Tag Archives: thriller

Lil Red’s Book Club: The Dry By Jane Harper Edition

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Lil Red’s Book Club: The Dry By Jane Harper Edition

Hello everyone and welcome to a brand new edition of Lil Red’s Book Club! Without giving away any spoilers, as always, we will be discussing a thriller by Jane Harper called The Dry. This is a book that has been sitting on my shelf for several years when I got it FO FREE in a library’s give away box. I decided to finally read it because I haven’t been to the library in a while and I am glad I did. I wouldn’t say that it was my favorite book but it was still a really good read. Before we begin our discussion, I will be placing a trigger warning on The Dry for abuse, extreme violence, and murder. Now, let’s get to it:

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Aaron Falk has not been welcome in his hometown of Kiewarra, Australia since he was a teenager. After his friend, Ellie Deacon was found drowned in the river and a note with Aaron’s name was found in her bedroom, he and his best friend, Luke Hadler, became the prime suspects for her death. Aaron and his father were driven out of the small farming community after one too many threats from unfriendly neighbors, fled to Melbourne, and haven’t looked back since.

Now, close to two decades later, Aaron must return back to Kiewarra after learning that his childhood friend, Luke, his wife Karen, and son Billy were killed. Everyone suspects Luke of going off his rocker due to dire financial circumstances thanks to a two year drought. His parents, however, refuse to believe that Luke was capable of such a heinous crime and enlist Aaron’s help to put these rumors to rest. Aaron works with the police in Melbourne for financial crimes and figures looking over their finances is the least he can do. Plus, going through their banking statements means he doesn’t have to talk to anyone because he hasn’t encountered a friendly face since his arrival.

By sharing his findings with the local sheriff, Raco, a full on unofficial investigation begins because things just aren’t adding up. Sure, they have hunches over who might have committed the crime but with no solid evidence, fingers continue to point back to Luke. The death of Ellie has haunted Aaron throughout his life and, now, he begins to wonder if the triple murders were payback for her untimely demise. Ellie’s father and cousin make good candidates for the Hadler family murder but it could be anyone.

Tensions in Kiewarra are high because a drought means no money for the farms and Aaron and Raco poking around puts everyone on edge. With Aaron’s time in his hometown drawing to a close and his safety threatened with every turn of the page, the chances of solving the murders and shining a light on who killed Ellie are bleak. Will the Hadler family finally be able to rest in peace? Or will Aaron return back to Melbourne with his tail between his legs? Read The Dry to find out!

As I said before, The Dry was a great read. It wasn’t the best thing that I have ever read but it was extremely unique and I devoured it in four sittings. This book was unputdownable for several reasons, mainly because it wasn’t just about the Hadler family murder. While Aaron was working on the case, he was also trying to find out once and for all who drowned Ellie and it was interesting to read the similarities in two totally different circumstances. The people in Kiewarra were also unfriendly at best and threatening at worst and it made the danger that Aaron was in feel so much more imminent.

While the story line of The Dry was quite original, what I really enjoyed was the layout of the book. The chapters were always narrated by Aaron. However, there would be segments in the book that would take you back into the past as recalled by other characters. This was something that I had never seen done before and I loved it. As you all know, a multiple narrator book is my favorite and this was a similar set up but so different than what I am used to and kept me turning the page feverishly.

As far as characters go, it was easy to like and root for Aaron as well as Sheriff Raco. While Raco was an open book, Aaron complimented this by being difficult to read, even by people who know him best. In the beginning, this made it difficult to appreciate his subtleties. But, as his character developed throughout the book, I was fully invested in his well being – it just took some time to get warmed up to him.

Finally, in terms of grand reveals, the one in The Dry was alright. I had figured it out prior to it happening and I didn’t particularly care for it but I understood why it happened the way it did. If you’re like me and try to play amateur detective while reading, my advice is to not put your blinders up when reading The Dry. There were so many people who could have committed each crime but it’s not always what it seems!

Overall, I am going to give The Dry a seven out of ten star rating. The dire situations in the book and a format that was different than anything I have read before made for a good reading experience. I would definitely recommend this book and would happily read more by Jane Harper!

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 Maid By Nita Prose Edition

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Lil Red’s Book Club: The Maid By Nita Prose Edition

Hello everyone and welcome to a brand new month here on lifewithlilred! To kick start November, we will be discussing a delightfully charming read by Nita Prose called The Maid – without giving any spoilers away, of course. Both my mom and I read this book and we really enjoyed it. In fact, I liked it so much that I wouldn’t mind reading it again! Before we begin, I will be placing a trigger warning on The Maid as it deals with the death of a loved one and domestic violence. Now, let’s get to it:

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Molly simply loves her job as a maid at the Regency Grand Hotel. She loves her uniform, the routine, and returning each room to a state of perfection. Her self worth fully relies on her employment now that her beloved grandma is deceased. So much so that Molly would rather be at work than in the small apartment that they used to share.

Molly sees the world differently than her coworkers and falls somewhere on the autism spectrum. Since the passing of her grandma, her life went from vibrant and rich to incredibly lonely. She does have a few friends, however. Every day, Molly tends to Giselle Black’s room. She is the wife of a business mogul and she is just as lonely as Molly in her own ways. Through this shared bond, a friendship forms. Molly cleans the room and Giselle teaches her about makeup and explains the things that Molly doesn’t fully understand – like when a coworker is making fun of her.

Of course, not all of her coworkers are completely awful and Molly also enjoys her friendship with kindly Mr. Preston, Juan Manuel, and Rodney, whom she has a huge crush on. Rodney is the perfect man for her and surprises Molly through his “thoughtfulness”. For example, after entering one of the rooms she was scheduled to clean, Molly stumbles upon Rodney, Juan Manuel, and two intimidating looking strangers who she assumes are their friends. Rodney explains that Juan Manuel’s work permit has expired and he has no place to live. He asks Molly if she can give him a key card to an unoccupied room every night, stow his overnight bag, and clean up every morning. And she does.

Every day, Molly looks forward to her visits with Giselle and her friends until something awful happens. During her usual rounds in the Black’s suite, Molly finds Giselle’s husband dead in his bed. Originally, she wasn’t a suspect to a possible murder. But, after doing a few favors for some of her so called friends, Molly is arrested for murder, drug charges, and having an illegal firearm. Desperate to prove her innocence, Molly and the people who only wish the best for her rally to fight the charges. But, it’s going to take Molly being pushed out of her comfort zone to do it. Can they pull it off? Read The Maid to find out!

I wasn’t expecting to like The Maid as much as I did but I literally couldn’t put it down to save my own life. I devoured it in three days and wish that it wasn’t such a quick read! This book tapped into every emotion possible in barely two hundred and ninety pages. It was equal parts heartbreaking, hilarious, enraging, and inspiring. If you don’t find yourself rooting for Molly with every turn of the page, then there is a good chance that you don’t have a heart.

Not only did The Maid have me emotionally invested but the plot was great too. There were so many twists and turns cleverly interwoven into the mundane life of a hotel maid. It was so different than anything that I have read recently and that was exciting. Throughout the book, Molly prided herself on being an invisible cog in the hotel machine. Or rather, what her boss describes as a bee in a hive. Being able to watch Molly develop and be seen for the first time in so long was an absolute joy.

I am going to award The Maid with an eight out of ten stars. This was an original and fun read that will make you want to cry as you stay on the edge of your seat. Highly recommend!

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 It Girl By Ruth Ware Edition

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Lil Red’s Book Club: The It Girl By Ruth Ware Edition

Hello everyone! We interrupt your regularly scheduled bonus pictures from my Pumpkin Patch Party OOTD with a brand new edition of Lil Red’s Book Club. Today, without giving any spoilers away, we will be discussing a thriller by Ruth Ware called The It Girl. To be frank, I have never been overly impressed with Ware’s books but this one was very good. In fact, it’s my favorite book that she has written. Before we begin, I will be placing a trigger warning on The It Girl for violence and disturbing content. Now, let’s get to it:

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Hannah Jones appears to have it all. A husband, Will, who she has loved since first sight, a baby on the way, and the charming life of a couple in their late twenties. Could she have said the same for herself a decade ago? Not at all. Ten years ago, her roommate, April, at the prestigious Pelham College at Oxford was brutally murdered. Despite her seemingly picture perfect life, Hannah struggles with this on a daily basis. She did not have a role in April’s death but she played a big part in the trial.

During her time at Pelham, Hannah was joined at the hip with the gorgeous, effervescent April. April was, indeed, an It Girl and everyone knew about her beauty and wealth. Their friend circle of Will, Hugh, Ryan, and Emily seemed to revolve solely around April but her and Hannah shared a bond that only roommates could have. Hannah felt completely at home in her new life at Pelham except for one major issue… John Neville.

Neville was a porter at Pelham and he seemed to have it out for Hannah from the jump. Hannah was uncomfortable walking alone and would plan her routes to avoid John but he seemed to be everywhere. He was also the last person to see April alive and is what sealed his conviction for her death due to Hannah’s testimony. There have always been whispers that Neville was innocent. However, his recent death in prison means he will never see justice and the case is blown back open. If Neville is innocent, then April’s killer is still on the loose ten years later.

After Hannah talks to a journalist who claims to have new information on the case, she begins to doubt her story even more than she already did. Now, it is up to her to put the pieces together and find out what really happened the night of April’s death. If Neville is out of the picture, everyone is now a suspect. Her old friends, teachers, and even her own husband. Will Hannah solve the case of April’s killer? Read The It Girl to find out!

While I have enjoyed previous Ruth Ware books before, I have never felt too excited when she has a new book out. In comparison to other thrillers, her novels always seem to fall just a bit short. Needless to say, I was incredibly surprised with how invested I was in The It Girl right from the start. It was completely unputdownable and I couldn’t wait for free time so that I could read more!

The It Girl featured one of my favorite things of going back and forth between Hannah’s past at Pelham College to present day. This allowed you to get to know the main suspects in their youth and in current times. It also made it very difficult to pinpoint the killer because all of these players were incredibly likeable despite the usual flaws of first year college students. And, any tension in present times from them felt understandable after ten years of trying to get April’s death out of their minds. Every lead felt like a Red Herring and it made you relate to Hannah even more as she continued to second guess everything she thought she knew.

I loved Hannah as a main character and I thought that she was really brave. Her pregnancy also heightened the suspense because her sleuthing could turn dangerous at any moment. It was so easy to sympathize with her after all that she had been through. I definitely spent the whole book rooting for her to have the life she always wanted.

My advice if you read this book and you like to try and figure out the grand reveal ahead of time is to go with your gut. Like Hannah, I second guessed and then vetoed one of my initial instincts and I ended up being right on the money. It’s also very important to pay close attention to everything said and done at Pelham because it will all come back soon enough!

I am going to award The It Girl with a seven and a half star rating. I was originally going to give it an eight but I realized that that was only because I liked it better than other Ruth Ware novels. Was this the most groundbreaking thing that I have ever read? No. But, it was a fun read and it put Ware back on the map for me after years of feeling wishy washy. I think you all will like it too!

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: Mexican Gothic By Silvia Moreno-Garcia Edition

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Lil Red’s Book Club: Mexican Gothic By Silvia Moreno-Garcia 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 suspense novel by Silvia Moreno-Garcia called Mexican Gothic. Before we begin, I will be placing a big fat trigger warning on this book for disturbing content and violence both physical and sexual. Now, let’s get to it:

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Noemi Taboada is a young socialite living in Mexico City in the early 1950s. She is a tenacious woman and when she isn’t spending her free time dancing the night away she is diligently working towards a Masters degree in anthropology. Noemi’s biggest concern is what to wear on a night out but this is all about to change drastically after her family receives a disturbing letter from her cousin, Catalina.

Catalina is a bit older than Noemi and has been married for about a year to the handsome Virgil Doyle. She lives a fair distance away in the remote El Triunfo in the Doyle estate called the High Place. Noemi’s family assumed she was too busy being a newlywed to be in contact often and her letter is the first correspondence they’ve had since the wedding. In her letter, she describes hearing and seeing ghosts and desperately requests Noemi’s presence.

In exchange for checking in on Noemi, her father will allow her to go to a co-ed college to continue her studies. So, she packs her bags and makes her way to the High Place. Noemi’s destination is a looming estate shrouded by mist and an overwhelming darkness. The dark cloud is not limited to the property itself but to those who inhabit it too.

What used to be a flourishing mining community run by the Doyle family is now limited to a handful of zombie like servants and the remaining Doyles. There is Catalina and her husband Virgil, Virgil’s aunt and cousin named Florence and Francis, and Howard who is Virgil’s father. To Noemi, each one seems more unpleasant than the next and she has half a mind to turn around and go home.

The rules of High Place are strict and something that Noemi is not used to. No talking at dinner, no smoking, speak in hushed voices, and not to disturb Catalina because she needs her rest. The longer she is at the Doyle home, the worse Catalina seems to get and Noemi begins to get a taste of what her cousin suffers from.

Noemi starts to have dreadful bouts of sleepwalking, distressing nightmares, and terrifying encounters with the Doyle family. She used to scoff at the idea that there are ghosts lurking in the High Place but begins to see that Catalina might be right. High Place had a dark past and even more disturbing plans for the future of the Doyles. Will Noemi and her cousin make it out alive? Read Mexican Gothic to find out!

Upon finishing Mexican Gothic, I felt rather torn. I liked the book overall but found the plot twist to be extremely farfetched. Then, I began to take it for what it was despite its unlikelihood and decided it was still a very worthwhile read. I am not used to reading books with a touch of dark magic (Which is all I will say about the grand reveal.) and found that I enjoyed it even more after having time to digest it.

Noemi carried this story so well as the only narrator and I loved her sass, determination, and panache for bending the rules. She came to High Place with a mission of protecting her cousin and refused to leave until that was fulfilled. This showed so much strength and perseverance on her end because the easiest thing for her to do was simply leave – especially because the villains were completely despicable.

I will admit that some parts of Mexican Gothic kind of dragged on but it wasn’t as slow of a burn as books I have read recently. It continued to hold my attention until the very end and I will rate it with a seven out of ten stars. This is not a read for the faint of heart but if you dare to visit the High Place, you won’t be disappointed!

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: Behind Closed Doors By B.A. Paris Edition

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Lil Red’s Book Club: Behind Closed Doors By B.A. Paris 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 B.A. Paris called Behind Closed Doors – without giving any spoilers away, of course. Before we begin, let me start off by saying that this book was JACKED UP and, easily, one of the most disturbing things that I have read in a while. So, it should go without saying that a big fat trigger warning will be placed on it for physical and mental abuse, intended abuse, animal abuse, and a plot that had me fucked up (For lack of a better word!). You’ve been warned, now let’s get to it:

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Could Jack and Grace Angel be any more perfect? Jack has the perfect job of defending battered women and has never lost a case. Grace is a perfect, beautiful stay at home wife and cooks lavish meals to entertain their friends in a perfect mansion. To all concerned, they are the epitome of the perfect couple and surprise those they know by never arguing and constantly looking lovingly into each other’s eyes. Although, they have no idea what is going on Behind Closed Doors.

Within the walls of the Angel home, Grace is under the strict control of her psychopathic husband and is confined to one room with nothing but a bed and a bathroom. Jack has created the persona of perfection for them both and has painted Grace as mentally unstable to divert attention from her attempts to escape and claims of being held prisoner. That is, truly, the pot calling the kettle black because Jack is about as mentally unstable as it gets.

Ever since spotting Grace and her younger sister, Millie, who has Down Syndrome at the park, Jack knew that he had to have them both. He thrives on fear and has since he was a child and considered Grace and Millie the perfect candidates for his sick torture games. For now, Millie is safe because she is away at boarding school. As soon as she turns eighteen and lives with Jack and Grace, however, is a totally different story.

The birthday countdown for Millie is fast approaching and Grace knows that her chances of saving them both become less likely with each passing day. With her determination and the ingenious help from Millie, Grace begins to plot their escape. But can it even be done when Grace can’t leave the cell in her own home and Jack is always ten steps ahead? Read Behind Closed Doors to find out!

Behind Closed Doors left me purely and utterly shook and I am still digesting it days after finishing it. The plot was somewhat of your classic “secret room” thriller but it had so many unique and, honestly, disgusting twists that it was in a category all of its own. Behind Closed Doors allowed you to tap into Grace’s mind in her past and present as a severely abused woman and there were times when it felt like you were suffering right along with her.

After finishing Behind Closed Doors, I was very curious to find out what other people had thought about it and read some reviews. There were many who said that it was one of the best thrillers that they have read in years. However, I was surprised to see so many reviews in which people called it “boring”. I knew that it was not going to be everyone’s cup of tea but I have a hard time understanding how it bored the reader.

As someone who was in a mentally abusive relationship, the psychological torture that Grace faced hit close to home. Her paranoia, constant fear, and huge sense of betrayal were all such real feelings that I felt personally and was invoked in this book. I do agree with the reviewers saying that the situation in Behind Closed Doors was not plausible BUT the emotions Grace felt and her own diminishing mental state was all too real.

As far as characters go, Jack was the worst of the worst villains that I have read about in a long while. This, in itself, was enough to keep you rooting for Grace and Millie even after finishing the book. I simply adored Millie who was brilliant, sweet, and hilarious. Grace was a formidable heroine who continued to fight no matter how many times she was foiled if not for her sake than for Millie’s. I loved the bond that Millie and Grace had with each other and it provided a glimmer of sunshine during such a dark read.

Overall, I am going to rate Behind Closed Doors with a ten out of ten stars. I keep trying to find reasons to rate it lower and I can’t. Despite its brutal subject matter, it was a hell of a read that kept me emotionally invested several days after reading the last page. This is not a read for everyone and I recommend not reading it if you fall under that category. However, if you can stomach it, then you will not be disappointed.

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 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: The Familiars By Stacey Halls Edition

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Lil Red’s Book Club: The Familiars By Stacey Halls 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 meeting because I have been so busy with the move and housewarming party. But we’re back, baby, and today we will be discussing a very unique book called The Familiars by Stacey Halls. Before we begin, I am putting a big fat trigger warning on The Familiars because it is based on the main character’s series of miscarriages. Now, let’s get to it and, as always, without giving any spoilers away:

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*Before we begin our synopsis, we must note that The Familiars is based in England in 1612 during the infamous Pendle Witch Trials.

Fleetwood Shuttleworth (Coolest name ever) is the young mistress of the great Gawthorpe Hall and is with child. Actually, with her fourth child because she has miscarried thrice at just seventeen years old. Fleetwood has had a difficult pregnancy every single time and this one is no different. She can barely keep food down, can’t sleep, and her hair is falling out in clumps.

Her physical health is declining but her mental health is close to the brink too because Fleetwood has discovered a secret correspondence between her husband and doctor. In this letter, the doctor explains that both baby and mother won’t survive this next birth. Knowing that her earthly life will soon come to an end, it is no wonder that her mental health is deteriorating as well.

While walking in the vast woods surrounding Gawthorpe Hall with her faithful dog, Puck, Fleetwood meets a young woman named Alice. She pays what her husband considers a trespasser no mind until Alice and her cross paths again when she has fallen from her horse. Fleetwood learns that Alice is a midwife and hires her to be the savior of herself and unborn child.

Alice has been trained by her mother, who was also a midwife, and cares for her charges with herbs, roots, and things found in nature. And, her methods seem to work because almost instantly, Fleetwood has regained her appetite, sleeps peacefully, and her hair has stopped falling out. Despite Alice’s success, Fleetwood’s husband is suspicious of her, especially because witch trials have just begun and accusations are flying left and right between counties.

Fleetwood’s husband, Richard, is a powerful young man and has the potential to go far in the government. Because of these close family ties, Fleetwood learns that Alice will soon be arrested and tried for witchcraft. She also finds out that her husband might not be the person she fell in love with after all.

Desperate to be away from Richard and fearful for herself and child if Alice stops caring for her, Fleetwood and her midwife flee to safety. The time in the haven of Fleetwood’s mother’s home is cut short, however, and Alice is taken away to the gaols. Will Alice be hung for witchcraft? Will Fleetwood and her child live without her care? Read The Familiars to find out!

I am quite torn about The Familiars because on one hand, I really enjoyed it. On the other, I was so ready for it to be over. This read was a slow burn and written in old English so some of the chapters seemed to drag on endlessly. At first, I was charmed by reading what felt like The Crucible (My favorite!) but there were times when my patience wore thin because there was so much context to wrap my head around.

The Familiars introduced a lot of characters at once and it was difficult to keep track of them all. This was especially true when the witches and their accusers came into play. Of course, every character held their own significance but I think that I would have liked it better if the focus were only on a handful of people. I like an involved story line as much as the next but when I have to go back and reread sections to remember who someone was, I start to get irritated!

Although the characters were plentiful, I did love both Fleetwood and Alice and they each shone as heroines. Fleetwood was brave, determined, and wasn’t afraid to let her opinion be known to a man. And, that was a rarity in 1612! Alice was a perfect character to compliment Fleetwood’s brashness with and was shy, intelligent, and kind. My heart ached when Alice was sent to the gaols and I was rooting for both of them every step of the way.

The synopsis that I provided, truly, doesn’t begin to cover a quarter of what The Familiars is all about and it’s a big bite to chew off. If you can stick with it, I think you will find things about it that you enjoy. However, I ain’t mad at ya if you don’t! Overall, I am going to rate The Familiars with a six out of ten stars. I loved the main characters and primary plot but I don’t think that speaks well for a book if I was thrilled when it was finally over. Take it or leave it, because my opinion is somewhere right in the middle.

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: 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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