REVIEW: THE LAST WIFE, BY KAREN HAMILTON

Two women. A dying wish. And a web of lies that will bring their world crashing down.

Nina and Marie were best friends—until Nina was diagnosed with a terminal illness. Before she died, Nina asked Marie to fulfill her final wishes.

But her mistake was in thinking Marie was someone she could trust.

What Nina didn’t know was that Marie always wanted her beautiful life, and that Marie has an agenda of her own. She’ll do anything to get what she wants.

Marie thinks she can keep her promise to her friend’s family on her own terms. But what she doesn’t know is that Nina was hiding explosive secrets of her own…

Marie’s vow to step in and take care of her best friend Nina’s family after her death sounds like a loving thing to do. But is Marie truly who Nina would have chosen if she had known Marie’s secrets?

Will Marie’s plan include taking over Nina’s life, including her friendships and even her husband? The friendships included Camilla, who has secrets she has been keeping, too. Her connection to Marie runs deeper than previously known.

There were times that I found Marie very annoying, but then again, none of the other people in Nina’s life were who they seemed to be, either.

What will Marie finally do to step up, and will she be the right choice for the task? Will she keep her own darkness hidden as she tries to protect those she loves?

The Last Wife had many twists, and it was hard to give any of the characters a pass. They all had darkness that could come back to haunt them. 3.5 stars.

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REVIEW: THE GIRL IN THE MIRROR, BY ROSE CARLYLE

Twin sisters Iris and Summer are startlingly alike, but beyond what the eye can see lies a darkness that sets them apart. Cynical and insecure, Iris has long been envious of Summer’s seemingly never-ending good fortune, including her perfect husband Adam.

Called to Thailand to help her sister sail the family yacht to the Seychelles, Iris nurtures her own secret hopes for what might happen on the journey. But when she unexpectedly finds herself alone in the middle of the Indian Ocean, everything changes. When she makes it to land, Iris allows herself to be swept up by Adam, who assumes that she is Summer.

Iris recklessly goes along with his mistake. Not only does she finally have the golden life she’s always envied, with her sister gone, she’s one step closer to the hundred-million-dollar inheritance left by her manipulative father. All Iris has to do is be the first of his seven children to produce an heir.

Iris’s “new” life lurches between glamorous dream and paranoid nightmare. On the edge of being exposed, how far will she go to ensure no one discovers the truth?

And just what did happen to Summer on the yacht?

Only Iris knows . . .

As The Girl in the Mirror unfolds, I was caught up in the twin schemes and the switch that could have interesting consequences.

But what we discover as the story takes one turn after another is that there is more to the tale than we thought, and we begin to suspect that nothing is quite what it seems.

Who is really Summer and who is Iris? Which of them has tricked the other?

I thought I had it all figured out, but then I was stunned. 5 stars.

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TUESDAY SPARKS: “THE VANISHING YEAR”

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Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by The Purple Booker.

Today’s “spark” comes from a recent download:  The Vanishing Year, by Kate Moretti.  The Vanishing Year is a stunner. A perfectly compulsive read that’s impossible to put down.” –Mary Kubica

“A chilling, powerful tale of nerve-shattering suspense.” –Heather Gudenkauf

 

 

 

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Intro:  April 2014, New York City

Lately, I’ve been dreaming about my mother.  Not Evelyn, the only mother I’ve ever known, the woman who raised me and loved me and taught me to swim in the fresh water of Lake Chabot, bake a sticky sweet pecan pie, fly-fish.  I’ve thought about Evelyn plenty in the five years since she died—I’d venture to say every day.

My dreams lately are filled with the mother I’ve never met.  I imagine her at sixteen years, leaving me in the care of the neonatal nurses.  Did she kiss my forehead?  Study her baby’s small wrinkled fingers?  Or did she just scurry out, as fast as she could, hugging the wall, ducking the shadows to avoid detection until she burst through the doors, into the night air, where she could breathe again?

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Teaser:  The Saturday after Henry proposed, I had fled to the shop at six a.m., breathless and heady, in the clothes I’d worn the day before, my hair matted and bed-tousled, smelling of Henry’s cologne and the warm, soft, slight musk, of sex. (51%).

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Synopsis:  Zoe Whittaker is living a charmed life. She is the beautiful young wife to handsome, charming Wall Street tycoon Henry Whittaker. She is a member of Manhattan’s social elite. She is on the board of one of the city’s most prestigious philanthropic organizations. She has a perfect Tribeca penthouse in the city and a gorgeous lake house in the country. The finest wine, the most up-to-date fashion, and the most luxurious vacations are all at her fingertips.

What no one knows is that five years ago, Zoe’s life was in danger. Back then, Zoe wasn’t Zoe at all. Now her secrets are coming back to haunt her.

As the past and present collide, Zoe must decide who she can trust before she—whoever she is—vanishes completely.

A “dark, twisty, edge-of-your-seat suspense” (Karen Robards), The Vanishing Year combines the classic sophistication of Ruth Rendell and A.S.A. Harrison with the thoroughly modern flair of Jessica Knoll. Told from the point-of-view of a heroine who is as relatable as she is enigmatic, The Vanishing Year is an unforgettable new novel by a rising star of the genre.

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I love the sound of this one already!  What do you think?  Let’s share our reading.

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LET’S SPARK SOME ENTHUSIASM FOR “THE PERFECT GIRL”

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Welcome to another Waiting on Wednesday event, hosted by Jill, at Breaking the Spine.

Every week, we gather around the blogosphere and search out the upcoming book releases, sharing our thoughts and blurbs.   Today I am featuring the newest book from Gilly MacMillan:  The Perfect Girl, also named Butterfly in the Dark.  Release date:  March 3, 2016.

 

 

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From Goodreads:  Several years ago, Zoe Maisey – child genius, musical sensation – caused the death of three teenagers. She served her time. And now she’s free.

Her story begins with her giving the performance of her life. By midnight, her mother is dead.

The Perfect Girl is an intricate exploration into the mind of a teenager burdened by brilliance. It’s a story about the wrongs in our past not letting go and how hard we must fight for second chances.

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What do you think?  I am eager to read more from the author who brought the page-turner What She Knew. (Click for my review on Goodreads).

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LET’S SPARK SOME INTRIGUE: WAITING ON “AFTER SHE’S GONE”

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Welcome to another Waiting on Wednesday event, hosted by Jill, at Breaking the Spine.

Every week, we gather around the blogosphere and search out the upcoming book releases, sharing our thoughts and blurbs. 

Today’s featured book is a thriller from an author I’ve enjoyed in the past: After She’s Gone, by Lisa Jackson, is a story about the deep bond between two sisters and their shared dream that becomes a harrowing nightmare of madness, hatred and jealousy…The book will be released on December 29, 2015.

 

 

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Cassie Kramer and her younger sister, Allie, learned the hazards of fame long ago. Together, they’d survived the horror of a crazed fan who nearly killed their mother, former Hollywood actress Jenna Hughes. Still, Cassie moved to L.A., urging Allie to follow. As a team, they’d take the town by storm.  But Allie, finally free of small-town Oregon, and just that little bit more beautiful, also proved to be more talented—and driven. Where Cassie got bit parts, Allie rose to stardom. But now her body double has been shot on the set of her latest movie—and Allie is missing.

Police discover that the last call to Allie’s phone came from Cassie, though she has no recollection of making it. Instead of looking like a concerned relative, Cassie is starting to look like a suspect—the jealous sister who finally grew sick of playing a supporting role. As the tabloids go into a frenzy, Cassie ends up on a Portland psych ward. Is she just imagining the sinister figure who comes to her bedside, whispering about Allie—a visitor of whom there is no record? Is someone trying to help—or drive her mad?

Convinced she’s the only one who can find Allie, Cassie checks herself out of the hospital. But a sudden slew of macabre murders— each victim masked with a likeness of a member of Cassie’s family—makes Cassie fear for her safety and her sanity. The only way to end the nightmare is to find out what really happened to Allie. And with each discovery, Cassie realizes that no one can be trusted to keep her safe—least of all herself…

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What do you think?  Does the blurb grab you?  Are you as eager as I am to turn these pages?

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HUMP DAY SPARKS: WAITING FOR “THE WRONG MAN”

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Welcome to another Waiting on Wednesday, our special day for sharing upcoming book releases.  Hop on over to Breaking the Spine to find out what everyone else is excited about.

I am always up for new suspense thrillers, so today’s feature is one of those.  From Kate White, The Wrong Man, is a compelling thriller of mistaken identity and psychological suspense about an accomplished career woman who thinks she’s met the man of her dreams—but instead he turns out to be her worst nightmare.  Release Date:  June 16, 2015.

 

 

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Bold and adventurous in her work as one of Manhattan’s hottest interior decorators, Kit Finn couldn’t be tamer in her personal life. So, while on vacation in the Florida Keys, Kit resolves to do something risky for once. Flirting with Matt Healy—the rugged stranger she literally bumps into at her hotel—is one thing. Going back to his room after their date is another.

Instead, Matt offers to cook her dinner when they’re both back in the city. But when Kit arrives at his luxury apartment ready for the date of a lifetime, who is the man who opens the door?

Kit’s usually so good at reading people. How could she have been taken in by the deceptions of a con man? And why has he targeted her? Piece by piece, Kit realizes that this treachery goes a lot deeper, and gets a lot deadlier. Now the only way out is to expose the vicious puppet master who’s turned her life upside-down.

Adrenaline-charged and filled with harrowing twists at every turn, The Wrong Man will leave readers guessing until the final page.

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What are you waiting for?  Come on by and share!

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FRIDAY SPARKS: BOOK BEGINNINGS & THE FRIDAY 56 – THE EDGE OF NORMAL

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Welcome to some bookish fun today as we share Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and as we showcase The Friday 56 with Freda’s Voice.

To join in, just grab a book and share the opening lines…along with any thoughts you wish to give us; then turn to page 56 and excerpt anything on the page.

Then give us the title of the book, so others can add it to their lists!

If you have been wanting to participate, but haven’t yet tried, now is the time!

What better way to spend a Friday?

Today I’m spotlighting an ARC from Amazon Vine called The Edge of Normal, by Carla Norton.

 

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Beginning:  (Prologue) Seattle, Washington, Six Years Earlier

Her name had been out of the headlines so long that he was sure no one was searching for her when he fit the key into the lock for the last time.  The door swung wide on its hinges, but he felt no need to secure it behind him.  The steps groaned beneath his weight as he descended into the basement and ordered her to stand and face the wall.

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56:  Reeve studies the tall young man, wondering—as she often does when meeting someone new—whether he knows who she is and what happened to her.

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Amazon Description:  In many ways, Reeve LeClaire looks like a typical twenty-two year old girl. She’s finally landed her own apartment, she waitresses to pay the bills, and she wishes she wasn’t so nervous around new people. She thinks of herself as agile, not skittish. As serious, not grim. But Reeve is anything but normal.

Ten years ago, she was kidnapped and held captive. After a lucky escape, she’s spent the last six years trying to rebuild her life, a recovery thanks in large part to her indispensable therapist Dr. Ezra Lerner. But when he asks her to help another girl rescued from a similar situation, Reeve realizes she may not simply need to mentor this young victim—she may be the only one who can protect her from a cunning predator who is still out there, watching every move.

From the author of the #1 non-fiction bestseller Perfect Victim: The True Story of the Girl in the Box comes a novel that draws you into a chilling and engrossing world. With masterful plot twists and shifting points of view that make it as irresistible as Gone Girl, Carla Norton’s The Edge of Normal is a stunning debut thriller.

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I am very eager to dive into this one.   What are you spotlighting today?