Reading Challenge: READERS IMBIBING PERIL XV πŸ¦‡ @PerilReaders πŸŽƒ #RIPXV πŸ•·οΈ

πŸ¦‡ It’s time once again for my favorite fall reading challenge, Readers Imbibing Peril! It’s very simple, just read as many mystery, suspense, thriller, horror, or Gothic books as you’d like between September 1st and October 31st, and discuss on Instagram or Twitter.

πŸŽƒ Use #RIPXV or tag @PerilReaders to connect with other challenge participants!

πŸ•·οΈ Books I’ve read for RIPXV:

  1. ONE STEP BEHIND by Lauren North
  2. SCRITCH SCRATCH by Lindsay Currie
  3. THE HEATWAVE by Kate Riordan
  4. THE TWO MRS. CARLYLES by Susan Rindell
  5. THE COMPANION by Katie Alender
  6. THE VACATION by T.M. Logan
  7. THE NESTING by C.J. Cooke
  8. HAUNTED HOMICIDE by Lucy Ness
  9. Β 

 

HAUNTED HOMICIDE by Lucy Ness


Series: A Haunted Mansion Mystery, #1
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: September 29, 2020
Source: Review copy from NetGalley
Rating: β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…


Avery Morgan has been hired to breathe new life into the Portage Path Women’s Club, but first she’ll have to deal with a dead body and a meddling ghost.

Avery Morgan has had a harrowing first week on the job as manager of the Portage Path Woman’s Club. Not only is she in charge of a grand old home with a mountain of maintenance problems and scheduling nightmares–thanks to a recent fire in the Marigold meeting room–but she’s also got Muriel Sadler to deal with. Muriel is the current president of the club, the one “nay” vote when the rest of the board voted “aye” to hiring Avery.

After a morning of dealing with another one of Muriel’s snits and a meeting with the delicious and delightfully unsettling Ben Harkness, who will be handling renovations in the fire-damaged portions of the house, the last thing Avery needs is for one of the fuses to blow. Again.

She grabs her handy flashlight and heads into the basement, where she stumbles across Muriel’s body. She also stumbles across an unexpected helper, Clemmie Bow, the ghost of a young woman who was accidentally killed in the building almost a hundred years ago.

Together Clemmie and Avery are determined to solve Muriel’s murder before the killer sends Avery to join Clemmie on the other side.


What a fun beginning to a promising paranormal cozy mystery series! Main character Avery has landed a new job as manager of Portage Path Woman’s Club, though she’s off to a rocky start when she finds the body of the current club president in the basement, along with a ghost from the 1920s.

Clever and determined, Avery had grand plans to modernize the club, but first she must use her smarts to catch Muriel’s killer. I enjoyed the club setting in the old mansion, and I especially liked Clemmie, the flapper ghost helping Avery with her investigation. The cast of quirky characters was interesting and likable, though the author kept me guessing as to whom would want Muriel dead.

HAUNTED HOMICIDE is an intriguing murder mystery with just the right amount of paranormal. I hope to learn more about Clemmie in future books!

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

THE VACATION by T.M. Logan


Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Release Date: July 21, 2020
Source: Review copy from the publisher
Rating: β˜…β˜…β˜…Β½


In The Vacation, a captivating thriller from T. M. Logan, the bestselling author of Lies and 29 Seconds, four best friends on a dream vacation come face-to-face with an explosive secret.

It was supposed to be the perfect getaway: Kate and her three best friends, spending a week with their families in a luxurious villa in the south of France. Through the decades they’ve stayed closer than ever, and seven days of drinking crisp French wine and laying out under the dazzling Mediterranean sun is the perfect celebration of their friendship. But soon after arriving, Kate discovers an incriminating text on her husband’s cell phone.

A text revealing that he’s having an affair.

And that the other woman is one of her best friends.

But which one?

Trapped in paradise with no one to trust, Kate is determined to find out who has put her marriageβ€”and a lifelong friendshipβ€”in jeopardy. But as she closes in on the truth, she realizes that the stakes are higher than she ever imagined. Everyone on the trip has secrets…and someone may be prepared to kill to keep theirs hidden.


Yikes, what a nightmare vacation! Kate has been friends with Rowan, Izzy, and Jennifer since university. To celebrate the year they turn 40, the four women head to an upscale villa in the South of France with husbands and children in tow. Yeah, not the best idea. Along with the families comes a tangled web of dark secrets ready to ruin their holiday paradise.

Not long after arriving, Kate finds some incriminating text messages on her husband’s phone, indicating that he’s having an affair with one of her three best friends. But which one? Poor Kate spends much of their week in France investigating and agonizing over who has betrayed her. But how far is the culprit willing to go to keep the secret hidden?

Wow, this group of characters! They’re all β€” a challenge. The adults were unlikable and the children were bratty.** This mystery/thriller is heavy on the family drama with no one communicating, unfortunately! While I was intrigued with the mystery surrounding the affair, the excitement didn’t get started until the last quarter of the book. It wrapped up with a surprising twist that I wasn’t expecting, though it was totally believable. The ending was quite satisfying.

** I listened to much of this book on audio (from the library), and I have to give a big shout out to the narrator Laura Kirman. Her performance voicing the big cast of characters with different ages, genders, and accents was amazing!

β€” 𝓓𝓲π“ͺ𝓷π“ͺ

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

THE COMPANION by Katie Alender


Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Release Date: August 25, 2020
Source: Review copy from the publisher
Rating: β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…


The other orphans say Margot is lucky.

Lucky to survive the horrible accident that killed her family.

Lucky to have her own room because she wakes up screaming every night.

And finally, lucky to be chosen by a prestigious family to live at their remote country estate.

But it wasn’t luck that made the Suttons rescue Margot from her bleak existence at the group home. Margot was handpicked to be a companion to their silent, mysterious daughter, Agatha. At first, helping with Agatha–and getting to know her handsome older brother–seems much better than the group home. But soon, the isolated, gothic house begins playing tricks on Margot’s mind, making her question everything she believes about the Suttons . . . and herself.

Margot’s bad dreams may have stopped when she came to live with Agatha – but the real nightmare has just begun.


“So I lay in the dark without making a sound, waiting and wanting to die. Three months later, I was still waiting.”

THE COMPANION is a creepy and addictive YA thriller that put me on edge. Sixteen-year old Margot is orphaned when her family dies in an accident, and she ends up in a group home for several months. The other girls consider her “lucky” when a prestigious family takes her into their home, a remote Gothic mansion in the country. But there’s a catch β€” Margot was chosen because the Sutton family wants her to be a companion to their silent and curious daughter, Agatha.

Copeland Hall may be beautiful and grand, but Margot can sense that something is off. She slowly uncovers its disturbing history, while always looking over her shoulder. What secrets are lurking in the shadows of the ominous manor, and what’s behind the locked garden gate?

Margot was a compelling character, and I loved the bravery and humor she kept throughout the book. Agatha was a mystery! I enjoyed the unique bond that formed between the two girls. You knew there was something just below the surface that Agatha so badly wanted to say…..

THE COMPANION was an intriguing mystery, and though I guessed right at some of the twists, it was an enjoyable read. If you’re looking for a tense and eerie page-turner perfect for the spooky season, this is it!

β€” 𝓓𝓲π“ͺ𝓷π“ͺ

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher through BookishFirst in exchange for an honest review.

2021 NATIONAL PARK FOUNDATION PLANNER


Publisher: Sourcebooks
Release Date: September 1, 2020
Source: Review copy from the publisher
Rating: β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…


The official planner of the National Park Foundation!

From the National Park Foundation, the official non-profit partner of America’s National Parks, comes this remarkable 2021 planner filled with breathtaking photographs from America’s beautiful national parks. Each week showcases photos and detailed information about National Park Foundation-supported sites, plus significant anniversaries and events in National Park Foundation history.

Planner features include:

β€’ 12-month planner;
β€’ 6″ x 9″ with wire-o binding;
β€’ FSC certified responsible, smudge-free paper;
β€’ Two pages of practical and fun stickers;
β€’ Internal storage pocket;
β€’ Sturdy jacket for durability;
β€’ Removable cover band


This beautiful spiral-bound 2021 planner would be perfect for national park explorers and armchair travelers alike. The National Park Foundation’s vision is “to inspire all people to connect with and protect America’s national parks,” and the photographs in this planner are truly inspiring.

The first few pages list national parks by state, and also those that cover multiple states, with checkboxes if you want to mark where you’ve been. There’s a 2021 “at a glance” calendar showing the whole year, followed by a monthly calendar, and then weekly calendars with plenty of room for writing.

The weekly calendars feature a gorgeous photo of a different national park on the opposite page, as well as a brief description and things to do and see. In addition there are fun stickers (including goals, to do, meeting, birthday, etc.) to add to your calendar pages. This planner would make a great gift for outdoor enthusiasts who want to get organized!

See more pictures of the 2021 National Park Foundation Planner on my Instagram post HERE!

β€” 𝓓𝓲π“ͺ𝓷π“ͺ

Disclosure: I received a copy of this planner through Sourcebooks’ Early Reads program in exchange for an honest review.

THE HEATWAVE by Kate Riordan


Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Release Date: August 18, 2020
Source: Review copy from NetGalley
Rating: β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…


Under the scorching French sun, a tense homecoming unearths a long-buried family secret in this deliciously propulsive beach read of a mother’s greatest fear brought to life.

Elodie was beautiful. Elodie was smart. Elodie was manipulative. Elodie is dead.

When Sylvie Durand receives a letter calling her back to her crumbling family home in the South of France, she knows she has to go. In the middle of a sweltering 1990’s summer marked by unusual fires across the countryside, she returns to La Reverie with her youngest daughter Emma in tow, ignoring the deep sense of dread she feels for this place she’s long tried to forget.

As memories of the events that shattered their family a decade earlier threaten to come to the surface, Sylvie struggles to shield Emma from the truth of what really happened all those years ago. In every corner of the house, Sylvie can’t escape the specter of Elodie, her first child. Elodie, born amid the ’68 Paris riots with one blue eye and one brown, and mysteriously dead by fourteen. Elodie, who reminded the small village of one those Manson girls. Elodie who knew exactly how to get what she wanted. As the fires creep towards the villa, it’s clear to Sylvie that something isn’t quite right at La Reverie… And there is a much greater threat closer to home.

Rich in unforgettable characters, The Heatwave alternates between the past and present, grappling with what it means to love and fear a child in equal measure. With the lush landscape and nostalgia of a heady vacation read, Kate Riordan has woven a gripping page-turner with gorgeous prose that turns the idea of a summer novel on its head.


THE HEATWAVE is a completely absorbing family drama and simmering psychological thriller!

In the summer of 1993, Sylvie and her teenage daughter, Emma, return to their home in the South of France after a ten year absence. After she learns of some vandalism on the property, Sylvie decides it’s time to fix up La Reverie and sell it. This is a difficult place to face again, as it’s filled with painful memories of the tragedy involving her troubled first child, Elodie. Emma remembers very little about her older sister, and Sylvie’s not sure how much longer she can shield her from their disturbing family secrets.

“I would die for her, without hesitation. I am her mother. It’s just that, sometimes, I wish I wasn’t. I am her mother but I wish I wasn’t.”

The story is told from Sylvie’s point of view in alternating time periods β€” during the summer of 1993, and then 1968 forward β€” as we learn about the disturbing mother/daughter relationship between Sylvie and Elodie during her childhood. What does a mother do if her child is evil? How far would she go to protect one daughter from the other? Elodie’s character was truly creepy! The tension surrounding what she might do next was unsettling.

THE HEATWAVE is an atmospheric Gothic suspense with an amazing and unique setting. The characters and their conflicts are memorable, the writing and descriptions are gorgeous (I enjoyed the French mixed in), and the reveal at the end was perfect. Highly recommended.

β€” 𝓓𝓲π“ͺ𝓷π“ͺ

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.