Please See Us by Caitlin Mullen


Description

In this sophisticated, suspenseful debut reminiscent of Laura Lippman and Chloe Benjamin, two young women become unlikely friends during one fateful summer in Atlantic City as mysterious disappearances hit dangerously close to home.

Summer has come to Atlantic City but the boardwalk is empty of tourists, the casino lights have dimmed, and two Jane Does are laid out in the marshland behind the Sunset Motel, just west of town. Only one person even knows they’re there.

Meanwhile, Clara, a young boardwalk psychic, struggles to attract clients for the tarot readings that pay her rent. When she begins to experience very real and disturbing visions, she suspects they could be related to the recent cases of women gone missing in town. When Clara meets Lily, an ex-Soho art gallery girl who is working at a desolate casino spa and reeling from a personal tragedy, she thinks Lily may be able to help her. But Lily has her own demons to face. If they can put the pieces together in time, they may save another lost girl—so long as their efforts don’t attract perilous attention first. Can they break the ill-fated cycle, or will they join the other victims?

Evocative, eerie, and compelling, Please See Us is a fast-paced psychological thriller that explores the intersection of womanhood, power, and violence.

You know I love my mysteries! This was a fast-paced and well-plotted one, focusing on a teen and another young woman in Atlantic City who cross paths and also cross paths with a serial killer. Lily is trying to regroup after a break up but “Clara” is the character that I really liked: a teenage girl who has been deserted by her mother and who makes her living by reading fortunes. She actually does seem to have some sort of “gift”, but is basically taking advantage of people. I liked the character development in this story and the ending as well.

Recommended if you like mysteries. Thank you, Gallery Books, for my ARC through Net Galley!

The Other Mrs. by Mary Kubica

My good friend Amy runs an online book group through her site “Mom Advice” (look on Facebook for Mom Advice Book Group). She was having an author interview this past week with Mary Kubica. I loved her The Good Girl so I quickly got her new book The Other Mrs. and read it for the meeting!

Here’s the overview from Amazon:

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

Coming to Netflix!

“Altogether unpredictable.” —Karin Slaughter,New York Timesbestselling author

Propulsive and addictive, and perfect for fans of “You,” The Other Mrs.is the twisty new psychological thriller from Mary Kubica, the New York Times bestselling author of The Good Girl

Sadie and Will Foust have only just moved their family from bustling Chicago to small-town Maine when their neighbor Morgan Baines is found dead in her home. The murder rocks their tiny coastal island, but no one is more shaken than Sadie.

But it’s not just Morgan’s death that has Sadie on edge. And as the eyes of suspicion turn toward the new family in town, Sadie is drawn deeper into the mystery of what really happened that dark and deadly night. But Sadie must be careful, for the more she discovers about Mrs. Baines, the more she begins to realize just how much she has to lose if the truth ever comes to light.

“Brilliant!” —Liv Constantine, bestselling author of The Last Mrs. Parrish

“Kubica’s best book yet.” —Sarah Pekkanen, #1 New York Timesbestselling co-author ofAn Anonymous Girl

Look for these other pulse-pounding thrillers by New York Times bestselling author Mary Kubica:
The Good Girl
Pretty Baby
Don’t You Cry
Every Last Lie
When the Lights Go Out

What a read!! I LOVE suspenseful books with twists that keep you guessing and this was one of them! I will admit that at 24% on my kindle, I had figured out what was going on with the main character, but I chalk that up to the fact that I have a lot of experience in the field of psychology. I was surprised at some of the other twists, and when Ms. Kubica was speaking with Amy, she said that she tries to put in several different twists so that if you figure out the main one, then you aren’t deflated for the rest of the book.

All the time she was speaking, I was impressed with how friendly and normal Mary Kubica seems. She lives in the Chicago area, so she sets many books there. She has a family. She loves and adopts cats. She seems like the friendly, Midwestern type — not a megastar author!

I will give her credit for “doing it again” with The Other Mrs.!

Find this book at a bookstore near you or online. I got mine at Amazon for my kindle.

Find my friend Amy (who is super popular and runs a blog dedicated to budget crunches, crafts, and a few other things at http://www.momadvice.com)

Find Mary Kubica at marykubica.com

Thanks for hosting a fun book group chat, Amy!!

*trigger warning for abuse/child abuse

The King’s Justice by Susan Elia MacNeal

Maggie Hope is back! And I couldn’t be more thrilled! I love this series and I give kudos to Ms. MacNeal as she can make each installment in this series different and interesting and compelling.

If you like WWII stories with strong, smart women, then the Maggie Hope series is for you!

Description

Can a stolen violin lead secret agent and spy Maggie Hope to a new serial killer terrorizing London? Find out as the acclaimed World War II mystery series from New York Times bestselling author Susan Elia MacNeal continues.

Maggie Hope started out as Winston Churchill’s secretary, but now she’s a secret agent—and the only one who can figure out how the missing instrument ties into the murders.

London, December 1942. As the Russian army repels German forces from Stalingrad, Maggie Hope takes a much-needed break from spying to defuse bombs in London. But Maggie herself is an explosion waiting to happen. Traumatized by her past, she finds herself living dangerously—taking huge risks, smoking, drinking, and speeding through the city streets on a motorbike. The last thing she wants is to get entangled in another crime.

But when she’s called upon to look into the theft of a Stradivarius, one of the finest violins ever made, Maggie can’t resist. Meanwhile, there’s a serial killer on the loose in London, targeting conscientious objectors. Little does she know that investigating this dangerous predator will pit her against a new evil—and old enemies. Only Maggie can uncover the connection between the robbery, the murders, and a link to her past.

Thank you for my ARC!

Good Girls Lie by JT Ellison

If you know me, you know I love mysteries set in boarding schools. They are generally off the mark of what boarding schools are actually like, but they are the kind of thing I imagined them to be when I was a teen. Everyone is so rich and nasty to each other and then, boom, murder!

This was a fast-paced story that kept me guessing and actually did a good job of actually portraying private school life.

Thank you for my ARC, Net Galley and Harlequin! It’s YA fodder that is good for my soul! I will share this with my 16 year old, too (with her own copy).

Description

J.T. Ellison’s pulse-pounding new psychological thriller examines the tenuous bonds of friendship, the power of lies and the desperate lengths people will go to in order to protect their secrets.

Goode girls don’t lie…

Perched atop a hill in the tiny town of Marchburg, Virginia, The Goode School is a prestigious prep school known as a Silent Ivy. The boarding school of choice for daughters of the rich and influential, it accepts only the best and the brightest. Its elite status, long-held traditions and honor code are ideal for preparing exceptional young women for brilliant futures at Ivy League universities and beyond.

But a stranger has come to Goode, and this ivy has turned poisonous.

In a world where appearances are everything, as long as students pretend to follow the rules, no one questions the cruelties of the secret societies or the dubious behavior of the privileged young women who expect to get away with murder.

When a popular student is found dead, the truth cannot be ignored. Rumors suggest she was struggling with a secret that drove her to suicide.

But look closely…because there are truths and there are lies, and then there is everything that really happened.

Don’t miss this fast-paced suspense story from New York Times bestselling author J.T. Ellison!

Beating Around the Bush by MC Beaton

I adore Agatha Raisin, and I’ve read all the books in the series and watched the television show on Acorn TV. I am amazed that MC Beaton can keep coming up with plot lines and mysteries for Agatha solve in her cranky and determined way.

Description

New York Times bestseller M. C. Beaton’s cranky, crafty Agatha Raisin—now the star of a hit T.V. show—is back on the case again.

When private detective Agatha Raisin comes across a severed leg in a roadside hedge, it looks like she is about to become involved in a particularly gruesome murder. Looks, however, can be deceiving, as Agatha discovers when she is employed to investigate a case of industrial espionage at a factory where nothing is quite what it seems.

The factory mystery soon turns to murder and a bad-tempered donkey turns Agatha into a national celebrity, before bringing her ridicule and shame. To add to her woes, Agatha finds herself grappling with growing feelings for her friend and occasional lover, Sir Charles Fraith. Then, as a possible solution to the factory murder unfolds, her own life is thrown into deadly peril. Will Agatha get her man at last? Or will the killer get her first?

If you enjoy this series, don’t miss the latest for Agatha Raisin!

Thank you, Net Galley, for my ARC!

The 19th Christmas by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro

I love this series – the Women’s Murder Club – with Lindsay Boxer as the narrator and a variety of other women friends of hers that help solve mysteries in San Francisco. As time has gone by, the characters have evolved and grown and had relationships, etc. I feel like one of them died at some point in the past (but I could be remembering wrong). Anyhow, I had not read one of these books in several years and it popped up as an Amazon recommendation to me so I bought it for my kindle (I rarely buy books these days so this was a treat).

Here’s the overview:

#1 New York Times bestseller –If the Women’s Murder Club can’t be together this Christmas, a killer is to blame.As the holidays approach, Detective Lindsay Boxer and her friends in the Women’s Murder Club have much to celebrate. Crime is down. The medical examiner’s office is quiet. Even the courts are showing some Christmas spirit. And the news cycle is so slow that journalist Cindy Thomas is on assignment to tell a story about the true meaning of the season for San Francisco.
Then a fearsome criminal known only as “Loman” seizes control of the headlines. Solving crimes never happens on schedule, but as this criminal mastermind unleashes credible threats by the hour, the month of December is upended for the Women’s Murder Club. Avoiding tragedy is the only holiday miracle they seek.

I started this on Friday and finished this morning (Sunday), so it’s quick and suspenseful. It is “typical Patterson/Paetro” fare for those who enjoy these mysteries!

As an aside, some of you might remember when they tried to make this a miniseries or something. It was awful! The characters were nothing like they are in the book. Instead of being smart and interesting, they were annoying and didn’t look like they are described in the novels. So – don’t judge the books on that foray into tv land!

A Merry Murder by Kate Kingsbury

I found this little gem on Net Galley — I was not familiar with this series of cozy mysteries set in an Edwardian hotel — and it was a delightful read! It was just what I needed to start thinking about the holidays (though the mystery was the main part of the story, not the holidays).

I will look for more by Ms. Kingsbury! Thank you for my copy!

Description

It is an Edwardian Christmas, and the Pennyfoot Hotel is all dressed up. But when one of the guests turns up dead, owner Cecily Sinclair Baxter realizes it is not only the Pennyfoot that is back in business—the hotel’s Christmas curse is, too…

The Pennyfoot halls are decked with boughs of holly, a magnificently decorated tree graces the lobby, and the hotel’s bookings are finally looking up. Owner of the Pennyfoot, Cecily Sinclair Baxter is in high holiday spirits until disaster strikes, threatening to ruin yet another Yuletide. Her chief housemaid Gertie McBride has found a man’s body in the hotel laundry room—with a woman’s scarf wrapped around his neck and a note in his pocket from the hotel’s new maid.

Cecily is determined to track down the culprit, but with multiple suspects icing her out of crucial clues, she realizes this killer may be more slippery than most. With Christmas right around the corner, it is up to Cecily to prevent this holiday season at the Pennyfoot from turning out more fatal than festive.

One Night Gone by Tara Laskowski

Description

“A subtly but relentlessly unsettling novel.” —TANA FRENCH, author of The Witch Elm

It was the perfect place to disappear…

One sultry summer, Maureen Haddaway arrives in the wealthy town of Opal Beach to start her life anew—to achieve her destiny. There, she finds herself lured by the promise of friendship, love, starry skies, and wild parties. But Maureen’s new life just might be too good to be true, and before the summer is up, she vanishes.

Decades later, when Allison Simpson is offered the opportunity to house-sit in Opal Beach during the off-season, it seems like the perfect chance to begin fresh after a messy divorce. But when she becomes drawn into the mysterious disappearance of a girl thirty years before, Allison realizes the gorgeous homes of Opal Beach hide dark secrets. And the truth of that long-ago summer is not even the most shocking part of all…

I read this novel several weeks ago, but it’s rather haunting so I still remember it! It was well-plotted and suspenseful, moving back and forth in time as it tells Allison’s and Maureen’s stories.

Hard to believe it’s a debut novel! Recommended to those who like a suspenseful mystery. Thank you for my copy!

The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell

Description

“Rich, dark, and intricately twisted, this enthralling whodunit mixes family saga with domestic noir to brilliantly chilling effect.” —Ruth Ware, New York Times bestselling author

“A haunting, atmospheric, stay-up-way-too-late read.” —Megan Miranda, New York Times bestselling author 

From the New York Times bestselling author of Then She Was Gone comes another page-turning look inside one family’s past as buried secrets threaten to come to light.

Be careful who you let in.

Soon after her twenty-fifth birthday, Libby Jones returns home from work to find the letter she’s been waiting for her entire life. She rips it open with one driving thought: I am finally going to know who I am.

She soon learns not only the identity of her birth parents, but also that she is the sole inheritor of their abandoned mansion on the banks of the Thames in London’s fashionable Chelsea neighborhood, worth millions. Everything in Libby’s life is about to change. But what she can’t possibly know is that others have been waiting for this day as well—and she is on a collision course to meet them.

Twenty-five years ago, police were called to 16 Cheyne Walk with reports of a baby crying. When they arrived, they found a healthy ten-month-old happily cooing in her crib in the bedroom. Downstairs in the kitchen lay three dead bodies, all dressed in black, next to a hastily scrawled note. And the four other children reported to live at Cheyne Walk were gone.

In The Family Upstairs, the master of “bone-chilling suspense” (People) brings us the can’t-look-away story of three entangled families living in a house with the darkest of secrets.

I got this one weeks ago and can’t wait to share it with you all! I love, love, love Lisa Jewell. She is an amazing suspense writer!! This novel combines all sorts of suspenseful elements: lost family, unknown history, unsolved murders, to make for a thrilling read, one that is hard to put down! If you regularly read Lisa Jewell you will know that she’s done it again with The Family Upstairs!

Thank you for my review copy via Net Galley!

For My Ears: Searching for Sylvie Lee by Jean Kwok

INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

A READ WITH JENNA • TODAY SHOW BOOK CLUB PICK 

NAMED A MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK BY New York Times • Time • Marie Claire • Elle • Buzzfeed • Huffington Post • Good Housekeeping • The Week • Goodreads • New York Post • Publishers Weekly and many more

“This is a true beach read! You can’t put it down!” – Jenna Bush Hager, Today Show Book Club Pick

“Powerful  . . . A twisting tale of love, loss, and dark family secrets.”  — Paula Hawkins, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Girl on the Train and Into the Water

A poignant and suspenseful drama that untangles the complicated ties binding three women—two sisters and their mother—in one Chinese immigrant family and explores what happens when the eldest daughter disappears, and a series of family secrets emerge, from the New York Times bestselling author of Girl in Translation

It begins with a mystery. Sylvie, the beautiful, brilliant, successful older daughter of the Lee family, flies to the Netherlands for one final visit with her dying grandmother—and then vanishes.

Amy, the sheltered baby of the Lee family, is too young to remember a time when her parents were newly immigrated and too poor to keep Sylvie. Seven years older, Sylvie was raised by a distant relative in a faraway, foreign place, and didn’t rejoin her family in America until age nine. Timid and shy, Amy has always looked up to her sister, the fierce and fearless protector who showered her with unconditional love.

But what happened to Sylvie? Amy and her parents are distraught and desperate for answers. Sylvie has always looked out for them. Now, it’s Amy’s turn to help. Terrified yet determined, Amy retraces her sister’s movements, flying to the last place Sylvie was seen. But instead of simple answers, she discovers something much more valuable: the truth. Sylvie, the golden girl, kept painful secrets . . . secrets that will reveal more about Amy’s complicated family—and herself—than she ever could have imagined.

A deeply moving story of family, secrets, identity, and longing, Searching for Sylvie Lee is both a gripping page-turner and a sensitive portrait of an immigrant family. It is a profound exploration of the many ways culture and language can divide us and the impossibility of ever truly knowing someone—especially those we love.

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School is in session, which means I’m spending over two hours a day in the car, commuting and listening to audiobooks. I had heard through the blogosphere that this was a good novel, so I purchased it with my audible credit. What a great book! It’s rare that a novel will hold my attention constantly while I’m driving, but this one did. I loved Jean Kwok’s writing and this story of two sisters, which is part mystery, part story of a Chinese immigrant family. I loved the characters and even though this was a sad story, it was beautiful, too.

This book moves about in time and is aptly told in three voices (with three different narrators) – Sylvie, her sister Amy, and their mother.

Apparently it’s a Today Show bookclub book, too.

Highly recommended!