in his life—and the bonds between those women that give them the strength to fight back. Both a searing thriller and an astute study of trauma, survival, and the dynamics of power, The Quiet Tenant is an electrifying debut thriller by a major talent.


Review
4 Stars

He comes to you like clockwork, bringing you the necessities, taking what he wants, before he locks you away again. You are Rachel and he saved you. He's a father, a revered member of the community, a handsome new boyfriend, and a kidnapper and serial killer. You have been kept alive, but he is moving and you would do anything to stay alive, to find your way out finally. So, you agree to the rules, you befriend his daughter Cecelia, you plot the method to your escape. You are the quiet tenant.


What do you say about a book that kept you on the edge of your seat, reading nonstop for two hours, because you could not possibly stop and leave a woman in captivity? The Quiet Tenant is a psychological thriller that does not hold the fast-paced nature of my usual edge-of-my-seat thrillers. It is a slow, descriptive study of the impacts of Aidan Thomas, a man who is beloved, a man who kills. You cannot know what is to come in The Quiet Tenant, it's written so cleverly, from the perspectives of three women held captive by Aiden in their own unique ways. It is a book that leaves you desperate to act on behalf of the characters, desperate to protect, to save, to force into fleeing. You are, at times, immensely impressed by the characters vigilance and at other times scared, worried that the chance has passed them by. A debut that reads like the author's tenth piece of work, The Quiet Tenant is an incredible work of psychological behavior that will stay with you forever.

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