Curfew is a distopian novel about a future where women are in power, and men are electronically tagged and have to follow a curfew. This law came about due to the murder of a high profile female by a male, and women had finally had enough of the violence men perpetrated against women, and enough women in positions of power to bring about change.
Curfew follows the story of several women. We have Sarah, a recently divorced mom who is a tagger and under investigation for tasing a man. Cass, Sarah’s daughter, is a rebellious teenager, who sees her mother as overbearing and does anything she can to antagonize Sarah. Helen is Cass’ teacher, and Cass is antagonistic towards her as well. Their paths will also intersect outside of school.
Each of these three has their own personal struggles with the men in their lives. Sarah’s ex-husband has recently been released from prison and is trying to come back into her daughter’s life against Sarah’s wishes. Cass has eyes for a young man and is trying
to get his attention. And Helen has recently completed cohabitation counseling with her
boyfriend and he has moved into her house, but cohabitation is turning out to not be all it was cracked up to be.
In spite of the security issues provided to these women by curfew, their paths all intertwine in unexpected ways. Is curfew enough to protect women? Or is something more necessary?
Jayne Bowie has written a thought provoking, dark novel about isolation, the dynamic between men and women, and violence against women. The narrator changes with each chapter, and the timeline goes back and forth between present day and a few months earlier. The storyline is clearly laid out and these changes in time and narration were easy to follow. I felt that Curfew wrapped up quickly in the end, and I would have liked a bit more of the novel to focus on the conclusion of the police investigation.
Overall, Curfew presented an interesting idea for a dystopian society that was structured to protect women, but in reality, didn’t give them the protections that it was designed to give. If you like futuristic mysteries or dystopian novels, scoop this one up!! On shelves March 23.
This Might Hurt is a chilling, dark tale that explores the long term effects of family abuse and the price of happiness.
Kit is Natalie’s younger sister, and she has been incommunicado for 6 months at a wellness retreat. When Natalie received an email from the facility threatening to spill a long kept secret of Natalie’s to Kit, Natalie drops everything and goes to the secluded island retreat to talk to her sister. Strange things happen to her on the island, and Natalie doesn’t understand how her sister can be happy in this environment. Kit’s loyalty to the retreat, Wisewood, seems cult like to Natalie.
A young girl grows up in a house with seemingly arbitrary rules - you must accumulate a certain number of points before you are allowed to sleep, and points are subtracted for weaknesses like crying, faltering, or mistakes. The point system changes, and the girl is always on edge, not knowing how Sir, her father, will treat her each day. He says he wants to push her to endure and succeed, but all she can think about is when she can escape his domineering rule.
These two stories are told in alternating chapters, and the reader must grasp at clues to see how they are connected. Will Natalie come clean to Kit? What is Natalie’s secret, anyway? And how does the mysterious girl play into the storyline? If you enjoy domestic thrillers with suspense and twists, This Might Hurt is for you.
Stephanie Wrobel has come up with another dark, chilling tale that will keep the reader engrossed and eagerly turning pages. Thank you to Ms. Wrobel and Berkley Publishing for the advanced copy!
Pre-order your copy now, and check out Darling Rose Gold by Stephanie Wrobel in the meantime!!
The Younger Wife will keep you on your toes and make you question everything. You’ll laugh at some of the character quirks, wonder at their motives, and feel happy when they achieve some sort of breakthrough. This is one of my favorites of Sally Hepworth’s novels!
Tully and Rachel have been through a lot throughout their lives, but they don’t share their individual struggles with each other. Until their middle-aged mom going into a care home due to her early onset dementia, and their dad, Stephen, decides to divorce her! To make matters worse, he’s falling in love with their interior designer, who is younger than the sisters. Both sisters are shocked, and work to cope in their own ways - through eating and petty theft.
While sorting through their mom’s belongings, they find a mysterious note with Tully’s name and an unfamiliar name, Fiona. Although their Stephen denies knowing this name, there‘s something strange about the look on his face and the pause before his denial.
In the meantime, the new fiancé, Heather, starts having terrible accidents, and she begins to suspect her husband to be is abusing her and lying about it. But she tends to drink and is never quite sure if she can trust her memory. Is Stephen using her drinking to as an excuse to hurt Heather and hide it? Or is Heather imagining his involvement in her accidents? And Rachel and Tully start to suspect things - their mom had a lot of accidents too, but never when she was alone. Is their father an abuser?
I loved the quirkiness and uncertainty of the characters throughout this novel. As a reader, this propelled me through the book. I laughed, I wondered, I worried, and I couldn’t stop reading!! Throughout the story, the point of view shifts between characters each chapter, and this helps the reader feel they have more of an omniscient view. However, the reader still can’t be sure whom to trust. Sally Hepworth has written a quirky thriller and domestic drama that I absolutely loved for its reality yet exaggerated character traits. If you enjoy family drama and mysteries with a little bit of a love triangle thrown in there, you won’t want to miss this one!
The Couple at Number 9 is Claire Douglas’ best work yet!!
This captivating thriller is the story of two generations: Rose and her daughter Lolly, and Lorna and her daughter Saffy. When Rose went to a care home due to her dementia, her daughter Lorna (aka Lolly) and granddaughter Saffy found out that she owns a cottage in the countryside that she has leased out for years. Saffy decides to move there with her boyfriend to start their family. While they are renovating, 2 bodies are uncovered. Piecing together what happened isn’t easy, as there were multiple tenants, and the timeline of the deaths as well as the identities of the deceased aren’t initially clear. As the police investigate, they have many questions for Rose, but she struggles to answer them with any clarity through the fog of dementia. Lorna Ajax Saffy tentatively mount their own investigation. After following up on a potential lead, Lorna is attacked on her way home. At this point, Lorna and Saffy realize that somebody besides Gran Rose has a vested interest in covering up the circumstances around the double homicide. Who was buried in the garden? Who else would want to keep these murders and the circumstances around them hidden?
The Couple at Number 9 is written from 4 viewpoints; primarily, from the viewpoints of Saffy, Lorna, and Rose. Theo is the fourth viewpoint, and initially I didn’t see how he fit in. However, Claire Douglas gives a few clues and I began to have my suspicious before the connection in the storylines is revealed. Each character is very much their own personality, and I appreciated how the character of Lorna developed throughout the book and how her relationship with her daughter improved. The unfortunate circumstances brought them closer together.
Thank you to Harper Publishing and Claire Douglas for the early copy! Coming to a bookstore near you in August - preorder using the link below!
The Way We Weren’t is a poignant novel about the compounding effect that one event or decision can have on the path of your life, as well as the inner strength that is necessary to step back and change your path.
Marcie and Will were teenage sweethearts, married just out of high school. Their friends envy their seemingly perfect marriage, and Marcie and Will agree, they have it pretty good. Until one day, when they find they want different things in life.
Marcie takes off on a mission to find herself, and makes friends along the way. The closest of these is Flint - a curmudgeonly old man. Flint finds Marcie in a bit of a predicament, and steps out of his comfort zone to help her. The banter between Marcie and Flint is entertaining, and I loved the rapport and understanding they developed for each other throughout the novel.
What is Flint’s purpose on Marcie’s journey? How will Marcie and Will reconcile their differences? Will Marcie find herself and happiness?
Thank you to Berkley Publishing and Phoebe Fox for the advance copy. Grab yours on Amazon using the link below!
The saying “money can’t buy happiness” has never been more true than when it comes to Layla and Graham. They have a lifestyle that is unimaginable to most - their glamorous house is built into the side of a mountain, they have staff to take care of their every need, and money to buy anything they want, but yet they are bored. Instead of seeking adrenaline in a more traditional manner by skydiving or another risky hobby, they choose to rent out the house below them and then “play games” to mess with the tenant’s life. Does their tenant have a family? No problem, they’ll stage an affair and gambling problem. Or maybe they’ll find a way to get the tenant hooked on drugs. Or maybe they’ll make the tenant so miserable that they will commit suicide. It doesn’t matter, as long as the tenant loses and Graham is entertained.
Now it’s Layla’s turn to prove herself to Graham. Can she make the new tenant miserable and destroy her life? Or will the new tenant “win”?
Good Rich People is twisted, gruesome, messy, and quite the page turner! As much as I would cringe on one page, I’d need to keep reading the next to uncover the next grisly turn of events. Kudos to Eliza Jane Brazier on a thriller that was both macabre and enthralling!
Thanks to Berkley Books and Eliza Jane Brazier for the advanced copy! Good Rich People is on shelves today, January 25. Be sure to check it out!
Wow! I have to say, The Shadow House was full of unexpected twists and turns. I should have expected this, since I read and loved Anna Downes' first book, but I didn’t expect it again and it was thrilling!!
Alex is running from an ex in an effort to protect her children. She seeks shelter at a small eco community. Strange things start happening almost before she arrives, and these twists and turns will keep the reader on their toes guessing what is to come. Dead animals, dolls, blood on the walls…what is next? When Alex discovers that the son of the farmer that previously owned the property disappeared, she nearly leaves the community to protect her children, as she sees startling similarities between the disappearance of the farmer’s son and the events she is currently experiencing.
This story is told with flashbacks to the events leading up to the disappearance of the farmer's son, through the eyes of his mother, Renee. What is the common thread between Alex and Renee? Other mothers have lived on this property without experiencing these traumatic events. Will Alex's son disappear like Renee's? Or will Alex leave in time? What happened to Renee's son after his disappearance? Anna Downes keeps the reader guessing and questioning throughout this fast paced thriller.
Thank you to NetGalley, Minotaur Books, and Anna Downes for the advance copy!!
Preorder now so you don't miss the April 5, 2022 release date!!
One of the most terrifying scenarios for any parent would have to be to fear for the safety of their child, and that is exactly the position that Natalie is in in D.J. Palmer’s latest, My Wife is Missing.
Natalie has discovered that her husband, Michael, had an affair. She has witnessed him turn violent several times, and is petrified for the safety of her children if she confronts him. Instead, Natalie decides to take their two young children and run, and when she is safely hidden away, file for divorce. However, her plan doesn’t go as smoothly as she hoped, and Michael is working to hunt her down.
On the other hand, Michael is worried sick about his children. He knows that Natalie is struggling from the effects of significant, long term insomnia, to the point that she has been hallucinating. When his family goes missing, he is desperate to find them, as he fears what will happen as Natalie’s insomnia causes her to be increasingly delusional.
I’ve heard that there are 3 version of every event - yours, mine, and what actually happened. My Wife is Missing leaves the reader continuously questioning whose version of events is accurate. Is Natalie reliable as a narrator, or is she paranoid? Is Michael a violent man, or the victim of his wife’s delusions brought on by her insomnia? As the tale unfolds and we learn more about each character, we are caught up in an increasingly complex web of events that propel us forward to a dramatic conclusion.
My Wife is Missing has elements of mystery, drama, psychological thrillers, and a parents worst nightmare. Don’t miss out on this one!! Coming to bookshelves near you May 10, 2022, but available for pre-order already! Thank you to D.J. Palmer, St. Martin’s Press, and NetGalley for the early copy!
Heartbreaking and gut wrenching. The Last House on the Street is an utterly captivating and horrific story about racism in the south and irreparable divides in a family.
Ellie is coming into her own in the 1960s, and becomes passionate about equal rights. She joins SCOPE, an organization that was working to inform black US citizens about a possible change to voter registration laws, against her parents wishes.
Kayla is a widowed architect, raising her little girl in her own and moving into the house that she and her husband designed prior to his untimely death. She runs into present day Ellie, who seems very different from the Ellie of the 1960s.
As the dual storyline emerges, we learn more about Ellie’s experiences while working for SCOPE, including needing to hide from whites while canvassing with black SCOPE volunteers. Ellie is passionate about civil rights, and working for SCOPE helps her see the great divide in living conditions and opportunities for blacks and whites, as well as the blatant racism of the KKK and towards blacks in general. However, her passion for this cause has repercussions for her family - her dad loses customers, her mom is kicked out of bridge club. Ellie is forever changed, and cannot go back to living her old life.
Frightening things begin happening to Kayla and her daughter as she prepares to move into her new home. A strange woman threatens her, her daughter disappears.
Who doesn’t want Kayla in the house at the end of the street? What catalyzed the changes that we see in Ellie? This is one you won’t be able to put down. Diane Chamberlain has eloquently put into words the horror of racism while weaving a compelling narrative around this tragedy.
Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for the advanced copy.
Sarah Pekkanen and Grier Hendricks are on fire with The Golden Couple! I’ve loved all their books, and this is another page-turner to add to your suspense/thriller collection.
Marissa and Mathew seem like the Golden Couple, but Marissa is hiding a secret - she cheated on her husband. She decides to take him to therapy to tell him and get everything out in the open, to heal their marriage. However, she doesn’t choose just any therapist, but Avery. Avery is no longer licensed, due to her unorthodox procedures, but Marissa is hoping she can work miracles and save her marriage.
Marissa breaks off communication with the man she cheated with, but he won’t take no for an answer. Notes, flowers, and Mathew is even assaulted. How far will her lover go to try to claim Marissa for himself? These overtures continue to drive a wedge between Melissa and Mathew, and Marissa is concerned that even the miracle worker Avery won’t be able to repair the fissure in their marriage.
Narration alternates between Marissa and Avery. This adds to the story, as we are able to see the same event from various perspectives. I've always heard that there's your version, my version, and the truth is somewhere in the middle, and that is definitely the case with the Golden Couple.
Will Avery be able to repair their marriage? Will Marissa choose Mathew or her mysterious lover? Will Marissa's family stay safe? Whew! One I couldn't put down!! Thanks to St. Martin's Press for the early copy!!
This gem is coming out March 3, 2022. Pre-order it now!!
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