How I'll Kill You is one to grab right away!! Thanks to Ren DeStefano and Berkley Books for the advanced copy, and read on for an excerpt from the book!
Ren DeStefano’s How I’ll Kill You is part love story and part horror. Throughout the tale, the reader knows who the “bad guy” is, but somehow Ren got me to empathize with one of our three murderers and I kept turning pages hoping that things would turn out differently for her.
Sissy is one of identical triplets that were abandoned soon after birth. They grew up in foster home and group homes, and unfortunately were often separated from each other and learned some hard lessons early on. After they aged out of the system, they were able to reunite and be a family. However, it’s not long before iris, the presumed oldest, falls in love and has an affair with a married man. When he refuses to leave his wife for her, she murders him in a fit of anger. Afterwards, she is devastated, but calls Sissy (who is an avid crime documentary watcher) to help cleanup so that the sisters can escape together without being caught. The sisters make a pact to kill each kill their first love, and travel around the country to find their mark.
Eventually, the sisters decide that Sissy needs to kill her first instead of only doing the clean up, as this will better bind her into their little family. However, Sissy falls in love and has doubts about killing him.
How I’ll Kill You is both a love story and a horror story, as you learn about the horrific acts the girls have committed, as well as the details of the cleanup and moving on. They are incredibly methodical and meticulous.
I really empathized with Sissy throughout the novel, and felt that she was “different” from her murderous sisters, especially since she had her to kill and was only helping them clean up. Only - ha! That is still a big deal. But she was not the mastermind and more like a wheel in the system. The man that Sissy falls in love with who is to be her first mark is also very engaging, and has been through hard times himself.
Disaster and murder follow the triplets wherever they go.
How I’ll Kill You is perfect for fans of Taylor Adams (No Exit) or Jennifer Hillier (Jar of Hearts, Things We Do in the Dark) in that it combines the element of intrigue with a bit of gruesomeness, but also has characters that the reader can identify with. This novel kept me on edge!
Thanks to Berkley Books and Ren DeStefano for the advanced copy. You’ll find How I’ll Kill You on shelves STARTING TODAY!!
“Just come,” she’d sobbed and then hung up. All of my calls went straight to voicemail. I sped the whole way over there, sure that someone had just climbed up the fire escape to murder her. But what I found was a different sort of violence.
Blood, deep and dark, pooled on her oriental rug, and splattered across the angel figurines.
She’d been sleeping with her old high school guidance counselor—a fifty-one-year-old married father of two. He strung her along for months, promising to leave his wife. He broke her heart a hundred times, and then Iris plunged a kebab skewer through his.
“You watch all of those crime shows,” Moody said, emerging from the kitchen with a bottle of bleach she’d found under the sink. “Help us make this go away.”
We moved with a practical calm, the three of us, and when it was through, Iris’s ill-fated lover was resting in six garbage bags, wound tightly with duct tape. If it were only one of us, or even two, I’m sure we would have been caught. We would have missed a detail. But we were a perfect team, the three of us.
After a lifetime of being torn apart, we were finally together, finally able to help one another in all the ways we never could when we were being jostled helplessly by the foster system. All those years of loneliness, of wanting, of being kept apart, had brought us to this desperate moment. Knee-deep in the water of the San Joaquin river in the velvet black night, we weighed the pieces of the man with rocks, and a promise started to form. In the coming days, it slowly became obvious what we needed to do.
We wouldn’t deprive ourselves of love, but our hearts would be weapons. We would love the men we found completely and without inhibition, put a lifetime into our brief time together. Live out every fantasy we desired. And then we would kill them.
There would never be another lover to break one of us. We would break all of them first.
“Excerpted from HOW I’LL KILL YOU by Ren DeStefano published by Berkley, an imprint of Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House, LLC. Copyright © 2023 by Ren DeStefano”
The Other Mistress is heart pounding and jaw dropping!
Adira is a successful women that runs her own silk company. She has success and wealth, but is struggling with life, as her husband, Gabriel, is cheating on her. However, Adira decides that she isn’t going to put up with this, and reaches out to her husband’s mistress, Jocelyn, to tell her to leave Gabriel alone. In spite of the situation, Adira likes and envies Jocelyn’s internal fortitude and confidence, and they forge a strange sort of friendship when Adira discovers that Gabriel has yet another mistress. Perhaps they can team up to convince the other mistress to leave and to convince Gabriel to stay true to Adira.
In addition to the story alternating between Adira’s point of view and Jocelyn’s, we also get a 3rd storyline. At first, the reader doesn’t know how this 3rd point of view relates to the first two, but by the end, it’s crystal clear and shocking!
As Shanora William’s warns in her intro, there are elements of this book that deal with both child abused and sexual assault. They were important to the story, but did not take over the storyline or the majority of the book. The Other Mistress was a thrilling ride, and I recommend this to people who enjoy twisted psychological thrillers. Thank for to Kensington Books and Shanora William’s for the advanced copy! Pub day is June 27, 2023, you can preorder now!
Joshilyn Jackson stays true to her unique combination of mystery with a splash of horror in her latest novel, With My Little Eye.
Maribel is a single mom and an actress. As an actress, she’s often in the public eye, and she has picked up a stalker along the way. As the stalker is increasing the threats in his letters and the police are unable to do anything, Maribel decides to move across the country to protect her daughter, with the excuse/reason of a new job. However, her stalker doesn’t give up and seeks her out across the country. Maribel is scared for both her safety and the safety of her daughter, and turns to her neighbor, Cooper, for friendship and security.
As Maribel’s stalker continues to circle around her, we also get the story of Honor, Maribel’s autistic daughter. Maribel struggles with friendships, but has made a couple of friends since they moved. Although her mom is happy she has made some friends, the reader will have concerns about the quality of Honor’s friend group.
Things rapidly escalate, and soon Maribel is desperate to protect both herself and her daughter. However, there are dangers Maribel hasn’t seen yet; how can she possibly protect
Honor from danger she doesn’t yet know exists?
With My Little Eye weaves a tale of suspense throughout, as it is told in alternating viewpoints. I found Honor’s perspective as an autistic teenager interesting, and would love to know more about Joshilyn’s research into or experience with individuals on the autism spectrum to know how well this aligns with one possible autism experience. This is a great book to read if you’ve enjoyed Joshilyn’s other novels, or if you enjoy mysteries with a twist.
Thank you to William Morris Publishing and Joshilyn Jackson for the advanced copy. With My Little Eye will be out on April 25!
Gone Tonight, by Sarah Pekkanen, is a stunner of a novel that grips you from the beginning and continues to spin you around until the shocking conclusion!
Ruth is a single mom who raised a smart, successful daughter, Catherine. Now, Catherine is about to leave for a new job, but Ruth is diagnosed as having early onset Alzheimer’s. Catherine, as a nurse, hesitates to move for her new job and leave her mom when she knows the havoc this disease will wreck on their lives and the limited time she has with her mother. Ruth is Catherine’s only family, and Catherine knows next to nothing about those family history.
Desperate to learn more about her background and take care of her mother, Catherine decides it’s time to move past her mother’s refusal to talk about her past, and she starts digging into her mom’s history. However, things get weird quickly, and Catherine realized that Ruth isn’t who she claims to be and has lied about significant parts of her life.
What else is Ruth lying about? Is anything Catherine thinks she knows about herself or about her mother true?
Gone Tonight is told from multiple viewpoints, so the reader gets both Catherine and Ruth’s side of events. Chapters mostly alternate between the two narrators. The story of Ruth’s past and how it connects with her illness is doled out in tantalizing segments that keeps the reader rapidly turning pages.
Fans of Sarah’s previous books like The Wife Between Us will enjoy this newest book of hers. If you love mysteries in the style of Lisa Unger and Heather Gudenkauf, you will love Sarah Pekkanen’s writing and this book!
Thank you to Sarah Pekkanen and St. Martin’s Press for the advance copy! Gone Tonight comes out on August 1, 2023. This is one to scoop up in a pre-order, don’t miss it!
Peyote works in hell. Literally. And Sign Here is the story of his quest to sign one more soul to an eternity of damnation, and the trials and tribulations he experiences along the way. After all, when you live and work in hell, who can you trust?
Will Peyote be able to secure the last soul he needs for his promotion, or will he be thwarted by his coworkers and family?
Sign Here was humorous but dark, and had a great balance of humor with mystery. It’s told in multiple timelines, and at first the reader is not sure how they fit together. Which makes sense, because time has no meaning when you live in hell. Claudia Luxe did a wonderful job of marrying humor with mystery, and I enjoyed a good mystery with a touch of humor. Definitely one to check out!!
The Blame Game, Sandie Jones’ newest thriller, is a propulsive page turner! Perfect for fans of Ruth Ware, Megan Miranda, and Freida McFadden.
Naomi is a psychotherapist with tragedy in her past. She’s worked hard to overcome her catastrophic childhood, and now has a successful career and happy marriage. Due to her childhood experiences, Naomi has a soft spot for victims of domestic abuse, and to the chagrin of her husband, goes beyond her professional duty to help her patients experiencing this. This time, somebody is out to get Naomi, and she is being framed for the disappearance of a patient who was living in a house that Naomi owns. Every way Naomi turns, she is pulled deeper into the quicksand that this mystery person has woven, and her small lies of omission wedge her in deeper. Can Naomi prove her innocence and save her life, career, and marriage?
The Blame Game is written in alternating timelines. This allows the reader to learn about Naomi’s tragic past while progressing through current events. Sandie does a good job of alternating these timelines to keep the reader engaged and propel the story forward. Since Naomi had significant professional accolades, I was surprised by her lack of professional boundaries with both patient confidentiality and friendships. However, the lack of boundaries was important to move the story forward. This can be accounted for by the collision of her tragic past and traumatic present day events.
I thoroughly enjoyed Sandie Jones’ The Blame Game and definitely recommend it!! Thanks for the copy - published August 16, 2022. Grab your copy now!!
All the Dangerous Things is a gripping novel about the love of a mother for her child, and the fallout that grief from losing that child has on her life.
Isabelle’s son disappeared for his crib one night, and has been missing for a year. Isabelle’s marriage collapsed in the wake of this tragedy, and her insomnia has had significant physical impacts on her as well. However, Isabelle won’t give up her search for her son, and is continuously traveling and attempting to draw attention to the case. As the story continues, we learn about Isabelle’s history with sleepwalking and tragedy from her childhood that make the reader question if Isabelle is to blame for her son’s disappearance. What happened to Mason? Is Isabelle to blame?
I enjoyed Stacy Willingham’s first book, A Flicker in the Dark, but All the Dangerous Things grabbed me and wouldn’t let go. I read this book in a day and couldn’t put it down. As a mother, it tore at my heartstrings. This story is told in alternating timelines: present day, a few years ago when Isabelle met her husband to be, and when Isabelle was a child. These sections dole out just enough information to ratchet up the tension as you learn a little more, and then are shifted to another time. I would have loved to hear more about some details between the wrap up of the story and 1 year later, but those details weren’t necessary to the story.
Unputdownable, engrossing, and heart pounding! Don’t miss Stacy Willingham’s All the Dangerous Things!!
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
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!
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