REVIEW: THE LOVE OF MY LIFE, BY ROSIE WALSH

Emma loves her husband Leo and their young daughter Ruby: she’d do anything for them. But almost everything she’s told them about herself is a lie.

And she might just have got away with it, if it weren’t for her husband’s job. Leo is an obituary writer; Emma a well-known marine biologist. When she suffers a serious illness, Leo copes by doing what he knows best – researching and writing about his wife’s life. But as he starts to unravel the truth, he discovers the woman he loves doesn’t really exist. Even her name isn’t real.

When the very darkest moments of Emma’s past finally emerge, she must somehow prove to Leo that she really is the woman he always thought she was . . .

But first, she must tell him about the other love of her life.
 
 
 
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Their story unfolds in alternating narratives, and we are swept away by the secrets and lies, wondering what truth is behind The Love of My Life.

So many pathways to follow to unravel the truth of their lives, and even as we begin to doubt that their love will hold on, we are eagerly hoping it will.

A story that kept me turning the pages, this one earned 4.5 stars for me.
 
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BOOKISH FRIDAY: “SPARE”

Welcome to another Bookish Friday, in which we  share excerpts from books…and connect with other bloggers who do the same.

Let’s begin the celebration by sharing Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and let’s showcase The Friday 56 with Freda’s Voice.

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

Today’s feature is a book I am currently reading:  Spare, by Prince Harry.

Book Beginning:

We agreed to meet a few hours after the funeral.  In the Frogmore gardens, by the old Gothic ruin.  I got there first.

I looked around, saw no one.

***

Friday 56:

As the youngest and smallest I always took the brunt.  But I also did the most escalating, the most asking for it, so I deserved everything I got.

***

Synopsis:

It was one of the most searing images of the twentieth century: two young boys, two princes, walking behind their mother’s coffin as the world watched in sorrow—and horror. As Princess Diana was laid to rest, billions wondered what Prince William and Prince Harry must be thinking and feeling—and how their lives would play out from that point on.

For Harry, this is that story at last.

Before losing his mother, twelve-year-old Prince Harry was known as the carefree one, the happy-go-lucky Spare to the more serious Heir. Grief changed everything. He struggled at school, struggled with anger, with loneliness—and, because he blamed the press for his mother’s death, he struggled to accept life in the spotlight.

At twenty-one, he joined the British Army. The discipline gave him structure, and two combat tours made him a hero at home. But he soon felt more lost than ever, suffering from post-traumatic stress and prone to crippling panic attacks. Above all, he couldn’t find true love. 

Then he met Meghan. The world was swept away by the couple’s cinematic romance and rejoiced in their fairy-tale wedding. But from the beginning, Harry and Meghan were preyed upon by the press, subjected to waves of abuse, racism, and lies. Watching his wife suffer, their safety and mental health at risk, Harry saw no other way to prevent the tragedy of history repeating itself but to flee his mother country. Over the centuries, leaving the Royal Family was an act few had dared. The last to try, in fact, had been his mother. . . .

For the first time, Prince Harry tells his own story, chronicling his journey with raw, unflinching honesty. A landmark publication, Spare is full of insight, revelation, self-examination, and hard-won wisdom about the eternal power of love over grief.

***

What do you think?  I am engrossed in this book.  Would you keep reading?

***

REVIEW: JUST THE NICEST COUPLE, BY MARY KUBICA

Two couples, two close friends, one missing husband…

Jake Hayes is missing. This much is certain. At first, his wife, Nina, thinks he is blowing off steam at a friend’s house after their heated fight the night before. But then a day goes by. Two days. Five. And Jake is still nowhere to be found.

Lily Scott, Nina’s friend and coworker, thinks she may have been the last to see Jake before he went missing. After Lily confesses everything to her husband, Christian, the two decide that nobody can find out what happened leading up to Jake’s disappearance, especially not Nina. But Nina is out there looking for her husband, and she won’t stop until the truth is discovered.

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Our story begins with an intensity that continues throughout. Just the Nicest Couple sets us up to follow two couples and their journey through their lives, but instead, we are drawn into what turns out to be a mysterious event that leaves us guessing until the very end.

Jake disappears or is murdered. We don’t know which, nor do we know who did it. We have our suspicions, and we are also offered some red herrings along the way. But just when we have reached what we believe to be a resolution to it all, we are stunned by the twist at the end. Definitely a five star read.

***

BOOKISH FRIDAY: “JUST THE NICEST COUPLE”

Welcome to another Bookish Friday, in which we  share excerpts from books…and connect with other bloggers who do the same.

Let’s begin the celebration by sharing Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and let’s showcase The Friday 56 with Freda’s Voice.

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

Today’s feature is my newest book:  Just the Nicest Couple, by Mary Kubica.

Book Beginning:

(Prologue)

I gasp and stagger backward.  My hand goes to my mouth, bearing down.

My brain screams at me to run.  Run.

***

Friday 56:

“Do you think this is the path you took?”  I ask gently.

“Maybe,” she says.  Lily takes a closer look, trying to decide.

***

Synopsis:

Two couples, two close friends, one missing husband…

Jake Hayes is missing. This much is certain. At first, his wife, Nina, thinks he is blowing off steam at a friend’s house after their heated fight the night before. But then a day goes by. Two days. Five. And Jake is still nowhere to be found.

Lily Scott, Nina’s friend and coworker, thinks she may have been the last to see Jake before he went missing. After Lily confesses everything to her husband, Christian, the two decide that nobody can find out what happened leading up to Jake’s disappearance, especially not Nina. But Nina is out there looking for her husband, and she won’t stop until the truth is discovered.

Queen of suspense Mary Kubica delivers a high-octane, edge-of-your-seat thriller filled with delicious lies and shocking betrayals, and shows how even the deepest secrets will always find a way to the surface.

***

I am loving this book!  Would you keep reading?

***

BOOKISH FRIDAY: “SLEEP NO MORE”

Welcome to another Bookish Friday, in which we  share excerpts from books…and connect with other bloggers who do the same.

Let’s begin the celebration by sharing Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and let’s showcase The Friday 56 with Freda’s Voice.

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

Today’s feature is my newest book:  Sleep No More, by Jayne Ann Krentz.

Book Beginning:

Carnelian, California…

Blood dripped from the bottom of the laundry cart.

Ambrose Drake flattened one hand against the wall to keep himself on his feet.

***

Friday 56:

“What did you find in the asylum that made you so sure someone was murdered on the staircase?” she asked.

“A used hypodermic needle.”

***

Synopsis:  Seven months ago, Pallas Llewellyn, Talia March, and Amelia Rivers were strangers, until their fateful stay at the Lucent Springs Hotel. An earthquake and a fire partially destroyed the hotel, but the women have no memory of their time there. Now close friends, the three women co-host a podcast called the Lost Night Files, where they investigate cold cases and hope to connect with others who may have had a similar experience to theirs—an experience that has somehow enhanced the psychic abilities already present in each woman.
 
After receiving a tip for their podcast, Pallas travels to the small college town of Carnelian, California, to explore an abandoned asylum. Shaken by the dark energy she feels in the building, she is rushing out when she’s stopped by a dark figure—who turns out to be the women’s mysterious tipster.
 
Ambrose Drake is certain he’s a witness to a murder, but without a body, everyone thinks he’s having delusions caused by extreme sleep deprivation. But Ambrose is positive something terrible happened at the Carnelian Sleep Institute the night he was there. Unable to find proof on his own, he approaches Pallas for help, only for her to realize that Ambrose, too, has a lost night that he can’t remember—one that may be connected to Pallas. Pallas and Ambrose conduct their investigation using the podcast as a cover, and while the townsfolk are eager to share what they know, it turns out there are others who are not so happy about their questions—and someone is willing to kill to keep the truth from coming out.

***

Would you keep reading?

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BOOKISH FRIDAY: “MS. DEMEANOR”

Welcome to another Bookish Friday, in which we  share excerpts from books…and connect with other bloggers who do the same.

Let’s begin the celebration by sharing Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and let’s showcase The Friday 56 with Freda’s Voice.

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

Today’s feature is one of my new books:  Ms. Demeanor, by Elinor Lipman.

***

Book Beginning:

(Regrettably)

Let’s say there were two people, a man and a woman, lounging on the rooftop terrace of an apartment building in midtown Manhattan.  She is thirty-nine, a lawyer.  He, on the neighboring chaise longue, is twenty-seven, a new associate in the same firm who has this night confessed to a crush that was not brushed aside, as workplace guidelines required.

***

Friday 56:

Now what?  I’d need a recipe I could make or talk about for the recommended length of sixty seconds.  Would it kill me to fake a little enthusiasm?

***

Synopsis:

Jane Morgan is a valued member of her law firm—or was, until a prudish neighbor, binoculars poised, observes her having sex on the roof of her NYC apartment building.  Police are summoned, and a punishing judge sentences her to six months of home confinement. With Jane now jobless and rootless, trapped at home, life looks bleak. Yes, her twin sister provides support and advice, but mostly of the unwelcome kind. When a doorman lets slip that Jane isn’t the only resident wearing an ankle monitor, she strikes up a friendship with fellow white-collar felon Perry Salisbury. As she tries to adapt to life within her apartment walls, she discovers she hasn’t heard the end of that tattletale neighbor—whose past isn’t as decorous as her 9-1-1 snitching would suggest. Why are police knocking on Jane’s door again? Can her house arrest have a silver lining? Can two wrongs make a right? In the hands of “an inspired alchemist who converts serious subject into humor” (New York Times Book Review)—yes, delightfully.  

***

What do you think?  Keep reading?

***

BOOKISH FRIDAY: “THE BLOCK PARTY”

Welcome to another Bookish Friday, in which we  share excerpts from books…and connect with other bloggers who do the same.

Let’s begin the celebration by sharing Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and let’s showcase The Friday 56 with Freda’s Voice.

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

Today’s feature is an ARC that will be released on 7/18/23:  The Block Party, by Jamie Day.

Beginning:

Alexandra Fox meant to have only a couple of drinks at the block party. Three, tops.

Oh well.  Woman plans, God laughs.

***

Friday 56:

Her cold, defiant stare pierced Alex.  The word calculating popped into Alex’s mind.

***

Synopsis:

On the night of the annual Summer block party, the Meadowbrook community Facebook page lights up with posts reporting sirens descending on the desirable and exclusive cul-de-sac neighborhood on Alton Road. Bit by bit, the comments trickle in, some taking pleasure in their neighbors’ misfortune and others showing concern. The truth eventually comes out. It’s not an accident, or a drowning, or a fire, as some had predicted. For the first time in forty years, there’s been a murder in Meadowbrook.

The residents of Alton Road—The Fox family, the core of the neighborhood but each with secrets of their own; the Adair Family, the seemingly perfect all-American family; the Thompson Family, on the brink of an explosive divorce; The Kumars, the mysterious “new neighbors”; Brooke Bailey, the “Black Widow”; and Gus Fisher, the quirky salesman— are entangled in a web of secrets and scandal unbeknownst to the outside world and even each other.

Who was murdered at the block party? Who committed the murder? And why? As the night unfolds, the residents will discover that the real danger lies within their own block and nothing—and no one—is ever as it seems. Propulsive and layered, THE BLOCK PARTY will keep you guessing until the very last page.

***

What do you think?  Keep reading?

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REVIEW: THE WRONG MOTHER, BY CHARLOTTE DUCKWORTH

Faye is 39 and single. She’s terrified she may never have the one thing she always wanted: a child of her own.

Then she discovers a co-parenting app: Acorns. For men and women who want to have a baby, but don’t want to do it alone. When she meets Louis through it, it feels as though the fates have aligned.

But just one year later, Faye is on the run from Louis, with baby Jake in tow. In desperate need of a new place to live, she contacts Rachel, who’s renting out a room in her remote Norfolk cottage. It’s all Faye can afford – and surely she’ll be safe from Louis there?

But is Rachel the benevolent landlady she pretends to be? Or does she have a secret of her own?

 

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The isolated and vulnerable women who narrated The Wrong Mother had a darkness that kept me intrigued throughout.

We don’t know who to root for, as they all have so much that sets them apart from “normalcy,” and while we can almost hope that they will find what they are looking for in life, we are pretty sure that nothing will end well for them.

But perhaps we will be surprised, as the twisted path takes us to unexpected outcomes. 4 stars.

***

BOOKISH FRIDAY: “THE WRONG MOTHER”

Welcome to another Bookish Friday, in which we  share excerpts from books…and connect with other bloggers who do the same.

Let’s begin the celebration by sharing Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and let’s showcase The Friday 56 with Freda’s Voice.

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

Today’s feature is one of my new books:  The Wrong Mother, by Charlotte Duckworth.

Book Beginning:

Prologue

No matter how much I clean, I still see the blood everywhere I look.

The fragments of his skull and pieces of his brain, spattered across every surface.

***

Friday 56:

When I close the door behind them, I feel exhausted.  Wrung out by the toxicity of their energy.

***

Synopsis: Faye is 39 and single. She’s terrified she may never have the one thing she always wanted: a child of her own.

Then she discovers a co-parenting app: Acorns. For men and women who want to have a baby, but don’t want to do it alone. When she meets Louis through it, it feels as though the fates have aligned.

But just one year later, Faye is on the run from Louis, with baby Jake in tow. In desperate need of a new place to live, she contacts Rachel, who’s renting out a room in her remote Norfolk cottage. It’s all Faye can afford – and surely she’ll be safe from Louis there?

But is Rachel the benevolent landlady she pretends to be? Or does she have a secret of her own?

***

Would you keep reading?

***

REVIEW: THE PERSONAL ASSISTANT, BY KIMBERLY BELLE

When Alex first began posting unscripted family moments and motivational messages online, she had no intention of becoming an influencer. Overnight it seemed she’d amassed a huge following, and her hobby became a full-time job—one that was impossible to manage without her sharp-as-a-tack personal assistant, AC.

But all the good-will of her followers turns toxic when one controversial post goes viral in the worst possible way. Alex reaches out to AC for damage control, but her assistant has gone silent. This young woman Alex trusted with all her secrets, who had access to her personal information and front row seats to the pressure points in her marriage and family life, is now missing and the police are looking to Alex and her husband for answers. As Alex digs into AC’s identity – and a woman is found murdered – she’ll find the greatest threat isn’t online, but in her own living room.

Written in alternating perspectives between Alex, her husband, and the mysterious AC, this juicy cat and mouse story will keep you guessing till the very end.

 

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I was immediately drawn into The Personal Assistant, and captivated as we meet the various characters and are thrust into the intensity of the events.

Alex is desperate to find out who turned her life upside down via a horrendous post, and as we learn more about the various characters, from Alex herself to her personal assistant and even her husband, we are on tenterhooks wondering who did it.

The narrators alternate from the present to the past, but just when we think we have the answers, we are stunned. A brilliant 5 star read.

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