Summer is coming to a close on the East End of Long Island, and Alex is no longer welcome.

A misstep at a dinner party, and the older man she’s been staying with dismisses her with a ride to the train station and a ticket back to the city.

With few resources and a waterlogged phone, but gifted with an ability to navigate the desires of others, Alex stays on Long Island and drifts like a ghost through the hedged lanes, gated driveways, and sun-blasted dunes of a rarefied world that is, at first, closed to her. Propelled by desperation and a mutable sense of morality, she spends the week leading up to Labor Day moving from one place to the next, a cipher leaving destruction in her wake.

Taut, propulsive, and impossible to look away from, Emma Cline’s The Guest is a spellbinding literary achievement.

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From the very first pages of The Guest, we are caught up in Alex’s story, following her along as she moves from place to place, trying to escape some kind of mishap, while still delaying her return to a man named Simon, who will soon be hosting a Labor Day party.

She is a fascinating character who slides into various places without making her presence really known. She is sneaky, moving along and keeping her secrets without much effort. She has a true talent for staying out of sight or on the edge of whatever is happening.

We keep wondering what her plan is, and how she will find her way back to where she wants to be.

The story ends in a very tentative way, and we are still wondering. An intense tale that held my interest throughout. 4.5 stars.



Struggling artist Skyler Moore is flabbergasted when she receives a suspicious phone call from a lawyer she’s never met regarding a “private matter.” As soon as she arrives at the law firm’s office, she learns she’s the recipient of a large inheritance, a life-changing sum that will allow her to realize her long-held dream of becoming a mother. But who was her benefactor, Christopher Whaley? The late man’s name means nothing to Skyler, and she has no idea why he would leave her such an enormous bequest.

Looking into his background, Skyler finally realizes they met once at a hotel bar and shared a one-night stand. But they never exchanged numbers, or even last names, and that was over a decade ago. She wonders if the inheritance is meant to be a message of some kind, but can’t imagine what it might be.

Chris’ family is confused and suspicious too, and his widow accuses Skyler of having an affair with her late husband, then threatens revenge. In order to protect herself, Skyler has to understand the reason the money was left to her. But as she digs for the truth, it becomes clear that Chris Whaley might have taken other secrets to the grave, ones that could have terrifying consequences for her . . .


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As Between Two Strangers thrusts the reader into a mysterious event from years before, we are soon caught up in other past moments in our primary character’s life. What happened to her sister, back then, and what, if anything, has the current situation to do with that tragedy?

Our story takes us back and forth in time, and as we draw closer to those events, we begin to see how everything converges, and the mystery begins to reveal itself.

I couldn’t stop turning the pages until the very end. A brilliant tale that held me hostage throughout. 5 stars.




Most folk thought Sallie Kincaid was a nobody who’d amount to nothing. Sallie had other plans.

Sallie Kincaid is the daughter of the biggest man in a small town, the charismatic Duke Kincaid. Born at the turn of the 20th century into a life of comfort and privilege, Sallie remembers little about her mother who died in a violent argument with the Duke. By the time she is just eight years old, the Duke has remarried and had a son, Eddie. While Sallie is her father’s daughter, sharp-witted and resourceful, Eddie is his mother’s son, timid and cerebral. When Sallie tries to teach young Eddie to be more like their father, her daredevil coaching leads to an accident, and Sallie is cast out.

Nine years later, she returns, determined to reclaim her place in the family. That’s a lot more complicated than Sallie expected, and she enters a world of conflict and lawlessness. Sallie confronts the secrets and scandals that hide in the shadows of the Big House, navigates the factions in the family and town, and finally comes into her own as a bold, sometimes reckless bootlegger.

You will fall in love with Sallie Kincaid, a feisty and fearless, terrified and damaged young woman who refuses to be corralled.


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In the beginning of Hang the Moon, I wasn’t sure I would love this story set during Prohibition, but I was soon captivated by the primary character, Sallie, and rooting for her. I knew very little about the moonshiners or how they managed to stay afloat during hard times, but soon I couldn’t turn the pages rapidly enough.

What finally happens to Sallie and her family members? What secrets would finally arise and add to the tale?

I loved the story and the characters. Five stars.




Adelaide Hills, Christmas Eve, 1959: At the end of a scorching hot day, beside a creek on the grounds of a grand country house, a local man makes a terrible discovery. Police are called, and the small town of Tambilla becomes embroiled in one of the most baffling murder investigations in the history of South Australia.

Many years later and thousands of miles away, Jess is a journalist in search of a story. Having lived and worked in London for two decades, she now finds herself unemployed and struggling to make ends meet. A phone call out of nowhere summons her back to Sydney, where her beloved grandmother Nora, who raised Jess when her mother could not, has suffered a fall and is seriously ill in the hospital.

At Nora’s house, Jess discovers a true crime book chronicling a long-buried police case: the Turner Family Tragedy of 1959. It is only when Jess skims through its pages that she finds a shocking connection between her own family and this notorious event – a mystery that has never been satisfactorily resolved.

An epic story that spans generations, Homecoming asks what we would do for those we love, how we protect the lies we tell, and what it means to come home. Above all, it is an intricate and spellbinding novel from one of the finest writers working today.


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A gripping tale of a family filled with secrets, Homecoming takes the reader back and forth in time, from a tragic event of the late 1950s to the 2018 world of Jess, a journalist seeking answers from her family’s darkest times.

The story unfolds slowly, offering bits and pieces of all that has been learned over time. We follow the characters from London to Australia, and gradually learn what would be revealed.

How did Nora’s fall that led to hospitalization take Jess back home to finally sort through her family events? What was Nora searching for on the day she fell?

I enjoyed the story and the characters but would have preferred more time with current day events. A 4.5 starred read.



Seven hours in the past. Seven days in the present. Seven survivors remaining. Who would you save?

A decade ago, two vans filled with high school seniors on a school service trip crashed into a Tennessee ravine—a tragedy that claimed the lives of multiple classmates and teachers. The nine students who managed to escape the river that night were irrevocably changed. A year later, after one of the survivors dies by suicide on the anniversary of the crash, the rest of them make a pact: to come together each year to commemorate that terrible night.

To keep one another safe.
To hold one another accountable.
Or both.

Their annual meeting place, a house on the Outer Banks, has long been a refuge. But by the tenth anniversary, Cassidy Bent has worked to distance herself from the tragedy, and from the other survivors. She’s changed her mobile number. She’s blocked the others’ email addresses. This year, she is determined to finally break ties once and for all. But on the day of the reunion, she receives a text with an obituary attached: another survivor is gone. Now they are seven—and Cassidy finds herself hurling back toward the group, wild with grief—and suspicion.

Almost immediately, something feels off this year. Cassidy is the first to notice when Amaya, annual organizer, slips away, overwhelmed. This wouldn’t raise alarm except for the impending storm. Suddenly, they’re facing the threat of closed roads and surging waters…again. Then Amaya stops responding to her phone. After all they’ve been through, she wouldn’t willfully make them worry. Would she?

And—as they promised long ago—each survivor will do whatever he or she can do to save one another. Won’t they?


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The Only Survivors takes the reader between the past and the present, and as we delve into the lives of the survivors, we begin to question everything we thought we knew about them all.

Why are the survivors caught up in keeping secrets from that time? Why do they hide their getaways from their family and friends at home?

Horrible moments from the past keep them all on their toes.

An intriguing tale that earned 4 stars.




Journalist McKenna Jordan is chasing the latest urban folktale—the story of an unidentified woman who heroically pulled a teenaged boy from the subway tracks, seconds before the approach of an oncoming train. When McKenna locates a video snippet that purportedly captures the incident, she thinks she has an edge on the competition scrambling to identify the mystery heroine.

McKenna is shocked to discover that the woman in the video bears a strong resemblance to Susan Hauptmann, a close friend—and a classmate of her husband’s at West Point—who vanished without a trace ten years earlier. The NYPD concluded that the nomadic Susan—forced by her father into an early military life, floundering as an adult for a fixed identity—simply started over again somewhere else.

But McKenna has always believed the truth went deeper than the police investigation ever reached. What might have been a short-lived metro story sends her on a twisting search that leads across New York City—and to dark secrets buried dangerously close to home…

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We follow the journey of journalist McKenna and others in If You Were Here,and as we plod along, we are intrigued by where the tale leads us.

McKenna was a character I enjoyed, along with a few others, but just when I thought I had it all figured out, the author took us to an unexpected place.

A great tale that kept me hooked throughout. 4.5 stars.



There’s a cottage on a cliff. Gabe and Pippa’s dream home in a sleepy coastal town. But their perfect house hides something sinister. The tall cliffs have become a popular spot for people to end their lives. Night after night Gabe comes to their rescue, literally talking them off the ledge. Until he doesn’t.

When Pippa discovers Gabe knew the victim, the questions spiral…Did the victim jump? Was she pushed?

And would Gabe, the love of Pippa’s life, her soulmate…lie? As the perfect facade of their marriage begins to crack, the deepest and darkest secrets begin to unravel.

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In alternating voices, the reader follows the characters in The Soulmate, from Gabe and Pippa to Max and Amanda.  Their lives are linked, but not in a good way.

When one of them goes over The Drop, the famous place where suicides often take place, questions remain.  What happened exactly?  Where did the missing USB port end up?  What secrets will change everything for them?

An intense read that went back and forth in time, this book gripped me tightly and earned 5 stars.



Olivia Bender designs exquisite home interiors that satisfy the most demanding clients. But her own deepest desire can’t be fulfilled by marble counters or the perfect rug. She desperately wants to be a mother. Fertility treatments and IVF keep failing. And just when she feels she’s at her lowest point, the police deliver shocking news to Olivia and her husband, Park.

DNA results show that the prime suspect in a murder investigation is Park’s son. Olivia is relieved, knowing this is a mistake. Despite their desire, the Benders don’t have any children. Then comes the confession. Many years ago, Park donated sperm to a clinic. He has no idea how many times it was sold—or how many children he has sired.

As the murder investigation goes deeper, more terrible truths come to light. With every revelation, Olivia must face the unthinkable. The man she married has fathered a killer. But can she hold that against him when she keeps such dark secrets of her own?

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An engrossing story that kept me turning the pages, It’s One of Us reveals what can happen when scientific efforts turn dark.

Sperm donations take what might have been a simple act to horrendous actions that threaten the lives and families of our characters.

How could the company that bought the donations have created such a monstrous event? How does social media open up the event and show what can happen when these donations run amuck?

Park and Perry are twins, and Olivia has been with each of them. She marries Park, and the two are using IVF to bring their own child into the world. But Olivia’s miscarriages threaten that dream. Then they discover that one of the sperm donations Park made has created a true monster, and the chaos that follows takes over their lives. 5 stars.




It’s summertime on the North Carolina coast and the livin’ is easy.

Unless, that is, you’ve just lost your mother to cancer, your sister to her extremist husband, and your husband to his executive assistant. Meet Gray Howard. Right when Gray could use a serious infusion of good karma in her life, she inadvertently gets a stranger, Diana Harrington, fired from her job at the local pharmacy.

Diana Harrington’s summer isn’t off to the greatest start either: Hours before losing her job, she broke up with her boyfriend and moved out of their shared house with only a worn-out Impala for a bed. Lucky for her, Gray has an empty guest house and a very guilty conscience.

With Gray’s kindness, Diana’s tide begins to turn. But when her first love returns, every secret from her past seems to resurface all at once. And, as Gray begins to blaze a new trail, she discovers, with Diana’s help, that what she envisioned as her perfect life may not be what she wants at all.

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From the first pages of Feels Like Falling, we are caught up in the changing lives of two characters who keep us intrigued throughout.

My favorite was Gray, whose divorce is an experience I could relate to in some ways. Diana, on the other hand, brought interesting ideas to the mix.

As we follow their alternating narratives, we root for them as they try to change their lives for the better.

The story dragged a little for me, but I was happy for the characters in their journey. 4 stars.



After every divorce, one spouse gets all the friends. What does the other one get? If they’re smart, they get the benefits. Alyssa Macallan is terrified when she’s dumped by her wealthy and powerful husband. With a devastating divorce looming, she begins to suspect her toxic and manipulative soon-to-be-ex is scheming to ruin her—leaving her alone and penniless. And when the FBI shows up at her door, Alyssa knows she really needs a friend.

And then she gets one. A seductive new friend, one who’s running from a dangerous relationship of her own. Alyssa offers Bree Lorrance the safety of her guest house, and the two become confidantes. Then Bree makes a heart-stoppingly tempting offer. Maybe Alyssa and Bree can solve each others’ problems.

But no one is what they seem. And the fates and fortunes of these two women twist and turn until the shocking truth emerges: You can’t always get what you want. But sometimes you get what you deserve.
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From the very beginning of The House Guest, I was wary of Alyssa’s choices and wondered why she made such poor decisions. Not only had she impulsively married a man who had turned out to be toxic, but taking in a stranger as a house guest completely amps up the potential horror ahead for her.

The best thing about such a story: it does keep us turning the pages.

From one moment to the next, the story kept twisting and turning until the very end. Definitely a good read. 4.5 stars.