#BookReview: The Invited by Jennifer McMahon

Reviewer: Christine Davis

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A chilling ghost story with a twist: the New York Timesbestselling author of The Winter People returns to the woods of Vermont to tell the story of a husband and wife who don’t simply move into a haunted house, they start building one from scratch, without knowing it, until it’s too late . . .

In a quest for a simpler life, Helen and Nate abandon the comforts of suburbia and their teaching jobs to take up residence on forty-four acres of rural land where they will begin the ultimate, aspirational do-it-yourself project: building the house of their dreams. When they discover that this charming property has a dark and violent past, Helen, a former history teacher, becomes consumed by the legend of Hattie Breckenridge, a woman who lived and died there a century ago. As Helen starts carefully sourcing decorative building materials for her home–wooden beams, mantles, historic bricks–she starts to unearth, and literally conjure, the tragic lives of Hattie’s descendants, three generations of “Breckenridge women,” each of whom died amidst suspicion, and who seem to still be seeking something precious and elusive in the present day.

Review:

We all fantasize of that perfect place. A place to build your dream home and live life like you always wanted to. Should that place include those who lived there long ago, decades ago?

Author Jennifer McMahon takes her characters in her book ‘The Invited’ to the point where they must ask themselves; “who does belong and who doesn’t ?” at their new home. Where does the history of a place, a family, belong beside the living of today? How far should someone go to find out if history was correct in condemning another to death? And what do you do if the dead won’t stay quiet? Do you invite them in?

My heart clenched and my eyes popped wide as I read how closely intertwined the lives of people became with “the other realms” in this story. A haunted house scary book you say? Nope. Scary graveyard tale? Not in any traditional sense! To find out who’s been invited you’ll have to read and wonder if the decision to give invitations was wise!

I was given a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.

5 Stars.

#BookReview: The Night Olivia Fell by Christina McDonald

Reviewer: Serena Soape

The Night Olivia FellBoth Annie McDonnell & I Reviewed this Book. You can find her find her review by simply Searching the book title in the Search Field. We hope you enjoy both points of view.

Summary:

In the vein of Big Little Lies and Reconstructing Amelia comes an emotionally charged domestic suspense novel about a mother unraveling the truth behind how her daughter became brain dead. And pregnant.

A search for the truth. A lifetime of lies.

In the small hours of the morning, Abi Knight is startled awake by the phone call no mother ever wants to get: her teenage daughter Olivia has fallen off a bridge. Not only is Olivia brain dead, she’s pregnant and must remain on life support to keep her baby alive. And then Abi sees the angry bruises circling Olivia’s wrists.

When the police unexpectedly rule Olivia’s fall an accident, Abi decides to find out what really happened that night. Heartbroken and grieving, she unravels the threads of her daughter’s life. Was Olivia’s fall an accident? Or something far more sinister?

Christina McDonald weaves a suspenseful and heartwrenching tale of hidden relationships, devastating lies, and the power of a mother’s love. With flashbacks of Olivia’s own resolve to uncover family secrets, this taut and emotional novel asks: how well do you know your children? And how well do they know you?

Review:

Christina McDonald has wowed me with “The Night Olivia Fell”!!!!!

Absolutely a page turner that I could not put down!!!! I had heard so much about it and now I know why.

The twists and turns that the author took me on throughout this book telling Olivia’s story all the way to the unpredictable ending –  were all fantastic!!!

I would definitely recommend this book and look forward to reading more of her books!!!

5 Stars.

#BookReview: Dear Wife by Kimberly Belle

Reviewer: Annie McDonnell

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From the bestselling author of The Marriage Lie and Three Days Missing comes a riveting new novel of suspense about a woman who, in a fight for survival, must decide just how far she’ll go to escape the person she once loved

Beth Murphy is on the run…

For nearly a year, Beth has been planning for this day. A day some people might call any other Wednesday, but Beth prefers to see it as her new beginning–one with a new look, new name and new city. Beth has given her plan significant thought, because one small slip and her violent husband will find her.

Sabine Hardison is missing…

A couple hundred miles away, Jeffrey returns home from a work trip to find his wife, Sabine, is missing. Wherever she is, she’s taken almost nothing with her. Her abandoned car is the only evidence the police have, and all signs point to foul play.

As the police search for leads, the case becomes more and more convoluted. Sabine’s carefully laid plans for her future indicate trouble at home, and a husband who would be better off with her gone. The detective on the case will stop at nothing to find out what happened and bring this missing woman home. Where is Sabine? And who is Beth? The only thing that’s certain is that someone is lying and the truth won’t stay buried for long.

Review:

“Dear Wife” is a gripping, captivating, take-your-breath-away novel!

Kimberly Belle has become the household name for Domestic Suspense, so by the time, “Dear Wife” was released, I was thrilled with excitement when UPS delivered it!

Then due to unforeseen circumstances, I had to purchase the audiobook as well, and it was just stunning! They did an amazing job narrating. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this story….It made everything come to life!

The secrets, the not-knowing, the twists and turns…I repeat, the actual “not-knowing” who one of the main characters truly was, became such an intense hunt that I could not stop listening.

The urge to get to the end was such a powerful force that when I did finally get there…WOW!!!

So…Proceed with caution, because Belle gives us a powerful shock at the end that I was not expecting.

Well done Kimberly Belle!! Well done!!

5 Stars.

#BookReview: Lily Barlow: The Mystery of Jane Dough by Carla Vergot

Reviewer: Annie McDonnell

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Lily Barlow, a quirky college student obsessed with the fictional bounty hunter Stephanie Plum, is called home from the University of Virginia to get the family bakery running after her dad’s heart attack. Stuck in a sinkhole of self-pity, she finds her sleepy hometown…well…can a town actually be in a coma?

No worries. All she needs to do is hire a bakery manager, and she’s not even moving back in with her family for that part. Instead, she rents an efficiency garage from Miss Delphine Walker, an old woman who Lily begins to believe may have killed someone at some point in time.

Meanwhile, Lily’s overactive imagination takes a swan dive when she discovers an online clearinghouse for victims the cops can’t identify. Consumed with the profiles on the website, Miss Delphine, and the candidates for the bakery manager position, she simply cannot cope with one more problem. So when Jack Turner, her best friend since kindergarten, reveals out of nowhere that he wants something more than friendship, what’s a woman to do?

Review:

Carla Vergot delivers a fun, often hysterical crime-solving romp between two best friends that could be lovers, if only Lily opens her eyes and heart; and crazy chickens that could have their very own novel in “Lily Barlow: The Mystery of Jane Dough”.

Lily Barlow is one cool chic! She is a Laugh Riot!

She is so unique, eccentric and hilarious with her quirky one-liners that had me laughing out loud! I found myself always waiting for the next one!

I fell for her hard; especially loving the fact that she became obsessed with the Doe Network she happened upon…when she was supposed to be googling “Dough”! (See! She is hysterical!)

This led us to the mystery part of the story. I was so intrigued and rather excited about this. But, then this part of the narrative fell a little short for me. Only because I was expecting a lot more excitement. This by no means is suggesting I did not like this storyline. I am saying that when you wrap Carla Vergot’s story up, this was the one small piece I wish had a bigger explosion….like Lily’s character!

Her best friend, Jack was helping her investigate the mystery….and the slow burn romance with him was killing me!! The entire book I was like..”Lily! He’s perfect!”

Only Lily seems to need Love Goggles! Ha! Drove me bit mad.

I cannot wait to see what is in store for Lily and Jack in the next book.

(I can totally see Lily Barlow getting a Cult Following)

4 Stars.

#BookReview & #SpookyReads: The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware

87FB7773-4864-4FF8-A5E9-C5E05BC51E8BReviewer: Christine Davis

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When she stumbles across the ad, she’s looking for something else completely. But it seems like too good an opportunity to miss—a live-in nannying post, with a staggeringly generous salary. And when Rowan Caine arrives at Heatherbrae House, she is smitten—by the luxurious “smart” home fitted out with all modern conveniences, by the beautiful Scottish Highlands, and by this picture-perfect family.

What she doesn’t know is that she’s stepping into a nightmare—one that will end with a child dead and herself in prison awaiting trial for murder.

Writing to her lawyer from prison, she struggles to explain the unravelling events that led to her incarceration. It wasn’t just the constant surveillance from the cameras installed around the house, or the malfunctioning technology that woke the household with booming music, or turned the lights off at the worst possible time. It wasn’t just the girls, who turned out to be a far cry from the immaculately behaved model children she met at her interview. It wasn’t even the way she was left alone for weeks at a time, with no adults around apart from the enigmatic handyman, Jack Grant.

It was everything.

She knows she’s made mistakes. She admits that she lied to obtain the post, and that her behavior toward the children wasn’t always ideal. She’s not innocent, by any means. But, she maintains, she’s not guilty—at least not of murder. Which means someone else is.

Review:

Ruth Ware delivers a bone chilling story that is sure to please the thriller fan in everyone! From the first page you discover Ware’s unique writing style that draws her readers in and keeps you guessing till the end. While you’re bracing yourself from one fear raising incident to another, you’re left guessing about the mystery and the earthly , or not so earthly, involvement in the going ons!

Characters stand out, especially the main character, with the presentation of their human flaws that also has you speculating about what they have done when the creepiest things happen!

I had this book in my hands, rarely setting it down, for three days and finished it. Everytime I thought I understood what was happening, something else was thrown into the mix. I consider this a top read for this fall and getting one into the feel for the upcoming spooky season! Money was well spent on this novel!

5 Stars.