The Woman in the Park was one of the best and most exciting books we read in 2019 and it’s one I suggest you not miss! Sarah is one of the most compelling and convincing characters I have read in a thriller!
We are so delighted to have Teresa Sorkin and Tullan Holmqvist join us in our Behind the Pages Goodreads group for an author Q & A on January 9, 2020. I have set up some questions for them about this intense, complex and cleverly written story and their writing process.
Join in sharing the love with us. To join before or view the Q & A after Jan 9 you can find the thread here
When Manhattanite Sarah Rock meets a mysterious and handsome stranger in the park, she is drawn to him. Sarah wants to get away from her daily routine, her cheating husband and his crazy mistress, her frequent sessions with her heartless therapist, and her moody children.
But nothing is as it seems. Her life begins to unravel when a woman from the park goes missing and Sarah becomes the prime suspect in the woman’s disappearance. Her lover is nowhere to be found, her husband is suspicious of her, and her therapist is talking to the police.
With no one to trust, Sarah must face her inner demons and uncover the truth to prove her innocence. A thriller that questions what is real-with its shocking twists, secrets, and lies―The Woman in the Park will leave readers breathless.
From our Hot Diggity Dang and Holy Shooty ball’s review
“That was no walk in the park but a sprint right to that final reveal that had left me cheering for just how brilliantly written The Woman in the Park is.” “Such an awesome and unexpected treasure of a book that was so darn entertaining and thrilling to read. I was immediately hooked and obsessed with what I was reading and couldn’t put this book down. It really consumed my thoughts and I loved how this book tapped into all of my emotions—which even got a little under my skin.”
Thank you Teresa Sorkin & Tullan Holmqvist for our signed copies. It’s going on our favorites shelve!!
Hello everyone and thank you so much for stopping by! Today is our stop on the Harlequin Trade Publishing Mystery/Thriller Blog Tour for Good Girls Lie by J. T. Ellison. We are so excited and it is our absolute pleasure to share our individual reviews with you. Thanks so much to Justine for the opportunity to be a part of this blog tour.
Today we are sharing Brenda’s & Norma’s review with you!
The Traveling Sisters ~ Brenda, Norma & Lindsay! xoxo
J. T. ELLISON – About the author
J. T. Ellison is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of more than 20 novels, and the EMMY-award winning co-host of A WORD ON WORDS, Nashville’s premier literary show. With millions of books in print, her work has won critical acclaim, prestigious awards, and has been published in 26 countries. Ellison lives in Nashville with her husband and twin kittens.
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.
J.T. Ellison’s pulse-pounding new novel examines the tenuous bonds of friendship, the power of lies and the desperate lengths people will go to to protect their secrets.
Good Girls Lie but not here in this in this elite all-girls boarding school where honor is a code??? Well, appearance is everything, but things are not always as they appear. There are a few secrets hidden in the dark corner and behind closed doors in this school and not everyone seems to following that code.
Good Girls Lie is a simple and easy read with a little dark to it. With a story that centres around teens, I was a bit worried about the teen drama however I thought the drama was kept low here between the Goode girls. There is some cattiness, games, and competition here between them, but I thought just enough to create some conflict between them that added to the suspense and tension to the story.
The setting is interesting and I seemed to find myself drawn to stories where the setting is characters themselves. With this school, it also harbored some secrets here with our characters making it even more exciting.
The story does start off with a dark scene that is a little chilling to catch your attention and the mystery starts to form there. You don’t need too many detective skills here to pick up on the clues and figure out what is going on, making this a fun and easy read.
Menacing, edgy, & an engrossing page-turner!
GOOD GIRLS LIE by J.T. ELLISON is a riveting, spooky, dark, gritty, and twisty thriller that has quite the seductive and intriguing storyline. It opens up with a brutally chilling scene when one of the students is found dead and then it has us going back in time to learn the events of what happened leading up to this horrific tragedy. This is probably one of my favourite tactics, it definitely caught my attention, freaked me out a little bit and kept my interest piqued right to the very end.
J.T. ELLISON delivers a quick, clever, taut, well-written story here that has an absolutely fantastic creepy atmospheric setting to it that was both haunting and suspenseful. The Goode School is a prestigious all-girls boarding school that was a character all in itself that I was thoroughly entertained by. I loved all the spooky, claustrophobic, creepy, and gothic vibes that surrounded it.
I wouldn’t necessarily say that I was totally engaged the whole time I was reading this or surprised by the twists but there were definitely parts to the story that I found quite appealing and immersive. The way that the story was told through alternating perspectives was another tactic that definitely appealed to me.
I like to go in completely blind and see if I can figure out the direction and the storyline all by myself. Sometimes I must admit that there are a few books where I’ve been a few chapters in that I had no clue where the story was headed, needing to read the synopsis. I didn’t have a problem figuring this one out or knowing where it was headed. Even though I thought it was a little bit predictable, I wasn’t disappointed at all with the reveals.
Norma’s Stats: Cover: This cover immediately appealed and intrigued me and definitely enticed me to want to read this book. I think it is an extremely fitting representation to storyline. Title: An intriguing, relevant, and totally effective representation to storyline. I loved how it played so fittingly into storyline. Goode girls don’t lie…hahaha we will see about that!!! Writing/Prose: Easy to follow, intense, entertaining, suspenseful, magnetic, engaging and compulsively readable. Plot: Dark, twisted, disturbing, atmospheric, creepy, interesting, fast-paced, twisty, and entertaining. Ending: I wouldn’t say that the ending was all that surprising but the Epilogue was downright fantastic, exciting, and utterly creepy! Overall: 3.5 Stars! I do love me some drama and angst in my thrillers and throw in lots of juicy secrets along with a spooky and eerie setting then I’m one happy camper! If that appeals to you as well then I think you are going to absolutely love this one!! Would recommend!
Thank you so much to Harlequin / MIRA for kindly sending us a copy of this book!
Harlequin Books were kind enough to allow us to share an excerpt of this fabulous book with all of you…..
The girl’s body dangles from the tall iron gates guarding the school’s entrance. A closer examination shows the ends of a red silk tie peeking out like a cardinal on a winter branch, forcing her neck into a brutal angle. She wears her graduation robe and multicolored stole as if knowing she’ll never see the achievement. It rained overnight and the thin robe clings to her body, dew sparkling on the edges. The last tendrils of dawn’s fog laze about her legs, which are five feet from the ground.
There is no breeze, no birds singing or squirrels industriously gathering for the long winter ahead, no cars passing along the street, only the cool, misty morning air and the gentle metallic creaking of the gates under the weight of the dead girl. She is suspended in midair, her back to the street, her face hidden behind a curtain of dirty, wet hair, dark from the rains.
Because of the damage to her face, it will take them some time to officially identify her. In the beginning, it isn’t even clear she attends the school, despite wearing The Goode School robes.
But she does.
The fingerprints will prove it. Of course, there are a few people who know exactly who is hanging from the school’s gates. Know who, and know why. But they will never tell. As word spreads of the apparent suicide, The Goode School’s all-female student body begin to gather, paying silent, terrified homage to their fallen compatriot. The gates are closed and locked—as they always are overnight—buttressed on either side by an ivy-covered, ten-foot-high, redbrick wall, but it tapers off into a knee-wall near the back entrance to the school parking lot, and so is escapable by foot. The girls of Goode silently filter out from the dorms, around the end of Old West Hall and Old East Hall to Front Street—the main street of Marchburg, the small Virginia town housing the elite prep school—and take up their positions in front of the gate in a wedge of crying, scared, worried young women who glance over shoulders looking for the one who is missing from their ranks. To reassure themselves this isn’t their friend, their sister, their roommate.
Another girl joins them, but no one notices she comes from the opposite direction, from town. She was not behind the redbrick wall.
Whispers rise from the small crowd, nothing loud enough to be overheard but forming a single question.
Who is it? Who?
A solitary siren pierces the morning air, the sound bleeding upward from the bottom of the hill, a rising crescendo. Someone has called the sheriff.
Goode perches like a gargoyle above the city’s small downtown, huddles behind its ivy-covered brick wall. The campus is flanked by two blocks of restaurants, bars, and necessary shops. The school’s buildings are tied together with trolleys—enclosed glass-and-wood bridges that make it easy for the girls to move from building to building in climate-controlled comfort. It is quiet, dignified, isolated. As are the girls who attend the school; serious, studious. Good. Goode girls are always good. They go on to great things.
The headmistress, or dean, as she prefers to call herself, Ford Julianne Westhaven, great-granddaughter several times removed from the founder of The Goode School, arrives in a flurry, her driver, Rumi, braking the family Bentley with a screech one hundred feet away from the gates. The crowd in the street blocks the car and, for a moment, the sight of the dangling girl. No one stops to think about why the dean might be off campus this early in the morning. Not yet, anyway.
Dean Westhaven rushes out of the back of the dove-gray car and runs to the crowd, her face white, lips pressed firmly together, eyes roving. It is a look all the girls at Goode recognize and shrink from.
The dean’s irritability is legendary, outweighed only by her kindness. It is said she alone approves every application to the school, that she chooses the Goode girls by hand for their intelligence, their character. Her say is final. Absolute. But for all her goodness, her compassion, her kindness, Dean Westhaven has a temper.
She begins to gather the girls into groups, small knots of natural blondes and brunettes and redheads, no fantastical dye allowed. Some shiver in oversize school sweatshirts and running shorts, some are still in their pajamas. The dean is looking for the chick missing from her flock. She casts occasional glances over her shoulder at the grim scene behind her. She, too, is unsure of the identity of the body, or so it seems. Perhaps she simply doesn’t want to acknowledge the truth.
The siren grows to an earsplitting shriek and dies midrange, a soprano newly castrated. The deputies from the sheriff’s office have arrived, the sheriff hot on their heels. Within moments, they cordon off the gates, move the students back, away, away. One approaches the body, cataloging; another begins taking discreet photographs, a macabre paparazzi.
They speak to Dean Westhaven, who quietly, breathlessly, admits she hasn’t approached the body and has no idea who it might be.
She is lying, though. She knows. Of course, she knows. It was inevitable.
The sheriff, six sturdy feet of muscle and sinew, approaches the gate and takes a few shots with his iPhone. He reaches for the foot of the dead girl and slowly, slowly turns her around.
The eerie morning silence is broken by the words, soft and gasping, murmurs moving sinuously through the crowd of girls, their feet shuffling in the morning chill, the fog’s tendrils disappearing from around the posts.
They say her name, an unbroken chain of accusation and misery.
There are truths, and there are lies, and then there is everything that really happened, which is where you and I will meet. My truth is your lie, and my lie is your truth, and there is a vast expanse between them.
Take, for example, Ash Carlisle.
Six feet tall, glowing skin, a sheaf of blond hair in a ponytail. She wears black jeans with rips in the knees and a loose greenand-white plaid button-down with white Adidas Stan Smiths; casual, efficient travel clothes. A waiter delivers a fresh cup of tea to her nest in the British Airways first-class lounge, and when she smiles her thanks, he nearly drops his tray—so pure and happy is that smile. The smile of an innocent.
Or not so innocent? You’ll have to decide that for yourself. Soon.
She’s perfected that smile, by the way. Practiced it. Stood in the dingy bathroom of the flat on Broad Street and watched herself in the mirror, lips pulling back from her teeth over and over and over again until it becomes natural, until her eyes sparkle and deep dimples appear in her cheeks. It is a full-toothed smile, her teeth straight and blindingly white, and when combined with the china-blue eyes and naturally streaked blond hair, it is devastating.
Isn’t this what a sociopath does? Work on their camouflage? What better disguise is there than an open, thankful, gracious smile? It’s an exceptionally dangerous tool, in the right hands.
And how does a young sociopath end up flying first class, you might ask? You’ll be assuming her family comes from money, naturally, but let me assure you, this isn’t the case. Not at all. Not really. Not anymore.
No, the dean of the school sent the ticket.
Because Ash Carlisle leads a charmed life, and somehow managed to hoodwink the dean into not only paying her way but paying for her studies this first term, as well. A full scholarship, based on her exemplary intellect, prodigy piano playing, and sudden, extraordinary need. Such a shame she lost her parents so unexpectedly.
Yes, Ash is smart. Smart and beautiful and talented, and capable of murder. Don’t think for a moment she’s not. Don’t let her fool you.
Sipping the tea, she types and thinks, stops to chew on a nail, then reads it again. The essay she is obsessing over gained her access to the prestigious, elite school she is shipping off to. The challenges ahead—transferring to a new school, especially one as impossible to get into as The Goode School—frighten her, excite her, make her more determined than ever to get away from Oxford, from her past.
A new life. A new beginning. A new chapter for Ash.
But can you ever escape your past?
Ash sets down the tea, and I can tell she is worrying again about fitting in. Marchburg, Virginia—population five hundred on a normal summer day, which expands to seven hundred once the students arrive for term—is a long way from Oxford, England. She worries about fitting in with the daughters of the DC elite—daughters of senators and congressmen and ambassadors and reporters and the just plain filthy rich. She can rely on her looks—she knows how pretty she is, isn’t vain about it, exactly, but knows she’s more than acceptable on the looks scale—and on her intelligence, her exceptional smarts. Some would say cunning, but I think this is a disservice to her. She’s both booksmart and street-smart, the rarest of combinations. Despite her concerns, if she sticks to the story, she will fit in with no issues.
The only strike against her, of course, is me, but no one knows about me.
No one can ever know about me.
Good Girls Lie
Author: J.T. Ellison
Publication Date: 12/30/19
Publisher: MIRA Books
If you would like to read a copy of this book for yourself, it is available to order from the following retailers:
I have a special interest in mental health and it’s one area of our health I am most sensitive to. Anorexia nervosa is a psychological disorder that I haven’t explored that much of or understand that well. I thought Yara Zgheib did such a great job taking us into the mind of our main character Anna as she reclaims her life in the life-threatening stage of anorexia.
I was deeply moved by this haunting, raw and honestly written story. I feared and rooted for Anna and the girls. I started to see how Anna viewed food and I could feel Anna’s anxiety and terror towards food.
The treatment at times seemed harsh and I became angry at their approach, then reminded myself just how terrifying anorexia is as it affects physical health as well, making it even more life-threatening. I felt a lot of the focus was more on the physical side of their health and would of like to see more into the psychological side of the disorder. It did get me thinking more about just how terrifying it is, though.
The girls at 17 Swann Street deeply moved me with the support and courage they had while supporting each other when faced with the anxiety and terror of eating those 6 meals a day. Yara Zgheib highlights this through her compassionate writing and complex characters and it warmed my heart. We also see the support and understanding of Anna’s husband, as well. I loved how I could see that yet still see just how terrified he was at losing the love of his life.
After reading this one, Yara Zgheib gave me so much to think about and left me wanting to learn more about this disorder. As heartbreaking this subject is, the story is also heartwarming and full of hope. I highly recommend it, especially if you have an interest in mental health.
I am kicking off the new year here with our first review of the year for You’re Not Listening: What You’re Missing and Why It Matters by Kate Murphy, one of the most eye-opening, powerful and important books I have read in 2019. It’s an easy, fast read with a lot packed into it. This was a Traveling Sister group read and one of the most valuable discussions we have had. Pub date is January 7, 2020 and I can’t recommend this one enough!!
The World is just too noisy for me with everyone talking and no one listening so I jumped at the chance to read and discuss this one with some members of our group. We highlighted paragraph after paragraph and wanted to share how powerful each was for us. I now want to highlight all of them, but then you would be reading most of the book. lol We opened our minds to what we are missing and to the skills needed to be a good listener. We shared our own truths about listening and, in turn, learned something about ourselves and each other. We started to become more aware of our own listening skills and started practicing listening and we could see how satisfying it is to listen.
Kate Murphy starts with the core here as to why it matters we are listening with addressing that people get lonely from lack of listening. Not only from the distractions of our devices and social media influence but also with feeling lonely even with people because we are not practicing the skill of listening. She offers up some powerful, eye-opening and valuable information here and follows through with some suggestions that will make a difference. She offers up reasons we are not listening that I wasn’t aware of and the importance of freeing up our minds from distractions that are going on around us and in our minds. She shows us that listening is also gathering more from others than just the words said. In a positive way, she provokes some questions “Are we really connecting and contributing to others or just waiting for our turn to talk? “Does what others say matter to you and is it important that you see what they are saying?”
Kate Murphy also addresses when to make the call to stop listening when the world becomes too noisy and you just don’t have the capacity to listen to the noise or negativity. Life is just hard enough as it is.
I highly recommend reading this one! Let’s listen up, Friends and make a difference! It matters to the mental health crisis!
Informative. Eye-opening. Thought-provoking.
This was a well researched, enlightening read that made me sit and ponder many points. I love books that make me think! The author presents her research in an easy, well organized manner with chapters breaking down her theories. I liked how the information was presented.
I found the beginning chapters more interesting than the latter chapters which felt a bit drawn out. However, there were countless ideas and theories presented throughout the book that I will keep with me long after I write this review.
I will end with a couple quotes that stood out for me (these are quotes from an Advanced Readers Copy which may change prior to publication):
“Hearing is passive. Listening is active.”
“Understanding is the goal of listening, and it takes effort.”
“To listen does not mean, or even imply, that you agree with someone. It simply means you accept the legitimacy of the other person’s point of view and that you might have something to learn from it.”
This is an easily readable, enjoyable and thought-provoking book. I know some may look at the name and think “What? A book about listening or not listening. How can that be interesting?” Well, it is. Working in a field that is all about listening, I found that this book reinforced, most of what I already knew and had been taught in graduate school, but it was also an eye-opener for me in that I did not always utilize the skills I had been taught in my professional life in my personal life. People not only want to be heard but they need to be heard! Who doesn’t want a captive audience? That is why people may tell bartenders more about themselves than they tell those closest to them in their lives – because they have an active listener. Work, distractions, social media, technology, etc. all can get in the way of listening and lead to loneliness. Then there is silence – what a powerful tool that is. I enjoyed the sections about other cultures and how they view silence both professionally and personally.
There is a lot of food for thought in this book and lots to discuss. Hopefully, we will all come away as better listeners or at least become more aware of how we are listening to others. I enjoyed how this book was written. It does not come off as academic as some nonfiction books do. This is an easy book to read and I dare you not to pick up your highlighter while reading this book. There is a lot of passage that stood out for me and I found myself making note of them.
From Paige’s review
This is one of the most impactful books I have read all year. The message of true listening in You’re Not Listening serves to emphatically renovate the way we interact with each other. Kate Murphy’s words can revolutionize your conversations and relationships in a meaningful and powerful way. But, only if you listen.
There was so much that resonated with me, and I highlighted quite a lot. My favorite chapters were “Addicted to Distractions” about the endless distractions that interfere with meaningful social interactions, “Supporting, Not Shifting the Conversation” about how we often direct the attention away from the person talking and direct it towards ourselves, and “Improvisational Listening” about collaborating with others.
Thank you to Celadon Books for providing the Traveling Sisters in this group copies to read together!!
The Wives by Tarryn Fisher is out December 30 and if you are looking for something different, twisted and shocking that just might horrify you, this is a must read!!
Shocking or shamelessly manipulative, I am not sure which one but it was one fun, dark and twisted read even for this dark and twisted reader. I think this picky twisted reader might be mellowing out a little here with things that hit a nerve for me. I think Tarryn Fisher might have played into that by kicking it up a notch here with the dark and horrifying behavior. I think Norma might be picking up some of my pickiness because it seemed to hit a nerve with her and she was left feeling a bit differently here from Lindsay and I.
The Wives started off more of lighter easy read for me and I thought I was in for a smooth, fast read, well, well things took quite the turn halfway and turned quite twisted. I was horrified by the turn it took but couldn’t stop reading it. I feel like in the past this would have been one that might have upset me a bit, but instead, it was Norma who was. While we were discussing this one, she sounded like me and I sounded like her. Is that a sister thing? Even though the twisted part of me was on alert and I thought something seemed a little odd, I was shocked by the turn the story took. At times it felt manipulative and that added a little fun to the dark here in this story.
After that halfway mark, I couldn’t put this one down and I was hiding in different places in the house to read it when I was supposed to be getting ready for Christmas dinner. The ending is something to talk about and we couldn’t wait to talk about it. I was left shocked and feeling where did that come from. Were there clues to see that coming? I am not sure there was and I decided I didn’t really care.
Compulsively readable, mind distorting, & ultimately a train wreck!
THE WIVES by TARRYN FISHER is an engaging, fast-paced, dark, gritty, and twisty thriller that had quite the bizarre, intriguing and original premise to it. I was immediately sucked into the story and could not put this book down for the first half of the story. The first half was absolutely unputdownable and had my full attention and then around the 50% mark my attention started to wane a little bit and then well the ending happened, which I wasn’t all that fond of.
I really have this pet-peeve when I feel like certain aspects of the story is deliberately omitted for shock value purposes rather than well-layering and guiding us there. There were also some aspects to the story that really hit a nerve and I thought the author shouldn’t have used certain themes as plot devices and points. I could have totally missed this but I think even the character’s name was deliberately omitted in the beginning to use as a plot device.
I definitely empathize with our main character here and was definitely rooting for her for the most part anyway, even though I had a few issues with her actions and reactions. At times I totally felt for her and at other times I was totally flabbergasted by her. It was definitely one tumultuous, wacky and wild ride!
Addictive and edgy! Gripping and shocking! Thrillingly unputdownable!!!!
This book had me hooked from start to finish – I literally couldn’t put it down. The plot is so unique and engrossing, I found myself in a constant state of curiosity and shock. I was absorbed deep within these characters lives, questioning their situations and decisions. I couldn’t figure out who to believe – my thoughts flip flopped from one chapter to the next. The narrative was brilliantly executed – I loved the way the plot unfolded. I was completely invested in the storyline.
There were plot points near the end that headed toward unrealistic territory, yet the writing had me addicted and fully engrossed in finding out how things would come together – I couldn’t flip the pages fast enough. The pace is quick and the flow is seamless. I loved this twisty and thrilling journey!
Norma’s Stats: Cover: Suspenseful, vanishing, mysterious, intriguing, and a great representation to storyline. I definitely find this cover quite appealing! Title: A simple, intriguing, effective, and fitting representation to storyline. Writing/Prose: Easy to follow, entertaining, suspenseful, engaging and compulsively readable. Plot: Dark, twisted, disturbing, uncomfortable, edgy, bizarre, interesting, fast-paced, twisty, entertaining, and ultimately ridiculous. Ending: An unsatisfying twist ending. I think the ending was a little over the top and could have been better executed and developed. I think it’s going to be a case of you either love it or hate it! I’d love to hear what camp you ended up in!! Overall: I don’t think this was a terrible book by no means and for the most part it was an absolutely unputdownable gripping read. Go ahead and take this one for a ride! Hopefully it’s a wild and thrilling one for you right up until the very end!!
Thank you so much to Harlequin / Graydon House for kindly sending us a copy of this book!
Hello everyone and thank you so much for stopping by! Today is our stop on the Harlequin Trade Publishing Mystery/Thriller Blog Tour for The Last Affair by Margot Hunt. We are so excited and it is our absolute pleasure toshare our individual reviews with you. Thank you so much to Justine for the opportunity to be a part of this blog tour.
Today we are sharing Brenda, Norma’s and Lindsay’s reviews with you!
The Traveling Sisters ~ Brenda, Norma & Lindsay! xxoo
Margot Hunt – About the author
Margot Hunt is a critically acclaimed author of psychological suspense. Her work has been praised by Publisher’s Weekly, Booklist and Kirkus Reviews.
Gwen Landon—poster woman for perfect wife, mother, and suburban bliss—is found brutally bludgeoned to death behind her Floridian McMansion. Beautiful and beloved by her community, Gwen makes an unlikely victim. But just a scratch below the surface of her perfectly curated world reveals one far more sinister. When looking back over the six months leading up to her death, the question of, “who would do this?” quickly shifts to, “who wouldn’t?”
Commercially successful food blogger and mother of three, Nora Holliday never imagined she would have the nerve, let alone time, to get involved an affair. Trapped in an unhappy marriage, she does whatever it takes to keep it all together. But when Nora runs into Gwen Landon’s husband at a hotel in Orlando, his easy kindness and warmth proves too tempting to resist. As their affair spirals dangerously out of control, it seems things can’t get more complicated—until Gwen turns up dead.
The Last Affair starts off with quite the bang with that opening line and scene. I knew I was going to be entertained by Margot Hunt’s writing and I was from beginning to end.
Margot Hunt takes your typical affair and turns into a fun story here by adding some sass and spunk to the writing and the unlikeable characters you love to hate.
The pace is easy and quick, with just the right amount of drama to the story to move it forward for me. The dynamics between the characters are engaging, and I found myself drawn into the drama by silently yelling at the characters. The ending came together well for me as I started to piece together who left “the woman’s blood-covered body splayed facedown in the grass”, in this “typical upscale Floridian backyard.”
THE LAST AFFAIR by MARGOT HUNT is an interesting, easy to read, easy-going, thrilling and fast-paced story that immediately piqued my interest and thoroughly entertained me.
THE LAST AFFAIR has an awesome opening scene! I have quite the fondness and love for when an author opens up her story to a revealing, horrific and ghastly murder scene, allowing us to be pretty much privy to who the victim is right at the very beginning. This technique definitely keeps me intrigued, my curiosity piqued, and turning those pages as fast as I possibly can right to the very end. I love being right dab in the centre of all the action as I’m trying to piece all those clues together of who those shocking and juicy suspects might be.
I wouldn’t necessarily say that there was anything new on the table here though but the character dynamics and antics had quite the unique spin to it that definitely gripped and thrilled me. I might have done some gasping and shaking my head numerous times at these characters.
A fast-paced, easy and thrilling read!
This is one of those books that you can fly through without having put much effort in. The pages and chapters quickly coast by as the storyline keeps you guessing. It was exactly what I was in the mood for. It kept me intrigued and entertained from start to finish. There were a few dramatic scenes, but nothing that overshadowed my enjoyment. The characters and their relationship dynamics were unique and interesting and the suspense kept me curious until the very end. This was my first book by this author and I look forward to reading more from her.
Thank you so much Harlequin for our copies!
Norma’s Stats: Cover: An effective and fitting representation to storyline that depicts the storyline extremely well and really allows us to experience this story as if we were sneakily peeking in just like the cover suggests. Title: I wasn’t all that drawn to the title of this book as it just appeared to be another one of those “affair” stories. Boy was I wrong! Writing/Prose: Easy to follow, well-written, entertaining, immersive, and gripping. Plot: Engrossing, interesting, suspenseful, soapy, gripping, scandalous, fast-paced, and entertaining. Ending: I wasn’t completely in the dark but let me tell you that ending was totally awesome and I loved how it all played out. I might have found it a little off-putting though – the extreme end but regardless the author did a great job wrapping this one up. Overall: Would absolutely recommend if you are looking for an easy-going, relaxed, and mild domestic thriller to spend some time with. This was the perfect read and escape for me while I was resting at home. Thank you so much to Margot Hunt for making the time pass by so much easier!
Harlequin Books were kind enough to allow us to share an excerpt of this fabulous book with all of you…..
Other than the woman’s blood-covered body splayed facedown in the grass, it could have been any typical upscale Floridian backyard.
There was the ubiquitous pool with a water fountain feature, a patio furnished with both a dining set and outdoor sectional couch, and an enormous gas grill capable of cooking hamburgers by the dozen. A large pergola with a tropical vine trained over it covered part of the patio. The dining area was shaded by a black-and-white-striped awning. It was the very picture of suburban domestic bliss. It could have been the set for a commercial advertising anything from laundry detergent to allergy medicine.
Again, except for the dead body.
The area had already been taped off. The first officers on the scene appeared with an ambulance in response to a frantic 911 call placed by the woman’s daughter. The paramedics had assessed the situation, and quickly determined that the woman was dead. The fact that the back of her head had been bashed in with what looked like a paving stone, conveniently dropped next to her prone body, made it immediately clear that it had not been a natural death. The responding officers called the sheriff, who responded by sending in a full investigative team. The medical examiner was now doing a preliminary examination of the body, while police officers combed the area for additional evidence. Two detectives, Mike Monroe and Gavin Reddick—separated by twenty years and sixty pounds—were overseeing the operation, standing at the edge of the patio under the shade of the pergola. It was the third week in April, but this was South Florida and the temperature had already climbed into the low nineties.
“The paving stone came from the stack out in the front yard. They were delivered last week by the company who’s installing the driveway,” Detective Reddick said. He was the younger of the two men and had a wiry frame and angular face.
“Weapon of convenience. Suggests it wasn’t premeditated,” Detective Monroe said. He had a ruddy complexion and a full head of thick dark hair, swept back off his face. A strand never moved out of place, even in a strong wind.
“Plus he dropped the weapon, rather than taking it with him. Probably panicked.”
“Could be a she,” Monroe said mildly.
Reddick shrugged. “Blunt force trauma to the back of the head? You know the stats. Overwhelming likelihood that it’s a man, and probably someone the victim was intimately involved with. Husband, maybe a boyfriend.”
“The husband was with the daughter when she called it in.”
“Doesn’t mean he didn’t do it, and then had her place the call.”
“No, it doesn’t.”
The family had been sequestered indoors, both to keep them out of the way, and so that the officers waiting in the house with them could observe anything they did or said. Other than the husband, there was a daughter in her early twenties and a teenage son. The daughter was reportedly distraught, while the husband and son had both been eerily quiet. It was possible they were in shock.
“Do we have an ID on the victim?” Reddick asked.
“It’s her house,” Monroe grunted.
“Yeah, but I like doing things the official way, you know? I’s dotted, t’s crossed, all of that. Building a case, basic detective work.”
Despite the chilling scene in front of them—the woman’s body still sprawled on the grass, the back of her head a pulpy, bloody mess—the corner of Monroe’s mouth quirked up in a half smile. “Sure, kid, tell me all about basic detective work. I’ve only been doing this for, what…thirty-two years now? The husband ID’d her. Victim is Gwen Landon, age forty-nine. Married, mother of two. Husband said she hasn’t had any recent conflict with anyone.”
“Other than the person who caved in the back of her head with a paving stone,” Reddick pointed out.
“Wouldn’t be the first time a husband didn’t know his wife as well as he thought he did.”
“Possible. But there’s another possibility, too.”
Reddick turned to look at his partner. His eyes were small and dark, and he had a habit of squinting when he concentrated intently on something.
“The husband is a liar,” Reddick said.
THE LAST AFFAIR Author: Margot Hunt ISBN: 9780778309222 Publication Date: November 26, 2019 Publisher: MIRA BOOKS
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