Beach Wedding by Michael Ledwidge

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Hamptons sand… Hamptons money… Hamptons murder…

When Terry Rourke is invited to the spare-no-expense beach wedding of his hedge fund manager brother, he thinks that his biggest worry will be flubbing the champagne toast. But this isn’t the first time Terry has been to the Hamptons.

As the designer tuxedos are laid out and the flowers arranged along the glittering surf, Terry can’t help but take another look at a decades-old murder trial that rocked the very foundations of the town—and his family. He soon learns that digging up billion-dollar sand can be a very dangerous activity. The kind of danger that can very quickly turn even the most beautiful beach wedding into a wake.

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Available Today – February 15, 2022!

I had previously read Michael Ledwidge’s collaboration series (Michael Bennett) with James Patterson and I was curious to see how how a stand alone novel by just himself would be. Based on the description of Beach Wedding, I was hoping for a novel that would be filled with beautiful beach imagery (especially the wedding!) and a drama filled mystery. Unfortunately that wasn’t what I got.

The lead character, Terry, is exactly the type of main character that you would expect from a James Patterson or Harlan Coben novel. He’s a family man with a beautiful wife that he adores and all around good guy. I do get tired reading about these types of characters since they bore me and I tend to roll my eyes reading about their wonderful lives. I like reading about characters that have a bit of flaws and aren’t seen as perfect people.

The mystery was lacking to me. I was intrigued on what had happened in Terry’s youth that caused his family to be isolated by the town. The novel had Terry running around all over, talking to different people and by the end of the novel I was confused by all of the characters.

2 calculators out of a potential 5. Sadly a miss for me.

Thank you to Netgallery and Harlequin Trade Publishing, Hanover Square Press for an ARC in exchange for my honest review.

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Woman Last Seen by Adele Parks

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Woman Last Seen

HAPPY. MARRIED. MISSING.

Leigh Fletcher: happily married stepmum to two gorgeous boys goes missing on Monday. Her husband Mark says he knows nothing of her whereabouts. She simply went to work and just never came home. Their family is shattered.

Kai Janssen: married to wealthy Dutch businessman, Daan, vanishes the same week. Kai left their luxurious penthouse and glamourous world without a backward glance. She seemingly evaporated into thin air. Daan is distraught.

DC Clements knows that people disappear all the time – far too frequently. Most run away from things, some run towards, others are taken but find their way back. A sad few never return. These two women are from very different worlds, their disappearances are unlikely to be connected. And yet, at a gut level, the DC believes they might be.

How could these women walk away from their families, husbands and homes willingly? Clements is determined to unearth the truth, no matter how shocking and devastating it may be.

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Available Today – February 1, 2022!

It’s so hard to review Woman Last Seen without giving anything away! I was curious on how the 2 missing women were connected and what had happened to them.

Unfortunately most of the novel is an inner monologue, which to be honest, I skimmed over. I was so bored reading the same thing over and over again about marriage, love, kids. I just wanted the story to move on, and just when it did, it would go back to the internal monologue. Ah!

I HATED the ending of Parks’ previous novel, Just My Luck, and sadly the ending to Woman Last Seen wasn’t too much better. I was hoping that there would of been a year later epilogue to see what had happened with all of the characters and the aftermath of the events in the last chapters.

2 calculators out of a potential 5. I’m sadly thinking that Adele Parks may not be for me. However, I would read another book centered around DC Clements, I really enjoyed that character.

Thank you to Netgallery and Harlequin Trade Publishing, MIRA for an ARC in exchange for my honest review.

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The Ex-Husband by Karen Hamilton

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It’s an offer she can’t refuse…and might not survive.

Charlotte has an unsavory past, but she’s on the straight and narrow these days. She was so young then—she married the wrong man, falling for Sam’s sweet-talking charm and charisma, and got caught up in his con artist games.

If only she’d left him before things went too far.

Now Sam is missing. But before he disappeared, he left urgent, cryptic messages about someone threatening him—someone who has been threatening Charlotte, too.
So Charlotte takes a job as a personal assistant for an engagement party aboard a private luxury cruise ship, the Cleobella, to get far away from anyone who means her harm.

But as the Cleobella sails through its glittering destinations, increasingly sinister events haunt the guests, and the turquoise waves and sun-drenched beaches give way to something darker. Someone knows what Charlotte did. Is it the blushing bride? The seemingly placid mother-in-law? Or the mysterious heiress?

Someone knows, and someone wants revenge—before the ship reaches its final port.

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Available Today – January 18, 2022!

A slow burn mystery that doesn’t quite satisfy. I love reading about cruises and exotic locations, so I really enjoyed hearing about the life behind the scenes of a cruise ship employee. I wish the author had taken a different approach of Charlotte’s and Sam’s “love story”. I didn’t see the appeal of Sam and why Charlotte would go after him. He’s obviously a con man and has a dozen red flags.

Then there was the problem of Charlotte. I didn’t like the character at all. In the past, she was a fool for falling for Sam and giving him chance after chance when he clearly was only looking out for number one – himself. But then, present day Charlotte was even more a mess. If you are being threatened and on a secluded ship with someone who wants to kill you, get off at the next stop, go to an airport and leave. You don’t stay and insert yourself in different situations to try to figure out who is after you.

2 calculators out of a potential 5. I have previously loved Karen Hamilton’s novels, but sadly this one was a miss for me. Slow burn with a predictable villain.

Thank you to Netgallery and Harlequin Trade Publishing, Graydon House for an ARC in exchange for my honest review.

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The Sorority Murder by Allison Brennan

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A popular sorority girl. An unsolved murder. A campus podcast with chilling repercussions.

Lucas Vega is obsessed with the death of Candace Swain, who left a sorority party one night and never came back. Her body was found after two weeks, but the case has grown cold. Three years later while interning at the medical examiner’s, Lucas discovers new information, but the police are not interested.

Lucas knows he has several credible pieces of the puzzle. He just isn’t sure how they fit together. So he creates a podcast to revisit Candace’s last hours. Then he encourages listeners to crowdsource what they remember and invites guest lecturer Regan Merritt, a former US marshal, to come on and share her expertise.

New tips come in that convince Lucas and Regan they are onto something. Then shockingly one of the podcast callers turns up dead. Another hints at Candace’s secret life, a much darker picture than Lucas imagined—and one that implicates other sorority sisters. Regan uses her own resources to bolster their theory and learns that Lucas is hiding his own secret. The pressure is on to solve the murder, but first Lucas must come clean about his real motives in pursuing this podcast—before the killer silences him forever.

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Available Today – December 28, 2021!

I’m always a fan of when a mystery novel uses a podcast. I find it interesting how the author is able to use a podcast to further advance the developments of an unsolved case (in this novel, a murder). The Sorority Murder was no exception.

I wasn’t a big fan of Lucas and his reasons for doing the podcast. It seemed like he was always hiding something and not telling the full truth. I really liked how the author added the character, Regan, a former US marshal. Regan really added to the novel both in her experience and her maturity. It really took the novel up a level and the premise didn’t seem so far fetched.

It did take a while for the novel to get going, but once it did it was really exciting and I was curious on how Candice’s disappearance would tie in with her murder. I did find the ending (and the killer) predictable, so I was hoping for more of a twist ending.

3 calculators out of a potential 5. Really liked the use of the podcast and how Lucas was able to get guests to call in and give anonymous information about the murder.

Thank you to Netgallery and HARLEQUIN – Trade Publishing (U.S. & Canada) for an ARC in exchange for my honest review.

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The Mother Next Door by Tara Laskowski

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GOOD MOTHERS…
Never show their feelings.
Never spill their secrets.
Never admit to murder.

The annual Halloween block party is the pinnacle of the year on idyllic suburban cul-de-sac Ivy Woods Drive. An influential group of neighborhood moms—known as the Ivy Five—plans the event for months.

Except the Ivy Five has been four for a long time.

When a new mother moves to town, eager to fit in, the moms see it as an opportunity to make the group whole again. This year’s block party should be the best yet… until the women start receiving anonymous messages threatening to expose the quiet neighborhood’s dark past—and the lengths they’ve gone to hide it.

As secrets seep out and the threats intensify, the Ivy Five must sort the loyal from the disloyal, the good from the bad. They’ll do anything to protect their families. But when a twisted plot is revealed, with dangerous consequences, their steady foundation begins to crumble, leaving only one certainty: after this year’s block party, Ivy Woods Drive will never be the same.

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Available Today – October 12, 2021!

The Mother Next Door is the perfect read to get you into the fall and Halloween spirit. I actually started reading it in the summertime and then put it down until the fall, which I’m glad I did. I loved reading it with the spookiness of Halloween approaching.

I was really looking forward to the gossip and secrets of the Ivy Five mothers. Why do they go all out for Halloween? Why is there now only four of them? Does the newcomer stand a chance?

Sadly I was disappointed. Maybe it’s because I read too many suburban mysteries, but I was hoping for more of a connection with the moms and feel apart of their group. I didn’t get a sense that the group were really friends, so it was surprising that they would keep each other’s secrets. Also I would of liked more of the others views, not just Queen Bee Kendra and newcomer Theresa.

3 calculators out of a potential 5. Would still recommend because of the creepy Halloween atmosphere and the ending did really surprise me.

Thank you to Netgallery and HARLEQUIN – Trade Publishing (U.S. & Canada) for an ARC in exchange for my honest review.

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