Tell Me Lies

“Margot’s clients all lie to her, but one lie could cost her family and freedom.” -Tell Me Lies by J. P. Pomare

Author: J.P. Pomare Narrator: Aimee Horne

(3.79 stars – Goodreads rating)

Genre: Fiction / Thriller / Mystery

Format: Audiobook (Audible Original)

Publication Date: March 5, 2020, by Audible Studios

Length: 6 Hrs, 20 mins (Audiobook)

#TellMeLies #JPPomare

Tell me lies, tell me sweet little lies…

Little Lies, -Fleetwood Mac

You’re sitting on the psychologist’s couch, spilling all of your life’s secrets in the hopes that once you leave their office, you’ll have all the answers you need in order to not make a complete mess of the entire rest of your life. I’ve never been to a psychologist, but that’s pretty much how it goes, right? But do you ever think about who was on that couch just before you, or who will arrive right after you?

Ultimately, that one professional analyzes your problems and concerns and the problems/concerns of countless others throughout the entirety of their career. We’ve all heard that it takes a special type of person to be a teacher, but I think that saying is also true for a psychologist. They have to compartmentalize all those issues and still deal with their own lives everyday.

But what happens when the psychologist’s work comes home with her? Well, let’s check out the blurb…

Margot’s clients all lie to her, but one lie could cost her family and freedom. Psychologist Margot Scott has a picture-perfect life: a nice house in the suburbs, a husband, two children, and a successful career. On a warm spring morning, Margot spots one of her clients on a busy train platform. He is looking down at his phone, with his duffel bag in hand as the train approaches. That’s when she slams into his back and he falls in front of the train. Suddenly, one tragedy leads to another leaving her, her family, and her patients in danger. As misfortune unfolds, listeners will soon question Margot’s true role in all of these unfortunate events.

Oh no, no, you can’t disguise. (You can’t disguise, no you can’t disguise)

Little Lies, -Fleetwood Mac

I’m a firm believer that everyone can benefit from a little therapy. Whether it be unburdening yourself, sharing in order to overcome an addiction, or getting in touch with long-repressed emotions tied to deep-seated fears – therapy can be a great way to overcome. And a good therapist may be the shepherd you count on most to get you to the mountain top.

That’s what Margot thought she was doing for her clients. After all, she went to school for this and everything! But, try as she might, she can’t figure out the personality of one of her most mysterious clients. That failure could end up costing her everything – including her own sanity.

Tell me lies, tell me sweet little lies…

Little Lies, -Fleetwood Mac

I needed an audiobook to travel with during my long work commute. I picked this one out of the Audible Originals selections at random and I ended up being so glad that I did! As the drama of this story built, suddenly my commute became entirely too short.

This is my first time reading anything by J.P. Pomare. I try to go easy in reviews for authors who are new to me, but with this book, that wasn’t even necessary. It really is a good book!

I urge you – for this book’s sake – not to read the reviews that reveal too much of the story. Much of its charm is the steady pace and the way the story unfolds – tidbits here, tiny clues – all of which eventually add up to a plot twist that made me hit pause and rewind just to listen to it again!

If you’re still on the fence about whether or not this book would be something that you’d enjoy, leave me a comment and we’ll discuss it. I’ll ask you questions, you’ll answer, and I may even give you a reading assignment for next week. And then I’ll send you a ginormous bill in the mail! Sound good?

J. P. Pomare

J.P. has always been drawn to the dark. He grew up on a horse-racing farm in small town New Zealand with two brothers, a sister, two cats and two border collies. A first love for literary fiction quickly developed into a taste for sharp, fast paced story telling. Stories that surprised him, stories that tied a cold knot in the pit of his stomach. His work has been widely published in journals including Meanjin, Kill Your Darlings, TLB review of books and The NZ Listener. He has also won, and been short-listed for a number of prizes. -Bio adapted from

The Woman in the Mirror

“Rotten, stinking, hated love. Love is for fools, bound for hell.” –The Woman in the Mirror by Rebecca James

**Many thanks to NetGalley, St. Martin’s Press, and the author for the opportunity to read a free ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Author: Rebecca James

(3.85 stars – Goodreads rating)

Genre: Fiction / Historic / Gothic

Format: Kindle

Publication Date: March 17, 2020, by St. Martin’s Press

Pages: 324 (Kindle version)

#TheWomanInTheMirror #WomanInTheMirror #RebeccaJames

Shadows crawl over the moors, spreading dark against dark. Their torches dance, lit from the fire at the barn. Burn her! Drown her!

Full disclosure, I read this ARC way back in March, but I’m just now getting around to reviewing it on the blog. Please do not read anything negative into my delay. Chalk it up, instead, to just being wholly and entirely distracted by Covid-19 and having to quickly relocate from my office at work to my home office around the same time as I was reading this book. But let’s get into it now…

Governess Alice Miller loves Winterbourne the moment she sees it. Towering over the Cornish cliffs, its dark corners and tall turrets promise that, if Alice can hide from her ghosts anywhere, it’s here.
And who better to play hide and seek with than twins Constance and Edmund? Angelic and motherless, they are perfect little companions.
Adopted at birth, Rachel’s roots are a mystery. So, when a letter brings news of the death of an unknown relative, Constance de Grey, Rachel travels to Cornwall, vowing to uncover her past.
With each new arrival, something in Winterbourne stirs. It’s hiding in the paintings. It’s sitting on the stairs.

It’s waiting in a mirror, behind a locked door.

There was nobody for miles around, just her, the house, and the wide sprawling sea. But she wasn’t afraid. It simply didn’t occur to her to be afraid.

Somehow that blurb doesn’t quite do this book the proper justice. It doesn’t completely make me want to grab this book and start voraciously reading – which is exactly what you should do.

I finished it in one sitting – a rarity for me with any book, even ones that I eventually rate 5 stars. The Woman in the Mirror was just that intriguing! What will sell me on a book faster than almost anything else? Atmosphere. And this book has LOADS of it!

I am different. Winterbourne knows I am different. This house is my salvation.

It’s a Gothic creeper featuring a spooky house, eerie twins, and shadowy events that can’t be explained using common sense occurring along a dual timeline (1947 and 2018). Set on the foggy Cornwell coast, this story will drag you into its dark secrets right from the prologue.

I really enjoyed this march into madness from the POV of likable, but not entirely trustworthy main characters. I was actually surprised that the book captivated me as much as it did, as quickly as it did. It was that good.

But it was our fault she ended up like that. We drove her to it. Did she really lose her mind? Or did we steal it from her?

This is the book that I really wanted The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware to be – authentically moody and creepy with an underlying ominous tone that didn’t seem forced or manufactured. It didn’t pan out for that book, but this one gives me everything I was lacking from that other reading experience. This book is a ghost story, a forbidden romance, and a witch hunt all wrapped into one deliciously tragic tale. You should definitely read it!

Rebecca James

Rebecca James worked in publishing for several years before leaving to write full-time, and is now the author of several novels written under a pseudonym, as well as The Woman in the Mirror under her own name. Her favorite things are autumn walks, Argentinean red wine and curling up in the winter with a good old-fashioned ghost story. She lives in Bristol with her husband and two daughters. -bio from

Blog Tour | This is How I Lied

Blog Tour | With the eccentricity of Fargo and the intensity of Sadie, THIS IS HOW I LIED by Heather Gudenkauf is a timely and gripping thriller about careless violence we can inflict on those we love, and the lengths we will go to make it right, even 25 years later. –This Is How I Lied by Heather Gudenkauf

**Many thanks to Park Row Books and the author for the opportunity to read a free ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Author: Heather Gudenkauf

(4.27 stars – Goodreads rating)

Genre: Fiction / Mystery / Thriller / Suspense

Format: Kindle

Publication Date: May 12, 2020, by Park Row Books

Pages: 336 (Kindle version)

#ThisIsHowILied #HeatherGudenkauf #ParkRowBooks #NetGalley

Dark places made it so much easier to be cruel, to exact revenge.

Sugar and spice and everything nice, 
that's what little girls are made of...

We’ve all heard that popular little nursery rhyme touting the sweet attributes of precious little girls. But This is How I Lied is a murder mystery, not a nursery rhyme, so perhaps the more appropriate lyrics for this particular book would be those from Donna Summer (it’s disco, look it up)…

Toot toot, hey, beep beep
You bad girl, you sad girl
You're such a naughty bad girl
Beep beep, uh huh

You’ve gotta love a book with a really bad girl in it (or two). I think I first learned to appreciate the novelty of the female villain by watching Disney movies; Maleficent (the original animated version) and Ursula the Sea Witch are legit frighteningly evil characters! Later, I loved reading about diabolical female serial killer Gretchen Lowell in Chelsea Cain’s HeartSick series. Bad girls just draw us in! What motivates them? Why are they so damaged? Why aren’t they sugar and spice and everything nice?

That’s what captivates us – the bad boys are bad, but the bad girls are better! But before we get too far ahead, let’s check out the blurb…

Tough as nails and seven months pregnant, Detective Maggie Kennedy-O’Keefe of Grotto PD, is dreading going on desk duty before having the baby her and her husband so badly want. But when new evidence is found in the 25-year-old cold case of her best friend’s murder that requires the work of a desk jockey, Maggie jumps at the opportunity to be the one who finally puts Eve Knox’s case to rest.
Maggie has her work cut out for her. Everyone close to Eve is a suspect. There’s Nola, Eve’s little sister who’s always been a little… off; Nick, Eve’s ex-boyfriend with a vicious temper; a Schwinn riding drifter who blew in and out of Grotto; even Maggie’s husband Sean, who may have known more about Eve’s last day than he’s letting on. As Maggie continues to investigate, the case comes closer and closer to home, forcing her to confront her own demons before she can find justice for Eve.

People get what they deserve.

All is not right in the small town of Grotto, Iowa. Fifteen-year-old Eve is dead and the police can’t pin down the murderer. In any crime mystery worth its salt, you have a healthy lineup of credible suspects. If you only have one or two, it’s too easy for the mystery to fall flat. This is How I Lied goes full tilt on the suspects.

We’ve got an angry, violent ex-boyfriend, a creepy neighbor who’s a little too interested in young girls, a handsy drifter, a secretive husband, and then there’s Nola – Eve’s little sister who the whole town describes as a weird, crazy, evil genius. An evil genius who did not get along with Eve (or anyone else for that matter).

If you don’t understand how things die how can you understand how they live?

We’re conditioned to immediately point the finger at the ex-boyfriend, the shady stranger, or the man who’s keeping secrets because, after all, frogs and snails and puppy dog’s tails – that’s what little boys are made of. Right? But the way Gudenkauf writes Nola Knox, you can’t take your eyes off of her on the page. Her devil-may-care attitude, her reclusive lifestyle, her many many secrets. Readers love characters like her, you love to hate her.

So… whodunit? Unh, unh. I’m not telling! You won’t get any spoilers here. Plus, the truth behind all the lies is so unexpected and teeter-tottery that you’ll devour the last few chapters all while holding your breath!

This is a fast-paced, engaging read by an experienced author who knows how to play on our emotions. I love the multiple POV, the bouncy timeline, and the unreliable narrators. There are specific triggers that might offend sensitive readers (including domestic/physical abuse, sexual abuse of a minor, animal abuse, and abuse of a senior), so be warned.

This is my first Gudenkauf novel, so I can’t compare This is How I Lied to any of her other book, but if this one is at all representative of her work, then count me as a fan!

This is How I Lied is available now at any of the following retailers:

Heather Gudenkauf

Heather Gudenkauf is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of many books, including The Weight of Silence and These Things Hidden. Heather graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in elementary education, has spent her career working with students of all ages. She lives in Iowa with her husband, three children, and a very spoiled German Shorthaired Pointer named Lolo. In her free time, Heather enjoys spending time with her family, reading, hiking, and running.

The Turn of the Key

“I know you don’t know me but you have to help me. I didn’t kill anyone.” -The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware

Author: Ruth Ware

(3.97 stars – Goodreads rating)

Genre: Fiction / Thriller / Mystery

Format: Audiobook

Publication Date: August 6, 2019, by Gallery/Scout Press (Simon Schuster Audio)

Pages: 337 (Hardcover)

#TheTurnoftheKey #RuthWare

People do go mad, you know, if you stop them from sleeping for long enough…

Have you ever gone to a wedding reception, looked over, and marveled at a beautiful, intricately designed, smooth surfaced wedding cake? You know that bakers use fondant to create those ultra-smooth surfaces. Fondant gives cakes a designer look – it says, I am the best of the best. You add a lot when you add fondant to a cake: details, decoration, … cost. Where and I going with this? Let’s read the blurb and I’ll tell you why this book reminds me of fondant…

When she stumbles across the ad, she’s looking for something else completely. But it seems like too good an opportunity to miss—a live-in nannying post, with a staggeringly generous salary. And when Rowan Caine arrives at Heatherbrae House, she is smitten—by the luxurious “smart” home fitted out with all modern conveniences, by the beautiful Scottish Highlands, and by this picture-perfect family.
What she doesn’t know is that she’s stepping into a nightmare—one that will end with a child dead and herself in prison awaiting trial for murder.
She knows she’s made mistakes. She admits that she lied to obtain the post, and that her behavior toward the children wasn’t always ideal. She’s not innocent, by any means. But, she maintains, she’s not guilty—at least not of murder. Which means someone else is.

The ghosts wouldn’t like it.

OK, so what does a thriller/mystery have to do with cake icing? Well, fondant cakes are gorgeous, but fondant itself is disgusting. It tastes like sugar glued to plastic. And sometimes it makes the entire piece of cake inedible. Although you eagerly anticipate getting a slice of that beautiful cake, in the end there is only disappointment.

There is a lot to unpack in this book, but only because so much was added to make you think you are getting a great ghost story/psych thriller layered with deception and danger. But in the end, all of that is just a plate full of inedible fondant, and it is disappointing.

Piece by piece, I was being torn apart.

Adapted from Henry James’ The Turn of the Screw, this book ebbs and flows through the spooky supernatural and the naughty natural to present a tangled mess of a novel with an ambiguous ending that ties readers in knots. Normally a raw finish wouldn’t necessarily be a negative – especially with psych thrillers – but this one had SO many ups and downs throughout, readers deserved a more solid conclusion.

If Ware was attempting to emulate James with her “what the heck happened?” ending, it fell flat. Instead of feeling like a true mystery worthy of reflection, it felt unfinished with a thousand questions unanswered.

I struggled with this review at first – I like Ruth Ware and I never want to give any hard-working author a negative review. But I also understand that I can’t always only post reviews for books I like. So, I’ll embrace this two-star rating today and hope for better next week. I mean, what do I know – you may just like the potty-mouth nanny and the Elincourt’s poisonous progeny. I won’t judge.
However, if you’re looking for a haunted manor/spooked-out governess story, my advice is to stick with the original and read The Turn of the Screw by Henry James.


Check out Ruth Ware’s Turn of the Key web page for some extras that are actually more interesting than the book!

Ruth Ware

Ruth Ware grew up in Sussex, on the south coast of England. After graduating from Manchester University she moved to Paris, before settling in North London. She has worked as a waitress, a bookseller, a teacher of English as a foreign language and a press officer. She is married with two small children, and In a Dark, Dark Wood is her debut thriller. -bio from Goodreads

Blog Tour | The Third to Die (Mobile Response Team, #1)

Blog Tour | “Psychopaths were born and bred, created from both nature and nurture. They would keep coming, and nothing she did could deter them from their destructive path.” – The Third to Die

**Many thanks to Harlequin/MIRA and the author for the opportunity to read a free ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Author: Allison Brennan

(4.05 stars – Goodreads rating)

Genre: Crime Fiction / Mystery / Thriller / Suspense

Format: Kindle

Publication Date: February 4, 2020, by Harlequin / MIRA

Pages: 464 (Kindle version)

#TheThirdtoDie #ThirdtoDie #3rdtoDie #AllisonBrennan #MIRABooks

Rage filled his veins, memories of the past, the light and the dark, the good and the very, very bad.

You know that feeling when you get in on the very beginning of something that hasn’t hit the mainstream yet, but you just know it’s gonna be huge? I had that feeling decades ago while listening to Jodeci’s demo tape (yes, I said tape!) at an artists exhibition, again when I signed up for Netflix in their first year of operation, and again when I saw Jason Momoa in his first episode of Stargate Atlantis. All three times, I was right – huge.

Any time an author begins a new series, so much rides on that very first book. Will be a hit or a miss? Either one will determine the fate of the series. However, Allison Brennan has nothing to worry about with this beginning to her Mobile Response Team series. Let’s check out the blurb:

Detective Kara Quinn is visiting her hometown of Liberty Lake, Washington, after being placed on administrative leave by the LAPD, when she comes upon the mutilated body of a young nurse during an early morning jog. The manner of death is clearly ritualistic; she calls it in. Meanwhile back in DC, special agent in charge Mattias Costa is meticulously staffing his newly-minted Mobile Response Team. One of his first recruits is the brilliant FBI forensic psychologist Catherine Jones. When word reaches Matt that the Washington state murder appears to be the work of the Triple Killer–it will be the first case for the MRT. Jones has done the only profile on this serial killer, but she is reluctant to join the unit, still shaken by the death of her sister a year ago under circumstances for which she holds herself responsible. But only she holds the key to understanding the killer’s obsessive pattern–three murder victims, three deep slashes a piece, each three days apart, each series beginning on a March 3rd–3/3, then a three-year hiatus before he strikes again.
This time they have a chance to stop him before he claims another victim strikes, but only if they can figure out who he is and where is is hiding.

She had certainly worked her fair share of cases and tended to think like a criminal. Maybe because she’d been raised by two criminals.

So what does The Third to Die have going for it that already has me buying into a whole series that hasn’t even been written yet? It’s that same type of feeling I get when I know something’s going to be successful.

The Third to Die has all the hallmarks that readers are looking for in great suspense thrillers: diabolical crimes, an elusive criminal with a deep-seated vendetta, and a custom-made team of detectives intent on keeping everyone alive.
Allison Brennan gives us characters who are almost instantly compelling with gritty backgrounds, lost loves, and personal flaws included. This is a series to watch/read for lovers of FBI crime dramas and procedurals or for those who love series featuring seriously twisted bad people.

The writing is taut and moves along steadily up until the end, when the pace quickens and readers are greedily swept along with the intense action. I was not bored one minute, and this story did not suffer as so many others do with a long, complicated explanation of motives and methods. In this one, everyone just does their thing – both good and bad – and the reader is along for the ride; just like I like it!

He needed to release these demons, this overwhelming craving to punish those who were weak. Pathetic. Losers.

As you know, sometimes new things stake a while to catch on. I told many people about Jason Momoa back in his Stargate Atlantis days and 99% of them said, “Who?” Now, after also bringing Conan, Khal Drogo, and Aquaman to the screen, he’s pretty big stuff. I’ll go ahead and pat myself on the back for calling that one. So, trust me when I say that you should check out The Third to Die by Allison Brennan and get ready to follow Kara, Matt, and Catherine into all of their worst nightmares.

The Third to Die will be available February 4, 2020 at any of the following retailers:

Allison Brennan

Allison Brennan is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling and award-winning author of three dozen thrillers and numerous short stories. Allison believes life is too short to be bored, so she had five kids. Allison and her family live in Arizona. Visit her at

Blog Tour | First Cut

Blog Tour | “I was being haunted by two women I didn’t even know. One was dead and buried — the other waited for me in the morgue cooler.” – First Cut

**Many thanks to Hanover Square Press and the authors for the opportunity to read a free ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Author: Judy Melinek & T. J. Mitchell

(4.10 stars – Goodreads rating)

Genre: Crime Fiction / Mystery / Thriller

Format: Kindle

Publication Date: January 7, 2020, by Hanover Square Press

Pages: 336 (Kindle version)

#FirstCut #JudyMelinek #TJMitchell #HanoverSquarePress

I wondered, again, if I had mad the right choice in coming to San Francisco. Then again, I had to remind myself, there hadn’t been any choice involved.

Reviewing books isn’t always easy. There are expectations attached to every review you right; publishers want a good review to boost sales, readers want an honest review to fill TBR lists, and authors want outstanding reviews to know that others also love the literary children they’ve released into the world. Sometimes those expectations make a reviewer sentimental enough to bump up a rating – you know, give it an extra star because, hey, it wasn’t terrible.

Don’t get nervous, I am not about to trash this book in the name of keeping things “honest”. Just the opposite, in fact. This isn’t your mother-in-law’s gloppy potato salad that you have to smile and pretend is delicious. This is a Food Network chef’s gourmet potato salad that can more than hold its own at any family reunion picnic. OK, I’ll translate that: This is a good book.

Dr. Jessie Teska has made a chilling discover. A suspected overdose case contains hints of something more sinister: a drug lord’s attempt at a murderous cover up. As more bodies land on her autopsy table, Jessie uncovers a constellation of deaths that point to an elaborate network of powerful criminals — on both sides of the law — that will do anything to keep things buried. But autopsy means “see for your yourself, ” and Jessie Teska won’t stop until she’s seen it all — even if it means the next corpse on the slab could be her own.

Nothing puts a messy homicide investigation out of your mind like a newer and messier one.

When a book has a certain formula that captures my attention, I get a little giddy; and this one fits the bill. It has a flawed, but relatable, main character, love interests to the left and right of her, several mysteries to solve with villains in abundance, and diverse characters that keep the plot moving along at a rapid, engaging pace. There are different voices here, different backgrounds, and varied experiences – even though they all share one basic career category: law enforcement.

I am so satisfied that First Cut is my first blog review of 2020. I mean, I could have really picked a dud to start out the year, but instead, I happen upon this gem of a mystery/thriller! If you’re into forensic-based crime thrillers, check. If you’re into messy little love triangles, check. If you’re into strong female leads working their way into power positions, check. And if you’re into thorough, clever, inclusive storytelling with heart, check, y’all, check.

You aren’t responsible for the things other people do to themselves.

You can find First Cut at any of these major booksellers on January 7th!

Judy Melinek & T. J. Mitchell

Judy Melinek was an assistant medical eaminer in San Francisco for nine years, and today works as a forensic pathologist in Oakland. T.J. Mitchell, is a writer with an English degree from Harvard, who worked in the film industry before becoming a full-time, stay-at-home dad.

Good Me Bad Me

=> More disturbing than hurt is love when it’s wrong. -Good Me Bad Me<=

Author: Ali Land

(3.90 stars – Goodreads rating)

Genre: Fiction / Psychological Thriller

Format: Paperback

Publication Date: 2017, Bo Dreams, Ltd.

Pages: 292


I don’t know what’s going to happen to me. I’m scared. Different. I wasn’t given a choice.

Remember in You’ve Got Mail when Kathleen Kelly tells Joe Fox that she always wanted to be that person that can say exactly what she wants to say exactly when she wants to say it? I totally felt the exact same way. To be able to say that mean or snarky thing to that totally rude or disrespectful person at the exact time that it would affect them the most – that seemed like a lofty goal. The Bad Me wanted that so badly!

But then, like Kathleen, there is the Good Me. The one who keeps the peace and mends the fences, goes home, and then two hours later has an epiphany and thinks, THAT’S exactly what I SHOULD have said. The battle of good and evil, it always rages, but never in my life has it ever been as intense as it is in Good Me Bad Me. Check out the blurb…

Milly’s mother is a serial killer. Though Milly loves her mother, the only way to make her stop is to turn her in to the police. Milly is given a fresh start: a new identity, a home with an affluent foster family, and a spot at an exclusive private school.
But Milly has secrets, and life at her new home becomes complicated. As her mother’s trial looms, with Milly as the star witness, Milly starts to wonder how much of her is nature, how much of her is nurture, and whether she is doomed to turn out like her mother after all.
When tensions rise and Milly feels trapped by her shiny new life, she has to decide: Will she be good? Or is she bad? She is, after all, her mother’s daughter.

I thought you would own less of me after I handed you in but sometimes it feels like you own more… Invisible chains. Jangle when I walk.

OK, we are introduced to this tragic creature, Milly, who really needs a hug. Her mom is serial killer, which is a pretty rotten way to grow up, no matter how you analyze it. So, naturally, you’d think that things would start getting better after Murder-Mom is arrested (not a spoiler) and Milly starts a new life with her highly-esteemed foster parents, right? Not so fast…

You know how at random moments you might hear your mother’s voice in your head reminding you, encouraging you, nagging you – “Never leave the house with your hair wet.” or, “Use your head for something other than a hat rack!” Well, Milly could hear her mom’s voice too, only that voice wasn’t doing much encouraging. Or maybe it was…

I used to pray for a night light, I believed in a god back then but instead I got you.

Good Me Bad Me really took me on a ride. While readers naturally (and necessarily) sympathize with Milly’s plight, we all know that there are things operating in the background that we just can’t suss out in the beginning (or middle). The steadily building action is dangerous and there is very little that distracts from it. This is a psychological thriller that truly earned its name.

With an unconventional narrative style, Ali Land captures our imagination and forces us into the mind of a teenage girl who certainly isn’t all that she seems to be. The fit is uncomfortable, but that’s how it’s supposed to feel – for most of us. What you get with Good Me Bad Me is not so much a plot twist as a plot untwisting with characters that are motivated by more than just the obvious connections we see on the pages.

Ali Land

After graduating from university with a degree in Mental Health, Ali Land spent a decade working as a Child and Adolescent Mental Health Nurse in both hospitals and schools in the UK and Australia. Ali is now a full-time writer and lives in West London.

The Family Upstairs

Be careful who you let in. The Family Upstairs

**Many thanks to NetGalley, Atria Books, and the author for the opportunity to read a free ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Author: Lisa Jewell

(4.14 stars – Goodreads rating)

Genre: Fiction / Mystery / Thriller

Format: Kindle

Publication Date: November 5, 2019, by Atria Books

Pages: 352 (Hardcover), 464 (Kindle version)


It’s only now, with decades of hindsight, that I can see how odd it was.

II really want to move closer to my job and my daughter’s school, so I’m currently house-hunting online and by word-of-mouth. Someone recently asked me if I would mind living in a condo. My answer was a hard and fast “no”. Why? Because people are weird.

And after I sat down and swallowed this suspenseful story about the perils of cohabitation, I feel incredibly justified in my answer! Told from multiple perspectives and different timelines, with fatally flawed characters, this is a story that will grab you and pull you into the depths of family for which dysfunctional is an aspiration. Here’s the blurb…

Soon after her twenty-fifth birthday, Libby Jones returns home from work to find the letter she’s been waiting for her entire life. She rips it open with one driving thought: I am finally going to know who I am. She soon learns not only the identity of her birth parents, but also that she is the sole inheritor of their abandoned mansion on the banks of the Thames in London’s fashionable Chelsea neighborhood, worth millions. Everything in Libby’s life is about to change. But what she can’t possibly know is that others have been waiting for this day as well—and she is on a collision course to meet them. Twenty-five years ago, police were called to 16 Cheyne Walk with reports of a baby crying. When they arrived, they found a healthy ten-month-old happily cooing in her crib in the bedroom. Downstairs in the kitchen lay three dead bodies, all dressed in black, next to a hastily scrawled note. And the four other children reported to live at Cheyne Walk were gone.

The weakness of men lay at the root of every bad thing that had ever happened.

OK, what drew me in immediately: (1) an unexpected inheritance, (2) an abandoned mansion, (3) London – all the creepiest strangeties happen in London (and if “strangeties” isn’t a word, it should be, and (4) a baby alone in the midst of chaos. Everything about that summary says you-must-read-this-book. And I am so glad that I did.

When you begin to read a book and you immediately know that you don’t have a clue what is going on or how it’s all going to turn out, that’s when you have the most fun. What begins as the story of a woman learning about her birth parents and possibly getting a much-needed new start in life, quickly becomes something much, much more.

I knew what I had to do and it does not cast me in a good light. But I was a child. I was desperate. I was trying to save us all.

Living with people is tricky whether they be family, friends, or strangers. Can anyone you live with be completely trusted to lock the doors if they’re the last ones in, or to not leave their flat iron on while everyone’s at work? My guess is no. But if the worst you have to ever deal with is having a roommate who plays his music a bit too loud on a work night, then you have it a million times better than the Lamb family living in the mansion on Cheyne Walk.

Lisa Jewell has given us a book (another one!) with great pacing, captivating characters with varying degrees of drastic difficulties and believability, and the meat and bones of a story so dark that its small victories feel like supernovas. Five stars to this new release that I couldn’t hardly put down. If you don’t have it already, this book needs to be on your TBR and on your bookshelf. And after you read it, I think you’ll agree with me – single-family living is the way to go!

The Family Upstairs is available now at any of the following retail stores:

Read an excerpt here: The Family Upstairs Excerpt

Lisa Jewell

Lisa Jewell is the internationally bestselling author of eighteen novels, including the New York Times bestseller Then She Was Gone, as well as I Found YouThe Girls in the Garden, and The House We Grew Up In. In total, her novels have sold more than two million copies across the English-speaking world and her work has also been translated into sixteen languages so far. Lisa lives in London with her husband and their two daughters. Connect with her on Twitter @LisaJewellUK and on Facebook @LisaJewellOfficial.