Book Review

Beneath the Surface by Kaira Rouda [Book Review]

Book Review

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BOOK INFO

Title: Beneath the Surface

Author: Kaira Rouda

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Publish Date: September 5, 2023

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Series: The Kingsleys #1

My Rating: 4/5

Beneath the Surface by Kaira Rouda

BOOK BLURB

You are cordially invited to an overnight voyage on the Splendid Seas.

An invitation to Catalina Island from billionaire CEO Richard Kingsley. For his sons, Ted and John, and their wives, it’s an opportunity to curry favor, gain control of a real estate empire, and secure their family’s futures. For the controlling patriarch, succession is a contest. He and his newest wife won’t make it an easy win.

Then Richard’s estranged live-wire daughter, Sibley, crashes the party. She’s the least of the night’s surprises. As the stakes for the inheritance of the Kingsley legacy are raised, the beautiful waters of the Pacific look more like a menacing illusion.

Let the games begin for a family who has everything money can buy, and has used lies, deception, and more to keep it. This weekend one of them will be crowned heir. One is in line to lose everything. That’s the plan. But in the coming storm, so much can go dangerously wrong.


Beneath the Surface by Kaira Rouda

MY REVIEW

The Kingsley family goes on a weekend voyage on their father’s new yacht. The father is controlling, and when he brings up the family inheritance, the adult children are ruthless.

Beneath the Surface is told using multiple points of view with short chapters. The characters are devious. The story is fast-paced and wild.

A wickedly fun thriller. Secrets, scandals, and betrayals. This is the first book with The Kingsleys, and I look forward to reading more.

I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Books in The Kingsleys series:
  1. Beneath the Surface
Book Review

I’m Not Done with You Yet by Jesse Q. Sutanto [Book Review]

Book Review

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BOOK INFO

Title: I’m Not Done with You Yet

Author: Jesse Q. Sutanto

Publisher: Berkley

Publish Date: August 22, 2023

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Series: na

My Rating: 3/5

I'm Not Done With You Yet by Jesse Q. Sutanto

BOOK BLURB

Jane is unhappy.  

A struggling midlist writer whose novels barely command four figures, she feels trapped in an underwhelming marriage, just scraping by to pay a crippling Bay Area mortgage for a house—a life—she’s never really wanted. 

There’s only ever been one person she cared about, one person who truly understood her: Thalia. Jane’s best and only friend nearly a decade ago during their Creative Writing days at Oxford. It was the only good year of Jane’s life—cobblestones and books and damp English air, heady wine and sweet cider and Thalia, endless Thalia. But then one night ruined everything. The blood-soaked night that should have bound Thalia to Jane forever but instead made her lose her completely. Thalia disappeared without a trace, and Jane has been unable to find her since.

Until now. 

Because there she is, her name at the top of the New York Times bestseller list: A Most Pleasant Death by Thalia Ashcroft. When she discovers a post from Thalia on her website about attending a book convention in New York City in a week—“Can’t wait to see you there!”—Jane can’t wait either. 

She’ll go to New York City, too, credit card bill be damned. And this time, she will do things right. Jane won’t lose Thalia again.


I'm Not Done With You Yet by Jesse Q. Sutanto

MY REVIEW

Jane and Thalia became friends during a creative writing course at Oxford. Their friendship ended after a tragic incident, and they haven’t seen each other for years. Jane has been unable to locate Thalia over the years, but now Thalia has a bestselling book, and Jane knows how to find her.

I’m Not Done with You Yet is primarily told from Jane’s point of view. Jane is an unreliable narrator. Unlikable characters and unhealthy relationships make for an entertaining read.

A dark and twisty novel. Recommended for readers who enjoy psychological thrillers with devious characters and toxic friendships.

I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review

Gone Tonight by Sarah Pekkanen [Book Review]

Book Review

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BOOK INFO

Title: Gone Tonight

Author: Sarah Pekkanen

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Publish Date: August 1, 2023

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Series: na

My Rating: 3/5

Gone Tonight by Sarah Pekkanen

BOOK BLURB

When Ruth Sterling was a teenager, she slipped away one night, desperate to escape an abusive home and a troubling boyfriend. Pregnant, alone, and prepared to do anything to survive, she eventually makes a life for herself—and soon, for her newborn daughter Catherine. For more than twenty years, Ruth has lived quietly and has provided for her daughter. But she is always ready to run at a moment’s notice, and never allows either of them to put down roots too deeply. Now, Catherine is grown and craves a life for herself. This is something her mother will do anything to prevent—but for what reasons? It has always been just the two of them against the world. But how well do they really know each other? When Ruth’s deeply held quest to keep Catherine by her side reveals cracks in her carefully constructed world, both mother and daughter begin a dance of deception. They both have secrets. But which one of them carries the real darkness inside?


Gone Tonight by Sarah Pekkanen

MY REVIEW

As a pregnant teenager, Ruth ran away from home. It has been just her and her daughter, Catherine, for over twenty years. Catherine is an adult now, and ready to spread her wings. Ruth is not ready for her daughter to leave.

Gone Tonight is told using Ruth and Catherine’s points of view. Both characters think they know the other better than they really do, which makes for an interesting read.

A slow-burning, tense, and twisty psychological thriller. Recommended to readers who enjoy thrillers centered around mother/daughter relationships.

I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review

Dark Corners by Megan Goldin [Book Review]

Book Review

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BOOK INFO

Title: Dark Corners

Author: Megan Goldin

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Publish Date: August 8, 2023

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Series: Rachel Krall #2

My Rating: 3/5

Dark Corners by Megan Goldin

BOOK BLURB

Terence Bailey is about to be released from prison for breaking and entering, though investigators have long suspected him in the murders of six women. As his release date approaches, Bailey gets a surprise visit from Maddison Logan, a hot, young influencer with a huge social media following. Hours later, Maddison disappears, and police suspect she’s been kidnapped―or worse. Is Maddison’s disappearance connected to her visit to Bailey? And why was she visiting him in the first place?

When they hit a wall in the investigation, the FBI reluctantly asks for Rachel Krall’s help in finding the missing influencer. Maddison seems to only exist on social media; she has no family, no friends, and other than in her posts, most people have never seen her. Who is she, really? Using a fake Instagram account, Rachel goes undercover to BuzzCon, a popular influencer conference, where she discovers a world of fierce rivalry that may have turned lethal.

When police find the body of a woman with a tattoo of a snake eating its tail―identical to a tattoo Rachel had seen on Bailey’s hand―the FBI must consider a chilling possibility: Bailey has an accomplice on the outside and a dangerous obsession with influencers, including Rachel Krall herself. Suddenly the target of a monster hiding in plain sight, Rachel is forced to confront the very real dangers that lurk in the dark corners of the internet.


Dark Corners by Megan Goldin

MY REVIEW

Rachel is a true crime podcaster that gets asked to help on the case of a missing woman. While helping the FBI, Rachel unknowingly has put herself as a target.

Dark Corners is the second book in the Rachel Krall series. While this is the second book in a series, it can be read as a standalone. That said, I thoroughly enjoyed the first book, Night Swim, and highly recommend reading it too.

Dark Corners is an intriguing thriller. Dark and compelling. Recommended for fans of true crime podcasts and psychological thrillers.

I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Books by Megan Goldin:
  1. The Girl in Kellers Way
  2. The Escape Room
  3. The Night Swim
  4. Stay Awake
  5. Dark Corners
Book Review

A Twisted Love Story by Samantha Downing [Book Review]

Book Review

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BOOK INFO

Title: A Twisted Love Story

Author: Samantha Downing

Publisher: Berkley

Publish Date: July 18, 2023

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Series: na

My Rating: 3/5

A Twisted Love Story by Samantha Downing

BOOK BLURB

Wes and Ivy are madly in love. They’ve never felt anything like it. It’s the type of romance people write stories about.

But what kind of story?

When it’s good, it’s great. Flowers. Grand gestures. Deep meaningful conversations where the whole world disappears.

When it’s bad, it’s really bad. Vengeful fights. Damaged property. Arrest warrants.

But their vicious cycle of catastrophic breakups and head-over-heels reconciliations needs to end fast. Because suddenly, Wes and Ivy have a common enemy–and she’s a detective.

There’s something Wes and Ivy never talk about–in good times or bad. The night of their worst breakup, when one of them took things too far, and someone ended up dead.

If they can stick together, they can survive anything–even the tightening net of a police investigation.

Because one more breakup might just be their last…


A Twisted Love Story by Samantha Downing

MY REVIEW

Wes and Ivy have a turbulent relationship. The good times are really good. The bad times are really, really bad.

A Twisted Love Story is about the toxic relationship between Wes and Ivy. Ivy has turned Wes in for stalking, which gets the police involved. Now, people are looking into their pasts, and there’s that one murder they would rather not get out.

A wickedly entertaining thriller. Recommended for readers who enjoy drama and devious characters in their thrillers.

I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Books by Samantha Downing:
  1. My Lovely Wife
  2. He Started It
  3. For Your Own Good
  4. A Twisted Love Story
Book Review

One of the Boys by Jayne Cowie [Book Review]

Book Review

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BOOK INFO

Title: One of the Boys

Author: Jayne Cowie

Publisher: Berkley

Publish Date: July 11, 2023

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Series: na

My Rating: 4/5

One of the Boys by Jayne Cowie

BOOK BLURB

Antonia and Bea are sisters, and doting mothers to their sons. But that is where their similarities end.

Antonia had her son tested to make sure he didn’t possess the “violent” M gene.

Bea refuses to let her son take the test. She believes his life should not be determined by a positive or negative result.

These women will go to any length to protect their sons.

But one of them is hiding a monster.

And there will be fatal consequences for everybody….


One of the Boys by Jayne Cowie

MY REVIEW

Two sisters, Antonia and Bea, are also mothers of sons. There is a test to check for the violence gene, and the sisters disagree on the test. One believes it’s an important test and should be used. The other believes children shouldn’t have their lives determined based on a single test result.

One of the Boys is told using the points of view of both Antonia and Bea. This gives both sides of the story for the gene test. As the boys get older, schools start to require testing, and it’s more accepted that everyone does it. One mother is all for the testing, but the other is completely against the testing. Both mothers want to protect their children.

An intriguing and unique thriller. Recommended for readers who enjoy a dystopian spin on their domestic thrillers.

I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Books by Jayne Cowie:
  1. Curfew
  2. One of the Boys
Book Review

A Likeable Woman by May Cobb [Book Review]

Book Review

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BOOK INFO

Title: A Likeable Woman

Author: May Cobb

Publisher: Berkley

Publish Date: July 11, 2023

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Series: na

My Rating: 3/5

A Likeable Woman by May Cobb

BOOK BLURB

Kira’s back in her affluent hometown for the first time in years and determined to unravel the secrets of her mother’s death—hidden in the unpublished memoir she left behind—even if it kills her. . . .

After her troublemaker mother’s mysterious death, Kira fled her wealthy Texas town and never looked back. Now, decades later, Kira is invited to an old frenemy’s vow renewal celebration. Though she is reluctant to go, there are things pulling her home . . . like chilled wine and days spent by the pool . . . like sexy Jack, her childhood crush. But more important are the urgent texts from her grandmother, who says she has something for Kira. Something related to her mother’s death, something that makes it look an awful lot like murder.

When her grandmother gives Kira a memoir that her mother had been working on before she died, Kira is drawn into the past and all the sizzling secrets that come along with it. With few allies left in her gossipy country-club town, Kira turns to Jack for help. As she gets closer to discovering what—and who—might have brought about her mother’s end, it becomes clear that someone wants the past to stay buried.

And they might come after Kira next.


A Likeable Woman by May Cobb

MY REVIEW

Kira returns to her hometown to uncover the secrets surrounding her mother’s death. Kira’s mother died over twenty years earlier, but Kira suspected there was more to her mother’s death than she was told.

A Likeable Woman is told using multiple points of view and timelines. Kira is telling the present day events, and Sadie, her mother, is the voice for the past. The characters are interesting. The East Texas setting is atmospheric.

A dramatic thriller. Recommended for fans of domestic thrillers, cold cases, and old secrets.

I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Books by May Cobb:
  1. Big Woods
  2. The Hunting Wives
  3. My Summer Darlings
  4. A Likeable Woman
Book Review

A Flaw in the Design by Nathan Oates [Book Review]

Book Review

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BOOK INFO

Title: A Flaw in the Design

Author: Nathan Oates

Publisher: Random House

Publish Date: March 21, 2023

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Series: na

My Rating: 4/5

A Flaw in the Design by Nathan Oates

BOOK BLURB

The cleverest psychopaths hide in plain sight.

Gil is living a quiet life as a creative writing professor in a bucolic Vermont town, when he receives some shocking news: His sister and her husband have been killed in a car accident, and their only son is coming to live with him and his family.

Gil and his wife are apprehensive about taking in seventeen-year-old Matthew. Yes, he has just lost both his parents, but they haven’t seen him in seven years—and the last time the families were together, Matthew lured their young daughter into a terrifying, life-threatening situation. Since that incident, Gil has been estranged from his sister and her flashy, wealthy banker husband. 

Now Matthew is their charge, living under their roof.

The boy seems charming, smart, and urbane, if strangely unaffected by his parents’ deaths. Gil hopes they can put the past behind them, though he’s surprised when Matthew signs up for his creative writing class. Then Matthew begins turning in chilling stories about the imagined deaths of Gil’s family and his own parents. Bewildered and panicked, Gil ultimately decides he must take matters into his own hands—before life imitates art.


A Flaw in the Design by Nathan Oates

MY REVIEW

After Gil’s sister and her husband die in a car accident, Gil and his family open their home to his nephew. Gil hasn’t seen his nephew Matthew in seven years. The last time the families had been together, there was an incident that strained their relationship. Gil teaches creative writing, and is surprised when Matthew signs up for his class. He is shocked when Matthew starts turning in disturbing stories.

A Flaw in the Design is told from Gil’s point of view. Gil is hesitant to have Matthew move into their home. He doesn’t trust him, and becomes consumed with proving Matthew is evil. However, everyone else believes Matthew to be a smart and charming young man.

A dark and intense thriller. Recommended to readers who like clever psychological thrillers.

I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review

Woman of the Year by Darcey Bell [Book Review]

Book Review

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BOOK INFO

Title: Woman of the Year

Author: Darcey Bell

Publisher: Atria/Emily Bestler Books

Publish Date: March 21, 2023

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Series: na

My Rating: 3/5

Woman of the Year by Darcey Bell

BOOK BLURB

Twenty years ago, gregarious Lorelei and mousy Holly became fast friends as students in the same college psychology seminar. Taught by an expert in control and human behavior, the two students also grew close to their charismatic professor. But in one twisted moment of gaslighting, their friendship flamed out and Lorelei’s once-promising future fell apart.

Flashforward, Holly has everything Lorelei ever wanted, while Lorelei is a lonely cat lady. Now, Holly is even up for an award at a Woman of the Year ceremony, and Lorelei finally has the perfect opportunity to get the revenge she’s wanted for years. But she’s not the only person who has been obsessively following Holly’s career—and when someone winds up dead, Lorelei realizes she may be in danger, too.


Woman of the Year by Darcey Bell

MY REVIEW

Two women became friends in college, but had a major falling out. Twenty years later, one of them is ready to get her revenge.

Woman of the Year is a story with female friendship and psychological manipulation. This is one wild ride with some outrageous characters. A fun and twisted thriller.

I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

Books by Darcey Bell:

  1. A Simple Favor
  2. Something She’s Not Telling Us
  3. All I Want
  4. Woman of the Year
Book Review

Stone Cold Fox by Rachel Koller Croft [Book Review]

Book Review

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BOOK INFO

Title: Stone Cold Fox

Author: Rachel Koller Croft

Publisher: Berkley

Publish Date: February 14, 2023

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Series: na

My Rating: 3/5

Stone Cold Fox by Rachel Koller Croft

BOOK BLURB

Like any enterprising woman, Bea knows what she’s worth and is determined to get all she deserves—it just so happens that what she deserves is to marry rich. Filthy rich. After years of forced instruction by her mother in the art of swindling men, a now-solo Bea wants nothing more than to close and lock the door on their sordid partnership so she can disappear safely into old-money domesticity, sealing the final phase of her escape.

When Bea chooses her ultimate target in the fully loaded, thoroughly dull and blue-blooded Collin Case, she’s ready to deploy all of her tricks one last time. The challenge isn’t getting the ring, but rather the approval of Collin’s family and everyone else in their 1 percent tax bracket, particularly his childhood best friend, Gale Wallace-Leicester.

Going toe-to-toe with Gale isn’t a threat to an expert like Bea, but what begins as an amusing cat-and-mouse game quickly develops into a dangerous pursuit of the grisly truth. Finding herself at a literal life-and-death crossroads with everything on the line, Bea must finally decide who she really wants to be.

Like mother, like daughter?


Stone Cold Fox by Rachel Koller Croft

MY REVIEW

Bea is a woman who knows what she wants… and she wants to marry rich. She has set her sights on Colin, but she needs to win over his family and best friend, Gale.

Stone Cold Fox is told from Bea’s point of view. She is a sexy, manipulative con artist. Her mother was also a con artist, so it’s the only life Bea has ever known. Bea thinks maybe she can change her ways when she meets Colin. Unfortunately, winning over Colin’s family and friends, especially his best friend, is more challenging than Bea was expecting.

A wickedly devious read with characters that are fun to hate. This was a debut novel, and I look forward to reading more by this author.

I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review

The House in the Pines by Ana Reyes [Book Review]

Book Review

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BOOK INFO

Title: The House in the Pines

Author: Ana Reyes

Publisher: Dutton

Publish Date: January 3, 2023

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Series: na

My Rating: 3/5

The House in the Pines by Ana Reyes

BOOK BLURB

Maya was a high school senior when her best friend, Aubrey, dropped dead in front of the enigmatic man named Frank whom they’d been spending time with all summer.

Seven years later, Maya lives in Boston with a loving boyfriend and is kicking the secret addiction that has allowed her to cope with what happened years ago, the gaps in her memories, and the lost time that she can’t account for. But her past comes rushing back when she comes across a recent YouTube video in which a young woman suddenly keels over and dies in a diner while sitting across from none other than Frank. Plunged into the trauma that has defined her life, Maya heads to her Berkshires hometown to relive that fateful summer—the influence Frank once had on her and the obsessive jealousy that nearly destroyed her friendship with Aubrey.

At her mother’s house, she excavates fragments of her past and notices hidden messages in her deceased Guatemalan father’s book that didn’t stand out to her earlier. To save herself, she must understand a story written before she was born, but time keeps running out, and soon, all roads are leading back to Frank’s cabin. . . .


The House in the Pines by Ana Reyes

MY REVIEW

Maya returns to her hometown to cope with trauma from her past. As a teen, her best friend died mysteriously. Seven years later, another girl dies in the same way. Maya decides to confront her past and search for answers.

The House in the Pines is told from Maya’s point of view in the past and present. The past is from her senior year in high school and the present is seven years later. Maya is an unreliable narrator who has self-medicated for years.

I love unreliable narrators, and was intrigued by the premise of this book. Unfortunately, the writing didn’t completely pull me in. That said, I still found The House in the Pines to be an entertaining debut novel.

I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review

The Family Game by Catherine Steadman [Book Review]

Book Review

This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. For more info, read my Disclosure Policy.


BOOK INFO

Title: The Family Game

Author: Catherine Steadman

Publisher: Ballantine Books

Publish Date: September 29, 2022

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Series: na

My Rating: 3/5

The Family Game by Catherine Steadman

BOOK BLURB

THE RULES
1. Listen carefully
2. Do your research
3. Trust no one
4. Run for your life

Harriet Reed, a novelist on the brink of literary stardom, is newly engaged to Edward Holbeck, the heir of an extremely powerful family. And even though Edward has long tried to severe ties with them, news of the couple’s upcoming marital bliss has the Holbecks inching back into their lives.

As Harriet is drawn into their lavish world, the family seems perfectly welcoming. So when Edward’s father, Robert, hands Harriet a tape of a book he’s been working on, she is desperate to listen.

But as she presses play, it’s clear that this isn’t just a novel. It’s a confession.

A confession to a grisly crime. A murder. And, suddenly, the game is in motion.

Feeling isolated and confused, Harriet must work out if this is part of a plan to test her loyalty or something far darker. What is it that Robert sees in her? Why give her the power to destroy everything?

This might be a game to the Holbeck family—but losing could still prove deadly.
 
READY OR NOT, HERE THEY COME . . .


The Family Game by Catherine Steadman

MY REVIEW

A woman meets her soon-to-be in-laws, and gets involved in a dark and mysterious game.

The Family Game is told using the single point of view of Harriet, aka Harry. Soon after meeting her fiancé’s eccentric family, the family patriarch gives her a cassette tape. On the tape is a confession, which puts a dark game into motion.

The Family Game is a slow burning psychological thriller. Atmospheric, creepy, and twisted.

I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Books by Catherine Steadman:
  1. Something in the Water
  2. Mr. Nobody
  3. The Disappearing Act
  4. The Family Game
  5. Look in the Mirror