REVIEW: THE PATIENT, BY JANE SHEMILT

What price would you pay for falling in love?

Rachel is a respected doctor who lives in a picturesque and affluent English village where her husband Nathan teaches at an elite private school. Competent, unflappable, and nearing 50, Rachel has everything in her life firmly in her control, even if some of its early luster has worn off. But one day a new patient arrives at her practice for emergency treatment. Luc is a French painter married to a wealthy American woman who’s just bought and restored a historic home on the edge of Rachel’s posh neighborhood. The couple has only recently arrived, but Luc is struggling with a mental disorder, and so he goes to the nearest clinic…to Rachel.

Their attraction is instant, and as Rachel’s sense of ethics wars with newly awakened passion, the affair blinds her to everything else happening around her. A longtime patient appears to be following her every movement, turning up unexpectedly wherever she goes. Her somewhat estranged adult daughter Lizzie is hiding a secret—or at least, hiding it from Rachel. Nathan has grown sour and cold as well—or is that merely Rachel’s guilty conscience weighing on her? But when one of her colleagues winds up murdered and Luc is arrested for the crime, everything Rachel didn’t know about her life explodes into the open—along with her affair with her patient—a disgrace and scandal that will have consequences no one could have predicted.

 

curl up and read thoughts

The Patient is an astonishing tale that unfolds in unexpected ways, and just when Rachel thinks she has the answers, everything turns upside down.

The characters were so multi-layered with so much deceit that it would take the whole story to reveal it all. I really didn’t trust Rachel’s husband Nathan, but he seemed to be a good guy…until bits and pieces of his secrets and lies began to reveal themselves. By the very end, we would learn all that had been hidden.

I really wanted things to work out for Rachel, and eventually she was able to pull her life together again.

A page turner that earned 5 stars.

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REVIEW: THE HOMEWRECKERS, BY MARY KAY ANDREWS

Hattie Kavanaugh went to work restoring homes for Kavanaugh & Son Restorations at eighteen, married the boss’s son at twenty, and became a widow at twenty-five. Now, she’s passionate about her work, but that’s the only passion in her life. “Never love something that can’t love you back,” is advice her father-in-law gives her, but Hattie doesn’t follow it and falls head-over-heels for a money pit of a house. She’s determined to make it work, but disaster after disaster occurs, and Hattie’s dream might cost Kavanaugh & Son their livelihood. Hattie needs money, and fast.

When a slick Hollywood producer shows up in her hometown of Savannah, Georgia, she gets a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity: star in a beach house renovation reality show called The Homewreckers, cast against a male lead who may be a love interest, or may be the ultimate antagonist. Soon, there’s more at stake than bad pipes and dry rot: during the demolition, evidence comes to light that points to the mysterious disappearance of a young wife and mother years before.

With a burned out detective investigating the case, an arsonist on the loose, two men playing with her emotions, and layers upon layers of vintage wallpaper causing havoc, it’s a question of who will flip, who will flop, and if Hattie will ever get her happily-ever-after.

 

curl up and read thoughts

 

From the very beginning, The Homewreckers was the kind of story that captures readers, especially those who have a yen for renovating houses. I loved the characters, especially Hattie, and as we followed the fixer-upper moments, I enjoyed watching how everything played out.
Suspense came along, too, when a body showed up on the property, and just when we thought we had the mystery all figured out, there were more surprises.

In the end, Hattie gave in to the possibility of her happily-ever-after, and I found myself hoping to join her and her new love on another journey. 5 stars.

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REVIEW: THE NEXT THING YOU KNOW, BY JESSICA STRAWSER

As an end-of-life doula, Nova Huston’s job—her calling, her purpose, her life—is to help terminally ill people make peace with their impending death. Unlike her business partner, who swears by her system of checklists, free-spirited Nova doesn’t shy away from difficult clients: the ones who are heartbreakingly young, or prickly, or desperate for a caregiver or companion.

When Mason Shaylor shows up at her door, Nova doesn’t recognize him as the indie-favorite singer-songwriter who recently vanished from the public eye. She knows only what he’s told her: That life as he knows it is over. His deteriorating condition makes playing his guitar physically impossible—as far as Mason is concerned, he might as well be dead already.

Except he doesn’t know how to say goodbye.

Helping him is Nova’s biggest challenge yet. She knows she should keep clients at arm’s length. But she and Mason have more in common than anyone could guess… and meeting him might turn out to be the hardest, best thing that’s ever happened to them both.

 

curl up and read thoughts

From the very beginning of The Next Thing You Know, we meet characters that tug at our heartstrings. People who are dying and hoping to learn how to say goodbye with dignity.

A death doula who is someone to help the travelers on this journey can do so much more than anyone can anticipate. And when one young man, a talented musician who has lost some of his abilities, appears at their door, one of the most unconventional of the doulas, Nova, takes on the task. She has no idea of what she will discover about herself and her new client Mason, but before the journey ends, she will have faced legal and emotional challenges she could never have expected.

By the time our story ends, we are hoping our characters will discover answers that will help assuage the losses they have faced. A 4.5 star read.

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MONTHLY WRAP-UP: GOODBYE TO APRIL…

Welcome to May!  As we proceed with our new reading, let’s take a look back at April.

I read ten books in the month, and my YTD total is 41 books.  Here were my two favorite books for the month:

 

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GENRES:

     MYSTERIES/THRILLERS:  7

     CONTEMPORARY FICTION:  3

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BOOKS READ IN APRIL:  CLICK ON TITLES TO READ REVIEWS

APRIL 2022:

1.214 Palmer Street (e-book), by Karen McQuestion – (269 pages) – (mystery) – 4/28/22

2.Accomplice, The (e-book), by Lisa Lutz – (348 pages) – (thriller) – 4/13/22

3.A Family Affair (e-book), by Robyn Carr – (280 pages) – (contemporary fiction) – 4/11/22

4. The Detective’s Daughter, The (e-book), by Erica Spindler (461 pages) – (murder mystery) – 4/4/22

5.Insomnia (e-book), by Sarah Pinborough – (320 pages) – (thriller) – 4/23/22

6.Just Like Mother (e-book), by Anne Heltzel – (313 pages) – (thriller) – 4/26/22 – (NetGalley – 5/17/22)

7.Long Weekend, The (e-book), by Gilly Macmillan – (337 pages) – (thriller) – 4/21/22

8.Moment in Time (e-book), by Suzanne Redfearn – (267 pages) – (thriller) – 4/2/22

9.No-Show, The (e-book), by Beth O’Leary – (329 pages) – (contemporary fiction) – 4/15/22

10.Summer Place, The (e-book), by Jennifer Weiner – (428 pages) (contemporary fiction) – (NG-5/10/22) – 4/7/22

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BOOKS READ IN APRIL 2022:  10

PAGES READ IN APRIL 2022: 3352

BOOKS READ YTD:  41

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What did your month look like?

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REVIEW: JUST LIKE MOTHER, BY ANNE HELTZEL

The last time Maeve saw her cousin was the night she escaped the cult they were raised in. For the past two decades, Maeve has worked hard to build a normal life in New York City, where she keeps everything—and everyone—at a safe distance.

When Andrea suddenly reappears, Maeve regains the only true friend she’s ever had. Soon she’s spending more time at Andrea’s remote Catskills estate than in her own cramped apartment. Maeve doesn’t even mind that her cousin’s wealthy work friends clearly disapprove of her single lifestyle. After all, Andrea has made her fortune in the fertility industry—baby fever comes with the territory.

The more Maeve immerses herself in Andrea’s world, the more disconnected she feels from her life back in the city; and the cousins’ increasing attachment triggers memories Maeve has fought hard to bury. But confronting the terrors of her childhood may be the only way for Maeve to transcend the nightmare still to come…

 

 

curl up and read thoughts

Just Like Mother seemingly portrays the renewed life of Andrea, a former cult child, after her escape years before.  She presents as a life coach, but the shrine of motherhood does send up red flags for Maeve, who grew up with her cousin in that same cult and is doing everything in her power to put those values behind her. So when Andrea invites her cousin to stay with her after she loses her job, helping out financially, it seems like generosity.  And caring.

But soon Maeve begins to wonder about things she is seeing and hearing at the huge estate.  Then Andrea’s strange request definitely arouses Maeve’s worries.  Suddenly very odd events begin happening, and just when Andrea decides to move back to the city, she finds herself helpless to leave.  Intense and very frightening moments are terse reminders of the nightmares of their past.  By the end, we are not sure who will walk away and who will remain.  5 stars.

***My e-ARC came to me from the publisher via NetGalley

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REVIEW: THE LONG WEEKEND, BY GILLY MACMILLAN

Three couples

Two bodies

One secret

Dark Fell Barn is a “perfectly isolated” retreat, or so says its website when Jayne books a reservation for her friends. A quiet place, far removed from the rest of the world, is exactly what they need.

The women arrive for a girls’ night ahead of their husbands. There’s ex-Army Jayne, hardened and serious, but also damaged. Ruth, the driven doctor and new mother who is battling demons of her own. Young Emily, just wed and insecure, the newest addition of this tight-knit band. Missing this year is Edie, who was the glue holding them together, until her husband died suddenly.

But what they hoped would be a relaxing break soon turns to horror. Upon arrival at Dark Fell Barn, the women find a devastating note claiming one of their husbands will be murdered. There are no phones, no cell service to check on their men. Friendships fracture as the situation spins wildly out of control. Betrayal can come in many forms.

This group has kept each other’s secrets for far too long.

curl up and read thoughts

The Long Weekend begins as three women travel to a barn they will be renting as a retreat. Their husbands are supposed to join them the next day.

But soon things go awry, and just when we think nothing can get worse, it does. A threatening letter, supposedly from one of the women in their group who was not invited, stirs things up and soon paranoia and fear dominate them all.

Ruth deals with her feelings by drinking too much, to the point of blackouts; Emily is focused on trying to get in touch with her husband; and Jayne is aloof and dealing with her own problems silently. In addition, the owners of the property are struggling with health issues.

Meanwhile, an unidentified narrator leads us down a path to his own twisted and dangerous ending.

As the twists and turns get darker and more frightening, we are not sure how or when anyone will find safety. 4.5 stars.

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REVIEW: THE NO-SHOW, BY BETH O’LEARY

Siobhan is a quick-tempered life coach with way too much on her plate. Miranda is a tree surgeon used to being treated as just one of the guys on the job. Jane is a soft-spoken volunteer for the local charity shop with zero sense of self-worth.

These three women are strangers who have only one thing in common: they’ve all been stood up on the same day, the very worst day to be stood up—Valentine’s Day. And, unbeknownst to them, they’ve all been stood up by the same man.

Once they’ve each forgiven him for standing them up, they are all in serious danger of falling in love with a man who may have not just one or two but three women on the go….

Is there more to him than meets the eye? Where was he on Valentine’s Day? And will they each untangle the truth before they all get their hearts broken?

 

curl up and read thoughts

 

The No-Show is an intriguing tale of romantic entanglements that will connect three women who are strangers.

They all share one man at different points in their lives.

With these connections happening, it seemed that the women might have bumped into each other at some point, but by the end of the story, we learn that these “no-show” events happened in different years. And one of the women preceded the other two by some time; in fact her story has an unexpected conclusion.

The one man seemed ordinary, although he is called “handsome.” From descriptions of him, he seemed quirky more than interesting. He had apparent social issues that led him down this path. Or so we think. But when we finally reach the conclusion, we realized there is much more to his story.

I enjoyed this book, for the most part, although the time frame was a bit confusing, and a lot of pages were spent describing the women and their other relationships, including friendships. The ending was the best part, in my opinion, as we learn, finally, what led this man to behave the way he did. 4 stars.

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REVIEW: THE DETECTIVE’S DAUGHTER, BY ERICA SPINDLER

Your father didn’t kill himself . . .

New Orleans Detective Quinn Conners is haunted by her father’s whiskey-soaked, last words—that he solved the Hudson murder and kidnapping. It wasn’t the first time he’d made that drunken claim, and she didn’t believe him. Twenty-four hours later she found him dead by his own hand.

Quinn’s lived with that guilt for five years, so when she receives an anonymous message saying Your father didn’t kill himself she’s determined to crack the cold case and unearth the truth about her father’s death.

Soon, Quinn finds herself entangled in the web of mystery surrounding Grace Hudson’s disappearance and the powerful, secretive family at the heart of it. In too deep, she faces the most important question of all—is the truth worth dying for?

 

curl up and read thoughts

As we dig into the mysteries behind the Hudson case, we are first introduced to Rourke Conners, trying to solve a murder. A few years later, we meet his daughter Quinn, who has taken up the badge and is hoping to find the answers he did not.

The Detective’s Daughter is a page turner that goes back and forth in time, and even as we learn more about Rourke and also even more about Quinn, we are still uncertain about the resolution of the case.

There were so many twists and turns within the case, both in the past and in the present, and just when we think we have the answers, we are toppled by the strange questions that remain unanswered.

By the end, we can be satisfied that we know everything there is to know, therefore earning 5 stars.

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MONTHLY WRAP-UP: HELLO, APRIL!

Another month has sped by, and with April comes spring flowers and sunny days.  Hopefully.

I read and reviewed ten books in March, and they included some favorites…and some different genres.

Genres:

     Thrillers – 7

     Contemporary Fiction – 1

     Literary Fiction – 1

     Historical Fiction – 1

 

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BOOKS READ:  – Click Titles to Read Reviews

MARCH 2022:

1.French Braid (e-book), by Anne Tyler – (256 pages) – (literary fiction) – 3/25/22

2.Ghosted (e-book), by Rosie Walsh – (336 pages) – (contemporary fiction) – 3/28/22

3.Hour of the Witch (e-book), by Chris Bohjalian – (400 pages) – (historical fiction) – 3/21/22

4.Last Day (e-book), by Luanne Rice – (398 pages) – (murder mystery) – 3/5/22

5.Night Shift, The (e-book), by Alex Finlay – (308 pages) – (thriller) – 3/8/22

6.Nine Lives (e-book), by Peter Swanson – (296 pages) – (murder mystery) – 3/18/22

7.Other Family, The (e-book), by Wendy Corsi Staub (369 pages) – (murder mystery) – 3/11/22

8.Paris Apartment, The (e-book), by Lucy Foley – (356 pages) – (mystery) – 3/15/22

9.Sunday Girl, The (e-book), by Pip Drysdale – (315 pages) – (thriller) – 3/30/22

10.Younger Wife, The (e-book), by Sally Hepworth – (352 pages) – (domestic thriller) – (NG-4/5/22) – 3/24/22

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BOOKS READ IN MARCH 2022:  10

PAGES READ IN MARCH 2022: 3386

BOOKS READ YTD:  31

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What did your month look like?

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MORE DIGGING THROUGH THE TBR…

It is time for another search of our TBR shelves/piles for those sadly neglected books from the past.  Carole’s Random Life in Books is hosting this event.

Today’s feature is an older book from October 2020:  Sisters, by Daisy Johnson.  I saw it on a blog and added it, liking the cover and the blurb.  But then I started reading other books and moved on.

Synopsis:  One of her generation’s most intriguing authors” (Entertainment Weekly), Daisy Johnson is the youngest writer to been shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. Now she returns with Sisters, a haunting story about two sisters caught in a powerful emotional web and wrestling to understand where one ends and the other begins.

Born just ten months apart, July and September are thick as thieves, never needing anyone but each other. Now, following a case of school bullying, the teens have moved away with their single mother to a long-abandoned family home near the shore. In their new, isolated life, July finds that the deep bond she has always shared with September is shifting in ways she cannot entirely understand. A creeping sense of dread and unease descends inside the house. Meanwhile, outside, the sisters push boundaries of behavior—until a series of shocking encounters tests the limits of their shared experience, and forces shocking revelations about the girls’ past and future.

Written with radically inventive language and imagery by an author whose work has been described as “entrancing” (The New Yorker), “a force of nature” (The New York Times Book Review), and “weird and wild and wonderfully unsettling” (Celeste Ng), Sisters is a one-two punch of wild fury and heartache—a taut, powerful, and deeply moving account of sibling love and what happens when two sisters must face each other’s darkest impulses.

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What have you rediscovered on your shelves today?

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