‘The Other Woman’ by Sandie Jones: A Psychological Thriller that Will Keep You Wondering

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“The Other Woman” by Sandie Jones is the story of Emily Havistock and her new boyfriend, Adam Banks. Emily has had one devastating past relationship, and now has a small group of steadfast friends, but she wants more, and she thinks Adam might be “the one.” When he finally suggests introducing her to his mother, she’s thrilled.

But things don’t go as planned, and while his mother, Pammie, seems like a wonderful woman to the rest of the world, Emily gets the feeling that Pammie wants her gone. The clues are subtle and only noticed by Emily, but she’s positive that they are real. As her relationship with Adam grows deeper, the warning signs get stronger — Pammie does not want her in the family.

In the meantime, things are not all rosy with Adam. He doesn’t care for Emily’s close friend Seb, who happens to be gay. He likes to go out on his regular Thursday night with his chums and often comes back drunk. In fact, he drinks a lot. While the reader may notice these things, Emily does not seem to care much or be bothered by the questionable things Adam does. All of Emily’s wrath and emotion is centered on Pammie.

When Pammie reveals (thanks to Emily’s clumsy questions) that she has cancer just days before Emily and Adam are to be married, Adam calls the wedding off. Emily has her doubts about whether or not Pammie even really has cancer. Is this merely another ploy in her efforts to keep Emily out of the family?

Another complication is Adam’s brother, James, who seems to be everything Adam is, but kinder, calmer, and more sincere. Yet Emily is torn because while she is attracted to James, she also is suspicious of his attentions.

Jones keeps the focus on Emily and Pammie, and the pages keep turning as the reader endeavors to find out who will win — the evil Pammie, soon-to-be-evil-mother-in-law, or Emily. Perhaps, like this reviewer, readers will be expecting a surprise reveal about Emily. The actual ending is not easy to predict and will probably surprise most readers.

This is perfect for a quick vacation or weekend read. It’s a carefully crafted psychological thriller with a suspenseful plot and realistic characters. Enjoy.

Please note: This review is based on the final, hardcover book provided by Minotaur, the publisher, for review purposes.

‘Little Do We Know’ by Tamara Ireland Stone

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“Little Do We Know” by Tamara Ireland Stone begins as a typical young adult story about two formerly best friends who are no longer speaking to each other. Emory and Hannah have lived next door to each other practically since they were in diapers, and they have been best friends all that time.

But now, in their senior year of high school, they are not speaking. And the reader doesn’t know why. The story is told in first person narrative through Hannah and Emory’s voices, and it’s riveting. While the girls have been best friends, they are very different.

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‘The Final Six’ by Alexandra Monir Is a Too-Possibly-True to Miss Reading Dystopian Novel

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The world Alexandra Monir creates in “The Final Six” is one that is all too believable. Climate change has caused the sea levels to rise, and tsunamis have devastated coastal cities. Rome is underwater and people live on the top floors of tall buildings. Whole populations in large cities have drowned when tsunamis rushed in to engulf everything.

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‘Lifel1k3’ (Lifelike) by Jay Kristoff is the First Book in a YA Dystopia Series

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With “Lifel1k3,” author Jay Kristoff takes readers on a wild ride in a bleak (so very bleak!) dystopian future where atomic bombs have destroyed much of the Yousay (USA, get it?) and California has become a barren island because of a huge earthquake. The ocean is filled with plastic and other garbage, and animals and trees are nonexistent.

In fact, robots and humans coexist in a depressing world with gray skies and a desperate struggle for survival. In this world lives Evie, with her grandfather, her best friend Lemon, and her robot best friend Cricket. This family group is wonderful, but Grandpa is dying from cancer, so Evie fights robots in an arena to win money to buy him medicine.

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‘Not If I Save You First’ by Ally Carter Perfect Light Adventure for YA Reader

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“Not If I Save You First” is a stand-alone novel by seasoned author Ally Carter. This novel is a quick read, due in large part to the engaging main character and the action-filled plot.

Maddie and Logan were best friends when they were ten. His father was President of the United States; her father was his Secret Service protector. They roamed the halls of the White House together, and one night, it was Logan who spotted the Russians trying to kidnap his mother. He alerted the Secret Service, Maddie’s father saved the day, and everything changed.

Now Maddie lives in a remote part of Alaska where she doesn’t attend school, watch television, or talk on the phone. She and her dad don’t have electricity or running water, but Maddie is a pro at cutting logs and heating water for bathing. She can start a fire, shoot a gun, use a knife, but she can’t talk about the latest shows or music. She’s also furious that her one friend from the past, Logan, has never answered even one of the weekly letters she has sent him for years.

So when Logan shows up at their cabin, Maddie is dumbstruck. When they are attacked,  Maddie is left for dead, but she recovers, and she sets out to rescue the captured Logan on her own. The story is filled with twists and turns, bad guys who are all evil and those who may not be. And on top of it all, Maddie and Logan need to learn to trust each other.

Carter creates a sassy, intelligent main character with lots of guts and courage. She’s funny and one step ahead of the bad guys — most of the time. It’s a fun read, and readers will keep the pages turning to find out what trouble Maddie and Logan get into next.

Please note: This review is based on the final, hardcover book provided by Scholastic Press, the publisher, for review purposes.

‘Between You & Me’ by Susan Wiggs Explores Love as It Relates to Responsibility and Conflicting Loyalty

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Susan Wiggs takes what seems like a cliche and uses her writing chops to turn out a novel, “Between You & Me,” that is touching, thoughtful and unique. Romance between the Amish and the “English” (as they refer to those of us who are not Amish) is fairly standard fare in romance novels. Wiggs doesn’t sugar-coat anything in terms of the main characters and their cultural backgrounds.

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‘The Woman Left Behind’ by Linda Howard, the Romance/Suspense Queen of Writers

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In “The Woman Left Behind,” Linda Howard returns to the scene — in a manner of speaking — of her last book, “Troublemaker,” to the paramilitary group working out of Washington, DC. Jina Modell works in communications and plays video games in the break room with many of the other gamers she works with. They assist teams in counter-terrorist operations without breaking a sweat.

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‘Unearthed’ by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner Is a Thrilling Young Adult SciFi Ride

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It’s being billed as a cross between Indiana Jones and Star Wars, and “Unearthed” by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner comes close. It’s the story of a future Earth when climate change has destroyed much of our planet. Scientists on Earth find a message from an extinct alien race that explains how to build a portal to Gaia, another planet, where the astronauts find a piece of technology that powers a clean water supply for all of Los Angeles. Then the astronauts are killed while exploring one of the temples there.

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‘Prince in Disguise’ by Stephanie Kate Strohm: Lovely YA RomCom

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“Prince in Disguise” by Stephanie Kate Strohm is a lovely retake of every novel (or fairytale) in which a prince tries to find true love by going about in disguise so that someone might fall in love with him for his own person, not the fact that he is a prince.

In this sweet retake, the main character Dylan’s older sister has fallen in love with a Scottish lord through the arts of a reality TV show called, of course, “Prince in Disguise.” While Dylan keeps reminding everyone that Dusty is not marrying a prince but rather a lord, no one cares. Dusty is everything that Dylan thinks she is not — beautiful, graceful, outgoing, sophisticated, and comfortable in front of the camera. Their mother is the star of a morning show on the local network, so she also is camera-friendly. Continue reading

‘Christmas at Little Beach Street Bakery’ by Jenny Colgan is the Perfect Novel to Read on a Cold Winter’s Night

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With “Christmas at Little Beach Street Bakery,” Jenny Colgan rounds out her stories about little Mount Polbearne, a village on the coast of Cornwall that is isolated from the mainland when the tide comes in, and its lovely baker Polly Waterford, her American boyfriend Huckle, and their puffin Neil.

Polly and Huckle live in a romantic lighthouse that is drafty and cold, but which has beautiful views of the ocean and the town. Polly loves to bake, and Huckle tends bees. They are happy together except for Polly’s uncertainty about marriage and having children, especially considering her family history. She never knew her father, her mother is rather a recluse, and she’s always just too busy with the bakery to plan anything.

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‘Must Love Dogs: A Howliday Tail’ by Claire Cook Brings Holiday Cheer and Sweet Tails to Readers

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The bestselling “Must Love Dogs” series by Claire Cook allows readers a chance to enter the never-boring life of Sarah Hurlihy as she negotiates a romance with her boyfriend/fiancé John. Her close-knit family, including her very Irish and very funny father, complicate the story in the way that only family can.

In this sixth tale in the series, Sarah and John have bought Sarah’s family home and are trying to figure out how to make the home theirs. It’s difficult with sisters and brothers coming to their childhood home whenever they want, while that hilarious but very hard-to-handle dad, the clan’s patriarch, lives in the home in his own “apartment,” or man-cave, as he calls it. Sarah’s assistant from the preschool. Polly, who is recently divorced and pregnant, has also moved in.

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