REVIEW – Master Class (aka Q) by Christina Dalcher

Master Class


Published April 21st 2020 by Berkley


It started with fear, and it ended with laws”

Elena Fairchild has a very busy morning. She has nine alarms set to make sure that her daughters don’t miss their school bus.

The first Friday of every month every person of school or working age is given a test that will calculate or recalculate their “Quotient” or “Q”.  Today is the second testing day of the school year. Elena’s daughter, Anne is very confident and has no worries about testing.  But Elena’s nine-year-old daughter, Freddie is extremely anxious about the test. A high Q means a secure future. A low Q means a student’s choices are very limited.

Elena’s husband, Malcolm works for the Department of Education and helps write the laws that enforce the rules.  He’s the man who invented the Tier System and the Q Rankings and pushed their importance. But he didn’t do it alone.

These changes were supposed to be good for everyone. Children, family, and society. At first, the new policies were pushed against. But eventually…

Elena had thought her Oma was exaggerating when she talked about the past. Now she thinks of Moira Campbell from down the street. She thinks of the grey women with clipboards who search the neighborhood for “unfit” families.

Now the worst has happened.

Elena talks to Malcolm but he can’t or won’t help. She doesn’t know what to do. She feels hopeless. Her grandmother warned her.

“Don’t let her go to that…place.”

But what could Elena do? It’s the law!

Elena knows she has to do something.  She thinks of the other things her grandmother said…

And she makes a plan.

Wow! This was a thought-provoking and powerful read!

Just like the author’s previous novel, “Vox” some of what happened in this novel is terrifyingly possible. Of course, it’s still a fiction book. Some parts may be unrealistic, but it is inspired by a dark and horrifying reality.

When the author was asked what this book was going to be about she said: “I’m writing a nonhistorical fiction about eugenics experiencing a renaissance here in the United States.” In her letter to readers at the beginning of the novel, Christina Dalcher gives some facts about the history of eugenics that are shocking but true. This had me Googling for hours searching eugenics, Better Baby contests, state schools, and more.

I read this in just a couple of sittings. I was gripped from the start but did find that it dragged a little in the middle. There was a lot of information (though it was good information). However, it wasn’t long before it picked up again and I was completely engrossed for the rest of the book.

Christina Dalcher has written another novel that fascinated, entertained, and terrified me.

I can’t wait for more!!!!


I’d like to thank the publisher for providing me with a copy of this novel. All opinions are my own.


REVIEW – Hideaway by Nora Roberts


Expected publication: May 26th, 2020 by St. Martin’s Press


Over the years I’ve enjoyed many books by Nora Roberts. Her last two novels, Undercurrents and Shelter in Place were both very good reads. After reading the description for Hideaway, I was excited to get started.

The Sullivan’s were a talented family. Liam Sullivan was an icon whose career spanned decades. Liam’s great-granddaughter, Caitlyn Ryan Sullivan (Cate) made her movie debut at just 21 months old. She starred in another movie at age six, delivering her lines with ease. That movie had been her great-grandfather’s last film. At age 92, Liam died in his sleep with his beloved wife of sixty-five years next to him.

Three weeks after Liam’s death everyone gathered at his Big Sur estate to celebrate his life. It was a large affair with music and laughter. Ten-year-old, Cate was organizing a game of hide and seek with her cousins. She knew the perfect spot to hide. She’s on her way to her hiding spot when she sees a man in a server’s uniform. She tells him she’s playing hide and seek. He moves quickly and she doesn’t see the needle coming.

It isn’t long before Cate’s family realizes she’s gone. They are terrified. Where could she be?

Then the phone rings…

Cate wakes up in a strange room.  Although she is scared, she manages to escape. Her family is relieved she’s safe. But who was responsible for her kidnapping?

Cate changes after the incident. She used to be very independent but now she’s afraid to be alone. The ramifications of what happened that day, will stay with her for many years to come.

Time passes and just when things seem to be going well for Cate, something happens that brings the nightmares and anxiety flooding back.

Then the phone calls start, taunting and terrifying. A voice tells her it’s far from over…

Someone wants vengeance against Cate and her family.

Will Cate ever have the life and love she wants and deserves?

I thought this was a good read, though it wasn’t my favorite novel by Nora Roberts. The story is broken into four parts and takes place over many years. I found part one and part four most enjoyable, but I thought the middle parts were long-winded. There was some suspense though I did find it a bit predictable. However, I still liked the story,  many of the characters, and I wanted to see how things turned out for all of them.

Overall, I thought this was an interesting story about family, betrayal, vengeance, and love.

I’d like to thank the publisher for providing me with a copy of this novel. All opinions are my own.


REVIEW – What Lies Between Us by John Marrs

What Lies Between Us

Expected publication: May 15th 2020 by Thomas & Mercer


A dark, suspenseful, and addictive read!!

Sixty-eight-year old, Maggie spends her days in the attic watching her neighbors going about their lives. To them, she doesn’t exist. As Maggie watches, she notices things that no one else does. She’s the first to notice when Mr. Steadman’s curtains stop opening and his mail and newspapers start piling up.

But there’s nothing she can do about it. You see, Maggie isn’t choosing to live in the attic. She’s forced to stay, kept in place by locked doors, soundproof walls, unbreakable windows, and the heavy chain around her ankle. The only time Maggie leaves the room is when she joins HER for dinner downstairs.

At times, Maggie questions her past actions. Most of the time she knows that she did what she had to do.

 “How can I ask for forgiveness when I truly believe that what I did was the right thing to do.”

What could Maggie have possibly done to deserve this?

Well if you ask Nina, she’d say Maggie has done MANY unforgivable things. And so she must pay.


This was dark and twisted in the best way!


The story alternates between Maggie and Nina’s perspectives, two women with many secrets and lies between them. It’s a well-paced read with many surprises and twists. Once I started reading, I couldn’t even think of putting the book down. I thought that I had things figured out, that I knew what was going on, but I was way off.

“What Lies Between Us” is a clever and compulsive psychological thriller with an engaging plot and characters whose web of secrets had me trapped and riveted until I turned the very last page.

I really can’t wait to see what Mr. Marrs has in store for readers next!!


I’d like to thank the publisher for providing me with a copy of this novel. All opinions are my own.

REVIEW – The Keeper by Jessica Moor

The Keeper

Published March 10, 2020 by Penguin Books


Timely and thought-provoking.

When a young woman’s body is found near a local suicide spot, many believe she took her own life, but those who knew her disagree.

Detective Dan Whitworth and his team are tasked with investigating Katie Straw’s death. Katie worked at a shelter for battered women. Could her job have something to do with her death? Police start by interviewing her friends, the women from the shelter, and her boyfriend.

They soon learn that Katie may not have been who she claimed to be.

Did Katie take her own life or was someone else responsible for her death?

This was quite an emotional story. The story was told from multiple points of view. Hearing from each woman and learning their individual stories was heartbreakingly realistic. Abuse takes many forms and the author did a good job of showing that.

I thought this was a good audiobook but I did feel the ending was lacking something. I know stories aren’t always tied up in a neat bow but I wish there had been a little more information at the end. Regardless, this was still a very interesting read.

Overall, a great debut novel that deals with extremely important issues like abuse, power, control, and more.