Trauma, survivor’s guilt, and best friends with well kept secrets in a small town come to a shocking conclusion in Lisa Unger’s novella, Christmas Presents. Can you trust anybody?
Madeline Martin is the scarred only survivor of murderer Evan Handy, who killed her best friend while she watched. 2 other friend’s of Madeline’s disappeared that same evening, and haven’t been heard from since. Their disappearance has always been attributed to Evan, but he denies any part of their disappearance. Of course, he also denies the murder he is in jail for, as well as injuring Madeline.
10 years later, a podcaster comes to town to investigate the cold case of the still missing girls, as well as several more recent disappearances. Old wounds are opened up and long kept secrets uncovered.
Christmas Presents is perfect for fans of Lisa Unger and Megan Miranda. Murder mystery and thriller fans alike, grab your copy!
Megan Goldin is back with one of my favorite characters of hers, the true crime podcaster Rachel Krall with her latest pulse pounding thriller!
Krall is pulled into an FBI missing persons case when Maddison, a social media influencer, disappears after visiting suspected killer Terence Bailey in prison and they discuss Rachel Krall. Rachel doesn’t know Maddison or Terence, and has had no contact from either. She cannot imagine why they were discussing her or how she could be connected to these two individuals. However, with Maddison missing and Terence Bailey, a suspected murderer, about to get out on parole, the clock is sure ticking!
Dark Corners is told in alternating timelines. We get pieces from present day with Rachel and the FBI’s missing person investigation, and also another storyline with another murder that occurred nearby. The chapters don’t make clear when we are switching timelines, so the reader has to piece it together, which is easily done from the different characters. The mystery of how this other timeline connects continues to draw the reader in. We aren’t sure if this is related to the missing persons case, a past murder, or something that will occur later in the main timeline of the story.
Bodies keep appearing. Will the FBI or Rachel get to the bottom of this puzzle before Terence is released on parole and could possibly murder more women? Or will Terence continue his reign of terror after being released from prison?
Pre-order this heart stopping thriller from Megan Goldin right now!! Twists galore and an ending that will surprise even regular thriller readers like me, you won’t want to miss this one!!
Portraying the rarely talked about underbelly of new motherhood, The New Mother provides eye opening insight into how easily a sleep deprived, self conscious, struggling woman can be manipulated as a pawn in a sadistic plot without her knowledge. Although most new mothers don’t have to worry about this extreme of a situation, the insight of the experience of postpartum depression and psychosis is important for new families to be aware of and watch out for. The New Mother is an edge of your seat read, and the reader feels pulled into the sleep deprived, hazy world of a first time mom.
The New Mother is the experience of Nat, a new mother struggling with postpartum depression, living in a new neighborhood, and her return to work. Nat makes a friend in the neighborhood, a stay at home dad down the street, Paul. Paul is the perfect friend in every way - he shows up anytime she needs anything, and always is able to calm her baby and provide a listening ear. Is Paul a true friend, or does he have other motivations?
Thank you to Minotaur Books and Nora Murphy for the early copy! Grab yours on shelves now!
The Heiress is an unputdownable, ingenious thriller with the perfect balance of engaging characters, shocking twists, and intrigue.
Our storytellers are Camden - the son, Jules - Camden’s wife, and letters from Ruby that were written before her death. Ruby was kidnapped as a little girl, and some have always questioned if the girl that was returned was the same girl that was taken. However, Ruby’s father left his entire fortune to her, with a few stipulations. Ruby has become fairly notorious throughout her life, and her family essentially owns the town and can do anything. This power and the lack of necessity to work seems to have gone to their heads, and the entire family is overall, not a particularly kind bunch.
After years of avoiding his family and his inheritance, Camden finally returns home to help out. He is met by unwelcoming, ungrateful family members who go out of their way to exclude him and question his legitimacy as heir. Jules starts to understand why Camden turned his back on his family years before. Will Camden’s family prove that he isn’t a rightful heir? What really happened all those years ago to Ruby? And what about all of Ruby’s husband’s that died?
This is a 5 star thriller from the moment you open the front cover! The reader will be yanked into the world of the McTavish family and anxious to get to the bottom of the mystery, and to learn what secrets Ruby’s letters hold the answers to. Thank you to St. Martin’s Press and Rachel Hawkins for an advance copy!! Pre-order this riveting thriller today!
Girls and Their Horses is Eliza Brazier's second novel, and she is true to form with unexpected twists left and right! Girls and Their Horses will keep you on the edge of your seat with its surprising twists and turns. After all, it isn't every day that a body is found at an elite riding stable...
Maple's family recently uprooted and moved from Texas to a wealthy area in California. Maple is into riding horses because her mother loved it, and her mother tries to encourage Maple by joining the most elite barn in the area, and then buying Maple the best horse that money can buy. Although every member of this barn is relatively well off, there is an element of jealousy when Maple, one of the worst riders, winds up with one of the best horses. The social hierarchy upset builds drama around the barn and at the competitions, which adds to the tension. In addition, a love triangle starts to emerge, and another barn mom hints at long kept secrets that are simmering under the surface.
Girls and Their Horses is told through multiple viewpoints, including the girls and moms that are barn members, barn employees, and the police investigating the murder. Each chapter is clearly labeled and follows the previous, which makes it easy to follow even if it is told from a different viewpoint. Some overlap exists as well so that the reader does get additional information from various narrators.
This book is a great read for mystery and thriller lovers, and more so if you also love horses! You can tell that Eliza Brazier has experience with horses, as she is very knowledgable about their care, training, and the barn experience. While thrilling, this book is based on an elitist sport that not all have access to in real life, but can enjoy through Eliza's writing.
Thank you to Eliza Jane Brazier and Berkley Publishing for the advance copy of this edge of your seat novel! Read on for an excerpt. And remember to grab your copy, Girls and Their Horses hit shelves today!!
GIRLS AND THEIR HORSES by Eliza Jane Brazier
Berkley Hardcover | On sale June 6, 2023
Maple stepped into the cool shade of the breezeway. The horses stuck their heads over the doors and watched her. One noticed the carrots and whinnied. Then they all started whinnying, pacing around their stalls and tossing their heads. One even bucked and cantered a tight circle. They were freaking out. It was kind of scary.
Maple had a sense, always, that something terrible was about to happen now. Right now. She called it prophecy; her therapist called it generalized anxiety disorder.
"What are you doing?" A girl slipped out of a stall and into the aisleway.
She seemed older than Maple, but she was small and delicate. She was wearing a bright red coat, like a girl marked for death in a horror movie. But she had the face of the killer.
"You can't be here," the girl continued. "Didn't you read the signs?" She noticed the carrots. "Oh my God! Are you giving the horses carrots? Don't you know you can't do that? They could have Cushing's disease. Or bite you. I know this girl, and her mom got her finger bitten off by their horse, and the horse swallowed it. Seriously, I'm not fucking kidding."
Maple dropped the heavy bag on the ground. Her whole face burned. She wanted to run, but her legs felt weak. She was dizzy. She wished her mom were there.
Heather never seemed to be bothered by drama. In fact, she often seemed drawn to it. If there was a kerfuffle at a restaurant, if gunshots rang out, Heather drifted steadily toward it, clutching her purse and smiling benignly. Can I help?
"My mom-," Maple started.
"You need to leave," the girl said. "Seriously, you're actually trespassing. And why are you wearing riding clothes? It's Monday."
Maple burned up even more. She'd tried to warn her mother about this, when she had dressed Maple up like a doll.
A woman who must have been the other girl's mom appeared. She shared her daughter's red hair.
"What are you doing here?" she said. She also shared her attitude.
"My mom's here," Maple said, not answering the question. "I have to go get her." She took off like a lunatic toward the offices. She abandoned the carrots in the barn aisle.
"Hey!" the girl yelled after her. "You can't run around horses!"
Maple found her mom practically in the middle of breaking and entering. It would never have occurred to Heather that the office wasn’t hers to open.
"Why are you running?" Heather asked, trying a combination on the lock. "I was thinking I could write them a note. I think this is the main office. I've already left seven voice messages."
Heather had been trying to contact this barn since before the move. Instead of giving up, she got only more determined.
Maple was breathing hard. She was on the verge of tears. "They said we can't be here!" Her voice rose precipitously. "They said we're trespassing."
Heather perked up. "Who said that? Is someone here?"
Heather started in the direction Maple had come from, but then the red-haired woman appeared, matching daughter in tow. When she saw Heather, she smiled so fast it was like a quick draw in a shoot-out.
"Why, hello there!" Her eyes ran fast over Heather, like she was calculating the value of everything she saw-Heather herself included. "I'm Pamela and this is my daughter, Vida."
"I'm Heather. Parker. And this is my daughter Maple."
"I was just telling your sweet girl that unfortunately this barn isn't open to the public." Pamela was holding Vida's hand, their fingers laced, like they were best friends instead of mother and daughter.
"Oh, we're not the public," Heather said. They had been rich for a short amount of time, but Heather had adjusted beautifully. "We're here to sign up for riding lessons."
"It's Monday," Pamela said. "No one comes in on Mondays. And this isn't a lesson barn. They don't have school ponies or summer camps."
Heather stepped forward, crossed her arms neatly. Since she had become rich, Maple's mother had changed, although not completely. The root of what she had always been was still there. But she had become more herself.
"We just bought a house a mile from here," Heather said, as if that had anything to do with it.
But Maple could see Pamela's expression change. It softened a little, like the Parkers were closer to belonging not just there but everywhere.
"How lovely! That makes us neighbors," she said. "But I will warn you, this probably isn't the barn for you."
Maple knew the woman couldn't have tempted her mother more.
"There's a good riding school in Olivenhain. I can give you their number."
"No, thank you. I like this one. It's closer to our house. I want Maple to be able to walk to the barn if she wants to," Heather said. As if Maple would ever walk a mile. "Would you mind taking my number? Then you can pass it along to the owners for me. I've been trying to reach them."
"Kieran Flynn," Pamela said, like the name meant something to everyone. "He's the owner and the head trainer."
Pamela clearly didn't want to take her number, but Heather just waited. Pamela finally took out her phone. She typed Heather's number in quickly.
Then she added, "This is a show barn. Last year, we outperformed every barn at the Southern California International Horse Show. We demand total commitment to the program. We're a very tight community. You have to have your own horses, and your horses have to be in the training program. That means all of your rides are supervised by a trainer, and your horse is schooled by a Professional rider. It's really not a place for fun."
"Good," Heather said, taking Maple's hand like she was aping Pamela. "We don't want to have fun."
There was nothing Heather loved more than the word no.
Excerpted from Girls and Their Horses by Eliza Jane Brazier Copyright © 2023 by Eliza Jane Brazier. Excerpted by permission of Berkley. All rights reserved.
Megan Goldin is true to form with her novel, Stay Awake. Another explosive, mind bending novel, Stay Awake is the story of Liv, who wakes up and has no recollection of how she got where she is. Liv has writing all over her hands and arms and the messages are quiet ominous - like STAY AWAKE and trust no one. Liv immediately goes home to check in with her roommate, but finds that she no longer lives there. She can’t find her boyfriend, and her best friend’s mom practically hangs up on her when she calls, and when she goes to work, she doesn’t recognize anybody at the office. With no one to turn to, how can Liv figure out what happened to her and her memory? And with the forbidding messages on her hands and arms, is she truly safe as she tries to get to the bottom of this mystery?
Told in duel timelines, Stay Awake quickly grabs the reader and tells the story of Liv’s past as well as her uncertain future. The dual timelines was a nice approach, as we continue to get bits of pieces of how Liv ended up in this situation while learning more about the situation she had awoken in. The danger for Liv increases throughout, and as the tension ratchets up, Megan more rapidly switches between the timelines to increase the tension.
Stay Awake was a delicious and unique thriller, as the memory loss that the protagonist deals with renders her helpless in a multitude of situations. Another great novel by Megan Goldin! Thank you to Megan Goldin and St. Martin’s press for the copy.
The Trade Off is the story of a new reporter, Jess, eager to improve the corrupt world of journalism. Jess was a rapidly rising reporter at a small paper, and then her boss recommended her for an opportunity at one of the largest tabloids in the country. Jess is excited and can’t wait to make a positive difference in the world of reporting, as her head of the paper wants to change their reporting practices. However, her immediate boss, Stella, seemingly stands in her way.
Stella started off much like Jess, but now she knows the increasing importance of getting the scoop, even if she has to put subjects in a particular situation to create her own scoop.
Jess unwittingly participates in several of Stella’s stunts to manipulate the story, and then feels incredibly guilty for her part once she realizes what happened. Soon, Jess realizes that somebody is trying to stop her from revealing the truth, and may be willing to kill to cover up the backstory. Will Jess be able to stop Stella and the Globe before it’s too late, will Jess turn to manipulation herself to get the viral views, or will Jess be taken out of the picture before she can do any damage to the Globe?
A multitude of twists keep the reader eagerly turning pages while reading The Trade Off. Told from the multiple perspectives of Jess and Stella, this story makes you think about the world of digital media, viral videos, and immediate gratification that we live in, and the impact this has on viewer expectation and the lives of these in the public eye.
Thank you to Sandie Jones and St. Martin’s Press for the advance copy. The Trade Off will be on shelves on August 15th.
Wow. Ruth Ware’s stunning, pulse pounding new thriller, Zero Days, is a propulsive page turner that you won’t be able to put down!!! Pre-order this one now!!!!!
Jacqueline “Jack” and her husband Gabe are “pen tester,” which means that she legally breaks into companies at their request to test their security, both physical security and data/computer security. After getting caught at the end of a job, Jack can’t get Gabe on the phone to clear things up with the police. When everything is finally straightened out, she goes home to find him brutally murdered, and it doesn’t long before she finds herself at the center of the police investigation. Jack wants justice for her husband, and she knows if she is arrested, there won’t be justice for his killer, so she takes off to find her husband’s killer on her own. The rest of the book follows the trials and tribulations of avoiding police capture while trying to investigate her husband’s murder, and this is engrossing!
I couldn’t put Zero Days down! Jack’s adventure tears at your heartstrings, as I could only imagine her heartbreak at the unexpected and brutal murder of her husband, and the shock she felt at being the police’s main suspect. The story is told as a countdown in days to the climax, and Ruth Ware’s detailed descriptions grab the reader and make you feel as though you are watching the scene unfold before you.
If you love Ruth Ware, you won’t want to miss this book! Perfect for fans of Ruth Ware, thrillers, suspense, and whodunnit mysteries, this book had a little of everything!! Thank you to Gallery Books and Ruth Ware for the advance copy. Another breathtaking stunner of a thriller from Ruth Ware!!
The Soulmate by Sally Hepworth is a tale of the tribulations of marriage when love, power, and mental health issues collide. Everybody has a secret that they want to keep, but what at what cost?
Gabe and Pippa live with their toddler girls in a cottage up on a cliff by the seaside. The cliff by their house is unfortunately a known location for suicide jumpers. Gabe, with his charm and charisma, has found a new purpose in his life in talking potential jumpers off the ledge. Gabe has a history of mental health struggles, and Pippa worries about Gabe’s reaction when the inevitable happens, and there is a jumper that he cannot talk off the cliff.
Max and Amanda are an extremely wealthy married couple. Their marriage is a marriage of convenience, and they both provide each other with stability and loyalty. Until one day, Amanda commits suicide.
Amanda is the one Gabe couldn’t talk off the cliff. But Pippa questions if Gabe is telling the truth about what happened up on the cliff side that evening. Amanda’s husband has the wealth and power to get even, and Pippa is terrified for her young girls and their family. Will Pippa's family be safe? Did Gabe push Amanda off the cliff?
The Soulmate is told from multiple viewpoints and multiple timelines, but Sally Hepworth helps the reader keep everything straight by clearly labeling the narrator and timing of each chapter. Amanda narrates both before and after her suicide, and has more of an “all seeing” viewpoint after her death. This definitely enhances the story. The alternating narrators and viewpoints ratchet up the tension thought out the story, as Sally comes to a crucial part of the story and then will switch narrators, keeping you propulsively turning pages.
Thank you to Sally Hepworth and St. Martin's press for the advance copy!
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