Book Club

For Better and Worse – Margot Hunt

“For Better and Worse” by Margot Hunt was a fantastic book involving a couple, consisting of two lawyers, who are struggling with the burden of morality and ethics while dealing with tragic news in regards their son.

Mom is a defense attorney, defending the innocent and guilty alike. The shocking situation concerning their young son causes both mom and dad to act a little out of their element, never being in this kind of position.

The book is split into two parts. The first part is from the perspective of the mother, the second part picking up from the husbands perspective, but always in a forward moving motion. This was a nice break from the books I have read of late, bouncing back and forth between lapses of time.

Each dealing with the news in their own ways, the mother is seemingly left alone a lot to deal which may cause her to let her mind run wild and make some decisions on her own that could affect them both. She might even involve past criminal clients if her husband won’t help.

On top of it all, what is up with her husband? Is he cheating? What are with all those late night business meetings? Can they trust their instincts on the situation? Are others involved lying? Can they protect their son from further victimization? Will they make the right choice? And will they get away with it?

I enjoyed this book and it was a wonderful, quick read. Let me know if you enjoyed it as well!

Book Club

A Killer’s Mind – Mike Omer

“A Killer’s Mind” by Mike Omer was a tantalizing read about Zoe Bentley, forensic psychologist and FBI consultant, and Tatum Gray, FBI agent who has the tendency to go rogue.

Zoe has been mesmerized by the instincts and actions of serial killers since she was a young girl, living in a small hometown of Maynard with one. She has always had the skill set to get inside of the killer’s mind and study them, in turn creating a spot on profile.  

Tatum Gray comes to town, after burning his bridges at the LA office, just in time to take over a new case in Chicago. He quickly flies out and decides he needs the assistance of the highly commended consultant to help him profile the killer.

Once he has Zoe flown out from Quantico to assist him, you find they mix like oil and water with a dash of sexual tension. Over time they learn to work with one another as they attempt to catch this terrifying serial killer, all the while Zoe’s history haunts her and discounts her from clearly profiling the Chicago killer.

Is there a connection of the Maynard and the Chicago killers? What about the clues being sent to her?  Let me tell you that this book ends on the very last page with a spine-tingling open ending – cannot wait to read the next book – “In the Darkness”

Book Club

The Devil Crept In – Ania Ahlborn

“The Devil Crept In” by Ania Ahlborn was a little bit out of my wheelhouse. It was a creepy, gory, and thrilling horror story fit to be told around the campfire. Based in a sleepy town, focused around an intimate family with two young boy cousins who were nearly inseparable. A town where there are entirely too many strays and a lot of missing pets. A town where, once upon a time, even a sweet young boy went missing too.

Young Stevie and Jude are typical boys who play games, sometimes fight and trek through the forest behind their homes quite a bit for entertainment. The tree house they have spent much of their childhood building is their very own fortress of solitude. Stevie, having the abusive stepfather, and Jude’s father having passed away. Losing his father has hardened Jude in many ways, sometimes even towards his best friend and cousin Stevie. But Stevie has always looked up to Jude and finds Jude as the one person he can confide in regarding his home life.

Stevie has had some deeper issues in his past. Sometimes he sees things that aren’t there and he has a difficult time getting his words out due to a speech impediment. Because of this he is found to be insane, or at the very least incredible, by most. This comes to be troubling when Jude disappears one night. Stevie scours the woods and sees something at the old farmhouse they always found eerie and vacant during their forest treks. He tries to help the town find clues as to where Jude has gone. But because Jude has had anger issues and acts out, he is immediately written off as a runaway. Stevie knows that cannot possibly be the case. And then, just like that Jude shows back up. But he isn’t acting anything like himself. He is still angry and mean – but all the time now versus sometimes before. And his health and appearance seem to be continuously getting worse. Of course, Jude is also not speaking about what happened or where he has been.

With the help of Mr. Greenwood, the small-town General Store owner, Stevie digs up clues. But without the belief of his family and the town, he knows he has to do this all on his own to prove something is not right with Jude. Somehow the strays, the pets, and the quiet house in the woods owned by the late town doctor all have to do with what Jude has gone through.

Was Stevie just seeing things when he saw a monster on the porch of that quiet farmhouse in the woods? Will he ever be brave enough to face it? Can he even trust Jude anymore? Enjoy this chilling spine-tingling tale for yourself and let me know your thoughts on this read.

Book Club

Second Life – S. J. Watson

 

Second Life” by S.J. Watson was by far one of my favorite books to have read lately. This story has it all: lust, affairs, lies, blood money, murder, mystery, cybersex, family issues, addiction, and even stalking. The twists and turns in the book kept it very intense and made it extremely hard to put the book down. It is a lengthy novel but I read it within a couple of days! There were moments so suspenseful that when someone approached and spoke to me while I was reading I literally jumped out of my chair! Hate to say, but that happened on multiple occasions during this read!

Julia has it all: a family with a top surgeon as her husband, money is not an issue, she does what she loves for work, and she has close friends. But when her sister Kate suddenly is murdered, Julia seems to risk everything she has to try and figure out what happened – her sobriety and her life. She considers placing herself in her sisters shoes to make contact online with people from some of the multiple websites her sister visited, wondering if one of those virtual relationships had a real world connection.

The possibilities are endless. Kate could have met a violent stranger from her online contacts. She could have come across a bad situation at the wrong time. Someone from her past could be seeking revenge. She could have gotten mixed up in the wrong crowd of friends which, with her history, is likely. Julia just wants to figure out what happened to her baby sister. But will Julia go too far? Will she risk everything? And who all could be involved in this? Maybe someone even closer than she thinks. Which path will she choose? And will this second identity she creates to do her online “research” end up jeopardizing her real world?

Let me know if you enjoyed this read as much as I did! In the book club we have read some S.J. Watson books previously, but this has to be my favorite by far!

Book Club

The Last Time I Lied – Riley Sager

 

Have you ever played two truths and a lie? It’s one of those fun games where you tell three facts, two of them true and one a lie, and the others playing the game have to guess which one was the lie. Sometimes these lies can be dangerous or hurtful. And sometimes they can change someone’s life. But the truth of the matter is that while playing this game, you can generally learn a lot about someone. Deep dark secrets, fears or hopes they may have.

“The Last Time I Lied” by Riley Sager takes place on an expansive, yet secluded, campground for the prestigious young women, mostly of New York. There are many tales told around the campfire, some true and some made up. Some of these tales may even cause a few campers to disappear. And some of the lies may pave the road for revenge. Poor Emma Davis is in the center of a scandal when her world comes crashing down around her without any clues as to why. Her first year at this RB camp for the summer and she gets to tag along with one of the prettiest and most popular girls at camp, Vivian. Emma comes to find just how manipulative Vivian truly is, and then Vivian and the other girls from her cabin vanish in the night, never to be seen again.

When given the opportunity to return to Camp Nightingale, Emma at first refuses. But tempted with the possibility of figuring out what happened to her cabin mates so many years before, she accepts. A lot of the same players are back at the camp for the summer as well, causing suspicion at every corner. And the campers of now are not much different from the girls years ago. This book has some twists and turns in all the right places. Will Emma solve the mystery? Will she come out alive? Will you be able to tell the difference between the truths and the lies?

Book Club

I’ve Got My Eyes On You – Mary Higgins Clark

 

“I’ve Got My Eyes on You” by Mary Higgins Clark is a story of a young teenage girl, Kerry, found lifeless at the bottom of her pool after a party at her parents home while they were away. There was a witness to the murder, her next door neighbor and life long friend Jamie. The problem is, Jamie has a disability and is unable to tell the story in a way that won’t implicate him for the crime. And the other problem is that Jamie was in the pool as well. The question is – was Jamie a murderer?

As usual, the boyfriend in the situation is always the first to be questioned, and rightfully so as he (Alan) and Kerry had a very public fight at her party. Not to mention, a history of arguments and breakups. It was also found that his alibi was a lie and that he had asked his friends to cover for him. Suspect #2

For some reason neither of the potential suspects really fit the crime. The sweet neighbor next door and the passionate Princeton-bound boyfriend. Somewhere there are clues that will tell the true tale.

There are other connections Kerry had made along the way. Other people she had upset. And maybe even secrets she knew about, that could have cost her life. As the suspect list gets longer and the clues keep coming in, her sister Aline is back in town and now a guidance counselor at her and her sister’s old school. The perfect position to help dig around and try to solve her sister’s case.

Although this book seemed to be written a bit juvenile – with the thoughts very brief, leaving little to the imagination, and the chapters very thin – the plot was a good one and kept us questioning. I and my cohort at the book club, Anne, both agreed that we thought a certain character was the killer all along and we were correct. But there are several players that could have been. And all the while you wondered if an innocent person would go down for the crime. I wonder if you will figure it out early as well. Let me know!

Book Club

The Broken Girls – Simone St. James

 

“Broken Girls” by Simone St. James was quite the terrifying read. Filled with murders, secrets and ghostly tales, this book is a mix of stories from the past to solve two completely separate crimes, but they all were committed on the same, spooky grounds of a private school for girls, Idlewild.
Each of four girls sharing a dorm at Idlewild have their own tragic story to tell as to why their path ended up there. They confided all of their secrets with one another and became inseparable, until one of them mysteriously goes missing. The girls left relentlessly search for their friend and roommate, to no end. It has consumed their lives.
Years after their friend went missing, another crime happens on the same school grounds. The sister of Fiona Sheridan, our main character, was brutally murdered and left on display. Fiona is a writer, as well as her father. So she has the ability to research and dig up dirt, which she devotes her life to, in order to prove that the person convicted of her sister’s crime was in fact the killer.
When the school is abruptly purchased and is being restored, Fiona takes it upon herself to dig into the backgrounds of the family taking over. As she researches and finds out about the missing schoolgirl, she digs into school files hoping to help solve that case along the way. In all of her research she comes across yet another crime that potentially ties to her sister’s. With the town hunky cop (Jamie) as her boyfriend, this dynamic duo attempt to solve all the crimes and give peace to so many that have been hurting and searching for answers for years, and even decades.
Book Club

Behind Closed Doors – B.A. Paris

Behind Closed Doors by B. A. Paris is a twisted psychological thriller about a couple that is seemingly perfect. Living a life of luxury and filled with love and admiration for one another, Jack and Grace seem to have it all. But not every couple, or person for that matter, is perfect.

Jack is an extremely handsome, successful and wealthy prosecutor that fights against one of the worst types of criminals, abusive men. He has the manners of royalty to boot. It is no wonder that when Grace meets him she is extremely taken by him. He sweeps her off her feet and caters to her, surprising her with trips and houses. He is wealthy enough that Grace no longer needs to work, even though she’d like to stay busy. But he insists on taking over all of the breadwinning.

To their friends eyes, Grace has it so easy and has the most attentive husband. But is he too attentive, too controlling? Grace soon finds that the man she married is not the man she thought he was. And in reality, the work he does has a twisted meaning to him.

Grace has a disabled younger sister that will soon be coming to live with them and Jack could not be more happy. The plans he has are much less than loving.

Will Grace be able to save herself and her sister? Will she get away? Or is she as crazy as he makes her out to be, and imagining it all?

This book will make you second guess those “perfect” relationships you see in others. Everyone has their own secrets and issues behind their doors.

Book Club

Everything I Never Told You – Celeste Ng

 

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng is a dramatic book about a family with a Chinese background that tries to fit in to a predominantly white American community. The father in the family is of full Chinese heritage and the mother is fully Caucasian. The story will tap into the struggle of a mixed race marriage as well as that of growing up biracial.

This book tells the story of a young girl, Lydia, who is faced with a lot of pressure from both her father and her mother. This young girl has a lot of struggles being of a biracial minority within her school, trying to fit in and also trying to live up to her father and mothers completely different expectations.
She is not an only child and while each child within the family has completely different roles, hers holds the most pressure.

When Lydia goes missing and is found no longer alive there are many questions: did the young boy down the street with a troubled upbringing, who has she had been hanging out with every day for the past several months, do something? There’s no way she could have done this to herself, right? She was the perfect daughter, well liked, social, smart, or was that all a facade?

The family struggles to discover what happened while secrets come out. In the end they will be stronger than they were before, even if they never do find out why exactly this tragedy happened.

Book Club

Not That I Could Tell – Jessica Strawser

 

Not That I Could Tell by Jessica Strawser is a mystery regarding a missing woman and her children. Where did they go? What happened? Are they alive? These are all questions that her friends and neighbors asked internally and to one another.

She was last seen at a quaint backyard get together with her friends and neighbors. This small neighborhood, located in small town Yellow Springs, Ohio, is full of a handful of strong, close women and mothers. But in this small town, how is it that her friends could know so little about her?

One of her neighbors gets a little too close for comfort while another has been too close to a situation like this before. Even the children of this small little cul-de-sac are affected, one digging around for her self-created “neighborhood newspaper” that will create issues for more than a couple people on the street.

Place yourself within this small community to help figure out what happened and why. Strawser did a great job of telling this story and connecting dots between several relationships and characters.

 

Side Note: Yellow Springs, Ohio has recently come up on my radar, prior to reading this book, and I intend to take a day trip here to document it for the blog under my Fun With The Fam category. It is a small “hippie town” in which the comedian Dave Chappelle lives. It is home to lots of natural springs and hiking, as well as some awesome small owned shops and cafes. I was pleasantly surprised to find that this book was based out of that small little town. Look for my blog post on this small town soon!