From Blood And Ash by Jennifer L. Armentrout


From Blood And Ash
We Will Rise

Genre: Fantasy, New Adult

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

If you like:

⁃ Vampires & werewolves

⁃ Fantasies with some smut

– Strong female MC’s

-Character driven stories

Do you ever give books you weren’t into a second chance?

The first time I read this was back in January and DNF’d at the 11% mark. But the rave reviews kept blowing up my IG feed, and I thought maybe I missed something!

So glad I gave this another go cause I was complete hooked!

The pickier part of me would tell you the first half is slow and the writing isn’t perfect, but who the fuck cares!!

Poppy is one bad ass bitch! And Hawke! 🔥🔥 Oh My Gods..Remember that scene with Monica from Friends, pointing out the 7 erogenous spots?!

Someone get me a fan and hose me down with freezing water!! I just found myself a new book boyfriend! 🖤

It was really the characters and their relationship with each other, that I fell in love with and made the story for me.

I can’t wait to read A Kingdom of Flesh And Fire.

Have you read the series yet? What did you think?

A Maiden…

Chosen from birth to usher in a new era, Poppy’s life has never been her own. The life of the Maiden is solitary. Never to be touched. Never to be looked upon. Never to be spoken to. Never to experience pleasure. Waiting for the day of her Ascension, she would rather be with the guards, fighting back the evil that took her family, than preparing to be found worthy by the gods. But the choice has never been hers.

A Duty…

The entire kingdom’s future rests on Poppy’s shoulders, something she’s not even quite sure she wants for herself. Because a Maiden has a heart. And a soul. And longing. And when Hawke, a golden-eyed guard honor bound to ensure her Ascension, enters her life, destiny and duty become tangled with desire and need. He incites her anger, makes her question everything she believes in, and tempts her with the forbidden.

A Kingdom…

Forsaken by the gods and feared by mortals, a fallen kingdom is rising once more, determined to take back what they believe is theirs through violence and vengeance. And as the shadow of those cursed draws closer, the line between what is forbidden and what is right becomes blurred. Poppy is not only on the verge of losing her heart and being found unworthy by the gods, but also her life when every blood-soaked thread that holds her world together begins to unravel.

Thriller Thursday: Local Woman Missing by Mary Kubica

Genre: Mystery & Thrillers, Suspense

What do you get when you read in the dark late at night, with a scene that involves a kidnapped girl & boy in a dark basement?? a fucking nightmare!! That’s what! Seriously. I could legit hear my heart pounding in my ears. It’s been a long time since I’ve had that kind of adrenaline rush!

Every time I picked this one up, I didn’t wanna put it down!

I did need to suspend some belief near the end, but I rolled with it anyway, and it was a twist of events I didn’t see coming.

👏👏👏 Well done Mary Kubica. This is your best one yet!

Are you an audio listener? Highly recommend this one on audiobook! I’m usually not a big fan of audiobooks, but enjoyed this one as it had multiple narrators. Even my hubby who doesn’t like reading fiction (let alone listen to one on audio), enjoyed listening in with me.

Trigger warnings: Kidnapping, child abuse

Shelby Tebow is the first to go missing. Not long after, Meredith Dickey and her six-year-old daughter, Delilah, vanish just blocks away from where Shelby was last seen, striking fear into their once-peaceful community. Are these incidents connected? After an elusive search that yields more questions than answers, the case eventually goes cold.

Now, eleven years later, Delilah shockingly returns. Everyone wants to know what happened to her, but no one is prepared for what they’ll find…

In this smart and chilling thriller, master of suspense and New York Times bestselling author Mary Kubica takes domestic secrets to a whole new level, showing that some people will stop at nothing to keep the truth buried.

Blog Tour & Giveaway: The Secret Of Dartwood Manor by N.A Triptow

Genre: YA Contemporary Fantasy

Pub Date: Jan 18, 2021

Purchase a copy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound | Blackwell’s

Add on Goodreads!

Thank you MTMC Tours for having me! I’m happy to be featuring The Secret Of Dartwood Manor by N.A Triptow hosted my MTMC Tours.

Witchcraft? Ghosts? Murder? Yes please! Think Agatha Christie and Charmed, meet Sense and Sensibility.

Do you enjoy retellings or reimaginings like I do?

Ok. Truth be told, I haven’t read Sense & Sensibility. But I do have a general idea of what happens (Thanks to Cliff Notes) 😂 I WILL read the actual book at some point though. I just have to be in the mood for it! 😝

This is a tale of the 3 Dartwood sisters who unexpectedly return home after their parents have been found murdered. But by whom? And why? Nothing is as it seems as they search for answers. Whatever dark shadows have been haunting them, is now more than just a nightmare. With the help of Baden & Evan, the girls must find out the truth before this darkness falls upon them too.

This one had just the right amount of mystery , witchy magic and ghosts, that I was looking for! The beginning of a story always sets the tone for me, and this one hooked me with the Salem witch trials. 🖤

The character development, world building and plot were well done. It has a good mix of mystery, fantasy and G-rated romance, which sets up the next books nicely.

Witches. Ghosts. An ancient secret. Enter a world of myth and magic through this contemporary fantasy reimagining of Jane Austen’s beloved classic, Sense and Sensibility.

 

The small New England town of Tarryville, Maine is steeped in history, having been settled by the Dartwood and Farris families who fled Salem during the witch trials. The Dartwood sisters, Eden, Mariah, and Melissa, unexpectedly return home after their parents are found murdered. Upon their arrival, the girls are plagued by dreams in which dark spectral beings haunt them. When the hellish creatures seem to be more than just nightmares, another mystery begins to unravel as they discover that the circumstances around the murder of their parents may be far more menacing than they appear. Frantic for answers, they must untangle the mystery of their parents’ murders and reconstruct the pieces of an ancient secret. With the help of the young assistant curator of their family museum, Baden Correia, and an estranged friend from their past, Evan Farris, the orphaned Dartwood sisters must uncover the truth before the darkness haunting their family descends upon them as well.

Ebook Sale

The ebook of The Secret of Dartwood Manor is currently ON SALE for $0.99! Don’t miss out on this epic deal, only for the duration of the blog tour! Grab a copy Here.


And here’s a link to Wishing Well Publishing’s shop where you can find witchling and bookish swag https://wishing-well-merch.myshopify.com/The official shop of Wishing Well Publishing – Wishing Well Merch (wishing-well-merch.myshopify.com)

The Secret of Dartwood Manor Playlist

A sneak peek into the atmospheric world of The Secret of Dartwood Manor. Check out the theme song for The Secret of Dartwood Manor by the brilliant Beckee Davis!

https://youtu.be/iVP2o4eVMjQ

About N.A. Triptow:

Author of young adult contemporary fantasy and retellings, from fairy tales to classics, N. A. Triptow graduated from The University of Utah with a Bachelor of Arts in English Teaching with minors in History Teaching, Theatre, and British Studies. She teaches high school English and Film Studies. She is currently pursuing a Master of Science in Strategic Communication and Advertising from Purdue University. In her free time, you can find her reading, watching and analyzing movies and television shows, attending the theatre, going on walks or hikes, and playing board or video games with family and friends. She lives in Utah.

Website | Instagram | Goodreads | Twitter

INTL Blog Tour Giveaway!

Enter the rafflecopter below to win a kindle copy of The Secret of Dartwood Manor + a $10USD Amazon Gift Card!

This is open internationally & it ends on July 21st, 2021 at 11:59pm EST.

Click HERE

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A Court Of Mist And Fury by Sarah J Maas

Genre: YA Fantasy

“To the stars who listen—and the dreams that are answered.”

🎶So hot in. So hot in herre. 🎶

Oooh girlllll..Sarah J Maas knows how to turn up the heat! At the 70% mark, you know..the bedroom scene at the inn? (for those who read it) 🔥🔥Let’s just say I needed to take a cold shower!

On the one hand, this one was slower than ACOTAR in my opinion. But on the other, this has also quickly become a fave so far. Not only did I enjoy watching Feyre and Rhys’ relationship develop, especially with the cute notes they wrote each other, but I was completely enamoured by Velaris!

I really enjoyed the last 30% which totally made the story in this one in my opinion. Thankfully, I’m late to the game cause it ended on a bit of a cliffhanger (which I loved), and don’t need to wait to go get ACOWAR!!

Now I see why everyone hates Tamlin! Man. I kinda liked him..even though I love Rhys more. 😜 But now..I think I wanna see Tam die. Like an Amarantha style death.

Which is your fave in the ACOTAR series?

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Feyre has undergone more trials than one human woman can carry in her heart. Though she’s now been granted the powers and lifespan of the High Fae, she is haunted by her time Under the Mountain and the terrible deeds she performed to save the lives of Tamlin and his people. 

As her marriage to Tamlin approaches, Feyre’s hollowness and nightmares consume her. She finds herself split into two different people: one who upholds her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court, and one who lives out her life in the Spring Court with Tamlin. While Feyre navigates a dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms. She might just be the key to stopping it, but only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future-and the future of a world in turmoil.

Bridgerton: The Duke & I by Julia Quinn

Genre: Historical Romance, Romance

This wouldn’t be my typical read or type of show, but there was so much hype about the show, I had the FOMO and wanted to see what it was all about!

Okay, one: I LOVED the show! And two: I went out and bought the book because of the show. So which did I like more?

This is one of those rare times I actually loved the show more than the book. Don’t get me wrong. I still enjoyed reading it, but there was a lot more happening in the show than the book.

What I didn’t like:

⁃ The story was slow going and only focused on Simon and Daphne. All the other characters took a back seat, unlike the show. I wanted more drama!

⁃ We’re told MANY times over how Daff has 4 brothers, the Duke doesn’t want to marry and the physical features of the Bridgerton siblings.

What I enjoyed:

⁃ My absolute favourite parts were Lady Whistledown’s reports.

⁃ It was fun watching Simon & Daphne fall in love. There were some nice steamy scenes between the two.

⁃ I really liked Daphne. She was a much stronger character in the book vs the show in opinion.

Overall, I was entertained enough to finish the book, but I don’t think I’ll be continuing the series.

My rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Buddy Read: The Carrow Haunt by Darcy Coates

Genre: Horror

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Remy is a tour guide for Carrow House, a notoriously haunted building. When she’s asked to host seven guests for a week-long stay to research Carrow’s phenomena, she hopes to finally experience some of the sightings that made the house famous.

At first, it’s everything they hoped for. Then a storm moves in, cutting off their contact with the outside world, and things quickly become twisted. Doors open on their own. Seances go disastrously wrong. Red liquid seeps from behind the wallpaper. Their spirit medium wanders through the house during the night, seemingly in a trance.

Then one of the guests dies under strange circumstances, and Remy is forced to consider the possibility that the ghost of the house’s original owner, a twisted serial killer, still walks the halls.

But by then it’s too late to escape.

This was my first Darcy Coates book that I read with my buddy Jonny @jaunts & haunts. For my full review, feel free to check me out on Instagram or Goodreads.

Here’s what we thought:

Jonny: Did you feel that, Gigi? It just got really cold in here. I hope there are some ghosts around! Hi, I’m Jonny, lover of all things ghoulish and garish.

Gigi: Hey Jonny!! I think I heard something! How do you feel about going inside Carrow House?

Jonny: Hmmm … you mean that dark and spooky house we’ll possibly meet our end in? Sure, sounds like fun! 😀

Gigi: 😂 So what what were your thoughts on The Carrow Haunt? Ever been on a ghost tour before?

Jonny: Overall I enjoyed it. There were some things that didn’t wow me or I thought could’ve been better, but I had a good time. What about you?

Yeah, actually! I’ve been on a number of ghost tours and even stayed overnight at one in Atchison, KS before (The McInteer Villa!). Around Halloween time I go crazy for chills and thrills in the real world.

Gigi:I agree! I thought it was a good story, but nothing mind blowing. It was actually really slow going for me. It started off really well.I’ve never been on a ghost tour, so I felt like I was part of the tour with Remy.  But then it took a while before anything major happened. Are we keeping this spoiler free? Cause I was disappointed with the ending.. I think it’s so cool that you’ve been on a ghost tour! I really wanna check one out, but at the same time I’m kinda afraid to go in one. I believe in ghosts. 😬

Jonny: I couldn’t agree with you more! Was it a good story? Yes. A great one? Hmm, not quite. The pacing of the story wasn’t evenly paced to keep my attention. At the beginning like you said we follow along the tour group and that was insanely fun to me, but after that things peter off for a bit too long before anything of note occurs. Yes, the house is eerie, but there’s only so much your audience can take before they expect something to actually happen.

I feel that as long as we don’t give away direct details, then we’re being spoiler free, so go ahead! I also didn’t like the ending. It was a bit too positive for a horror story if you ask me. I’m not the biggest fan of happy endings, especially to the extent that Coates did. It kind of left a sour taste in my mouth. That or maybe I’ve been breathing too much ghosty air from the Carrow House!

Yeah, I love that stuff! I’ve been a huge believer since childhood. I like to think that in a group tour setting things are relatively safer, especially when you don’t wander off hehe. When I stayed the night at the McInteer I had 5+ friends with me, so we were a large-ish group, enough to make me not feel so uncomfortable. One of them slept in the basement! I thought they were mad. I slept in my own room, but I kept the dimmed lights on all night because there was definitely a presence in that house.

Gigi:Basement?!! That’s hardcore in a haunted house! I can’t do that..even in a non-haunted house! 😂 I’m a big fraidy cat, yet I like to be spooked. I know..makes no sense! Hahaha.

I’m with you on that ending! I like a happily ever after, but not when it comes to horror. I did however, enjoy the ghost hunting and seance though!

Let’s talk fave, or not-so likeable characters. Who did you like the most? The least?

I hated Marjorie! She annoyed me the most. Taj was cool! I actually kinda liked Bernard. Lol.

Jonny: Yeah, totally! I think my friend was trying to overcompensate and show they were brave. Honestly, I didn’t care, but just knew I wouldn’t sleep there or in the attic. The attic felt incredibly haunted to me. I like to think of myself as someone sensitive to spirits. I don’t really see much but my feels are usually on par. Haha, I understand where you’re coming from. I don’t like to be spooked, but I do at the same time.

Right. I didn’t see why Coates felt the need to keep things that way. It would’ve been easier in my opinion to keep it darker, though I get what she was going for.

Yes, those seances were great! They felt authentic to me, and kinda made me nervous as to what was going to happen each time. Well done.

Okay, but you’re not gonna like me, haha! I actually liked Marjorie the most. I withheld that in our little checkups on each other during the read, but I thought she was the most enigmatic. She had mystery surrounding her character and her abilities, and that was what drew me to her. Yes, she had a terrible attitude and was crotchety at times, but I can relate. Half the time I don’t want to deal with people in general.

I think Taj and Bernard were my next favorites after that. They were stable and I liked their personalities. April and her friend were kinda just okay in my opinion.

Gigi:😂 hahaha. That’s ok that you loved Majorie! I love having varying views. It’s keeps the conversation interesting! Yeah..April and Lucille were just meh to me. It didn’t matter which route Coates went with them for me.

I’m like you, where I feel certain things. I know when it’s an unwelcoming place. I’ve seen things in my lifetime, but we’ll save that conversation for another time 😉

I’m so glad we read this one together! If it weren’t for you, I don’t know if I would have made it to the end of the book to be honest.  But I’m glad I did! I still wanna give her other books a try and have The Whispering Dead on my eshelf.

As always, you’re an awesome buddy to read with! Are we feelin another spooky book next? Or do we wanna try fantasy? Middle grade? Let me know!!

Jonny:Oh, for sure! Varying views are the best. I’m sure in real life Marjorie would’ve gotten on my nerves but with the story she took the spotlight for a decent portion of the book. Agreed on April and Lucille. They didn’t shine very much compared to the other characters.

Wow, kindred spirits! Well, I’m glad I’m not alone in the feels. I’ve seen some strange things myself, so we’ve definitely got plenty of interesting conversations ahead of us!

Awww, well I’m glad I could inspire you to keep going with this one. It’s certainly not perfect but Coates’s stories are always fun and entertaining. Oh yes, do tell me how that goes if you read it soon!

As are you, Gigi! *digital hugs*

Hmm, well we do have some spooky MG books from the list I made for suggestions last time, but we could also switch it up. I guess the world will just have to wait with baited breath, muahaha!

Gigi:😘😘

As always, I’m looking forward to our next adventure! So let me know when you wanna buddy read again! 💖

Jonny: Me too! Thanks for continuing to take these little journeys with me! I’ll be in touch very soon! 🙂

That’s all folks! Thanks for joining us! until next time..

Find You First by Linwood Barclay

** Thank you Harper Collins Canada for gifting me an ARC **

Genre: Mystery & Thrillers

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 1/2 (4.5 Stars)

IF YOU LIKE:

⁃ Mystery and suspense

⁃ twists you don’t expect.

⁃ stories that keep you wondering: where is this all going?

After loving A Noise Downstairs, I knew Linwood Barclay would quickly become a ‘must read’ for me.

The last 25-30% had me mind-blown! 🤯

Initially, the story started off fairly simple with all the cards laid on the table..or so I thought. My only question was: how do these two stories connect? But then, Barclay does a fabulous job of sprinkling some added twists that you don’t see coming. Or at least, I didn’t!! Which by the way, is very rare! 👏👏 Bravo. This was a hell of a ride. And can I just say, Roberta..she was a hot 50-something in stilettos, and all I could picture in my head was Robin Wright. Who by the way, is gorgeous! Don’t know who she is? You know..House of Cards? She plays Antiope (Wonder Woman’s Aunt). Look her up!!

When it comes to thrillers and suspense, the less you know, the better! So if you’ve enjoyed Linwood Barclay’s previous books, I think you’ll enjoy this one. And even if you haven’t, you should still check this one out!

Tech millionaire Miles Cookson has more money than he can ever spend, and everything he could dream of—except time. He has recently been diagnosed with a terminal illness, and there is a fifty percent chance that it can be passed on to the next generation. For Miles, this means taking a long hard look at his past . . . 

Two decades ago, a young, struggling Miles was a sperm donor. Somewhere out there, he has kids—nine of them. And they might be about to inherit both the good and the bad from him—maybe his fortune, or maybe something much worse.

As Miles begins to search for the children he’s never known, aspiring film documentarian Chloe Swanson embarks on a quest to find her biological father, armed with the knowledge that twenty-two years ago, her mother used a New York sperm bank to become pregnant.

When Miles and Chloe eventually connect, their excitement at finding each other is overshadowed by a series of mysterious and terrifying events. One by one, Miles’s other potential heirs are vanishing—every trace of them wiped, like they never existed at all.

Who is the vicious killer—another heir methodically erasing rivals? Or is something even more sinister going on? 

It’s a deadly race against time . . .

Alice by Christina Henry

Genre: YA

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 (3.5 stars)

This was such a great take on Alice In Wonderland. It was dark and delicious.

While I enjoyed majority of the story, there were aspects that didn’t work out for me:

⁃ The ending. This was the biggest letdown. I was expecting an epic showdown. But instead, it left me saying: “What?! That’s it?!!”

**Minor Spoiler Alert **

⁃ The magicians. For me, it felt awkward and didn’t really add any value to the story.

What I loved:

⁃ The Characters! I loved where Christina Henry went with the villains! I haven’t read any other Alice retellings, but this by far, will be the most memorable.

⁃ This was very dark and gruesome, just the way I like it! However, it won’t be for everyone.

Trigger warnings: rape, cannibalism, abuse

Overall, I really enjoyed it. I just wish it ended on a higher note.

In a warren of crumbling buildings and desperate people called the Old City, there stands a hospital with cinderblock walls which echo the screams of the poor souls inside.

In the hospital, there is a woman. Her hair, once blond, hangs in tangles down her back. She doesn’t remember why she’s in such a terrible place. Just a tea party long ago, and long ears, and blood…

Then, one night, a fire at the hospital gives the woman a chance to escape, tumbling out of the hole that imprisoned her, leaving her free to uncover the truth about what happened to her all those years ago.

Only something else has escaped with her. Something dark. Something powerful. And to find the truth, she will have to track this beast to the very heart of the Old City, where the rabbit waits for his Alice.

Blog Tour: You Will Remember Me by Hannah

** Thank you Harper Collins Canada, NetGalley & Mira for providing me with an ARC and digital ARC **

Genre: Mystery & Thrillers

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I’m normally not a fan of predictable whodunnits and plots, but I still really enjoyed this one, eventhough I had things figured out very early on.

I love multiple POV’s, especially when one of the characters is one you hate with a side of cray cray! I actually didn’t like any of the characters if we’re being honest. But that’s totally ok! I don’t always need to like the characters in order to enjoy the story. 🤓

Overall, this was a fast-paced, highly bingeable read. It kept me turning the pages and wanting to know what Jack’s deal was, along with how things would go down.

He wakes up on a deserted beach in Maryland with a gash on his head and wearing only swim trunks. He can’t remember who he is. Everything—his identity, his life, his loved ones—has been replaced by a dizzying fog of uncertainty. But returning to his Maine hometown in search of the truth uncovers more questions than answers.

Lily Reid thinks she knows her boyfriend, Jack. Until he goes missing one night, and her frantic search reveals that he’s been lying to her since they met, desperate to escape a dark past he’d purposely left behind.

Maya Scott has been trying to find her estranged stepbrother, Asher, since he disappeared without a trace. Having him back, missing memory and all, feels like a miracle. But with a mutual history full of devastating secrets, how far will Maya go to ensure she alone takes them to the grave?

Chapter 1—The Man from the Beach

Cold. Cold was the first word that came to mind. The first thing I noticed when I woke up. Not a slight, uncomfortable chill to give me the shivers, but a cramp-inducing, iced-to-the-bone kind of frozen. I lay flat on my stomach, my left ear and cheek pressed into the rough, grainy wet ground beneath me, my entire body shaking. As my thoughts attempted to assemble themselves into some form of understandable order, a wave of icy water nipped at my bare toes and ankles, my instincts pulling my feet out of reach. 

I had a sudden urge to get up, a primal need to take in my surroundings and assess the danger—was I in danger?—but the throbbing pain deep in my head made the slightest effort to shift anything seem impossible. Lifting a finger would be too much effort, and I acquiesced, allowing myself to lie still for another few freezing seconds as the frigid water crept over the balls of my feet again. When I blinked my eyes open, I was met by a thick, fuzzy darkness enveloping me like a cloak. Where the hell was I? And wherever it was, what was I doing here? 

When I lifted my head a fraction of an inch, I could barely make out anything in front of me. There was hardly a noise either, nothing but a gentle, steady rumble in the background, and the cry of a bird somewhere in the distance. I made my brain work its way backward—bird, rumble, sand, water—and the quartet formed the vaguely cohesive image of a beach. 

Searching for confirmation, I inhaled the salty, humid air deep into my lungs as another slosh of water took aim at my calves. This time the discomfort was enough to push me to my feet, and I wrapped my arms around my naked torso, my sopping board shorts clinging to my goose-bump-covered thighs. An explosion of pain in my head threatened to send me back to my knees, and I swayed gently, wishing I had something to steady myself with, willing my body to stay upright. As I pressed a hand to the side of my skull, I let out a quiet yelp, and felt along a two-inch gash in my scalp. My eyes had adjusted somewhat to the lack of light, and my fingertips were covered in something dark that smelled of rust. Blood. How had I…? 

Another low rumble made me turn around, shuffling slowly in a semicircle. The behemoth effort was rewarded by the sight of a thousand glistening waves dancing under the moonlight like diamonds, the water stretching out and disappearing into the darkness beyond. As my ears tuned in to the rhythmic whoosh of the waves, my mind worked hard to process each scrap of information it took in. 

I’m definitely on a beach. It’s nighttime. I’m alone. What am I doing here? 

Before I could answer the single question, a thousand others crowded my brain, an incessant string of chatter I couldn’t stop or get away from. 

Where is everyone? Never mind them, where am I? Have I been here long? How did I get here? Where was I before? Where are my clothes? What day is it? 

My legs buckled. Not because of the unfamiliar surroundings, the cold burrowing its way deeper into my core, or the pain in my head, which had increased tenfold. No. My knees hit the sand with a dull crunch when I realized I couldn’t answer any of the questions because I couldn’t recall anything. Nothing. Not the tiniest of details.

Including my name.

Chapter 2—Lily

A frown settled over my face as I put my phone on the table, pushed the bowl of unfinished berry oatmeal away and stretched out my legs. It was Saturday morning, and I’d been up for ages, too eager—too hopeful—to spend a day at the beach with Jack, but those plans had been a literal wash-out. The start to the summer felt capricious, with this second storm in the last week of June poised to be much worse than the first. I’d convinced myself the weatherwoman had exaggerated or got her forecast completely wrong, but clouds had rolled in overnight anyway. As a result, I’d been unceremoniously woken up at two thirty by a trio of bright lightning, deafening thunderclaps and heavy raindrops pelting against my bedroom window.

At first, I’d pulled my pillow over my head to deafen the noise, and when that didn’t work, I rolled over and stretched out an arm. The spot next to me was empty and cold, and I groaned. Jack hadn’t come over to my place as I’d hoped he would, slipping into bed and pressing his naked body against mine. I’d buried my face back into my pillow and tried to ignore the tinge of disappointment. We hadn’t seen much of each other this past week, both of us too busy with our jobs to spend more than a night together, and I missed him. Jack had called the day before to tell me he’d be working late, finishing the stain on the cabinets he’d labored on for weeks before his boss had to let him go. Apparently expensive custom kitchens weren’t in as high demand in Brookmount, Maryland as originally thought. 

“But you got laid off,” I’d said. “It’s your last day. Why do you care?” 

“Because I made a commitment. Besides, it’ll help when I need a reference.” 

Typical Jack, always keeping his word. He’d bought a lottery ticket once, and the clerk had jokingly asked if he’d give him half of any winnings. Jack had laughed and shaken the man’s hand, and when he won ten bucks on the ticket, had promptly returned to the store, and paid over the share as promised. His loyalty was one of the many things I loved about Jack, although part of me wished he weren’t quite as dedicated to his soon-to-be ex-boss. 

“You could come over to my place when you’re done,” I said, smiling slowly. “I’ll leave the key under the umbrella stand. I don’t mind you waking me up gently in the middle of the night…or not so gently.” 

Jack laughed softly. The sound was something I’d fallen in love with eighteen months ago after our eyes had met across a crowded bar, the mother of all uninspired first-encounter clichés, except in this case I’d been forced to admit clichés weren’t always a bad thing. 

“It’ll be really late, Lily,” he said, his voice deep. His English accent was something of a rarity in our small coastal town, and still capable of making my legs wobble in anticipation of his next words. “I’ll go for a quick swim now, then finish up work. How about I come over in the morning? Around nine? I’ll bring you breakfast in bed.” 

“Blueberry pancakes from Patti’s? With extra maple syrup?” 

“This time I’ll order three stacks to make sure I get some.” 

“Pancakes or sex?” I said, before telling him how much I loved him, and whispering exactly how I’d thank him for waking me with sweet weekend treats. I’d hoped it might change his mind and he’d come over earlier, except it was ten now, and he still hadn’t showed. It was odd. Jack detested being late as much as he loved being early. He often joked they set Greenwich Mean Time by his father’s old watch, which Jack had worn since his dad passed a little over a decade before we’d met, when Jack was only twenty.

I checked my phone again. Jack hadn’t answered either of my calls, another anomaly, but I tried to talk myself into believing he’d worked late into the night to make the final good impression he wanted, and overslept. Maybe there was a line at Patti’s—the restaurant was slammed every weekend—and perhaps his phone was set to silent. 

I picked up my bowl and wandered to the kitchen. My place was the smallest of six apartments, a tiny but well-maintained one-bedroom in a building a few miles from the beach, farther than I’d planned, but the closest I could afford. I’d lived there for almost five years, had furnished it with an eclectic assortment of third-hand furniture, my favorite piece a royal blue microfiber sofa I’d bought for fifty bucks, and which Jack swore was the most comfortable thing he’d ever sat on. Whenever he sank down into it and pulled me on top of him with a contented sigh, I’d tease him about what made him happier; the squishy, well-worn cushions, or me. 

The image made my frown deepen. Where was he?

Excerpted from You Will Remember Me by Hannah Mary McKinnon, Copyright © 2021 by Hannah McKinnon. Published by MIRA Books

The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave

Genre: Mystery, Suspense, Domestic Suspense

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Holy crap, this was so freaking good!! Who knew I’d actually fall in love with a book that is one of Reese’s picks?!! I’ve had a history of not liking any of her book choices and didn’t know this was one of hers till now. I guess There’s a first for everything right?

I’m about to use a word I actually dislike, but it was UNPUTDOWNABLE! (That’s how good it was). I gave my kids the day off (or two), just so I could finish it.

I walked into this one not knowing anything, except the synopsis and that it’s being adapted onto the screen, starring Julia Roberts. I love Julia Roberts and totally pictured her voice as I was reading.

I was sucked in right from the get go, like I was Hannah receiving the letter from Owen to protect Bailey..the disapproving stepdaughter.

This story went in a direction I wasn’t really expecting and love that the ending took me surprise! That rarely ever happens! Those who have read it, will know what I’m talking about, but is it crazy that I thought the ending was kinda sweet?

Definitely a new fave of mine!

Before Owen Michaels disappears, he smuggles a note to his beloved wife of one year: Protect her. Despite her confusion and fear, Hannah Hall knows exactly to whom the note refers—Owen’s sixteen-year-old daughter, Bailey. Bailey, who lost her mother tragically as a child. Bailey, who wants absolutely nothing to do with her new stepmother.

As Hannah’s increasingly desperate calls to Owen go unanswered, as the FBI arrests Owen’s boss, as a US marshal and federal agents arrive at her Sausalito home unannounced, Hannah quickly realizes her husband isn’t who he said he was. And that Bailey just may hold the key to figuring out Owen’s true identity—and why he really disappeared.

Hannah and Bailey set out to discover the truth. But as they start putting together the pieces of Owen’s past, they soon realize they’re also building a new future—one neither of them could have anticipated.

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