Book Review: The Mistress

The Mistress by Jill Childs

Author: Jill Childs

Publication Date: September 14, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Happy Publication Day to The Mistress by Jill Childs!

The Mistress by Jill Childs is a must read for fans of Gone Girl and Big Little Lies.

“Everything’s got a price. Even friendship. Don’t make that mistake.”

Laura is having a Romeo and Juliet affair with Ralph. When Ralph dies, Laura and Ralph’s wife, Helen covers it up. From school gossip and looking back at their relationship, Laura starts to wonder how well she actually knew Ralph. Laura is alone trying to figure out what is going on. She is trying to turn to the one person that understands.

Throughout the book everyone is discovering more about Ralph. Ralph is an awful person but such a wonderful character. Every time I thought I had Ralph figured out, more lies were uncovered. Most of the characters I felt that way about where I wanted to learn so much about them as characters, but everything I learned made me like them less. Laura is a grown woman, having an affair with a married man hoping and expecting him to leave his wife. She is needy and clingy around Ralph. Helen is probably the most interesting character to me. It is unclear what her motivations are until farther in the book. Bea is a loyal friend and the only character I actually liked as a person other than the children.

I really enjoyed the mistress. There are so many lies and deceptions. Everyone is covering up so much. Nobody really knows who to trust and if their lies will be uncovered. Everyone has their own plans, secrets and purposes. The Mistress includes cheating, child abuse, stalking, manipulation and so many secrets.

The first part of the book is through Laura’s point of view. Laura is very confused and trying to figure out what is going on. I was very concerned where I thought the story was leading near the end of this section and I am so glad I was wrong. The second part of the book is through a different character’s perspective and explains a lot more about Ralph and his past.

Some of the smaller plot twists and revelations I figured out before they were revealed, but the main plot I didn’t figure out until Childs revealed it. I thought the ending and all the twists fit perfectly with the story.

I recommend The Mistress to thriller fans.

Thank you NetGalley and Bookouture for The Mistress.

About the author

Jill has always loved stories – real and imaginary. She’s spent 30 years travelling the world as a journalist, living overseas and reporting wherever the news took her. She’s now made her home in London with her husband and twin girls who love stories as much as she does.
Although she’s covered everything from earthquakes and floods, riots and wars, she’s found some of the most extraordinary stories right here at home – in the secrets and lies she imagines behind closed doors on ordinary streets, just like yours.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/author_jill

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Jill-Childs/e/B07BL52SYB%3Fref=dbs_a_mng_rwt_scns_share

Book Review: One In Three

One in Three by Tess Stimson

Author: Tess Stimson

Publication Date: August 5, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5.

One in Three is an enjoyable thriller.  Throughout the book I thought I figured out what happened but didn’t find out until the very end. 

One in Three is about a man that gets murdered.  His wife, Caz, and ex-wife, Louise, are both in the room when his body is found and blame each other.  The story then goes back seven week to explain what lead to the murder.  The story is told mainly between Caz and Louise’s point of view.  Everyone looks guilty throughout the book, so you have to wait until the end to find out what happened and why.  This story is character focused and really brings the reader into the lives of the different characters.

I recommend this book to anyone that likes character focused thrillers.  There are very few likable characters, so if that bothers you I do not recommend this book.

Thank you NetGalley and the publisher for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

About the Author

Tess Stimson has published eleven novels, including top-ten bestseller The Adultery Club, and two non-fiction books, which between them have been translated into dozens of languages.

Her first “proper” job after graduating from St Hilda’s College, Oxford (where she read English) was as a news trainee with ITN (Independent Television News).

She reported and produced regional and world stories, travelling to hotspots and war-zones all over the globe.

In 2002, she was appointed Professor of Creative Writing at the University of South Florida and moved to the US. She now teaches Screenwriting and Journalism in Vermont, and lives with her husband, Erik, their three children, and (at the last count) two cats, three fish, one gerbil and a large number of bats in the attic.

Website: http://www.tessstimson.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/tessjstimson

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Tess-Stimson-106964301384/

Book Review: What You Wish For

What You Wish For by Katherine Center

Author: Katherine Center

Narrator: Therese Plummer

Publication Date: July 14, 2020

Rating: 5 out of 5.

What You Wish For is the perfect quarantine read! It is a bright story for the difficult times right now.  It is also a great book to read anytime if you like  reading books about finding happiness in difficult times.

What You Wish For is about choosing joy and fighting for happiness.  The book starts with a sad event and while Samantha is fighting with her grief her unrequited crush, Duncan, from her last school becomes the principal at her school.    Duncan is a completely different person than when she worked with him years ago.  Duncan makes Samantha’s job more difficult and is the last thing she needs in this difficult time.  The book is about Sam and Duncan finding out how to be happy and what has caused Duncan’s personality change.

My favorite part was all the challenges Sam and Duncan do to make the other one happy and remind them how important happiness is.  I also loved so many of the characters.  There were so many times I wished I could  be friends with Sam.

Therese Plummer did a fantastic job narrating this.  I have nothing but praise for her and hope to read more books narrated by Therese in the futures.  Therese’s narrator added to a great story.  I also enjoyed Katherine Center’s note at the end.

I recommend this book for all Katherine Center fans.  I also recommend it for anyone that likes stories about finding happiness in difficult times.  What You Wish For was such a refreshing read.  I love all of Katherine Center’s books and cannot wait to read more books by her in the future.

Thank you Net Galley and McMillan Audio for What You Wish For.

about the author

Katherine Center’s new novel is WHAT YOU WISH FOR. She’s the author of eight novels, including How to Walk Away and Things You Save in a Fire—both instant New York Times bestsellers—as well as The Lost Husband (now a movie starring Josh Duhamel that just hit #1 on Netflix). She writes laugh-and-cry books about how life knocks us down—and how we get back up. Katherine has been compared to both Nora Ephron and Jane Austen, the Dallas Morning News calls her stories, “satisfying in the most soul-nourishing way,” and BookPage calls her the “reigning queen of comfort reads.” Her books have made countless Best-Of lists, including Real Simple’s Best Books of 2020, Amazon’s Top 100 Books of 2019, Goodreads’ Best Books of the Year, the Indie Next Great Reads List, BookList’s Top Ten Women’s Fiction, and many, many more. Katherine lives in her hometown of Houston, Texas, with her husband, two kids, and their fluffy-but-fierce dog.

Website: https://katherinecenter.com/about/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/katherinecenter/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/katherinecenter

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/katherinecenter/

Book Review: Do Her No Harm

Author: Naomi Joy

Publication Date: August 20, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Do Her No Harm is a fantastic thriller. I didn’t want to put this book down and read it in one day.

Tabitha disappears one day. There are no clues left behind. Was Tabitha murdered? Who could’ve murdered Tabitha? Did Tabitha leave to get away from her unhappy marriage?

Do Her No Harm switches between when Tabitha went missing, five years later and fifteen years earlier when she met her husband. Tabitha’s best friend Annabella tries to find out what happened to Tabitha after the police gave up and is still looking five years after Tabitha disappeared. Once secrets about Tabitha are surfaced, Annabella is left questioning if she knew Tabitha at all and if what she thinks happened actually did.

I loved the different time frames. I found this story very entertaining and was very invested from the beginning. The characters were all very interesting and all had so many secrets that were unraveled throughout the book. Naomi Joy did a great job adding suspense throughout the novel.

I recommend Do Her No Harm to domestic thriller fans. Do Her No Harm was my first Naomi Joy book and I am looking forward to reading more of her books.

Thank you NetGalley and Aria for Do Her No Harm.

About the author

Naomi Joy was born and raised in Jersey. After studying English Literature at Durham University, she moved to London and worked for over a decade in the PR and communications industry. The Liars and The Truth, published by Aria Fiction, were released in 2019.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/naomijoyauthor

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/naomijoyauthor/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/public/Naomi-Joy

Book Review: Live in Love

Authors: Lauren Akins and Mark Dagostino

Publication Date:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Live in Love is Lauren Akins’s memoir. Lauren Akins is Thomas Rhett’s wife. Thomas Rhett is a country singer. The book goes from Lauren’s childhood with many stories about her family and friends. It talks about how she met Thomas Rhett as a child, and their families became close. The book discusses the first time they dated in high school and their breakup. It discusses their relationships with other people and getting back together. After graduating college and getting married, Lauren has to figure out what her purpose in life is and how to be more than just Thomas Rhett’s wife. Then, Live in Love goes through the adoption process of adopting Lauren and Thomas Rhett’s oldest daughter Willa Gray and how marriage counseling saved their marriage. Lauren is very religious and turns to God throughout the book.

I really enjoyed this book and have been looking forward to reading it since I first heard about it. I am a huge Thomas Rhett and Lauren Akins fan. After hearing Thomas Rhett’s story about how they were supposed to marry different people and Lauren’s dad told her either you tell her how you feel or I will, I was a fan of Lauren and their family. The book was very honest and provided more of a story behind Thomas Rhett’s songs. It talks about Lauren and Thomas Rhett’s relationship ship problems and how they went to counseling to have the loving marriage they have today. I thought they always had the perfect marriage, but Lauren discusses how bad things got after becoming a mom of two and basically doing everything alone.

My favorite parts of the book were hearing the story of how Lauren and Thomas Rhett got together. Hearing the whole adoption story about Willa Gray’s adoption was another one of my favorite parts. I enjoyed reading about Willa Gray’s life in an orphanage and how hard her parents fought to bring her home. Lauren talks a lot about struggles to find her purpose and how difficult it was at times to see Thomas Rhett living his dreams while she was just living them with him after giving up on her dreams. Then you read about Lauren’s mission work, meeting Willa Gray and finding her purpose.

I recommend this book to anyone that is a fan of Lauren Akins and/or Thomas Rhett. Anyone that is a fan of Thomas Rhett’s music and wants to hear the other side of the songs he writes about his wife and family will love this book. Anyone that is interested in learning about a celebrity couple will love this book. I think anyone feeling lost and struggling to find their purpose will find hope in this book. Anyone that isn’t religious and doesn’t want to read about how praying and God got someone through difficult times will probably not like this book.

Thank you NetGalley and Ballantine Books for Living in Love in exchange for an honest review. This was actually my first NetGalley approval, and I was so excited.

About author

Lauren Akins is a devoted mother, wife, and philanthropist who live in Nashville, Tennessee, with her husband, country superstar Thomas Rhett, and their three little girls, Willa Gray, Ada James, and Lennon. Lauren has worked as a missionary nurse for years and is enthusiastically continuing to support children in Uganda through her efforts with Love One International.

Mark Dagostino is a multiple New York Times bestselling co-author who is dedicated to writing books that inspire and uplift.

Website: https://www.laurenakins.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/laur_akins/?hl=en

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AkinsLaur/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/laur_akins?lang=en

Love One International: https://www.loveoneinternational.org/

Discussion

Do you like memoirs? What are your favorite memoirs?

What’s your favorite Thomas Rhett song?

What kind of music do you listen to?

Lauren is very into volunteering. What organizations do you volunteer or donate to?

Book Review: The Wife

Author: Shalini Boland

Publication Date: September 9, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Wife is a wonderfully twisted domestic thriller. All the twists kept me on the edge of my seat from the first page. I won’t say too much because I don’t want to ruin all the twists but I highly recommend The Wife.

Zoe fainted on her wedding day and doesn’t remember what caused her to faint or what was going on when she fainted. She just remembers an uneasiness during the day that was supposed to be the happiest day of her life but has the perfect marriage. Ten years later Zoe and Toby are getting ready to have a big 10 year anniversary celebration. People start acting weird around Zoe and unusual events are happening. Zoe starts to wonder what really happened on her wedding day.

The story switches between present day and ten years before, on Zoe’s wedding day and the months after the wedding.

The characters are much more likable than most thrillers, but you have to read to the end to find out who the villains are.

The Wife was my first Shalini Boland book, but definitely will not be my last. I am looking forward to reading her back list.

Thank you NetGalley and Bookouture for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

About the author

Shalini Boland is the million-copy, USA-Today bestselling author of psychological thrillers: ‘THE GIRL FROM THE SEA’, ‘THE BEST FRIEND’, ‘THE MILLIONAIRE’S WIFE’ (optioned for TV by Legendary Studios), ‘THE SECRET MOTHER’, ‘THE CHILD NEXT DOOR’, ‘THE SILENT SISTER’, ‘THE PERFECT FAMILY’, ‘THE MARRIAGE BETRAYAL’, ‘THE OTHER DAUGHTER’ and ‘ONE OF US IS LYING’.

THE WIFE is out now!

Her titles are published by Bookouture, Grand Central (USA) and Tantor.

Shalini lives by the sea in Dorset, England with her husband, two children and their cheeky terrier cross. Before kids, she was signed to Universal Music Publishing as a singer/songwriter, but now she spends her days writing psychological thrillers (in between school runs and endless baskets of laundry).

She is also the author of two bestselling Young Adult series as well as a children’s WWII novel with a time-travel twist.

Website: http://www.shaliniboland.co.uk

Newsletter Signup: http://eepurl.com/b4vb45

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ShaliniBolandAuthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ShaliniBoland

Book Review: One by One

Author: Ruth Ware

Release Date: September 8, 2020

Rating: 5 out of 5.

One by One is a fantastically written thriller like all Ruth Ware novels that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the crazy ending. Ruth Ware fans will not want to miss One by One.

Snoop is the most popular social media app. The app allows you to listen to whatever music the people you are connected to are listening to in real time.  Snoop is having a week long retreat at Chalet Perce-Neige in the French Alps.  All of their employees attend.  Topher and Eva are cofounders and exes. Rik is in charge of finances and longtime friend of Topher. Eliot is Topher’s best friend and the coder. They are all shareholders of Snoop. The other employees are Miranda, Tiger, Carl, Inigo and Ani. Liz is also attending, a former Snoop employee whose purpose isn’t clear at the beginning of the book. The only other active characters in this novel are the chalet employees. Erin is the overqualified ski chalet host and Danny is the chef.

The first impromptu business meeting doesn’t go as expected with opposing viewpoints. They end up skiing before a bad storm is supposed to hit. While they are skiing, an avalanche occurs. Some of the guests went down the slope for one more run and others took the lift down. One of the guests is missing, and nobody knows where they are. It is assumed they have died.  Everyone else is stuck in the chalet with no phone or internet service. Another one of the guests gets murdered. It has to be one of the eleven people between the guests and employees. Then the guests start dying one by one. Everyone has a motive and everyone looks guilty. Everyone is on edge and nobody knows who to trust.

One by One is told from two characters perspectives, Liz and Erin. Honestly I was very skeptical when I started and found out the whole story was only told from Liz and Erin’s perspectives. I am so glad I was wrong. Anytime Liz or Erin aren’t in the room the reader doesn’t know what is going on which added to the story. Liz and Erin were also the most complex characters. I could not get enough of their stories. There were times when I felt bad for them, wanted to be friends with them, and hated them. When their secrets come out they are the most shocking.  Why does Erin have a chalet job she is overqualified for? Why is Liz, an old PA even part of this retreat? What secrets are they hiding?

The way One by One was told was fantastic. One by One is a rollercoaster.  The amount of secrets everyone has is thrilling, and there is so much suspense waiting for the secrets to be revealed.

I highly recommend One by One to all thriller fans. If you like Ware’s other books, I think you will like this one. If you haven’t read any of Ware’s books I suggest you start with One by One.

Trigger warning: Sexual assault is present in One by One.

Thank you Edelweiss and Gallery/Scout Press, Simon & Schuster for One by One.

About the author

Ruth Ware is an international number one bestseller. Her thrillers In a Dark, Dark Wood, The Woman in Cabin 10, The Lying Game, The Death of Mrs Westaway and The Turn of the Key have appeared on bestseller lists around the world, including the Sunday Times and New York Times. Her books have been optioned for both film and TV, and she is published in more than 40 languages. Ruth lives near Brighton with her family. Visit http://www.ruthware.com to find out more.

Website: https://ruthware.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ruthwarewriter/

Instagram: https://twitter.com/ruthwarewriter

Twitter: https://www.instagram.com/ruthwarewriter/

Book Review: Shut Up You’re Pretty

Author: Tea Mutonji

Narrator: Jemeni

Publication Date: June 8, 2020


Rating: 4 out of 5.

4.5 Stars

Shut Up You’re Pretty by Tea Mutonji is a very good book that discusses a lot of important issues.

Shut Up You’re Pretty is a collection of stories about a Congolese girl and her family that immigrate to Canada and goes through her becoming a woman. The description makes it sound like Shut Up You’re Pretty is about different women.  However, it is actually all about the same person from girlhood to becoming a woman.

Shut Up You’re Pretty starts with Loli having a buzz cut. She came to Canada with a male passport so had to shave her head. When she meets her best friend, Joli, Joli asks if she is a boy or a girl. This sets the stage for the gender issues and sexual identity that comes up many times in Shut Up You’re Pretty. This short series collection really demonstrates feminism and the importance of feminism. Shut Up You’re Pretty has multiple forms of sexual experimentation and sex workers. Teen pregnancy is also represented.

Shut Up You’re Pretty discusses many important issues. Shut Up You’re Pretty discusses race issues with   the main character being a poor black woman. Loli and her family are also immigrants which brings its own difficulties.

Shut Up You’re Pretty also contains drug use, depression, and suicide. Shut Up You’re Pretty contains characters with eating disorders.

I’m sure you can tell from my description so far that this is an intense book. So many difficult topics were discussed, but Mutonji did a fantastic job expresses the issues in a way that didn’t downplay the issue but also didn’t make it difficult to read being overly descriptive. I am so glad I read Shut Up You’re Pretty. I felt like I really got a look into a life that is completely different than mine even though it’s a fictional story.

From the beginning of the story I really liked Loli and wanted her to have a good life and be happy. Of course this made parts of the story more difficult to read. I also loved her interactions with Joli and how their relationship changed over the years. Their relationship was very realistic. I felt like everything about this book which was my favorite part. I can’t believe this was Mutonji’s debut story collection and can’t wait to read more of her work in the future.

I listened to the audiobook and really enjoyed it.  I thought Jemeni did a great job narrating and really set the tone for the story.

I really enjoyed Shut Up You’re Pretty.  I recommend it to fans of Brit Bennett and fans of Red at the Bone because they made me feel the same. I would not recommend this to anyone that is triggered or uncomfortable with drugs, teen pregnancy, eating disorders, depression, and sexual exploration.

Thank you NetGalley and Bespeak Audio Editions for Shut Up You’re Pretty.

About the Author

Born in Congo-Kinshasa, TÉA MUTONJI is a poet and fiction writer. Her debut collection, Shut Up You’re Pretty, is the first title from Vivek Shraya’s imprint, VS. Books. It was shortlisted for the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, and won the Edmund White Debut Fiction Award and the Trillium Book Award. Mutonji lives and writes in Toronto.

Book Review: The Man I Married

Author: Elena Wilkes

Publication Date: August 26, 2020


Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

The Man I Married is a twisty thriller. The first half of the book I was trying to figure out what was going to happen. The first half is really building the story and giving background. It is interesting but the typical thriller starts in the second half. The second half is a lot faster paced and an interesting thriller.

Lucy meets Paul and they quickly fall in love and get married. Then Lucy starts catching Paul lying and starts questioning everything. Lucy is left wondering what is true? Lucy doesn’t know what is going on. Who can Lucy trust and how can she find out the truth?

I recommend this book to anyone that likes domestic thrillers. The Man I Married is Elena Wilke’s debut novel. I cannot wait to read her future novels.

Thank you NetGalley and Hera Books for The Man I Married.

About the author

Elena Wilkes grew up in Walsall in the West Midlands and then worked for eighteen years in H.M Prison Service. The people she met there provided the basis for all her novels.

Many of the prisoners there came across as very ordinary people who had committed the most appalling crimes but would, one day, walk straight back on the streets.

This begged the question: how much do we know about anyone, really? The people who live among us may seem no different from us at all, but when you scratch a little deeper, you realize they hold some very dark secrets.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/elenathrillers
Amazon: Elena Wilkes Amazon Profile

Book Review: My Darling

Author: Amanda Robson

Narrators: Abby Costello and Matt Addis


Rating: 4 out of 5.

My Darling is an excellent domestic thriller. A couple, Jade and Thomas, move in across the street from Emma. Alastair is Emma’s boyfriend. Jade is convinced Thomas is having an affair with Emma. Jade plans to solve this on her own. The amount of drama between these two couples is crazy and so interesting. Once you start reading, you won’t want to put down My Darling.

My Darling is dark and twisted. None of the characters can be trusted. I loved My Darling but didn’t actually like any of the characters.

Laura Costello and Matt Adis did a great job narrating. Their voices really matched with the characters. I’m really glad I listened to the audiobook. In the beginning of My Darling, all of the characters are introduced fast and it switches between their different viewpoints, which was confusing at first. Once I got a little bit into the book I knew who all the characters were and I really enjoyed the different viewpoints.

This was my first Amanda Robson book, but definitely will not be my last. I recommend My Darling to domestic thriller fans.

Thank you NetGalley, Avon Books UK and Harper Collins Audio UK for My Darling.

Publication Date: August 24


About the Author

Sunday Times bestselling author Amanda Robson, started life after graduation as a scientist working at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and subsequently at the Poison’s unit at Guy’s Hospital, where she became a co-author of a book on cyanide poisoning.


Married to a workaholic barrister, after having her two sons she became a stay-at-home mother for many years. When her two sons reached their late teens she had a ‘light-bulb’ moment. where she realised her life had stopped moving forwards. She had become simply an enabler for everyone else in her family. She determined to write a novel, something she had wanted to do since the age of twelve when she was inspired by falling in love with Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca.

Amanda attended the Faber Academy writing a novel course run by Richard Skinner in 2011. A pivotal experience for her which she would recommend to any aspiring novelist. Her first book Obsession was published with Avon HarperCollins in 2017. She now writes full-time from home, living in Wales and London, with her husband Richard, golden retriever, Siberian kitchen and grouchy old black-and-white cat. Her two sons, following their father’s footsteps are both lawyers, and have now fled the nest.

Amanda loves her London social life, the peace and beauty of her home in the Brecon Beacons, and sailing on her yacht, Heartbeat.

Author Links:

Website: https://amandarobson.co.uk/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/amandarobsonauthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AmandaRauthor