It takes a lot of guts to publish a novel that points to inequality in publishing. It takes a lot of talent to write a debut that cuts through all the niceties to understand what the day to day life was like for people of color in 2018 and might still be like today at some publishers. Nella works for a major publishing house and with the exception of a handful of people, all of the higher level editors and associates are white. Nella has aspirations of becoming an editor and has worked very hard to prove herself. This all seems to slip away the day that Hazel (the other black girl) joins the staff at Wagners. Hazel's friendship seems genuine at first but soon she starts ingratiating herself to Nella's boss, coworkers and the head of the company and Nella starts receiving notes telling her to leave. This insightful novel is not just about inequities in the industry but also has a riveting mystery which forces us to ask important questions and be entertained all in one. 4 stars
Dixie is a talented photographer. Dixie is a warm, caring person who loves children and many of the families she is hired to photograph. Dixie is also a liar. Wanting or assuming she means more to the talented designer couple and their daughter was her first error in judgement. Convincing them that she is their best friend and savior is her ultimate goal. A dark and intense journey into obsession for a lonely photographer who thinks she can photoshop her way into the life she wants. Lovers of thrillers that keep you up at night will jump right into this one. 4 stars
We all know that there is no such thing as a truly original plot and since the former student who had the idea is dead and never made it into a book why shouldn't Jacob Finch Bonner use the idea and write the novel? This is indeed what happens and it boosts Jacob's failing writing career to the best seller list and international acclaim. It is the best time of his life until he gets the first message calling him a thief and a liar. Frantic Jacob first tries to ignore the taunts but then he realizes he must find this person before he loses it all. This is a slow starter and one that uses an abundance of parenthesis but by the time the book tours begin you are fully engaged and with each sample chapter of the stolen story you have more suspects and questions until the jaw dropping conclusion. Thriller lovers will be skipping meals and calling in sick for this one. 4 1/2 stars
How well Avery knows her boss will determine the fate of both of them. Avery's boss is a Supreme Court Justice and he is currently in a coma after naming Avery (instead of his wife) as his guardian.
This situation is made more precarious by the fact that the judge is a swing vote in a very important decision before the court. Avery is whip smart and that helps but she gets entangled with bad guys from all sides of the political fence who will stop at nothing to get at the judge through her. Some of the legal language and inner workings of the court were lost on me but legal savvy readers will appreciate the way Avery works the system. It is one of those stories you really hope is firmly in the fiction category. 4 1/2 stars
A little girl orphaned and alone makes her way back to the rambling house that has been the only home she's ever known. She finds places to hide in the walls, closets and under floorboards that even the new family living there doesn't suspect they are not alone. Staying one step ahead of the two teenage boys and their parents can't last forever. Soon events threaten to push Elise's secret life out in the open. This quiet and secretive novel shows us to pay attention to those little noises in the night and the missing items you swear you left right there. It is an adult version of THE BORROWERS. 4 stars
Jace and Tessa are married after a quick courtship with neither one really knowing that much about each other. Jace does know that Tessa has had abusive relationships in the past and doesn't press her.
His world will change when he comes home from work one night to find Tessa gone, glass and blood on the floor. He maintains his innocence but damaging information surfaces and we know the husband is usually the bad guy, right? Chapters alternate between Jace and Tessa flying back and forth in a mental ping pong match until you don't know who or what to believe. An intense thriller a la GONE GIRL with all the unreliable narrators making this a solid choice for lovers of domestic thrillers with a twist like THE UNDOING and novels of B. A. Paris. 4 stars
Being a new stepmom is tough but Hannah finds out there are more difficult days ahead when she learns that her husband is being accused of defrauding the company he created and has vanished leaving her to protect his teen daughter. Hannah and Bailey leave Sausalito and head to Austin to follow a lead and piece together who Owen really is and where he might be. A tightly woven mystery that captures the patience of step parenting, the fear of a 16year old who may have lost the only stability in her life and learning that your husband might be a stranger. This will resonate with readers of family centered thrillers with heart. 4 stars
College is a time of independence and expanding your horizons but for Leda is a time of uncertainty, questions, dares and mistakes. Leda really likes Ian and they get together at a Halloween party only to leave Leda with a score of questions the next day. Did they have sex? Was she raped? Is she in danger because Ian's last girlfriend has gone missing? Leda becomes obsessed with finding out what happened to the missing girl, Charlotte. Many young adults will certainly find something of themselves in Leda's story. 3 stars
A solid police procedural with the added culture of China. Inspector Lu Fei is dealing with a serial killer who attacks young women and dismembers them taking some of their organs. He is like a Jack the Ripper who is less brutal because he takes great care in sewing them back up and dressing them. Lu Fei is trying to solve this crime in a small village with a less than stellar police team and large city corruption. Some of the bravado and payoffs sound like the scene is in a large U.S. city but the time taken by the police and others to follow sacred customs and the kindness offered by the Inspector sets it firmly outside of the U.S. Readers of police murder dramas with an International flair will enjoy what seems to be the first of a new series.
A solid police procedural with the added culture of China. Inspector Lu Fei is dealing with a serial killer who attacks young women and dismembers them taking some of their organs. He is like a Jack the Ripper who is less brutal because he takes great care in sewing them back up and dressing them. Lu Fei is trying to solve this crime in a small village with a less than stellar police team and large city corruption. Some of the bravado and payoffs sound like the scene is in a large U.S. city but the time taken by the police and others to follow sacred customs and the kindness offered by the Inspector sets it firmly outside of the U.S. Readers of police murder dramas with an International flair will enjoy what seems to be the first of a new series. 3 1/2 stars
Identical twins Cat and El grow up sharing everything living in an imaginative fantasy world of their own design called Mirrorland. That is until the boy next door chooses El to fall in love with and Cat runs away to L.A. Cat gets a frantic call that El is missing at sea and just like that she is back in Scotland and Mirrorland. Someone is leaving her threatening notes and text messages with clues to find Cat's diary pages. Is El dead or is she the one leaving clues for Cat to find her? This is a superbly written tense thriller that proves once again that you can't go back home again because all those secrets are still there. Sure to mess with your head and delight readers who crave smart plots. 4 stars
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