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Road Out of Winter by Alison Stine

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Release Date - September 1, 2020
Winter is here to stay. Because spring never arrived in the Appalachians in Ohio, 19-year-old Wylodine has been running her family's marijuana farm single-handedly since her mother and her mother's boyfriend left for California. It's hard work, but Wyl's been taught well and is good at what she does. When winter never turns into spring for a year and then continues into a second, Wyl realizes it's time to follow them with what's left of their thriving farm. Her friend left long ago and the town is quickly becoming a ghost town. 
She takes seeds, her grow lights, and whatever else she needs and gets ready to set off. She ends up with a teen boy who's close to her age. They pick up a second guy their age and end up running into every obstacle they could possibly face. If they make it to California alive, it's going to take some incredible wisdom, strength, and determination.
As a teen, I loved Stephen King's The Stand. T…

One Step Behind by Lauren North

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Release Date - September 1, 2020
Jenna is a busy doctor in an ER department. She sees many patients during a shift before returning home to her husband and children. Something more concerning has her attention lately. She has a stalker.
Her stalker is leaving her creepy gifts and sending ominous emails. Police are not turning up anything. When her stalker enters her home to leave her a gift, Jenna become even more frightened. 
Soon, the same stalker she's seen taking photos of her and her family is brought into the ER. She has the power to save his life or end it. As a doctor she knows she has to save his life, but the photos she finds on his phone solidify her need to get answers as to who he is and why he's so obsessed.
One Step Behind has a strong creep factor. I think my one complaint is that I figured out who the stalker was pretty early on. I also nailed another part of the story that was meant to be a big surprise, but I thought it was predictable.
I usually hate figuring t…

The Child Who Never Was by Jane Renshaw

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Release Date - August 16, 2020
When her toddler disappears from his crib, Sarah's frantic and hopes he's with her sister. However, her sister's house is dark and there's no sign of Evie or young Oliver. Things go from bad to worse when Sarah's doctor denies that she even has a son. She's placed into a mental health facility to get the help she needs. Sarah's own sister tells her that "Oliver" doesn't exist. Evie has the toddler and his name is James.
This isn't Sarah's first experience with mental illness. She suffered severe trauma as a child and deals with several issues, including severe agoraphobia. Despite this, she's convinced that she had a child and desperately wants to find the proof that Oliver/James is her son and that her sister stole him.
I have to say that this book is packed with twists. The Child Who Never Was keeps spiraling towards a rather surprising conclusion and all the way there is the constant tug of war of th…

The Love Scam by MaryJanice Davidson

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Release Date - August 4, 2020
Rake Tarbell wakes up hungover and very confused. He only realizes where he is when he falls into a canal after walking out of his hotel room. Tourists gather as he's pulled from the canal and realizes he has no idea how he got to Venice, Italy, or where his wallet is. 
Things go from bad to worse when he learns he might be the father of a very precocious girl and that he spent part of the night with a woman who is nothing like his usual choice of company. Claire Delaney is on a mission. She can't tell Rake everything, but one of her jobs is to uncover if he is, in fact, young Lillith's dad. If he is, she is to leave Lillith with him.
When Claire and Rake realize they're being followed, it's a cat and mouse game to keep Lillith safe. One thing Claire never expects is to fall for Rake and start to question if she really wants to move on or if she'd like to make him part of her life.
I didn't ever think it was hard to figure out who…

The Search Party by Simon Lelic

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Release Date - August 18, 2020
After 16-year-old Sadie Saunders disappears, the town and investigating detectives are all certain she's dead. Not only are they certain she was murdered, but they're also acting as judge and jury at the same time and have targeted a local boy as her killer.
Sadie's closest friends aren't sure the town or the detectives have it right. They sneak into the woods to uncover what really happened. All five are hiding secrets and they may have just gone into the woods with the person to did kill Sadie. They may enter the woods together and alive, but what happens in the woods will impact them forever.
I never got into the flow of the story, which made it hard to read. You had the lead detective telling the story from his point of view. You saw the story from the past as the teens all headed into the woods. You also have chapters where the teens are talking directly to the police during interrogations. It seemed disjointed as the story flipped fro…

When I Was You by Amber Garza

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Release Date - August 25, 2020


Kelly Medina is surprised to get a call from her son's old pediatrician about her well-baby appointment. Her son's an adult not a baby. She finds it surprising that a woman with her name has moved to her town. She soon meets and befriends this other Kelly Medina. One thing is clear, younger Kelly is not the best single mom and needs help managing everything. The older experienced mom Kelly is determined to help her out as she settles in this new town. What may seem like help to one could be construed as a dangerous obsession to another.
I have to admit that the writing draws you in. Clearly, there is a lot going on in the older Kelly's life that needs to be explained. That drew me in. The actual plot given in the book blurb about one of the Kelly's going missing comes into play so late in the book that by that point, you know exactly who and why.
That's the big downfall to When I Was You is that it wasn't hard to figure out what was…

The Last Wife by Karen Hamilton

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Release Date - July 7, 2020


After her best friend dies of cancer, Marie agrees to honor Nina's dying wish, but the truth is Marie has always been jealous of everything Nina has. She'd like nothing more than to live Nina's life so being asked to look after Nina's family isn't a big deal. In fact, it could be the best thing that's ever happened to Marie. Or, at least she thinks that to be true, but the reality may be far different.
Things aren't always as they seem in this suspense, but I really struggled to stay with it. Even when I was a good halfway through the book, I was struggling. It's never a good sign. As much as I wanted to find that point where the novel changed and dragged me in, everything in the story dragged. As a new friend is introduced, I didn't care. As Marie embedded herself more and more into Nina's family, I really didn't care. I had to struggle to finish it.
By the end, I'd never liked any of the characters. I shouldn&…