Home Before Dark by Riley Sager

Rating: 5 out of 5.

What I Loved:

The twists and turns that this book took me on were insane! I had absolutely NO idea what was going on, no guesses as to what the truth was. It was an amazing ride, and I loved it!!

My Synopsis:

Maggie’s father wrote a book that has haunted her every day of her life. As a young girl, her family bought Baneberry Hall, a secluded estate with a tragic history. Maggie doesn’t remember anything about their less-than-a-month stay in the home. All of her memories are from the non-fiction book, House of Horrors, written by her father. Maggie knows that everything in the book is a lie, but her parents will never discuss it.

When her father passes away, Maggie is shocked to learn that her father still owned the house, and she is now the owner of Baneberry Hall. Determined to understand what really happened during their stay in the home, Maggie moves in.

She is adamant that the ghost stories, snakes, and gruesome history were all a figment of her father’s imagination to create a best-selling book. When she arrives though, the things from her father’s book begin to seem less like a story and more like a foretelling of things to come.

How I Felt:

This is my first Riley Sager book! I know, I know. I’m so behind the times! But – I am with you all now, he is an amazing author, and I now need to read everything he has written!

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Winter of the Wolf by Martha Hunt Handler

Rating: 5 out of 5.

What I Loved:

Wow! Winter of the Wolf was such an emotional read. I get so invested in a story that has a mystery element but also draws me in emotionally. It was beautiful to read!

My Synopsis:

Sam Hanes has died from suicide by hanging in his bedroom. His sister, Bean, is absolutely distraught over losing him. Everyone around her is saying that Sam committed suicide. As Bean relives the event through her memories, she just can’t believe that he would do that. She knows her brother in a way that others do not and is determined to uncover what really happened to him.

While Bean is working to figure out what has actually happened to her brother, she is also learning to manage her own grief as well as the grief of her family. Winter of the Wolf blends mystery, grief management, forgiveness, and spirituality, to create a beautiful, touching story.

How I Felt:

I just need to give a quick shout out to this fabulous cover! It caught my attention immediately and I knew I wanted to read it!

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The Sunday Girl by Pip Drysdale

Rating: 4 out of 5.

What I Loved:

I loved the game of cat and mouse that this story turned into. I was so drawn into how both characters were trying to one-up the other. It created this interesting, dangerous plot that I was enamored with!

My Synopsis:

Taylor Bishop has just been broken up with by her boyfriend, Angus Hollingsworth. Angus is an abusive man with an addiction to cocaine and Taylor needs to stay away from him. She’s heartbroken, but anger is beginning to boil within her over his treatment of her. She finds out he uploaded a sexual video of her to the internet, and that is the last straw. She is out for revenge, assisted by the book, The Art of War.

Taylor succeeds in executing some small-time revenge plans that she’s happy with, but wants to up her game. Then, Angus shows back up, heartbroken and extremely sorry…a changed man. And Tayler goes back to him. Ugh!

But, it becomes clear very quickly that Angus hasn’t changed at all, Taylor has. She sees through his lies now but soon realizes that she can’t just leave. This game of revenge that she started has another player, and he might just be better than her. Can she get out of this without losing the game…and her life?

How I Felt:

The Sunday Girl is a story of revenge. We know who the “bad guy” is and what is happening the whole time. So, this isn’t a thriller with twists and turns that surprise you, changing the direction of the story. It’s a thriller filled with escalating plans of destruction to each character that will have you on the edge of your seat!

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No One Will Hear Your Screams by Thomas O’Callaghan

Rating: 4 out of 5.

What I Loved:

No One Will Hear Your Screams had an excellent plot that had some great twists that kept me on the edge of my seat! I loved how the pieces all fell into place rounding out the entire stories and leading to those great “AH HA!” moments as the book wrapped up.

My Synopsis:

Homicide Commander Lieutenant John Driscoll is back with another case to solve. Someone is murdering prostitutes through the city of New York. The killer is calling himself Tilden and he has set out to rid New York City of what he considers utter filth.

As Lieutenant John Driscoll dives into this case, he finds that Tilden is an eccentric murderer. Driscoll discovers that the women are being embalmed while still alive, leading to more questions about who Tilden is.

Can Lieutenant John Driscoll and his team find and stop Tilden before he kills again?

How I Felt:

This book had a great plot that I felt was really well put together. All the pieces fell into place and there was a good amount of suspense and surprise throughout the story.

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The Water Keeper by Charles Martin

Rating: 5 out of 5.

What I Loved:

Charles Martin has this beautiful writing style that draws the reader in immediately. I enjoyed every word in this book because of his prose.

How I Felt:

Murph, the main character, was heartbreaking and raw with emotion, and yet he finds it in himself to overcome those feelings to help others every time he can. He comes across a multitude of characters on his journey and they are all wonderfully built and add so much to the story.

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The Apartment by K.L. Slater

Rating: 4 out of 5.

What I Loved:

This book was crazy! I really enjoyed the twists that were carefully woven into the story to provide lots of heart-racing moments! I especially enjoyed that we get to read the POV of the antagonist as well as the protagonist. It created an interesting perspective for me as I was reading, and I loved it!

My Synopsis:

Freya Miller is trying to get her life in order after the death of her husband. Without a job, she’s quickly running out of money. She has sold her home and is prepared to temporarily move into a friend’s place when the opportunity of a lifetime falls into her lap.

Dr. Marsden is looking for a new tenant and a coffee shop accidental meeting leads him to believe Freya is just what he is looking for. Freya quickly agrees to this upscale, beautiful apartment for such a ridiculously low rent, she can’t believe her luck.

Freya is soon moved in but doesn’t even get a chance to be happy. Everything seems a little off. Dr. Marsden and Mrs. Marsden seem extremely controlling. They want to install a video camera in her apartment entrance, and they don’t like visitors. The list goes on and on.

The apartment building, Adder House, seems to have a dark history that people won’t tell Freya about. She begins hearing sounds and voices, and things are moved around in their apartment. Freya is starting to think this was too good to be true.

How I Felt:

The plot for The Apartment was so good! I felt like all the pieces fit together perfectly to provide an exciting thriller for the reader. I did guess what was going on but didn’t have all the details figured out. I don’t mind guessing at a thriller, I like to see if I’m right. So, it doesn’t bother me as long as it’s still a good story.

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Sister Dear by Hannah Mary McKinnon

Rating: 5 out of 5.

What I Loved:

Well, this book was just fabulous! I absolutely loved that the story kept taking me in a different direction. I would think I knew what was happening, and then something would change, and I’d be blown away by the new information. It was absolutely wonderful!

My Synopsis:

Eleanor Hardwicke has just found out that her father, a man she wholly loves and respects is not actually her biological father. She has just the name of her actual father and begins to research who he is. What she finds is a half-sister she didn’t know she had living the life she feels was meant for her.

Victoria, Eleanor’s newly-found sister seems to have everything and as Eleanor learns more and more about Victoria, she wants nothing more than to be her.

How I Felt:

The characters in this book drew out such emotion from me. I would be infuriated by Eleanor’s actions, and then the next minute, I would totally understand her anger and resentment. She is a deeply flawed character, and I felt that this made her easier to connect to. Eleanor’s relationships with everyone, except her father, are terrible. She has trouble connecting with others, and I really enjoyed her character arc as she begins to explore who her real father and his family are, and what kind of relationship she could have with them.

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The Guest List by Lucy Foley

Rating: 4 out of 5.

What I Loved:

The Guest List had so many questionable characters and it made it impossible for me to figure out who the killer was. I loved that suspenseful feeling the story gave me! Every chapter brought new information, building a motive for each character!

How I Felt:

The story is told through the point-of-view of multiple characters as well as an omniscient narrator. The narrator’s story is told in the present, during the discovery of the murder. The other POV’s sort of rewind to the beginning of the weekend and progress in time to the wedding night and murder. I thought that the author found a way to write these different views in a way that was easy to follow, which was much appreciated! Each chapter started with the character’s name as well as their character title, such as “Wedding Planner”, “Plus One”, and “Bridesmaid”. These labels helped to keep everyone straight throughout the story.

Everyone has traveled to a secluded Ireland island for the wedding of Jules and Will. Each character has something to hide. The book starts with an “event” that has happened at the wedding, but you don’t quite know what it is. You do know that it’s not good. There’s clearly chaos and confusion, but it’s a mystery. As the story progresses, you learn about each character and their connections to other characters. More details about the “event” are revealed and you begin to suspect everyone of everything!

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The Wives by Tarryn Fisher

Rating: 3 out of 5.

What I Loved:

The Wives had an awesome premise that had me so excited to pick this book up. I loved all the secrets that surrounded the intricacies of this relationship!

My Synopsis:

Thursday is married to Seth. Seth is married to Thursday…and two other women, sort of.

Thursday went into her marriage fully aware that Seth had two other wives, but she was okay with the arrangement because she loved him so much. She’s happy with their arrangement. She gets to see him once a week, and that makes her content.

Until she accidentally finds the identity of one of his other wives and a receipt for a prenatal doctor’s visit. One thing leads to another and Thursday finds herself on the doorstep of this wife to see what she’s like.

Thursday’s life begins to spiral out of control from there as she suspects Seth of abusing this other wife. Except that her Seth is nothing like that…is he?

How I Felt:

This story did not go where I thought it was going to go and it threw me for a loop! I was really hooked on the whole plot until about halfway through. Then everything kind of got turned upside down, and I felt like I was reading a different book. The story completely changed and it felt less like a thriller and more like an odd domestic fiction.

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Never Have I Ever by Joshilyn Jackson

Rating: 3 out of 5.

What I Loved:

I really enjoyed the mystery of this story. Roux is this mysterious woman with a secret story that Amy has to understand so that she can beat Roux at her own game.

My Synopsis:

Amy is the mother of an adorable infant boy, the stepmom of a lovely teenage girl, and married to a wonderful husband. Her life feels picture-perfect.

Then, a bookclub meeting is taken over by new-to-the-group Angelica Roux. A dominant woman who starts a game of “Never have I ever” where the women share the worst thing they have done today, this week, this month, this year . . . ever. Amy immediately dislikes Roux and knows that she’s playing dirty for some reason.

Then, Angelica Roux confronts Amy revealing that she knows what Amy did. It turns out Amy has a secret and she’d like to keep it buried. Roux blackmails Amy, but Amy isn’t just giving in. Now, she’s on a dangerous path to find out who Roux is and just what she knows.

How I Felt:

The characters were extremely interesting, but I didn’t really connect with Amy as I would have liked. As the MC, I wanted to care a bit more about her. Angelica Roux was definitely a character I loved to hate. She always seemed to be one step ahead of Amy, and I couldn’t wait to see what it would take for Amy to outsmart her.

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The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix

Rating: 4 out of 5.

What I Loved:

The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires had this mixture of Steel Magnolias type characters with a vampire plot and I really enjoyed it! I think that overall, it was the southern-style ladies that saved this book for me. Their gentle, southern charm softened the horror enough that I wasn’t terrified throughout the story!

How I Felt:

I don’t do horror well. I get scared, like read with the lights on and my back to a wall creeped out super easily. I couldn’t even pick a super scary image for my “Horror” genre image above. So, let me first of all say that this book was more horror-lite than full-on horror.

While The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires is a story about a group of book club ladies that think there is a vampire living in the neighborhood, it is also about so much more. I was surprised by the additional pieces of this story. There is a focus on family, sacrifice, love, poor choices, and relationships. It was, all-around, a well-written story that I really enjoyed.

The story begins with an introduction of the main character, Patricia Campbell, that really gave me a good feel for who she was as a person. Patricia is supposed to lead her book club’s discussion of this month’s book, but she hasn’t read it yet. She tries and fails to discuss the book by posing questions to the group, but it turns out that most of the women also didn’t read the book. After being called out by the head of the book club, the group disbands. Patricia is invited to join a new group, but they “aren’t a book club” as the leader likes to say.

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The Girl from Widow Hills by Megan Miranda

Rating: 4 out of 5.

What I Loved:

This is my first book by Megan Miranda and it WILL NOT be my last! I was blown away by her writing and story-telling. I found myself unable to put this book down!

How I Felt:

Olivia tries to keep her past a secret from everyone around her. As a young child, she was Arden Maynor. She suffered from sleepwalking and was swept away during a rainstorm and trapped for three days in a storm drain. Those three days are locked away in her brain and she cannot remember any of it. The media storm that followed her disappearance and eventual discovery and recovery followed her for years. Finally, she chose to move away and change her name.

Olivia is now an adult. She owns a home, a bit out of the way, but has a friendly neighbor that keeps her company. She’s happy until she receives a box filled with her mother’s belongings and the information that her mother has died. The sleepwalking returns and Olivia wakes one night to find a dead body at her feet.

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