Tag Archives: suspense

Lil Red’s Book Club: The Family Across The Street By Nicole Trope Edition

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Lil Red’s Book Club: The Family Across The Street By Nicole Trope Edition

Hello everyone and welcome to a brand new edition of Lil Red’s Book Club! Today, we will be discussing an intense psychological thriller by Nicole Trope called The Family Across The Street – without giving any spoilers away, of course. This book was absolutely insane and before we begin, I will be placing a trigger warning on it for graphic violence and disturbing content. Now, let’s get to it:

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Katherine West lives in a posh neighborhood in Sydney, Australia with her husband and their set of twins, Sophie and George. They live on a quiet street and the residents can’t even remember the last time they heard a police siren or seen a cop driving by. It is picture perfect and safe as can be for Katherine, Gladys across the street, and all their neighbors. But, we all know that this is never the case in a thriller.

Logan is a former convict and is covered in violent tattoos inspired from his lifetime of struggle. He is finally turning into the man that he wants to be for himself and his wife and has been working as a delivery driver for his brother in law’s company. On the hottest day of the year, his day begins at Katherine’s home to deliver her new laptop.

At Katherine’s door, she tells Logan that she cannot open it and to leave her purchase there. He can’t do that, however, because it needs signed for and throughout his day, he can’t shake the feeling that there was something wrong. The nosy Gladys across the street feels similarly and throughout her day, she stops by Katherine’s door too only to be told it can’t be opened.

The perfect stranger and neighbor were right, of course, but what is happening in Katherine’s home is something that they never could have guessed. A hostage situation is unfolding in the West’s living room and Katherine and her two twins sit huddled on the couch as they are held at gunpoint. Who is the person that could possibly do this to such a beautiful family? That’s something you will never guess too so read The Family Across The Street to find out!

The Family Across The Street was a rollarcoaster ride of a read with the craziest twists and turns happening every chapter. This is why I had to keep the synopsis short and sweet because every shocking twist is so important to the story. The grand reveal is one that I would have never seen coming in a million years and I am still mulling it over several days after finishing it. It left me totally and completely shook.

The past few books that I have read have been slow burn thrillers and although I enjoyed them, it was nice to read something more fast paced. The Family Across The Street started out with a bang and the punches kept rolling until the last page. The chapters alternated between Katherine, Gladys, Logan, and the person holding the Wests hostage and I just had to keep reading to find out what happens next.

Other than the guilty party in this book, all of the characters were so likeable and it made all of the blows that much more painful. I loved brave, determined Katherine and her children. I eventually came around to busybody Gladys and simply adored Logan who was so desperate to keep himself on the straight and narrow. Needless to say, these characters would have never crossed paths had tragedy not struck and their interactions were really cool to read.

Overall, I am going to rate The Family Across The Street with an eight out of ten stars. This book was gruesome and difficult to read at times so if that’s not your bag, then don’t bother. However, if you are looking for a mind blowing thriller that keeps you at the edge of your seat, then I can’t recommend it enough!

What are you currently reading? What should I read next? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

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Lil Red’s Book Club: Mrs. England By Stacey Halls Edition

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Lil Red’s Book Club: Mrs. England By Stacey Halls Edition

Hello everyone and welcome to a brand new edition of Lil Red’s Book Club! Today, we are going to be discussing another book by Stacey Halls called Mrs. England – without giving any spoilers away, of course. This is the second book in a row that I have read by Halls and I enjoyed this one much better than The Familiars – it was really good! Before we begin our discussion of Mrs. England, I will be placing a trigger warning on it for disturbing content including psychological abuse and violence. Now, let’s get to it:

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Ruby May is a young woman in the early 1900s working as a children’s nurse (nanny) in London. She trained at a special academy just for this profession and works hard to support her family, which includes a younger sister with a spinal injury. Nurse May adores the family that she is currently caring for but, unfortunately, her time with them must come to an end. They need to move to America for the father’s profession and Ruby cannot be so far from her family.

Desperate for a new job, Ruby accepts anyone that she can get and becomes the nurse to four children in Yorkshire. The England family is obscenely wealthy and lives on a sprawling estate complete with a cotton mill, servants, and the best of everything that money can buy. Ruby makes the trip to Yorkshire to begin her new placement and is surprised to find Mr. Charles England waiting for her at the train station.

On the way back to the England estate, Ruby is charmed but a little surprised by Mr. England’s jovial nature. Even more so because picking her up would typically be a job for their chauffeur. It is nighttime when they make it back home and the children are already asleep. Ruby is ready to discuss her position with the mistress, Mrs. England. Strangely enough, the mistress didn’t realize Ruby’s arrival was that night and insists on her coming to Mr. England with any questions. This is all very unusual to Ruby because, typically, the mistress is in charge of all things relating to the care of the children.

The following day, Ruby meets her charges of Saul, Decca, Millie, and baby Charley and is pleased to be caring for such lovely children. She is also shocked to see Mr. England acting in the roles of both the father and mother around the house. It is not what she is used to but makes sense as Mrs. England is distant, withdrawn, and has a sickly disposition. She spends most of her time locked away in her bedroom and hardly seems to take pleasure in seeing her children.

Of course, as odd as the living situation at the England estate is, Ruby is in no position to judge as she is hiding dark secrets of her own. However, there is something strange happening there that she can’t quite put her finger on. It could be the uninviting servants, her disappearing mail, or maybe her own feelings of intimacy with Mr. England whom she must report to.

As her days drag into each other at the estate, Ruby quickly finds herself only caring for the two youngest children. Decca is going to school, which came as a shock because the girls were not to attend. And Saul is regaining his health at his great grandparent’s home after a severe asthma attack. The walls surrounding the England property begin to close in on itself and Ruby expects Mrs. England is to blame. But, is she really? Read Mrs. England to find out!

Much like The Familiars, Mrs. England was a slow burn of a read. I did like it a lot more, though, because something integral to the story happened in almost every chapter. This made for a much more pleasant reading experience and I found myself upset when I had to put it down. Although the reveals weren’t as jaw dropping as previous books that I’ve read, it was different than anything that I’ve read too.

I loved Ruby as a main character and it was a change of pace to know what she was thinking all of the time because I am so used to books with an unstable narrator. I liked her caring, curious nature and her interactions with the children always left me completely charmed. It was also interesting to read about her working through foreign feelings like longing for the man of the house.

I will be the first to say that this wasn’t exactly a nail biter of a read. It did have a haunting atmosphere, which added to the suspense. But, the major grand reveal was easy to figure out and I would have liked a bit more mystery to it. Stacey Halls’ books have such a unique, historical vibe to them. Mrs. England might not be a book that I’m going to simply rave about but I did like it – perhaps if only for the sake of switching things up.

Overall, I am going to rate Mrs. England with a six and a half out of ten stars. I would definitely read more by Stacey Halls. I will say, however, that if you are looking for fast paced reads with a lot of extra oomph, then she is not the author for you.

What are you currently reading? What should I read next? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Lil Red’s Book Club: Secret Admirer By Patricia MacDonald Edition

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Lil Red’s Book Club: Secret Admirer By Patricia MacDonald Edition

Hello everyone and welcome to a brand new edition of Lil Red’s Book Club! It has been a while since our last book club post because Johnny and I have been so busy with the move. It took me way longer than usual to finish Secret Admirer by Patricia MacDonald but I’m ready to discuss it today – without giving any spoilers away, of course! Before we begin, I will be putting a trigger warning on Secret Admirer for general violence and disturbing content. Now, let’s get to it:

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Laura and her husband, Jimmy, have it all. A beautiful son named Michael, a successful art gallery, and a loving relationship ready to last a lifetime. Unfortunately, their plans for a prosperous life together are cut short on New Year’s Eve when tragedy strikes – Jimmy has been murdered in his own bed by a supposed burglar. Laura was left with superficial wounds and Michael was unharmed but the trauma of such a great loss has turned their world upside down… Especially because everyone thinks that Laura committed the murder.

Laura claims that a figure dressed in all black attacked her and her husband but no such person has been found. It also is suspicious to law enforcement and everyone in the tight knit community that Laura was essentially left unharmed. Granted, she also makes herself seem even more suspect when she begins a whirlwind romance with Ian Turner and gets married to him almost immediately. Were they the ones plotting Jimmy’s death all along?

As Jimmy’s case grows cold and Laura and Ian seeming more and more likely to have been the perpetrators, new information needs to surface and quickly. Unfortunately, the new lead does nothing to help the new couple. In fact, it’s even more damning because whomever killed Jimmy could have been a contract killer. Will Laura spend the rest of her life behind bars? And, if she didn’t have a part to play in her husband’s death, then who did? Read Secret Admirer to find out!

Overall, I thought that Secret Admirer was pretty good. However, it was a slow boil of a read with things only getting really interesting about a half of the way through. While I did like that I didn’t figure out the main plot twist, it didn’t blow me away by any means and I would have preferred if the book ended differently. Not bad, but definitely not my favorite.

Secret Admirer boasted a long list of characters, but I didn’t particularly care for any of them. I did like Laura and Jimmy’s friend, Gary, a lot but that was about it. Of course, I was rooting for Laura and her family to come out on top but, like the book itself, they weren’t my favorite characters that I have read about.

I am going to rate Secret Admirer with a five out of ten stars. An average rating for an average book. I’m glad that I finally finished it but I think it’s one that you can all skip on.

What are you currently reading? What should I read next? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Lil Red’s Book Club: The Family Plot By Megan Collins Edition

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Lil Red’s Book Club: The Family Plot By Megan Collins Edition

Hello everyone and welcome to a brand new edition of Lil Red’s Book Club! Today, we are going to be discussing a thriller called The Family Plot by Megan Collins – without giving any spoilers away, of course! The last book I read was by Collins and I was so impressed by her that I just had to read more of her work. I am so glad I did because The Family Plot is, easily, one of my new favorites. It was EXCELLENT.

Before we begin the review, I will be placing a trigger warning on The Family Plot for disturbing content dealing with murder. Now, let’s get to it:

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Saying that Dahlia Lighthouse didn’t have a normal childhood is a severe understatement. She grew up in seclusion with her parents, twin brother Andy, and older siblings Charlie and Tate in a home that the locals refer to as “Murder Mansion”. The children were all home schooled but their curriculum was far from learning math and science. Rather, it revolved around their mom teaching all of them about murder and serial killings. And, yes, all of their namesakes are after murder victims.

Mother Lighthouse lost her parents in a grisly murder and the island that Murder Mansion is on has their own serial killer, the Blackburn Killer, who has never been caught. To protect her children from the evils of the outside world, she taught all of them about the worst possible things that could happen. It was her skewed idea of keeping them safe, but did it really?

As soon as Tate and Charlie became of age, they left the island without looking back. Dahlia had similar plans with her twin brother but on their sixteenth birthday, Andy disappeared and was never seen again. The loss of Andy is a gaping wound for Dahlia and she hasn’t seen or talked to her family since she moved to the mainland.

Unfortunately, Dahlia’s plans to never return to Murder Mansion were cut short when her father died unexpectedly. It’s bad enough that she has to be thrust back into her childhood home, which is a shrine to all things murder but that will not be the worst of it. In the family plot on their property, a body in the grave that has been dug for her father is discovered and puts her family at the center of an investigation.

Everyone in Dahlia’s family is a suspect for the murder of this unknown person on their property. The police even think that one of the Lighthouses might be the Blackburn Killer and Dahlia does too. As their investigation begins, Dahlia starts one of her own and the secrets that begin to spring forth confirms her feelings that she never knew her own family at all. Who is the Blackburn Killer? Read The Family Plot to find out!

As soon as I started reading The Family Plot, I was one hundred million percent in and I was genuinely upset when it was over. As you all know, Johnny and I are huge true crime buffs ourselves, so a family who lives their lives ensconced in murder was an interesting prospect. From Dahlia’s childhood to a broken family and a serial killer still at large, everything about The Family Plot kept me turning the pages until there were none left.

Every story line in this book blended together effortlessly and the grand reveals left me SHOOK. I was so engrossed in The Family Plot that I didn’t even try to figure things out for myself. Rather, I let it ride. While there were some things I pieced together on my own, I didn’t see most of the twists coming at all and there were so many instances when my jaw dropped to the floor.

The fascinating plot was held together by a formidable team of characters and I enjoyed reading about all of them. I loved brave and determined Dahlia, her true crime junkie friend, and the Lighthouse family groundskeeper named Fritz. However, it was older brother Charlie that stole the show. Charlie hides his trauma through alcohol, sarcasm, and living his life as a performance. He was absolutely hilarious and he had countless one liners that made me laugh out loud.

If you are looking for a fast paced read, a highly unique plot, and a good old fashioned whodoneit, then I can’t recommend The Family Plot enough. I am going to rate it with the coveted ten out of ten stars and I would happily read it again. Megan Collins knocked it out of the park yet again and I am itching to read more by her!

What are you currently reading? What should I read next? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

PS: Be sure to tune in tomorrow for blooper shots from my Spring Skirt Savvy OOTD! πŸ˜€

Lil Red’s Book Club: The Winter Sister By Megan Collins Edition

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Lil Red’s Book Club: The Winter Sister By Megan Collins Edition

Hello everyone and welcome to a brand new edition of Lil Red’s Book Club! Today, we will be discussing a thriller called The Winter Sister by Megan Collins – without giving any spoilers away, of course. This is the first book that I have read by Collins and I was so impressed by it that the next book I read will be by her too! Before we begin, I will be putting a trigger warning on The Winter Sister for violence, alcohol addiction, and disturbing content. Now, let’s get to it:

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Thirty year old Sylvie is simply drifting through her life. She works as a tattoo artist but doesn’t love it, has no close relationships other than her aunt, cousin, and best friend, and is estranged from her mother. After her sister, Persephone, was murdered when they were in their teens and the case was never solved, Sylvie’s life as she knew it was indefinitely changed and nothing ever got better.

The pain of the loss of her sister is a wound that is just as fresh to Sylvie as if it happened yesterday. The guilt and grief has never left and the fact that the murderer is still at large remains at the forefront of her thoughts. So, her days drag on into the next and all Sylvie can do is try to stay afloat.

While Sylvie was in college, she moved away from her childhood town and hasn’t been back since. However, when she gets a call from her aunt that she has to take over caring for her mother suffering from cancer, she finds herself back at the place where her pain began. After Persephone’s death, Sylvie’s mom began to drink herself into a stupor every day and could no longer care for her. Now, it is Sylvie that is going to be taking care of her mom.

Saying that the relationship between Sylvie and her mom is rocky is putting it nicely and having to sleep in the bedroom that her and Persephone once shared makes the situation even more difficult. However, learning that her sister’s ex boyfriend and former suspect in her murder, Ben, works at the cancer center her mom goes to makes matters even worse. After all of these years, everyone is still one hundred percent convinced that Ben is the one to blame. But is he really?

As new information on Persephone’s death begins to come to light, everything that Sylvie once was certain of starts to shift. And, although she’s not thrilled about it, her and Ben join forces to put the pieces of this decade old puzzle together. Dark secrets are revealed as everyone seems to have played a part in Persephone’s demise and there are Red Herrings lurking around every corner. Will Persephone’s murder finally be solved? Read The Winter Sister to find out!

I enjoyed The Winter Sister SO much, especially because the book that I had read before starting it was extremely lackluster. It felt good to have a thriller that I could sink my teeth into and I devoured this read in about three sittings. Once I opened it up, I couldn’t stop reading! Of course, I love when a book surprises me and, although I solved every twist and turn prior to the reveals, I still hold a high opinion of The Winter Sister.

Johnny and I are huge true crime fans so a book revolving around an unsolved murder is right up my alley. The Winter Sister was interesting because the answers weren’t so cut and dry. Despite only one person being responsible for Persephone’s death, every character had something to do with the moments leading up to it. Sylvie seems to hold herself personally responsible for her sister’s murder and her grief is so palpable it’s painful.

I can’t say that Sylvie was one of my favorite main characters to read about but I still liked her a lot. Her strength is, obviously, apparent but she is so clouded with her shortcomings that I never felt like her true self was ever revealed and that would have been nice to see. The supporting characters sometimes overpowered Sylvie’s story and I loved her best friend and aunt. And, although there were times when I despised Sylvie’s mother, I was still excited to read the parts with her in it.

A part of me wonders if I think that The Winter Sister was an excellent read because the book I had read before sucked so bad lol. But, I don’t think that that’s the case and I definitely recommend giving it a try if you can stomach it. I am going to rate The Winter Sister with an eight out of ten stars and I am looking forward to reading another book by Megan Collins.

What are you currently reading? What should I read next? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

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Lil Red’s Book Club: Dry Heat By Len Joy Edition

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Lil Red’s Book Club: Dry Heat By Len Joy Edition

Hello everyone and welcome to a brand new edition of Lil Red’s Book Club! Today, we are going to be discussing a thriller by Len Joy called Dry Heat and I really enjoyed it. And, as always, no spoilers will be given away! Before we get started, I am going to be placing a trigger warning on Dry Heat for general violence and abortion. Now, let’s get to it:

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Joey Blade is an all American football star at his high school and things seem to be falling into place for him when he graduates. He was awarded a football scholarship, has a new girlfriend, and a loving family. Of course, things don’t stay perfect for long in a thriller and things take a sharp downward turn at a bonfire to celebrate ringing in the year 2000.

When the bonfire burns out of control and the authorities arrive, Joey books it with his girlfriend, her ex, and a local drug dealer named TJ. Joey and TJ hop into the back of the truck and are speeding down the highway when they get into a race with another car. After a can of something not very nice gets thrown on Joey and TJ, TJ takes action and shoots at the windshield of the car. And, oh yeah, the people he shot at just so happen to be undercover cops.

When the police pull Joey’s get away car over, TJ runs away and leaves Joey to take the blame for the attempted murder of a police officer. Just like that, Joey’s dreams of greatness in college fly out the window and he is left dealing with the aftermath. He also learns during his time in holding that his father has connections to one of the most notorious gangs in the area, Vatos Locos, which is a whole other can of worms.

Desperate to restore his reputation, Joey seeks TJ out to come clean but is evaded by him once again. With all of his other options falling apart, Joey gets help from his new found connections with Vatos Locos to track TJ down but time is running out as his trial is looming right over the horizon. With his future on the line, will Joey be able to clear his good name? Read Dry Heat to find out!

When I first started reading Dry Heat, I admit that I wasn’t overly impressed. Then, the story started getting really intense really quickly and I couldn’t put it down to save my own life. The downfall of Joey Blade was swift and it was devastating to read about a young man with everything going for him having nothing at all.

As you all know, I love me a book that focuses on a trial and the court scenes were excellent. They were tense, well written, and left me shook. Especially because attempted murder isn’t the only thing that Joey was being charged with. This made his situation even more worrisome and I was rooting for him every step of the way because he was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.

As far as main characters go, Joey was a great one and I loved his smarts and perseverance. I also really liked his parents, best friend, and the leader of the Vatos Locos gang. His high school sweetheart named Mallory was alright but didn’t make as much of an effect on me as the other characters.

My only qualm with this book was that there were a fair amount of typos and you all know that I am a huge stickler for that! But, overall, Dry Heat was a good one and I am going to be awarding it with seven out of ten stars. If it weren’t for the typos it would have gotten an eight! Dry Heat is a book that I would definitely recommend and I think that you will enjoy this fast paced read.

What are you currently reading? What should I read next? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Lil Red’s Book Club: Twenty Years Later By Charlie Donlea Edition

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Lil Red’s Book Club: Twenty Years Later By Charlie Donlea Edition

Hello everyone and welcome to a new edition of Lil Red’s Book Club! Today, we are going to be discussing a thriller by Charlie Donlea called Twenty Years Later – without giving any spoilers away, of course. Before we begin, I will be placing a trigger warning on this book for general violence and crime scene related content. Now, let’s get to it:

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Avery Mason is the host of the wildly popular American Events, which discusses everything from true crime and safety tips to inspirational tales of bravery and every day heroes. She rose to fame quickly – mainly because no one knows her true identity of Claire Montgomery. She is the daughter to the infamous man who schemed a lot of people out of a lot of money by making investments in his company and he is still at large.

While on summer break from her show, Avery makes the cross country trek from California to New York to chase a story. She also has unfinished family business to tend to and knows her new lead will be the perfect cover up. And the story she’s investigating is a big one. Twenty years after 9/11, a positive ID has been found of one of the victims through new DNA testing and her name is Victoria Ford.

Originally, Avery thinks she hit the jackpot with this lead but it got even better when she dug deeper and found that Victoria was a suspect in a murder case. In fact, she was getting advice from her lawyer when the planes crashed as she would shortly be on trial for the murder of her lover, a married man named Cameron Young.

Avery wants to know everything about this case and seeks out the help of Walt Jenkins, who was the detective on this twenty year old case. Walt has been a recluse since he was asked to retire after a tragic incident on the job. When his old boss asks Walt to help Avery to see if he can learn more information about her father, Walt accepts. He is desperate to feel useful again and hops a plane to New York City.

As Avery and Walt delve back into the twenty year old murder case, new leads develop as well as feelings between the two of them. Walt, of course, is feeling very conflicted by now because he has to choose between doing his job or the new woman in his life. What will Walt’s decision be? And will they crack the case of Victoria Ford as a guilty or innocent woman? Read Twenty Years Later to find out!

Twenty Years Later was a pretty good read but it wasn’t my favorite. The writing of Charlie Donlea didn’t blow me away and at times it felt a bit amateur-ish but the story line did keep me hooked. My husband and I are both avid true crime fans so the idea of trying to solve a twenty year old case was an exciting one. I finished this book in about five sittings and, although I figured out a majority of the big twists, I still liked it well enough.

I enjoyed Avery as a main character because she was really smart and made a great life for herself despite who she has as a father. She was strong and brave and her back and forth with Walt worked really well too. Avery took the lead in all aspects of her life and she was a “take no shit” kind of gal, which I love!

My main qualm with Twenty Years Later was how repetitive it was. I swear, I must have read the same sentences or something similar in this book countless times and this got old super quickly. It was also fairly predictable, which is okay with me if the writing is excellent but that wasn’t the case.

I am going to rate Twenty Years Later with a six out of ten stars. The plot was interesting and I enjoyed reading about most of the characters. If it were written just a bit better, it probably would have gotten a higher rating but that was hard to look past. This is a book that you can take or leave. If you read it, you won’t hate it but if you don’t, you’re not missing out on much.

What are you currently reading? What should I read next? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

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Lil Red’s Book Club: The Overnight Guest By Heather Gudenkauf Edition

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Lil Red’s Book Club: The Overnight Guest By Heather Gudenkauf Edition

Hello everyone and welcome to a brand new edition of Lil Red’s Book Club! Today, we are going to be discussing The Overnight Guest by Heather Gudenkauf – without giving any spoilers away, of course. Before we get started, I am going to be placing a trigger warning on this book for disturbing content, violence, and miscarriages. Now, let’s get to it:

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Wylie is a true crime writer who is estranged from her family and has traveled to Iowa to complete the book that she is currently working on. Her new book also just so happens to take place in the very house that she has rented to write in. The parents of a young girl named Josie were killed there, her brother’s body was found on the property, and her best friend named Becky is presumed to be dead.

Despite the tragic history of the rental home, Wylie is making good progress until a massive snow storm takes place resulting in a power outage. As the snow quickly blankets the property, Wylie lets her dog out for the evening but he doesn’t return right away even in the frigid temperatures. Rather, he leads her right to the body of a little boy.

Miraculously, the child is still alive and Wylie knows that he couldn’t have made it to her house without some form of transportation because they are in the middle of nowhere. She braves the worsening storm in search of other survivors when she finds a woman in bad shape and an overturned truck. Knowing that she has to be the boy’s mother, she does all she can to get her into the home and, although grievously injured, she protects her child fiercely.

The arrival of her new guests has to be for a really good reason because no one with half a mind would think to travel in the dangerous conditions of the storm. Unfortunately, the boy refuses to speak to Wylie and his mom offers no help, either, not even their names. Eventually, Wylie learns that they are on the run from someone terrible and mother and son know that he will show up to reclaim them. Will they survive this unwelcome guest? And just what happened to bring the mom and son to Wylie’s place to begin with? Read The Overnight Guest to find out!

Unfortunately, delving deeper than the above summary will give away major plot twists in The Overnight Guest but I will say that it was an excellent read. It was completely unputdownable and even though I figured out a majority of the twists and turns, it still left me in utter shock. I finished this book in about four reading sessions and it was a great change of pace from the lackluster Maidens, which is the last book I read.

Wylie is a formidable main character to tell the story and she is strong and brave. The Overnight Guest went back and forth between her point of view, the mother and son’s, and the past when the original crime Wylie is writing about takes place. These multiple different story lines intertwined perfectly and I constantly found myself reading “just one more chapter” even when I thought that I was done for the day.

The content of The Overnight Guest is, admittedly, extremely disturbing and it is not a read for the faint of heart. A majority of this book is absolutely devastating and I don’t recommend it for those who could find themselves upset by it. Be that as it may, I am still awarding it with the coveted ten out of ten stars. This is, easily, one of the best books that I have read this year and if you think that you can manage it, then I can’t recommend it enough.

What are you currently reading? What should I read next? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

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Lil Red’s Book Club: Then She Was Gone By Lisa Jewell Edition

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Lil Red’s Book Club: Then She Was Gone By Lisa Jewell Edition

Hello everyone and welcome to a new edition of Lil Red’s Book Club! My sister and I have started to read the same books together, which has been a lot of fun and we jokingly have been calling it our own book club of two. Today, we will be discussing our most recent finish called Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell – without giving any spoilers away, as always.

Kristen and I both agreed that this book was great but before we get started, I will be placing a trigger warning on it. This book deals with grief, miscarriages, as well as extremely disturbing content and is not for the faint of heart. Now, let’s get to it:

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Ten years ago, fifteen year old Ellie Mack disappeared without a trace and her mother, Laurel, is still haunted by the tragedy. Divorced, estranged from her other children, and feeling the grief of her lost golden girl, Laurel has been simply existing as the years pass by. The pain of losing her child feels just as fresh as if it happened yesterday, every day for Laurel and she has accepted the fact that she will never be able to move on.

As Laurel goes through the motions of yet another day without her daughter, she has a chance encounter with a man named Floyd in a cafe. They have a pleasant chat over a slice of cake, which ends in an invitation from this handsome stranger to go out to dinner. No one is as shocked by this meeting as much as Laurel and after mulling it over, she accepts, which begins a whirlwind relationship.

As Floyd and Laurel get to know each other better, she eventually meets his two daughters. His adult daughter is named Sara-Jade who has a steely disposition and keeps to herself. Then, there’s his youngest girl, the effervescent Poppy. She is smart as a tack, self confident, and oh yeah – she looks just like Laurel’s missing daughter, Ellie.

Laurel chalks Poppy resembling her daughter so fiercely as a mere coincidence and continues her relationship with Floyd. However, with new information about Ellie after ten years and a strange connection between her daughter and Floyd’s ex-partner, Laurel begins seeing her daughter’s case with fresh eyes. What happened to Ellie? And does Laurel’s new boyfriend have anything to do with it? Read Then She Was Gone to find out!

I absolutely loved Then She Was Gone and finished it in just three sittings. It was unputdownable and I think that I could have read it all in one day if I didn’t have to work! Within the first one hundred or fifty so pages, I had the major twist completely figured out but that didn’t take away from the shocking nature of this read at all.

As I mentioned in the trigger warning for Then She Was Gone, there were some parts of this book that were extremely disturbing. Of course, I can’t delve into it without giving a lot of spoilers away but if you can look past it and are looking for a good thriller, I can’t recommend it enough. This was an incredibly fast paced book and I felt more and more invested at every turn of the page.

A majority of Then She Was Gone might feel like something you have read before. I also can’t tell you what books those are without spoiling it! However, the characters in this book are what made it so special. Laurel was a powerful main character and her grief was something you could literally feel as you read her story. Poppy was also an absolute delight with her dramatic personality and quirky fashion sense, which I could definitely relate to!

I am going to award Then She Was Gone with the coveted ten out of ten star rating. This was, easily, one of the best books that I have read recently and I would happily read more by Lisa Jewell again. From start to finish, this book was gripping, chilling, and one hundred percent excellent. If you’re up to it, I highly recommend it.

What are you currently reading? What should I read next? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

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Lil Red’s Book Club: Reckless Girls By Rachel Hawkins Edition

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Lil Red’s Book Club: Reckless Girls By Rachel Hawkins Edition

Hello everyone and welcome to a brand new edition of Lil Red’s Book Club! Without giving any spoilers away, as always, we will be discussing a thriller called Reckless Girls by Rachel Hawkins. If the author’s name sounds familiar, it should! I reviewed her book, The Wife Upstairs, a few weeks ago and I am very impressed with her work. Before we get started, I will be placing a trigger warning on Reckless Girls for general violence and trauma. Now, let’s get to it:

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After a series of unfortunate events in Lux’s life, she finds herself at a crossroads and moves to Maui with her boyfriend, Nico, on a whim. They have grand plans of adventures on the open seas in Nico’s boat, just the two of them traveling the world and making incredible memories. Money, however, is tight and their dream seems farther away than what they originally thought.

Luckily, a big opportunity comes Nico’s way to sail two college friends, Amma and Brittany, to the deserted Meroe Island for a huge pay day. They insist on Lux coming too and, despite initial feelings of hesitance, she agrees and they set sail. Meroe Island has a troubling history of people stranded there and resorting to cannibalism to save themselves. But that was so long ago and it will be an experience of a lifetime, right?

Upon arriving at the island after a long sail, the group is surprised to find another boat already there. Jake and Eliza, the owners, become fast friends and the first few days on their own private paradise is filled with bonfires, drinks, and good food. Lux finds herself feeling happy for the first time in ages but there’s just something about Brittany’s friend, Amma, that seems a little off.

Lux is able to push past the awkward tension with Amma and is settling into island life just fine until a newcomer, Robbie, harbors at the island. Instantly disliked, Robbie is a definite outsider and flees into the dense island jungle after Lux finds him snooping around Jake and Eliza’s boat. Then, things take a turn for the worst.

After being shamed by the new little family, Robbie decides to seek his revenge and destroys the radios on each boat – making it impossible to leave the island until a back up one arrives on a passing ship over a week later. Stranded until they can set sail again, the island starts to work its strange magic and begins turning the tight knit group against each other.

As people turn up missing and bodies are found, Lux realizes she’s not in paradise at all but a prison. The people who she felt so close to end up feeling like strangers and the only thing she has on her mind now is survival. However, some people on the island aren’t strangers to each other after all and one devastating plan puts everyone in jeopardy. Will anyone live to tell their tale of Meroe Island? Read Reckless Girls to find out!

Although I liked Rachel Hawkins’ The Wife Upstairs just a little bit more than Reckless Girls, I still thought that this was a great read. Maybe because I figured out the main and several minor plot twists prior to its end and didn’t see the final plot twist in The Wife Upstairs coming at all. Reckless Girls was a lot of fun, though, and I finished the fast paced read in just three sittings. I felt disappointed every time I had to close it, making it a definite unputdownable book.

While Reckless Girls, at its core, is a classic whodoneit, it felt unique because of the creepy island setting. When things began to take a downward turn, you could literally feel Meroe Island closing in, creating a claustrophobic, paranoid vibe. Thanks to the insight provided by stories of each character’s past, it felt like danger was lurking around every corner, which made this read even more gripping.

I also really enjoyed Lux as a main character. She was strong and determined which was a nice change of pace from the main character in The Wife Upstairs who was very meek and plain. Lux was so easy to root for because of such a relatable past. I am partial to alternating narrators in a book but, for once, I didn’t mind hearing everything from Lux’s perspective so that’s really saying something!

I am going to award Reckless Girls with an eight out of ten star rating. My main qualm was the predictability of this book and I would have enjoyed to have a jaw dropping moment that I didn’t see coming from a mile away. It is still worth a read, though, and I recommend giving it a try.

What are you currently reading? What should I read next? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

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