Review: The Fury by Alex Michaelides

The FuryThe Fury by Alex Michaelides
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars**

The Fury, the latest from Alex Michaelides, is a unique and unsettling Tragedy from which I couldn’t look away. This kept my head spinning all the way through. We love that!

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this author’s previous novels, so had been highly anticipating this. I started to see some early reviews though that made question if I would like it.

Luckily, I found this to be engaging and intriguing from the very start. Our narrator, Elliot, addresses the fact that he is our narrator. It’s like we are sitting with him, having some drinks, and he is telling us a story from his life.

I absolutely adore that kind of narrative. It always makes me feel like I am actually a part of the action, or more fittingly in this case, of the friend group.

Elliott relates to us the details of an ill-fated trip he took with his best friend, Lana, a retired movie star, her husband, Jason, their mutual friend, Kate, also an actress, Lana’s son Leo, an aspiring actor, and Lana’s assistant, to a remote Greek island for a weekend getaway.

We know what starts out as a beautiful holiday, ends up to be anything but. The group gets trapped on the island due to high winds. Emotions and tensions are running high. The claustrophobic nature of their excursion becomes palpable.

This strain could be blamed for the violence and death that ultimately occurs, couldn’t it? Or is something much deeper lurking under the surface that leads to the bloody and chaotic conclusion?

Y’all, I was absolutely swept up into this story. I know that some Reviewers have mentioned that it was slow for them, but I didn’t have the same experience with it. I had the audiobook and listened to the first 70% just while adulting, doing my cleaning and other errands, one Saturday.

I was obsessed with learning all I could about the characters and couldn’t help but continuing on. The narrative structure is out of the ordinary, but I loved how it was done.

Michaelides kept me guessing. It also should be noted that I am a huge fan of unreliable narrators and Elliott fits that moniker to a tee.

I wouldn’t say this is a simple story to read, and I can see how it wouldn’t be for everyone. I can also see how some may find it slow. There is quite a bit of develop in the beginning, building out our group and their relationships.

However, for those who enjoy some mental gymnastics, mixed with great character work, an unreliable narrator and tension so thick you could cut it with a knife, this is sure to be a success.

If any of these descriptors are buzzwords for you, give it a go. You may like it, you may not, but either way, it’s sure to be a memorable experience.

A few other aspects of this book that worked for my tastes were the remote location, particularly the fact that it is set on an island, I live on an island, so tend to love to see that, the cast of unlikable characters and the teeny bit of character crossover from The Maidens and The Silent Patient.

No, you don’t need to read either of those novels prior to reading this, but for those who have, those little name drops can be a lot of fun.

While this doesn’t have the same level of mystery as The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, it did sort of remind me of that in some ways. I think the vibe of mild confusion mixed with enjoyment is quite similar.

If you enjoyed that one, you may enjoy this as well. Overall, I think this is just so fun. It’s clever and engaging and yes, also a tad confusing at times.

I’d definitely read it again, maybe try and pick up some subtleties I might have missed this time around.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Macmillan Audio and Celadon Books, for providing me with a copy to read and review. This was a great reading experience for me and I’m happy to have a copy on my shelves.

I can’t wait to see what Michaelides comes up with next!!

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Review: Charlie & the Great Glass Elevator (Charlie Bucket #2) by Roald Dahl

Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator (Charlie Bucket, #2)Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator by Roald Dahl
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars**

Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator is cute and so silly. A great, fun, wacky, witty and energetic read for children.

While I don’t feel the same pull, love, or nostalgia to this as I do to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, I can still appreciate Dahl’s imagination and ability to bring fiction to life.

I read this when I was a kid and I’m not sure I truly understood a lot of what was going on, as it does jump around quickly, and there’s a bit of a Cold War humor undertone to it that I’m sure escaped me.

However, I’m not sure I tracked much more this time around in my 40s, though not necessarily for the same reasons.

I did love the incorporation of Charlie’s family more, particularly when their ages were getting messed with towards the end by some of Wonka’s inventions.

I did definitely miss the magic and wonder of the Chocolate Factory. There’s something about the idea of those endless and impossible sweets that is sure to capture your heart. Also, I sort of missed the annoying other children.

Since Charlie is the best of the best though, it was nice to get to see him escape his previously tough life and go on a true adventure with his loved ones.

I love Charlie and Wonka. Classic characters for all time!

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Review: Only If You’re Lucky by Stacy Willingham

Only If You're LuckyOnly If You’re Lucky by Stacy Willingham
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Only If You’re Lucky is a slow burn and I know it won’t necessarily be for every Reader. For me, though, there is no denying the rich-quality of Willingham’s writing.

She pulled this one off in the end, big time. It took me a minute to settle into the story, not gonna lie, but once I did I was swept up into the drama like a nosy neighbor.

In this story we follow Margot, who is a Freshman at a small Liberal Arts college in South Carolina.

It was Margot’s dream to attend this particular college with her childhood best friend, Eliza. Unfortunately, Eliza’s life was taken in a tragic accident just prior to that dream becoming a reality.

Freshman year, Margot is obviously still coming to grips with the loss of her best friend. She feels like a ship without a port and therefore, plays it very safe. She befriends her new roommate and they barely ever leave the dorm.

At the end of the year though, she gets approached by a girl she’s been watching from afar all year, Lucy Sharpe. Lucy is magnetic, bold and popular and for some reason, she wants Margot as a friend.

Lucy offers Margot the chance to move in with her and two other girls in an off-campus house. Unable to refuse a golden opportunity, the chance for a new life, a fresh start and a position amongst the it-girls, Margot accepts, thus changing her fate forever.

As Margot is folded into this new group of girls, she begins to think that perhaps Lucy isn’t quite who she thinks she is.

The other two girls, Nicole and Sloane, seem a bit hesitant to discuss Lucy behind her back. Are they just loyal friends, or is there more to it than that?

By the end of Sophomore year, these girls are completely embedded in one another’s lives, rarely apart. Then a boy from the fraternity house next door ends up dead and Lucy goes missing without a trace. Circumstances have shifted.

As the police dig into an investigation, it’s clear Margot, Nicole and Sloane know more than they’re letting on. Are they helping Lucy, or do they really not know where she is? You’ll have to hang in until the very end to find out.

As mentioned before, this is a slow burn. You have to be patient as Willingham sets the stage, introduces our characters and fills in some of Margot’s backstory.

As the relationship with Margot and her new friends begins, that’s when things start to pick up. It’s hard to get a read initially on the other girls and you wonder just what exactly Margot is getting herself into.

I did really grow to care for Margot and the other girls over the course of the story. A lot of the things they were doing and going through, I could relate to and through Willingham’s writing, it really took me back to that time in my own life, when I met my best friend, Nichole.

Once I was hooked into the characters, I started to fly through this and I loved how the different aspects of the narrative tied together in the second half.

I think some may be disappointed by this because while it’s pitched as Adult, I would actually classify it as New Adult. Some Readers are going to pick this up and find that the storyline reads a little young for them, and I get that.

I read a ton of YA stories, personally, and love them; particularly YA Mystery/Thrillers. While I was a little surprised initially, I still feel like this is a strong story. In fact, I think this would be a great transitional book for Readers moving from the YA to Adult category.

Also, I know the synopsis states they’re in college, but I rarely read the full synopsis for a Mystery/Thriller, and I think the same can be said for a lot of Readers.

You don’t want to spoil yourself, so if you see a favorite authors’ name on the cover, you just give it a go. These are the people I think are going to be the most surprised.

If you go into this with the right mindset though, knowing this is a story involving young women in the early stages of college, going through all the things young women in college go through, you could really enjoy it.

I did have the pleasure of listening to the audiobook and absolutely recommend that format. It’s narrated by one of the best narrators of all time, Karissa Vacker, and per usual, she brought life to this story.

Overall, I think this was a bit of a change for Stacy Willingham. Her earlier stories have been well and proper in the Adult category. It’s nice to see her stretch her legs a bit and I feel she was successful in this story.

It’s well-constructed and contains a full cast of nicely-fleshed out characters.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Macmillan Audio, for providing me a copy to read and review. Willingham is a must read for me. I will continue to pick up all her work!

Only If You’re Lucky is available now!!!

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Review: The Expectant Detectives (The Expectant Detectives #1) by Kat Ailes

The Expectant Detectives (Expectant Detectives, #1)The Expectant Detectives by Kat Ailes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars rounded up**

The Expectant Detectives is a new style of Cozy Mystery that I have certainly never read before. I found it to be charming and a heck of a lot of fun; pure enjoyment.

I love Cozy Mysteries that feature an MC and their friend group trying to solve a local mystery. A few favorites, to be noted for example, from recent years would be The Thursday Murder Club, Vera Wong’s Unsolicited Advice for Murderers and The Marlow Murder Club.

All three of these books have one important thing in common, the MCs are older than we would typically find in the Mystery genre. These older, dare we call them elderly, characters are quirky, fun and provide a bit of a different perspective than the norm.

In The Expectant Detectives, Kat Ailes uses a very similar set-up to other Cozies, but her intrepid group of amateur sleuths are pregnant women, not elderly individuals.

In this story, we meet and follow, Alice. She and her boyfriend, Joe, are expecting their first child. Although not planned, they’re both excited about the pregnancy and looking forward to the next steps in their relationship.

Thinking their city-located flat will be too small for their growing family, they decide to move to the sleepy village of Penton. They just feel like it would be a more desirable place to raise a child. Safer and all that…

That is until a dead body is discovered at a prenatal class they have joined. They can’t believe it. This is not what they thought village life would be like.

Now everyone in attendance at the class is a suspect, including Alice and Joe.

Together with a few of the other pregnant women, Alice begins looking into the murder herself. She needs to clear their names before this baby arrives.

Side note, Alice has a glorious dog, Helen, who could easily turn out to be my favorite character of the year. I just adored her and the joy she brought to the narrative.

I was really entertained by this story. The audiobook was well done, the narration so on-point with the humor that it had me laughing out loud numerous times.

I thought Ailes set-up for this story was creative and truly unlike anything I’ve read before. Alice has a dry, witty sense of humor that worked well for me. She tells it like it is. She’s pretty blunt about her pregnancy and the way it is changing/affecting her body.

I also liked that it wasn’t just Alice that was pregnant, she had her new friends to share the experience with, as well as to help her do some first-rate investigating.

For me, I wouldn’t say the initial murder was totally compelling. It didn’t even make sense to me at first how they were so confident it was a murder, like it almost felt like it could have been an accident or something.

Nevertheless, I was willing to go on that journey with the characters because I was enjoying them so much. After a while, the more the ladies dug in, the more secrets and intrigue they revealed, then I was hooked.

Overall, this is a fantastic debut Mystery. It had just the right amount of humor and fun, mixed in with the actual mystery. I think the longer this series goes on, the more attached that I’m going to get to these characters and this village as well.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Macmillan Audio, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I’m definitely looking forward to more from Kat Ailes!

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Review: Out There Screaming: An Anthology of New Black Horror, Edited & Intro by Jordan Peele

Out There Screaming: An Anthology of New Black HorrorOut There Screaming: An Anthology of New Black Horror by Jordan Peele
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Out There Screaming: An Anthology of New Black Horror is a project brought to us by writer and director, Jordan Peele.

I’m sure you’re aware of Peele’s work. He has left quite the stamp on pop culture with his brilliant movies and television work. His popularity catapulted this collection onto many TBRs before it released this past October.

I was highly-anticipating this Anthology and am so happy to report, it’s great! Peele was able to bring together an impressive list of authors to contribute to this collection.

I loved how unique each story felt. Within the Horror genre, you really have almost every subgenre represented here. There’s something for everybody.

I’ve written before on the difficulty of rating Anthologies super highly. You’ll always have some stories you connect with more than others. I try to base my rating on the reading experience as a whole.

It’s clear, every contributor here is a gifted storyteller, and whether or not you vibe with the exact content of each story, you’ve got to appreciate the level of skill and heart that each author brought.

Whether you are a fan of SF-Horror with futuristic concepts, Speculative Horror with supernatural elements sprinkled throughout regular life, Mermaids, Historic Horror, or Social Horror; you will absolutely be able to find a story within this collection to sink your teeth into!

If you are interested, some stand-outs for me were: Eye and Tooth by Rebecca Roanhorse, The Other One by Violet Allen, Lasiren by Erin E. Adams, Dark Home by Nnedi Okorafor, Flicker by L.D. Lewis, The Most Strongest Obeah Woman of the World by Nalo Hopkinson, A Bird Sings by the Etching Tree by Nicole D. Sconiers and Hide and Seek by P. Djèlí Clark.

While these are the stories that resonated the most with me, as I mentioned before, this collection truly has stories for every type of Horror Reader.

It’s super diverse, extremely fast-paced, well-arranged and will keep you on your toes throughout.

Overall, this is a well-rounded collection. Every person who reads this is going to have a different experience. I think it would be really fun to read this with friends, or a book club. There would be so much to discuss!

That’s what it’s all about; making your own connections and interpretations, having fun and learning from others perspectives, cultures, traditions, folklore and experiences.

I think all of the contributors to this Anthology should be proud of the work they put forth here. Everyone was bringing their A-game.

I’m happy to have been introduced to a some new authors that I can follow, as well as getting to read more from some of my tried and true favorites like P. Djèlí Clark, Nnedi Okorafor and Rebecca Roanhorse.

I definitely recommend this to anyone who enjoys Anthologies, Horror stories, or Speculative Fiction in general. I’ll remember this collection for a long time!

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Review: All the Dark Places (Detective Rita Myers #1) by Terri Parlato

All the Dark PlacesAll the Dark Places by Terri Parlato
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars rounded up**

All the Dark Places is the start of Terri Parlato’s Detective Rita Myers Mystery series. There are 2-books released thus far, with the 2nd-book having just come out this past December.

I actually read them out of order, starting with What Waits in the Woods. I really enjoyed it and knew immediately that I needed to read this 1st-book ASAP.

I loved Rita and needed more of her in my life!

This is a dual perspective story following Detective Rita Myers, our MC, and Molly Bradley, the woman most closely linked to the mystery tackled in this book.

This story is set during the first week of January, which incidentally is when I read it. This tickled me for some reason. This has no bearing on my review, I just thought it was a funny coincidence.

So, it’s the first week of January and Molly has planned a dinner party for her husband, Jay’s, 40th-birthday. They have their tight-knit group of friends, which consists of three other local couples, over to the house.

It’s a great time. There’s plenty of drinks, laughs, food and even a beautiful cake. At the end of the night, the wine has definitely gone to Molly’s head. She heads upstairs to bed while Jay sees the other couples out.

The next morning when Molly wakes, Jay isn’t in the bedroom. He isn’t in the house at all and no coffee has been made. Fearing something is wrong, Molly rushes out to his office, housed in an outbuilding on their property. It’s there that she finds his dead body.

Detective Rita Myers is assigned to Jay Bradley’s case. An experienced detective, Rita is convinced that Jay’s murder isn’t some random act of violence. She believes someone in their circle is responsible for his death.

The investigation leaves no stone unturned as Rita digs into Molly and Jay’s life. It turns out, their group, like most, is hiding a lot deep dark secrets, including Molly herself.

It’s really hard for me to not 5-star a book that keeps me invested for an entire day. I flew through this and loved it. It wasn’t totally perfect, but pretty damn close.

I am well and truly invested in Detective Rita Myers now. I can’t wait for more books in this series, but I have a feeling, since the second one just released, that I’m in for quite a wait before book three.

I listened to the audiobook for both and loved them so much. It’s dual narrators, to fit the dual perspective and the narrators truly captured the spirit of these characters.

I definitely recommend this series to any Reader who enjoys Police Procedural Mysteries, or Crime Thrillers. Parlato’s mysteries are engaging and hard to put down once you start.

Detective Myers is such a compelling MC as well. She’s someone you can really get behind. She’s strong, smart, determined and always looking to do what’s right.

When I say I read this straight through, I’m not joking. I was on a journey with these characters. I didn’t even have time to make status updates. That’s how invested I was. I’m actually hoping for a paycheck from Rita’s department for my efforts.

If you’re looking for a strong new Mystery series to start, look no further. This is where it’s at. While you’re reading it, I’ll just be over here patiently waiting for more!!

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Review: What Waits in the Woods (Detective Rita Myers #2) by Terri Parlato

What Waits in the WoodsWhat Waits in the Woods by Terri Parlato
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What Waits in the Woods is the 2nd-book in Terri Parlato’s Detective Rita Myers series. This is an Adult Police Procedural Mystery following, you guessed it, Detective Rita Myers.

I actually didn’t read the 1st-book, All the Dark Places, prior to reading this one, but I enjoyed this so much, I started the 1st-book immediately after and have already finished it.

It’s fair to say, I will continue to pick up each book in this series as they’re released. Keep ’em coming, Parlato!

This is a dual perspective story following Detective Myers and Esmé Foster, a young woman directly connected to the mystery investigated in this book.

I listened to the audiobook and the dual narrators truly brought these two perspectives to life.

Esmé left her small hometown of Graybridge, 11-years ago to pursue her ballet career. After an injury and a recent break-up though, she decides it’s finally time to return after she gets a call from her brother stating their father isn’t well.

The day that Esmé returns, a body is discovered on her family property. She arrives home to police cars and questions, not exactly the homecoming she was expecting.

Making matters worse is the fact that the dead body isn’t just some stranger, it’s Kara Cunningham, one of Esmé’s closest childhood friends.

Esmé is devastated by the loss of her friend, but there’s something else needling her as well. Esmé and Kara looked a lot alike, what if she was actually the intended target?

Esmé has her reasons for believing this could be the case, but it’s going to take her processing a lot of old baggage to actually figure it out.

Detective Rita Myers gets called to the Foster property after the discovery of Kara’s body and immediately digs in to her investigation. Detective Myers has a lot of experience and genuine care in her work.

There’s no doubt she is going to get to the bottom of this grisly crime, no matter what it takes.

I had so much fun reading this. The mystery was intriguing, the plot was fast-paced and the reveals were exciting and more often than not, unexpected.

I think Detective Myers is a fabulous main character and I know I am just going to become more and more attached to her as the series continues.

She’s a seasoned detective, no-nonsense and smart. She works with a lot of younger detectives and cops and you can tell that they look up to her as a leader.

I also enjoyed getting to know her more on a personal side outside of work. She has some interesting neighbors and even a potential love interest that I am hoping to learn more about in subsequent books.

As with many Mystery series, I don’t feel like you need to necessarily read these books in order. I didn’t feel like I was missing anything going into this because I hadn’t read the 1st-book yet. It’s a complete story unto itself.

I do feel, though, that this is the type of series where the longer you stay involved with this group of characters, the more attached you become, and the higher your enjoyment level will ultimately be.

I knew right away that I would continue on with this series. The writing is compelling, the mystery is well-formatted and the characters are likable.

This is a very solid Police Procedural Mystery. I would recommend it for fans of Caz Frear’s Cat Kinsella series, or Gytha Lodge’s DCI Jonah Sheens series, as I feel like the tone here and quality of the mystery are very similar to those.

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

I’m so excited to have a new Mystery author to follow. I hope this series keeps going for a long, long time!

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Review: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Charlie Bucket #1) by Roald Dahl

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Charlie Bucket, #1)Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

🍫💛💜💙💛💜💙💛💜💙💛💜💙💛🍫

You know what’s a great way to start a new year?

Re-reading a nostalgic childhood favorite. It’s a quick, fun way to add an extra dose of good cheer and inspiration into the start of your reading year.

I know this, because I actually did it. Today.

I loved Charlie and the Chocolate Factory as a child and even re-read it in high school, but it’s been over 25-years since I last visited this enchanting and mouth-watering tale.

Of course I have watched the movies numerous times since, but actually reading Charlie’s journey in Dahl’s own words has truly reinvigorated my love for this classic story.

In the beginning, when we meet the Buckets, I had forgotten so many of the details regarding the family and also just how tough things were for them.

The build-up as Charlie searches for his ticket, while not as edge-of-your-seat for me now as it was when I was a kid, I did still feel a little desperation, both for Charlie and myself. We needed to get into that factory!

This went so quickly. I had also forgotten how fast the story moves between each of the side characters and their experiences with the chocolate factory. Before you know it, you’re down to one.

I am planning to pick up Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator very soon. I’m excited to continue on, because I have only read that sequel once and having not been reminded of the content from movies, have less of a recollection of the story.

I love Charlie and Grandpa Joe so much. Wonka too. He’s such a great character. There’s many ways to picture him, but I’ve gotta go with Gene Wilder for the win.

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Review: That’s Not My Name by Megan Lally

That's Not My NameThat’s Not My Name by Megan Lally
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars rounded up**

That’s Not My Name was a great start to a new reading year. If this is what 2024 has in store, I’m a happy girl!

I’ve been on a holiday for the past 10-days. My house needed cleaning, I needed to unpack, organize, it was a whole day affair. Thanks to Megan Lally, that day was a breeze.

I started this one as soon as I started cleaning this morning and could not stop. It’s super compelling, with fabulous narration for the audio. Before I knew it, it was done.

This story follows two perspectives, Mary and Drew. There are dual narrators for the audio and they were each perfect for the character they were portraying. They were convincing as teens, which isn’t always the case.

When we meet Mary, she is injured and in distress. She is taken to a police station and expresses that she has no memory of who she is, or how she got injured.

As she and the kind Officer who picked her up try to decide what their next steps will be, a frantic man arrives at the station looking for his daughter.

She doesn’t remember him, but really, she doesn’t remember anything. He is able to provide the Officer with everything needed to prove she’s his daughter, Mary Boone. He has School IDs, family photos, even her birth certificate.

The Officer leaves Mary in his care, but does promise to check up on her soon, after she’s had a chance to rest.

Drew’s whole life changed weeks ago after his girlfriend, Lola, disappeared. He hasn’t been 100% truthful about the last night he saw her, not with anyone, not even the police, and now the guilt is eating away at him.

Making matters worse, the whole town, even people he considered friends, seem to think he is responsible for her disappearance. It’s always the boyfriend, right?

Drew tries to stay positive and focused. He knows he didn’t do anything to Lola and he’s determined to find her before it’s too late. He needs to prove his innocence, but he also feels he owes it to her after what he did.

The longer Lola is missing though, the more his chances of finding her diminish. He knows that, he’s realistic, so clearly time is of the essence. Along with a couple of friends Drew begins some sleuthing of his own, following leads to a place he never would have suspected.

When I tell you I was drawn in from the very start of this story, that is not an exaggeration. Getting Mary’s perspective as she struggles to recover memories and figure out what happened to her, that whole narrative was so freaking compelling.

Then with Drew, I was equally transfixed by his story. He doesn’t reveal everything right away and you can tell he is second-guessing some things. I needed to stay with him until the end.

I love how Lally paced this out. The perspective shifts were so well done. It’s definitely a ‘one more chapter’ kind of read. Each chapter left me wanting more in such a fun way.

The intensity builds at a nice steady pace as you are given more and more information about what the truth actually is for these two. By the end, I was racing along and felt so many emotions by the end.

I loved the conclusion and am just so very pleased by the overall experience. I am absolutely blown away that this is a debut. Lally knocked this out of the park, IMO and I am super stoked to see what she delivers us next.

I would absolutely recommend this to anyone who enjoys a tense, fast-paced, emotional YA Thriller. I think this would work well for fans of Kit Frick, Laurie Faria Stolarz, Mindy McGinnis, or even Natalie D. Richards.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Recorded Books, for providing me with a copy to read and review. Megan Lally is going on my autobuy list for sure. I can’t wait for more!

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Review: The Guest by B.A. Paris

The GuestThe Guest by B.A. Paris
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars**

B.A. Paris is back and she’s bringing my favorite kind of suspenseful Domestic Drama with her.

I had so much fun reading The Guest. Frustrating in the best ways, I found it to be completely addictive and one heck of a gripping roller coaster ride.

In this story we meet Iris and Gabriel, a married couple living in the British countryside. They have a grown daughter who is currently working abroad in Greece, so all is fairly peaceful on the homefront.

That is until the day a local boy suffered a terrible accident, falling into a nearby quarry. Gabriel was the one to find the boy’s battered body and even though Gabriel’s a skilled doctor, there was nothing he could do.

The boy couldn’t be saved, but Gabriel did get to be with him in his final moments, so he wasn’t alone.

Gabriel hasn’t been the same since that tragic day, and even though Iris is trying to help him cope, it’s definitely put a strain on their relationship.

As they are grappling with this, an unexpected house guest arrives. Their old friend, Laure, has shown up from Paris. She says that she and her husband, Pierre, have had a terrible fight and she needs a place to stay.

Iris and Gabriel have been best friends with Laure and Pierre for many, many years, so they tell Laure that she is welcome and that she can stay for as long as she needs.

Laure moves herself in and makes herself as comfortable as possible, wearing Iris’s clothes and shadowing her every move. As the days and even weeks pass, the couple begins to question Laure’s story and her motives.

What is she really doing there and when the heck is she going to leave?

As tension mounts, more people get drawn into the twisted drama; the new couple in town, their handsome gardener and even Iris and Gabriel’s daughter.

As mentioned above, I really enjoyed this one and found the narrative to be compulsively readable. From the Prologue, Paris had absolutely hooked me. She definitely has a gift for drawing the Reader in.

From the initial set-up, with Laure arriving at the house, you can just tell it is going to get freaking wild. There’s a vibe under the surface of constant tension and intrigue.

No matter how crazy things get though, I always find Paris’s main characters to be relatable. I never have a problem putting myself in their shoes and imagining what I would do in any given situation.

This one had me biting my nails with tension, yelling at Laure, yelling at Iris. I would have done some major clean-out of my house, that’s for sure.

I really got sucked into all of the interpersonal drama in this story, but also loved the mystery running throughout. It was hard to tell who you could trust and some of the connections were also shady.

There were some real strong reveals and I was happy with the way it ultimately concluded. This did feel more reminiscent to some of Paris’s earlier works as well, which were a little stronger for me than her more recent releases.

I would definitely recommend this one to anyone who enjoys a taut, twisted Domestic Drama, particularly if you have enjoyed B.A. Paris’s earlier stories.

I would also recommend reading this one with a friend, or Book Club. I actually Buddy Read it and thought it was exciting to discuss it with someone else as we discovered the twists and turns together.

Overall, I thought this was such a great read. I’m so happy Paris continues to write these types of stories. As long as she is writing them, I’ll be reading them.

Thank you so much to the publisher, St. Martin’s Press and Macmillan Audio, for providing me copies to read and review. The Guest is releasing on February 20, 2024, and IMO, this one should not be missed!!

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