Review: Little Disasters by Sarah Vaughan

Little DisastersLittle Disasters by Sarah Vaughan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars rounded up**

Liz, a pediatric doctor, is surprised when one of her closest friends, Jess, arrives at emergency services with her 10-month old baby, Betsey.

She is even more surprised when she discovers that Betsey has suffered severe head trauma causing a cranial fracture.

Making matters worse, Jess is very dodgy with her story, claiming she didn’t even know Betsey had hit her head that badly.

She claims that she was bringing Betsey in because she seemed unwell, having vomited in her crib.

Jess insists that Betsey has suffered no real trauma. Perhaps she just fell over as she was trying to pull herself upright, certainly nothing out of the norm for a baby who is increasing her mobility.

The severity of the injury seems to negate this explanation, however, and Liz cannot understand why her friend, who always seems like the most put together mom, could suddenly be so obtuse about her child’s condition.

Consulting with a senior doctor, Liz understands that the hospital must contact Social Services regarding Jess and Betsey. They have a duty to report if there is even a chance that a child is being harmed.

Jess’s weak explanation, paired with the skull fracture, is more than enough to bring in outside intervention.

Following multiple perspectives, over multiple timelines, Little Disasters is a thoughtful examination of modern motherhood.

The main bulk of the story is made up of Liz, Jess and Jess’s husband, Ed’s, perspectives, but there are a few others sprinkled in.

The Reader learns what Jess’s life as a stay-at-home mom to three busy children is really like.

While she may stay buttoned up outside of the home, amongst her friends and at the children’s activities, inside the home, things are far from perfect.

We also get a glimpse into Liz’s life and what her childhood was like; the events that pushed her into a career in pediatrics.

Finally, we get an examination of friendship, that of Liz and Jess, as well as the other women in their circle.

I enjoyed my time reading this novel quite a bit. My one concern is that people will go into this expecting a tense Thriller, and it’s really not.

I would classify this novel as a thought-provoking Domestic Drama with a hint of suspense. I think if you go into it expecting that, you will not be disappointed.

As far as content, I think this novel is poignant and important. I mentioned recently in my review for Megan Goldin’s, The Night Swim, that I love when this type of novel has something to say about hard-hitting real world issues.

This one definitely does. I think this would make an incredible book club read, as it could lead to a ton of great discussions involving motherhood, mental health and the societal expectations placed on women.

The writing is highly compelling and I flew through it. The short chapters and alternating perspectives kept me glued to the pages.

Overall, I think this will be enjoyed and appreciated by a lot of Readers. One of them should be you. Available now!!!

Thank you so much to the publisher, Atria Books, for providing me with a copy to read and review.

I appreciate the opportunity!

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Review: Who Did You Tell? by Lesley Kara

Who Did You Tell?Who Did You Tell? by Lesley Kara
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Astrid is very much in the early days of sobriety.

Forced to move back in with her mother in a quiet, seaside town, she spends each day just trying to make it through without a drink.

Astrid is haunted by a lot of her past behaviors whilst under the influence.

Through her musings, the Reader is made aware of some of these things, including a toxic, though arguably, loving relationship with a man named, Simon.

With Simon gone, Astrid is left with so many regrets. She has begun to attend AA meetings and the process has caused a lot of old memories to come to the surface.

She knows she needs to make amends to a lot of people, but can anyone ever forgive her for the things she has done?

Astrid is trying, she truly is, but each and every day is a battle.

She begins to open up to a couple of women from meetings and even meets a new man and secures a small, temporary job working for his father on an art project.

As we all know, the past rarely stays buried forever though and soon Astrid is receiving mysterious messages and feels that she is being followed.

Her and Simon did have one truly bad night where they did something not just reprehensible, but criminal. Did he tell someone?

Who Did You Tell was such an interesting reading experience for me.

The beginning of the novel is very melancholy. Astrid, as mentioned above, is really struggling and as the Reader, you get a front-row seat to every moment of that.

Initially, I was apprehensive. Was I going to get into it?

Oh baby, did I! It’s such an intricate, beautifully told story of addiction, forgiveness and recovery. I became so attached to Astrid and invested in her.

With this being said, it is a subtle suspense and a slow burn.

I think if you go into this expecting a fast-paced Thriller, you may be disappointed. I would urge every Reader to give it a shot however, the pay off is worth it.

Towards the end, the suspense and action kicks way up. I loved the conclusion. I wouldn’t have wanted it to end any other way.

I definitely plan to go back and read Lesley Kara’s debut, The Rumour and will continue to pick up anything she writes moving forward.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Ballantine Books, for providing me with a copy to read and review.

I appreciate the opportunity!

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Blog Tour: Someone’s Listening by Seraphina Nova Glass

Someone's ListeningSomeone’s Listening by Seraphina Nova Glass
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

     NOW AVAILABLE!!!

**3.5-stars rounded up**

Self-Help guru, Faith Finley, has suffered a lot of trauma in her life. Luckily enough, she has been able to spin these negative events and use them for good.

Those horrifying personal experiences help her better relate to the individuals she counsels and she feels like it makes her advice more credible.

Just when her career is starting to take off, with a successful book published and regular radio and television spots, a sex scandal hits the news waves and her reputation is instantly shattered.

A past patient has come forward and made some pretty damning allegations against her. Since her main area of interest is abusive or toxic relationships, this patient’s claim seems particularly ironic.

She can’t believe it. She had such a good relationship with him. Why would he do this to her?

Faith doesn’t take the scrutiny well, relying on pills and drink to get her through.

Her loving husband, Liam, claims to believe her, but still, their relationship begins to feel the strain as well.

After a mysterious accident, Liam disappears. Faith is desperate to find him, or at least find out what happened to him.

Is it a case of a man fleeing an unhappy marriage or did something more sinister happen to him? When Faith ends up a suspect in his disappearance, she becomes even more determined to find out the truth.

With her own mental health spiraling, it’s hard to determine how much Faith actually knows.

Y’all know, I love a unreliable narrator and Faith Finley fits that description to a T. In addition to the fantastic use of an unreliable narrator trope, you also have Faith working a bit as an amateur sleuth in order to determine what happened to Liam.

Having two of my favorite tropes, it is no surprise that I really enjoyed Someone’s Listening.

I found it easy to become completely immersed within the story. Faith has a lot of flaws, but I think they are flaws that many readers will be able to relate to.

She’s not claiming to be perfect and I think after everything she has gone through, you can’t help but root for her to finally get some peace.

There are so many twists and turns and exciting leads that Faith follows during her investigation. Red herrings are plentiful and really well executed, in my opinion.

The only thing I was a little disappointed about was that, for some reason, I thought there was going to be a radio show involved in the story and there’s not.

Admittedly, that’s my own fault, but I just wish we could have got a little more of her in action in her career, but that isn’t a part of it at all.

Overall, I think this is a fun, fast Domestic Suspense novel that a lot of Readers will enjoy!

Thank you so much to the publisher, Graydon House, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review, and for including me in the Blog Tour for the book release.

I definitely hope to read more from Seraphina Nova Glass in the future!

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Review: Shadow Garden by Alexandra Burt

Shadow GardenShadow Garden by Alexandra Burt
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars**

A compulsively readable novel of Domestic Suspense!

This novel begins with Donna Pryor introducing us to the mysterious Shadow Garden property. A place her estranged husband has chosen for her to live.

A living community that feels more like a fortress where wealthy people go when no one else wants them. Donna feels abandoned by her family and confused at how she ended up at this point.

Her husband Edward, although they are not divorced, is no longer taking her calls and she hasn’t heard from her adult daughter, Penelope, in months.

She does have her dedicated housekeeper, Marleen, but that’s a small conciliation prize when one is missing their family.

Donna begins to feel like something isn’t right at Shadow Garden. What are these pills Marleen keeps giving her? Why won’t Edward or Penelope talk to her?

She feels like maybe they are mad at her, but she can’t recall why. Her life feels like a giant black hole of distant memories, one she is slowly sinking into.

Following three different perspectives: Donna, Edward and Penelope, this novel pieces together the story of their life and their downfall.

I found this story so addicting. While not the most believable plot, there was still something about it that kept me glued to the pages.

It sort of felt like reading a Lifetime movie. It’s not going to win any awards, but it’s definitely an entertaining way to spend an afternoon!

Thank you so much to the publisher, Berkley Books, for providing me a copy of this read and review. I truly appreciate the opportunity to provide my opinion!

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Blog Tour: Sister Dear by Hannah Mary McKinnon

Sister DearSister Dear by Hannah Mary McKinnon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars rounded up**

As her beloved Dad lay in his death bed at a local hospice, Eleanor Hardwicke, overhears a family secret that challenges everything she thought she knew about her life.

It turns out that her Dad, the closest person to her in the world, isn’t actually her biological father.

She can’t believe it. She feels so betrayed, he has lied to her for her entire life.

She would expect something like that from her mother, who is an absolutely vile woman, but her Dad? It’s a complete shock. One she doesn’t take well.

In the days that follow, she’s torn apart by how she behaved; kicking herself for her harsh reaction.

It’s too late for her to make it up to her Dad, so there’s nothing left to do but learn about her biological father, right?

When she discovers who he is, she can’t believe it!

A influential real estate magnate who owns half of the city she lives in, Portland, Maine.

In fact, he lives in Portland as well, with his beautiful wife. The power couple have a grown daughter, Victoria, meaning Eleanor has a half-sister she has never known.

Upon further investigation, she discovers Victoria is everything she is not: stunning, successful and married to an extremely handsome man.

The narrative follows Eleanor as she slowly infiltrates Victoria’s life.

The tension steadily builds, as you know this cannot end well!

Sister Dear is an intense Domestic Drama that kept me glued to the pages. I read this so quickly, I had to discover what would happen to Eleanor.

While definitely a quirky, slight unreliable narrator, I couldn’t help but be drawn in by Eleanor. I found her character to be so interesting.

Far from perfect, there was a lot going on there. Her relationship with her mother, that made me feel for her right from the start.

There were times when I want to reach through the pages, grab her by the shoulders and shake her! Why are you making these choices, Eleanor!?!?

As you race towards the conclusion, everything gets flipped upside down. The plot twist was so fun. I didn’t see it coming!

For me, the end was great. It definitely left me with an evil grin on my face, which is absolutely how I like to wrap-up my dramatic reads!

Thank you so much to the publisher, MIRA, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review, as well as including me in the Blog Tour for the release.

Hannah Mary McKinnon has a new fan in me. I look forward to reading more from her in the future!

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Review: The First Mistake by Sandie Jones

The First MistakeThe First Mistake by Sandie Jones
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The First Mistake was a delight!

I haven’t read a book in under 24-hours in a while. So fun!

Alice’s life hasn’t always been perfect, although from the outside it may appear so.

She lost her first husband, Tom, a decade ago and as expected, the tragedy hit her extremely hard. Her young daughter was really what pulled her through.

Now remarried to her second husband, Nathan, they own a successful design company and have added another little girl to their family.

Alice feels motivated and content.

Unfortunately, Nathan starts to behave curiously and all Alice’s old anxieties rise to the surface.

Her best friend, Beth, who always has her back, tells her she has every right to be suspicious.

As she begins to look into it, Alice wonders if Beth is even someone she can trust.

There were so many twists, turns and revelations in this book, I could not put it down. My head was spinning. I trusted no one.

I could never have guessed the conclusion to this, not in my wildest dreams!

Thank you so much to the publisher, Minotaur Books, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review.

I am looking forward to reading more domestic suspense from Sandie Jones!

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Review: A Nearly Normal Family by M.T. Edvardsson

A Nearly Normal FamilyA Nearly Normal Family by M.T. Edvardsson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Apparently, legal thrillers are something I am into now because I f*ing loved this!!

I listened to the audiobook and I feel it was brilliantly cast and narrated. I definitely think that had an influence on my reading experience.

I thought the format was so clever. The three perspectives were presented in three separate chunks as opposed to alternating back and forth.

The story started with ‘The Father’s’ perspective. Adam, a family man and pastor, tells his side of the story. His relationship with his 18- y.o. daughter, who is now being held in police custody accused of a brutal murder.

He fills in a large part of the narrative and you think you have a fairly good handle on the overall story.

Then we get ‘The Daughter’s’ perspective. Well, she would know, wouldn’t she? She was there. The events happened to her.

But as I love, Stella, is a deliciously unreliable narrator, who openly admits to her outstanding ability to lie and manipulate others.

Her perspective fills in some blanks and of course, creates some new ones.

At this point, I was thinking a lot about how two different people can experience the same things and interpret those events completely differently.

It’s fascinating to think about. I love this type of psychological examination of characters.

Lastly, we get ‘The Mother’s’ perspective. Just when you think you have a super firm handle on the events in question, you discover there’s so much more going on.

Stella’s mom, a high powered attorney, knows how the system works and she’ll do anything in her power to protect her little girl.

While I can see how some readers may find this slow or choppy, I had absolutely no complaints about the writing or the format.

I was hooked into this story, start to finish, and loved how much it made me think outside of the reading experience itself.

Overall, a huge fan of this, recommend to anyone who enjoys a legal or crime drama. Would absolutely recommend the audiobook as well!

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Review: The Dilemma by B.A. Paris

The DilemmaThe Dilemma by B.A. Paris
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

B.A. Paris, my Queen.

Although very different from her prior works, I still really enjoyed this. Smaller in scope, yet quite intricate as a character study.

Following husband and wife, Livia and Adam, this story takes place during the course of one day. The day of Livia’s much anticipated 40th birthday party.

Adam and Livia were married very young and never had the chance to have the wedding of her dreams.

She has always looked on this party as an opportunity to celebrate not just her birthday, but also their relationship.

As the day arrives Livia is dragged down by a monumental secret she is keeping from her husband.

Unfortunately, she’s not the only one with a secret. Adam has a life-changing secret as well that he is choosing to keep from her.

The narrative alternates between the two as they struggle with their decisions to keep such important facts secret from one another. It is very introspective in a lot of ways, but there is still quite a bit of suspense.

Over the course of the story, the reader learns the true nature of their respective secrets and what those secrets could mean for the family as a whole.

As I mentioned above, this novel seemed smaller in scope compared to her previous novels. By that I mean, all of the action takes place at their home during the course of one day.

Her previous novels certainly covered larger geographical areas, as well as longer spans of time, making the stories seem more complex.

However, I think after you complete this one, and you sit back and think about what you have read, the real intricacies begin to come to light.

I cried reading this. The characters go through so much, it really moved me.

Although I would classify this as more domestic drama than psychological thriller, which is what I would classify her earlier novels, I appreciated it very much.

Her writing style is just so compelling and never fails to keep me glued to the pages.

B.A. Paris has a fan in me for life. I will always pick up every single thing she has published.

Thank you so much to the publisher, St. Martin’s Press, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review. This was absolutely one of my most anticipated releases of the year and it did not disappoint.

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Blog Tour Review: The Last Affair by Margot Hunt

The Last AffairThe Last Affair by Margot Hunt
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars rounded up**

From the outside, suburbanite Mom, Gwen Landon, seems to have it all. With successful husband, Josh, two children and a Labrador, they are a living example of the picture perfect family. Until Gwen winds up dead, that is, bludgeoned to death in her own backyard with a driveway paving stone.

Nora Holliday also appears to be living in suburban bliss, although behind closed doors, things are a bit darker for Nora. Her husband, once an abusive alcoholic, now in recovery, is challenging to live with and the love and spark is definitely gone. Nora does what she can to try to keep it all together for their children but that type of life can be hard.

When Josh and Nora run into each other at an out of town hotel bar, they make a irrevocable and passionate decision that will alter all of their lives.

Full of the domestic drama we all love, glazed with a delightfully devious revenge plot, The Last Affair will keep you vigorously turning the pages until the very end. Once I started down this twisted road of secrets and lies, I could not put it down!

Jumping back and forth between multiple perspectives helped this one to never lose its pace. There were so many secrets, so little honest communication, it was frustrating and amazing all at the same time.

If you are looking for a fast-paced, cleverly plotted domestic drama to help get you through this holiday season, you should definitely consider picking this one up!

I am so happy that I had the opportunity to read this early. Thank you so much to the publisher, Harlequin — MIRA, for providing me with a copy to read and review.

I had a lot of fun with this story and am definitely looking forward to Margot Hunt’s next novel. I think her writing has grown a lot for this book compared to For Better and Worse so I cannot wait to see what she comes up with next!

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Review: Those People by Louise Candlish

Those PeopleThose People by Louise Candlish
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Let’s get the main grit out of the way:
I am trash for domestic drama from Louise Candlish.

She has such a knack for examining the dark side of an otherwise mundane domestic landscape. Additionally, I am really into how she formats her stories.

She incorporates the use of mixed media, such as police interviews, newspaper articles, texts and/or emails, and I absolutely love that.

This story is set on Lowland Way, a quiet residential street in a posh-suburban neighborhood. The envy of other neighborhoods, this one seems the perfect place to be and raise a family.

Everyone gets along so smoothly, they have even organized ‘play-out Sunday‘, where the street literally gets blocked off to cars and the kids just play in the street all day while the parents relax and socialize. Everyone cooperates. Everyone participates. It’s perfect.

That is until Darren and Jodie move into #1 after Darren inherits the property. They bring with them loud music, inappropriate language, a dodgy renovation project, not to mention many cars that he actively works on and sells from his driveway.

The icing on the cake being that they refuse to follow the rules of play-out Sunday and continue driving cars on the street!!!

As you can imagine, neighbors are not impressed. In fact, their presence causes so much stress that several people discuss selling and moving on. Long-term owners on the street refuse to be cowed by the newcomers however and the plotting and diabolical scheming begins.

Y’all, these neighbors are savage!
They take their domestic peace VERY SERIOUSLY!!!
I can’t say I blame them but, damn, the stuff they come up with!

I had a really great time reading this. As with Our House, you know from the very beginning that a crime has occurred but you aren’t quite sure who the victim is. Overtime, through interviews and the perspectives of multiple characters the true story gets revealed. This style, for me, makes the plot move along very quickly and I love starting a new chapter in order to see someone else’s POV.

At this point, I am a fangirl for Candlish and will definitely continue to pick up any domestic drama she puts out! Thank you so much to the publisher, Berkley Publishing Group, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review. I truly appreciate it!

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