September Book Haul

This will probably be one my biggest hauls of the year since I may have gone a little crazy on Amazon’s indie sale. They were 50% off and impossible to resist. I also did some other book shopping and I have my Book of the Month books too.

The scorching new thriller from the number-one ‘New York Times’ best-selling author of ‘The Girl on the Train’.

When a young man is found gruesomely murdered in a London houseboat, it triggers questions about three women who knew him. Laura is the troubled one-night-stand last seen in the victim’s home. Carla is his grief-stricken aunt, already mourning the recent death of yet another family member. And Miriam is the nosy neighbor clearly keeping secrets from the police. Three women with separate connections to the victim. Three women who are – for different reasons – simmering with resentment. Who are, whether they know it or not, burning to right the wrongs done to them. When it comes to revenge, even good people might be capable of terrible deeds. How far might any one of them go to find peace? How long can secrets smolder before they explode into flame?

Look what you started.

The Truly Devious series continues as Stevie Bell investigates her first mystery outside of Ellingham Academy in this spine-chilling and hilarious stand-alone mystery.

Amateur sleuth Stevie Bell needs a good murder. After catching a killer at her high school, she’s back at home for a normal (that means boring) summer.

But then she gets a message from the owner of Sunny Pines, formerly known as Camp Wonder Falls—the site of the notorious unsolved case, the Box in the Woods Murders. Back in 1978, four camp counselors were killed in the woods outside of the town of Barlow Corners, their bodies left in a gruesome display. The new owner offers Stevie an invitation: Come to the camp and help him work on a true crime podcast about the case.

Stevie agrees, as long as she can bring along her friends from Ellingham Academy. Nothing sounds better than a summer spent together, investigating old murders.

But something evil still lurks in Barlow Corners. When Stevie opens the lid on this long-dormant case, she gets much more than she bargained for. The Box in the Woods will make room for more victims. This time, Stevie may not make it out alive.

The Alexandrian Society, caretakers of lost knowledge from the greatest civilizations of antiquity, are the foremost secret society of magical academicians in the world. Those who earn a place among the Alexandrians will secure a life of wealth, power, and prestige beyond their wildest dreams, and each decade, only the six most uniquely talented magicians are selected to be considered for initiation. 

Enter the latest round of six: Libby Rhodes and Nico de Varona, unwilling halves of an unfathomable whole, who exert uncanny control over every element of physicality. Reina Mori, a naturalist, who can intuit the language of life itself. Parisa Kamali, a telepath who can traverse the depths of the subconscious, navigating worlds inside the human mind. Callum Nova, an empath easily mistaken for a manipulative illusionist, who can influence the intimate workings of a person’s inner self. Finally, there is Tristan Caine, who can see through illusions to a new structure of reality—an ability so rare that neither he nor his peers can fully grasp its implications. 

When the candidates are recruited by the mysterious Atlas Blakely, they are told they will have one year to qualify for initiation, during which time they will be permitted preliminary access to the Society’s archives and judged based on their contributions to various subjects of impossibility: time and space, luck and thought, life and death. Five, they are told, will be initiated. One will be eliminated. The six potential initiates will fight to survive the next year of their lives, and if they can prove themselves to be the best among their rivals, most of them will. 

Most of them.

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Colleen Hoover comes a novel that explores life after tragedy and the enduring spirit of love.

When Leeds meets Layla, he’s convinced he’ll spend the rest of his life with her—until an unexpected attack leaves Layla fighting for her life. After weeks in the hospital, Layla recovers physically, but the emotional and mental scarring has altered the woman Leeds fell in love with. In order to put their relationship back on track, Leeds whisks Layla away to the bed-and-breakfast where they first met. Once they arrive, Layla’s behavior takes a bizarre turn. And that’s just one of many inexplicable occurrences.

Feeling distant from Layla, Leeds soon finds solace in Willow—another guest of the B&B with whom he forms a connection through their shared concerns. As his curiosity for Willow grows, his decision to help her find answers puts him in direct conflict with Layla’s well-being. Leeds soon realizes he has to make a choice because he can’t help both of them. But if he makes the wrong choice, it could be detrimental for all of them.

Bestselling author Katherine Arden returns with another creepy, spine-tingling adventure in this follow-up to the critically acclaimed Small Spaces.

Having survived sinister scarecrows and the malevolent smiling man in Small Spaces, newly minted best friends Ollie, Coco, and Brian are ready to spend a relaxing winter break skiing together with their parents at Mount Hemlock Resort. But when a snowstorm sets in, causing the power to flicker out and the cold to creep closer and closer, the three are forced to settle for hot chocolate and board games by the fire.

Ollie, Coco, and Brian are determined to make the best of being snowed in, but odd things keep happening. Coco is convinced she has seen a ghost, and Ollie is having nightmares about frostbitten girls pleading for help. Then Mr. Voland, a mysterious ghost hunter, arrives in the midst of the storm to investigate the hauntings at Hemlock Lodge. Ollie, Coco, and Brian want to trust him, but Ollie’s watch, which once saved them from the smiling man, has a new cautionary message: BEWARE.

With Mr. Voland’s help, Ollie, Coco, and Brian reach out to the dead voices at Mount Hemlock. Maybe the ghosts need their help–or maybe not all ghosts can or should be trusted.

Dead Voices is a terrifying follow-up to Small Spaces with thrills and chills galore and the captive foreboding of a classic ghost story.

In bestselling author T L Swan’s second hot installment to the Miles High Club series, he’s sexy, rich, and her mortal enemy. Hate never felt so good. 

I first met Tristan Miles at a meeting where he was trying to take over my late husband’s company. 

He was powerful, arrogant, and infuriatingly gorgeous, and I hated him with every cell in my body. In the shock of the century, he called me three days later and asked me on a date. 

I would rather die than date a man like him—though I do have to admit it was good for the ego. Turning him down was the highlight of my year. 

Six months later, he was the guest speaker at a conference I attended in France. 

Still arrogant and infuriating—but this time, surprisingly charming and witty. 

When he looked at me, I got butterflies. 

But I can’t go there. 

He’s just a player in a hot suit, and I’m just a widow with three unruly sons. 

I just need this conference to be over. 

Because everybody knows that Tristan Miles always gets what he wants…and what he wants is me.

An Amazon Charts and Washington Post bestseller.

From New York Times bestselling authors Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward comes an unexpected love story that started with a boy and girl and heats up when the man and woman reconnect.

I’d never forgotten him—a man I’d yet to meet.

Griffin Quinn was my childhood pen pal, the British boy who couldn’t have been more different from me. Over the years, through hundreds of letters, we became best friends, sharing our deepest, darkest secrets and forming a connection I never thought could break.

Until one day it did.

Then, out of the blue, a new letter arrived. A scathing one—one with eight years of pent-up anger. I had no choice but to finally come clean as to why I stopped writing.

Griffin forgave me, and somehow we were able to rekindle our childhood connection. Only now we were adults, and that connection had grown to a spark. Our letters quickly went from fun to flirty to downright dirty, revealing our wildest fantasies. So it only made sense that we would take our relationship to the next level and see each other in person.

Only Griff didn’t want to meet. He asked that I trust him and said it was for the best. But I wanted more—more Griff, in the flesh—so I took a big chance and went looking for him. People have done crazier things for love.

But what I found could change everything.

From New York Times bestselling author Helena Hunting comes a new romance about trading secrets, breaking the rules, and playing for keeps.

My name is Ryan Kingston, and I’m a rule follower. I’ve never been in a fistfight. I always obey the speed limit. I don’t get drunk, and I definitely don’t pick up random women at bars.

Except the night I found out that my whole existence has been a lie.

I got drunk. And picked up a stranger.

Her name was Queenie, and she was everything I’m not: reckless, impulsive, and chaotic. We did shots and traded secrets. And ended up naked at my place.

She left me a thank-you note in the morning and her panties as a parting gift. But no way to contact her.

Six weeks later I’m sitting in the first official team meeting of the season, and there she is. I neglected to mention that I’m the goalie for Seattle’s NHL team.

And Queenie? Turns out she’s the general manager’s daughter.

From USA Today bestselling author L. J. Shen comes a second-chance romance about love, loss, finding yourself, and getting lost in the right person.

Maddie Goldbloom stitched up a plan to ensure everything in her life was perfect—from a career in fashion to a chic NYC apartment to a pediatrician boyfriend.

When her ex, Chase Black, storms back into her life with an outrageous request, her immediate reaction is to refuse him. But he only wants to fulfill his father’s last wish. So even though he’s the man who broke her heart, playing his fiancée shouldn’t be hard, especially if it means she gets to watch the arrogant devil squirm a bit.

What ensues is a chain of events that detonates Maddie’s life—and when Chase’s walls come down, they both are forced to face reality.

They say keep your enemies close. But what if your enemy is also the man you love?

From the New York Times bestselling author of Mexican Gothic comes a “delicious, twisted treat for lovers of noir” about a daydreaming secretary, a lonesome enforcer, and the mystery of a missing woman they’re both desperate to find.

1970s, Mexico City. Maite is a secretary who lives for one thing: the latest issue of Secret Romance. While student protests and political unrest consume the city, Maite escapes into stories of passion and danger.

Her next-door neighbor, Leonora, a beautiful art student, seems to live a life of intrigue and romance that Maite envies. When Leonora disappears under suspicious circumstances, Maite finds herself searching for the missing woman—and journeying deeper into Leonora’s secret life of student radicals and dissidents.

Meanwhile, someone else is also looking for Leonora at the behest of his boss, a shadowy figure who commands goon squads dedicated to squashing political activists. Elvis is an eccentric criminal who longs to escape his own life: He loathes violence and loves old movies and rock ’n’ roll. But as Elvis searches for the missing woman, he comes to observe Maite from a distance—and grows more and more obsessed with this woman who shares his love of music and the unspoken loneliness of his heart.

Now as Maite and Elvis come closer to discovering the truth behind Leonora’s disappearance, they can no longer escape the danger that threatens to consume their lives, with hitmen, government agents, and Russian spies all aiming to protect Leonora’s secrets—at gunpoint.

Velvet Was the Night is an edgy, simmering historical novel for lovers of smoky noirs and anti-heroes.

Think you know the person you married? Think again…

Things have been wrong with Mr and Mrs Wright for a long time. When Adam and Amelia win a weekend away to Scotland, it might be just what their marriage needs. Self-confessed workaholic and screenwriter Adam Wright has lived with face blindness his whole life. He can’t recognize friends or family, or even his own wife. 
Every anniversary the couple exchange traditional gifts – paper, cotton, pottery, tin – and each year Adam’s wife writes him a letter that she never lets him read. Until now. They both know this weekend will make or break their marriage, but they didn’t randomly win this trip. One of them is lying, and someone doesn’t want them to live happily ever after.

Ten years of marriage. Ten years of secrets. And an anniversary they will never forget.

Rock Paper Scissors is the latest exciting domestic thriller from the queen of the killer twist, New York Times bestselling author Alice Feeney.

2017: 19 year old Tallulah is going out on a date, leaving her baby with her mother, Kim.

Kim watches her daughter leave and, as late evening turns into night, which turns into early morning, she waits for her return. And waits.

The next morning, Kim phones Tallulah’s friends who tell her that Tallulah was last seen heading to a party at a house in the nearby woods called Dark Place.

She never returns.

2019: Sophie is walking in the woods near the boarding school where her boyfriend has just started work as a head-teacher when she sees a note fixed to a tree.

‘DIG HERE’ . . .

A cold case, an abandoned mansion, family trauma and dark secrets lie at the heart of Lisa Jewell’s remarkable new novel.

~Cassie

WWW 9.29.21

This fun weekly meme is hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words and all you need to do to participate is answer the following three questions:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What have you recently finished?
  • What do you think you will read next?

What are you currently reading?

I am around 300 pages into The Atlas Six and I am obsessed. This is a dark academia adult fantasy that has incredible magic and an enthralling competition and I love everything about it. I’ve been burned by endings lately so I’m crossing my fingers that this book doesn’t let me down. If the ending is as good as the rest of the story this might be my favorite book of the year.

I started reading Hummingbird Salamander a few months ago and I put it down about 30% through and I decided to pick it back up a few days ago to try to make some more headway with it. It took me a couple of days to get through part 1 and then I flew through the entirety of part 2 in one day. Part 3 has slowed down a bit for me but I am so hooked on the story now and I will definitely be finishing this tonight or tomorrow.

What have you recently finished?

This is one of the best YA books that I have ever read and I highly recommend. I borrowed my copy from the library but I will be buying my own copy soon because I think this a perfect read for teenagers (which I almost have). This book deals with topics that are so prevalent to teenagers in a way that isn’t preachy but informative in a subtle way.

What do you think you will read next?

*I’m not sure if I will read this tomorrow or not. It depends on when I finish my current reads. But if I do decide to read one more book from my September TBR it will be this one since it is relatively short and romance is easy to fly through.

A Modern Hades and Persephone Retelling

Persephone is the Goddess of Spring by title only. The truth is, since she was a little girl, flowers have shriveled at her touch. After moving to New Athens, she hopes to lead an unassuming life disguised as a mortal journalist.

Hades, God of the Dead, has built a gambling empire in the mortal world and his favorite bets are rumored to be impossible.

After a chance encounter with Hades, Persephone finds herself in a contract with the God of the Dead and the terms are impossible: Persephone must create life in the Underworld or lose her freedom forever.

The bet does more than expose Persephone’s failure as a goddess, however. As she struggles to sow the seeds of her freedom, love for the God of the Dead grows—and it’s forbidden.

~Cassie

October TBR: Victober & Vampathon Edition

It’s almost time for the spookiest time of the year and I can’t wait!I have loved almost all of the books I read in September but I have been eager to start my October reads since I created it last week. This is the third year I will be participating in Victober and I have been wanting to read all of the books I picked for a long time. Other then the group book which I just heard about last month but it is the ultimate Victorian. read for October. The other readathon that I want to participate in is Vampathon. Technically Vampathon is only during October 25-31 but they have a bingo board with 16 prompts on it and I really liked all of them so I came up with a book for each prompt. So I have decided to just do Vampathon all month long and try to read as many books as I can. I’m especially excited about this because I managed to fit a whole trilogy and the two last books of another trilogy on there. On October 23 it is the next round of Dewey’s 24hr readathon which I will be participating in as well but I don’t know what I’m reading for that yet.

Victober

Lucy’s Challenge: Read a book with a female main character

Drawing heavily from personal experience, Anne Brontë wrote Agnes Grey in an effort to represent the many 19th Century women who worked as governesses and suffered daily abuse as a result of their position.

Having lost the family savings on risky investments, Richard Grey removes himself from family life and suffers a bout of depression. Feeling helpless and frustrated, his youngest daughter, Agnes, applies for a job as a governess to the children of a wealthy, upper-class, English family.

Ecstatic at the thought that she has finally gained control and freedom over her own life, Agnes arrives at the Bloomfield mansion armed with confidence and purpose. The cruelty with which the family treat her however, slowly but surely strips the heroine of all dignity and belief in humanity.

A tale of female bravery in the face of isolation and subjugation, Agnes Grey is a masterpiece claimed by Irish writer, George Moore, to be possessed of all the qualities and style of a Jane Austen title. Its simple prosaic style propels the narrative forward in a gentle yet rhythmic manner which continuously leaves the listener wanting to know more.

Anne Brontë, the somewhat lesser known sister, was in fact the first to finish and publish Agnes Grey under the pseudonym of Acton Bell. Charlotte and Emily followed shortly after with Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights.

As Anne passed away from what is now known to be pulmonary tuberculosis at the age of just 29, she only published one further title; The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. As feminist in nature as Agnes Grey, Anne’s brave voice resonates and permeates during one of the most prejudiced and patriarchal times of English history.

Katie’s Challenge: read a book set in the country side and/or the city

When her father leaves the Church in a crisis of conscience, Margaret Hale is uprooted from her comfortable home in Hampshire to move with her family to the north of England. Initially repulsed by the ugliness of her new surroundings in the industrial town of Milton, Margaret becomes aware of the poverty and suffering of the local mill workers and develops a passionate sense of social justice. This is intensified by her tempestuous relationship with the mill-owner and self-made man, John Thornton, as their fierce opposition over his treatment of his employees masks a deeper attraction.

In North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell skillfully fuses individual feeling with social concern, and in Margaret Hale creates one of the most original heroines of Victorian literature.

Kate’s challenge: read a Victorian sensation novel

‘In one moment, every drop of blood in my body was brought to a stop… There, as if it had that moment sprung out of the earth, stood the figure of a solitary Woman, dressed from head to foot in white’

The Woman in White famously opens with Walter Hartright’s eerie encounter on a moonlit London road. Engaged as a drawing master to the beautiful Laura Fairlie, Walter becomes embroiled in the sinister intrigues of Sir Percival Glyde and his ‘charming’ friend Count Fosco, who has a taste for white mice, vanilla bonbons, and poison. Pursuing questions of identity and insanity along the paths and corridors of English country houses and the madhouse, The Woman in White is the first and most influential of the Victorian genre that combined Gothic horror with psychological realism.

Matthew Sweet’s introduction explores the phenomenon of Victorian ‘sensation’ fiction, and discusses Wilkie Collins’s biographical and societal influences. Included in this edition are appendices on theatrical adaptations of the novel and its serialisation history.

Group Challenge: read a popular Victorian book that you haven’t yet

Written in his distinctively dazzling manner, Oscar Wilde’s story of a fashionable young man who sells his soul for eternal youth and beauty is the author’s most popular work. The tale of Dorian Gray’s moral disintegration caused a scandal when it first appeared in 1890, but though Wilde was attacked for the novel’s corrupting influence, he responded that there is, in fact, “a terrible moral in Dorian Gray.” Just a few years later, the book and the aesthetic/moral dilemma it presented became issues in the trials occasioned by Wilde’s homosexual liaisons, which resulted in his imprisonment. Of Dorian Gray’s relationship to autobiography, Wilde noted in a letter, “Basil Hallward is what I think I am: Lord Henry what the world thinks me: Dorian what I would like to be—in other ages, perhaps.

Group book

‘Such whispered tales, such old temptations and hauntings, and devilish terrors’

Elizabeth Gaskell’s chilling Gothic tales blend the real and the supernatural to eerie, compelling effect. ‘Disappearances’, inspired by local legends of mysterious vanishings, mixes gossip and fact; ‘Lois the Witch’, a novella based on an account of the Salem witch hunts, shows how sexual desire and jealousy lead to hysteria; while in ‘The Old Nurse’s Story’ a mysterious child roams the freezing Northumberland moors. Whether darkly surreal, such as ‘The Poor Clare’, where an evil doppelganger is formed by a woman’s bitter curse, or mischievous like ‘Curious, if True’, a playful reworking of fairy tales, all the pieces in this volume form a start contrast to the social realism of Gaskell’s novels, revealing a darker and more unsettling style of writing.

Laura Kranzler’s introduction discusses how Gaskell’s tales, with their ghostly doublings and transgressive passions, show the Gothic underside of female identity, domestic relations and male authority. This edition also contains a chronology, further reading and explanatory notes.

Vampathon

A book to sink your teeth into

*This is the third book in the trilogy so I won’t be sharing the synopsis.

Paranormal/Supernatural romance

All Lenore Warwick wants for her 21st birthday is to hang out with her friends, finish her second year at Berkeley with flying colors, and maybe catch the eye of a hot musician playing a show at a club that she can now (legally) get into. 

Unfortunately, fate has other plans for her. 

A week before her birthday, she’s kidnapped by the brooding and dangerous stranger with cold eyes and a lethal touch, who has been stalking her on San Francisco’s fog-shrouded streets. Absolon “Solon” Stavig isn’t your average criminal though. He’s a centuries-old vampire who’s caught between wanting to kill Lenore and wanting to save her. 

You see Lenore, too, is a vampire.

She just doesn’t know it yet.

Taken by a pair of vampire slayers when she was just an infant, Lenore was raised never knowing her true nature. All Lenore knows is that she has (normal) parents who love her, that she’s exceptionally smart, and she’s squeamish around blood. But once she turns twenty-one, she’ll fully turn into a vampire, and Solon hopes he’ll be there to guide her, opening her eyes to her deepest hunger…both sexual and otherwise. 

But this turning can’t be kept a secret. Soon both slayers and vampires are hunting Lenore, with only Solon and his unpredictable motley crew of vampires to save her.

If they don’t kill her first.

Black Sunshine is a dark adult romance with a paranormal twist, about sex, love, secrets, and revenge, set in contemporary San Francisco.

Gothic/Spooky Cover

The Blair Witch Project meets Midsommar in this brilliantly disturbing thriller from Camilla Sten, an electrifying new voice in suspense.

Documentary filmmaker Alice Lindstedt has been obsessed with the vanishing residents of the old mining town, dubbed “The Lost Village,” since she was a little girl. In 1959, her grandmother’s entire family disappeared in this mysterious tragedy, and ever since, the unanswered questions surrounding the only two people who were left—a woman stoned to death in the town center and an abandoned newborn—have plagued her. She’s gathered a small crew of friends in the remote village to make a film about what really happened.

But there will be no turning back.

Not long after they’ve set up camp, mysterious things begin to happen. Equipment is destroyed. People go missing. As doubt breeds fear and their very minds begin to crack, one thing becomes startlingly clear to Alice:

They are not alone.

They’re looking for the truth…
But what if it finds them first?

Vampire book to movie

This is the story of Louis, as told in his own words, of his journey through mortal and immortal life. Louis recounts how he became a vampire at the hands of the radiant and sinister Lestat and how he became indoctrinated, unwillingly, into the vampire way of life. His story ebbs and flows through the streets of New Orleans, defining crucial moments such as his discovery of the exquisite lost young child Claudia, wanting not to hurt but to comfort her with the last breaths of humanity he has inside. Yet, he makes Claudia a vampire, trapping her womanly passion, will, and intelligence inside the body of a small child. Louis and Claudia form a seemingly unbreakable alliance and even “settle down” for a while in the opulent French Quarter. Louis remembers Claudia’s struggle to understand herself and the hatred they both have for Lestat that sends them halfway across the world to seek others of their kind. Louis and Claudia are desperate to find somewhere they belong, to find others who understand, and someone who knows what and why they are.

Louis and Claudia travel Europe, eventually coming to Paris and the ragingly successful Theatre des Vampires–a theatre of vampires pretending to be mortals pretending to be vampires. Here they meet the magnetic and ethereal Armand, who brings them into a whole society of vampires. But Louis and Claudia find that finding others like themselves provides no easy answers and in fact presents dangers they scarcely imagined.

Originally begun as a short story, the book took off as Anne wrote it, spinning the tragic and triumphant life experiences of a soul. As well as the struggles of its characters, Interview captures the political and social changes of two continents. The novel also introduces Lestat, Anne’s most enduring character, a heady mixture of attraction and revulsion. The book, full of lush description, centers on the themes of immortality, change, loss, sexuality, and power.

Spooky middle grade

This is also my pick for the buzzwordathon: elements

New York Times bestselling author Katherine Arden returns with another creepy, spine-tingling adventure in this follow-up to the critically acclaimed Small Spaces and Dead Voices.

Having met and outsmarted the smiling man in Dead Voices but fearful of when he’ll come again, Ollie, Brian, and Coco are anxiously searching for a way to defeat him once and for all. By staying together and avoiding remote places, they’ve steered clear of him so far but their constant worry and stress is taking a toll on their lives and friendship. So when Ollie’s dad and Coco’s mom plan a “fun” boat trip on Lake Champlain, the three are apprehensive to say the least. They haven’t had the best of luck on their recent trips and even worse their frenemy Phil is on the boat as well. But when a lake monster destroys their boat, they end up shipwrecked on a deserted island. This isn’t just any island though. It’s hidden from the outside world in a fog and unless everyone works together to find a way to escape, they won’t survive long.

Spooky graphic novel/manga

Spirals… this town is contaminated with spirals…

Kurouzu-cho, a small fogbound town on the coast of Japan, is cursed. According to Shuichi Saito, the withdrawn boyfriend of teenager Kirie Goshima, their town is haunted not by a person or being but by a pattern: uzumaki, the spiral — the hypnotic secret shape of the world. This bizarre masterpiece of horror manga is now available in a single volume. Fall into a whirlpool of terror!

Book with a gothic setting

This is an ARC. It comes out January 18

A gothic tale full of mystery and romance about a willful female surgeon, a resurrection man who sells bodies for a living, and the buried secrets they must uncover together.

Edinburgh, 1817. 

Hazel Sinnett is a lady who wants to be a surgeon more than she wants to marry. 

Jack Currer is a resurrection man who’s just trying to survive in a city where it’s too easy to die. 

When the two of them have a chance encounter outside the Edinburgh Anatomist’s Society, Hazel thinks nothing of it at first. But after she gets kicked out of renowned surgeon Dr. Beecham’s lectures for being the wrong gender, she realizes that her new acquaintance might be more helpful than she first thought. Because Hazel has made a deal with Dr. Beecham: if she can pass the medical examination on her own, the university will allow her to enroll. Without official lessons, though, Hazel will need more than just her books – she’ll need bodies to study, corpses to dissect. 

Lucky that she’s made the acquaintance of someone who digs them up for a living, then. 

But Jack has his own problems: strange men have been seen skulking around cemeteries, his friends are disappearing off the streets. Hazel and Jack work together to uncover the secrets buried not just in unmarked graves, but in the very heart of Edinburgh society.

Supernatural main character

My blog tour post of this is October 7. It comes out October 12

Death is her destiny.

Half British Reaper, half Japanese Shinigami, Ren Scarborough has been collecting souls in the London streets for centuries. Expected to obey the harsh hierarchy of the Reapers who despise her, Ren conceals her emotions and avoids her tormentors as best she can.

When her failure to control her Shinigami abilities drives Ren out of London, she flees to Japan to seek the acceptance she’s never gotten from her fellow Reapers. Accompanied by her younger brother, the only being on earth to care for her, Ren enters the Japanese underworld to serve the Goddess of Death… only to learn that here, too, she must prove herself worthy. Determined to earn respect, Ren accepts an impossible task—find and eliminate three dangerous Yokai demons—and learns how far she’ll go to claim her place at Death’s side.

Horror book

In a matter of weeks, Massachusetts has been overrun by an insidious rabies-like virus that is spread by saliva. But unlike rabies, the disease has a terrifyingly short incubation period of an hour or less. Those infected quickly lose their minds and are driven to bite and infect as many others as they can before they inevitably succumb. Hospitals are inundated with the sick and dying, and hysteria has taken hold. To try to limit its spread, the commonwealth is under quarantine and curfew. But society is breaking down and the government’s emergency protocols are faltering.

Dr. Ramola “Rams” Sherman, a soft-spoken pediatrician in her mid-thirties, receives a frantic phone call from Natalie, a friend who is eight months pregnant. Natalie’s husband has been killed—viciously attacked by an infected neighbor—and in a failed attempt to save him, Natalie, too, was bitten. Natalie’s only chance of survival is to get to a hospital as quickly as possible to receive a rabies vaccine. The clock is ticking for her and for her unborn child.

Natalie’s fight for life becomes a desperate odyssey as she and Rams make their way through a hostile landscape filled with dangers beyond their worst nightmares—terrifying, strange, and sometimes deadly challenges that push them to the brink. 

Blood Magic

*There is no synopsis since this is the second book in the trilogy.

Thriller/murder mystery

My blog tour post of this is October 14. It comes out October 19.

From the thrilling voice of Sacha Wunsch comes a heart-stopping psychological mystery in a world where memories can be shared—and one girl can’t trust any of them. 

Enhanced Memory changed everything. By sharing someone else’s memory, you can experience anything and everything with no risk at all: learn any skill instantly, travel the world from home, and safeguard all your most treasured secrets forever. Nova’s parents invented this technology, and it’s slowly taking over their lives. Nova doesn’t mind—mostly. She knows Enhanced Memory is a gift.

But Kade says Nova doesn’t know the costs of this technology that’s taken the world by storm. Kade runs a secret vlog cataloging real experiences, is always on the move, and is strangely afraid of Nova—even though she feels more comfortable with him than she ever has with anyone. Suddenly there are things Nova can’t stop noticing: the way her parents don’t meet her eyes anymore, the questions no one wants her to ask, and the relentless feeling that there’s something she’s forgotten…

A book that frightens you

This is also the October book for the Literally Dead book club.

In her quickly gentrifying rural lake town Jade sees recent events only her encyclopedic knowledge of horror films could have prepared her for

Jade Daniels is an angry, half-Indian outcast with an abusive father, an absent mother, and an entire town that wants nothing to do with her. She lives in her own world, a world in which protection comes from an unusual source: horror movies…especially the ones where a masked killer seeks revenge on a world that wronged them. And Jade narrates the quirky history of Proofrock as if it is one of those movies. But when blood actually starts to spill into the waters of Indian Lake, she pulls us into her dizzying, encyclopedic mind of blood and masked murderers, and predicts exactly how the plot will unfold.

Yet, even as Jade drags us into her dark fever dream, a surprising and intimate portrait emerges… a portrait of the scared and traumatized little girl beneath the Jason Voorhees mask: angry, yes, but also a girl who easily cries, fiercely loves, and desperately wants a home. A girl whose feelings are too big for her body.

My Heart Is a Chainsaw is her story, her homage to horror and revenge and triumph.

Blood on the cover

*No synopsis since this is the second book in the series.

Read a book in the dark

My blog tour post is October 19. It comes out October 12.

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.

From award-winning author Tara Laskowski, The Mother Next Door is an atmospheric novel of domestic suspense in which the strive for perfection ends in murder…

Witchy vibes

*No synopsis since this is the last book in a trilogy.

Set in a school

The case is closed. Five years ago, schoolgirl Andie Bell was murdered by Sal Singh. The police know he did it. Everyone in town knows he did it.

But having grown up in the same small town that was consumed by the murder, Pippa Fitz-Amobi isn’t so sure. When she chooses the case as the topic for her final year project, she starts to uncover secrets that someone in town desperately wants to stay hidden. And if the real killer is still out there, how far will they go to keep Pip from the truth?

Extras

I have one more ARC I need to read for a blog tour and I couldn’t fit it into the Vampathon prompts.

This comes out November 2.

No one ever said love would be easy…but did they mention it would be freezing?

Adam Stillwater is in over his head. At least, that’s what his best friend would say. And his mom. And the guy who runs the hardware store down the street. But this pinball arcade is the only piece of his dad that Adam has left, and he’s determined to protect it from Philadelphia’s newest tech mogul, who wants to turn it into another one of his cold, lifeless gaming cafés.

Whitney Mitchell doesn’t know how she got here. Her parents split up. She lost all her friends. Her boyfriend dumped her. And now she’s spending her senior year running social media for her dad’s chain of super successful gaming cafés—which mostly consists of trading insults with that decrepit old pinball arcade across town.

But when a huge snowstorm hits, Adam and Whitney suddenly find themselves trapped inside the arcade. Cut off from their families, their worlds, and their responsibilities, the tension between them seems to melt away, leaving something else in its place. But what happens when the storm stops?

~Cassie

On My Radar: October 2021

I love curating these posts with all the books that I would love to one day read. Since I read from so many different genres these posts are always long but I hope that you are able to find something that you are interested in as well.

October 5

Secrets, obsession and vengeance converge in this riveting thriller about an online dating match turned deadly cat-and-mouse game, from the New York Times bestselling author of Confessions on the 7:45.

Think twice before you swipe.

She met him through a dating app. An intriguing picture on a screen, a date at a downtown bar. What she thought might be just a quick hookup quickly became much more. She fell for him—hard. It happens sometimes, a powerful connection with a perfect stranger takes you by surprise. Could it be love?

But then, just as things were getting real, he stood her up. Then he disappeared—profiles deleted, phone disconnected. She was ghosted.

Maybe it was her fault. She shared too much, too fast. But isn’t that always what women think—that they’re the ones to blame? Soon she learns there were others. Girls who thought they were in love. Girls who later went missing. She had been looking for a connection, but now she’s looking for answers. Chasing a digital trail into his dark past—and hers—she finds herself on a dangerous hunt. And she’s not sure whether she’s the predator—or the prey.

Two sisters go missing on a remote Scottish island. Twenty years later, one is found–but she’s still the same age as when she disappeared. The secrets of witches have reached across the centuries in this chilling Gothic thriller from the author of the acclaimed The Nesting.

When single mother Liv is commissioned to paint a mural in a 100-year-old lighthouse on a remote Scottish island, it’s an opportunity to start over with her three daughters–Luna, Sapphire, and Clover. When two of her daughters go missing, she’s frantic. She learns that the cave beneath the lighthouse was once a prison for women accused of witchcraft. The locals warn her about wildlings, supernatural beings who mimic human children, created by witches for revenge. Liv is told wildlings are dangerous and must be killed.

Twenty-two years later, Luna has been searching for her missing sisters and mother. When she receives a call about her youngest sister, Clover, she’s initially ecstatic. Clover is the sister she remembers–except she’s still seven years old, the age she was when she vanished. Luna is worried Clover is a wildling. Luna has few memories of her time on the island, but she’ll have to return to find the truth of what happened to her family. But she doesn’t realize just how much the truth will change her.

*No synopsis since this is the second book.

Practical, unassuming Jane Shoringfield has done the calculations, and decided that the most secure path forward is this: a husband, in a marriage of convenience, who will allow her to remain independent and occupied with meaningful work. Her first choice, the dashing but reclusive doctor Augustine Lawrence, agrees to her proposal with only one condition: that she must never visit Lindridge Hall, his crumbling family manor outside of town. Yet on their wedding night, an accident strands her at his door in a pitch-black rainstorm, and she finds him changed. Gone is the bold, courageous surgeon, and in his place is a terrified, paranoid man—one who cannot tell reality from nightmare, and fears Jane is an apparition, come to haunt him.

By morning, Augustine is himself again, but Jane knows something is deeply wrong at Lindridge Hall, and with the man she has so hastily bound her safety to. Set in a dark-mirror version of post-war England, Starling crafts a new kind of gothic horror from the bones of the beloved canon. This Crimson Peak-inspired story assembles, then upends, every expectation set in place by Shirley Jackson and Rebecca, and will leave readers shaken, desperate to begin again as soon as they are finished.

The bestselling author of A Gentleman in Moscow and Rules of Civility and master of absorbing, sophisticated fiction returns with a stylish and propulsive novel set in 1950s America

In June, 1954, eighteen-year-old Emmett Watson is driven home to Nebraska by the warden of the work farm where he has just served a year for involuntary manslaughter. His mother long gone, his father recently deceased, and the family farm foreclosed upon by the bank, Emmett’s intention is to pick up his eight-year-old brother and head west where they can start their lives anew. But when the warden drives away, Emmett discovers that two friends from the work farm have hidden themselves in the trunk of the warden’s car. Together, they have hatched an altogether different plan for Emmett’s future.

Spanning just ten days and told from multiple points of view, Towles’s third novel will satisfy fans of his multi-layered literary styling while providing them an array of new and richly imagined settings, characters, and themes.

Pretty Little Liars meets Teen Wolf in this fast-paced, sharply funny, and patriarchy-smashing graphic novel from author Maggie Tokuda-Hall and artist Lisa Sterle. When the new girl is invited to join her high school’s most popular clique, she can’t believe her luck—and she can’t believe their secret, either: they’re werewolves. Fans of Mariko Tamaki and Elana K. Arnold will devour the snappy dialogue, vivid artwork, and timely social commentary.

When Becca transfers to a high school in an elite San Francisco suburb, she’s worried she’s not going to fit in. To her surprise, she’s immediately adopted by the most popular girls in school. At first glance, Marley, Arianna, and Mandy are perfect. But at a party under a full moon, Becca learns that they also have a big secret.

Becca’s new friends are werewolves. Their prey? Slimy boys who take advantage of unsuspecting girls. Eager to be accepted, Becca allows her friends to turn her into a werewolf, and finally, for the first time in her life, she feels like she truly belongs.

But things get complicated when Arianna’s predatory boyfriend is killed, and the cops begin searching for a serial killer. As their pack begins to buckle under the pressure—and their moral high ground gets muddier and muddier—Becca realizes that she might have feelings for one of her new best friends.

Lisa Sterle’s stylish illustrations paired with Maggie Tokuda-Hall’s sharp writing make Squad a fun, haunting, and fast-paced thriller that will resonate with fans of Riverdale, and with readers of This Savage SongLumberjanes, and Paper Girls.

All her life, Annie has played it nice and safe. After being unceremoniously dumped by her longtime boyfriend, Annie seeks a fresh start. She accepts a teaching position that moves her from Manhattan to a small village upstate. She’s stunned by how perfect and picturesque the town is. The people are all friendly and warm. Her new apartment is dreamy too, minus the oddly persistent spider infestation. 

Then Annie meets Sophie. Beautiful, charming, magnetic Sophie, who takes a special interest in Annie, who wants to be her friend. More importantly, she wants Annie to stop apologizing and start living for herself. That’s how Sophie lives. Annie can’t help but gravitate toward the self-possessed Sophie, wanting to spend more and more time with her, despite the fact that the rest of the townsfolk seem…a little afraid of her. And like, okay. There are some things. Sophie’s appearance is uncanny and ageless, her mansion in the middle of the woods feels a little unearthly, and she does seem to wield a certain power…but she couldn’t be…could she?

A feel-good, holiday-themed romantic comedy about identical twins who switch lives in the days leading up to Christmas–perfect for fans of Christina Lauren’s In a Holidaze and Josie Silver’s One Day in December.

All they want for Christmas is a different life.

When chef Charlie Goodwin gets hit on the head on the L.A. set of her reality baking show, she loses a lot more than consciousness; she also loses her ability to taste and smell–both critical to her success as show judge. Meanwhile, Charlie’s identical twin, Cass, is frantically trying to hold her own life together back in their quaint mountain hometown while running the family’s bustling bakery and dealing with her ex, who won’t get the memo that they’re over. 

With only days until Christmas, a desperate Charlie asks Cass to do something they haven’t done since they were kids: switch places. Looking for her own escape from reality, Cass agrees. But temporarily trading lives proves more complicated than they imagined, especially when rugged firefighter Jake Greenman and gorgeous physician’s assistant Miguel Rodriguez are thrown into the mix. Will the twins’ identity swap be a recipe for disaster, or does it have all the right ingredients for getting their lives back on track?

October 8

A deserted island, a vicious storm, a murderer amongst friends…

It was meant to be a fun reunion, a chance for six friends to reconnect and relive the adventures that brought them together in the first place. But from the moment they arrive on their island home for the weekend, Lyndsey, Sonia, Bobbie, Amanda, Juliet, and Val realise that their paradise is filled with peril, and there are consequences when you try to outrun the ghosts of your past.

As everything starts to fall apart, and the friends begin to turn against one another, deep, dark secrets are revealed, and an unimaginable horror is unleashed. They came seeking adventure, but now they’ll be lucky to leave with their lives…

October 12

Death is her destiny.

Half British Reaper, half Japanese Shinigami, Ren Scarborough has been collecting souls in the London streets for centuries. Expected to obey the harsh hierarchy of the Reapers who despise her, Ren conceals her emotions and avoids her tormentors as best she can.

When her failure to control her Shinigami abilities drives Ren out of London, she flees to Japan to seek the acceptance she’s never gotten from her fellow Reapers. Accompanied by her younger brother, the only being on earth to care for her, Ren enters the Japanese underworld to serve the Goddess of Death… only to learn that here, too, she must prove herself worthy. Determined to earn respect, Ren accepts an impossible task—find and eliminate three dangerous Yokai demons—and learns how far she’ll go to claim her place at Death’s side.

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.

From award-winning author Tara Laskowski, The Mother Next Door is an atmospheric novel of domestic suspense in which the strive for perfection ends in murder…

Cuban-American cooking show star Miriam Quinones-Smith becomes a seasoned sleuth in Raquel Reyes’s Caribbean Kitchen Mystery debut, a savory treat for fans of Joanne Fluke and Jenn McKinlay. 

Food anthropologist Miriam Quinones-Smith’s move from New York to Coral Shores, Miami, is traumatic enough without having to deal with her son’s toddler tantrums and her husband’s midlife crisis. Her best friend, Alma, adds some spice back into Miriam’s life when she offers her a job as an on-air cooking expert on a Spanish-language morning TV show. But when the newly minted star attends a Women’s Club luncheon, a socialite sitting at her table suddenly falls face-first into the chicken salad, never to nibble again.

When a second woman dies soon after, suspicions coalesce around a controversial Cuban herbalist, Dr. Fuentes–especially after the morning show’s host collapses while interviewing him. But then, Detective Pullman learns that the socialite’s death resulted from a drug overdose–and an anonymous tip fingers Alma as the pusher.

Pullman persuades Miriam to ply her culinary know-how and her understanding of Coral Shores’s Caribbean culture to help find the killer and clear Alma’s name. While her hubby dallies with his ex-girlfriend, Juliet, Miriam quizzes her neighbors for answers and researches all manner of herbs.

As the ingredients to the deadly scheme begin blending together, Miriam is on the verge of learning how and why the women died. But her snooping may turn out to be a recipe for her own murder.

In bestselling author Kate Kingsbury’s Misty Bay Tearoom series debut, the proprietress of a British-style tea shop must draw on her love for mystery novels to sleuth a murder. 

Vivian Wainwright is living her dream. The middle-aged widow owns the Misty Bay Tearoom, a quaint, English-accented shop on the Oregon coast. But on the eve of the tearoom’s second anniversary, the dream turns nightmarish when a man falls to his death from a hotel balcony.

The body belongs to Dean Ramsey, ex-husband of Vivian’s assistant, Jenna. Detective Tony Messina quickly zeroes in on Jenna as prime suspect, since she was seen leaving the hotel shortly before the body was found.

Vivian and her other assistant, Gracie, set out to help clear Jenna’s name, using their wit and a bit of criminology know-how Vivian picked up from her late attorney husband. Detective Messina is on board, but he’s starting to develop feelings for his number one suspect. Puzzling questions persist–chief among them, whose clothes was Dean wearing when he landed on the rocky shore?

To complicate matters, Vivian’s friend, pet shop owner Hal Douglass, seems to know some secrets about the hotel that could add a long list of names to the suspect list…including Hal’s own. Vivian must work quickly because if she can’t, Jenna faces a murder rap…or worse.

October 19

An accidentally in-love rom-com filled with Renaissance Faire flower crowns, kilts, corsets, and sword fights.

Single mother April Parker has lived in Willow Creek for twelve years with a wall around her heart. On the verge of being an empty nester, she’s decided to move on from her quaint little town, and asks her friend Mitch for his help with some home improvement projects to get her house ready to sell.

Mitch Malone is known for being the life of every party, but mostly for the attire he wears to the local Renaissance Faire–a kilt (and not much else) that shows off his muscled form to perfection. While he agrees to help April, he needs a favor too: she’ll pretend to be his girlfriend at an upcoming family dinner, so that he can avoid the lectures about settling down and having a more “serious” career than high school coach and gym teacher. April reluctantly agrees, but when dinner turns into a weekend trip, it becomes hard to tell what’s real and what’s been just for show. But when the weekend ends, so must their fake relationship.

As summer begins, Faire returns to Willow Creek, and April volunteers for the first time. When Mitch’s family shows up unexpectedly, April pretends to be Mitch’s girlfriend again…something that doesn’t feel so fake anymore. Despite their obvious connection, April insists they’ve just been putting on an act. But when there’s the chance for something real, she has to decide whether to change her plans–and open her heart–for the kilt-wearing hunk who might just be the love of her life.

In this tense thriller from the bestselling author of What You Did and The Other Wife, a woman finds a dead body. Will she make the same mistake as last time?

When Rachel stumbles upon a body in the woods, she knows what she has to do: run. Get away. Do not be found at the scene. Last time, she didn’t know, and she ended up accused of murder. But when this victim is identified as her boyfriend’s estranged wife, Rachel realises she’s already the prime suspect.

With mounting evidence against her, Rachel’s only hope is to keep the truth about herself well hidden. Because twenty years ago she was someone else—Casey, a young nanny trying to make it as an actress in Los Angeles. When the family she worked for were brutally murdered, all the evidence pointed to her and she went to prison. Back then, she narrowly escaped the death penalty and managed to free herself on appeal. Now she’s fighting to save the life she’s spent years piecing back together.

But with her behaviour raising suspicion and the police closing in, Rachel can’t help wondering: Was her discovery in the woods really just an awful coincidence, or is someone framing her for murder? Someone who knows who she is, and wants revenge…

*This the first in a prequel series for Kingdom and Ash

Born shrouded in the veil of the Primals, a Maiden as the Fates promised, Seraphena Mierel’s future has never been hers. Chosen before birth to uphold the desperate deal her ancestor struck to save his people, Sera must leave behind her life and offer herself to the Primal of Death as his Consort.   

However, Sera’s real destiny is the most closely guarded secret in all of Lasania—she’s not the well protected Maiden but an assassin with one mission—one target. Make the Primal of Death fall in love, become his weakness, and then…end him. If she fails, she dooms her kingdom to a slow demise at the hands of the Rot. 

Sera has always known what she is. Chosen. Consort. Assassin. Weapon. A specter never fully formed yet drenched in blood. A monster. Until him. Until the Primal of Death’s unexpected words and deeds chase away the darkness gathering inside her. And his seductive touch ignites a passion she’s never allowed herself to feel and cannot feel for him. But Sera has never had a choice. Either way, her life is forfeit—it always has been, as she has been forever touched by Life and Death.

Cassandra Khaw’s Nothing But Blackened Teeth is a gorgeously creepy haunted house tale, steeped in Japanese folklore and full of devastating twists. 

A Heian-era mansion stands abandoned, its foundations resting on the bones of a bride and its walls packed with the remains of the girls sacrificed to keep her company.

It’s the perfect wedding venue for a group of thrill-seeking friends.

But a night of food, drinks, and games quickly spirals into a nightmare. For lurking in the shadows is the ghost bride with a black smile and a hungry heart.

And she gets lonely down there in the dirt.

From the thrilling voice of Sacha Wunsch comes a heart-stopping psychological mystery in a world where memories can be shared—and one girl can’t trust any of them. 

Enhanced Memory changed everything. By sharing someone else’s memory, you can experience anything and everything with no risk at all: learn any skill instantly, travel the world from home, and safeguard all your most treasured secrets forever. Nova’s parents invented this technology, and it’s slowly taking over their lives. Nova doesn’t mind—mostly. She knows Enhanced Memory is a gift.

But Kade says Nova doesn’t know the costs of this technology that’s taken the world by storm. Kade runs a secret vlog cataloging real experiences, is always on the move, and is strangely afraid of Nova—even though she feels more comfortable with him than she ever has with anyone. Suddenly there are things Nova can’t stop noticing: the way her parents don’t meet her eyes anymore, the questions no one wants her to ask, and the relentless feeling that there’s something she’s forgotten…

October 26

Following Spoiler Alert, Olivia Dade returns with another utterly charming romantic comedy about a devil-may-care actor—who actually cares more than anyone knows—and the no-nonsense woman hired to keep him in line.

Alexander Woodroe has it all. Charm. Sex appeal. Wealth. Fame. A starring role as Cupid on TV’s biggest show, God of the Gates. But the showrunners have wrecked his character, he’s dogged by old demons, and his post-show future remains uncertain. When all that reckless emotion explodes into a bar fight, the tabloids and public agree: his star is falling.

Enter Lauren Clegg, the former ER therapist hired to keep him in line. Compared to her previous work, watching over handsome but impulsive Alex shouldn’t be especially difficult. But the more time they spend together, the harder it gets to keep her professional remove and her heart intact, especially when she discovers the reasons behind his recklessness…not to mention his Cupid fanfiction habit.

When another scandal lands Alex in major hot water and costs Lauren her job, she’ll have to choose between protecting him and offering him what he really wants—her. But he’s determined to keep his improbably short, impossibly stubborn, and extremely endearing minder in his life any way he can. And on a road trip up the California coast together, he intends to show her exactly what a falling star will do to catch the woman he loves: anything at all.

The Descendants meets Pretty little liars.

Four troubled friends, One murdered girl… and a dark fate that may leave them all doomed.

After the mysterious death of their best friend, Ella, Yuki, and Rory are the talk of their elite school, Grimrose Académie. The police ruled it a suicide, but the trio are determined to find out what really happened.

When Nani Eszes arrives as their newest roommate, it sets into motion a series of events they couldn’t have imagined. As the girls retrace their friend’s last steps, they uncover dark secrets about themselves and their destinies, discovering they’re all cursed to repeat the brutal and gruesome endings to their stories until they can break the cycle.

This contemporary take on classic fairytales reimagines heroines as friends attending the same school. While investigating the murder of their best friend, they uncover connections to their ancient fairytale curses and attempt to forge their own fate before it’s too late.

A baker provides the sweetest escape for an actor in this charming romantic comedy.

Actor Ryan Kwok is back in Toronto after the promotional tour for his latest film, a rom-com that is getting less-than-stellar reviews. After the sudden death of his mother and years of constant work, Ryan is taking some much-needed time off. But as he tries to be supportive to his family, he struggles with his loss and doesn’t know how to talk to his dad—who now trolls him on Twitter instead of meeting him for dim sum.

Innovative baker Lindsay McLeod meets Ryan when he knocks over two dozen specialty donuts at her bakery. Their relationship is off to a messy start, but there’s no denying their immediate attraction. When Ryan signs up for a celebrity episode of Baking Fail, he asks Lindsay to teach him how to bake and she agrees.

As Lindsay and Ryan spend time together, bonding over grief and bubble tea, it starts to feel like they’re cooking up something sweeter than cupcakes in the kitchen.

Six kids search for a new place to call home in this middle grade graphic novel debut by comic creators Cait May and Trevor Bream, for fans of Marvel’s Runaways and The Witch Boy by Molly Knox Ostertag. Another Kind is not your average monster story.

Tucked away in a government facility nicknamed the Playroom, six not-quite-human kids learn to control their strange and unpredictable abilities. Life is good–or safe, at least–hidden from the prying eyes of a judgmental world.

That is, until a security breach forces them out of their home and into the path of the Collector, a mysterious being with leech-like powers.

Can the group band together to thwart the Collector’s devious plan, or will they wind up the newest addition to his collection?

~Cassie

September weekly kindle haul #4

I’m back to share my Kindle purchases for last week and to update you on whether I stuck with my 13 purchase limit. And no I didn’t. Although, in my defense, two of the extra three books that I bought were from Karina Halle and after seeing her devastating news on twitter I wanted to do something to support her. Her brother died only a couple of months ago and tragically she just lost her father last week. I can’t even imagine suffering back to back losses like that and when I saw her books come on sale this week I knew I had to buy them. I would rather buy her books physically but unfortunately the only book I have read by her I have DNF’d so I thought this would be the best way to support her. Coincidentally, I have already put her vampire romance on my October TBR which I am hoping I will love. The other book that I purchased was an Agatha Christie and I should have thought about that because I will always buy her books when they are on sale whether I have reached my limit or not. However, I still feel pretty accomplished because there were a few books that are on my TBR that went on sale recently and I didn’t buy them. So, overall, I would consider this month a win.

From the Author of the #1 Kindle International Bestseller, THE TICKET. A Love Again Standalone Novel.
Can a technological glitch bring you more than headaches? What if it brings you lasting love? When an app messes with her travel plans, Hannah discovers a whole new world full of laughter and romance. TV writer Hannah Storm’s marriage is over, she’s just turned 30, and she’s lost her job. Overwhelmed with how her life has turned out, and suffering from writer’s block, she decides to throw caution to the wind and books a month in a rental home on an island off the coast of France, using a new app, Good Nights. But it’s pouring rain, and someone’s in her rental home. Hannah doesn’t quite get the Tripp she planned…this one has brawn, brains, and a hot British accent. Join Hannah and Tripp on their island adventures with this witty, touching, romantic comedy page-turner. It’s the perfect beach and holiday book; ideal for lounging by the pool in summer and curling up by the fire on cold winter nights.

Sparks fly when opposites are forced to live together in this steamy, small town romance standalone!

Lulu Cavanaugh’s career went up in smoke.

The moment Lulu lost her job running the fanciest restaurant on Maui, the chef threw herself into recovery mode. She’s pitched a cooking show, hoping the on-screen visibility will pave the path for a future chef de cuisine job.

Alexander Wilder’s career flamed out.

An injury sidelined the quarterback’s promising career, but Xander is determined to find his way back to the gridiron. Rehabbing at a world famous clinic in Calamity, Wyoming, he’s approached by a producer to host a new cooking show. Having grown up in his mother’s restaurant, he grabs the opportunity to stay in the public’s eye.

Lulu nails her audition, but before she can pop open the champagne, the producers drop a bombshell: they’re giving her a co-host. Sparks fly when Lulu and Xander compete for the spotlight. And when a tight filming schedule forces them together around the clock, their sizzling chemistry starts a blaze that can’t be quenched. Will it lead to success for both, or will one of them get burned?

Heat so hot even the kitchen can’t stand it.

A light-hearted STANDALONE CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE that will make you believe in love again.

I first met William McAlister when I was just a teenager. 

He was handsome, had a beautiful wife and was on the verge of success, having just joined my father as his business partner. Mr. McAlister was full of smooth charm, but back then he was barely a blip on my radar. Just a family friend. 

Fast forward ten years: I’m 25 years old and a single mom trying to make things right for her seven-year old son. I’ve made some mistakes, grappled with my demons and now I’m back in the city of Vancouver, getting a second chance at a better life. 

I’ve started by working for my father’s production company as an executive assistant. My first day on the job and I already know I could have a promising career there. 

That is until I see Will McAlister for the first time in a decade. 

Now recently divorced and as sophisticated as always, Will has gone from being my father’s friend and business partner to something so much more. 

We’re both older, for one thing, and he just oozes this worldly confidence and stark sexuality. Combined with his tall, muscular build and sharp suits, strong jaw and bedroom eyes, Will has turned into one hell of a distraction. 

A distraction I’m having a hard time staying away from, considering his office is right across from my desk and I work with him in such close proximity. 

But it’s just a harmless crush, right? 

It’s just an innocent fantasy of screwing him on his desk, right? 

It can’t ever be more because he’s my father’s best friend, business partner, and my boss. 

Right? 

Wrong. 

NOTE: This novel is a light-hearted, swoony read. It doesn’t contain any cheating but it does have ample amounts of sex and swearing.

From the New York Times bestselling author of Where Sea Meets Sky and Racing the Sun comes a wildly romantic STANDALONE about a young American abroad in Norway who runs into the man who broke her heart eight years ago.

After years of bartending her way across Europe, Shay Lavji has seen almost everything the continent has to offer, but there’s one country she hasn’t crossed off her bucket list yet: Norway. It’s not that she doesn’t want to visit the land of the midnight sun—far from it; she’s obsessed with the culture and is dying to see the majestic fjords for herself.

What she’s not dying to do is run into her Norwegian ex-boyfriend, Anders Johansson, who broke her heart in America eight years ago before returning to his ancestral home. The last time she saw Anders, he was a cocky, rebellious, and tortured teenager who couldn’t stop himself from pushing all of her buttons—both good and bad. But Shay isn’t going to let Anders stand in the way of her wanderlust, and besides, it’s a big country, right?

She doesn’t count on Anders seeking her out the moment he learns she’s on his home turf. When Shay sees him again, she’s shocked at his transformation into a bearded, tattooed farmer and fisherman who values family over everything else. Is it possible that time has tamed this former bad boy? Shay wants to believe that everything can be new and bright again under the summer sun, but she knows, when it comes to Anders, the darkness is never too far behind.

Choose the best phrase to describe Sibby Goldstein’s life:

1) Sucky.
2) Really sucky.
3) Major suck-fest.
D) All of the above.

I started my day with a boyfriend and a job. I ended my day with a bottle of tequila. I’ll let you connect the dots.

Somehow, I wound up working as a waitress at an Italian restaurant. I have no idea what I’m doing. And I’m not just talkin’ about life.

This should be interesting.

Falling in love wasn’t part of the plan…

Successful restauranteur Lane Griffiths has been a friend of the Katsalos family for years, so between projects he’s happy to help with the renovations of their wedding hall, The Aegean Palace. At least until he finds himself stuck working with his best friend’s little sister, Yasmin. 

Yasmin has reinvented herself. After a brush with death in the wilds of Borneo, she’s made a list of all the things she wouldn’t have had the courage to do before. The new purple streak in her hair and the diamond stud in her nose is just the beginning. Next up: seduce a tall, dark, handsome man. Lane fits the bill, oh so perfectly. 

Yasmin is so different from the girl Lane used to know. Her ideas may be impractical and a little bit crazy, but he’s irresistibly drawn to her free-spirited nature, never dreaming he’s just a number on her Love List.

He makes an offer I can’t refuse. I never thought I was saving myself for anyone. Until Lucas.

Lucas

My priorities are my daughter and my job as a first responder. Romance isn’t even on the radar. Until one little package changes everything.

In a single mind-blowing hour, I end up with a package meant for Valentina Smith, and I find out she’s a virgin. I won’t even mention what’s in that package.

Next thing I know, my other brain gets the best of me. Valentina deserves the best, so that brain says, running my mouth like it has no business.

I don’t expect to fall for her. So hard it brings me to my knees. Did I mention she’s meant to be worshipped?

Valentina

O.M.G. Hotter than sin Lucas Cole got my package. And opened it. I just knew God had it in for me. 

I’ve got a problem to solve with just the solution. Until Lucas ends up with my, ahem, toy.

Lucas is everything I can’t have—hot, broody, and the kind of guy who rescues people for a living. I don’t need to be rescued, but I wouldn’t mind a taste of the rest.

He makes an offer I can’t refuse. I never thought I was saving myself for anyone. Until Lucas.

*This is a full-length, standalone romance with a guaranteed HEA.

Agatha Christie’s ingenious murder mystery, reissued with a striking cover designed to appeal to the latest generation of Agatha Christie fans and book lovers.

Beautiful Caroline Crale was convicted of poisoning her husband, yet there were five other suspects: Philip Blake (the stockbroker) who went to market; Meredith Blake (the amateur herbalist) who stayed at home; Elsa Greer (the three-time divorcee) who had roast beef; Cecilia Williams (the devoted governess) who had none; and Angela Warren (the disfigured sister) who cried ‘wee wee wee’ all the way home.

It is sixteen years later, but Hercule Poirot just can’t get that nursery rhyme out of his mind…

Caught on thin ice between desire and legacy…

Scottish-born hockey player Ian Campbell is so much more than a professional athlete and he has the birthright to prove it. But all he cares about is the next championship. Not his law degree and not the weight of the family legacy waiting for him back home; but time is running out on the deal he made with his grandfather. While home for the summer, a gorgeous American stumbles into the local pub and provides him the perfect distraction. 

Photojournalist Everly Adamson finds herself in Scotland on the business trip of a lifetime. A past mired in secrets and betrayal fades away when she’s behind the lens of her camera; nothing and no one can take that feeling away. Even though a handsome, professional athlete moonlighting as her knight in shining armor is trying to distract her— and she can’t seem to stay away. 

As their summer romance intensifies, neither of them is prepared for the collision of their two worlds. Ian’s family legacy prevents him from trusting her, and Everly refuses to love a man who won’t. The resolution may be more than either of them can afford…

There’s big trouble brewing in little Battle Lake. 

Beer and polka music reign supreme at October Fest, Battle Lake’s premier fall festival. To kick off the celebrations, the town hosts a public debate between the two congressional candidates: straight-laced Arnold Swydecker, and slippery incumbent, Sarah Glokkmann. As a reporter for the Battle Lake Recall, Mira James is roped into writing up the word war. But the festive mood sours when a well-known Glokkmann-bashing blogger is found dead . . . and the congresswoman herself meets a gruesome fate. 

To keep the heat off her best friend’s fiancé—an ex-con reporter—Mira wades through the candidates’ dirty laundry, their unsavory secrets, and some murderous mudslinging to expose the killer.

~Cassie

WWW 9.22.21

This fun weekly meme is hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words and all you need to do to participate is answer the following three questions:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What have you recently finished reading?
  • What do you think you will read next?

What are you currently reading?

This week both the PopCulture Readathon and the Fall into Readathon started and I am currently reading Perfect on Paper for one of them. I’m about a hundred pages in and this is a fun and heartwarming YA contemporary. It also has great representation and I love that books like this exist so readily nowadays.

What have you recently finished?

It’s been three weeks since I last had a chance to do one of these posts but I did manage to read quite a few books in between. Most of these are review copies so I need to get a move on reviewing them. We have one more trip out of town and then next week I’m hoping to buckle down and catch up on a lot of these. I will link any reviews that I have done.

This is Why We Lie by Gabriella Lepore

Never Saw Me Coming by Vera Kurian

Rock Paper Scissors by Alice Feeney

What do you think you will read next?

The Alexandrian Society, caretakers of lost knowledge from the greatest civilizations of antiquity, are the foremost secret society of magical academicians in the world. Those who earn a place among the Alexandrians will secure a life of wealth, power, and prestige beyond their wildest dreams, and each decade, only the six most uniquely talented magicians are selected to be considered for initiation. 

Enter the latest round of six: Libby Rhodes and Nico de Varona, unwilling halves of an unfathomable whole, who exert uncanny control over every element of physicality. Reina Mori, a naturalist, who can intuit the language of life itself. Parisa Kamali, a telepath who can traverse the depths of the subconscious, navigating worlds inside the human mind. Callum Nova, an empath easily mistaken for a manipulative illusionist, who can influence the intimate workings of a person’s inner self. Finally, there is Tristan Caine, who can see through illusions to a new structure of reality—an ability so rare that neither he nor his peers can fully grasp its implications. 

When the candidates are recruited by the mysterious Atlas Blakely, they are told they will have one year to qualify for initiation, during which time they will be permitted preliminary access to the Society’s archives and judged based on their contributions to various subjects of impossibility: time and space, luck and thought, life and death. Five, they are told, will be initiated. One will be eliminated. The six potential initiates will fight to survive the next year of their lives, and if they can prove themselves to be the best among their rivals, most of them will. 

Most of them.

~Cassie

September weekly kindle haul #3

I am so excited that we are so close to the end of September because this has been one of the busiest months I’ve had in a long time and I just want to catch my breath. I am behind on so many things but I am crossing my fingers that October will be a more peaceful month. I also bought the last two Kindle books I am “allowed” to buy a few days ago but I still feel confident that I can stick with it. Let’s get into the books that I bought last week.

An edgy and haunting debut novel about a group of friends who reunite after one of them has returned from a mysterious two-year disappearance.

Julie is missing, and the missing don’t often return. But Elise knows Julie better than anyone, and she feels in her bones that her best friend is out there, and that one day she’ll come back. She’s right. Two years to the day that Julie went missing, she reappears with no memory of where she’s been or what happened to her.

A vicious small-town murder, two unusual suspects, one big lie…

Tina is terrified when mysterious hand-written notes appear in odd places around her home. She strives to uncover who is behind the notes, and why, but finds no answers. Until, one gloomy night, she catches a familiar face watching her through her bedroom window.

Maddison remains in her loveless marriage for the sake of her two young children. Still wearing the mental scars her husband inflicted after his years of betrayal, she uses alcohol and prescription drugs as a crutch. This starts her on a rapid ride to rock bottom.

Approaching forty, Isabelle marries for the first time. Life couldn’t be better, except her husband is still on good terms with his ex-wife. Isabelle doesn’t like his ex, especially when she starts making trouble for the newlyweds.

When a vicious murder is committed on a quiet street in this small, blue-collar town, the three women are caught in the riptide of an investigation. Two are suspects. One will lose everything. And someone is lying.

A tangled lattice of manipulation and deceit must be unravelled to discover who the true culprit is.

New York Times bestselling author Tanya Anne Crosby explores the lives of Caroline, Augusta, and Savannah Aldridge, three sisters who share a dark past and an uncertain future…

After the death of their mother, a newspaper heiress, Caroline Aldridge steps up to head the paper. But a killer is making headlines, and Caroline may have unwittingly stepped into the crosshairs. Even as she mends the tattered bonds of sisterhood, a sinister force beyond their control may tear them apart forever…

FREE

He’s gonna make sure he’s her first.

Ryan Scott is big, bad, and he has a body made for sin. When he leaves the SEALs and heads home to D.C., the first person he wants to see is his best friend, Poppy Baker. Just to be around her, of course… nothing funny. Their friendship isn’t like that.

Except… one look at the beautiful blonde and he starts to question how he never thought of her as more than just a friend before. Ryan likes to imagine how it could be more. It doesn’t hurt anyone if it’s just in his head.

When Poppy starts to give him that look — the seductive eyes, the pouty lips, the head cocked just so — he can’t help but imagine bending her over and taking her right there. How her eyes would close, her breasts would bounce, and the noises she would make… 

Ryan has to get his act together, because that’s his best friend he’s thinking about. They have a long history together and he can’t lose her friendship. He won’t risk it. 

But once Ryan has a taste of Poppy, she’s all he can think about. She’s a walking, talking fantasy… and she’s only a hair breadth away… One wrong move could take what he values most.

One winter night, 28-year-old Detective Inspector Embla Nyström receives a phone call that sends her reeling. It’s been fifteen years since Embla’s best friend disappeared from a nightclub in Gothenburg, but Embla recognizes her voice immediately, though the call quickly disconnects. Lollo is still alive. But before Embla can dive into the case, she gets another phone call, this time from her cousin. A man has been found shot to death in one of the guest houses he and his wife manage in rural Sweden.

When Embla arrives on the scene, she receives another shock. The dead man is Milo Stavic, a well-known gang member and one of the men she saw with Lollo the night she disappeared. And, as Embla soon learns, the same night that Milo was shot in bed, his brother Luca was also killed. Why, after all these years, is someone targeting the Stavic brothers, and where is the third brother? With help from a handsome local detective and his poorly trained Belgian shepherd, Embla launches an investigation into the three Stavic brothers, hoping it will bring her closer to finally finding Lollo and putting an end to her terrible nightmares.

“People like you don’t fall in love with people like me.” 

Meet Holly Hughes, a moderately successful teen advice columnist living in a studio apartment on the Upper East Side with her boyfriend Stephen. She has it all, but at the ripe age of thirty-one, she wants more. She wants to be married, she wants a family, and she’s going to have it all with Stephen. 

At least, that’s what she thought, until Stephen announces he’s gay, and the domino effect of unfortunate events begins. She soon finds herself unemployed, single, and living in her sister’s house on Long Island, working as her niece’s babysitter for less than minimum wage. She’s pretty certain she’s destined to live in the Land of Mediocrity forever.

And then, her niece runs face-first into a tall, handsome man at the bookstore.

* * *

Holly Freakin’ Hughes is an HFN title about acceptance, feeling good enough, and the reality that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. 

NOTE: This book contains some strong language and sexual situations. Age discretion is advised. 

This book will also be a part of a series of at least three books. They just haven’t been born yet. Patience is appreciated.

From USA Bestseller Natasha Madison comes a brand new Hockey series The Only One.

Ralph 
Being traded to Dallas was a dream come true. I had everything I wanted, my game had never been better, and my wife was due to have our baby any day now.

What could go wrong?
Everything.

I was now raising our baby on my own. After hockey practice and games, I didn’t have time to sleep, let alone make sure my social media was up to par.

I never thought I’d get a second chance at love.

Candace 

When my hotshot brother was drafted in the NHL, he didn’t have time to do his social media, so I took over for him. Little did I know it would become my career.

My plate was full with over fifty NHL players, and I wasn’t taking on any new clients.

Yet when he showed up on my doorstep with the cutest little girl in the whole world, I couldn’t say no.

I was just helping, but it turned into more than that. He’s the man I’ve been waiting for.

All it takes is one touch, one night, one chance, and only one kiss.

I’ve lost it. 😦 The only thing in the world I wasn’t supposed to lose. My engagement ring. It’s been in Magnus’s family for three generations. And now the very same day his parents are coming, I’ve lost it. The very same day! Do not hyperventilate, Poppy. Stay positive 🙂 !!
 
Poppy Wyatt has never felt luckier. She is about to marry her ideal man, Magnus Tavish, but in one afternoon her “happily ever after” begins to fall apart. Not only has she lost her engagement ring in a hotel fire drill but in the panic that follows, her phone is stolen. As she paces shakily around the lobby, she spots an abandoned phone in a trash can. Finders keepers! Now she can leave a number for the hotel to contact her when they find her ring. Perfect!
 
Well, perfect except that the phone’s owner, businessman Sam Roxton, doesn’t agree. He wants his phone back and doesn’t appreciate Poppy reading his messages and wading into his personal life.
 
What ensues is a hilarious and unpredictable turn of events as Poppy and Sam increasingly upend each other’s lives through emails and text messages. As Poppy juggles wedding preparations, mysterious phone calls, and hiding her left hand from Magnus and his parents . . . she soon realizes that she is in for the biggest surprise of her life.

It’s 1917, and World War I is at its zenith when Hazel and James first catch sight of each other at a London party. She’s a shy and talented pianist; he’s a newly minted soldier with dreams of becoming an architect. When they fall in love, it’s immediate and deep–and cut short when James is shipped off to the killing fields.

Aubrey Edwards is also headed toward the trenches. A gifted musician who’s played Carnegie Hall, he’s a member of the 15th New York Infantry, an all-African-American regiment being sent to Europe to help end the Great War. Love is the last thing on his mind. But that’s before he meets Colette Fournier, a Belgian chanteuse who’s already survived unspeakable tragedy at the hands of the Germans.

Thirty years after these four lovers’ fates collide, the Greek goddess Aphrodite tells their stories to her husband, Hephaestus, and her lover, Ares, in a luxe Manhattan hotel room at the height of World War II. She seeks to answer the age-old question: Why are Love and War eternally drawn to one another? But her quest for a conclusion that will satisfy her jealous husband uncovers a multi-threaded tale of prejudice, trauma, and music and reveals that War is no match for the power of Love.

A sweeping, multi-layered romance with a divine twist, by the Printz Honor-winning author of The Passion of Dolssa, set in the perilous days of World Wars I and II.

~Cassie

Blog Tour: This is Why We Lie by Gabriella Lepore

Thank you to Harper Collins for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review. They also provided all info and graphics.

This Is Why We Lie  

Gabriella Lepore

On Sale Date: September 21, 2021

9781335418609

Hardcover

$18.99 USD

Ages 13 And Up

320 pages

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Riverdale meets One of Us Is Lying in This Is Why We Lie by Gabriella Lepore, a standalone thriller following two teens who discover a body off the coast of their seaside town. As they search for the killer, they will learn the students of both the local prep school and the nearby reform school will do anything to protect their secrets.

Everyone in Gardiners Bay has a secret.

When Jenna Dallas and Adam Cole find Colleen O’Dell’s body floating off the shore of their coastal town, the community of Gardiners Bay is shaken. But even more shocking is the fact that her drowning was no accident.

Once Jenna’s best friend becomes a key suspect, Jenna starts to look for answers on her own. As she uncovers scandals inside Preston Prep School leading back to Rookwood reform school, she knows she needs Adam on her side.

As a student at Rookwood, Adam is used to getting judgmental looks, but now his friends are being investigated by the police. Adam will do whatever he can to keep them safe, even if that means trusting Jenna.

As lies unravel, the truth starts to blur. Only one thing is certain: somebody must take the fall.

Review

This is an extremely fast paced thriller that I flew through in less than a day without even meaning to. I would pick it up and the next thing I knew I had sped through 30% of the book in a short amount of time. The short chapters helped as well as Lepore’s captivating writing style. The story itself was intriguing enough to keep me guessing on who killed Colleen although I didn’t necessarily care why. The synopsis makes it seem like the schools the characters go to are important but they really aren’t which was a little disappointing. I also found it odd that our two main characters, Jenna and Adam, act like they don’t really know each other but we quickly find out that they run in the same circle of people. The story is told through Adam and Jenna’s perspectives which I enjoyed. It helped give the story a well rounded feel since we see both the boys’ and girls’ sides. However, they both use a lot of flashbacks to tell their side of the story and some of the time it just felt very repetitive to what we just found out. On the other hand, I did enjoy the way Lepore interspersed the story with police interviews, news articles and texts. It helped keep the fast pace of the story and also added a bit of fun.  While the ending was action packed and somewhat surprising I do think the fast pace makes it a little difficult to connect to the characters. I do think that you will get the most enjoyment out of this book if you are already a fan of YA thrillers like I am.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Gabriella Lepore is a YA author from South Wales in the United Kingdom. She lives in the countryside with her husband James and daughter Sophia. When she isn’t reading or writing, she can usually be found exploring the coastline. She enjoys cups of tea, bookstore coffee shops, stormy beaches, and autumn days.


SOCIAL LINKS:
 

Twitter: @GabriellaBooks 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Gabriella-Lepore-Books-240139339377522/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/gabriellalepore_books/?hl=en 

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4814169.Gabriella_Lepore 

Excerpt

JENNA

Gardiners Bay at dawn is my secret. There’s a moment, right before the day starts, when the ocean is bathed in amber light. That first golden breath of morning. Everything is still, apart from the pelicans gathering near the water, their plump bodies shuffling along the shoreline. Sometimes I sit on the promenade for hours with my legs suspended over the pebble beach below, just watching the night turn to day. Watching the darkness turn to light.

It’s often like this, just me and the birds. The only other people I tend to cross paths with at this hour are fishermen wearing heavy-duty gear and hugging their thermoses. They sit on the benches and swig their hot drinks while skimming the daily newspaper. Then they leave. A little while later, their boats drift out onto the water.

Today, though, I’m the only one here.

I raise my camera and adjust the focus, capturing the new light as it spills over the ocean. In the muted daylight, the silver tide is a murky, dull gray and frothing as it slaps against the shore.

“Help! I need help!”

My eyes dart across the shoreline. There’s a boy on the stretch of beach at the foot of Rookwood Cliff. He’s kneedeep in the water, fully dressed.

He shouts again.

I spring to my feet and run along the promenade. Ducking beneath the boardwalk railings, I jump down to the pebbled cove.

The soles of my feet sting at the impact of the stones beneath my Converse. I scramble toward him, my footing slipping on the damp pebbles.

It’s then that I recognize him.

Adam.

His jeans are soaked to the thigh. He’s wading through the shallows, his legs tangled in fishing net and seaweed. And a body lies limp in his arms. A girl. She’s swollen, her skin has turned purple, and one arm is swinging downward with the momentum of Adam’s labored movements.

I press my hand to my mouth.

“Call an ambulance,” he shouts.

But all I can do is stand there, paralyzed by the sight. He lowers the girl onto the sand and begins CPR, breathing into her mouth.

It’s too late, I want to tell him.

She’s already dead.

Excerpted from This is Why We Lie by Gabriella Lepore, Copyright © 2021 by Gabriella Lepore. Published by Inkyard Press. 

BUY LINKS:

Bookshop.org: https://bookshop.org/books/this-is-why-we-lie/9781335418609 

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/this-is-why-we-lie-gabriella-lepore/1138317761 

Powells: https://www.powells.com/book/this-is-why-we-lie-9781335418609 

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/This-Why-Lie-Gabriella-Lepore/dp/1335418601

Target: https://www.target.com/p/this-is-why-we-lie-by-gabriella-lepore-hardcover/-/A-82007842 

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Gabriella_Lepore_This_Is_Why_We_Lie?id=eqsJEAAAQBAJ

Apple Books: https://books.apple.com/us/author/gabriella-lepore/id1153311848

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/this-is-why-we-lie 

~Cassie

September Weekly Kindle Haul #2

It’s Sunday which means it’s time to wrap up all the Kindle books that I acquired the past 6 days. My goal is to only purchase 13 kindle books a month and right now I’m at 9 which doesn’t leave me much for the rest of the month but I still think I can stick with it. Last week ended up being unexpectedly crazy and didn’t leave me a lot of time to do much but I’m hoping this week I can get back on track with my blog posts and reading. But for now let’s get into the haul.

Tara Heinz began her modeling career at the tender age of twelve. After spending fifteen years drooling over forbidden foods, she does the unthinkable. She enrolls in culinary school and becomes a pastry chef.

After a nasty breakup with her rock star boyfriend that leads to tabloid war, Tara takes a job at a rural lodge in Oregon to escape the spotlight she no longer desires.

James Cavanaugh is a farmer in Oregon. His days are spent building his business and his nights are spent sleeping, so he can get up at four in the morning.

Ruby Cavanaugh has plans for her son that involve her new pastry chef. Of course, neither James nor Tara know what’s going on until it’s too late.

Jamie Layton has a secret.

Running from her past, Jamie Layton takes a new job as a nanny to two volatile, rebellious children at a stately mansion in a reclusive area of town. Rumors fly about the mysterious death of the children’s father, and when strange things happen at night, Jamie and the children must confront the horrors that haunt the house.

FREE

To win her submission, he’ll have to lay to rest the dangerous ghosts of their past. 

Isabella lost her husband years ago to his addictions. Abandoned in their silent home, rudderless, she lost herself, diminished to nothing. Now widowed, she’s returned a year after the funeral to finally dispose of that house. Alone. An epic mistake, with memories still echoing from the walls.

When his brother Marcos appears, holding out his hand to help, calling her Ella in that commanding voice, her insides go warm, pliable, willing. Soaking up the strength and calm she’s been sorely lacking.

An ex black-ops operative, Marcos Santos did the right thing. He let Ella go to the arms of his brother, thinking she’d be safer. He couldn’t have been more wrong. Now he’s determined to make the most of his second chance with the woman who’s never left his heart. The woman who trusted the wrong man to be her Master.

But before he can win the gift of her submission, he’ll have to lay the ghosts of their past to rest. Ghosts that are dangerous…and armed to the teeth. 

Perfect, a stand-alone book in the interconnected Elite Doms of Washington series, is a smoking-hot romance to leave you breathless.

Whiskey River businessman Zack Banister has had his eye on Laurel Lewis for years, even though she’s always been off-limits. The timing has never been right between them, but now that they’re both free, Zack is determined to convince Laurel that he’s the perfect man for her. 

The last thing Laurel needs is a white knight. She’s a single mom and knows she can only rely on herself. But the thought of a fling with Zack is a different matter—and far too tempting to resist. 

Then reality crashes in and Laurel faces hard decisions. And Zack will do anything to convince her to take a risk on him for their happy ever after.

FREE

What do you do when you’ve agreed to a pact with your friends to get married, but neither you nor the guy in your sights is quite ready to fall in love?

Bailey De Luca is the last of her friends to complete the Last First Date pact–to marry the next guy she dates. But lady luck must be in a bad mood because so far, it’s all come to nothing.

Everywhere she looks people are in love. Everyone except her. Is she fundamentally unlovable? Or is it that she’s already found–and lost–The One? Whatever the reason, one thing’s for sure: Bailey never expected to be alone at thirty.

When one of her friends announces her engagement with a rock that could eclipse the sun, Bailey throws herself into a new business. Starting up Cozy Cottage Catering seems like the perfect way to bury her head in the sand. But fate has other ideas, and soon Bailey is swept off her feet by the oh-so cute Ryan Jones.

Ryan may seem like the perfect combination of Prince Charming meets Thor (without the hammer), but is Bailey ready to be with him?

Or will the ghost of her past love prevent her from finding happiness again?

Four Last First Dates is a full length novel and can be read as a stand-alone title.

She’s the woman he doesn’t remember. He’s the man she can’t forget.

Bad boy Hank “Hazardous” Lazarus used to have everything: a gorgeous girlfriend, a career as a freestyle snowboarder and a spot on the US Olympic team. Nine months ago, after a bad crash in the half pipe, he woke up in the hospital, unable to move his legs. Now he’s landed there again, but gravity is not the culprit. With his family pressuring him to try a groundbreaking treatment, Hank self-medicates with too much tequila instead.

Doctor Callie Anders has the courage to restart a patient’s heart with a thousand volts of electricity, yet she’s afraid to risk her own. So she doesn’t confess to her newest patient they they met just before the accident, an encounter that he doesn’t remember. Even as their friendship develops, she won’t admit that she regrets turning down his dinner invitation, or that her heart stutters every time those inked shoulders roll through the door of the therapy department.

With another Vermont winter coming again, Hank needs a hand out from under the avalanche of his disappointments. If only Callie were brave enough to take the job.

This book is a standalone novel, no cliffhangers, no prior experience necessary.

FREE

Josie 
I’m an actress between gigs crashing on the couch at my cousin’s old place. I won’t be here forever. I just filmed a pilot and, if the show gets picked up, I’m off to LA for my dream job. Only I never expected my new roommate would be the grouchiest man on earth. It almost cancels out his sexy rugged good looks. Almost.

Sean 
The last thing I need is a woman moving into the house I’m renovating on the side. First of all, I live here. Second, I’m running on fumes trying to juggle my day job too. I don’t have time for her irritating cheer or her distractingly cute little body. I’ve got work to do.

And then Josie decides to “help” me renovate, which has the aggravating effect of making more work for me. I’m losing my damn mind. Yet, somehow, I can’t stop looking at her.

The New York Times bestselling Driven series continues with a standalone story about finding love where you least expect it…

Behind the wheel, racing champion Zander Donavan is at the top of his game. But after too much excess in his personal life, he’s forced to step away. He needs to accomplish something all on his own—outside of his famous father’s shadow.  

Getty Caster is running away from the abuse that clouds her past. She thinks she’s found the perfect escape—until she discovers a stranger in the beachside cottage she’d been promised. He’s undeniably sexy, but she’s there to heal. Alone.

Before long though, fighting with each other turns into fighting their attraction. And giving into desire sets off a chain reaction that has their pasts colliding. With an unexpected love on the line, can they overcome the fallout to build a future?

FREE

Being able to stand on your own two feet, sometimes requires getting knocked off them completely… 

McKenzie “Kenzie” Lane is newly graduated from college and looking forward to a dream internship she has lined up for the summer in LA. Unfortunately, her controlling mother has other plans. 

Colby Singer, with his hot-as-sin looks and wicked charm, is never without attention from the ladies. Despite suspecting how Kenzie feels about him, he’s always kept her comfortably off-limits since she’s the baby sister of one of his best friends. But when he’s determined to distract her temporarily from the stress of her mother’s ultimatum, deciding to show her some fun, he quickly finds that keeping her in the friend zone is not as easy as he’d hoped. 

Once Kenzie realizes this may be her last opportunity to gauge her long-time crush’s true feelings, she puts it all out there in the form of a bet. It’s the perfect idea for her perfect man.

Until he isn’t.

Will a dose of reality lead to true love? Or will it crash and burn before it can even get started?

***Bet Me Something is for mature audiences due to steamy bedroom scenes that are in no way contained to just the bedroom.***

Full Length Standalone book with no cliffhanger. Third book of the “Something Series”

There is no rule in the Man Code as unbreakable as this: no matter how beautiful, smart, clever, and witty she is, do not—under any circumstances—fall in love with your best friend’s woman.
Yeah. So there’s that. Look, it’s not like I didn’t know I screwed up by falling for her. 
Also, for the record, unrequited love sucks big time.
And, I might have cut myself some slack by now, given everything that went down in the last few years, but Lulu just walked back into my life in a big way.

***
There are three things I’ve never been able to resist—my friends, my family, and chocolate.
Leo Hennessy? He was nowhere on that list. He’s been a true friend—a friend who walked through hell and back with me.
Now, I’m stepping into my new future. I didn’t expect it to include a riddle-filled, race-against-the-clock scavenger hunt across New York City.
With Leo.
Suddenly, I’m looking at this man with new eyes…
But my life spun out because of a man once before, and I can’t risk my fresh start, no matter what the temptation. And Leo is most definitely a temptation of the sexiest, sweetest, and most dangerous variety. 
More irresistibly delicious than chocolate…

Cassidy’s a fighter, designed to survive.

After the crushing death of her parents, she persevered. When she caught her fiancé with another woman, she held her head high and moved on. Fighting always came easy, because she never had to do it alone.

She had Liam.
Her best friend. Her protector. Her rock.

But every bond has its breaking point, and they found their’s… with a kiss. One weak moment upturns the foundation of their relationship, making Cassidy look at Liam in a whole new light.

Now, she has a choice to make. Is the shift from friends to lovers even possible? Or will Cassidy lose the one person she can’t live without?

FREE

Piss off the hot farmer ✔️ 
Find out I’ll be living in a funeral home ✔️ 
Meet my pet pig Petunia ✔️ 
Day one in town proved one thing… I’m screwed. 

Welcome to Mudville, home of KISSING BOOKS, a standalone small town, opposites attract, fish out of water romantic comedy with lots of kissing (and other things), a cocky farmer, a sassy misplaced heroine with too many animals, some crazy locals, a decades’ old mystery, and a very happy ending for all of them!

A sweet Southern town. A failing family manor. And a plan to save it all…

Moving to Oakleaf Manor was the last thing Brynn Townsend had planned after losing her job in the city, but even more unexpected was the headstrong son of the owner stealing her heart. Her only hope of building a new life in the quaint town of Sugar Maple rests on saving his family farm. But when he threatens to derail not only her plans to save Oakleaf Manor, but also her newfound home, Brynn knows she must risk their budding romance in order to save it all.

Preserving his family’s legacy and restoring his home to its former glory means everything to Jack. Generations of the Oakley family have owned and run the historic estate of Oakleaf Manor, but Jack’s past mistakes have left his family in danger of losing their home. With the fate of Oakleaf Manor resting solidly on his shoulders, he can’t risk failing again, even if it means putting his growing relationship with Brynn in jeopardy.

When Brynn crafts a daring plan to save Oakleaf Manor, Jack’s deeply rooted fears resurface. He’s tried this plan before with disastrous consequences. Can Brynn find a way to convince Jack to trust both her and their love? Will Jack realize where his heart truly belongs before it’s too late? Or will the happiness they had found and Oakleaf Manor end up in ruins?

If you love winding country roads, quaint cozy shops, and quirky, but caring neighbors who love like family, you’ll adore Love at the Fall Festival.

~Cassie

Blog Tour: Never Saw Me Coming by Vera Kurian

Thank you to Harlequin Trade Publishing for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review. They also provided all info and graphics.

NEVER SAW ME COMING

Author: Vera Kurian

ISBN: 9780778311553

Publication Date: September 7, 2021

Publisher: Park Row Books

Book Summary:

“I’ve never met someone like me, but when I do, eventually, I think it will be like two wolves meeting in the night, sniffing and recognizing a fellow hunter.”

Meet Chloe Sevre. Freshman honor student. Average-seeming, legging-wearing, hot girl next door…and diagnosed psychopath with an IQ of 135. Her hobbies include yogalates, frat parties, and plotting to kill Will Bachman, a childhood friend who grievously wronged her.

Now Chloe and six other students at John Adams College are part of an unusual clinical study that includes smartwatches to track their moods and movements, in exchange for free tuition. The study, led by a renowned psychiatrist, has inadvertently brought together some of the most dangerous minds who feel no guilt or fear. When one of the participants is found murdered, it becomes obvious they’re all in danger. Chloe goes from hunter to prey, and joins forces with two other psychopaths in the program to discover why they’re being targeted – if they could only trust each other.

Wildly entertaining with compelling characters and a vividly conjured campus setting, NEVER SAW ME COMING will keep you up all night, pinned to the page, wondering why you’re rooting for a would-be killer.

Review

This character driven story was well written and engaging much in the vein of YOU and Dexter. Except Kurian had the task of balancing multiple characters with psychopathy and she did it brilliantly. I adored the way this story slowly unravels and the scope of it becomes larger until you are fully immersed in the world with these characters..Because this book has a few different narrators there were lots of tendrils of storylines that we were constantly following but it never felt overwhelming or confusing. I also appreciated how Kurian still made time to let the characters naturally develop and we really got to know our main characters intimately. It would have been so easy to make the study participants all seem one dimensional but instead Kurian really showcased the different sides of psychopathy which gave each character their own distinct voice. I will say that if you are not a character driven reader than parts of this book may not work as well for you as they did for me since this book mostly feels like a character study. There is a lot of action and twists and turns but there are also quiet moments where we are just getting to know our characters and those happened to be my favorite parts. I did think the ending was satisfying but also farfetched at certain moments. It is an odd feeling to have strong emotional connections to characters who are supposed to be on the “bad” side and yet it is something that Kurian easily succeeded at. For that reason, I highly recommend this book to any fan of true crime or psychology because I think you will also find a lot of value in reading this. I also recommend this to anyone who loves to delve into characters because this is where the book really shines.

Author Bio: 

Vera Kurian is a psychologist and writer and a longtime resident of Washington DC. She has a doctorate in social psychology, specializing in intergroup relations, political ideology, and quantitative methods. She has studied fiction at Breadloaf, Sewanee, VONA, and attended juried workshops at LitCamp, Colgate, Juniper, and the Marlboro Summer Writing Intensive. She has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and was a semifinalist for the Mark Twain Royal Nonesuch Humor Writing Contest.

Social Links:

Author Website

Twitter: @vera_kurian

Instagram: @verakurianauthor

Goodreads

Excerpt

One

Day 60

As soon as the door to my new dorm room closed, I went to the window, scanning across the quad for him. It wasn’t like there was any possibility he would just happen to be out there among the families lugging moving boxes or the handful of students sprawled in the grass.

But there! A head of dirty-blond waves. Will. My mouth opened. Then the person turned and I saw it was only a girl with an unfortunate haircut. Seriously, you’d think she’d put in more of an effort for move-in day.

I turned and faced my empty dorm room with its sad linoleum floors, mentally going through my to-do list. 1. Get rid of Mom. Check. She had already left and was probably speeding up the I-95, popping open a bottle of champagne now that she was finally rid of me. 2. Claim the most advantageous space be-fore my roommate, Yessica, arrived. 3. Make six to eight friends before 4. My mandatory check-in appointment at the psychology department. 5. Find Will.

We had a double with two bedrooms, one clearly larger than the other. While my normal instinct was to claim the larger one, I immediately saw the problem with that. The larger bed-room had windows that overlooked the quad. What if I wanted to crawl in or out of my window in the middle of the night? People will record anything even remotely interesting on their phones these days, and I could be easily seen from the other dorms and academic halls that lined the quad—too much of an audience for my liking.

I took the smaller room. My generosity would score me points with my new roomie, but more importantly, the room had a view of the brick wall of the building next to us and there was a metal fire escape attached directly to the window. Easy access in and out of my room without detection—perfect. I dumped some of my boxes into the room and made the bed, placing my stuffed plushie whale on top to clearly stake my claim. The voices inside the dorm were calling me and I had to establish myself quickly.

I gave myself a brief once-over before leaving the room, reap-plying my lip gloss and fixing my hair. The hair had to be just right—a loose, effortless side French braid that actually wasn’t effortless. You have to be the kind of girl who “doesn’t put any effort in” but naturally rolls out of bed looking like a horny but somehow demure starlet. If you meet some standard of objective attractiveness, people think you’re better than you actually are—smarter, more interesting, worthier of existing. Combined with the right personality, this can be powerful.

Brewser had one long hallway with rooms shooting off on either side. I peeked into the room next door where two brunettes were wrestling a duvet out of a plastic package. “Hi!” I chirped. “I’m Chloe!” I could be whatever they wanted me to be. A fun girl, a potential best friend, someone to tell secrets to over midnight snacks. This type of socializing was just me playing little roles for a few moments, but when I need to go all in, I can. I can make myself younger when I want to, opting or looser clothes that hide my body and making my eyes shiny with dumbness—a whole costume of innocence. I can look older with makeup and carefully selected clothes, showing skin when necessary. It’s easy because people tend to see what they want to.

I went door to door. Room 202. “Omigod I love your hair,” I said to a bubbly blonde I suspect will end up popular.

Room 206. “You’re not brothers, are you?” I said shyly to two boys on the crew team (nice bodies but baby faces—not my taste). They grinned at me, looked at my boobs, and each vied to say something clever. Neither was clever.

Room 212 was a pair of awkward girls. I was friendly to them but didn’t linger long because I knew they would never be key players.

While I met a few more people, I was simultaneously assessing who seemed like they were going to be part of Greek life. Will was in a frat—SAE—and one of my first orders of business was to get in with that frat. The crew boys were already in the hallway loudly talking about going out to a club that night. That was good—an outing, and the crew boys seemed like they would be the type to pledge a frat. “I love dancing,” I said to what’s-his-name, the taller of the two, fingering the end of my braid. “It’s the best way to get to know people.” He smiled down at me, his eyes crinkling. If high school taught me any-thing, it’s that social life is a game that revolves around navigating hierarchies. Be someone guys want to fuck or you will be invisible to them. Be someone the girls want firmly tucked into their inner circles, whether as friend or enemy, or die the death of being totally irrelevant.

Even from our brief interactions, I could tell no one in this dorm was in my program. I’ve never met someone like me, but when I do eventually, I think it will be like two wolves meet-ing in the night, sniffing and recognizing a fellow hunter. But I doubt they would put two of us in the same dorm—there were only seven and they probably had to spread us out to prevent a war from breaking out.

I had to go then, leaving my new friends behind, to check in with the program.

The psychology department was diagonally across the quad, visible from the windows of the common area of my room. The quad was lush grass crisscrossed with brick paths, with each brick having the name of an alumnus engraved into it—John Smith, class of ’03. Funny—Will was never going to get a brick, but I was. One of the larger dorms, Tyler Hall, had a massive banner hung on it that said WELCOME FRESHMAN!!! I stopped to take a selfie with the banner in the background: here’s a girl excited for her first day of college, busy doing college things!

It’s practically destiny that I ended up at John Adams University. I knew I had to be in DC, which meant applying to Georgetown, American University, George Washington University, John Adams, Catholic University, and Trinity College—all of which are inside the District. As safeties, I also applied to reasonably close places like George Mason and the University of Maryland. I got into all of them except for Georgetown. Seriously, fuck them. My application was golden: I have an IQ of 135—five points short of genius—solid SATs and grades. I paid for most of my wardrobe with a business I set up writing papers for other students. Who knows how many of them got into college with a heartfelt essay about the dead cancer grandmother they didn’t actually have.

I had been offered scholarship money at various schools, but nothing like what Adams had offered. Even if I had turned down the psychology study, I still could have gotten generous scholarships given to students with my pedigree to entice them to a Tier 2 liberal arts school. But I didn’t care—Adams was always my first choice because of Will. Another bonus was the school’s placement in DC: a busy city with a relatively high murder rate. The campus was in the gentrifying neighborhood of Shaw, just east of bougie Logan Circle, and south of U Street, a popular going-out destination. A neighborhood that, despite the presence of nice restaurants, was also a place where drunk people occasionally got into fights and stabbed each other and pedestrians got mugged. Law enforcement was busy with the constant parade of protests, conferences, and visiting diplomats—they probably gave two shits about what was going on in the mind of a random eighteen-year-old girl with an iPhone in her hand and a benign look on her face.

I liked the somber castle look of the psychology department. Its dark red bricks were covered with ivy and the windows, edged with black iron, were warbled like they had old glass in them. The inside was dimly lit by a hanging chandelier with flickering amber bulbs, and the cavernous foyer smelled like old books. When I walked through it, I imagined a camera following me, viewers worried about what dangerous things might come my way. I would be the one they would root for.

I went up the curving staircase to the sixth floor where I was supposed to check in with my program. Room 615 was tucked at the end of the hallway, secluded. A placard on the door said Leonard Wyman, PhD, and Elena Torres, Doctoral Candidate. I recognized the names from my paperwork.

I knocked and a few seconds later a woman flung open the door. “You must be Chloe Sevre!”

She stuck out her hand. They probably had a whole dossier on me. I had had a bunch of phone interviews with a couple of screeners, then one with Wyman himself, and they had also interviewed my mother and high school counselor.

The woman’s hand was bony, but warm and dry, and her eyes were chocolate brown and unafraid. “I’m Elena, one of Dr. Wyman’s grad students.” She smiled and gestured for me to come inside. She led me past a messy reception area, a desk cluttered with papers and three laptops, and down a hallway to a smaller office, hers presumably.

She closed the door behind us. “We’ll get you all settled. Everything was fine with the financial aid office before you got here?” As one of the seven students in the study, I was granted a free ride to John Adams University. All I had to give in ex-change was my willingness to be a full-time guinea pig in their Multimethod Psychopathy Panel Study.

I nodded, looking around. Her shelves were crammed with books and stacks of printed-out articles. Three different versions of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Tomes on “abnormal” psychology. Robert Hare’s book Without Conscience, which I had read.

“Great,” Elena said. She pulled something up on her computer. She took a bite of the scone resting on her mousepad and chewed loudly. She was pretty in a grad student sort of way. Olive skin and a nice collarbone. You could picture her falling in love with some reedy nerd and trying to have children too late. “Here you are!” She clicked a few times and her printer came to life. When she stood up to retrieve the paper, I leaned over, trying to see her computer screen, but she had a privacy shield. I didn’t know if it was supposed to be a secret or some-thing, but I had found out how many students were in the pro-gram when one of the administrators had been working out my financial aid package. I was dying of curiosity about the other six students. The bizarre elite.

Elena handed me a bunch of paper-clipped documents. They were consent forms for the study, assurances that my data would be kept private, that there was minimal risk associated with computer-based surveys, that blood drawings would be performed by a licensed phlebotomist, blah blah blah. A lot more about privacy, location tracking—which I paid closer attention to—and what their legal obligations were to report it if I threatened to either harm myself or others. Oh, please. I wasn’t planning on making any of my threats known.

Excerpted from Never Saw Me Coming by Vera Kurian, Copyright © 2021 by Albi Literary Inc. Published by arrangement with Harlequin Books S.A.

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Books-A-Million

Powell’s 

~Cassie