Review|Little Secrets by Jennifer Hillier

img_1870“Four hundred and eighty seconds. That’s how long it took for someone to steal Marin Machado’s four-year-old son.

Marin had the perfect life. Married to her college sweetheart, she owns a chain of upscale hair salons, and Derek runs his own company. They’re admired in their community and are a loving family. Up until the day Sebastian is taken.

A year later, Marin is a shadow of herself. The FBI search has gone cold. The publicity has faded. She and her husband rarely speak. The only thing keeping her going is the unlikely chance that one day Sebastian reappears. She hires a P.I. to pick up where the police left off, but instead of finding him, she discovers that Derek is having an affair with a younger woman.

Kenzie Li is an artist and grad student—Instagram famous—and up to her eyeballs in debt. She knows Derek is married. She also knows he’s rich, and dating him comes with perks: help with bills, trips away, expensive gifts. He isn’t her first rich boyfriend, but she finds herself hoping he’ll be the last. She’s falling for him—and that was never part of the plan.

Discovery of the affair sparks Marin back to life. She’s lost her son; she’s not about to lose her husband, too. Kenzie is an enemy with a face, which means this is a problem Marin can fix. But as she sets a plan in motion, another revelation surfaces. Derek’s lover might know what happened to their son. And so might Derek.”

I have seen that some of my fellow bookstagrammers have not been fans of Little Secrets but I sure was! I found it to be a fast paced story with twists and turns that come unexpectedly. I couldn’t put it down and tried to squeeze in moments of reading with every chance that I could find.

While Christmas shopping Marin takes her eyes off her son, Sebastian, for a quick second. As we all know, that is all it takes. Sebastian is gone…

Ridden by guilt and shame, Marin finds herself spiraling out of control. Of course this takes a toll on her marriage and when she finds out that her husband, Derek, is having an affair with a hot little, pink haired barista it might just be the last string. Fueled by rage there’s no telling how far she will go to face off with her enemy.

This is my first book by Jennifer Hillier but it will not be my last. In fact, I have Jar of Hearts so I may need to read that sooner rather than later. Hillier was able to intertwine little secrets by various characters that played into each other and keeps the reading guessing. It was definitely an interesting rollercoaster ride! Go grab this one!

Thank you to Minotaur Books for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review!

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PUBLICATION DETAILS: Minotaur Books; April 21, 2020; 352 pages; Fiction, Mystery Thriller, Suspense

RATING: ★★★★★

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The Other Mrs. by Mary Kubica

img_1701Book Title: The Other Mrs.
Author: Mary Kubica
Genres: Fiction, Mystery, Thriller
Pub Date: 02.18.2020
4 1/2 STARS ★★★★1/2

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GOODREADS SYSNOPSIS:

Propulsive and addictive, The Other Mrs. is the twisty new psychological thriller from Mary Kubica, the New York Timesbestselling author of The Good Girl

She tried to run, but she can’t escape the other Mrs….

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.

MY THOUGHTS:

THE OTHER MRS. was fast paced and although it was a slow burner, it kept my interested right up to the end. Kudos to Mary Kubica for a solid ride!

Sadie and Will Foust, who recently moved their family from Chicago to Maine, haven’t even had the opportunity to get fully acclimated when they find out their neighbor, Morgan Baines, was found dead in her home. But it’s not just the murder that has Sadie on edge in this new town. It’s the creepy old house and Will’s niece Imogen who irks Sadie the wrong way. Sadie finds herself drawn into what happened to her neighbor. “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 comes to light.”.

Readers are taken through the story by three different character viewpoints — Sadie, Camille, and a young girl named Mouse. And to be honest, I didn’t like Sadie very much. (Seems to be the consensus.) I found myself wanting to scream at her so many times and just not understanding the decisions she was making.

On the plus side, The Other Mrs. definitely had a few curveballs that I did not see coming and I think that is why I enjoyed it as much as I did. As an avid reader of mystery thrillers, this is always a good thing. I hope you enjoy it!

Thank you to MIRA Books for gifting me a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review!

 

 

The Honey Don’t List by Christina Lauren

phontoBook Title: The Honey Don’t List
Author: Christina Lauren
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Chick Lit
Pub Date: 03.24.2020
4 STARS ★★★★

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GOODREADS SYSNOPSIS:

Carey Douglas has worked for home remodeling and design gurus Melissa and Rusty Tripp for nearly a decade. A country girl at heart, Carey started in their first store at sixteen, and—more than anyone would suspect—has helped them build an empire. With a new show and a book about to launch, the Tripps are on the verge of superstardom. There’s only one problem: America’s favorite couple can’t stand each other.

James McCann, MIT graduate and engineering genius, was originally hired as a structural engineer, but the job isn’t all he thought it’d be. The last straw? Both he and Carey must go on book tour with the Tripps and keep the wheels from falling off the proverbial bus.

Unfortunately, neither of them is in any position to quit. Carey needs health insurance, and James has been promised the role of a lifetime if he can just keep the couple on track for a few more weeks. While road-tripping with the Tripps up the West Coast, Carey and James vow to work together to keep their bosses’ secrets hidden, and their own jobs secure. But if they stop playing along—and start playing for keeps—they may have the chance to build something beautiful together…

From the “hilariously zany and heartfelt” (Booklist) Christina Lauren comes a romantic comedy that proves if it’s broke, you might as well fix it.

MY THOUGHTS:

Admittedly this is only the second novel that I have read by Christina Lauren but I plan to change that. I had heard great things from fellow bookstagrammers and went on a spree to purchase their books…now just to read them.

As a fan of HGTV and shows like Fixer Upper, this was right up my alley and allowed me to connect with the storyline quickly. Readers are introduced to Carey Duncan and James  McCann – Carey has worked alongside Melissa and Rusty Tripp for years assisting with their home remodels and design. She knows the ins and outs of their business and their personal relationship. Maybe even more than she wants to. James is an MIT graduate who joined the team hoping to focus his trade as an engineer but that hasn’t seemed to pan out. 

Carey and James find themselves in an odd predicament when it comes to light that the Tripps marital problems may be worse than anyone knows. They find themselves having to work together to keep the secrets hidden from the public and along the way this brings them a little closer as well. 

Seeing the situations play out in their dual POV’s was interesting and allowed me to form a connection to each of them in their own respective. I thought The Honey Don’t List was a cute, quick read. Another light read to add to your list if you are on the hunt for one.

Thank you to Gallery Books for gifting me a complimentary copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review!

 

 

Perfect Distraction by Allison Ashley

phontoBook Title: Perfect Distraction
Author: Allison Ashley
Genres: Fiction, Romance
Pub Date: 03.23.2020
5 STARS ★★★★★

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GOODREADS SYSNOPSIS:

Lauren Taylor isn’t thinking about love, especially not with the impossibly attractive man she accidentally spilled coffee all over. He’s out of her league and she’s focused on finishing her oncology pharmacy residency. She’s sworn off men who are too handsome for their own good, anyway.

Andrew Bishop can’t stop thinking about the gorgeous redhead who crashed into him and then disappeared, even though he should have way more on his mind – like dealing with his Hodgkin Lymphoma diagnosis and finishing out his last year in law school. When Andrew and Lauren run into each other at the cancer center where she’s working and he’s being treated, they try to keep it professional. They can be friends, and nothing more.

But sometimes life has other plans…

MY THOUGHTS:

It is safe to say that many of us are currently looking for distractions at the moment. With COVID-19 and everything else going on around the world it was nice to have a light read mixed in to the bunch. I thoroughly enjoyed Perfect Distraction and it is currently only $3.99 on Amazon. Just saying…(nudge nudge)

Lauren Taylor is in the midst of her oncology pharmacy residency which is taking up all of her time and focus. So when she bumps into a handsome guy at the local coffee shop, spilling her coffee on him, the last thing she is thinking about it is a connection. Plus this was just a fleeting moment, right?

Well what if that fleeting moment became more? I mean, who was to guess that said handsome guy is going to be Lauren’s patient when she walks in for a consult?

Andrew Bishop is a law student who has Hodgkin Lymphoma and is facing chemotherapy for the first time. He just wants to get through his treatments so he can go back to his life. Then he finds himself with an undeniable connection to Lauren.

The characters were very relatable in this story. I felt bad for Andrew and his family, I also felt the ethical dilemma Lauren was faced with as a clinician/patient relationship (even though she was only briefly a part of his medical team) – altogether I felt myself picturing these characters in real life. They are the type of people you want to cheer for, you know? Plus it’s filled with puns which kept me laughing.

I definitely recommend Perfect Distraction to anyone looking for a little romance in their lives. 

Thank you to BookSparks, Entangled Publishing, and Allison Ashley for gifting me a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review!

 

 

A Stranger on the Beach by Michele Campbell

img_1600Book Title: A Stranger on the Beach
Author: Michele Campbell
Genres: Fiction, Thriller, Mystery
Pub Date: 7.23.2019
3 STARS ★★★

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GOODREADS SYSNOPSIS:

There is a stranger outside Caroline’s house.

Her spectacular new beach house, built for hosting expensive parties and vacationing with the family she thought she’d have. But her husband is lying to her and everything in her life is upside down, so when the stranger, Aiden, shows up as a bartender at the same party where Caroline and her husband have a very public fight, it doesn’t seem like anything out of the ordinary.

As her marriage collapses around her and the lavish lifestyle she’s built for herself starts to crumble, Caroline turns to Aiden for comfort…and revenge. After a brief and desperate fling that means nothing to Caroline and everything to him, Aiden’s obsession with Caroline, her family, and her house grows more and more disturbing. And when Caroline’s husband goes missing, her life descends into a nightmare that leaves her accused of her own husband’s murder.

MY THOUGHTS:

There is no time more than now that I wish I could be on a beach somewhere but instead, like many of you, I am home for the foreseeable future. But I digress…

A Stranger on the Beach didn’t do it for me. I had trouble connecting with the characters and found the main storyline started out strong which dragged me right in but then it started to drag with repetitive situations. I normally cannot DNF a book unless it is REALLY bad. I didn’t feel that way with this one so I worked to finish it and see how things ended up.

I think many readers out there will enjoy A Stranger on the Beach because the plot is very intriguing. I also found the different POV’s interesting – is Caroline’s view correct or is Aidan’s view the correct one? You have to read it to decide for yourself.

Thank you to St. Martin’s Press for my complimentary copy in return for an honest review!

 

 

Lock Every Door by Riley Sagar

phontoBook Title: Lock Every Door
Author: Riley Sagar
Genres: Fiction, Thriller, Mystery
Pub Date: 07.02.2019
4 STARS ★★★★

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GOODREADS SYSNOPSIS:

No visitors. No nights spent away from the apartment. No disturbing the other residents, all of whom are rich or famous or both. These are the only rules for Jules Larsen’s new job as an apartment sitter at the Bartholomew, one of Manhattan’s most high-profile and mysterious buildings. Recently heartbroken and just plain broke, Jules is taken in by the splendor of her surroundings and accepts the terms, ready to leave her past life behind.

As she gets to know the residents and staff of the Bartholomew, Jules finds herself drawn to fellow apartment sitter Ingrid, who comfortingly, disturbingly reminds her of the sister she lost eight years ago. When Ingrid confides that the Bartholomew is not what it seems and the dark history hidden beneath its gleaming facade is starting to frighten her, Jules brushes it off as a harmless ghost story—until the next day, when Ingrid disappears.

Searching for the truth about Ingrid’s disappearance, Jules digs deeper into the Bartholomew’s dark past and into the secrets kept within its walls. Her discovery that Ingrid is not the first apartment sitter to go missing at the Bartholomew pits Jules against the clock as she races to unmask a killer, expose the building’s hidden past, and escape the Bartholomew before her temporary status becomes permanent.

MY THOUGHTS:

Lock Every Door was the February read for Caitlin Covington’s “Reading Between the Wines” and although I actually read this book in 2019, I realized that I hadn’t written my review so here we go…

The Bartholomew is one of the most prestigious apartment buildings in New York City so when Jules Larsen is contacted to come in for an interview she is ecstatic. The building is something people dream about – beautiful living quarters with breathtaking views and they want to offer the apartment to Jules for 3 months as a sitter for $12,000.

So what’s the catch?!?!

Well to start, only tenants are allowed within the doors. No visitors allowed. No exceptions. And that is just the start of the odd things that Jules finds out about the Bartholomew and the people who live there.

I refuse to give away too much detail because it could give everything away and I think you need to read it for yourself. Sager does a great job with this one. The level of mystery kept me intrigued and wanting to read more. I also really started to like Jules and wanted to see how things would end up for her. I hope you enjoy this one as much as I did.

Thank you to Dutton for gifting me a complimentary copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review!

 

 

The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James

phontoBook Title: The Sun Down Motel
Author: Simone St. James
Genres: Fiction, Thriller, Mystery
Pub Date: 02.18.2020
4 STARS ★★★★

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GOODREADS SYSNOPSIS:

Something hasn’t been right at the roadside Sun Down Motel for a very long time, and Carly Kirk is about to find out why in this chilling new novel from the USA Today bestselling and award-winning author of The Broken Girls.

Upstate New York, 1982. Viv Delaney wants to move to New York City, and to help pay for it she takes a job as the night clerk at the Sun Down Motel in Fell, New York. But something is not right at the motel, something haunting and scary.

Upstate New York, 2017. Carly Kirk has never been able to let go of the story of her aunt Viv, who mysteriously disappeared from the Sun Down before she was born. She decides to move to Fell and visit the motel, where she quickly learns that nothing has changed since 1982. And she soon finds herself ensnared in the same mysteries that claimed her aunt.

MY THOUGHTS:

Usually when I hear or feel like a book is going have a supernatural side to it I stand clear. It is not really my thing but The Sun Down Motel was not that. Yes, it has a slight role but it was not the main premise which worked for me.

The story bounces back and forth from 1982 with Viv Delaney to 2017 with Carly Kirk. In 1982, Viv was working at the Sun Down Motel and suddenly disappeared. Something about Viv’s disappearance has always bother Carly so she decides to look into her Aunt’s background a little more. She even finds herself working at the motel and something is certainly not right about the place…Will she be able to uncover what really happened there in 1982?

I found it a bit repetitive which lead me to only give a 4 star rating. It bothered me that I felt like I was rereading the same chapters and then when you finally get to the “meat” of the plot it felt rushed. Also, as I mentioned, I typically do not read books with a supernatural feel to them so I think I was bound to not completely love this one where other readers may.

But do not get me wrong, I think Simone St. James did a great job with this book. Just the paranormal stuff isn’t really for me.

Thank you to Berkley Publishing Group for gifting me a complimentary copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review!

 

 

Mrs. Everything by Jennifer Weiner

phontoBook Title: Mrs. Everything
Author: Jennifer Weiner
Genres: Fiction, Historical Fiction, Chick Lit
Pub Date: 06.11.2019
4 STARS ★★★★

Goodreads | Amazon

 

 

 

GOODREADS SYSNOPSIS:

Do we change or does the world change us?

Jo and Bethie Kaufman were born into a world full of promise.

Growing up in 1950s Detroit, they live in a perfect “Dick and Jane” house, where their roles in the family are clearly defined. Jo is the tomboy, the bookish rebel with a passion to make the world more fair; Bethie is the pretty, feminine good girl, a would-be star who enjoys the power her beauty confers and dreams of a traditional life.

But the truth ends up looking different from what the girls imagined. Jo and Bethie survive traumas and tragedies. As their lives unfold against the background of free love and Vietnam, Woodstock and women’s lib, Bethie becomes an adventure-loving wild child who dives headlong into the counterculture and is up for anything (except settling down). Meanwhile, Jo becomes a proper young mother in Connecticut, a witness to the changing world instead of a participant. Neither woman inhabits the world she dreams of, nor has a life that feels authentic or brings her joy. Is it too late for the women to finally stake a claim on happily ever after?

MY THOUGHTS:

While I particularly did not like Mrs. Everything, the message behind it is an important one. The #metoo movement has impacted countless people across the world and it is what made this book something women would support and promote.

There are numerous topics that many people tip-toe around or are afraid to talk about and this book touched some of those topics.

It is a story of two sisters, Bethie and Jo, and takes place between 1950 and 2022. Jo, grew up through hiding her sexuality because it was a time in which it was not accepted by many. The reader follows Jo through numerous struggles surrounding her sexuality and the life she wants to live. Bethie on the other hand is the ‘golden’ child who ends up going through her own version of hardships.

Following both of these ladies through their struggles was tough and emotional. But, unfortunately, I found it to be slower is pace and drawn out. I feel slightly disrespectful saying that but I do not know another way to say how I was feeling. 

Thank you to Atria Books for gifting me a free cop via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review!

 

 

The Friend Zone by Abby Jimenez

CaptureBook Title: The Friend ZoneAuthor: Abby Jimenez Genres: Fiction, Chick Lit, Romance Pub Date: 06.11.2019 5 STARS ★★★★★

Goodreads | Amazon

 

 

GOODREADS SYSNOPSIS:

Kristen Petersen doesn’t do drama, will fight to the death for her friends, and has no room in her life for guys who just don’t get her. She’s also keeping a big secret: facing a medically necessary procedure that will make it impossible for her to have children. Planning her best friend’s wedding is bittersweet for Kristen—especially when she meets the best man, Josh Copeland. He’s funny, sexy, never offended by her mile-wide streak of sarcasm, and always one chicken enchilada ahead of her hangry. Even her dog, Stuntman Mike, adores him. The only catch: Josh wants a big family someday. Kristen knows he’d be better off with someone else, but as their attraction grows, it’s harder and harder to keep him at arm’s length. The Friend Zone will have you laughing one moment and grabbing for tissues the next as it tackles the realities of infertility and loss with wit, heart, and a lot of sass.

MY THOUGHTS:

Have you ever loved a book so much that you wanted to read it over again right away? Well that is EXACTLY how I feel about The Friend Zone!⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ A few people had told me this was definitely worth the read and I think it came at the perfect time for me. I’ve been in a big time slump. Between being busy with work and just general life, I haven’t been reading as much and been feeling kind of blah but this book had me going. I didn’t want it to end!⁣ ⭐️ALL⭐️THE⭐️STARS⭐️!!!⭐️⁣    

Big Lies in a Small Town by Diane Chamberlain

img_0701Book Title: Big Lies in a Small Town
Author: Diane Chamberlain
Genres: Fiction, Historical Fiction, Mystery
Pub Date: 01.14.2020
4 STARS ★★★★

Goodreads | Amazon

 

 

GOODREADS SYSNOPSIS:

From bestselling author Diane Chamberlain comes an irresistible new novel.

North Carolina, 2018: Morgan Christopher’s life has been derailed. Taking the fall for a crime she did not commit, she finds herself serving a three-year stint in the North Carolina Women’s Correctional Center. Her dream of a career in art is put on hold—until a mysterious visitor makes her an offer that will see her released immediately. Her assignment: restore an old post office mural in a sleepy southern town. Morgan knows nothing about art restoration, but desperate to leave prison, she accepts. What she finds under the layers of grime is a painting that tells the story of madness, violence, and a conspiracy of small town secrets.

North Carolina, 1940: Anna Dale, an artist from New Jersey, wins a national contest to paint a mural for the post office in Edenton, North Carolina. Alone in the world and desperate for work, she accepts. But what she doesn’t expect is to find herself immersed in a town where prejudices run deep, where people are hiding secrets behind closed doors, and where the price of being different might just end in murder.

What happened to Anna Dale? Are the clues hidden in the decrepit mural? Can Morgan overcome her own demons to discover what exists beneath the layers of lies?

MY THOUGHTS:

I have always enjoyed Diane Chamberlain and Big Lies in a Small Town did not disappoint!

Morgan Christopher finds herself released from the North Carolina Women’s Correctional Center early with the stipulation that she restore an old mural. However, Morgan finds herself incredibly interested in Anna Dale, the artist who painted the murrain 1940. The mystery behind who Anna Dale was and why she painted certain things into the mural was interesting to follow.

I was left wanting to know more about Anna, Jessie, and Morgan.

Thank you to St. Martin’s Press for gifting me a free copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review!