Harper Collins Blog Tour for: The Friendship List by Susan Mallery

I love a good read about friends in the summer, and this heart-warming story about two friends learning to discover all that life has to offer was just the thing I needed! Ellen and Unity have been best friends forever, but Ellen has sacrificed her personal life in order to be a wonderful single mom and Unity is still mourning the loss of her young husband in the military. They both are ready for a new lease on life and challenge each other to do things out of their comfort zone (hence the “friendship list”). This was a fun read, at times laugh-out-loud funny, and both these characters reminded me of myself when I was single at 35. One note – there is sex in this book. Just letting you know!!

Thank you for my review e-copy and for making me part of the tour!

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Already a worldwide success in mass market and trade paperback formats, Susan Mallery’s newest hardcover is an emotional, witty, and heartfelt story about two best friends who are determined to help one another shake things up and live life to the fullest…only to discover that possibilities are everywhere–especially in the most unexpected of places.

Ellen and Unity have been best friends basically since birth, but they couldn’t be more different. Unity married her childhood sweetheart just after high school and became an Army wife, moving from base to base…until her husband’s shocking death in the line of duty leaves her a widow. Grief-stricken, it’s time for Unity to come back home to Ellen—the only person she can trust to help her rebuild her life. But Ellen has troubles of her own. Boys never seemed to notice Ellen…until one got her pregnant in high school and disappeared. Her son is now 17 and she’s wondering what to do with herself now that he’s heading off to college and he’s literally her entire world.

But now that Ellen and Unity are reunited, they’re done with their stale lives. It’s time to shake things up and start living again, knowing that they’ll always have one another to lean on. So they create a list of challenges they have to accomplish–everything from getting a tattoo to skydiving to staying out all night. And whoever completes the most challenges is the winner. But with new adventures and love just around the corner, there’s no such thing as losing…

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

SUSAN MALLERY is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of novels about the relationships that define women’s lives—family, friendship and romance. Library Journal says, “Mallery is the master of blending emotionally believable characters in realistic situations,” and readers seem to agree—forty million copies of her books have been sold worldwide. Her warm, humorous stories make the world a happier place to live.

Susan grew up in California and now lives in Seattle with her husband. She’s passionate about animal welfare, especially that of the two Ragdoll cats and adorable poodle who think of her as Mom.

SOCIAL LINKS:

Twitter: @susanmallery

Facebook: @susanmallery

Instagram: @susanmallery

Author website: https://www.susanmallery.com/

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YA Blog Tour for The Summer I Drowned by Taylor Hale

I’m so happy to take part in the blog tour for this suspenseful YA novel: The Summer I Drowned by Taylor Hale. This was one I could not put down. You know I love a good YA suspenseful mystery!

Here’s the overview:

Title: The Summer I Drowned

Author: Taylor Hale

Publisher: Wattpad Books

Release Date: May 26, 2020

Genre: Teens & YA

ISBN: 9781989365182

Price: $10.99 (USD)

Description:

Five years after almost drowning, Olivia Cathart returns home to Caldwell Beach determined to face her fears and take some risks—not just by swimming, but by opening her heart. Hoping to rekindle her friendships, she’s excited about a carefree summer with her best friends Keely and Miles. But life in the sleepy town has changed, and no one and nothing is as it seems.

When a series of startling crimes threaten Olivia’s fragile state, she is plunged into a terrifying game of cat and mouse. Her only solace from the chaos is West, Miles’s disowned and ruggedly handsome brother, but even he can’t answer the question on everyone’s minds—is Olivia really in danger or is it simply all in her head?

Author Bio:

Taylor Hale was born in Southwestern Ontario, and started writing on Wattpad in 2015. When she isn’t writing, she can be found bartending at a live music venue, and thinking up her next idea. The Summer I Drowned is her first novel.

Fun, fun, fun! I always like a book with a strong, female, teen protagonist. If I could have changed anything, I would have had less focus on the romance piece and more on the action. I also had a chuckle in that every character seemed to have a unique “smell” that I really haven’t found in real life, something like “He smelled like balsam and cinnamon”. “She smelled like vanilla and lavender”. “He smelled like ocean breeze and hickory”. Things like that. In real life I’m more inclined to say, “Mmmm – what’s that smell??”

Thank you for my copy and for having me as part of the tour! I would recommend this book for older YA readers due to sexual content and “heavy” content or potential triggers (e.g. drowning, relationship abuse, animal abuse, parental neglect, teen drinking, drinking and driving, sexual assault, etc.).

Wedding at the Lakeside Resort by Susan Schild

I was lucky to be part of the early reading team for this title and I just loved it! I love this series and I relate so much to the main character, Jenny, who has found a new career and love post-40. In this installment, Jenny and Luke are planning their wedding but Luke is tied up with work, Jenny doesn’t really want to have a big shin-dig and has lots to do with running the resort, and who is mucking up the neighbor’s abandoned property? Jenny and Luke keep their spirits high while dealing with the intricacies of life, romance, work, and impending nuptials. And they have two lovable dogs and a miniature horse named Levi. Every time I read one of these books I just want to have a miniature horse – adorable!


Clean reading and heart-warming!

Thank you SO much for letting me in early on this one, Ms. Schild, and for my e-ARC! Happy Pub Day – June 25!

Harlequin Blog Tour for: This Is How I Lied by Heather Gudenkauf

I’m thrilled to be part of the blog tour for Heather Gudenkauf’s This Is How I Lied, a suspenseful mystery featuring police detective Maggie O’Keefe (I hope it is the start of a series!).

This was a fast-moving and suspenseful read, focusing on the murder of Maggie’s best friend twenty years earlier.

Here’s the overview:

Description

Gudenkauf proves herself the master of the smart, suspenseful small-town thriller that gets right under your skin.” —Gilly Macmillan, New York Times bestselling author of The Nanny

Everyone has a secret they’ll do anything to hide…

Twenty-five years ago, the body of sixteen-year-old Eve Knox was found in the caves near her home in small-town Grotto, Iowa—discovered by her best friend, Maggie, and her sister, Nola. There were a handful of suspects, including her boyfriend, Nick, but without sufficient evidence the case ultimately went cold.

For decades Maggie was haunted by Eve’s death and that horrible night. Now a detective in Grotto, and seven months pregnant, she is thrust back into the past when a new piece of evidence surfaces and the case is reopened. As Maggie investigates and reexamines the clues, secrets about what really happened begin to emerge. But someone in town knows more than they’re letting on, and they’ll stop at nothing to keep the truth buried deep.

Check out these other riveting novels of suspense by bestselling author Heather Gudenkauf:

The Weight of Silence
These Things Hidden
One Breath Away
Little Mercies
Missing Pieces
Not a Sound
Before She Was Found

Me again!! I had not read any of Ms. Gudenkauf’s books before – I need to look them up! I recommend this one to mystery lovers, especially if you like a strong, female protagonist. The pacing was solid and the characters well-developed.

Thank you for making me part of the tour!

Author Bio:

Heather Gudenkauf is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of many books, including The Weight of Silence and These Things Hidden. Heather graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in elementary education, has spent her career working with students of all ages. She lives in Iowa with her husband, three children, and a very spoiled German Shorthaired Pointer named Lolo. In her free time, Heather enjoys spending time with her family, reading, hiking, and running.

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Twitter: @hgudenkauf

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Blog Tour for: Cross Her Heart by Melinda Leigh

I was so happy to be asked to be part of the blog tour for Melinda Leigh’s latest thriller: Cross Her Heart which was published 3/31/20 by Montlake Publishing. This was a thrilling and suspenseful read and I could not put it down! I really liked the main character of Bree, and it looks like this is the first in a series that centers on her – yeah! I always like a mystery that gives a deep look at the main character (e.g. their past, their family, how they keep house, their pets, etc.) so this was a good choice for me.

Here’s the overview:

Description

A homicide detective’s violent family history repeats itself in #1 Amazon Charts and Wall Street Journal bestselling author Melinda Leigh’s novel of murder, secrets, and retribution.

For more than twenty-five years, Philadelphia homicide detective Bree Taggert has tucked away the nightmarish childhood memories of her parents’ murder-suicide…Until her younger sister, Erin, is killed in a crime that echoes that tragic night: innocent witnesses and a stormy marriage that ended in gunfire. There’s just one chilling difference. Erin’s husband, Justin, has vanished.

Bree knows how explosive the line between love and hate can be, yet the evidence against her troubled brother-in-law isn’t adding up. Teaming up with Justin’s old friend, former sheriff’s investigator and K-9 handler Matt Flynn, Bree vows to uncover the secrets of her sister’s life and death, as she promised Erin’s children. But as her investigation unfolds, the danger hits close to home. Once again, Bree’s family is caught in a death grip. And this time, it could be fatal for her.

A Note From the Publisher

#1 Amazon Charts and Wall Street Journal bestselling author Melinda Leigh is a fully recovered banker. After joining Romance Writers of America, she decided writing was more fun than analyzing financial statements. Melinda’s debut novel, She Can Run, was nominated for Best First Novel by the International Thriller Writers. She’s also garnered Golden Leaf and Silver Falchion Awards, along with two nominations for a RITA and three Daphne du Maurier Awards. Her other novels include She Can Tell, She Can Scream, She Can Hide, She Can Kill, Midnight Exposure, Midnight Sacrifice, Midnight Betrayal, Midnight Obsession, Hour of Need, Minutes to Kill, Seconds to Live, Say You’re Sorry, Her Last Goodbye, Bones Don’t Lie, What I’ve Done, Secrets Never Die, and Save Your Breath. She holds a second-degree black belt in Kenpo karate, has taught women’s self-defense, and lives in a messy house with her family and a small herd of rescue pets. For more information, visit http://www.melindaleigh.com.

I highly recommend this book if you like a well-written mystery!

Thank you for making me part of the tour and for my kindle copy!

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 Red Lotus by Chris Bohjalian

Description

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Midwives and The Flight Attendant comes a twisting story of love and deceit: an American man vanishes on a rural road in Vietnam, and his girlfriend, an emergency room doctor trained to ask questions, follows a path that leads her home to the very hospital where they met.

The first time Alexis saw Austin, it was a Saturday night. Not in a bar, but in the emergency room where Alexis sutured a bullet wound in Austin’s arm. Six months later, on the brink of falling in love, they travel to Vietnam on a bike tour so that Austin can show her his passion for cycling and he can pay his respects to the place where his father and uncle fought in the war. But as Alexis sips white wine and waits at the hotel for him to return from his solo ride, two men emerge from the tall grass and Austin vanishes into thin air. The only clue he leaves behind is a bright yellow energy gel dropped on the road. As Alexis grapples with this bewildering loss, and deals with the FBI, Austin’s prickly family, and her colleagues at the hospital, Alexis uncovers a series of strange lies that force her to wonder: Where did Austin go? Why did he really bring her to Vietnam? And how much danger has he left her in? Set amidst the adrenaline-fueled world of the emergency room, The Red Lotus is a global thriller about those who dedicate their lives to saving people, and those who peddle death to the highest bidder.

Chris Bohjalian is one of my very favorite authors. He writes wonderfully and yet is the most humble person in real life. I was excited to snag his latest from Net Galley. This was a suspenseful thriller and I think it would make an awesome movie. I couldn’t put it down. It was rather sad in parts, because one of Bohjalian’s gifts as a writer is to make the story realistic. The characters stayed with me long after I was done reading.

Thank you, Doubleday, for my ARC! This novel publishes on 3/17.

Just a note: I read this a few months back, well before the corona virus was headlining everywhere. This story involves what I’ll call “illness and epidemic”, so just putting that out there as a trigger given the current situation.

For My Ears: Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane

Description (via Amazon) –

How much can a family forgive?

A profoundly moving novel about two neighboring families in a suburban town, the friendship between their children, a tragedy that reverberates over four decades, the daily intimacies of marriage, and the power of forgiveness.

Francis Gleeson and Brian Stanhope, rookie cops in the NYPD, live next door to each other outside the city. What happens behind closed doors in both houses—the loneliness of Francis’s wife, Lena, and the instability of Brian’s wife, Anne, sets the stage for the explosive events to come.

Ask Again, Yes by award-winning author Mary Beth Keane, is a beautifully moving exploration of the friendship and love that blossoms between Francis’ youngest daughter, Kate, and Brian’s son, Peter, who are born six months apart. In the spring of Kate and Peter’s eighth grade year, a violent event divides the neighbors, the Stanhopes are forced to move away, and the children are forbidden to have any further contact. 

But Kate and Peter find a way back to each other, and their relationship is tested by the echoes from their past. Ask Again, Yes reveals how the events of childhood look different when reexamined from the distance of adulthood – villains lose their menace, and those who appeared innocent seem less so. Kate and Peter’s love story is marked by tenderness, generosity, and grace. 

Narrated by Molly Pope, this was an intriguing and at times heart-breaking story of two families and the events and love that bind them together. Unforgettable and as tragic as it is redemptive, this is one that you won’t soon forget.

I got mine through Audible.

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!

Olive, Again by Elizabeth Strout

I adore the cranky and wonderful Olive Kitteridge; and I truly enjoyed the first novel about Olive and how wonderfully written it was. This one continues Olive’s story, basically for the rest of her life. It is so well-written that it makes the story of her life beautiful. Elizabeth Strout has an amazing way of making the ordinary extraordinary.

Here’s the overview (and thanks for my ARC galley through Net Galley!):

Description

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Pulitzer Prize winner Elizabeth Strout continues the life of her beloved Olive Kitteridge, a character who has captured the imaginations of millions.

“Strout managed to make me love this strange woman I’d never met, who I knew nothing about. What a terrific writer she is.”—Zadie Smith, The Guardian

“Just as wonderful as the original . . . Olive, Again poignantly reminds us that empathy, a requirement for love, helps make life ‘not unhappy.’”—NPR

NAMED ONE OF FALL’S MOST ANTICIPATED BOOKS BY People • Time • Entertainment Weekly • Vanity Fair • BuzzFeed • Vogue • USA Today • The Seattle Times • HuffPost • Newsday • Vulture • Bustle • Vox • PopSugar • Good Housekeeping • LitHub • Book Riot

Prickly, wry, resistant to change yet ruthlessly honest and deeply empathetic, Olive Kitteridge is “a compelling life force” (San Francisco Chronicle). TheNew Yorker has said that Elizabeth Strout “animates the ordinary with an astonishing force,” and she has never done so more clearly than in these pages, where the iconic Olive struggles to understand not only herself and her own life but the lives of those around her in the town of Crosby, Maine. Whether with a teenager coming to terms with the loss of her father, a young woman about to give birth during a hilariously inopportune moment, a nurse who confesses a secret high school crush, or a lawyer who struggles with an inheritance she does not want to accept, the unforgettable Olive will continue to startle us, to move us, and to inspire us—in Strout’s words—“to bear the burden of the mystery with as much grace as we can.”

Praise for Olive, Again

“Olive is a brilliant creation not only because of her eternal cantankerousness but because she’s as brutally candid with herself about her shortcomings as she is with others. Her honesty makes people strangely willing to confide in her, and the raw power of Ms. Strout’s writing comes from these unvarnished exchanges, in which characters reveal themselves in all of their sadness and badness and confusion. . . . The great, terrible mess of living is spilled out across the pages of this moving book. Ms. Strout may not have any answers for it, but she isn’t afraid of it either.”The Wall Street Journal