Review: Daughter of Mine by Megan Miranda

Daughter of MineDaughter of Mine by Megan Miranda
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars rounded up**

💚💙💛💚💙💛💚💙💛💚💙💛💚

It’s been a while since I last picked up a Megan Miranda novel, but once I read the synopsis for Daughter of Mine, I knew it was one that I would need to pick up right away.

I listened to the audiobook in a day and recommend that format. I got completely sucked into the story.

This story follows Hazel Sharp, as she returns to her hometown of Mirror Lake after close to a decade away. Her father, the town’s long-time detective has passed away, and Hazel returns to attend his services and see to his estate, along with her two estranged brothers.

Hazel has solely inherited her father’s home, which comes as a huge surprise to her brothers. As the tension rises amongst the Sharp family, the water level in town lowers.

The area is in the grips of a drought. When it hits Mirror Lake, the lake water level drops, and long-buried secrets are revealed.

As more comes to light, it seems that Hazel will finally get answers regarding her mother’s mysterious disappearance when she was just a kid. The story she was told has never sat right with her, so this could be her one chance to clear everything up.

Even though Hazel had only planned to stay in town long enough to pay her respects to her father, she decides to stay longer. She has unfinished business in Mirror Lake.

The Publisher’s synopsis keeps things rather vague regarding the content of this story, and I think that’s perfect. It gives you just enough to make you want to pick it up, without giving away anything significant that will ruin the mystery.

I went into this just knowing the info in the synopsis and I ended up being completely enthralled by all that unfolded in Mirror Lake. This story went so much deeper than I was initially anticipating.

I loved learning about Hazel. I thought she was a fascinating main character. Her life had a lot of different layers to it and I enjoyed unpacking it all right along with her.

The mystery of what is revealed as the water levels drop was also so interesting. I really wanted to know what had gone down in this town.

It’s true that sometimes the smallest towns house the biggest secrets. I feel like anyone from small town America, or elsewhere in the globe, can probably relate to that.

I feel like Miranda really showed off her writing chops in this one. The characters were great. The history of the town and the relationships amongst all the characters were extremely well developed, and the reveals were perfectly timed for maximum impact.

Perhaps some Readers may find this to be slow, but I loved the build. I thought it escalated nicely and the build in tension was perfect for me.

I also LOVED the clever way in which in the weather mirrored the plot progression; so good!

I still have a few Megan Miranda novels left to read. This has definitely motivated me to go back and check off some of those backlist titles.

I would recommend this to Megan Miranda fans, Readers who enjoy small town mysteries, Readers who enjoy characters traveling back to their hometowns to solve an old mystery ((one of my all-time favorite tropes)), or people who enjoy tense family mysteries.

I was really impressed with this!

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Review: Fire Exit by Morgan Talty

Fire ExitFire Exit by Morgan Talty
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars rounded up**

Fire Exit is a realistic Literary Fiction novel that falls completely outside of my comfort zone. I picked this one up because of one reason, and one reason only: Morgan Talty.

I’ve read short-fiction from him and loved it. Additionally, he’s an Assistant Professor at my alma mater, University of Maine, Orono. His stories take place around that area, so there’s also that connection.

This book is about life. More specifically, it’s about Charles Lamosway’s life. The story-telling feels very Coming of Age. Although this isn’t that type of story, Charles takes us through certain portions of his life in a way that makes it feel like that subgenre.

There’s a lot going on in his life, which he focuses on in his narration. First and foremost, is the fact that he has a daughter, Elizabeth, the result of an affair, who doesn’t know the true nature of her parentage.

For years, this has weighed on him. He’s watched Elizabeth grow up, as she lives just across the river from him.

As she comes of age, and his life transitions into its later stages, he starts to feel compelled to share the truth with her. He feels she has the right to know. She has the right to know her true history, who she is and where she came from.

He’s not trying to negate all her parents have done for her, he doesn’t want anything from her really, but Elizabeth’s mother, Mary, doesn’t see it the same way as Charles.

Then there’s his relationship with his mom, Louise. That’s complicated too. He loves his mother. He’s dedicated to her, but it’s not always easy.

Louise has struggled with depression for many, many years. Charles and Louise have also experienced a terrible trauma together, which they never discuss. He has unresolved guilt from that event that continues to haunt him.

Louise is now succumbing to dementia and she’s more reliant on Charles than ever. She’s not always kind, and rarely recognizes him, yet he is 100%-committed to her care. It’s a situation he wasn’t prepared for.

The whole journey he’s on with his mom has caused him to confront a lot of issues from his life. Such as distant moments of his childhood, his relationship with his Mom and step-Dad, Frederick, and of course, his nonexistent relationship with his daughter, Elizabeth.

I thought everything about this was beautifully-done. I loved the writing. I loved the delivery of Charles’s voice and story. I felt like I was sitting with him at a bar in Old Town and he was just relating moments of his life to me.

It amazed me how invested I got in each of the different aspects that Charles was exploring. As mentioned above, this isn’t normally a type of story that I would pick up, but I’m so glad that I did. It was emotional, yet so enjoyable.

I would recommend this to all my Literary Fiction friends out there, or Readers who enjoy the quality of storytelling in a Coming of Age narrative. Also, the audiobook is fantastic. I def recommend that format as well.

Thank you to the publisher, Recorded Books, for providing me with a copy to read and review. Morgan Talty is such a talent. I can’t wait to read more from him!!

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Review: The Night of the Storm by Nishita Parekh

The Night of the StormThe Night of the Storm by Nishita Parekh
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars rounded up**

The Night of the Storm is a debut novel from Nishita Parekh. Honestly, I’ve been a little scared to pick it up, because of the mixed reviews. However, I’m very happy to report that I’m part of Team Really Enjoyed It.

Sure, I see flaws, but at the same time, it worked for me. I found it entertaining. I loved the set-up that left me feeling claustrophobic and unnerved. I love complicated family relationships, and this checked that box extremely well.

In this story, we’re following Jia Shah, an Indian American woman who has recently separated from her husband and moved herself, as well as their 12-year old son, Ishaan, from the family home in Chicago to Houston, Texas.

This is a big deal in her traditional Indian family, and she’s definitely received blow-back stemming from her choices. In spite of other’s disapproval however, Jia did what she knew to be right for her son and herself. She wasn’t willing to live the rest of her life in an unhappy marriage.

It hasn’t been easy though, especially for Ishaan, who she worries about constantly. In fact, Ishaan has newly been suspended from school after being in a fight.

With all this going on, the last thing Jia needs to worry about is a mandatory evacuation order from their apartment building, but with Hurricane Harvey bearing down on the city, that’s exactly what they get.

Luckily, Jia’s sister, Seema, who lives in an fancy house not far away in Sugar Land, has invited them to stay with her and her family to ride out the impending storm.

Jia and Ishaan make it to the house just in time, where they join Seema, her husband, their daughter, Seema’s mother-in-law, as well as her husband’s brother and his wife. It’s a lot of people, but it’s also a big house. They’ll be okay.

Unfortunately, you put that many people together in a house, with severe weather blazing outside and no means of escape, you’re bound to see the tensions rise. Just as things start heating up inside the house, someone ends up dead…

Was it an accident, or is there a murderer amongst them?

For me, and this is completely my unprofessional opinion, I feel like this is more a case of people going into this expecting one thing and then getting another and feeling disappointed, than this being just a 3.21-star book.

I’ve been there many times myself. I get it. When you’re expecting an intense Thriller and you don’t get the thrills, or even necessarily the intensity, your disappointed, and potentially leave an average, or lower, rating because of it.

I really enjoyed this, but I went into it without any real expectations. I feel like this is an engaging Domestic/Family Drama, with an underlying Mystery subplot.

The gem in this for me was getting to know Jia and following along with her tumultuous journey. The storm and being trapped in the house were great bonuses, as I love those elements in any story, but yeah, the real hero of this is Jia.

She’s a woman who has made a very difficult choice and who has had fallout from that. She lost her home and her friends. She’s had to uproot her life.

She’s second-guessing her choices, while getting judged by everyone around her. She’s trying to do what is best for her son, and her own mental health, all while navigating the not always kind outside world. I think everyone can relate to this in one way or another.

When we meet Jia, with the storm moving in, she’s almost at wits end. Being trapped in the house, with these particular people, pushes her even further to the edge.

I like complicated families and this story definitely delivers in that area. I loved the set-up of the storm creating a forced proximity situation and I do feel like Parekh did a great job of revealing all the underlining things going on.

The murder mystery was interesting as well. There were quite a few people acting suspicious, so I did like being with Jia as she tried to figure it out. The more it progressed, the more unsettling it became, leading up to the wild conclusion.

For a debut, I think this was very well done. I think Parekh should be proud of their work and I will definitely be picking up whatever she writes next. Do I think this book deserves a higher-rating? Absolutely.

Thank you to the publisher, Dutton, for providing me with a copy to read and review. We love supporting new authors in this house, and I can’t wait for more from this one!

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Review: The Reappearance of Rachel Price by Holly Jackson

The Reappearance of Rachel PriceThe Reappearance of Rachel Price by Holly Jackson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

16-years ago, Rachel Price, wife and mother, went missing. There were a lot of odd details surrounding her disappearance, such as her car was found abandoned with her 2-year old daughter, Bel, still inside.

Ever since, the mysterious disappearance of Rachel Price has remained a well-known case with many speculating on what could have happened to her.

All these years later, a documentary filmmaker has decided to revisit the disappearance and create a film. He’s asked the Price family to participate and they’ve agreed.

Even though Bel wishes everyone would just move on, she amiably participates, as she knows it’s something important to her Dad. He was initially suspected, but since cleared. It’s remained a touchy subject for the family, as you can imagine, ever since.

The crew has established themselves in the Price’s area and are doing regular interviews and filming. During this process, the unimaginable happens. Rachel reappears.

Seemingly out of nowhere, Rachel returns with an unbelievable story. It’s so unbelievable, Bel doesn’t believe it’s true. If Rachel is lying though, where has she been all this time and why come back now?

We follow along with Bel as she tries to figure out what happened all those years ago, and more importantly, what the heck is going on now.

I enjoyed this a lot. The set-up is great. I loved the idea of a long unsolved mystery being explored afresh by a documentary film crew. I felt like Bel was a good sport about the doc and I did feel empathy for her in regards to everything she had to deal with in her life.

The Price family is complicated and I do love a complicated family dynamic. I had fun getting to know the family and learning all of the details surrounding Rachel’s disappearance.

Even though Rachel’s reappearance was expected, I still found it to be eerie. Her story was just so bizarre, it didn’t make any sense and she didn’t seem to be able to provide clarity.

Bel is uncomfortable with Rachel being back. She feels like she’s being forced to live with liar, and it’s difficult for her to interact with Rachel as Rachel tries to reconnect with her.

I was right there with Bel. I didn’t trust Rachel either and my Horror Heart was screaming, CHANGELING, even though I knew that probably wasn’t the case.

A lot of the focus of the story is this back-and-forth between Rachel and Bel. Jackson definitely succeeded in keeping me at the edge of my seat during all of that. It raised my pulse, not going to lie.

I will say, the first 3/4 of this was better for me that the closing sections. The tension and intrigue of the build-up and center portions held more weight for me; it kept me more engaged and excited. The ending, with some of the reveals, started to lose me a bit.

I wasn’t crazy about some of the explanations and ultimate outcomes, but getting there was fun. Also, keep in mind, this is personal taste. The outcomes didn’t quite mesh with what I wanted for these characters, but others may enjoy it more.

It must be tough being Holly Jackson actually. She stormed onto the scene with a MONSTER of a debut, A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder, which just so happens to be my favorite YA Mystery of all time.

That debut novel, and the rest of the series, has been incredibly popular. Absolutely OTT-levels of hype and love surround that series and has for years.

I feel like everything she’s put out since naturally gets compared to that and it’s gonna be real difficult to surpass. It’s not that I don’t think she can do it, I know she has the talent, but it’s gonna be tough.

Neverless, she’s a queen of twists and bringing solid, page-turning drama. While this one didn’t reach AGGG level for me, it was still darn good and a heck of a lot of fun to read. I would definitely recommend it, and look forward to whatever Jackson writes next!!!

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Review: The Rosewood Hunt by Mackenzie Reed

The Rosewood HuntThe Rosewood Hunt by Mackenzie Reed
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars rounded up**

Lily Rosewood’s family life is quite complicated, but billions of dollars will do that to you. Oodles of wealth is a tricky thing to navigate for most people.

I know it seems like it would make life grande, but ask any fictional character with an inheritance at stake, and they’ll tell you that’s far from the truth.

Lily dreams of one day running the family company, Rosewood, Inc. Her Gram, the current head of the company, has promised to teach Lily everything she’ll need to know to successfully take over one day.

When Gram dies suddenly though, Lily’s life is turned upside down. Gram wasn’t just the head of the company, she was also the formidable figurehead of their family. It was so unexpected. Lily can hardly believe it’s true.

Then Gram’s Last Will and Testament is read, and Lily definitely can’t believe that’s true…

There’s no mention of the vast family fortune; a purported quarter of a billion dollars. What? Like it’s gone? The money is missing? How could that be?

As everyone is left scratching their heads, one last cryptic letter from Gram sends Lily, along with three other teens, on the treasure hunt of a lifetime. When news of Gram’s missing fortune goes public though, outsiders join the hunt and they’re not messing around.

Soon the teens are dodging dangers left and right, as they try to be the first ones to discover the hiding place of the vast Rosewood fortune. This could change their lives, or end them. Who will win the Rosewood Hunt?

I’ll admit, it did take me a little time to commit to this one. The set-up is rapid fire. You really have no time to get to know Gram, you just learn through Lily’s musings that she was this clever lady, who enjoyed puzzles, invisible ink and things like treasure hunts.

It sort of made me wish someone would have set her up with the elder Hawthorne from The Inheritance Games when they were both alive. It seems like they would’ve really hit it off, like plotting ways to send their basically disinherited loved ones on wild goose chases for cash…

About a quarter of the way in was when I really started to sit up and pay attention. Two other teens, Leo and Quinn, were also pulled into the hunt by Lily’s Gram and I found the dynamic amongst the three teens very fun.

Lily’s best friend, Miles, also becomes part of the action and I enjoyed him as well. Lily’s cousin, Daisy, on the other hand was a total jerk, which I didn’t really understand. Eventually the contention in their relationship was explained, but something about it didn’t feel genuine to me.

Either way, I did vibe with the cast of characters overall and the way they worked together was entertaining. They weren’t really friends going into this, so it gave it a bit of an unlikely allies feel, which I enjoyed.

It gets pretty wild. Once the outsiders swarm into town hunting the treasure the danger level amps up considerably. There are break-ins, car chases, it’s a lot. Lily definitely fears for her life, and I did too!

Through all of it, the teens start showing each other more of their true selves and they really start to bond. I think that was my favorite aspect of the whole story, the Found Family element that Reed ultimately creates. Lily feeling like she finally had friends, it filled my heart.

Most of these characters, their families were pretty crappy, so having each other to rely on meant a lot to them.

The pace hits warp speed towards the end, as a ton of new information is revealed. I enjoyed the way it wrapped up. Overall, a satisfying inheritance story. The Rosewood Hunt was a game I won’t soon forget. That’s for sure.

While it may not go down in history as one of my favorite YA books, it was still hella entertaining, and I would definitely be interested in reading more from Mackenzie Reed.

Thank you to the publisher, Harper Teen, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I’m so happy I finally made the time for this one. It was worth it!

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Review: Swamp Kings: The Murdaugh Family of South Carolina and a Century of Backwoods Power

Swamp Kings: The Murdaugh Family of South Carolina and a Century of Backwoods PowerSwamp Kings: The Murdaugh Family of South Carolina and a Century of Backwoods Power by Jason Ryan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Swamp Kings: The Murdaugh Family of South Carolina and a Century of Backwoods Power is a nonfiction book that explores the history of the Murdaugh family of Hampton County, South Carolina.

Many may be familiar with the Murdaugh name following Alex Murdaugh’s trial and conviction for the killing of his wife, Maggie, and son, Paul, in June of 2021. Several documentaries, podcasts and other media have been created examining this case and crimes.

This book differs in that it’s not solely focused on the recent murders, nor the boating accident in February of 2019 that resulted in the tragic death of Mallory Beach.

In Swamp Kings, the author, Jason Ryan, digs much deeper into the roots of the Murdaugh family’s power and legacy in Hampton County. I enjoyed learning about the family and their deep hold in the area. It also had a bit of history of the Lowcountry, which I found enlightening.

I think if you go into this just expecting a True Crime novel focused on the murders of Maggie and Paul, you may be disappointed, but if you are here more for the history and a better understanding of this family’s position within the community, you should be satisfied.

I hesitate to say enjoy, because of the content, but you should walk away having learned some new things in regards to the family.

I come away with what I believe to be a better understanding of the events and environment that shaped Alex, and even Paul, into the men they became. It certainly doesn’t solve anything, or explain anything, but perhaps puts a little more context to these brutal crimes.

I feel the author did a solid job researching and pulling together all this information in a fast-paced and engaging way. I certainly was never bored while listening to the audio. In fact, it kept me wanting to go back to it.

My one critique would be that I wasn’t crazy about the way the book was constructed, or laid out. I’m not sure how to explain it. The order in which the information was presented, I guess, would be fair to say.

For example, it’s going over things that happened in Paul’s life, Alex’s life, Alex’s father’s life and Alex’s father’s father’s life. The men’s names are all very similar and it would jump around in time, often feeling muddled.

Like we’d be at the boating accident, and then without any preamble, or title head, jump back to the 1960s, but there would be a Buster here and a Buster there. I always had to pay attention to dates mentioned to figure out exactly who we were talking about.

I think I would have preferred a more linear layout, maybe with it broken into Parts, starting with the great-grandfather of Paul and then moving forward through time to the present day.

With this being said though, that’s purely personal taste and I support the author’s freedom to choose how he thinks best to present his research. I would recommend this to anyone who is interested in the case, or maybe to people who want to know more about the Murdaugh family in general, or the history of the Lowcountry of South Carolina.

Thank you, Spotify Audiobooks, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I’m glad that I picked this up.

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Review: The Good, the Bad, and the Aunties (Aunties #3) by Jesse Q. Sutanto

The Good, the Bad, and the Aunties (Aunties, #3)The Good, the Bad, and the Aunties by Jesse Q. Sutanto
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Good, the Bad, and the Aunties is the third, and reportedly final book in the Aunties series by Jesse Q. Sutanto.

This is an Adult Contemporary Fiction series that leans heavily into the humor. I have enjoyed all of the books and actually feel really sad that it’s over.

In this third installment, we travel along with Meddy, her husband, Nathan, her Ma and three Aunties, as they travel to Jakarta to visit their extended family for Chinese New Year.

This is the second novel I have read from Sutanto this year that is set in Jakarta, and I love how she brings both the place and culture to the page. You can tell it’s a place near and dear to her heart, it feels special.

Meddy was nervous about the trip, as it was Nathan’s first time being there and meeting her large, high-energy family. She should’ve known he would take it like a champ.

I loved meeting Meddy’s extended family and learning about the traditions they have surrounding their Chinese New Year celebrations. It’s at one of these parties that the big blunder at the heart of this story occurs.

A old beau of Second Aunt arrives, bearing a bevy of gifts. Unfortunately, one of them was actually an important document he was intending to gift to a business rival to cement a new partnership. This packet gets mixed in amongst the other gifts and accidentally gets handed out.

Once the mistake is discovered, it seems simple, just track down the person who received the gift and they’ll give it back. But we all know Meddy and the Aunties could never be that lucky, or simple.

It seems the packet didn’t go to any one of the Chan family members. There was a teenage girl who stopped by to visit one of Meddy’s younger cousins, and she’s the one who ended up with it.

The business rival is not happy and serious repercussions are threatened if this document isn’t found and given to them. Now it’s a race against the clock to clear up this mess before one, or more, of them get hurt.

I thought this was so entertaining. I love the relationships in these books. It’s the family vibes. They get me. They drive each other crazy, but they love each other so much and would do anything for each other.

I also have enjoyed watching Meddy and Nathan’s relationship blossom. She’s truly found her person. He’s helped her to relax and feel comfortable being herself. He’s so patient with her family as well; huge plus.

Determined to get the document back, Meddy, Nathan and the Aunties end up interacting with some of the most powerful people in Jakarta.

Their scheming, plotting and overall efforts, OMG, they’re so funny. Only the Chans. And I actually think it humbled Big Aunt a little bit being around some folks more powerful than herself. It made me so happy.

As I was reading this, I actually didn’t know it was slated to be the last one and I was coming up with a bunch of great ideas for the fourth book: Abi and Second Aunt’s wedding, Meddy and Nathan starting a family, Big Aunt rekindling her singing career, etc.

Sadly, it seems like this is it. Regardless, whatever projects Sutanto is working on next, you know I will be reading them. She’s definitely become one of my go-to authors over the last few years. I love it all!

Thank you to the publisher, Berkley, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I’m sorry to be parting with the Chans, but they’ll live on in my heart!

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Review: Darling Girls by Sally Hepworth

Darling GirlsDarling Girls by Sally Hepworth
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars rounded up**

Oh my gosh, I read this so quickly. I always find Sally Hepworth’s stories incredibly readable. They’re addicting. Once I started, I couldn’t put it down.

All the twists and turns gave me whiplash. Also, I loved the three main characters. Bonus, this left me with the devilish grin that I always enjoy at the end.

But what’s it all about?! Let’s discuss.

In this story, we follow three sisters: Jessica, Norah and Alicia. While not biologically-related, the girls spent many of their formative years together in a foster home run by Miss Fairchild. Their experiences there bonded them for life.

From the outside, it looked like the idyllic place to be a child. Certainly better than the circumstances the girls came from, however, there were secret things happening behind closed doors, as there often are, and Miss Fairchild wasn’t necessarily as sweet as she appeared from the outside.

Eventually, the three were able to break free from Miss Fairchild’s home, and although they never saw her again, the hurtful memories remained.

As adults, they have kept in very close contact, and are all living mostly satisfying lives well away from their traumatic childhood home. Then one day out of the blue, they receive word that a body has been discovered under the home where they used to live with Miss Fairchild.

Shocked by the discovery, the three women join up and travel back to that place they left long ago, but are they returning as possible witnesses, or suspects?

I had a blast reading this. It was a super intriguing set-up and I loved learning about all three women. They were each unique and well-developed, and even though they were quite different, their shared history made for very close and believable relationships.

This story is expertly-constructed using past and present timelines, both of which I found equally interesting. I think Hepworth did a great job of creating suspense, as well as characters that you could care about.

Finding out the truth about the girls’ time with Miss Fairchild was fascinating. I never knew what was going to come next. It made me tense, in a good way.

IMO, Hepworth is an incredible, dramatic storyteller. She never fails to draw me in quickly and hold my attention. Although I guessed some things, it made it no less enjoyable, or impactful. In fact, I think I was probably realizing things at the pace in which Hepworth was intending.

The pace picks up closer to the end and I found the conclusion to be fun and satisfying. There were some surprises left in the tank and I walked away a happy girl.

I would recommend the audio format, as the narration was very well done and seemed to fit the overall story nicely. It kept me focused and relaxed.

Thank you to the publishers, St. Martin’s Press and Macmillan Audio, for providing me with copies to read and review. I always look forward to the latest from Sally Hepworth, and this definitely did not disappoint.

10-out-of-10 recommend!!

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Review: No One Can Know by Kate Alice Marshall

No One Can KnowNo One Can Know by Kate Alice Marshall
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars**

No One Can Know is the most recent Adult release from beloved author, Kate Alice Marshall, who made her Adult Debut last January with What Lies in the Woods. I enjoyed that quite a bit, so have been anxiously awaiting this release.

Happily, it didn’t disappoint for a moment. I listened to the audiobook and yet again, Karissa Vacker’s stellar narration knocked it out of the park.

In this story we meet Emma, who after her husband, Nathan, loses his job, and essentially their housing, has to come clean to him about that fact that she actually already owns a home. It has the potential to save them.

As you can imagine, he’s surprised, but the truth is, Emma hasn’t told him much about her past. He knows her parents are dead and that she’s estranged from her two sisters, other than that, he knows nothing of the bloody and tragic events that shaped Emma’s life.

The situation is that Emma owns her parent’s home jointly with her sisters. They can’t sell it, but they can live in it.

Without having much of a choice, and trust, Emma would do anything else if she could, they move in.

Unfortunately, moving back to her hometown and into her family home means that Emma’s going to have to come clean with Nathan about a few more things…

For example, like the fact that her parents were actually murdered in the home and many in the town believed that Emma was the one responsible.

Emma’s sudden presence comes as a shock to the town and yet again, rumors and speculations begin to swirl. She sort of figured that would happen though, that’s why she stayed away for so long.

Her being back has another, more unexpected consequence. It lures her sisters back too. The three have never actually talked about what happened. Each of them has their own thoughts and secrets regarding that fateful night.

But are their secrets continuing to put them in more danger? If Emma didn’t do it, then who did? And will they ever be able to rekindle their once loving relationships?

I found this set-up so interesting. I liked Emma as a character from the start, but I hated her husband.

Those feelings continued throughout and only helped to solidify my connection to the story. My ire towards Nathan alone, kept me glued to the pages.

I felt bad for Emma, having lost her parents and then her sisters. It seemed unfair to me, as she seemed genuinely distraught by the events that had led to the family demise.

We eventually get the perspectives of Emma’s sisters, Juliette, now going by J.J., and Daphne. While I didn’t have the same level of feelings for them that I felt for Emma, I did find them interesting; messy, but interesting.

I loved getting the back-and-forth between the past and present. I always enjoy that, as the puzzle pieces are set in place. I love just sitting back and enjoying the ride as everything becomes clear.

I will say, this one kept me guessing for way longer than I expected. I think Marshall did a great job of keeping enough possibilities in play to keep the Reader engaged and guessing. It wasn’t quite clear until almost the very end.

I suspected everyone at one time or another. I also enjoyed how the pace steadily increased the further you got along, until it was pedal to the floor, full throttle, full speed ahead!

I’m really enjoying KAM in this Adult space. I also love her YA work, so it’s clear to me, she’ll be successful with whatever she chooses to write. She’s just that good.

If you haven’t yet read Kate Alice Marshall, I feel like this could be a fun place to start. I definitely recommend this audiobook too, if that is an option for you. Karissa Vacker is one of my all-time favorite narrators and she definitely helped to bring this story to life.

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

This was fantastic and certainly delivered on the tense family drama and deep dark secrets I was expecting. I can’t wait to see what Marshall gives us next!

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Review: Crooked House by Agatha Christie

Crooked HouseCrooked House by Agatha Christie
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Crooked House was a joy to try to solve. I read it with a bunch of other people and we all tried like heck to figure it out. There were so many different theories, and honestly, all of them could have worked.

This is one of my favorites out of the Christie work that I have read. It’s pure entertainment and Agatha slayed her red herrings here. Everyone is a suspect!

I say it is one of my favorites, and it is, but the author herself also described it as such. She must have been feeling especially clever after she penned this exceptional work.

I love to think about Christie’s work in context to the time she wrote it. This novel has a twist, which now, reading it in 2024, I’ve read before. We’ve probably seen this twist multiple times across all different mediums at this point.

But it’s important to remember, it didn’t start with them, the other works we’ve watched and read, it started WITH HER. With Christie herself, who went on to inspire decades, nay generations of creatives.

This is a standalone for Christie, meaning it doesn’t include one of her two most famous characters, Hercule Poirot, or Miss Jane Marple. Shocking, I know.

I’ve recently been reading the Miss Marple works in order and loving them. I wasn’t sure if I would enjoy this as much, not having one of those iconic characters in it.

I’m happy to report, I didn’t think of that at all once I got into this story. It’s so interesting, so compelling, the plot so tight and engaging, I was hooked from the start, no matter who the characters were.

As far as content, if you require more to spur you to pick this up, this story involves a man whose love interest asks him to look into her Grandfather’s death. Her very wealthy Grandfather, who left behind a substantial inheritance.

He has to travel to the family estate, meet all of her family members and try to determine whether or not the old man’s death was natural, an accident, or murder. And if the latter were true, then whodunit!?

I absolutely recommend this one to any fan of Christie’s work, as well as anyone looking to try her work for the first time. If you love a closed circle mystery, an inheritance story, or just good old-fashioned mystery writing, you should absolutely pick this one up!

I’m looking forward to getting to more of Christie’s standalones after reading this. Christie is an absolute gift to the literary world and I shall continue to pick up her books for years and years to come!

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