THE VACATION by T.M. Logan


Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Release Date: July 21, 2020
Source: Review copy from the publisher
Rating: ★★★½


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 marriage—and a lifelong friendship—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 — 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!

— 𝓓𝓲𝓪𝓷𝓪

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

ONE STEP BEHIND by Lauren North


Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: September 1, 2020
Source: Review copy from NetGalley
Rating: ★★★½


A woman pushed to the breaking point by a stalker develops an obsession of her own in this shocking new novel of psychological suspense from the acclaimed author of The Perfect Son.

Jenna is a wife, a mother, a doctor. She’s also the victim of a stalker. Frightening “gifts” are left on her doorstep, her home is broken in to, and when she leaves her house to take her children to school, he’s waiting. She feels powerless, and the police are unable to help.

Then her stalker is brought into the emergency room after a terrible accident, and Jenna has to treat the man who’s been tormenting her for months. With her stalker in a coma, Jenna is desperate to understand the life of this seemingly normal man. When she finds startling images on his phone, she is consumed by her need for answers–and her own obsession leads her down a twisting path of destruction.

Just how far is Jenna willing to go to take back control of her life?


ONE STEP BEHIND presents an intriguing and difficult dilemma for main character Jenna, a mom, ER doctor, and victim of a relentless stalker. After a year of receiving threatening messages and disturbing “gifts,” Jenna is at the breaking point. The police have made no progress in the case, and Jenna fears for herself and family. Then one day her stalker is wheeled into the emergency room near death after an accident. Now that she has control over his life, how far is she willing to go?

This book is a fast-paced and tense domestic thriller that shows what can happen when someone is threatened and put under mental stress for so long. Jenna’s behavior gets a bit wacky as she investigates her stalker, but I can’t say I blame her. I enjoyed how Jenna’s chapters are written in second person, with the “you” she’s talking to being her stalker.

The author crafted several red herrings and suspicious characters that kept me guessing. I thought the alternating chapters with another character, particularly the backstory, dragged a bit. Another quibble I had was that I thought the final twist, the “reasoning” behind the stalking, was a bit unbelievable. Still, it was an intense ending to wrap up the story. Recommend to readers who would enjoy a cat-and-mouse mystery.

— 𝓓𝓲𝓪𝓷𝓪

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

A SPELL FOR TROUBLE by Esme Addison


Series: An Enchanted Bay Mystery, #1
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Release Date: May 12, 2020
Source: Review copy from NetGalley
Rating: ★★★½


Aleksandra Daniels hasn’t set foot in the quiet seaside town of Bellamy Bay, North Carolina in over twenty years. Ever since her mother’s tragic death, her father has mysteriously forbidden her from visiting her aunt and cousins. But on a whim, Alex accepts an invitation to visit her estranged relatives and to help them in their family business: an herbal apothecary known for its remarkably potent teas, salves, and folk remedies.

Bellamy Bay doesn’t look like trouble, but this is a town that harbors dark secrets. Alex discovers that her own family is at the center of salacious town gossip, and that they are rumored to be magical healers descended from mermaids. She brushes this off as nonsense until a local is poisoned and her aunt Lidia is arrested for the crime. Alex is certain Lidia is being framed, and she resolves to find out why.

Alex’s investigation unearths stories that some have gone to desperate lengths to conceal: forbidden affairs, family rivalries, and the truth about Alex’s own ancestry. And when the case turns deadly, Alex learns that not only are these secrets worth hiding, but they may even be worth killing for.


A SPELL FOR TROUBLE kicks off the new Enchanted Bay Mystery series featuring former risk assessor, Alex Daniels. After some trouble at her New York office, Alex accepts an offer to visit her Bellamy Bay relatives whom she hasn’t seen in many years. There is much she didn’t know about her long lost aunt and cousins and their enchanted apothecary shop, and all the family secrets start bubbling to the top when Aunt Lidia is arrested for murder.

I have mixed feelings about this book. The good: I loved the charming setting of Bellamy Bay and the Polish folklore that was woven into Alex’s family history. The world-building set a solid foundation for the series going forward. What I struggled with: Alex did some silly things that put the case and herself in jeopardy, especially since she has a career in risk management. I also thought the mystery itself wasn’t that interesting once the “whys” starting being revealed. However there was a nifty twist regarding the culprit that I enjoyed.

With its magical roots I’m looking forward to seeing where this series goes in future books.

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

THE BODIES IN THE LIBRARY by Marty Wingate {Review}


Series: First Edition Library Mystery, #1
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: October 8, 2019
Source: Review copy from the publisher
Rating: ★★★½


Hayley Burke’s fresh start as the curator of The First Edition Society’s library in Bath, England, is about to take a rotten turn in this charming new mystery series from USA Today bestselling author Marty Wingate.

Hayley Burke has landed a dream job. She is the new curator of Lady Georgiana Fowling’s First Edition library. The library is kept at Middlebank House, a lovely Georgian home in Bath, England. Hayley lives on the premises and works with the finicky Glynis Woolgar, Lady Fowling’s former secretary.

Mrs. Woolgar does not like Hayley’s ideas to modernize The First Edition Society and bring in fresh blood. And she is not even aware of the fact that Hayley does not know the first thing about the Golden Age of Mysteries. Hayley is faking it till she makes it, and one of her plans to breathe new life into the Society is actually taking flight–an Agatha Christie fan fiction writers group is paying dues to meet up at Middlebank House.

But when one of the group is found dead in the venerable stacks of the library, Hayley has to catch the killer to save the Society and her new job.


Hayley Burke is the new curator of The First Edition Society, a library dedicated to first editions from the Golden Age of Mysteries. How she got the job, I’m not sure, because she’s never read a mystery, which made me laugh. It’s a sweet position she doesn’t want to lose, but when a member of an Agatha Christie fanfic group is murdered at the library, Hayley’s future there is threatened — she allowed them in, after all.

I loved the setting of Bath, England, and the gorgeous Georgian home that housed the precious books. The murder mystery is definitely Christie-inspired, with many quirky suspects. With her job at stake, as well as the survival of the society itself, I can understand why Hayley would want to launch her own investigation, or at least give the police a gently nudge here and there. I can’t resist a cozy mystery revolving around books, and this one was a quick, fun read. Now I need to catch up on my Christie.

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

Quick Thoughts: THE LYING GAME by Ruth Ware


Publisher: Gallery/Scout Press
Release Date: July 25, 2017
Source: Review copy from Edelweiss
Rating: ★★★½


On a cool June morning, a woman is walking her dog in the idyllic coastal village of Salten along a tidal estuary known as the Reach. Before she can stop him, the dog charges into the water to retrieve what first appears to be a wayward stick, but to her horror, turns out to be something much more sinister…

The next morning, three women in and around London—Fatima, Thea, and Isabel—receive the text they had always hoped would NEVER come, from the fourth in their formerly inseparable clique, Kate, that says only, “I need you.”

The four girls were best friends at Salten, a second rate boarding school set near the cliffs of the English Channel. Each different in their own way, the four became inseparable and were notorious for playing the Lying Game, telling lies at every turn to both fellow boarders and faculty, with varying states of serious and flippant nature that were disturbing enough to ensure that everyone steered clear of them. The myriad and complicated rules of the game are strict: no lying to each other—ever. Bail on the lie when it becomes clear it is about to be found out. But their little game had consequences, and the girls were all expelled in their final year of school under mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of the school’s eccentric art teacher, Ambrose (who also happens to be Kate’s father).

Atmospheric, twisty, and with just the right amount of chill that will keep you wrong-footed—which has now become Ruth Ware’s signature style—The Lying Game is sure to be her next big bestseller. Another unputdownable thriller from the Agatha Christie of our time.


THE LYING GAME is told from the perspective of Isa Wilde, a 30-something Londoner and mother of a baby girl. Isa befriended Kate, Fatima, and Thea as a teen when they attended Salten House, a boarding school in a small coastal English town. The foursome had a “lying game” they liked to play, which of course earned them the reputation of being cruel liars. After tragedy strikes and they’re faced with a scandal at school, the girls leave Salten House and go separate ways, but the stress of what happened there will continue to haunt them. Fast forward 17 years, and the four women must return to Salten to face the lies of their past.

I have mixed feelings about this book. Ruth Ware is one of my favorite authors, but I don’t think this book had the best build up of tension. Lots of drama though! I was very curious about the mystery that the women were hiding, but I felt like the plot was a bit too slow moving. I think I would have preferred hearing other characters’ POVs instead of just staying in Isa’s head. I did love the creepy atmosphere of the setting. Kate’s home is a tumbledown mill right on the water. A solid mystery, though I was hoping for more suspense, less drama.

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