The Favorite Sister – Jessica Knoll

Summary: When five hyper-successful women agree to appear on a reality series set in New York City called Goal Diggers, the producers never expect the season will end in murder…

Brett’s the fan favorite. Tattooed and only twenty-seven, the meteoric success of her spin studio—and her recent engagement to her girlfriend—has made her the object of jealousy and vitriol from her cast mates. Kelly, Brett’s older sister and business partner, is the most recent recruit, dismissed as a hanger-on by veteran cast. The golden child growing up, she defers to Brett now—a role which requires her to protect their shocking secret.

Stephanie, the first black cast member and the oldest, is a successful bestselling author of erotic novels. There have long been whispers about her hot, non-working actor-husband and his wandering eye, but this season the focus is on the rift that has opened between her and Brett, former best friends—and resentment soon breeds contempt.

Lauren, the start-up world’s darling whose drinking has gotten out of control, is Goal Diggers’ recovery narrative—everyone loves a comeback story. And Jen, made rich and famous through her cultishly popular vegan food line plays a holistic hippie for the cameras, but is perhaps the most ruthless of them all when the cameras are off. (From Goodreads)

I’m going to be completely honest with you: I did not like Knoll’s first book. Probably because, and I know I’ve complained about this before, it was billed as the “next Gone Girl.” And it really wasn’t. In fact, it wasn’t even really suspense novel.

However, it wasn’t a bad book. So, when I got this book on NetGalley, I wasn’t hesitant. I wanted to see if Knoll could write a suspense thriller.

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The Wife Between Us – Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen

Summary: When you read this book, you will make many assumptions.
You will assume you are reading about a jealous wife and her obsession with her replacement.
You will assume you are reading about a woman about to enter a new marriage with the man she loves.
You will assume the first wife was a disaster and that the husband was well rid of her.
You will assume you know the motives, the history, the anatomy of the relationships.
Assume nothing.

Discover the next blockbuster novel of suspense, and get ready for the read of your life. (From Goodreads)

I feel like I have read every single “next Gone Girl” book. And NONE of them have ever risen to the occasion. It’s like I’m constantly chasing that high that a good thriller gives you. I figured that my journey for a decent, unpredictable thriller was going to continue as the years go on.

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Final Girls – Riley Sager

Summary: Ten years ago, college student Quincy Carpenter went on vacation with five friends and came back alone, the only survivor of a horror movie–scale massacre. In an instant, she became a member of a club no one wants to belong to—a group of similar survivors known in the press as the Final Girls. Lisa, who lost nine sorority sisters to a college dropout’s knife; Sam, who went up against the Sack Man during her shift at the Nightlight Inn; and now Quincy, who ran bleeding through the woods to escape Pine Cottage and the man she refers to only as Him. The three girls are all attempting to put their nightmares behind them, and, with that, one another. Despite the media’s attempts, they never meet.
 
Now, Quincy is doing well—maybe even great, thanks to her Xanax prescription. She has a caring almost-fiancé, Jeff; a popular baking blog; a beautiful apartment; and a therapeutic presence in Coop, the police officer who saved her life all those years ago. Her memory won’t even allow her to recall the events of that night; the past is in the past. 
 
That is, until Lisa, the first Final Girl, is found dead in her bathtub, wrists slit, and Sam, the second, appears on Quincy’s doorstep. Blowing through Quincy’s life like a whirlwind, Sam seems intent on making Quincy relive the past, with increasingly dire consequences, all of which makes Quincy question why Sam is really seeking her out. And when new details about Lisa’s death come to light, Quincy’s life becomes a race against time as she tries to unravel Sam’s truths from her lies, evade the police and hungry reporters, and, most crucially, remember what really happened at Pine Cottage, before what was started ten years ago is finished. (From Goodreads)

 

The best way I can describe this book is: eh. This novel is clearly trying to capitalize on the current True Crime fad that’s sweeping the nation (not that there’s anything wrong with that. SSDGM, my dudes.) The problem is that it doesn’t do it very well.

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If We Were Villains – M. L. Rio

Summary: On the day Oliver Marks is released from jail, the man who put him there is waiting at the door. Detective Colborne wants to know the truth, and after ten years, Oliver is finally ready to tell it.

Ten years ago: Oliver is one of seven young Shakespearean actors at Dellecher Classical Conservatory, a place of keen ambition and fierce competition. In this secluded world of firelight and leather-bound books, Oliver and his friends play the same roles onstage and off: hero, villain, tyrant, temptress, ingénue, extra. But in their fourth and final year, the balance of power begins to shift, good-natured rivalries turn ugly, and on opening night real violence invades the students’ world of make believe. In the morning, the fourth-years find themselves facing their very own tragedy, and their greatest acting challenge yet: convincing the police, each other, and themselves that they are innocent. (From Goodreads)

In case you haven’t noticed, I’m a sucker for books about performing arts (see: my review for Noteworthy.) This book was clearly written with someone who harbors that same love. This isn’t so much a story based around Shakespeare as it is a love letter to Shakespearian tragedies. The characters are so immersed in the playwright’s world that they straight up quote his lines at each other. AS IF IT’S A NORMAL PART OF CONVERSATION. But you know what? I knew kids like this (theatre kids are weird. I should know.)

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Fitness Junkie – Lucy Sykes & Jo Piazza

Summary: When Janey Sweet, CEO of a couture wedding dress company, is photographed in the front row of a fashion show eating a bruffin–the delicious lovechild of a brioche and a muffin–her best friend and business partner, Beau, gives her an ultimatum: Lose thirty pounds or lose your job. Sure, Janey has gained some weight since her divorce, and no, her beautifully cut trousers don’t fit like they used to, so Janey throws herself headlong into the world of the fitness revolution, signing up for a shockingly expensive workout pass, baring it all for Free the Nipple yoga, sweating through boot camp classes run by Sri Lankan militants and spinning to the screams of a Lycra-clad instructor with rage issues. At a juice shop she meets Jacob, a cute young guy who takes her dumpster-diving outside Whole Foods on their first date. At a shaman’s tea ceremony she meets Hugh, a silver fox who holds her hand through an ayahuasca hallucination And at a secret exercise studio Janey meets Sara Strong, the wildly popular workout guru whose special dance routine has starlets and wealthy women flocking to her for results that seem too good to be true. As Janey eschews delicious carbs, pays thousands of dollars to charlatans, and is harassed by her very own fitness bracelet, she can’t help but wonder: Did she really need to lose weight in the first place? (Summary from Goodreads)

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Newport Jane – Katie Bieksa

Summary: From the outside, Ellen has it all: a glamorous new life in a sun-soaked city more like a movie set than the small Northern town where she grew up, and her very own McDreamy. But being married to a gorgeous, brilliant cardiac surgeon also means standing in his shadow, putting aside her dreams to follow his—and having way too much time home alone to think about how much she’s given up to follow him to California. 

While Ellen loses touch with herself and the people she loves, she’s welcomed by sophisticated women who approach life and marriage in ways that make her question her small-town values. When she learns shattering information about her husband—and then meets an irresistible, dangerously attentive man—the questions she asks herself become more urgent. 

Who are we without our work, home, family and friends? What is happy? (From Goodreads)

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Rich People Problems – Kevin Kwan

Summary: When Nicholas Young hears that his grandmother, Su Yi, is on her deathbed, he rushes to be by her bedside–but he’s not alone. It seems the entire Shang-Young clan has convened from all corners of the globe, ostensibly to care for their matriarch but truly to stake claim on the massive fortune that Su Yi controls. With each family member secretly fantasizing about getting the keys to Tyersall Park–a trophy estate on 64 prime acres in the heart of Singapore–the place becomes a hotbed of intrigue and Nicholas finds himself blocked from entering the premises. As relatives claw over heirlooms, Astrid Leong is at the center of her own storm, desperately in love with her old sweetheart Charlie Wu, but tormented by his ex-wife–a woman hell bent on destroying Astrid’s reputation and relationship. Meanwhile Kitty Pong, married to billionaire Jack Bing, finds a formidable opponent in his fashionista daughter, Colette. A sweeping novel that takes us from the elegantly appointed mansions of Manila to the secluded private islands in the Sulu Sea, from a schoolyard kidnapping to a gold-leaf dancefloor spattered with blood, Kevin Kwan’s gloriously wicked new novel reveals the long-buried secrets and rich people problems of Asia’s most privileged families. (Summary from Goodreads)

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Power Play – Maria Luis

Summary: He (was) the hottest player on the ice.

She’s a (struggling) sports journalist looking for her big break.

Charlie Denton has been handed the most impossible assignment from her stick-in-the-mud boss: get an exclusive interview with the NHL’s golden boy, Duke Harrison.

The catch? She’s got eight days or she’ll be demoted. Fired. Kicked to the curb – No way is she letting her future rest on the broad shoulders of a goalie who is at least three seasons past his prime.

She has eight days to convince Duke that the loyal fans of The Cambridge Tribune (annual circulation: 1,000) are dying to know about his life, on and off the ice. Eight days to stand toe to toe with a man who is pure sex on a stick. Eight days to remember that every mind-blowing kiss is nothing but a power play. (From Goodreads)

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