#5Books: Book Recs and that Xmas feeling….

#5books for the wek ending 16 December 2018

I have to admit, with one week to go before we close down for Xmas, all I want to do is just get through the next week. I honestly didn’t realise how tired I was until this weekend, and man, SLEEP.

But not really, because tomorrow (Saturday) I am off to the last meeting of my book club, which I am really excited about because I haven’t been able to get to it too often this year. Year, it’s been that kind of year and I’m ready for 2019. I will happily sleep into 2019, come to think of it. What are you guys doing for New Year’s? Do you like partying hard, or prefer a quiet one?

Is it too early to be thinking of NYE?

(In other news this evening, my nephews are SO taken by the shadow of the Christmas tree, because of course, the actual thing is so last week. Also, they are being terribly patient in the wave of all the hints they’re getting about their Christmas presents. Just say they have to wait until Christmas and they’re good!)

In the spirit of Xmas, here are no books about Xmas! I am totally in the Xmas spirit!

(ETA: So much for the Xmas spirit. We got hit by a super storm, and power has been out from Saturday afternoon to Sunday evening. Thankfully I put the bulk of this post up on Friday, and now I am playing catch up on all your wonderful comments and posts!)

Half of What You Hear

From well-loved women’s fiction writer Kristyn Kusek Lewis comes a breakout novel about a woman moving to a small community and uncovering the many secrets that hide behind closed doors—perfect for fans of Liane Moriarty and Elin Hilderbrand.

Greyhill, Virginia—refuge of old money, old mansions, and old-fashioned ideas about who belongs and who doesn’t—just got a few new residents. When Bess Warner arrives in town with her husband Cole and their kids, she thinks she knows what to expect. Sure, moving to Cole’s small hometown means she’ll have to live across the street from her mother-in-law, and yes, there’s going to be a lot to learn as they take over Cole’s family’s inn-keeping business, but Bess believes it will be the perfect escape from Washington. She needs it to be. After losing her White House job under a cloud of scandal, she hardly knows who she is anymore.

But Bess quickly discovers that fitting in is easier said than done. Instead of the simpler life she’d banked on, she finds herself preoccupied by barbed questions from gossipy locals and her own worries over how her twins are acclimating at the town’s elite private school. When the opportunity to write an article for the Washington Post’s lifestyle supplement falls into Bess’s lap, she thinks it might finally be her opportunity to find her footing here…even if the subject of the piece is Greyhill’s most notorious resident.

Susannah “Cricket” Lane, fruit of the town’s deepest-rooted family tree, is a special sort of outsider, having just returned to Greyhill from New York after a decades-long hiatus. The long absence has always been the subject of suspicion, not that the eccentric Susannah cares what anyone thinks; as a matter of fact, she seems bent on antagonizing as many people as possible. But is Susannah being sincere with Bess—or is she using their strangely intense interview sessions for her to further an agenda that includes peeling back the layers of Greyhill’s darkest secrets?

As Bess discovers unsettling truths about Susannah and Greyhill at large, ones that bring her into the secrets of prior generations, she begins to learn how difficult it is to start over in a town that runs on talk, and that sometimes, the best way to find yourself is to uncover what everyone around you is hiding….

This might actually be the longest blurb ever. There’s a lot happening here, and at the same time, not because it comes down to secrets and small towns, and one would hope all that detail about Bess’ life have some purpose in this book. … Though it has to be said, I’m mostly here for the small-town secrets. And Lies.

Black Leopard, Red wolf

Tracker is known far and wide for his skills as a hunter: “He has a nose,” people say. Engaged to track down a mysterious boy who disappeared three years earlier, Tracker breaks his own rule of always working alone when he finds himself part of a group that comes together to search for the boy. The band is a hodgepodge, full of unusual characters with secrets of their own, including a shape-shifting man-animal known as Leopard.

As Tracker follows the boy’s scent–from one ancient city to another; into dense forests and across deep rivers–he and the band are set upon by creatures intent on destroying them. As he struggles to survive, Tracker starts to wonder: Who, really, is this boy? Why has he been missing for so long? Why do so many people want to keep Tracker from finding him? And perhaps the most important questions of all: Who is telling the truth, and who is lying?

See, more secrets and lies. And also, I am pretty sure I read somewhere that this was likened to Games of Thrones, but with infinitely more diverse characters. TOTALLY there.


A breathtaking thriller about a wealthy housewife who successfully conceals her dark past until a true-crime podcast and a photo posted on social media send her running across Europe, with a faded rock star by her side and extremely dangerous enemies on her trail.

Anna McLean loves to revel in life’s unsavory details. When she’s keeping up appearances as an upper-class Edinburgh housewife, there’s no better escape than other people’s sordid stories retold in true-crime podcasts. Until the day it all falls apart.

A new podcast turns out to have a connection to Anna’s own dark past–the secret history she’s taken great pains to conceal. Hours later, her husband announces he’s leaving her–for her own best friend. And when the best friend’s husband–who happens to be former rock star Fin Cohen–shows up on Anna’s front stoop, a nosy neighbor plasters their photo all over the internet. Her cover well and truly blown, Anna’s only choice is to run–and take Fin along for his own protection.

Reigning queen of Scottish crime fiction Denise Mina deftly weaves the classic thriller elements of a woman with a secret past, an average citizen thrust into a high-stakes international chase, and a cheating spouse, with online life–internet sleuthing, true-crime podcasts, insta-celebrities, and Twitter–to craft a modern, propulsive page-turner like nothing you’ve read before.

I’m utterly fascinated at the use of new media in thrillers like this, but more than that in this case, i’m utterly fascinated at how crazy this looks: secrets, lies and an international chase with a faded rock star?

Wherever she goes

From New York Times bestselling author Kelley Armstrong comes a brand new psychological thriller about the lengths one woman will go to in order to save a child.

“Few crimes are reported as quickly as a snatched kid.”

That’s what the officer tells single mother Aubrey Finch after she reports a kidnapping. So why hasn’t anyone reported the little boy missing? Aubrey knows what she saw: a boy being taken against his will from the park. It doesn’t matter that the mother can’t be found. It doesn’t matter if no one reported it. Aubrey knows he’s missing.

Instead, people question her sanity. Aubrey hears the whispers. She’s a former stay-at-home mom who doesn’t have primary custody of her daughter, so there must be something wrong with her, right? Others may not understand her decision to walk away from her safe life at home, but years of hiding her past – even from the people she loves – were taking their toll, and Aubrey knows she can’t be the mother or wife she envisions until she learns to leave her secrets behind.

When the police refuse to believe her, she realizes that rescuing the boy is up to her alone. But after all the secrets, how far is she willing to go? Even to protect a child.

Alright, Kelley Armstrong, your non-Women of the Otherworld books really do sound like they’re getting better and better.

Your life is Mine

A psychological thriller–perfect for anyone fascinated by compelling true crime stories such as Wild, Wild Country and The Road to Jonestown–about a young woman who thought she’d escaped the legacy of her mass-murderer father, until her estranged mother is killed by his so-called followers–and it’s clear that this death is only the beginning.

Blanche Potter never wanted to repeat the past–but she knows she can’t escape it.

In 1996, when she was a small child, her father, Chuck Varner, went on a shooting spree before turning the gun on himself. To Blanche and her mother, Crissy, Chuck was not the crazed killer that the media portrayed: he was a devoted leader, a man whose beliefs could’ve affected real change in the world. For years, in fact, they worked together to honor his memory. But after Crissy reveals the truth about the notorious mass murderer–and after she decides to carry on Chuck’s violent gospel herself–Blanche finally snaps out of the cult and flees.

Now an adult, Blanche has completely distanced herself from the bloody legacy of her parents. But when she learns that her mother has been murdered, she soon discovers that there’s more to her death than police are willing to reveal. The detective handling the case knew her mother before she died, and so did a journalist who has been nosing around the case. Blanche begins to suspect that these men–and others who may be following her every move–are new disciples in the cult that her father started.

Pulse-pounding and filled with shocking twists and turns, Your Life Is Mine explores the dangers of untrustworthy leaders, family secrets, and how the past can return to haunt you in the present.

So, this sounds wonderfully complex, heartbreaking because really, those parents would break anyone’ s heart, but also this is really the sort of twisted deliciousness in relationships — especially family ones — I enjoy the most. i mean cult-parents?!

So to everyone working and waiting to get through the week:

we can do it guys!


  • Oh I am ready for 2019 and a fresh start on a new year. We do a quiet new year’s eve which I think is good. Sorry you got hit with a storm!!

  • So does Kelley Armstrong sleep? I don’t think I’ve ever read anything by her I didn’t like. I loved the Women of the Underworld series and have you read the Cainsville one? It’s even better in my opinion. I’m definitely putting this on my wishlist. I’m also curious about the faded rock star. I immediately thought of Rick Springfield. I adore him and sadly, many might consider him faded. I could go on the run with him.

  • Lark says:

    All these sound good but I think I’m most intrigued by Black Leopard, Red Wolf. 🙂

  • I’m so ready for 2019 as well. We usually prefer to do a quiet New Year’s Eve. We’ll drink a little, play some games, and just keep it low key overall. And yes, we can make it through these last few days! I’m literally counting down the hours until my last day of work for the year, lol.

  • Sam@wlabb says:

    I have to say, my interest is piqued by Half of What You Hear. I love Moriarty and that alone is enough to draw me to that book.

  • Angela says:

    It’s definitely not too early to be thinking about NYE. One year, when I was much younger, I went out to a bar/club and did that whole thing. I’m glad I did it once, but we generally stay home, quick kiss at midnight and then off to bed! We enjoy our sleep too much.

  • I hate New Year. I’m usually in my bed before eleven with headphones on so the fireworks don’t wake me up! I’ve never enjoyed it, and for me it’s just another day!

  • Melody says:

    I’m excited to see there’s a new Kelley Armstrong book out and that it’s a psychological thriller too!

    As for Christmas, I’m so not ready because that means 2018 is coming to an end. Then again, a new year means a new beginning, isn’t it? I know, it’s contradicting. ?

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