Book Reviews · Fiction · psychologicalsuspense · Thriller

Five-Star Fiction Friday Book Review: ‘Keep Your Friends Close’ by Janelle Harris

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Time for a Five-Star Fiction Friday rec! Thank you @amazonpublishing #lakeunionpublishing for my gift copy of ‘Keep Your Friends Close‘ by Janelle Harris! (pub 10/6)

QOTD: Do you agree with the old saying, “Keep your friends close & your enemies closer.” I agree to a certain point I guess, because if I don’t like someone, I have a really hard time w/ keeping a poker face when that person is around & tend to just ignore them completely or kill them w/ kindness, so to speak. But I’m not sure sure how close I would want to be w/ any enemy of mine.

Darcy Hogan’s perfect life is all over social media. She’s beautiful, she’s successful, & she & her childhood sweetheart are about to become parents for the first time. But behind all the followers & the superficial likes lurks a darker truth…

In reality, Darcy feels isolated & afraid. Her difficult pregnancy has her confined to the house, she’s being harassed online, & out-of-control debt threatens to ruin everything she’s worked so hard for.
When her husband is summoned away on business, Darcy’s cabin fever soon spirals into fear. Who is making mysterious phone calls & knocking on her door? Is it an old friend trying to reach out—or a stranger determined to push in?

As her due date creeps closer, Darcy feels ever more certain that someone is out to get her. She’s desperate to get away—but is she running from the right person?

‘Keep Your Enemies Close’ is a dual-narrated, psychological suspense/thriller by the author of ‘Under Lying‘, ‘See Me Not‘ & ‘No Kiss Goodbye‘…3 books I will surely be checking out because I loved this one so much! Darcy’s whole story is pretty fascinating & held my interest throughout the entire book. The book is fast-paced, expertly plotted, easy to follow timelines/narration, gripping & twisty. I would highly recommend this book to any suspense/mystery/thriller lover, & even if you manage to figure stuff out, it is still an entertaining & quite enjoyable read!

Look for ‘Keep Your Enemies Close‘ this Tues, 10/6, at your local indie bookstore or online wherever books are sold.

Click HERE to add ‘Keep Your Friends Close‘ to your Goodreads list.
Click HERE to visit Janelle Harris at her website.
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Janelle Harris lives in Kildare, Ireland with her husband and young family. Janelle enjoys books that screw with your head and mess with your heart. She hopes her books offer her readers a taste of that world.
Janelle rarely checks Goodreads but she does love to chat, so if you would like to get in touch check out www.janellebrookeharris.com

Book Reviews · Fiction · Thriller

Book Review: ‘The Last to Know’ by Jo Furniss (pub 8/11)

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Thank you @amazonpublishing #lakeunionpublishing for my gifted copy of ‘The Last to Know’ by Jo Furniss! (pub day 8/11)

QOTD: Do you like to read books about creepy, old homes w/ an ominous past? I DO!

A family’s past pursues them like a shadow in this riveting & emotional novel of psychological suspense by the Amazon Charts bestselling author of ‘All the Little Children’.

American journalist Rose Kynaston has just relocated to the childhood home of her husband, Dylan, in the English village of his youth. There’s a lot for Rose to get used to in Hurtwood. Like the family’s crumbling mansion, inhabited by Dylan’s reclusive mother, & the treacherous hill it sits upon, a place of both sinister folklore & present dangers.

Then there are the unwelcoming villagers, who only whisper the name Kynaston—like some dreadful secret, a curse. Everyone knows what happened at Hurtwood House 20 yrs ago. Everyone except Rose. And now that Dylan is back, so are rumors about his past. When an archaeological dig unearths human remains on the hill, local police sergeant Ellie Trevelyan vows to solve a cold case that has cast a chill over Hurtwood for decades.

As Ellie works to separate rumor from fact, Rose must fight to clear the name of the man she loves. But how can Rose keep her family safe if she is the last to know the truth?

This was my first book by Jo Furniss & it will not be my last! ‘The Last to Know‘ is such a hauntingly atmospheric & well-written psychological suspense/thriller w/ some gothic mystery appeal. I love reading about creepy houses, add in a sinister, family backstory, some eerie elements & people, sprinkles of humor & a big dose of secrets & lies, & you get a gem like this!

The Last to Know‘ is flawlessly plotted, captivates from the get-go, holds your attention throughout, & keeps you guessing until the very end. This book did not disappoint & I look forward to reading more from Furniss in the near future! ‘The Last to Know’ is available now.

Click HERE to add ‘The Last to Know’ to your Goodreads lists.
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After spending a decade as a broadcast journalist for the BBC, Jo Furniss gave up the glamour of night shifts to become a freelance writer and serial expatriate. Originally from the United Kingdom, she spent seven years in Singapore and also lived in Switzerland and Cameroon.

As a freelance journalist, Jo worked for numerous online outlets and magazines, including Monocle and the Economist. She has edited books for a Nobel laureate and the palace of the Sultan of Brunei. She has a Distinction in MA Professional Writing from Falmouth University.

Jo’s debut novel, All the Little Children, was an Amazon Charts bestseller.

Connect with her via Facebook (/JoFurnissAuthor), Instagram (@jofurnissauthor) & Twitter (@Jo_Furniss) or through her website, www.jofurniss.com.



Book Reviews · Fiction · Thriller · ThrillerThursday

Book Review: ‘For the Best’ by Vanessa Lillie

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It’s THRILLER THURSDAY! Thank you @vanessalillie for my gifted copy of ‘For the Best‘ by Vanessa Lillie! (pub 9/8)
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Suspected of a murder she can’t remember, a troubled woman takes an unusual approach to proving her innocence in this gripping thriller from the bestselling author of ‘Little Voices‘.
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When Jules Worthington-Smith’s wallet is found next to a dead man, she becomes the prime suspect in his murder. After struggling for years to build the perfect family & career, she’s dangerously close to losing everything. Sure of her innocence, Jules is desperate to clear her name. But there’s one big problem: she was blackout drunk when the murder took place & can’t remember what happened.

Unsatisfied with the police’s handling of the case, Jules embarks on her own gin-fueled murder investigation. As she uncovers fresh clues, she starts a true-crime vlog that becomes a viral sensation, pushing her into the public eye. It’s not long before the ordeal forces Jules to confront her demons, including her turbulent childhood & excessive drinking.
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The deeper Jules digs, the more dirt she uncovers about the murder & herself. Unexpected truths pile up until she’s buried so deep even finding the killer might not be enough to set her free.
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After having enjoyed Lillie’s debut novel, ‘Little Voices‘, I knew her sophomore thriller, ‘For the Best’ would be another slam dunk…& it was all that & more! ‘For the Best’ is an edge of your seat, nuanced, & thought-provoking domestic/psychological thriller that I flew through & absolutely LOVED! The book held me captive from page 1!
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Masterfully plotted, edgy, & tautly paced, ‘For the Best‘ is a suspense-filled thrill ride that keeps you guessing right up until the shocker of an ending! Get this on your TBR list & pre-order it today! While you’re at it, might I suggest adding ‘Little Voices’ to your cart, too, if you don’t already have it. It is equally amazing! ‘For the Best‘ comes out this Tues, 9/8.

Click HERE to add ‘For the Best‘ to your Goodreads.
Click HERE to add ‘Little Voices‘ to your Goodreads.
Click HERE to visit Vanessa Lillie on Instagram.
Click HERE to visit MomLovesReading on Instagram & give my post a LIKE.

Little Voices‘ (2019):
The voice in her head says he’s guilty. She knows he’s innocent.
Devon Burges is in the throes of a high-risk birth when she learns of her dear friend’s murder. The police quickly name another friend as the chief suspect, but Devon doesn’t buy it—and despite her difficult recovery, she decides to investigate.

Haunted by postpartum problems that manifest as a cruel voice in her head, Devon is barely getting by. Yet her instincts are still sharp, and she’s bent on proving her friend’s innocence.

But as Devon digs into the evidence, the voice in her head grows more insistent, the danger more intense. Each layer is darker, more disturbing, and she’s not sure she—or her baby—can survive what lies at the truth.

Vanessa Lillie is originally from Miami, Oklahoma, where she spent a lot of time investigating local ghost stories at the public library. After college, she worked in Washington, DC, until moving to Providence, Rhode Island, which she calls home with her husband and dinosaur-aficionado son. Smitten with the smallest state, she enjoys organizing book events and literary happenings around town.

Book Reviews · Fiction · HistoricalFiction · OwnVoices · Thriller

Happy Belated Pub Day and Book Review of: ‘When No One is Watching’ by Alyssa Cole

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Happy Belated Pub Day & Thank you @williammorrowbooks for my gifted copy [partner] of ‘When No One is Watching‘ by Alyssa Cole! (pub 9/1)

Q: What was the last thriller you read that taught you about something you otherwise didn’t know much about?

‘Rear Window’ meets ‘Get Out’ in this gripping thriller from a critically acclaimed & NY Times Notable author, in which the gentrification of a Brooklyn neighborhood takes on a sinister new meaning…

Sydney Green is Brooklyn born & raised, but her beloved neighborhood seems to change every time she blinks. Condos are sprouting like weeds, FOR SALE signs are popping up overnight, & the neighbors she’s known all her life are disappearing. To hold onto her community’s past & present, Sydney channels her frustration into a walking tour & finds an unlikely & unwanted assistant in one of the new arrivals to the block—her neighbor Theo.

But Sydney & Theo’s deep dive into history quickly becomes a dizzying descent into paranoia & fear. Their neighbors may not have moved to the suburbs after all, & the push to revitalize the community may be more deadly than advertised.

When does coincidence become conspiracy? Where do people go when gentrification pushes them out? Can Sydney & Theo trust each other—or themselves—long enough to find out before they too disappear?

Cole has pivoted from writing romance novels to bring us one heck of an amazing suspense/thriller that is so much more than just an entertaining read. The first line of the book says it all: “History is f–king wild.”

Gentrification: the process of renovating or improving a house or district so that it conforms to middle-class taste. (Problem w/ this is property values increase thereby increasing cost of living in that area, while affordable housing decreases & lower income residents are displaced.)

Unflinchingly well-crafted w/ knowledge & insight, Cole gives readers a much needed history lesson on the aftermath of this process, having lived in neighborhoods like this in the past. With a keen sense of atmosphere, richly drawn narrative & characters, ‘When No One is Watching‘ is clever, riveting, eye-opening & twisty. Highly recommend!

Click HERE to add this book to your Goodreads list.
Click HERE to visit Alyssa Cole on Instagram.
Click HERE to visit ME on Instagram & give this post a LIKE.

Alyssa Cole is an award-winning author of historical, contemporary, & sci-fi romance. Her romantic comedy A PRINCESS IN THEORY is a NY Times notable book for 2018. Her Civil War-set espionage romance AN EXTRAORDINARY UNION was the American Library Association’s RUSA Best Romance for 2018, & also the RT Book Reviews Reviewer’s Choice Award Book of the Year. She’s contributed to publications including Bustle, Shondaland, The Toast, Vulture, & others, & her books have received critical acclaim from The NY Times, Library Journal, Kirkus, Booklist, Jezebel, Vulture, Book Riot, Entertainment Weekly, & various other outlets. When she’s not working, she can generally be found watching anime w/ her husband or wrangling their menagerie of animals.

Book Reviews · BOTMs, · Fiction · Thriller

Book Review: ‘Behind the Red Door’ by Megan Collins

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Thank you @atriabooks for my gifted copy of ‘Behind the Red Door‘ by Megan Collins, author of  2019’s ‘The Winter Sister! (pub 8/4)

QOTD: Are you a fan of psychological suspense/thrillers? If so, then have a got a goodie for you!

Megan Collins returns w/ a darkly thrilling novel about a woman who comes to believe that she has a connection to a decades old kidnapping & now that the victim has gone missing again, begins a frantic search to learn what happened in the past.

When Fern Douglas sees the news about Astrid Sullivan, a 34-yr-old missing woman from Maine, she is positive that she knows her. Fern’s husband is sure it’s because of Astrid’s famous kidnapping—& equally famous return—20 yrs ago, but Fern has no memory of that, even though it happened an hour outside her New Hampshire hometown. And when Astrid appears in Fern’s recurring nightmare, one in which a girl reaches out to her, pleading, Fern fears that it’s not a dream at all, but a memory.

Back home in NH, Fern purchases a copy of Astrid’s recently published memoir—which may have provoked her original kidnapper to abduct her again—& as she reads through its chapters & visits the people & places within it, she discovers more evidence that she has an unsettling connection to the missing woman. As Fern’s search becomes increasingly desperate, she hopes to remember her past so she can save Astrid in the present…before it’s too late.

Featuring Collins’s signature dark, tension inducing & all-consuming prose w/ plenty of shocking twists, ‘Behind the Red Door’ is a suspense-filled thriller that will haunt you long after you turn the last page.

With well-drawn characters (some you will love to hate), this ominous, gripping, & psychologically harrowing page-turner was so hard to put down! I was utterly spellbound! If you haven’t already, get ‘Behind the Red Door‘ on your TBR lists, pre-order it & while you are pre-ordering, why not add Collin’s previous novel, ‘The Winter Sister’ to your cart as well? I got that one from Book of the Month last year & loved it! (Click HERE to join BOTM & get ‘The Winter Sister’ as an add-on book! Click HERE for more info on BOTM & why they are the BEST bookclub out there!).

More praise for ‘Behind the Red Door‘:

“In Behind the Red Door, Megan Collins has achieved something remarkable—a dark, disturbing story that is both elegant and fascinating. Exquisite writing, compelling characters and a story so captivating I finished it in a weekend. Few books live up to the word chilling, but this one does.”
—Samantha Downing, USA Today bestselling author of My Lovely Wife

“Spellbinding, poignant and atmospheric, Behind The Red Door is one of those rare stories you can get utterly lost in. With writing so richly evocative I could vividly imagine every detail, this is a mesmerizing tale in which family bonds are broken, lifelong secrets are exposed, and a woman who suffers a debilitating anxiety disorder must find the truth about her connection to a decades-old kidnapping. Intensely moving, beautifully written and thoroughly enjoyable, I can’t recommend this highly enough!”
—Christina McDonald, USA Today bestselling author of The Night Olivia Fell

Behind the Red Door isn’t just a gripping, finely-tuned thriller, it’s a masterful meditation on fear. Dark forests, crumbling cabins, and mutating nightmares all populate this New England landscape where one woman may hold the key to saving a kidnapping victim. But in order to do so, she’ll have to confront a lifetime of terror, including the ultimate fear: not knowing who can be trusted or where the monsters live. I was hooked from the first page.”
—Mindy Mejia, author of Strike Me Down

“Collins nimbly orchestrates Fern’s growing sense of terror as she slowly sifts in echoes of long-repressed sounds and sights…a tricky mystery. Even in the final pages, Collins avoids any expected resolution, leaving the reader deliciously unsettled and disturbed. A dark psychological thriller riddled with twisted family dynamics.”
Kirkus Reviews

“Megan Collins is the master of emotionally resonant, deeply personal suspense fiction where the small details are just as chilling as the dramatic turns. Behind the Red Door is gripping and gorgeously-written and, like her stellar debut The Winter Sister, I’m certain this book will haunt me for years to come.”
—Layne Fargo, author of Temper

“Taut, provocative, disturbing—Megan Collins’ sophomore novel is more than a thriller; it’s a dark and deeply compelling examination of the knife’s edge between trust and fear. With muscular prose and richly wrought characters, Behind the Red Door grabbed me, startled me, and didn’t let go until I’d torn through every chilling word.”
—Andrea Bartz, author of The Lost Night and The Herd

“Atmospheric and haunting, Behind the Red Door is at once a chilling tale of complicated family dynamics and a riveting mystery. Elegant prose, intriguing characters and taut pacing make this book unputdownable.” 
—Daniela Petrova, author of Her Daughter’s Mother 

“Harrowing… Collins plays her cards carefully to maximize suspense.”
Publishers Weekly

Behind the Red Door is stunning in every way. Fern Douglas digs her fingers into your brain until you’re hooked and want more. I’m still reeling from this. Megan Collins is a masterful writer and this novel is full of twists you didn’t expect. It will leave you breathless and shaking in the best way.”
—Amina Akhtar, author of #FashionVictim

The Winter Sister‘ by Megan Collins (pub 2/2019):

A young woman haunted by the past returns home to care for her ailing mother & begins to dig deeper into her sister’s unsolved murder.
Sixteen years ago, Sylvie’s sister Persephone never came home. Out too late with the boyfriend she was forbidden to see, Persephone was missing for three days before her body was found—& years later, her murder remains unsolved.

In the present day, Sylvie returns home to care for her estranged mother, Annie, as she undergoes treatment for cancer. Prone to unexplained “Dark Days” even before Persephone’s death, Annie’s once-close bond with Sylvie dissolved in the weeks after their loss, making for an uncomfortable reunion all these years later. Worse, Persephone’s former boyfriend, Ben, is now a nurse at the cancer center where Annie is being treated. Sylvie’s always believed Ben was responsible for the murder—but she carries her own guilt about that night, guilt that traps her in the past while the world goes on around her.

As she navigates the complicated relationship with her mother, Sylvie begins to uncover the secrets that fill their house—and what really happened the night Persephone died. As it turns out, the truth really will set you free, once you can bear to look at it.
The Winter Sister’ is a mesmerizing portrayal of the complex bond between sisters, between mothers and daughters alike, and forces us to ask ourselves—how well do we really know the people we love most?

Click HERE to add ‘Behind the Red Door‘ to your Goodreads TBR.
Click HERE to add ‘The Winter Sister‘ to your Goodreads TBR.
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Click HERE to find ‘Behind the Red Door‘ (& other books) at an indie bookstore using BookStoreLink.

Megan Collins is the author of ‘The Winter Sister’ & ‘Behind the Red Door’. She teaches creative writing in Connecticut, where she lives, & is the managing editor of 3Elements Review. A poet & fiction writer, her work has appeared in many journals, including Off the CoastSpillway, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, & Rattle.
Visit her at: Twitter Facebook Instagram Website