Summer Rental by Mary Kay Andrews

Summer Rental

Ellis, Julia, and Dorie. Best friends since Catholic grade school, they now find themselves, in their mid-thirties, at the crossroads of life and love. Ellis, recently fired from a job she gave everything to, is rudderless and now beginning to question the choices she’s made over the past decade of her life. Julia–whose caustic wit covers up her wounds–has a man who loves her and is offering her the world, but she can’t hide from how deeply insecure she feels about her looks, her brains, her life. And Dorie has just been shockingly betrayed by the man she loved and trusted the most in the world…though this is just the tip of the iceberg of her problems and secrets. A month in North Carolina’s Outer Banks is just what they each of them needs.

Ty Bazemore is their landlord, though he’s hanging on to the rambling old beach house by a thin thread. After an inauspicious first meeting with Ellis, the two find themselves disturbingly attracted to one another, even as Ty is about to lose everything he’s ever cared about.

Maryn Shackleford is a stranger, and a woman on the run. Maryn needs just a few things in life: no questions, a good hiding place, and a new identity. Ellis, Julia, and Dorie can provide what Maryn wants; can they also provide what she needs?

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I think Summer Rental is your average summertime/beach read. I enjoyed reading it poolside at the time, but the characters are forgettable and the plot was easy to predict.

There are quite a bit of characters in this one and early on I was forgetting which friend was which between Ellis, Julia, and Dorie. I wish there was a bit more on each character before they went to the beach that way it would of been easier to tell them apart.

I’m always looking for some drama in the books that I read and Summer Rental was pretty tame compared to the other books in it’s genre. I wish there were more juicer secrets and a better conclusion to the character’s problems.

3 calculators out of a potential 5. A good poolside or beach read, but don’t go into this one with too many high expectations.

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I can’t wait for … The Wives by Tarryn Fisher (Can’t-Wait Wednesday)

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Can’t-Wait Wednesday is a meme hosted by Tressa at Wishful Endings to spotlight and discuss the books we are excited about that we have yet to read. The book I can’t wait to read is this week is:

The Wives

Imagine that your husband has two other wives.

You’ve never met the other wives. None of you know each other, and because of this unconventional arrangement, you can see your husband only one day a week. But you love him so much you don’t care. Or at least that’s what you’ve told yourself.

But one day, while you’re doing laundry, you find a scrap of paper in his pocket—an appointment reminder for a woman named Hannah, and you just know it’s another of the wives.

You thought you were fine with your arrangement, but you can’t help yourself: you track her down, and, under false pretenses, you strike up a friendship. Hannah has no idea who you really are. Then Hannah starts showing up to your coffee dates with telltale bruises, and you realize she’s being abused by her husband. Who, of course, is also your husband. But you’ve never known him to be violent, ever.

Who exactly is your husband, and how far would you go to find the truth? Would you risk your own life?

What novel are you excited to read? Let me know in the comments below!

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Good Girls Lie by J.T. Ellison

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Good Girls Lies

Goode girls don’t lie…

Perched atop a hill in the tiny town of Marchburg, Virginia, The Goode School is a prestigious prep school known as a Silent Ivy. The boarding school of choice for daughters of the rich and influential, it accepts only the best and the brightest. Its elite status, long-held traditions and honor code are ideal for preparing exceptional young women for brilliant futures at Ivy League universities and beyond. But a stranger has come to Goode, and this ivy has turned poisonous.

In a world where appearances are everything, as long as students pretend to follow the rules, no one questions the cruelties of the secret societies or the dubious behavior of the privileged young women who expect to get away with murder. But when a popular student is found dead, the truth cannot be ignored. Rumors suggest she was struggling with a secret that drove her to suicide.

But look closely…because there are truths and there are lies, and then there is everything that really happened.

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Available next Monday – December 30, 2019!

I’m such a sucker for novels about boarding schools, throw in some drama and murders and it’s my perfect read! Good Girls Lie has everything. Exciting characters, an intriguing plot and gruesome murders.

I’m not going to give too much away since I think this book is best if you go in blind. Ash Carr is a character that you go from feeling sympathetic to and then feeling uneasy about. I wasn’t sure if I could trust her, but I really enjoyed reading about her!

4 calculators out of a potential 5. This was my first J.T Ellison novel, but it won’t be my last!

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

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JT Ellison Author Photo credit Krista Lee Photography - vertical

Q&A with J.T. Ellison

Do you plan your books in advance or let them develop as you write?

Both. Sometimes the story just unfolds, and sometimes I have to relentlessly work on themes and turning points and characters’ points of view. Every book is different, every book has its own unique challenges. I’m always thinking about what’s next, and sometimes even what’s after that. But when it comes to actually sitting down to write, I like to let the story unfold a bit, let it stretch its wings, before I try to lash it to the mast and conform it to my vision.

What does the act of writing mean to you?

It’s a sacred contract with me and a mythical “someone” who might read the words at some point in the future and find them entertaining or moving. It’s sheer magic on my end, creating, and sheer magic on the readers’ end, when they get to experience what was in my head as I was writing. It’s the most incredible mystical experience out there.

Have you ever had a character take over a story, and if so, who was it and why?

All the time. Oh my gosh, all the time. Honestly, if the character doesn’t run away with things, I know there’s a problem. Ivy, n LIE TO ME, is a particular favorite. She’s just so nasty…

Which one of Good Girls Lie’s characters was the hardest to write and why?

Ash, for sure. She was so elusive and aloof with me. The Britishisms, the secrets, the lies, she was always just out of reach. Of course, that was because I’d written her in third person. When I switched her to first, she wouldn’t shut up.

Which character in any of your books (Good Girls Lieor otherwise) is dearest to you and why?

Oh that’s an impossible question. Taylor. Sam. Sutton. Vivian. Ash. Aubrey. Ivy. Juliet. Lauren. Becca. Gavin. Baldwin. Xander. They are all me, on some level, whether it’s a fear or a triumph, a flaw or a heroic action. A moment of love or a moment of animosity. It’s like asking me to choose among my children, which one is my favorite. (I don’t have kids, by the way, but I couldn’t pick my favorite of my kittens, either.)

What did you want to be as a child? Was it an author?

I desperately wanted to be Colorado’s first female firefighter. When that job was taken, I cast about. Doctor. Lawyer. Fighter Pilot. Spy. International business maven. Olympic swimmer. Poet. In the end, being a writer was my only choice. That way, I get to experience all the lives I could have led.

What does a day in the life of J.T. Ellison look like?

It’s rather blissful. It starts rather lazily, with the cats cuddled into my arms and the newspaper on my iPad, then progresses to kicking the lazy beasts out, pouring a cup of tea and handling email. I am not a morning person, so I tend to do business in the morning and writing in the afternoon, when I’m sharper. I’ve always wanted to be the writer who gets up at 5 am to write whilst the birds chirp and the house sleeps, watching the sun rise and running five miles before the rest of the world is awake, but alas, it was not meant to be. You need to go to a concert that starts at ten p.m., I’m your girl.

What do you use to inspire you when you get Writer’s Block?

It depends. If it’s a genuine block, a I’ve lost faith in myself and my work block, I will step away from the manuscript entirely, read, walk, golf, yoga, go out for margaritas with my husband, anything to remove me from the situation. But 90 percent of the time, it’s just a story issue, so I work it out with some of my creative partners. Lots of texting and phone calls and what ifs, until it shakes itself free.

What book would you take with you to a desert island?

Hmmm… my knee jerk is the Harry Potter series – I know, I know, that’s seven books, but I’m sure there’s an omnibus edition somewhere. The fight for good and evil never ceases to amaze and comfort me. Knowing love conquers evil is a big deal in this world. And Hermione kicks ass. If I’m forced into a single title, Plato’s Republic. I’ve been obsessed with the allegory of the cave my entire adult life.

Favorite quote?

“Do. Or Do not. There is no try.” – Master Yoda

Coffee or tea?

Loose leaf earl grey. Making tea is a meditative experience for me.

Best TV or Movie adaptation of a book?

Clueless, hands-down the best adaptation of Austen’s Emma ever, and I’ve been enjoying A Discovery of Witches, based on the fabulous books by Deborah Harkness. Outlander isn’t bad, either. And Game of Thrones… obviously, I don’t include anything past the second episode of the final season of that, though I did enjoy the whole Deanarys-Drogon airborne apocalypse. I mean, talk about a girl who had reason to be aggravated with society.

Do you have stories on the back burner that are just waiting to be written?

So. Many. Stories. I will never get to them all. At last count, there are 49 in my “Story Idea” folder, with several more floating around in my head.

What has been the hardest thing about publishing? What has been the most fun?

The hardest is staying in the game, juggling the necessary mix of creativity and business, finding new paths to reach readers and leveling up the writing so it’s possible to grow my career. It was much easier to write, to focus, before our constant connections to the internet consumed us. The most fun is that email from a reader, when something I’ve written strikes a chord with them and they write to tell me they love a story, or a character, or an ending. It doesn’t get better than that.

What advice would you give budding authors about publishing?

Stay as much in a vacuum as you can while writing. You don’t need a platform, you need an excellent, groundbreaking book. And read everything. Everything you can get your hands on. You learn writing through osmosis as much as writing the books themselves. Find your writing habit and hold it sacred. If you respect your work, your people will, too.

What was the last thing you read?

I just finished Holly Black’s THE QUEEN OF NOTHING, the finale of her Folk of the Air trilogy, and just finished listening to BAG OF BONES by Stephen King. Both were exceptional.

Your top five authors?

Diana Gabaldon, JK Rowling, Deborah Harkness, Leigh Bardugo and Sarah J. Maas

Book you’ve bought just for the cover?

That’s how I found the Holly Black trilogy – I adored the cover of THE CRUELEST PRINCE.

Tell us about what you’re working on now.

I’m writing a novel about a destination wedding that goes very, very wrong. It has loose ties to Rebecca, and it titled HER DARK LIES.

Social Links:

Author Website

Twitter: @thrillerchick

Facebook: @JTEllison14

Instagram: @thrillerchick

Goodreads

BookBub

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Hide (Detective D.D. Warren #2) by Lisa Gardner

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You have good reason to be afraid. . . .

It was a case that haunts Bobby Dodge to this day—the case that nearly killed him and changed his life forever. Now, in an underground chamber on the grounds of an abandoned Massachusetts mental hospital, the gruesome discovery of six mummified corpses resurrects his worst nightmare: the return of a killer he thought dead and buried. There’s no place to run. . . . Bobby’s only lead is wrapped around a dead woman’s neck.

Annabelle Granger has been in hiding for as long as she can remember. Her childhood was a blur of new cities and assumed identities. But what—or who—her family was running from, she never knew. Now a body is unearthed from a grave, wearing a necklace bearing Annabelle’s name, and the danger is too close to escape. This time, she’s not going to run. You know he will find you. . . .

The new threat could be the dead psychopath’s copycat, his protégé—or something far more terrifying. Dodge knows the only way to find him is to solve the mystery of Annabelle Granger, and to do that he must team up with his former lover, partner, and friend D. D. Warren from the Boston P.D. But the trail leads back to a woman from Bobby’s past who may be every bit as dangerous as the new killer—a beautiful survivor-turned-avenger with an eerie link to Annabelle. 

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I’m so excited to be at the beginning of a new Lisa Gardner series! I loved her other series – Quincy and Rainie – so I’m looking forward to reading more about these new characters. The series is about D.D. Warden, but the first two novels in the series are mostly about one of her colleagues, Detective Bobby Dodge. The first novel, Alone, almost solely focuses on Bobby, whereas Hide does have a bit more of D.D. I’m curious on how the series will switch over to be more focused on D.D Warden (who – fun fact! – is the name of the author’s neighbour).

I was wondering the whole time how Annabelle Granger would fit into the story. I was hooked right away by her story where she talked about randomly one day her family moved her away from her home in Boston and then being on the run. She is now alone and scared of what her family was running away from. The only thing is that she has no idea who she is hiding from since her parents never told her anything!

I really enjoyed the ending and didn’t see so many of the events happening. I loved it how it all came together. The only negatives were that D.D. wasn’t the main focus on the novel and to be honest, she seems so much more interesting than Bobby. My other negative was that I didn’t enjoy how Catherine Gagnon (previous character from Alone) was brought into the novel. I didn’t find it really necessary to have her be in the novel.

4 calculators out of a potential 5. If you are a fan of thrillers then check out Lisa Gardner’s novels and in the meantime I’ll be working my way through the series!

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I can’t wait for … Good Girls Lie by J.T. Ellison (Can’t-Wait Wednesday)

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Can’t-Wait Wednesday is a meme hosted by Tressa at Wishful Endings to spotlight and discuss the books we are excited about that we have yet to read. The book I can’t wait to read is this week is:

Good Girls Lies

Goode girls don’t lie…

Perched atop a hill in the tiny town of Marchburg, Virginia, The Goode School is a prestigious prep school known as a Silent Ivy. The boarding school of choice for daughters of the rich and influential, it accepts only the best and the brightest. Its elite status, long-held traditions and honor code are ideal for preparing exceptional young women for brilliant futures at Ivy League universities and beyond. But a stranger has come to Goode, and this ivy has turned poisonous.

In a world where appearances are everything, as long as students pretend to follow the rules, no one questions the cruelties of the secret societies or the dubious behavior of the privileged young women who expect to get away with murder. But when a popular student is found dead, the truth cannot be ignored. Rumors suggest she was struggling with a secret that drove her to suicide.

But look closely…because there are truths and there are lies, and then there is everything that really happened.

What novel are you excited to read? Let me know in the comments below!

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