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Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Goodnight Stranger: A Novel by Miciah Bay Gault

Release Date - July 30, 2019



When I learn there's a book by a Vermont author, I do make every effort to read it. Miciah Bay Gault lives in the state's capital city, but her story is mostly set in Massachusetts on a fictional island off Cape Cod.

Lydia Moore has been responsible for her brother since her mom's death. She and Lucas are more than brother-sister, they're two of a set of triplets. Their infant brother died tragically when he was just weeks old.

One day, a stranger comes to the island. Lydia can't help but feel drawn to him. It's Lucas, however, that is convinced this stranger is their deceased brother who has somehow returned. The man, Cole, knows too many things about their home and their mother for it to be a coincidence.

Lydia must uncover the truth. To do so, she has to leave the island, and that poses problems. She's been on the island so long that leaving it triggers anxiety. She knows something is wrong, but unless she can find out who Cole truly is, she'll never be able to convince her brother that the man he has become attached to is hiding something.

I really enjoyed Goodnight Stranger. I loved the setting. There's a story told by Cole that is a local legend and Emily's Bridge does exist, though the town listed in Goodnight Stranger is fictional. Having that level of familiarity always draws me into a story.

I will admit that the ending made me both happy and sad. No spoilers here, here I wish one aspect had been finalized a little more, but I can see why the author chose to leave it as she did.

All in all, Goodnight Stranger kept me hooked long into the night. As soon as I got up this morning, I had to finish it before starting my day. It was that good.


Monday, July 15, 2019

A Stranger on the Beach by Michelle Campbell

Release Date - July 23, 2019



I would have really loved this novel so much more had I not had it pegged from the start. The author builds suspense well. The situations are almost creepy at times. But, I had the "twist" figured out before I was too far into the story.

Empty nester Caroline Stark is delighted that her gorgeous, albeit expensive, waterfront home is ready. When her husband announces he won't be back from his business trip in time to be there for the housewarming party, she's heartbroken. Worse, she catches him in a lie. He claims to be in another state, but she tracks his phone and learns he's in a hotel in the city.

With her marriage in shambles and a mysterious stranger watching her house from the beach, Caroline finds her world is falling apart. That stranger, Aidan, ends up being the man she turns to for a one-night stand when she learns her husband has been with another woman. Little does she know that Aiden's dark history and unusual behavior will be far more than she ever could have imagined.

A Stranger on the Beach is very much a psychological suspense novel with the mystery involving the lies Caroline's husband hides and Aidan's infatuation with her. Everything does tie together at some point, but I never found the final revelation to be shocking. I liked A Stranger on the Beach, but it never shocked me. If anything, I found it to be a bit predictable.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Crashing the A-List by Summer Heacock

Release Date - July 9, 2019



One thing I was totally ready for was a heroine who didn't take things in stride. Crashing the A-List finds Clara Montgomery unemployed and desperate. She was at the top of her game in the publishing industry, but a merger led to many book editors being tossed onto the streets at the same time and finding a new job has proven to be more than difficult.

Rather than return home to a very passive-aggressive mother, Clara moves in with her brother and his fiancee. She's given up her plush bed for a lumpy sofa. She just needs that one break. The only one she currently has is a temporary job cleaning abandoned storage units.

Many of those abandoned units are packed with things that smell of beets or are of a questionable nature with things she cannot and doesn't want to imagine what they once were. It's the discovery of a locker filled with paperwork that seems most tedious and changes her life. That locker is packed floor-to-ceiling with paperwork from a former escort service.

With the help of her friend, she discovers a very popular actor among the list of escorts. One drunken call to him leads to a very embarrassing situation where he believes she was going to blackmail him and turns the tables by requiring her to become his "girlfriend" until his red carpet premiere. At that point, he'll stage a very public break up.

The dislike for each other is apparent, but that doesn't keep Clara from doing what she feels she needs to do to avoid jail. Meanwhile, getting through the next few weeks is proving to be harder than ever, and at any moment, the walls of Clara and Caspian's ruse could come crashing down.

So much about Caspian was completely unlikable. Like Clara, I found his pompous attitude to be very hard to take. I wasn't sure I would ever like him. In fact, I'm still not sure I really did become fond of him.

Yet, the story had me hooked. Clara is charming, witty, and exactly the type of friend I'd be proud to have. Her best friend is even better. What a pair they'd be to have over for drinks!

Crashing the A-List turned into a fantastic beach read. I started it and just couldn't stop. I may have spent a bit too much time reading rather than enjoying the beauty of Popham Beach that sunny day, but it was worth every minute.