With the month ending tomorrow I have a couple reviews to get caught up on (where did the time go?)
Thanks to all the publishers for the free copies in exchange for my honest reviews
BATH HAUS – P.J. Vernon (Released June 15th, 2021 – Bookstore Buy)
Oliver Park, a young recovering addict from Indiana, finally has everything he ever wanted: sobriety and a loving, wealthy partner in Nathan, a prominent DC trauma surgeon. Despite their difference in age and disparate backgrounds, they’ve made a perfect life together. With everything to lose, Oliver shouldn’t be visiting Haus, a gay bathhouse. But through the entrance he goes, and it’s a line crossed. Inside, he follows a man into a private room, and it’s the final line. Whatever happens next, Nathan can never know. But then, everything goes wrong, terribly wrong, and Oliver barely escapes with his life.
He races home in full-blown terror as the hand-shaped bruise grows dark on his neck. The truth will destroy Nathan and everything they have together, so Oliver does the thing he used to do so well: he lies.
What follows is a classic runaway-train narrative, full of the exquisite escalations, edge-of-your-seat thrills, and oh-my-god twists. P. J. Vernon’s Bath Haus is a scintillating thriller with an emotional punch, perfect for readers curious for their next must-read novel.
Mini Review – 5/5 stars
The hype around this book is so deserved. BATH HAUS by PJ Vernon has all the elements you want in a gripping thriller: a cat and mouse game, fast pace, lies, infidelity, sex, addiction, and all the tension you could want. I think the author did a great job really setting the scene and bringing us directly into the action and violence. The characters were well-developed and their different POVs helped us get into their heads and hear both sides of the story. Highly recommend and I will be picking up more from Vernon in the future.
THE GUILT TRIP – Sandie Jones (Released August 3rd, 2021 – Thanks to Minotaur Books for the copy)
Rachel and Noah have been friends since they met at university. While they once thought that they might be something more, now, twenty years later, they are each happily married to other people, Jack and Paige respectively. Jack’s brother Will is getting married, to the dazzling, impulsive Ali, and the group of six travel to Portugal for their destination weekend.
As they arrive at a gorgeous villa perched on a cliff-edge, overlooking towering waves that crash on the famous surfing beaches below at Nazaré, they try to settle into a weekend of fun. While Rachel is looking forward to getting to know her future sister-in-law Ali better, Ali can’t help but rub many of the group up the wrong way: Rachel’s best friend Paige thinks Ali is attention-seeking and childish, and while Jack is trying to support his brother Will’s choice of wife, he is also finding plenty to disagree with Noah about.
One fatal misunderstanding . . .
But when Rachel discovers something about Ali that she can hardly believe, everything changes. As the wedding weekend unfolds, the secrets each of them hold begin to spill, and friendships and marriages threaten to unravel. Soon, jumping to conclusions becomes the difference between life and death.
Mini Review – 3/5 stars
While this wasn’t my favorite from Jones, this was still a solid suspense read. MY FIRST MISTAKE remains my favorite of her thrillers (which I highly recommend) but that one was a little faster in pace and more thriller than domestic suspense. So I think it’s good keeping that in mind when picking up THE GUILT TRIP. We get a more character driven, slower building suspense read, which isn’t bad, but if you’re expecting something else it may fall flat. While the characters did get some good development I didn’t really connect with any of them, or even like them. Despite this not completely working for me I will continue to pick up what she releases.
THE SISTER-IN-LAW – Pamela Crane (Released August 10th, 2021 – Thanks to William Morrow for the copy)
She stole my husband. So I’d steal her life.
The Wife – Lane won Candace’s heart over chocolate martinis and karaoke. But weeks into their whirlwind marriage, Candace realized Lane came with burdensome baggage in the form of his possessive live-in sister and her eerily watchful six-year-old son. Lane had a secret that seemed to hold him hostage, and Candace would do anything to uncover it.
The Sister-in-Law – Harper was the kind of woman who cooked homemade meals and dusted under the furniture. It was the least she could do for her brother after her husband’s mysterious death, and Lane took her and her kids in. Then Candace showed up like a tornado passing through, threatening and destructive. But Harper had other plans for her new “sister,” plans Lane could never find out about.
The Husband – All Lane had ever wanted was a white-picket-fence life. The wife. The two-point-five kids. The happy little family. Everything seemed to be falling into place with Candace … until Harper’s jealous streak got in the way, again. But choosing between his sister and wife would be costly … and knowing Harper, the price would be blood.
Mini Review – 4/5 stars
Another fun twisty thriller for the summer TBR! THE SISTER-IN-LAW had a really strong start and had me hooked right away but the pacing started to lose steam towards the middle. I held on because I needed to know how things were going to end and Crane does a great job stringing you along with little bits of information here and there. The ending did pick up the pace and had a solid conclusion. I enjoyed the multiple POVs and seeing the level of dysfunction in this family triangle. This was my first, and definitely not my last, by Crane and am taking recommendations on which of hers to pick up next.