Wednesday, November 24, 2021

All Her Little Secrets by Wanda M. Morris


Title: All Her Little Secrets
Author: Wanda M. Morris
Publisher: William Morrow
Release Date: November 2, 2021

In this fast-paced thriller, Wanda M. Morris crafts a twisty mystery about a black lawyer who gets in over her head after the sudden death of her boss. A debut perfect for fans of Attica Locke, Alyssa Cole, Harlan Coben, and Celeste Ng, with shades of How to Get Away with Murder and John Grisham’s The Firm.

Everyone has something to hide...

Ellice Littlejohn seemingly has it all: an Ivy League law degree, a well-paying job as a corporate attorney in midtown Atlanta, great friends, and a “for fun” relationship with a rich, charming executive—her white boss, Michael.

But everything changes one cold January morning when Ellice goes to meet Michael… and finds him dead with a gunshot to his head.

And then she walks away like nothing has happened. Why? Ellice has been keeping a cache of dark secrets, including a small-town past and a kid brother who’s spent time on the other side of the law. She can’t be thrust into the spotlight—again.

But instead of grieving this tragedy, people are gossiping, the police are getting suspicious, and Ellice, the company’s lone black attorney, is promoted to replace Michael. While the opportunity is a dream-come-true, Ellice just can’t shake the feeling that something is off.

When she uncovers shady dealings inside the company, Ellice is trapped in an impossible ethical and moral dilemma. Suddenly, Ellice’s past and present lives collide as she launches into a pulse-pounding race to protect the brother she tried to save years ago and stop a conspiracy far more sinister than she could have ever imagined…

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Ellice Littlejohn is a corporate lawyer in Atlanta, Georgia. She arrives early to work to meet with her boss, Michael (who is also her lover) at his office on the 20th floor. 

When she steps into his office, she finds him dead with a bullet hole on his head. Instead of calling the cops, she retraces her steps and goes to her floor where she pretends to work until someone else finds his body. 

The rumor mill brings her the news. It seems that Michael has committed suicide. Or has he? Soon after, the police are calling his death suspicious and later on, murder. 

Who murder Michael and why?

Ellice doesn't like the cops. She has reasons for it. One of them is that she is hiding her past. No one at work knows about her brother who has been to jail before or knows about what she had to endure when she was a young girl. She prefers it this way. 

But we all know that secrets don't remain secrets for long. 

Someone knows about her past and Ellice can only watch as her life begins imploding. Worse, she becomes the prime suspect in Michael's death. 

How is she going to clear her name?


I believe this is one of those times when my expectations were too high for the story. For me, it didn't quite deliver. 

Why didn't it work for me?

Well, because of Ellice. She is supposed to be a LAWYER but she behaves like someone who has no clue about the law. She does everything to make herself look guilty, guilty, guilty. I could not see past this. She had so many chances to come clean but she kept on just making the wrong choices over and over again.

What worked for me?

*Ellice trying to protect her family. 
*Ellice's best friend. She was there for her despite learning about Elice's secrets. 

Would I read a book by Wanda M. Morris again:


Could I see this book as a movie? 


Cliffhanger: No

3/5 Fangs

A complimentary copy was provided by William Morrow via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

The Cage by Bonnie Kistler


Title: The Cage
Author: Bonnie Kistler
Publisher: Harper
Release Date: February 15, 2022

Combining the propulsive narrative drive of The Firm with the psychological complexity of The Silent Patient, a gripping and original thriller about two professional women--colleagues at an international fashion conglomerate--who enter an elevator together . . . but only one is alive when they reach the ground floor.

On a cold, misty Sunday night, two women are alone in the offices of fashion conglomerate Claudine de Martineau International. One is the company's human resources director. Impeccably dressed and perfectly coiffed, she sits at her desk and stares somberly out the window. Down the hall, her colleague, one of the company's lawyers, is buried under a pile of paperwork, frantically rushing to finish.

Leaving at the same time, the two women, each preoccupied by her own thoughts, enter the elevator that will take them down from the 30th floor.

When they arrive at the lobby, one of the women is dead. Was it murder or suicide?

An incredibly original novel that turns the office thriller on its head, The Cage is a wild ride that begins with a bang and picks up speed as it races to its dramatic end.

On a late Sunday, two women entered an elevator at work. 

Lights go off. 

When the power returns and the elevator gets down to the ground level, only one of them is alive.

Did Shay kill Lucy or did Lucy commit suicide?

This is the question The Cage is based on. 

Shay Lambert can't believe what just happened to her. She is a lawyer who was working late. The dead woman's name was Lucy.  She was the head of Human Resources. Shay tells the police, Lucy had a gun and Shay was trying to take the gun away so Lucy wouldn't hurt herself. 

Is Lucy speaking the truth? 

Read it to find out.

It was fun trying to figure out what was really happening. Was Shay an unreliable narrator or was she being set up?

I liked Shay. She was down on her luck, with a marriage that was pretty much done and she was just trying to survive. I began rooting for her and wanting her to win even if she was guilty (where was my conscience?).

I usually stay away from legal thrillers but this one kept my attention throughout. 

Cliffhanger: No

4/5 Fangs

A complimentary copy was provided by Harper via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, November 21, 2021

Pearl by Josh Malerman

Title: Pearl
Author: Josh Malerman 
                         Publisher: Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine, Del Rey
Release Date: October 12, 2021

From the New York Times bestselling author of Bird Box and Malorie Josh Malerman comes the legend of a strange new monster unlike any other in horror.

Go to the farm just outside of town and you'll hear it.

A voice. Inside your head.

Or is it?

Come to me...

A voice that makes you want to pick up that axe over in the corner of the barn.

And swing it.

And kill.

Feed us. Feed us now.

It is the voice of Pearl.

Sing for me. Sing for your precious Pearl...

If you want to read a gory story about a pig with a bad eye, this is the one for you. It was definitely NOT for me. 

Pearl is a pig. A pig on a farm. A pig who is not like any other pig. He can manipulate people to do whatever he wants them to do. He has learned over time how to do it and he wants to show the world what he can do. 

The same morning, Pearl has decided this, three teenagers have embarked on a road trip to check out the farm and learn more about this pig that some people say "can talk". Yes, the kids believe this is probably crazy but once they get there, things get scary pretty fast. 

The farmer's daughter as a teenager had her own weird experiences with Pearl, so she left for Brazil as soon as she graduated. Due to financial issues, she is back in town and with her two children in tow. When she can't reach her father she goes to the farm looking for him and later on, the grandchildren go looking for their mom.  

This one was too out there for me. 

Cliffhanger: No

2/5 Fangs

A complimentary copy was provided by Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine, Del Rey via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Eight Perfect Hours by Lia Louis


Title: Eight Perfect Hours
Author: Lia Louis
Publisher: Atria/Emily Bestler Books
Release Date: September 28, 2021

xxxIn this romantic and heartwarming novel, two strangers meet in chance circumstances during a blizzard and spend one perfect evening together, thinking they’ll never see each other again. But fate seems to have different plans.

On a snowy evening in March, 30-something Noelle Butterby is on her way back from an event at her old college when disaster strikes. With a blizzard closing off roads, she finds herself stranded, alone in her car, without food, drink, or a working charger for her phone. All seems lost until Sam Attwood, a handsome American stranger also trapped in a nearby car, knocks on her window and offers assistance. What follows is eight perfect hours together, until morning arrives and the roads finally clear.

The two strangers part, positive they’ll never see each other again, but fate, it seems, has a different plan. As the two keep serendipitously bumping into one another, they begin to realize that perhaps there truly is no such thing as coincidence. With plenty of charming twists and turns and Lia Louis’s “bold, standout voice” (Gillian McAllister, author of The Good Sister), Eight Perfect Hours is a gorgeously crafted novel that will make you believe in the power of fate.

My favorite romance novel of 2020 was Dear Emmie Blue, so of course, I wanted to read Eight Perfect Hours.

The book starts with our heroine, Noelle Butterby, feeling down after attending her class reunion where the items of the time capsule were retrieved. She was able to get her friend Daisy's letter but not the camera/film. She also saw her ex-boyfriend, Ed who tried to avoid contact with her. Now, she is stuck in the motorway with hundreds of cars and a blizzard is upon them. She has a dead cell phone and she knows her mother is probably freaking out.

Then, someone knocks on her window. The stranger, Sam Atwood, has been watching her and he is asking if she needs help. Noelle after some hesitance agrees to move to his car to charge her cellphone. After spending eight perfect hours together, they each go their own way without exchanging their contact info.

Noelle feels like her life is at a standstill. She would like to be a florist but she cleans houses instead. After the passing of her good friend, she went into a depression and after her mother suffered a stroke, her mother developed agoraphobia and doesn't like to be alone, so Noelle has to stay with her and can't make any plans. She does have a brother but he is an aspiring artist and he is never home. She does have the emotional support of her good friend, although she feels like her friend is hiding something. Then Ed is back in town. It would be so easy to get back together but she keeps on meeting Sam in the most unexpected ways!!

I blame Sam for me not loving this book. After their initial encounter, Sam didn't give me the vibe, he was head over heels for Noelle. He was for the most part trying to avoid her. He didn't want to believe in fate. I felt bad for Noelle who seemed to have fallen hard. 

Overall, Eight Perfect Hours was a pleasant experience. I just wished I had connected with Sam better. 

Would I read Lia Louis's next book? You better believe it!!

Cliffhanger: No

3/5 Fangs

A complimentary copy was provided by Atria/Emily Bestler Books via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Wicked Prey by John Sandford
Lucas Davenport #19


Title: Wicked Prey
Series: Lucas Davenport #19
Author: John Sandford
Publisher: G. P. Putnam's Sons
Release Date: May 26, 2009

For twenty years, John Sandford's novels have been beloved for their "ingenious plots, vivid characters, crisp dialogue and endless surprises" ("The Washington Post"), and nowhere are those more in evidence than in the sudden twists and shocks of "Wicked Prey."

The Republicans are coming to St. Paul for their convention. Throwing a big party is supposed to be fun, but crashing the party are a few hard cases the police would rather stayed away. Chief among them is a crew of professional stickup men who've spotted several lucrative opportunities, ranging from political moneymen with briefcases full of cash to that armored-car warehouse with the weakness in its security system. All that's headache enough for Lucas Davenport-but what's about to hit him is even worse.

A while back, a stray bullet put a pimp and petty thief named Randy Whitcomb in a wheelchair, and, ever since, the man has been nursing his grudge into a full head of psychotic steam. He blames Davenport for the bullet, but it's no fun just shooting him. That wouldn't be painful enough. Not when Davenport has a pretty fourteen-year-old adopted daughter that Whitcomb can target instead. . . .

And then there's the young man with the .50 caliber sniper rifle and the right- wing-crazy background, roaming through a city filled with the most powerful politicians on earth. . . .

Another good addition to the series!

Lucas has his hands full with this one. The Republicans are in town for the National Convention and as part of his job, Lucas knows he has to keep everyone safe. As if this was not enough, Lucas gets info about a right-wing sharpshooter who is probably in town. Then, Lilly calls from New York, a squad of dangerous people might be heading his way. They have already killed cops. Finally a person from Lucas's past, Randy Whitcomb, the reason he had to leave the force so many years ago, is back. Randy wants revenge and he believes taking and hurting Letty, Lucas's daughter is the way to make him pay.

There is plenty of action in Wicked Prey. Sanford has made such a great character in Lucas. From me disliking him to loving him and wanting to read all of his books. Lucas has become a good friend. Someone I want to check in on. It is a treat to see how Lucas's life is evolving now that he is married and has kids. I also like his team. I was happy that Dell's life is also moving ahead too.

Can I say that I love Letty? 

Did I think she made the wrong decisions? Yep. she did. I didn't agree with the way she handled the situation she was in. It was scary how much she reminded me of Lucas. She has the same darkness. She will do what needs to be done. Already, At her young age, she has lived way too much. She is an old soul.

Next for me is Storm Prey.

Cliffhanger: No


Gone for Good by Joanna Schaffhausen
Detective Annalisa Vega #1


Title: Gone for Good
Series: Detective Annalisa Vega #1
Author: Joanna Schaffhausen
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Release Date: August 10th 2021

Gone For Good is the first in a new mystery series from award-winning author Joanna Schaffhausen, featuring Detective Annalisa Vega, in which a cold case heats up.

The Lovelorn Killer murdered seven women, ritually binding them and leaving them for dead before penning them gruesome love letters in the local papers. Then he disappeared, and after twenty years with no trace of him, many believe that he's gone for good.

Not Grace Harper. A grocery store manager by day, at night Grace uses her snooping skills as part of an amateur sleuth group. She believes the Lovelorn Killer is still living in the same neighborhoods that he hunted in, and if she can figure out how he selected his victims, she will have the key to his identity.

Detective Annalisa Vega lost someone she loved to the killer. Now she's at a murder scene with the worst kind of déjà vu: Grace Harper lies bound and dead on the floor, surrounded by clues to the biggest murder case that Chicago homicide never solved. Annalisa has the chance to make it right and to heal her family, but first, she has to figure out what Grace knew―how to see a killer who may be standing right in front of you. This means tracing his steps back to her childhood, peering into dark corners she hadn't acknowledged before, and learning that despite everything the killer took, she has still so much more to lose.

Gone for Good is an enjoyable thriller and I want more Annalisa Vega!

Detective Annalisa Vega is following in her father's footsteps. She is a cop just like him. 

When the book begins, she has been assigned a new partner who turns out to be her ex-husband Nick Carelli. Their marriage didn't work but Annalisa knows she can't complain and she will have to work with him. She doesn't have a lot of time to process anything before she is called to the scene of a murder.

The victim is Grace Hopper. Grace, on her personal time, was part of an online group, The Grave Diggers, who review cold cases and try to find clues the police missed. Her latest interest was the Lovelorn Killer. Grace is murdered just like one of his victims. Annalisa realizes this and she knows it could mean that after twenty years, the person who killed her neighbor, Katie who was the mother of her boyfriend Collin, is back. She knows she must contact Collin who disappeared from her life after his mother's murder.

Everyone wants to know why, is the Lovelorn Killer back? Why did he stop for twenty years? Is this the work of a copycat? Annalisa doesn't believe that it is. She feels confident it's him! He is taunting her with phone calls and is following her. She could be his the next victim.....

I love Annalisa's character. She was strong and was ready to make the hard decisions. I also liked that despite Nick being her ex, they work well together. I liked Nick and I also like Collin who comes back because his mother's killer is back. I'm not sure which guy I will pick for Annalisa. 

I guess we should see what happens to them on the next installment which I won't miss!

Cliffhanger: No

4/5 Fangs

A complimentary copy was provided by Minotaur Books via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Chasing the Boogeyman by Richard Chizmar


Title: Chasing the Boogeyman
Author: Richard Chizmar
Publisher: Gallery Books
Release Date: August 17, 2021

The New York Times best-selling coauthor of Gwendy’s Button Box brings his signature “thrilling, page-turning” (Michael Koryta, author of How It Happened) prose to this story of small-town evil that combines the storytelling of Stephen King with the true-crime suspense of Michelle McNamara.

In the summer of 1988, the mutilated bodies of several missing girls begin to turn up in a small Maryland town. The grisly evidence leads police to the terrifying assumption that a serial killer is on the loose in the quiet suburb. But soon a rumor begins to spread that the evil stalking local teens is not entirely human. Law enforcement, as well as members of the FBI, are certain that the killer is a living, breathing madman - and he’s playing games with them. For a once peaceful community trapped in the depths of paranoia and suspicion, it feels like a nightmare that will never end.

Recent college graduate Richard Chizmar returns to his hometown just as a curfew is enacted and a neighborhood watch is formed. In the midst of preparing for his wedding and embarking on a writing career, he soon finds himself thrust into the real-life horror story. Inspired by the terrifying events, Richard writes a personal account of the serial killer’s reign of terror, unaware that these events will continue to haunt him for years to come.

A clever, terrifying, and heartrending work of metafiction, Chasing the Boogeyman is the ultimate marriage between horror fiction and true crime. Chizmar’s “brilliant...absolutely fascinating, totally compelling, and immediately poignant” (C.J. Tudor, New York Times best-selling author) writing is on full display in this truly unique novel that will haunt you long after you hear the final moments.

What a great way to write a book!

Richard Chizmar is starting his career as a writer. He moves back to his childhood home with his parents in the small town of Edgewood after finishing college. He is saving money for his wedding to his high school sweetheart.

Just before he moves back, a young teenager is found strangled near her home. The police get quickly involved and start trying to piece together the crime. Then another young teenager goes missing. The town is shocked. Something like this has never happened before. Who is doing this? What kind of monster? The Boogeyman?

Young Rich can't leave it alone. He and his friend, Carly Allbright start investigating the case. He knows the culprit has to be near. But it is safe? Someone is calling his home and hanging up. Then, he feels like someone is following him. Lastly, he believes the murderer is seeking him out. But why?

Excellent! It had me entertained from beginning to end. The story felt so real!
The author makes you believe everything he is saying happened way back when he was a young man fresh out of college. A serial killer is on the loose and Ric is in the middle of it.

Cliffhanger: No

5/5 Fangs

A complimentary copy was provided by Gallery Books via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.