THE MURDER LIST – Hank Phillippi Ryan


Synopsis: Law student Rachel North will tell you, without hesitation, what she knows to be true. She’s smart, she’s a hard worker, she does the right thing, she’s successfully married to a faithful and devoted husband, a lion of Boston’s defense bar, and her internship with the Boston DA’s office is her ticket to a successful future.Problem is–she’s wrong. And in this cat and mouse game–the battle for justice becomes a battle for survival.


My thoughts: The Murder List is the type of read John Grisham would be proud of. The book presents a slew of delicious twists through law student Rachel North’s journey as she thrusts herself into this unsettling world of crime and politics.

At the beginning, our heroine’s first step sounds harmless – she’ll only be working for Assistant District defense attorney Martha Gardiner: her husband’s rival. But does Rachel know what she’s getting herself into? The ending was incredible. I like switching from one sub-genre to another, and diving into this gorgeously written political thriller was a fun experience! This is my first Phillippi Ryan Read and definitely not my last. 

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GOOD GIRLS LIE: J. T. Ellison’s New Thriller Takes Places in An All-girls Boarding School Full of Secrets


“How do you kill a narcissist?”
In Good Girls Lie, a 16-year-old’s body is found dangling from the gates of the elite Goode school – an all-girls boarding school – on a chilly morning. Right at the very beginning. This scene had me leaning forward in my seat, leaving me in an unexpected jaw-dropping state, as I wasn’t expecting the author to capture anything that insidious on the outskirts of her domestic suspense realm. J. T. Ellison is already a celebrated author and I think her new novel will strengthen that.
The first half of the book brims with menace, but only lightly so as to prep the right amount of tension that will eventually burst at any instant towards the end. But here’s what boosts the thrill of the events – the murder victim is our main protagonist. You can imagine, putting this book down sounded like a dreadfully silly idea. I had to know what happens.


The gothic feel to the school, the hauntings surrounding its premises, the strange occurences in its hallways and rooms, a secret passageway, a deadly staircase, a past murder…All of this provided a great deal of thrill and excitement for me. The author introduces to us the special Goode girls. They’re innocent. They’re culpable. They’re victim to their own upbringing. A fire is engraved within them and it gives birth to a crooked path towards survival. This path is devious. Dangerous. The ending was…whew, a swerving road!! So many twists.

Someone is plotting, conspiring in the shadows. But surely, these girls are good. They’re the Goode girls. Goode girls don’t lie. Do they? 

“Welcome to Goode. You’re going to love it here.” 

Why T. Marie Vandelly’s THEME MUSIC Is The Thriller of The Year


“I like this one,” I said. “It feels like home already.”
Theme Music is what every thriller/horror novelist wishes they could write. It’s obscure, unapologetic and knife-wielding. The author’s writing is extremely sharp it terrified me. And that rarely occurs. 

Without further ado, welcome to the Wheeler House.

The layout of this place is so wonderfully detailed throughout the story and, just like any of the characters that dwell inside it, has an extraordinarily haunting sense of self. From Dixie’s recollection, this is the house where her father grabbed an axe and massacred her family at the breakfast table as Badfinger’s Baby Blue played in the background. 

Little does she know that coming back to her childhood home, fifteen years later, will dredge up sinister memories and, most importantly, the awful truth of what really happened on the day of her family’s massacre. 


This book is truly boundary-breaking by poking fun at the thriller genre. It just knew how to be a thriller and a horror novel. In her debut, Vandelly proves herself as a master of both. I loved how the author focused on Dixie as the main investigator of our murder mystery; she features but minimizes detective/police involvement in order to give her an opportunity to rely on her own set of skills to learn the truth. I think that that’s what made Dixie a true heroine. 

The entire ending was chilling, and the suspense scenes were abundant. It felt like something out of a Wes Craven movie. The horror element explains the aftermath of our heroine’s past trauma and how it psychologically affects her in the present. It also felt almost necessary. I doubt that the lack of this genre in this book would’ve reached the same purpose or engraved the same emotions into the reader.

What was also interesting was the horror of the ways Dixie’s guilt -as to her father singling her out as the sole survivor of her family’s murder – manifested itself. I’ve seen my share of horror movies, but this book went beyond; what’s more terrifying than our worst nightmares infiltrating themselves into our real lives? 

A STRANGER ON THE BEACH – Michele Campbell


A one-night stand leads to murder in this addictive thriller that will keep you guessing!!

This book perfectly falls under the “nothing is as it seems” category. There are 3 things I loved about A Stranger On The Beach:
1) The accounts given by the Woman and the Stranger – concerning what happened on that bloody night, are ridiculously different! Who is telling the truth? Who is the talented liar?

2) The author is low-key dropping clever clues along the way that make the ending make complete sense. But what I really really loved was…

3) The use of the setting, the weather and the well-crafted characters’ twisted minds in order to create perfect action-packed suspense.


A STRANGER ON THE BEACH (Out today) is filled with manipulation, betrayal and plain page-turning goodness!

***Thank you to St. Martin’s Press for providing me with a copy of this book through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review***

LOVE, HEATHER – Laurie Petrou


“No one knows what is going on in anyone’s home, in anyone’s school, in anyone’s heart. Everything okay? We pack our lunches and go to school and spend all our waking hours pretending that nothing is happening, to us or anyone else. And then, sometimes, we get a nice, cool afternoon, where we watch TV or hang out by the lake, and maybe it is all okay, just for then, just for that time.”

Stevie and and Lottie have been friends for forever, but S can’t deny the tension that’s been growing between them over the last few days. Something is going on and she knows it. Why does Lottie seem so…distant? What is everybody not telling her?

Stevie only intends to do good, but her next move is met with brusk critcism and bullying from evil teenagers of Woepine High School. Suddenly, things get out of control. And S’ life is changed forever. 

This book discusses powerful topics, including mental health. The plot takes on a darker form 3 quarters in, where a big, crazy twist occurs and changes everything – you realize what the story is actually about and would then want to re-read the book all over again from a fresh, understanding perspective. 


This book is rare on so many levels I feel like both teens and adults (parents and nurturers especially) should read it. Everything has consequences. Be careful what you say to others. In some, it might be triggering in small, temporary doses. In others, it will manifest itself in the darkest, most monstrous way. There was so much pain and power in this book. The teen in me felt fury and frustration along with Stevie’s journey.

“Look at Heathers, for example. I mean, it’s hard to know who to root for, isn’t it?”

All seriousness aside, this was a page-turner. I even surprised myself by devouring this in two sittings. Every chapter is like an itch that makes you want to know what happens in the one that follows. 

LOVE, HEATHER is a profoundly touching story that is both thrilling and thought-provoking. Instant five stars. You will not regret reading this one.

***Thank you to Crooked Lane Books for providing me with a copy of Love, Heather in exchange for an honest review***

July’s Hottest Thriller Releases

July is finally here! If you’re a thriller addict, you’re definitely in luck – the hottest thrillers of the year are releasing this month! Looking for your dose of endless suspense? Look no further, these badass authors have got you covered.

THE TWO LILA BENNETTS – Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke

Release Date: July 23rd

Summary: Lila’s life is split in two, because of a bas decision that she’s made. In one life, Lila is captured in a cell and has to investigate the identity of her kidnapper while attempting to survive – how does her captor know so much about her? In her other life, Lila believes she’s being stalked. Is she, or is she just being paranoid?

My thoughts: This was one of the first books that completely surprised me this year – in the best way. The concept is original, and when this awesome female author duo endeavored to construct it, it just…worked. This was an instant 5-star read for me; it’s boundary-breaking and memorable.

GRETCHEN – Shannon Kirk

Release Date: July 23rd

Summary: Lucy and her mother have been on the run for thirteen years. When they settle at an isolated, fortresslike house, Lucy befriends the owner’s daughter – Gretchen, who’s the same age as her. But Gretchen and her father have secrets of their own—and an obsession with puzzles that draws Lucy into a terrifying new game of hide-and-seek. Lucy’s dark past is about to come calling. And this time, for her and her mother in the house on the hill, it might be too late to run

My thoughts: No words. No words! I’ve had the pleasure to read both this book + the author’s debut. Just like Gillian Flynn is the queen of “disturbing”, Shannon Kirk is the queen of “insane and creepy“. The debut – In The Vines – was completely crazy. The author knows how to create a deranged character and make them blend flawlessly into an unsettling, cinematic storyline. Her writing style definitely stands out. I’d follow this author anywhere.

A STRANGER ON THE BEACH – Michele Campbell

Release Date: July 23rd

Summary: Caroline is reveling in her perfect life – a beautiful beach house, a loving family – until one day she discovers that her husband is cheating on her, so she turns to Aidan – the stranger on the beach, with whom she has a brief fling that means nothing to her. Aidan, however, is not letting go. His obsession with her and the house grows more and more disturbing, but how could this escalate to her being accused of her husband’s murder?!

My thoughts: Nothing is as it seems. I’m a sucker for concepts like this, when you read a book and you think you know what’s going on, but you don’t. I don’t know how Michele Campbell did it, creating a clever combination of atmospheric elements, and using the ridiculously-contradictory POVs of the Woman and the Stranger to conclude our suspicions with a jaw-dropping twist.

THE ARRANGEMENT – Robyn Harding

Release Date: July 30th

Summary: Per her friend’s suggestion, art student Natalie (Nat) agrees to find herself a sugar daddy – the only way to put an end to her financial struggles. When she meets Gabe, she knows – he’s the perfect match. But things take a dark turn, when Nat realizes…she’s falling in love with him, and in the following days, someone will end up DEAD.

My thoughts: Hmmm. Sugar daddy/baby relationships? Affairs? Character twists? Revenge? Yes, please! This was a…delicious thriller – a “It’s all fun and games until someone ends up dead” kind of thriller. Absolutely the perfect beach read. The Arrangement is seductive and engrossing. This was my very first read by Robyn Harding, and I’m definitely adding her to my auto-read author list.

THE ESCAPE ROOM – Megan Goldin

Release Date: July 30th

Summary: Four coworkers are called to a last-minute meeting on a Friday night at the office building without any further explanation. Once inside the building’s elevator, frighteningly odd things start to happen and moments later, they all look up to see a message that reads, “WELCOME TO THE ESCAPE ROOM. YOUR GOAL IS SIMPLE. GET OUT ALIVE.”

My thoughts: This one reeks of unlikeable characters. The Escape Room is a fun, quick read about four people that get stuck in an elevator. The book goes three months prior to one of the firm’s former employees, Sara Hall, who begins to dig deep to unravel the mystery behind the strange accidents that are happening in the office building where she works. There’s a cool final twist, and the book wraps up with a perfect, satisfying ending.

Do you see any of your most anticipated reads here, fellow readers? What are most excited to read this month? Thank you for reading, and I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts!

THE ARRANGEMENT- Robyn Harding


Robyn Harding has got our backs this summer, and THE ARRANGEMENT (July 30th) will successfully meet your thrill-aholic needs. Boy, was it an entertaining read. It was so much fun to learn about and be educated on sugar daddy/baby relationships – which just sound both exciting and terrifying to me. 

Per her friend’s suggestion, art student Natalie (Nat) agrees to find herself a sugar daddy – the only way to put an end to her financial struggles. When she meets Gabe, she knows – he’s the perfect match. But things take a dark turn, when Nat realizes…she’s falling in love with him, and in the following days, someone will end up DEAD.

This novel also discusses narcissism, features women coming together, parent-child relationships and what it’s like to put your life at risk in order to survive. I’m usually obsessed with plots where extramarital affairs end in murder (Basic Instinct, Body Heat, Jagged Edge, etc) so The Arrangement, being as seductive and engrossing as it was, felt like an absolute necessary read for me. Just grab a snack, a cool drink and devour the heck out of this book.

*** Thank you to Gallery Books for providing me with a copy of The Arrangement in exchange for an honest review ***