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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Review: The Safe Place by Anna Downes

The Safe PlaceThe Safe Place by Anna Downes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A strong debut Thriller, engrossing and intense!

Emily is down on her luck, wishing for rescue, as a white knight comes charging through to save her.

By white knight, I mean a very wealthy man, Scott Denny, Emily’s former boss, who offers her an unusual opportunity she cannot turn down.

Before she knows it, Em is being whisked off to the coast of France to live in a Guest Cottage at the Denny’s secluded waterfront estate, Querencia.

Scott’s mysterious wife, Nina, lives there with their young daughter, Aurelia. While the job description is foggy, Emily assumes she is part-housekeeper, part-nanny.

And while she does perform a large amount of upkeep and renovation projects, as the days pass, it begins to seem she is more of a companion for Nina than anything else.

They sit by the pool, drink wine, play with Aurelia. It’s a dream job. Until it’s not.

This book really intrigued me. For the first 60%, I could not figure out where it was going. Obviously, something was amiss, it’s a Thriller, but what was it?

Was Scott up to something? Was Nina? Aurelia seemed a little strange, was she possessed? What about Emily? An unreliable narrator if ever there was one, right?

Then at 60%, there was one sentence, one sentence that made every single puzzle piece fall into place for me. It was so glaringly obvious to me after that what was actually going on.

While I don’t believe that is where I was suppose to figure it all out, as looking back, it was a fairly mundane sentence, I did and it sort of sucked a little of the joy out of it for me.

But, just a little. Overall, I did have a ton of fun reading this. It was quite intense towards the end.

Even though the characters might not have made the choices I would have made, I was satisfied with the conclusion. It felt complete.

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

I definitely think it will end up being one of the hottest Thrillers of the summer. Available now!!!

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Review: The Girl from Widow Hills by Megan Miranda

The Girl from Widow HillsThe Girl from Widow Hills by Megan Miranda
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When she was just 6-years old, Arden Maynor became a national news story because of something shocking and terrifying that happened to her.

One night, in the midst of a sleepwalking episode, she exited her house during a terrible storm and subsequently got swept away into her hometown storm drain system.

Her mother reports her missing when she is not in her bed early the next morning. Hearing of the missing girl, the entire town of Widow Hills, and even neighboring towns, mobilize to search for her.

Three days later, a man helping with the search discovers her grasping a grate at the top of a storm drain. Unable to pry open the grate lid, he holds her tight until a final rescue plan can be implemented.

It’s an unbelievable story that unsurprisingly took the media by storm. How could a little girl possibly survive in a water-logged drainage system for three days on her own!?

Riding on the wings of such attention, Arden’s mother takes full advantage and publishes a book telling her story. Along with the generosity of strangers and paid speaking events, the book royalties allow the Maynors a fairly stable income.

But Arden disagrees with her mother a hundred percent on how she wants her life to go. She wants to be as far from the spotlight as possible.

She hates the pressure, people thinking they know her, her life story, acting like she owes them something. She just wants to move on with her life and forget that horrible night altogether.

As soon as she can, Arden changes her name to Olivia, goes to college and breaks away from her mother for good.

Frankly, the woman is toxic and being as far away from her as possible, does wonders for Olivia’s own mental health and wellness.

The bulk of the narrative takes place as the 20th-anniversary of that fateful night approaches. In addition to the present-day narrative, mixed media sources are interspersed throughout that shine further light on the incident that changed Olivia’s life forever.

These include 9-1-1 call transcripts, police and media interviews, as well as excerpts from her mother’s book.

As the anniversary gets closer, Olivia discovers she is sleepwalking again and begins to feel paranoid that she is being watched. She confides in her protective next-door neighbor and even a close friend after her hand is forced.

Are the reporters back at it again, looking for another story, or is something more sinister going on? When a man ends up dead in her yard, Olivia guesses the latter.

This was a fun story. Such a quick read, I just wanted to know what was happening. The suspense was killing me, I just wanted Olivia to be okay!

There were some great red herrings, excellent plot twists and steady, exciting pacing.

This made me think of the story of Baby Jessica from the 1980s. The notoriety that surrounded her life and her family for years to come.

I thought Miranda did a great job expressing the stress and discomfort that can have on people involved in that sort of media firestorm. I cannot even imagine. As a private person, even thinking of that gives me anxiety.

This was my first novel by Megan Miranda and I really vibed well with her writing style. I will absolutely be picking up more of her work soon.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Simon & Schuster, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I appreciate it and know a lot of readers are going to really enjoy this!

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Review: The Daughter of Patience by Hussin Alkheder

The Daughter of PatienceThe Daughter of Patience by Hussin Alkheder
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars rounded up**

When Mustafa’s sister, Hadiya, dies unexpectedly in her home, he suspects foul play.

Hadiya was a healthy woman, in her 40s, a housewife and mother to five children. He has a suspicion that his estranged brother-in-law, Mazen, may be to blame.

Mazen, who lives full-time in Dubai, reportedly like a King, sends home barely enough money for his wife and children to scrape by.

What sort of man is this? He has not only essentially abandoned his family, he has also skipped town on numerous debts, including one to Mustafa.

Mustafa reaches out to Mullah Abdullah Al-Allab for assistance getting to the bottom of what happened to his sister.

The Mullah is a staple of Hadiya’s neighborhood and just so happens to dabble unofficially in private investigation.

As we know, I love a Mystery with an amateur sleuth!

The story then follows the Mullah as he tracks clues through the streets of Damascus, to Dubai and back again. We meet Hadiya’s children and find out, all is not well in their home.

There is a heart-wrenching mystery involving the youngest daughter in the home, Zakiya, who suffers from severe injuries that belie explanation.

Who is hurting her? The other children are not speaking and while Hadiya has already lost her life, the Mullah knows he must act fast to prevent Zakiya from suffering the same fate.

This is a debut novel for Hussin Alkheder and I think he should be incredibly proud.

The construction of this story is very well done and the pacing excellent. In the beginning, I wasn’t sure if I would ever connect with the story, but eventually I really did connect with the Mullah.

He is an engaging protagonist, who tries his best to be a force of good, no matter how unkind the world can be. He is a loving family man, who tries to protect, not only his family, but other families within his community.

There is a heavy religious undertone to this novel; as you can imagine, since the protagonist is an Imam at his local mosque. He views the world, and his actions within it, through a religious prism.

While I understand and appreciate that, and know Alkheder is being culturally accurate in his portrayal of this character, at times, small aspects of that element would shake me out of the story.

There were also some elements that made me uncomfortable, most notably, a scene involving a queer boy’s treatment at the hands of local law enforcement.

With that being said, overall, I really enjoyed this. It is definitely a novel that will stick with you, long after you turn the last page.

The final few scenes of this were super intense and I love the way it ended.

I really hope Alkheder plans to turn this into a series. I would absolutely go along with the Mullah as he solves another mystery!

Thank you so much to the author, Hussin Alkheder, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review. I’m so glad I took the chance to pick it up!

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Review: The Passengers by John Marrs

The PassengersThe Passengers by John Marrs
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A nonstop thrill ride from beginning to end. A Techno-Thriller to beat all Techno-Thrillers!

My first John Marrs novel gets two very solid thumbs up.

The premise of The Passengers intrigued me from the start.

It sounds like it will be The Purge but set in a Tesla.

Surprisingly enough, it is actually more like The Hunger Games but set in a Tesla and I was so down for that!

In a near-future U.K., Level 5 autonomous vehicles are now the law of land. Said to make personal travel completely safe, that isn’t necessarily the case.

Situations are still going to arise where an accident is imminent, but without a human to control the vehicle, what will happen if you are to say, hit a grandmother crossing the street, versus crash head on into another vehicle carrying the country’s most loved football star?

The vehicle, or more accurately, the computer controlling the vehicle will have to come to a decision. A sort of cost-benefit analysis for the greater good of society.

We meet eight individuals, all with one thing in common: they are getting into their autonomous cars around the same time, on the same day.

After settled in, the doors lock and a mysterious voice pumps through the car speakers telling them, their plans have changed and in just a few hours, they will all be dead.

Their collective plight is broadcast across all media outlets nationwide. The citizens of the country get to vote for one passenger to be the sole survivor.

Who will it be?

This whole story was so interesting. The commentary on our future with tech, the moral issues our dependence upon such technologies will bring about, as well as the potentially harmful nature of social media, was all spectacularly done.

There was never a moment while reading this that I felt bored, or that details were inconsequential to the story. It was so well crafted.

This may be my first John Marrs, but it certainly will not be my last!

Thank you so much to the publisher, Berkley Books, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I appreciate the opportunity and had a wonderful time with it.

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Review: The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James

The Sun Down MotelThe Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

My main hope going into this book was that I would love it as much as The Broken Girls. I am happy to report, I loved it even more!!!

While The Broken Girls dipped a toe in the supernatural, The Sun Down Motel dives in headfirst and these waters run deep and dark!

In 1982, Viv Delaney ends up in Fell, New York completely by chance.

Her original intention was to head to New York City, but after stopping in Fell, she ends up staying, working the night shift at a roadside motel.

Never one to shy away from the macabre, Viv isn’t scared off when she notices mysterious happenings around her workplace.

The motel itself isn’t the only scary part of her new life, however, the clientele of The Sun Down also leave a bit to be desired. Not to mention the missing and murdered young women in the area.

Viv decides to begin an investigation. She’s going to get to the bottom of what is going on at the motel, and with the missing girls, one way or another.

We follow Viv’s perspective as her time at The Sun Down edges towards her final night, a cold night in November when she disappears without a trace.

We also follow the perspective of Viv’s niece, Carly, who arrives at The Sun Down thirty-five years later.

Things fall into place fairly rapidly for Carly. It’s almost like she was meant to be there.

She gets hired to work the night shift at the motel, just like her Aunt Viv, and ends up living in Viv’s old apartment.

Carly, who is actively researching her Aunts disappearance, will end up discovering way more than she bargained for.

I absolutely loved every second I spent reading this book.

I was a fan of St. James before, but this, was magic for my mind. The alternating perspectives where fantastic. I felt drawn to each woman and comfortable listening to their stories, in their time.

The pacing was excellent. No filler to get through, just meat. It was perfectly plotted as you raced towards the conclusion.

The side characters were all well developed and each added their own dimension to the story. Both Viv and Carly had allies in their search for answers, even though they often felt alone in their missions.

Of course, the atmosphere was fantastic as well, something St. James definitely excels at writing.

Additionally, I enjoyed the theme of particular dangers to women and how that can make you feel powerless to know you always have to have your guard up. That you can be harmed at another’s will.

At the end of the day. Simone St. James is an autobuy author for me. I hope she continues down this same path for a long time to come. She has such a great gift for eerie storytelling and I’m here for it!

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

I truly appreciate it and have since purchased a finished copy for my shelves. I look forward to seeing what twisted tale St. James will think of next!

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Review: Never Have I Ever by Joshilyn Jackson

Never Have I EverNever Have I Ever by Joshilyn Jackson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

**2.5-stars rounded up**

Something wicked this way comes…

When Angelica Roux breezes into Amy and Charlotte’s neighborhood Book Club, you would think she belonged there, or at least that she had been invited.

New to the neighborhood, renting a dilapidated house that sees many short-term tenants, Roux is carefree and mysterious.

The other women seem intrigued by Roux’s vivacious personality, but not Amy. She can’t help but wonder what this woman’s angle is. She seems to be intentionally trying to get under her skin.

When Roux proceeds to get the ladies sloshed, minus Charlotte, who is currently pregnant, Amy’s suspicions begin to grow.

Roux gathers them round and suggests they play a drinking game. The game is basically to confess the worst things they’ve ever done. An adult version of ‘never have I ever’. Amy is not playing.

When the party is over, secrets have been spilled that could alter the course of all their lives, but Roux isn’t done.

Turns out, she has dirt on Amy. Real dirt about the worst night of Amy’s life. One she thought was buried forever.

Now Roux has the goods to blackmail Amy for all she’s got.

There’s one problem, Roux has definitely underestimated Amy. The domestic goddess exterior is not the whole of her person and Amy is willing to do anything to protect what is hers.

Sounds intriguing, doesn’t it?

The premise, absolutely is compelling. The writing, however, just didn’t work for me.

I found the dialogue to be wonky and had quite a few eye-roll moments.

Additionally, I felt like the pacing was off. It took a long time for me to get into it and then it would fluctuate between being interesting and being boring for the rest of the book.

The ultimate plot twist was gross. It made me super uncomfortable and yeah, it is just my opinion, but it pretty much ruined the whole book for me.

Basically, I am rounding up because I can admit that for many people this will be a good book. It just wasn’t the book for me.

I want to thank the publisher, William Morrow, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I appreciate the opportunity even though it was a miss for me.

I don’t anticipate picking up further books from the author, but if you think there are other books of hers I would enjoy, let me know!

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Review: All Your Twisted Secrets by Diana Urban

All Your Twisted SecretsAll Your Twisted Secrets by Diana Urban
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars**

Arriving at a purported scholarship dinner, Amber Prescott, and her classmates, quickly discover something isn’t right.

The teens seem to be the only people in the building and after the door to the banquet room closes, they’re locked in.

Once the purpose of them being trapped is revealed, they realize they have an important decision to make.

They have to choose one of them to die. If they don’t, they’ll all die.

Alternating between the present timeline and the months leading up to the night of the action, this story pieces together the relationship dynamics of all the characters.

Amber is our narrator. She is a musical prodigy, whose main goal is to go to USC for musical composition. The other characters include Queen Bee, Sasha, Amber’s ex-BFF, Priya, Amber’s boyfriend, Robbie, bad boy, Scott, and childhood entrepreneur, Diego.

The characters were fairly stereotypical, but generally I don’t mind that and I didn’t really mind it here.

While the set-up was compelling, I was hoping for a bit more of a mystery. This seemed like a dramatic YA Contemporary to me, with a teensy-tiny bit of suspense sprinkled over the top.

While some of the interactions between the teens was interesting, it just wasn’t what I was looking for going in.

Overall, it was entertaining, though I wouldn’t say particularly memorable. If you are looking for a quick, dramatic story though, it’s absolutely worth reading, just expect more drama than suspense.

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Review: You Are Not Alone by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

You Are Not AloneYou Are Not Alone by Greer Hendricks
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Shay Miller is a 30-something data researcher living in New York City. Estranged from her family, with few friends, she spends a good portion of her time on her own.

Sharing an apartment with a cute guy she has an unrequited crush on seems to be the highlight of her existence. That is until he gets a new girlfriend, Jody, who is slowly pushing Shay out.

Shay knows her days in that apartment are numbered, so like her numerous temp jobs, even her living situation is unstable.

As her life seemingly drifts out of her control, Shay witnesses a horrific event on a subway platform that unknowingly sets her on a new course.

Witnessing a young woman’s suicide, Shay is understandably shaken. She feels like she could have done something to stop it.

Compelled to learn more about this tragic girl, she discovers her identity, Amanda Evinger, and ends up attending her memorial service.

Once there, surrounded by Amanda’s friends and loved ones, Shay tries to blend in as well as she can. She makes up a loose acquaintance to Amanda for her cover story.

Everyone is so nice to her, including the glamorous Moore sisters, Cassandra and Jane. Despite herself, Shay gets caught up in the warmth of the service and begins to let her guard down.

After the Moore sisters come into her orbit, things begin to fall into place for Shay. She suddenly finds herself with an alternative living arrangement, a better job, and a potential love life.

When things seem too good too be true, however, they often are.

What happens next is a wild ride through the streets of New York as Shay slowly pieces together the truth of the Moore sisters.

Who is friend? Who is foe? If you don’t read this book, you’ll never know!

Much like previous works by Hendricks and Pekkanen, You Are Not Alone does a great job of building suspense throughout.

Alternating perspectives help to amp up your sense of dread as you rush towards the final conclusion. I was biting my nails, for sure!

It was definitely tense. I really enjoyed Shay and was feeling everything she was feeling.

This is a solid suspense story and it kept me entertained all the way through. At first, I had no clue what was happening and as it was revealed, I thought, how clever.

Thank you so much to the publisher, St. Martin’s Press, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I appreciate the opportunity and will continue to read anything this dynamic duo writes!

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