REVIEW – The Favorite Daughter by Kaira Rouda

The Favorite Daughter

Expected publication: May 21, 2019 by Graydon House

 

I have been looking forward to reading more from Kaira Rouda since reading and enjoying her previous novel, “Best Day Ever”.

The perfect home. The perfect family. The perfect lie“.

Meet Jane Harris.

Jane spent the last year grieving the death of her daughter, Mary. She stayed in bed lost in her “haze of grief”.

But Jane is now ready to step back into her life and family. Jane’s therapist suggested that the family should eat together to reconnect.  So Jane is putting together a special dinner.

“I’m the perfect vision of a happy homemaker”

She waits for her husband, David to come home. He’ll be surprised. Jane says David has some surprises of his own.  Jane accidentally found out about a big one.  David’s surprise snapped her out of her haze.

Nothing had been right after Mary left them. David was never home, always busy with work. It felt like he was avoiding her.

“Your husband should love you and worship the ground you walk on. He doesn’t just now, I know, but he will again. I’m back. He’ll see.”

Jane’s other daughter, Betsy is about to graduate. Jane tries to ignore the voice in her head (it sounds a lot like her mother) that tells her Betsy is going to leave her.  But Betsy needs Jane. She would never leave her.

Jane is happy that everyone seems to be getting in line. Now that she’s back and better than ever.  She’s even been secretly working out.  On her few recent outings she’s noticed admiring glances from men. Not that that’s anything new. She’s always turned heads.

There is an upcoming memorial for her daughter, Mary. Jane’s psychologist, Dr. Rosenthal tries to prepare her for it. Jane often says what she thinks the psychologist wants to hear. She talks about the things her mother taught her. Jane’s mother loved bringing people down, Jane included. But Jane is winning…just look at her lavish life.

Jane used to have a group of friends but they’ve drifted away. She knows it’s because they were jealous. Jane used to win at everything; tennis, Bunko, etc.  And it wasn’t her fault their husbands found Jane attractive.

After the memorial, Jane suddenly starts receiving anonymous notes. The notes say that there’s more to Mary’s death than they know. Could this be true?

As graduation nears, we learn more about the Harris family. It seems like everyone is keeping secrets and/or has something to hide.

With a riveting storyline, some jaw-dropping moments, and a wicked ending, this was another hit for me.

The story is told from Jane’s point of view. Jane Harris is a character that many will love to hate (some will just hate). She is definitely one of a kind. The author’s sense of humor really comes across. This psychological suspense novel had me laughing out loud a few times.

Clever, entertaining, and delightfully insane, “The Favorite Daughter” was the perfect escape.

 

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

REVIEW – Sunset Beach by Mary Kay Andrews

Sunset Beach

Published May 7, 2019 by St. Martin’s Press

 

I’m surprised that it has taken me this long to read a book by Mary Kay Andrews. However, I’m excited to have found a “new to me” author with such an extensive backlist!

Thirty-six-year old Drue Campbell has fifteen minutes to get to work but knows she’ll never make it on time. If she was back in Fort Lauderdale, she could call a friend or take an Uber. Unfortunately, Drue just moved back to the west coast so she doesn’t have any money or friends she can call. She heads for the bus stop, getting there just in time to see the bus pull away. She collapses on the bus stop bench and ends up with a large splinter in her butt cheek. The ad on the bus bench is a picture of Brice W. Campbell from the law firm Campbell, Coxe, and Kramer. “Her new boss. Her long-lost father, and as always, a major pain in the ass.”

A few months earlier Drue’s mother passed away. Her father, Brice attended the funeral. It was the first time Drue had seen him in more than twenty years. After the funeral, he gave Drue a set of keys for her Nonni and Papi’s cottage in Sunset Beach. He told her the cottage was hers, but it needed a lot of work. He asked Drue what her plans were. With a flaky boyfriend, a crappy waitressing job, and a recent injury, Drue had to admit she didn’t really have any plans. He offered her a job working at his law firm, but Drue turned him down. I have no interest in moving back to St. Pete and zero interest in the law.

Unfortunately, her circumstances worsened so here she was. Today is Drue’s first day of work at Campbell, Coxe, and Kramer. She finally makes it to the office and heads inside. And just when she thinks things can’t get any worse…

She meets her father’s office manager.

Drue tries to settle in at work. When she’s not at the office she’s working on getting the cottage into shape. In the attic, she finds some old papers and newspaper clippings about a missing person. She wonders why the papers are in the cottage. Drue also wonders about the recent suspicious death of a young woman who worked at a local beach resort. The woman’s mother is unhappy with how the firm handled her daughter’s case. Drue finds the case heartbreaking and begins investigating on her own.

Is it possible that someone at the firm is involved in these cases? Could Drue be putting herself in danger as she tries to find the truth?

I really enjoyed this novel!

Most of the story takes place in the present, but there are chapters from 1975/1976 interspersed throughout the novel that give the backstory of one of the cases Drue is researching.

I thought this was a very well-written, well-paced story with many great characters. Drue’s story was interesting and so were the cases she was investigating. It was emotional at times but was also often refreshingly funny.

“Sunset Beach” was an engrossing and satisfying novel with layers and twists that kept me gripped and quickly flipping the pages.

Now I just need to decide which Mary Kay Andrews novel I’m going to read next!

 

I’d like to thank St. Martin’s Press for providing me with an advanced copy of this novel. All opinions are my own.

 

REVIEW – The Last Time I Saw You by Liv Constantine

The Last Time I Saw You

Expected publication: May 7, 2019 by Harper

 

Life seems to be going very well for Dr. Kate English. She has a wonderful husband, a lovely daughter, and a great career. But things change after her mother is found brutally murdered. Kate had just been considering what to get her mother for Christmas and now she’s planning her funeral. She can’t comprehend why someone would want to hurt her kind, wonderful mother.

Kate and her best friend, Blaire Barrington haven’t spoken in fifteen years.   But when Kate calls to tell Blaire about her mother, Blaire immediately comes to be by Kate’s side. All the old anger is forgotten, and it feels like they’ve never been apart. Kate is thankful that Blaire came to be with her.

Blaire is almost as devastated as Kate. Lily was like a mother to her.  She treated Blaire like family.

Although Blaire didn’t grow up as affluent as Kate, she has done well for herself. She is a successful author, co-authoring books with her husband, David.

But not everyone is happy Blaire is back.

After the funeral, Kate is exhausted. She is taking a moment for herself when her cell phone vibrates. There is a text from a private caller with a message for Kate…an upsetting and threatening message. The police are called but other than monitoring Kate’s calls and emails there isn’t much they can do.  Then as Kate gets another shock…in her bathroom, there’s an even more twisted message along with an upsetting “gift”.

And it doesn’t stop there…

We are given insight into Kate and Blaire’s time in High School, all the plans they had until a tragedy changed the course of ALL of their lives.

So who killed Lily and who is harassing Kate?

The story is told from Kate and Blaire’s point of view. I was interested in the storyline but had a hard time connecting with some characters, especially Kate. Her reactions were all over the place. Usually, I’m not bothered if things don’t seem believable, but I felt a few things were over the top.

Although I didn’t enjoy this novel as much as I enjoyed “The Last Mrs. Parrish”, I still thought this was a decent read and I liked how everything came together in the end. I’m looking forward to reading more from Liv Constantine.

I’d like to thank Harper for providing me with an advanced copy of this novel. All opinions are my own.

 

REVIEW: Saving Meghan by D.J. Palmer

Saving Meghan

Published: April 9th 2019 by St. Martin’s Press

 

After reading the description for this novel, I couldn’t wait to read it!

“Saving Meghan” opens as forty-eight-year-old Becky Gerard is boarding a flight to Los Angeles. When the flight attendant asks everyone to turn off their phones and other electronic devices, Becky wonders if she’s made a mistake. She can’t turn off her phone; it’s her only connection to her fifteen-year-old daughter, Meghan. She didn’t want to leave Meghan, but her mother is very ill and this may be the last chance Becky has to see her. Her sister, Sabrina told her it was just a matter of days.

“I know you have your issues, we both do, but she’s our mother”

Now as the hatch to the plane closes, Becky grips her phone, waiting for a reassuring text from her husband, Carl. Even a quick “Meghan’s fine” or “No worries” would reassure her. He KNEW how nervous she was about leaving Meghan. Carl FINALLY texts her back and the words make Becky’s blood run cold…

“We’re at the hospital”

Her daughter Meghan has been sick and nobody seems to know what is wrong with her. Her symptoms: muscle weakness, fatigue, headaches, weight loss and more. Test after test and doctor after doctor. Becky feels helpless. Her whole life has become about Meghan’s health.

We are given insight into Becky’s childhood. Her mother was far from a normal mother, but Becky was desperate to please her. Her mother showed her and her sister how to manipulate people, how to use their doubts and fears against them to get what they wanted. Becky vowed she would never be like her mother.

Could Becky be more like her mother than she realizes?

We also hear from Meghan. She says she doesn’t care about the things she used to care about. She is tired of seeing so many doctors and not getting any answers. However, she’s thankful her mother is there for her. Becky is her advocate and her best friend, and Meghan trusts her completely. But her father is a different story. Meghan thinks he misses his soccer star…his perfect daughter. She wishes he would reassure her that everything will be fine. But most of all she just wants him to believe her.

“He thought my biggest secret was that I was faking it. But we both know that wasn’t true. My biggest secret was that I knew his”

What secrets is Meghan keeping?

Then Meghan gets even sicker.

Becky Gerard just wants the best for her daughter…

Right?

This was one of those reads that I really hated putting down. I was desperate to know what was going to happen next. The story is told from three points of view; Becky, Meghan, and Dr. Zach Fisher.

EVERYONE was keeping secrets.

I thought this was a very enjoyable read. I was totally on edge. Someone had me fooled. I did guess a few things correctly, but I had no clue how things would turn out. Was everything completely believable? Maybe not. But this intriguing story about secrets, betrayal, and revenge had me gripped.

I thought “Saving Meghan” was a very unique domestic/medical suspense novel and I look forward to reading more from this author.

 

I’d like to thank St. Martin’s Press for providing me with an advanced copy of this novel. All opinions are my own.