eARC Review – The House Guest

Title: The House Guest

Author: Mark Edwards

Publisher: Thomas and Mercer

Publication date: June 3rd, 2020

294 pges

3.5/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

A perfect summer. A perfect stranger. A perfect nightmare.

When British twenty-somethings Ruth and Adam are offered the chance to spend the summer housesitting in New York, they can’t say no. Young, in love and on the cusp of professional success, they feel as if luck is finally on their side.

So the moment that Eden turns up on the doorstep, drenched from a summer storm, it seems only right to share a bit of that good fortune. Beautiful and charismatic, Eden claims to be a friend of the homeowners, who told her she could stay whenever she was in New York.

They know you’re not supposed to talk to strangers—let alone invite them into your home—but after all, Eden’s only a stranger until they get to know her.

As suspicions creep in that Eden may not be who she claims to be, they begin to wonder if they’ve made a terrible mistake…

Review

**Thank you to Thomas and Mercer, Netgalley, and Mark Edwards for an early copy of this ebook in exchange for an honest review**

The House Guest is a thrilling tale of being swept up in a world you never knew existed, and certainly didn’t bargain for. When Eden shows up on Ruth and Adam’s doorstep saying she knows the owners of the house they are watching, why would they turn her away? Eden knew details of Jack and Mona’s life, so she must know who they are – and they are set to get back from their vacation in a few days. But when Adam wakes up one morning with a head full of regrets and a hangover he’ll never forget, he finds that Ruth and Eden are missing – and all evidence of Eden’s existence is gone. Adam must work hard to find out where Ruth is, before it’s too late.

Holy wow this book didn’t turn out the way I expected it to. Every time I wrote off the story line assuming I “knew” the ending and “whodunnit”, I was wrong. Or at least, not completely right. Edwards has a way of making important information seem innocuous, at least until the very end when you realize it isn’t. His writing really kept the plot line moving forward, and captured the feelings of Adam and Ruth while they go through this journey.

None of the characters are completely “likable”. Ruth and Adam aren’t bad people, but they each have their own insecurities and doubts that make them human, but certainly not super likable. Adam turns on the hero persona to find Ruth, but he let her down in ways he couldn’t even imagine. Ruth seems like a normal woman, an actress about to get her big break. But inside, she has abandonment issues and has been searching for a group to belong to. It’s the perfect storm for what happens.

HOWEVER. That ending though! I honestly can’t get over it. I can’t really say more than that, without it being spoiler-y. But the ending is not at all what you would expect, and I believe I will be thinking about it for a long time trying to puzzle it out.

Happy reading, folks!

eARC Review – What Lies Between Us

Title: What Lies Between Us

Author: John Marrs

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Publication date: May 15th, 2020

371 pages

4/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

Nina can never forgive Maggie for what she did. And she can never let her leave.

They say every house has its secrets, and the house that Maggie and Nina have shared for so long is no different. Except that these secrets are not buried in the past.

Every other night, Maggie and Nina have dinner together. When they are finished, Nina helps Maggie back to her room in the attic, and into the heavy chain that keeps her there. Because Maggie has done things to Nina that can’t ever be forgiven, and now she is paying the price.

But there are many things about the past that Nina doesn’t know, and Maggie is going to keep it that way—even if it kills her.

Because in this house, the truth is more dangerous than lies.

Review

**Thank you to Thomas & Mercer, Netgalley, and John Marrs for a copy of this ebook in exchange for an honest review**

What Lies Between Us is a fantastic psychological thriller straight out of a 60 Minutes special. The twists and turns keep coming, with some well-placed foreshadowing and perfect dropping of hints throughout. Told in 2 POV’s (Nina and Maggie) you come to learn about the warped relationship between the two, and what happened to arrive at this situation. There a flashbacks that are actually necessary, and give much needed context to each character’s mind sets when everything is happening.

There is definitely a Mystery aspect to this novel, but it’s not a whodunnit. It’s more trying to figure out who did what, and WHY. Each new bit of information sways the blame in one direction and then back. There’s no knowing everything that happened until the very end. There were some minor mysteries I figured out, but Mars did a great job of burying the lead with all the major questions.

The characters were also written so well. Maggie adjusting to her imprisonment and accepting her sentence (but not completely) and Nina rationalizing her decision to chain her mother in the attic for 2 years. Neither character is very morally grey. Both have made serious mistakes, and it’s so fun to to see the relationship between them change and warp and grow. However, the ending absolutely stunned me. You’ll have to read it to find out what happens!

Trigger warning: abuse, neglect, physical violence, domestic abuse, elder abuse

April Wrap Up!

Hello again, friends!! It is already the last day of April and I lament the end of this month that was almost completely spent indoors, whether at work or at home. I have never been a huge outdoors person, but my body is desperately missing the ability to go places and just hang out. I also seem to be going through a bout of insomnia, which the internet says could be due to a lack of natural light… but the weather’s been so bad here that I haven’t been able to spend time outside! I am yearning to take a chair outside and read but nooooope not fun in almost daily rain.

Anyway, that’s how my month has been going. I’ve been reading, but it’s been a struggle and I haven’t wanted to read anything I planned to read. (Spoiler alert I did not read everything on my April TBR!) I did however manage to read 18 books this month, but 6 of them were very short, fluffy, Kindle Unlimited books – because it’s what I needed in my life at that time.

PHYSICAL BOOKS

  1. The Wife Between Us, Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen – 4/5 stars
  2. Magic For Liars, Sarah Gailey – 3.5/5 stars
  3. Muse of Nightmares (Strange the Dreamer #1), Laini Taylor – 5/5 stars
  4. House of Salt and Sorrows, Erin A. Craig – 4/5 stars
  5. Well Met, Jen DeLuca – 5/5 stars

NETGALLEY EARC’S

TBH I really only wanted to read books on my phone/iPad this month for some reason… I wasn’t interested in physical books at all! So strange for me, because it’s normally always the opposite! Oh well, it was good for my Netgalley ratio!

  1. The Girl with the Whispering Shadow (The Crowns of Croswald #2), D. E. Night – 4/5 stars
  2. Chasing Lucky, Jenn Bennett – 5/5 stars
  3. What Lies Between Us, John Marrs – 4/5 stars
  4. By the Book, Amanda Sellet – 3.5/5 stars
  5. A Taste of Sage, Yaffa S. Santos – 4/5 stars
  6. The Circus Rose, Betsey Cornwell – 4/5 stars

EARC FROM AUTHORS

  1. Last Memoria (Memoria Duology #1), Rachel Emma Shaw – 5/5 stars

KINDLE UNLIMITED

  1. Love at First Fight (Geeks Gone Wild #1), Maggie Dallen – 4/5 stars
  2. My Virtual Prince Charming (Geeks Gone Wild #2), Maggie Dallen – 4/5 stars
  3. Once Upon a Comic-Con (Geeks Gone Wild #3), Maggie Dallen – 3.5/5 stars
  4. Playing the Enemy (The Trouble with Tomboys #1), Maggie Dallen – 4/5 stars
  5. Play to Win (The Trouble with Tomboys #2), Stephanie Street – 4/5 stars
  6. Playing the Field (The Trouble with Tomboys #3), Christina Benjamin – 3.5/5 stars

So that’s that! All 18 books I read this month! I have also revamped my plans for my TBR moving forward, but I’ll leave that for tomorrow’s post!

Happy reading folks!

eARC Review – The Murder List

Title: The Murder List

Author: Hank Phillippi Ryan

Publisher: Forge Books (Macmillian – Tor/Forge)

Publication Date: August 20, 2019

352 pages

5/5

Goodreads Synopsis

Law student Rachel North will tell you, without hesitation, what she knows to be true. She’s smart, she’s a hard worker, she does the right thing, she’s successfully married to a faithful and devoted husband, a lion of Boston’s defense bar, and her internship with the Boston DA’s office is her ticket to a successful future.

Problem is–she’s wrong.

And in this cat and mouse game–the battle for justice becomes a battle for survival.

The Murder List is a new standalone suspense novel in the tradition of Lisa Scottoline and B. A. Paris from award-winning author and reporter Hank Phillippi Ryan.

Review

Hello friends! Back again with an eARC review for you from Netgalley! Special thanks to Netgalley and Forge Books for this review copy in exchange for an honest review.

OH. MY. GOD. Ya’ll I stayed up half the night finishing this book. I loved every moment of this book and I had to give it ALL the stars. If I had more than 5 to give I would. The characters, the writing, the plot, the twists and turns – all of it was so suspenseful and gripping.

Rachel North is a law student at Harvard who has been assigned to her summer internship in her husband’s (also a lawyer) arch nemesis’ office. He is a defense attorney, she works for the DA’s office – it’s not the recipe for friendship. Now Rachel is working for the enemy, and Jack is not a happy camper.

This book follows Rachel’s journey in her internship, along with how it affects her marriage. Also, it dives in to the past to set up the events of how she met her husband and first became acquainted with her new supervisor, Martha. Through the deep dive into the past, you have this mystery evolve related to jury duty, murders, trials, etc. The book will keep you guessing up until the very end, where any of the character’s could be the culprit. Ryan gives you just enough information at each interval to keep you coming back for more.

This book is my definition of a good thriller/suspense novel. I related to all the characters, became invested in their story, and was totally shocked at the end how it all played out. It is the perfect murder mystery novel and if you are a fan of Lisa Scottoline, you should definitely pick this one up. Props to Ryan for putting together a book that flows through the past and present SO well. I’ve got no critiques, zero.

This is the best book I’ve read in a long time. Do yourself a favor, and go pick it up.

Happy reading, bookish friends!