Book Reviews

Book Review: “The Return” by Rachel Harrison

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[Due to accidentally NOT hitting the publish button yesterday on the previous review post (“The New Girl Code”), subscribers will get TWO emails today. Hope you don’t mind! Live & learn!😉]

Thank you so much @Berkleypub (partner) for my gifted copy of “The Return” by Rachel Harrison (pub date 3/24)!

A group of friends reunite after one of them has returned from a mysterious two-year disappearance in this edgy & haunting debut.

Julie is missing, & no one believes she will ever return—except Elise. Elise knows Julie better than anyone, & feels it in her bones that her best friend is out there & that one day Julie will come back. She’s right. Two years to the day that Julie went missing, she reappears with no memory of where she’s been or what happened to her.

Along with Molly & Mae, their two close friends from college, the women decide to reunite at a remote inn. But the second Elise sees Julie, she knows something is wrong—she’s emaciated, with sallow skin & odd appetites. And as the weekend unfurls, it becomes impossible to deny that the Julie who vanished two years ago is not the same Julie who came back. But then who—or what—is she?

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Well, where to begin, since I don’t want to inadvertently give away any spoilers. This book is best to go into without reading too many reviews since it’s one of those that some people love & some people…not so much.

The book starts out pretty slow, but does pick up eventually, but the chapters were a bit too long for me. The characters often felt contrived & I didn’t really care about any of them, except I did like Mae for the most part. I loved that the majority of the setting was in a hotel, which gave that unsettling vibe like “The Shining”.

“The Return” is creepy, edgy, unexpected & disturbing, with a fair amount of violence & paranormal aspects. (Think “Mean Girls” meets “Jennifer’s Body”) It’s a thriller/horror novel, that’s scary & funny like any teen-scream movie these days, & it will have you on the edge of your seat, biting your nails, & peaking over your shoulders while reading it. An overall fast read!

For a debut novel I thought it was well-written & it entertained the bajeebies out of me! I will definitely read more from Harrison in the future! Look for this book tomorrow, 3/24 & don’t forget to support your local, indie bookstores…they need our support now more than ever! Click HERE to go to to find one near you! Many will ship or deliver to you!

Reminder: Today is the last day to enter my current Instagram 3-Winner GIVEAWAY sponsored by Flatiron Publishing! Click HERE to go to that post! Another fresh giveaway coming SOON!

And as always, Wash your hands, stay safe, stay home, and [try to] stay sane! 😊

Book Reviews

Book Review: “All Your Twisted Secrets” by Diana Urban

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📖Thank you @dianaurban for my gifted, autographed copy of your newly released YA thriller, ‘All Your Twisted Secrets’!
💉A thrilling debut, reminiscent of new fan favorites like ‘One of Us Is Lying’ and the beloved classics by Agatha Christie, that will leave readers guessing until the explosive ending.
🍽“Welcome to dinner, and again, congratulations on being selected. Now you must do the selecting.”
💉What do the queen bee, star athlete, valedictorian, stoner, loner, & music geek all have in common? They were all invited to a scholarship dinner, only to discover it’s a trap. Someone has locked them into a room with a bomb, a syringe filled with poison, & a note saying they have an hour to pick someone to kill…or else everyone dies.
💣Amber Prescott is determined to get her classmates & herself out of the room alive, but that might be easier said than done. No one knows how they’re all connected or who would want them dead. As they retrace the events over the past year that might have triggered their captor’s ultimatum, it becomes clear that everyone is hiding something.
⏰And with the clock ticking down, confusion turns into fear, & fear morphs into panic as they race to answer the biggest question: Who will they choose to die?
💉First off, “confusion turns into fear, & fear morphs into panic”…that about sums up the state of our nation lately, am I right? Moving on…
💣With a pitch-perfect plot & well written characters, this book will have you guessing until the twisted, shocking ending! This is one pressure-cooker of a debut novel that practically turned me into a nail biter! Compelling, captivating, & utterly satisfying, this is a helluva debut novel! Kudo’s to you @dianaurban!!
📖”All Your Twisted Secrets” is available now everywhere books are sold, but PLEASE check with your local, independent bookstores first to see if they have it or can get it for you. Many are even doing curbside service or home delivery & with the economy in decline due to Co-Vid, if you’re going to buy a book, support indie sellers. You can use BookStoreLink to look up the book(s) you want and find it at local indie bookstores or order it from one that has that option. They need us readers right now more than ever! (Amazon is doing just fine right now…)
💉PS: The syringe in photo is real! (empty B12 syringe refilled w/ cherry juice!😉)

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Book Reviews

Happy St Patrick’s Day Pub Day!!

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Happy St Patrick’s Pub Day to this stack of beautiful (virus-free!) books!

Whew! What a week it has been, am I right? I’ve said it once & I’ll say it again…Thank God for my own personal library of hundreds of books & also my LOVE of audio books! With two kids home from school for who knows how long at this point, this mama is going to need her mental escape & books is a big part of that!

This weeks pub stack includes a few books I have already introduced you to recently, “Darling Rose Gold” (fantastic!), “The Lady’s Handbook for Her Mysterious Illness” (darkly funny & insightful), & “Little Wonders” (relatable & fun!). (*Click on the titles to go to the Instagram reviews or scroll through my recent blog posts.)

The other newly published books that I have are:

All Your Twisted Secrets” by the ever adorable Diana Urban (Harper Teen)

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This thrilling debut, reminiscent of new fan favorites like One of Us Is Lying and the beloved classics by Agatha Christie, will leave readers guessing until the explosive ending.

Welcome to dinner, and again, congratulations on being selected. Now you must do the selecting.

What do the queen bee, star athlete, valedictorian, stoner, loner, and music geek all have in common? They were all invited to a scholarship dinner, only to discover it’s a trap. Someone has locked them into a room with a bomb, a syringe filled with poison, and a note saying they have an hour to pick someone to kill … or else everyone dies.

Amber Prescott is determined to get her classmates and herself out of the room alive, but that might be easier said than done. No one knows how they’re all connected or who would want them dead. As they retrace the events over the past year that might have triggered their captor’s ultimatum, it becomes clear that everyone is hiding something. And with the clock ticking down, confusion turns into fear, and fear morphs into panic as they race to answer the biggest question: Who will they choose to die? (full review coming soon!)

Sparrow” by Mary Cecilia Jackson (TOR Teen)

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In the tradition of Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak, a devastating but hopeful YA debut about a ballerina who finds the courage to confront the abuse that haunts her past and threatens her future.

There are two kinds of people on the planet. Hunters and prey
I thought I would be safe after my mother died. I thought I could stop searching for new places to hide. But you can’t escape what you are, what you’ve always been.
My name is Savannah Darcy Rose.
And I am still prey.

Though Savannah Rose―Sparrow to her friends and family―is a gifted ballerina, her real talent is keeping secrets. Schooled in silence by her long-dead mother, Sparrow has always believed that her lifelong creed―“I’m not the kind of girl who tells”―will make her just like everyone else: Normal. Happy. Safe. But in the aftermath of a brutal assault by her seemingly perfect boyfriend Tristan, Sparrow must finally find the courage to confront the ghosts of her past, or lose herself forever….

The Red Lotus” by Chris Bohjalian (Doubleday)

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From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Midwives and The Flight Attendant comes a twisting story of love and deceit: an American man vanishes on a rural road in Vietnam, and his girlfriend, an emergency room doctor trained to ask questions, follows a path that leads her home to the very hospital where they met.

The first time Alexis saw Austin, it was a Saturday night. Not in a bar, but in the emergency room where Alexis sutured a bullet wound in Austin’s arm. Six months later, on the brink of falling in love, they travel to Vietnam on a bike tour so that Austin can show her his passion for cycling and he can pay his respects to the place where his father and uncle fought in the war. But as Alexis sips white wine and waits at the hotel for him to return from his solo ride, two men emerge from the tall grass and Austin vanishes into thin air. The only clue he leaves behind is a bright yellow energy gel dropped on the road.

As Alexis grapples with this bewildering loss, and deals with the FBI, Austin’s prickly family, and her colleagues at the hospital, Alexis uncovers a series of strange lies that force her to wonder: Where did Austin go? Why did he really bring her to Vietnam? And how much danger has he left her in?

Set amidst the adrenaline-fueled world of the emergency room, The Red Lotus is a global thriller about those who dedicate their lives to saving people, and those who peddle death to the highest bidder. 

The Woman in the Mirror” by Rebecca James (Minotaur Books)

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Rebecca James unveils a chilling modern gothic novel of a family consumed by the shadows and secrets of its past in The Woman in the Mirror.

For more than two centuries, Winterbourne Hall has stood atop a bluff overseeing the English countryside of Cornwall and the sea beyond.

In 1947, Londoner Alice Miller accepts a post as governess at Winterbourne, looking after Captain Jonathan de Grey’s twin children. Falling under the de Greys’ spell, Alice believes the family will heal her own past sorrows. But then the twins’ adoration becomes deceitful and taunting. Their father, ever distant, turns spiteful and cruel. The manor itself seems to lash out. Alice finds her surroundings subtly altered, her air slightly chilled. Something malicious resents her presence, something clouding her senses and threatening her very sanity.

In present day New York, art gallery curator Rachel Wright has learned she is a descendant of the de Greys and heir to Winterbourne. Adopted as an infant, she never knew her birth parents or her lineage. At long last, Rachel will find answers to questions about her identity that have haunted her entire life. But what she finds in Cornwall is a devastating tragic legacy that has afflicted generations of de Greys. A legacy borne from greed and deceit, twisted by madness, and suffused with unrequited love and unequivocal rage. 

All of them are really great books! Don’t forget you can get them on audiobook by going to & using my special code MOMLOVESREADING & get a 3-for-1 deal OR use BookStoreLink & find the books you want through your nearest independent book stores. They need our support right now more than EVER! Some are even delivering books curbside or to your door!

What are you reading this week? How are you handling this pandemic & social distancing/isolation? Are you one of them “doomsday preppers” that’s hoarding all the toilet paper in their backyard bunker? Or are you just Netflix & chilling? Do tell! Also, be sure to watch for a couple giveaways coming this week! Stay safe out there people, & like your mother always said “Go wash your hands!”

Book Reviews

Book Review: “Darling Rose Gold” by Stephanie Wrobel

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Thank you so much @BerkleyPub (#partner) for gifting me “Darling Rose Gold” by Stephanie Wrobel!
“Sharp Objects” meets “My Lovely Wife” in this tightly drawn debut that peels back the layers of the most complicated of mother-daughter relationships…
For the first eighteen years of her life, Rose Gold Watts believed she was seriously ill. She was allergic to everything, used a wheelchair & practically lived at the hospital. Neighbors did all they could, holding fundraisers & offering shoulders to cry on, but no matter how many doctors, tests, or surgeries, no one could figure out what was wrong with Rose Gold.
Turns out her mom, Patty Watts, was just a really good liar.
After serving five years in prison, Patty gets out with nowhere to go & begs her daughter to take her in. The entire community is shocked when Rose Gold says yes.
Patty insists all she wants is to reconcile their differences. She says she’s forgiven Rose Gold for turning her in & testifying against her. But Rose Gold knows her mother. Patty Watts always settles a score.
Unfortunately for Patty, Rose Gold is no longer her weak little darling…
And she’s waited such a long time for her mother to come home.

The US/Canada cover

This book will blow your mind! It is such an insane, utterly exhilarating thrill ride, you won’t be able to put it down! And the cover is GORGEOUS!
Munchausen Syndrome is such a fascinating, albeit frightening, mental disorder, & of course we have all heard of the most famous case of DeeDee Blanchard & Gypsy Rose. This book had the DDB/GR feel, but also some “Carrie” vibes.
Dark, intense, psychological suspense that will have you flying through the pages, “Darling Rose Gold” is an A+ debut novel & available 3/17.

And don’t forget, you can get this book on audio as well & support independent book stores by purchasing your audiobooks through Click HERE for the book & use my referral code MOMLOVESREADING to get a 3-for-1 audiobook deal. I LOVE listening to suspense/thrillers on audio!

Stay safe out there everyone! I’ve been practicing social distancing & avoidance of large gatherings for YEARS, so I think I’ll do just fine!😉

Book Reviews

Book Review: “Dead To Her” by Sarah Pinborough

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Thank you @williammorrowbooks for my free copy of “Dead to Her” by Sarah Pinborough!

(From Google Books) 

“‘Big Little Lies’ meets ‘Rebecca’ in Sarah Pinborough’s ‘Dead to Her,’ a saucy novel about insecure second wives dragged down by secrets [and] jealousies…” —Washington Post

For fans of Liane Moriarty, Liv Constantine & Lisa Jewell, a twisty psychological thriller about a savvy second wife who will do almost anything to come out on top from the New York Times bestselling author of “Behind Her Eyes”.

Marriage can be murder…

Marcie’s affair with Jason Maddox catapulted her into the world of the elite.
Old money, old ties, old secrets. Marcie may have married into this world—
but she’ll never be part of it.

Then Jason’s boss brings back a new wife from his trip to London.
Young, attractive, reckless—nobody can take their eyes off Keisha.
Including Marcie’s husband.

Some people would kill for the life Marcie has—what will she do to keep it?

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Sarah Pinborough became one of my favorite thriller authors after I read her mind-blowing 2017 book, “Behind Her Eyes” which just blew me away! I did NOT see that ending coming & I’m normally pretty good about guessing the twists by the books midway point.

Click HERE to read more about this book & add to your Goodreads

“Dead to Her” is a tightly-wound, thrill ride that is seductively satisfying, sinister, & suspenseful. Pinborough is a masterful & brilliant writer, weaving one electrifying page-turner after another. “Behind Her Eyes” is currently filming as a 6-part Netflix series, “Cross Her Heart” is being developed by ITV, & “13 Minutes” is being adapted for Netflix as well. I’m sure “Dead to Her” will be adapted to some screen or another, too! I’m a fan of unlikeable characters & this book has plenty of them! Loved it!

This book is also FANTASTIC on audiobook! Click HERE to see this book on, the best audiobook app out there! supports indie bookstores with their audiobook purchases, which is WAY better than supporting a bajillionaire with that “other” audiobook app…just saying. And if you use my special code MOMLOVESREADING you can get 3 audiobooks for the price of 1, then you can get a couple other Sarah Pinborough books…if you choose to do so. Click HERE to use my referral link.

(Reminder, don’t forget to check out my latest giveaway by clicking HERE. There are even MORE coming soon!)

Book Reviews

“The Dark Corners of the Night” by Meg Gardiner

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Thank you @blackstonepublishing for my free copy of Meg Gardiner’s 2/18 release, “The Dark Corners of the Night”!

I am the legion of the night…

He appears in the darkness like a ghost, made of shadows & fear –the Midnight Man. He comes for the parents but leaves the children alive, tiny witnesses to unspeakable horror. The bedroom communities of Los Angeles are gripped with dread, & the attacks are escalating.Still reeling from her best friend’s close call in a bombing six months ago, FBI behavioral analyst Caitlin Hendrix has come to Los Angeles to assist in the Midnight Man investigation & do what she does best–hunt a serial killer. Her work is what keeps her going, but something about this UNSUB –unknown subject– doesn’t sit right.

She soon realizes that this case will test not only her skills, but also her dedication, for within the heart of a killer lives a secret that mirrors Caitlin’s own past. Hesitancy is not an option, but will she be able to do what must be done if the time comes?

Tense and impactful, Edgar Award winner Meg Gardiner’s latest UNSUB thriller will leave you on the edge of your seat until its riveting conclusion.

This book is unputdownable, unforgettable, & unapologetically tense with suspense! The highly anticipated third installment in Gardiner’s “Unsub” series (“Unsub” & “Into the Black Nowhere”), this book is intense, well-written, and a real nail-biter of a book! The book series is currently being made into an Amazon TV series, too! I can’t wait for it!

This was my first Meg Gardiner book, but I’m going to get the other 2 “Unsub” books & before I watch the series. Actually I think I will listen to them on audio via my app. You can listen to all 3 on Librofm, too, by using my 3-for-1 code MOMLOVESREADING. I love listening to creepy thrillers on my Librofm app & supporting indie bookstores with my audio book purchases! Click HERE for “Unsub”, HERE for “Into the Black Nowhere”, and HERE for “The Dark Corners of the Night”. Audio books are the best! They can go with you EVERYWHERE! I enjoy listening to audio books when I am doing housework, driving, showering, and working out. Click HERE to use my referral link & start your 3-for-1 audio book deal today! audio book link HERE

PS…Today is the last day to enter the “My Lovely Wife” giveaway on Instagram. Click HERE to head there now!

Hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend so far! We have SUN today in Northern Ohio!! Yayyyy!

Book Reviews

“The Wife and The Widow” by Christian White

Thank you @Minotaur_Books (#partner) for my advance, gifted copy of “The Wife and The Widow” by Christian White!

The second standalone thriller from the award-winning author of “The Nowhere Child”…

Set against the backdrop of an eerie island town in the dead of winter, “The Wife and The Widow” is an unsettling thriller told from two perspectives: Kate, a widow whose grief is compounded by what she learns about her dead husband’s secret life; and Abby, an island local whose world is turned upside when she’s forced to confront the evidence of her husband’s guilt. But nothing on this island is quite as it seems, and only when these women come together can they discover the whole story about the men in their lives. Brilliant and beguiling, “The Wife and The Widow” takes you to a cliff edge and asks the question: how well do we really know the people we love? 

I was drawn to this book because (1) It’s a suspense/thriller, and (2) The mention of an island town in the dead of winter. I live just off Lake Erie near a few major, local islands (South Bass Island, Middle Bass Island and Kelley’s Island) as well as some minor, smaller, uninhabitable islands. Our little town is super touristy in the summer and SO not touristy in the winter. Also, have you ever heard of the limited series, “Harpers Island”…it is SUPER good, and I wish like heck they would make a follow-up to it!

CBS’s “Harper’s Island” 2009

“The Wife and The Widow” told from 2 POV’s: The Wife and well, of course, The Widow. With flawlessly executed writing, this book is fast-paced, suspenseful, and compulsively readable. It will hold your attention and never let go until the very end! And just when you think you have it figured out, BOOM…TWIST!

It’s hard to tell you too much about this one without inadvertently giving anything away, but this is a book you won’t want to put down and it can probably be read in a single nerve-wracking sitting! Now I have to go pick up @Christian_White_author ‘s previous novel, “The Nowhere Child” which has also received a slew of praise. “The Wife and The Widow” publishes tomorrow, 1/21/20 so get it pre-ordered, on your tbr list, your library hold, and enjoy this gem for yourself! And if you go to, you can get it from your favorite independent bookseller as well!