New Releases Wednesday

Stranger in the Lake by Kimberly Belle

Published: June 9, 2020

Goodreads

Synopsis: When Charlotte married the wealthy widower Paul, it caused a ripple of gossip in their small lakeside town. They have a charmed life together, despite the cruel whispers about her humble past and his first marriage. But everything starts to unravel when she discovers a young woman’s body floating in the exact same spot where Paul’s first wife tragically drowned.

At first, it seems like a horrific coincidence, but the stranger in the lake is no stranger. Charlotte saw Paul talking to her the day before, even though Paul tells the police he’s never met the woman. His lie exposes cracks in their fragile new marriage, cracks Charlotte is determined to keep from breaking them in two.

As Charlotte uncovers dark mysteries about the man she married, she doesn’t know what to trust—her heart, which knows Paul to be a good man, or her growing suspicion that there’s something he’s hiding in the water.

My Thoughts: I am a big sucker for “is my new husband a murderer?” I can’t say no when I see another one. This one sounds interesting because the new wife suspects nothing until a second body shows up. Hmm, intriguing.

Broken People by Sam Lansky

Published: June 9, 2020

Goodreads

Synopsis: “He fixes everything that’s wrong with you in three days.”

This is what hooks Sam when he first overhears it at a fancy dinner party in the Hollywood hills: the story of a globe-trotting shaman who claims to perform “open-soul surgery” on emotionally damaged people. For neurotic, depressed Sam, new to Los Angeles after his life in New York imploded, the possibility of total transformation is utterly tantalizing. He’s desperate for something to believe in, and the shaman—who promises ancient rituals, plant medicine and encounters with the divine—seems convincing, enough for Sam to sign up for a weekend under his care.

But are the great spirits the shaman says he’s summoning real at all? Or are the ghosts in Sam’s memory more powerful than any magic?

At turns tender and acid, funny and wise, Broken People is a journey into the nature of truth and fiction—a story of discovering hope amid cynicism, intimacy within chaos and peace in our own skin.

My Thoughts: Dealing with our past and trying to move forward into the future as a better person is a common trait to all humans. It is a quest. This sounds kind of trippy, I hope it is.

Review: The Wife Stalker by Liv Constantine

The Wife Stalker by Liv Constantine

Published on: May 19, 2020 by Harper Collins

Buy this book at: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Rating:

Synopsis: Breezing into the tony seaside paradise of Westport, Connecticut, gorgeous thirtysomething Piper Reynard sets down roots, opening a rehab and wellness space and joining a local yacht club. When she meets Leo Drakos, a handsome, successful lawyer, the wedding ring on his finger is the only thing she doesn’t like about him. Yet as Piper well knows, no marriage is permanent.

Meanwhile, Joanna has been waiting patiently for Leo, the charismatic man she fell in love with all those years ago, to re-emerge from the severe depression that has engulfed him. Though she’s thankful when Leo returns to his charming, energetic self, paying attention again to Evie and Stelli, the children they both love beyond measure, Joanna is shocked to discover that it’s not her loving support that’s sparked his renewed happiness—it’s something else.

Piper. Leo has fallen head over heels for the flaky, New Age-y newcomer, and unrepentant and resolute, he’s more than willing to leave Joanna behind, along with everything they’ve built. Of course, he assures her, she can still see the children.

Joanna is devastated—and determined to find something, anything, to use against this woman who has stolen her life and her true love. As she digs deeper into Piper’s past, Joanna begins to unearth disturbing secrets . . . but when she confides to her therapist that she fears for the lives of her ex-husband and children, her concerns are dismissed as paranoia. Can she find the proof she needs in time to save them?

Review: This book was such a disappointment. I breezed through the first half of the book in a single sitting because I found it entrancing. True, the characters were incredibly one dimensional. But I loved the drama and the sheer obviousness of the plot that I couldn’t stop listening. Things slowed down a lot in the middle and I was getting bored but I had been promised a fantastic twist by other reviews so I stuck through. The twist was not good, it literally made no sense at all and was confusing more than anything else.

Warning: Alright, that was the broad strokes, from here on out there will be spoilers.

I will focus mostly on the ending in this, but a few thoughts about the behavior of everyone in this book. People don’t do the things they do in this book. We are led to believe that Joanna is Leo’s wife (in the process of a divorce), yet she has a therapist who is so condescending that I would have fired her after one session. She constantly tells Joanna that she’s being obsessive and it doesn’t matter if her fears that Piper is a murderer are legitimate or not. That’s an odd stance. Also you’ve failed as a therapist when you have a client who is stalking another person and you tell your client that you are concerned they might have dangerous intentions, but don’t report that to the person being threatened. That’s a professional responsibility there.

Or like when Leo files for a restraining order and Joanna is arrested and all custody rights taken away because of a single swat on the butt to one of the children and no history of abuse. Even though at the police station they didn’t seem to find her much of a threat and allowed the children to stay in the room with her until their father arrives. Even when we know the whole story it makes no sense.

We discover in the end that Joanna was never married to Leo. She was his business assistant and that after the death of the children’s mother he decided to let her move in to help with the children. Then he met Piper and decided to marry and that arrangement had to change and Joanna went nutty and became obsessed with Piper and getting rid of her. Nobody’s behavior towards her makes any sense, even given all the facts. If this woman basically kidnapped the children and then physically struck one of them, why did the police allow the children to remain with her while waiting for their father? Surely when they called Leo he would have explained what was going on? Why did the children act like she was their mother through the whole book except at the end?

And while Joanna might have been crazy, she also wasn’t wrong about Piper. She is a murderer. She will kill the children and her husband if they disappoint her. So, everyone is an asshole is the message here apparently.

Speaking of the children, they read as being very young. I would have imagined Stelli being around five and Evie being around seven. But apparently they are 11 and 13, so their juvenile dialogue and inability to understand things made no sense at all.

It just gets more confusing when you have all the facts. Confusing behavior turns to nonsensical behavior. It was a terrible, terrible ending.

New Releases Wednesday

This week I am excited to tell you about several books that were just released. All of them are on my TBR list and I can’t wait to get to them.

 

27774751Dark Mirror by Barton Gellman

Goodreads

Synopsis: From the three-time Pulitzer Prize-winning author of the New York Times bestseller Angler, who unearthed the deepest secrets of Edward Snowden’s NSA archive, the first master narrative of the surveillance state that emerged after 9/11 and why it matters, based on scores of hours of conversation with Snowden and groundbreaking reportage in Washington, London, Moscow and Silicon Valley

Edward Snowden chose three journalists to tell the stories in his Top Secret trove of NSA documents: Barton Gellman of The Washington Post, Glenn Greenwald of The Guardian and filmmaker Laura Poitras, all of whom would share the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service. Poitras went on to direct the Oscar-winning Citizen Four. Greenwald wrote an instant memoir and cast himself as a pugilist on Snowden’s behalf.

Barton Gellman took his own path. Snowden and his documents were the beginning, not the end, of a story he had prepared his whole life to tell. More than 20 years as a top investigative journalist armed him with deep sources in national security and high technology. New sources reached out from government and industry, making contact on the same kinds of secret, anonymous channels that Snowden used. Gellman’s old reporting notes unlocked new puzzles in the NSA archive. Long days and evenings with Snowden in Moscow revealed a complex character who fit none of the stock images imposed on him by others.

Gellman now brings his unique access and storytelling gifts to a true-life spy tale that touches us all. Snowden captured the public imagination but left millions of people unsure what to think. Who is the man, really? How did he beat the world’s most advanced surveillance agency at its own game? Is government and corporate spying as bad as he says?

Dark Mirror is the master narrative we have waited for, told with authority and an inside view of extraordinary events. Within it is a personal account of the obstacles facing the author, beginning with Gellman’s discovery of his own name in the NSA document trove. Google notifies him that a foreign government is trying to compromise his account. A trusted technical adviser finds anomalies on his laptop. Sophisticated impostors approach Gellman with counterfeit documents, attempting to divert or discredit his work. Throughout Dark Mirror, the author describes an escalating battle against unknown digital adversaries, forcing him to mimic their tradecraft in self-defense.

Written in the vivid scenes and insights that marked Gellman’s bestselling AnglerDark Mirror is an inside account of the surveillance-industrial revolution and its discontents, fighting back against state and corporate intrusions into our most private spheres. Along the way it tells the story of a government leak unrivaled in drama since All the President’s Men.

My thoughts: Like most people, I have had a variety of opinions on Edward Snowden as a person. Is he a hero? Is he a traitor? Was he first one and then the other? Is he both? But what often gets lost in the assessments of him as a person is the web of government deception that he uncovered. This seems to tackle this head on, and I am really interested.

 

52028849The Queen’s Secret by Karen Harper

Goodreads

Synopsis: 1939. As the wife of the King George VI and the mother of the future queen, Elizabeth—“the queen mother”—shows a warm, smiling face to the world. But it’s no surprise that Hitler himself calls her the “Most Dangerous Woman in Europe.” For behind that soft voice and kindly demeanor is a will of steel.

Two years earlier, George was thrust onto the throne when his brother Edward abdicated, determined to marry his divorced, American mistress Mrs. Simpson. Vowing to do whatever it takes to make her husband’s reign a success, Elizabeth endears herself to the British people, and prevents the former king and his brazen bride from ever again setting foot in Buckingham Palace.

Elizabeth holds many powerful cards, she’s also hiding damaging secrets about her past and her provenance that could prove to be her undoing.

In this riveting novel of royal secrets and intrigue, Karen Harper lifts the veil on one of the world’s most fascinating families, and how its “secret weapon” of a matriarch maneuvered her way through one of the most dangerous chapters of the century.

My thoughts: I love historical fiction! And I have a bit of a fascination with the British royal family. So, naturally, this makes me want to find out what the secret is?

 

52219451The Wife Stalker by Liv Constantine

Goodreads

Synopsis: Breezing into the tony seaside paradise of Westport, Connecticut, gorgeous thirty-something Piper Reynard sets down roots, opening a rehab and wellness space and joining a local yacht club. When she meets Leo Drakos, a handsome, successful lawyer, the wedding ring on his finger is the only thing she doesn’t like about him. Yet as Piper well knows, no marriage is permanent.

Meanwhile, Joanna has been waiting patiently for Leo, the charismatic man she fell in love with all those years ago, to re-emerge from the severe depression that has engulfed him. Though she’s thankful when Leo returns to his charming, energetic self, paying attention again to Evie and Stelli, the children they both love beyond measure, Joanna is shocked to discover that it’s not her loving support that’s sparked his renewed happiness—it’s something else.

Piper. Leo has fallen head over heels for the flaky, New Age-y newcomer, and unrepentant and resolute, he’s more than willing to leave Joanna behind, along with everything they’ve built. Of course, he assures her, she can still see the children.

Joanna is devastated—and determined to find something, anything, to use against this woman who has stolen her life and her true love. As she digs deeper into Piper’s past, Joanna begins to unearth disturbing secrets . . . but when she confides to her therapist that she fears for the lives of her ex-husband and children, her concerns are dismissed as paranoia. Can she find the proof she needs in time to save them

My thoughts: This sounds much like your typical cheating husband thriller. But, as you near the end of the synopsis it starts to sound different. I am intrigued. I want to know why Leo’s soon-to-be ex-wife is so worried about his new paramour. Is she dangerous? Or is the ex just upset that he cheated? I know that I want to find out.

Highly Anticipating Sunday

Another Sunday and another installment of upcoming books that I just can’t wait for.

52867387._SX318_SY475_Beach Read by Emily Henry

Expected publication date: May 19, 2020

Goodreads

Synopsis: Augustus Everett is an acclaimed author of literary fiction. January Andrews writes bestselling romance. When she pens a happily ever after, he kills off his entire cast.

They’re polar opposites.

In fact, the only thing they have in common is that for the next three months, they’re living in neighboring beach houses, broke, and bogged down with writer’s block.

Until, one hazy evening, one thing leads to another and they strike a deal designed to force them out of their creative ruts: Augustus will spend the summer writing something happy, and January will pen the next Great American Novel. She’ll take him on field trips worthy of any rom-com montage, and he’ll take her to interview surviving members of a backwoods death cult (obviously). Everyone will finish a book and no one will fall in love. Really.

Why I’m excited: I got this book for the Book of the Month club because it was the most different of the selections that month. It sounds funny and witty. I typically approach romantic comedies with some caution because they often are cheesy and silly. But this sounds different enough to be worth a try.

 

48673052The Swap by Robyn Harding

Expected Publication date: June 23, 2020

Goodreads

Synopsis: Low Morrison is not your average teen. You could blame her hippie parents or her looming height or her dreary, isolated hometown on an island in the Pacific Northwest. But whatever the reason, Low just doesn’t fit in—and neither does Freya, an ethereal beauty and once-famous social media influencer who now owns the local pottery studio.

After signing up for a class, Low quickly falls under Freya’s spell. And Freya, buoyed by Low’s adoration, is compelled to share her darkest secrets and deepest desires. Finally, both feel a sense of belonging…that is, until Jamie walks through the studio door. Desperate for a baby, she and her husband have moved to the island hoping that the healthy environment will result in a pregnancy. Freya and Jamie become fast friends, as do their husbands, leaving Low alone once again.

Then one night, after a boozy dinner party, Freya suggests swapping partners. It should have been a harmless fling between consenting adults, one night of debauchery that they would put behind them, but instead, it upends their lives. And provides Low the perfect opportunity to unleash her growing resentment.

Why I’m excited: I admit it, I cannot get enough of the domestic thriller/mystery. I love the idea of a best friends gone awry. I will eat it up every time.