As a therapy exercise, a woman writes a list of people she wants to forgive, and thinks nothing of it when she loses it in an Uber…until one by one the people on the list become victims of freak accidents. Set in Portland, Maine, Hannah Mary McKinnon’s breakout suspense novel THE REVENGE LIST will appeal to fans of Lisa Unger, Joshilyn Jackson, and Tarryn Fisher.
Following an epic run-in with a client who threatened to pull out of a contract at her father’s company if she doesn’t suffer some consequences, Frankie Morgan agrees to go to anger management. With the business struggling with cash-flow and her brother needing help with the medical bills for his sick daughter, she can’t risk harming the business further. But that doesn’t mean she’ll be happy about attending.During the first session, the group is asked to spend some quiet time exploring their pasts and sitting with the emotions that generates, before making a start on a Forgiveness List—a list of people with whom they’re angry and might work on forgiving. She begrudgingly goes along with it and doesn’t worry too much when she forgets the list in an Uber on her way home. It shouldn’t matter—it was just a therapy exercise—except a few days later the first person on that list is injured in a freak accident. When the second person gets hurt, she hopes it’s coincidence. After the third is targeted, she knows it’s a pattern. And she’s in trouble. Because the next name on that list is…hers.
The plot of this one made me eager to pick it up and I’m glad I did. I found this to be a very unique read as we followed Frankie through not only her anger but discovering what happened to her list and what was going on with the people on that list. While she was trying to figure everything out, she was also working through her own internal issues and resentment.
I especially enjoyed that as the story went on, my opinion of Frankie changed over time as she herself grew and moved along in her journey. I think that’s a great thing when the growth of the character can cause your feelings to shift.
Overall I really enjoyed this read and loved that the tension was maintained through most of the book. The ending really surprised me, in a good way. I will definitely check out more of this author’s books in the future.
Hannah Mary McKinnon was born in the UK, grew up in Switzerland and moved to Canada in 2010. After a successful career in recruitment, she quit the corporate world in favor of writing. She now lives in Oakville, Ontario, with her husband and three sons, and is delighted by her twenty-second commute. Connect with her on Facebook, on Twitter @HannahMMcKinnon, and on Instagram @HannahMaryMcKinnon. For more, visit her website, http://www.hannahmarymckinnon.com.
A critical, unflinching cultural history and fierce beacon of hope for a better future, America Redux is a necessary and galvanizing read.
What are the stories we tell ourselves about America?
How do they shape our sense of history,
cloud our perceptions,
America Redux explores the themes that create our shared sense of American identity and interrogates the myths we’ve been telling ourselves for centuries. With iconic American catchphrases as chapter titles, these twenty-one visual stories illuminate the astonishing, unexpected, sometimes darker sides of history that reverberate in our society to this very day–from the role of celebrity in immigration policy to the influence of one small group of white women on education to the effects of “progress” on housing and the environment, to the inspiring force of collective action and mutual aid across decades and among diverse groups.
Fully illustrated with collaged archival photographs, maps, documents, graphic elements, and handwritten text, this book is a dazzling, immersive experience that jumps around in time and will make you view history in a whole different light.
Rating: 5 out of 5.
This is exactly the type of book that needs to be in schools and libraries today. Aberg-Riger pulled no punched in their retelling of many different events or trends in American history, and it’s desperately needed right now. While many of the topics explored in this book (eugenics, internment camps, colonization, genocide, racism, homophobia, etc) were known to me in some way, there were some events that I had never heard of or had only seen a brief mention of sometime in my life. Events such as these in American history should be taught and known, it needs to be acknowledged instead of ignored or hidden in order for us to learn.
The visual/mixed media style of this book is another thing I love, it’s eye catching and informative and easy to absorb. I hope to see more books like this in the future rather than less, because honestly, there needs to be. We will never learn from history if we ignore it.
Thanks so much to the publisher for sharing this book with me. Happy reading!
Being a Moth Keeper is a huge responsibility and a great honor, but what happens when the new Moth Keeper decides to take a break from the moon and see the sun for the first time? A middle-grade fantasy graphic novel about passion, duty, and found family.
Anya is finally a Moth Keeper, the protector of the lunar moths that allow the Night-Lily flower to bloom once a year. Her village needs the flower to continue thriving and Anya is excited to prove her worth and show her thanks to her friends with her actions, but what happens when being a Moth Keeper isn’t exactly what Anya thought it would be?
The nights are cold in the desert and the lunar moths live far from the village. Anya finds herself isolated and lonely. Despite Anya’s dedication, she wonders what it would be like to live in the sun. Her thoughts turn into an obsession, and when Anya takes a chance to stay up during the day to feel the sun’s warmth, her village and the lunar moths are left to deal with the consequences.
K. O’Neill brings to life a beautifully illustrated fantasy world about responsibility to yourself and your community. The Moth Keeper is filled with magic, hope, and friendship.
Rating: 4 out of 5.
At this point I will pick up pretty much anything Kay O’Neill writes as I love their whimsical art style and the worlds they create – this story was no different. I loved that this one had a different feel and color palette than previous works, which gave it more of a dreamlike feel. I did find myself wanting a little more background on some of the characters, especially Anya, but the story still felt complete without more detail.
As always I really enjoyed the representation, diversity and lessons that are woven into the story. I appreciated that when mistakes were make, even bad ones, there was support rather than outright anger or blame. It was not only a fantasy story, but commentary on responsibility and community, which I loved to see.
For fans of Claire Legrand, Rory Power, and Danielle Vega comes a visceral horror thriller in the vein of Midsommar, as one girl inherits a mysterious house from her estranged grandmother—and a letter with sinister instructions.
Jo never expected to be placed in her absent grandmother’s will—let alone be left her house, her land, and a letter with mysterious demands.
Upon arriving at the inherited property, things are even more strange.
The tenants mentioned in the letter are odd, just slightly…off. Jo feels something dark and decrepit in the old shack behind the house. And the things that her father used to talk about, his delusions… Why is Jo starting to believe they might be real?
But what Jo fears most is the letter from her grandmother. Because if it’s true, then Jo belongs here, in this strange place. And she has no choice but to stay.
With a deadly enemy that cannot be seen, a world that may only be unlocked by a chosen few, and a chilling past that must be unearthed at any cost, The Cherished is an original, hypnotizing contemporary horror—one that will thrill readers of White Smoke, Wilder Girls, and The Hazel Wood.
Rating: 3 out of 5.
The premise of this book got me really intrigued and I was excited to pick it up, thinking it was going to be super dark and twisty, but it didn’t quite reach what I was hoping it would. In a lot of books I want to root for or identify with the main character, but in this one it’s hard to do that with the attitude that Jo has most of the book.
I did feel that the book was mysterious and I wanted to see where it was going, but it did seem like a lot of the story was set up in a way. There were also a lot of plot holes that never really god addressed. I almost feel like this was set up with the intent of there being more to the story or further books, but there isn’t.
I wanted to really love this one more than I did, but in the end I was left a little dissatisfied. There were certainly moments where it was fun and I was enjoying it – and I feel with some editing and refinement it could definitely be bumped up higher as the premise was fantastic.
Don’t miss this brand-new romance in New York Times bestselling author Lee Tobin McClain’s Hometown Brothers miniseries!
Running a bookstore on a quaint Chesapeake island is exactly the life Deena Clark would have chosen for herself. But helping billionaire businessman Luis Dominguez figure out fatherhood is part of the package. Can bonding over books and one little girl help them open their hearts to each other?
“Have you ever considered slowing down?” The doctor’s words were as out of place as his white coat in Luis Dominguez’s busy corporate office. Mergers and acquisitions were what they did here, and at a fast pace. No one slowed down, ever. “What are you trying to tell me, Doc?” Luis attempted to ignore the text messages that kept pinging into his phone. “I’m only twenty-eight. I can’t have something wrong with me.” Dr. Henry fastened the blood pressure cuff on his arm. “My understanding is that you got dizzy at a board meeting. And that you live on coffee and nachos.” He tightened the cuff, studied the numbers and frowned. “It’s 130/90. That’s concerning. Family history of heart or kidney disease?” “I don’t know.” Luis didn’t want to go into his family medical history, or lack of one, in the middle of a regular work week in mid-April. “I’ll try to take it easier. Eat better.” Even as he said it, he knew it wasn’t true, but he needed to get on with his day. “I hope you will. Your board members are worried. Apparently, you’re indispensable.” The man patted Luis’s shoulder. “I’ll see you next week. We’ll need to talk about medication, unless I see significant improvement.”
“You’ll see it,” Luis promised. Ever the overachiever. He was a bit touched that his board of directors was worried enough about his health to set up weekly inoffice checkups. He’d built a life where no one had to worry about him, and he didn’t have to worry about anyone else. That was how he wanted it, but every now and then, it was good to know someone cared. He went to the door and gestured for his assistant, Gunther, to come in. “Everything ready for today’s presentation?” “Slides are all cued up and people are arriving.” Adrenaline surged. “Good.” The doctor clicked his medical bag closed. “How about getting a hobby? Starting a family? Being married is good for your health, you know.” “Not gonna happen.” Luis had already made peace with his single status, mostly. He was no good at forming and maintaining relationships. Didn’t want the responsibility. Didn’t want to fail at the responsibility, the way his parents had. Plenty of women were up for a no-strings fling with a millionaire. The trouble was, that lifestyle got old fast. “Come on,” he said to Gunther, heading for the door. “Let’s start the party.” The offices of Dominguez Enterprises buzzed with energy, people leaning over computers, the elevator pinging, voices speaking rapidly into phones. This was Luis’s hobby. This was his family. He was on track to reach his financial goals by age forty, but his lifestyle didn’t leave room for coaching Little League or cutting the grass.
“Excuse me, Mr. Dominguez?” A gorgeous blonde woman came out of the reception area and intercepted him. She was holding a toddler dressed in pink, a bow in her dark curls. Cute. Luis liked babies. He reached out and tickled the little one’s chin, clicking his tongue, and the child giggled. “Can I speak to you for a moment, sir?” the woman asked. He refocused on the blonde. “Not now. Make an appointment with Mrs. Jackson, there at the desk.” He gestured toward her then headed into the conference room, smiling at the sight of the suit-clad men and women around the table. Men and women from whom he’d soon make a bundle of money. Fairly and legally, of course. The small tech firm that was being acquired by the larger one would get a boost of capital and be able to keep all its employees on payroll, and the bigger firm would benefit from the diversification. Ideally they’d all leave as happy as he was. In fact, two hours later they did leave happy. Everyone shaking hands, his own people congratulating him and him thanking them for their hard work. Who’d have ever thought that a kid from his background would end up making deals with some of the most important businesspeople in Washington, DC? Then again, maybe his career was at least a little predictable. As a young teenager, he’d borrowed a few bucks from a friend and bought a case of high-caffeine soda, then sold it at a markup on test days. With the profit, he’d bought two more cases and expanded his business from the middle school to the high school. Of course, he’d had to skip class to do that.
“He’s not the brightest kid, but he sure does have the Midas touch,” the teacher who’d caught him had said to his foster mom. And Luis had done his best to make the most of whatever talents and abilities he had. Now, as he walked out of the conference room, the woman who’d approached him before came toward him, this time accompanied by Mrs. Jackson. The woman looked a little disheveled, blowing the blond hair off her face as she shifted the now-sleeping toddler in her arms. She was still pretty, though. Maybe even prettier with her face flushed and her hair loose. “I’m sorry, Luis,” Mrs. Jackson said. “She wouldn’t leave.” “I really need to speak with you.” The woman’s voice was low, but determined. There was a sexy rasp to it. He’d have blown her off if it weren’t for those stunning slate-colored eyes that seemed to hold all kinds of secrets. But it had been weeks since he’d had a date, and he was feeling celebratory. “Come on back, I have a few minutes,” he said, gesturing toward the hallway that led to his office. He usually avoided women with kids. He definitely avoided women with husbands, so he stepped to the side and checked out her left hand as she passed him. No ring. She wore a dark skirt and vest and a white shirt, and there was a slight swing to her walk. He reached the office just behind her and held open the door. “Go ahead, have a seat by the window.” He kept his voice low so as not to awaken the child. He nodded an it’s okay to Mrs. Jackson, who tended to be a mother hen, and followed the woman inside. He knelt down by the minifridge. “Something to drink? I have water, soda. Juice if the kiddo wakes up.” Outside, he could hear people calling goodbyes to each other. He’d given everyone the rest of the day off. They worked late for him plenty of times, so he liked to offer perks when the occasion merited it. “Water, please.” The woman spoke quietly, too, but the child murmured in her arms and opened her eyes. “Juice as well, if you don’t mind.” He stood, holding two bottles of water in one hand and a juice in the other. He twisted the top off a water bottle and handed it to her, then did the same for the apple juice. Sitting on the edge of his desk, he studied the woman. “So what can I do for you?” She sipped water, cradling the child in one arm, and then looked at Luis with a level stare. “I’d like for you to meet someone.” “Tell me more.” So she did have an agenda. Probably some project she wanted him to finance. Bringing her kid was a rookie mistake, but because she looked so serious and earnest, he’d let her down easy. She nodded down at the baby. “This is Willow,” she said. “Hi, Willow.” Luis smiled at the little one, then sipped water. The woman’s skirt slid up above her knees in the low chair. He lifted his eyes to her face. “What’s your name?” “I’m Deena Clark,” she said. “But Willow is the important one.” The baby held a small rubber doll out to Luis. He took it from her, hid it behind his back and then held it out again, jiggling it, making her laugh. “Why is Willow the important one?” he asked. “Because,” the woman said, “she’s your daughter.” There. She’d gotten it out. Deena blew her hair out of her eyes and made soothing circles on Willow’s back, holding the apple juice for her to sip. She inhaled Willow’s baby-powder scent and patted her chubby leg. She loved the two-year-old fiercely, and she hadn’t wanted to give up even the modicum of control that would come with rich Mr. Dominguez knowing he was the child’s father. But she was pretty sure Luis wouldn’t want much, if anything, to do with the baby. He was too wealthy and entitled. His wealth would make it easy for him to pay some child support, though. And that would allow Deena to stop working so much, to spend more time at home and to get Willow the services she needed. Maybe this would go okay. Luis Dominguez wasn’t quite what she’d expected. True, he’d made her wait for two hours, but then again, she’d arrived unannounced. She’d heard him saying nice things to his workers, and he’d gotten her and Willow something to drink. So maybe he wasn’t as uncaring as Willow’s mommy had believed. He was hot, too. Deena didn’t do relationships, but if she did…well. Curly black hair, light brown skin, an athletic body and a dimple in his cheek when he smiled… No wonder Tammalee had gone for him. He took a sip of water, studying her. “I wouldn’t have invited you in if I’d known you were one of those women.” “What women?” She bounced the baby doll in front of Willow, who laughed and grabbed for it then held it to her chest in an adorable imitation of motherhood. “Women looking to pin paternity on a wealthy man.” Luis crossed his arms over his chest. She raised her eyebrows. “That happens?” “Pretty often.” He took another sip of water and then put the bottle down with a thump. He looked oddly disappointed. “I’m not falling for it, so why don’t you take your child and your scam elsewhere.” “This isn’t a scam. I’m serious.” “It’s a new twist,” he said in a fake-thoughtful way, “approaching a man you never slept with. Creative.” That made her cheeks heat. She didn’t sleep with anyone, not that he needed to know that. “No,” she said, reaching for her phone. “You slept with my roommate.” She scrolled through her pictures, found one of Tammalee and held it up for him to see. He squinted at it. “Oh, yea-a-ah,” he said, his brows drawing together. “Sweet girl. But why are you coming here, not her, to claim this is my child?” Deena glanced at Tammalee’s smiling photo, swallowed hard and slid her phone back into her purse. “Tammalee is dead,” she said. His eyes widened. “What? Really?” She nodded. “An accident.” “I’m sorry to hear that.” He stared at the carpet for a minute and then met her eyes. “You realize I’m going to verify all this?” She blew out a sigh. “Look up Tammalee Johnson, obituary.” He studied her a moment as if wondering if there were even a chance her story was true. She must have looked honest, because he walked around his massive desk, bent over the computer and typed and clicked. He found what he was looking for. “She died two months ago?” He turned the computer so she could see. The large-size picture of her friend, the one that had accompanied her obituary, made Deena choke up. And that made her angry at herself, and by extension, at this guy. Neither reaction made sense, but then, grief didn’t make sense. The baby stiffened in her arms, probably sensing her tension. Or maybe she’d spotted the picture of her late mother. “Shh, it’s okay,” Deena whispered, rubbing her back again. But this time, it didn’t help; Willow wailed. The high, keening cry was a sound Deena had heard daily for the past two years, but it still grated on her. “Okay. Okay, honey. Want more juice?” Willow slapped the bottle away, spilling juice all over Deena, and the guy’s fancy carpet. “Sorry.” Although she shouldn’t apologize for what his own kid had done. She rocked Willow in the vigorous way that sometimes calmed her down, trying to gauge whether this tantrum was likely to be a long one. She looked at Luis from under the cover of her lashes. Tammalee had been sure he wouldn’t understand Willow, saying he only cared about money. Still, if this meltdown went on, he might require an explanation. But first things first. She needed to get him to acknowledge paternity before going into Willow’s issues. Willow’s cries were softening, to Deena’s experienced ear, but they were still grating. Luis looked uneasy, his forehead wrinkling. “Can’t you do something?”
“She’s hungry and tired,” Deena said by way of explanation. “You could have found a better time to talk to me about this, when you didn’t have to wait.” “You could have given me five minutes before your big important meeting.” But she could see that the baby’s crying was impacting Luis, and she didn’t want it to make him dislike Willow before even getting to know her. “We can leave,” she offered, “but only when you agree to the next step.” “Fine. I’ll do a DNA test.” He sighed. “There’s a doctor I can call.” “I have a test right here.” She fumbled in her purse and pulled out the drugstore version. “You just have to rub the swab inside your mouth for fifteen seconds.” It had cost a hundred dollars, which was a hardship, but for Willow, it was worth it. He was already opening it. “How long does it take?” “Two days from receipt. You mail it in, so…next week?” “I’ll take care of it.” He pulled out his phone. “Mrs. Jackson? Hey, before you leave, could you get a courier up to my office ASAP?” He listened. “Yes, I’m still here. I know. Soon.” He ended the call and looked at Deena. “I’ll have it sent to a better lab and try to get the results faster.” He studied Willow, still crying, and shook his head. She could tell he was hoping he’d get the good news that he wasn’t Willow’s father. Which, she supposed, was a possibility. Tammalee had enjoyed life, and men, and hadn’t been particularly choosy about who she’d spent time with—in or out of bed. But she’d insisted that Willow’s father was Luis, and Deena believed her.
She swabbed the baby’s mouth, making her cry again. Handed Luis the swab, and stood. “She’s a terrific kid and deserves the best,” she tossed over her
shoulder as she left.
Whether the best outcome would be having Luis as a father, or not having him, she didn’t know.
Lee Tobin McClain is the bestselling author of more than thirty emotional, small-town romances described by Publishers’ Weekly as enthralling, intense, and heartfelt. A dog lover and proud mom, she often includes kids and animals in her books. When she’s not writing, she enjoys hiking with her goofy goldendoodle, chatting online with her writer friends, and admiring her daughter’s mastery of the latest TikTok dances. Learn more at www.leetobinmcclain.com.
THE COMEBACK COWBOY is a Western-themed anthology featuring four stories from bestselling authors Maisey Yates, Nicole Helm, Jackie Ashenden and Caitlin Crews!
They may not have been friends when they were younger but now, they’ll work together to save the camp that saved them and, maybe even find love in the process…
The alumni of Camp Phoenix, a summer program for at-risk youth, may have grown apart but, when they learn the camp has fallen into disrepair, they answer the call for help. Now successful adults, the four women pledge to restore the grounds to their former glory, if long-standing rivalries and old flames don’t get in the way first….
Attorney Ashlynn Cook owes her life to Camp Phoenix and is determined to save the camp…but who’s going to save her from the temptation of long-time crush US Marshal Oakley Traeger? The daughter of the camp’s founder, Cassidy McClain has always wanted to follow in her law-abiding father’s footsteps, but fellow alum Duke Cody might have her breaking all the rules. Bree White fought hard to break away from her criminal family and all of the reminders of her past until Officer Flint Decker brings all those feelings back and more. And Kinley Parker never left Camp Phoenix, dedicating her life to it, and has no time for pushy cowboys like Jackson Hart until butting heads leads to sparks.
Bree White walked quickly over the gravel of the parking area and she didn’t look back. Time was of the essence.
She’d arrived at Camp Phoenix, the summer camp for juvenile delinquents that had changed her life back when she’d been fourteen, a full thirty minutes before she was supposed to, mainly so she could claim the best cabin before everyone else arrived—and she wasn’t ashamed to admit it.
It was a little surprising that Jackson Hart, the former DEA agent who’d bought the run-down camp and sent out the call for volunteers to help get it ready for a new season of campers, wasn’t here to greet her. He was apparently living in the shabby house near the camp entrance, but she hadn’t seen hide nor hair of him.
Then again, she was early. And she didn’t mind not seeing Jackson. He’d been his usual drill-sergeant self, harassing her relentlessly to volunteer to help, and while she was all about helping, she wasn’t a fan of being told what to do. Never had been.
Even ten years ago, when she’d been sent to Camp Phoenix by Sheriff Bill McClain, the man who’d started the camp, she’d hated all the rules and regulations, and had chafed against them. Yet those same rules and regulations had given her a structure and routine that her chaotic childhood never had. They’d changed her life.
Camp Phoenix had basically been the best thing to ever happen to her. That’s why she was here. And it wasn’t anything to do with Jackson Hart, so much as it was her, wanting to give back. Perhaps help change a few lives the way hers had been changed, and for the better. She was looking forward to it.
Bree paused in front of the small cluster of buildings surrounded by a green lawn and bordered by tall pines. Everything looked…smaller than she remembered, not to mention a lot more neglected. There were a few dilapidated cabins that were the bunk rooms, and the big dining hall where Mrs. Zee, the cook, used to reign supreme. The showers and bathrooms were in their own building, and then there was the administration cabin. And over there by the dining hall, the art hall that was once run by Gale Lawson.
And…ugh. There was Hollyhock Hill, which all the campers had to climb at 6:00 a.m. every morning to raise the flag, and where the day’s chores were handed out.
She’d never been much of a morning person, but that, in particular, had felt like torture. Well, they were all adults now, and presumably, there would be no 6:00 a.m. wake-up calls this time around.
The camp looked deserted, which was good, so Bree headed over to the least-run-down-looking of the cabins, where the counselors used to sleep. Jackson had said at least one of the cabins was better than the others, so she was assuming it was this one, and that she could claim it for herself.
She assumed no one would be sharing like they once had, when it was ten to a room. At least, she wouldn’t be sharing; not these days. She’d come a long way from her past and her family of low-level criminals who expected her to follow the same path they had. Now she had her own place in Jasper Creek and a great job as a real estate agent. She didn’t have to steal for a living like her folks had.
And all thanks to Camp Phoenix.
Nothing at all to do with Flint Decker.
Bree scowled as she headed toward the old counselors cabin, trying to shove off the irritating reminder that Flint Decker had been her arresting officer back when she’d been fourteen. He’d caught her shoplifting from the local 7-Eleven, which was something she did not like to remember, if she could help it.
A bit difficult not to be reminded, though, when Jasper Creek had been virtually wallpapered with his handsome, arrogant face thanks to the sheriff’s elections a couple of months back. She hadn’t been able to get away from it. Even more annoying that he’d won the election. By a depressing margin.
She had nothing to do with him these days, determinedly ignoring him whenever they passed each other on the street. And she definitely didn’t look behind her as he went by, noting the breadth of his shoulders, his narrow hips, long, powerful legs, and—
Bree nearly tripped over a piece of wood that seemed to be lying randomly in the grass, and only just stopped herself from an ignominious face-plant.
Damn new sneakers. Nothing to do with thinking about stupid Flint. She’d bought them especially for tramping about the camp and they were already giving her blisters.
She took a quick look around to see if anyone else had turned up to witness her embarrassing stumble, but the place was still deserted.
Just as well.
Bree examined her brand-new, spotless blue jeans for any suspicion of dirt, but they seemed to have escaped. She brushed them off just in case, since she wasn’t a fan of dirt. She wasn’t a fan of jeans either, but the little business skirts she usually wore weren’t very practical, so she’d gone on a bit of a shopping spree.
She wasn’t that sullen, angry teen who had turned up at camp with nothing, not even a sleeping bag.
She’d come prepared this time.
She approached the cabin and cautiously pushed open the door.
It was one room with a wooden floor and three sturdy wooden bunk beds pushed up against the unlined walls. The floor looked clean, at least, but one of the bunk beds had no mattresses, which left four beds to choose from. It smelled a bit musty but nothing an open window wouldn’t fix.
Bree gave herself a moment to frown at the spiderwebs in the ceiling between the rafters, then directed her attention to which bunk to choose. One of the top bunks, of course, since those had always been the most prized. Back in the day, there used to be battles. There was one girl, Violet Cook, who Bree had taken an instant dislike to, and one day, she’d hung Violet’s sleeping bag from a tree before stealing her bunk. That had earned her toilet cleaning for a week, but it had been worth it.
Of course, she’d never do anything like that now. Now she loved her life and was no longer angry at the entire world.
Moving over to the bunk beside the window, she carefully examined the mattress on the top bed, since that seemed to be the least lumpy, and decided it would do.
She didn’t like being uncomfortable, but camp—as Sheriff McClain had always said—wasn’t about being comfortable, so she’d resigned herself to a bit of discomfort. Not that she had a choice, since her house was having its plumbing upgraded and she couldn’t be there anyway. Really, coming to camp was excellent timing in many ways.
Bree put her little suitcase onto the bottom bunk in preparation for unpacking.
Other people would be arriving, she assumed. Given Jackson’s insistence on the importance of getting the camp up and running before the end of June, and given how he was a bossy asshole, he’d probably called every single person who’d ever stayed here and guilt-tripped them into helping.
She hoped they would be nice people, not—
“Please don’t tell me we have to share. Goddamn Jackson.”
Bree froze. She recognized that voice. No. Did it have to be? Not Violet Cook, whose sleeping bag she’d stolen. Not Violet Cook, who’d treated every day at camp like she was auditioning for Survivor and had basically lorded it over everyone, trying to prove she was the baddest.
Surely, she wasn’t here. Surely not.
Yet the door was already opening and in came a small, stunningly pretty woman with long, wavy black hair, black eyes, and wearing the most ridiculously feminine and flouncy maxidress Bree had ever seen. She tottered in on sky-high wedges, towing behind her a huge bright pink suitcase, and the moment she spotted Bree, she stopped dead.
The world’s most awkward silence fell as ten years vanished in the blink of an eye.
“Great,” Violet said, scowling. “Bree White. What the hell are you doing here?”
Bree had an urge to scowl back, but she forced it aside. She wasn’t fourteen and feral anymore. She was twentyfour and a professional, with a reputation for being the nicest Realtor at her agency. Violet might not have changed, but Bree certainly had.
“Hi, Violet,” she said, smiling determinedly. “Nice to see you. We should definitely catch up later, after you’ve found your own cabin. I think the one next door is still free—”
“Unfortunately, we’re sharing,” Violet interrupted, obviously unimpressed. “None of the other cabins are habitable.” Bree blinked. That was not what Jackson had said. “Sharing? What? But I thought…” She trailed off as Violet, ignoring her, eyed the bunk bed Bree was standing next to before moving over to the bunk pushed up against the opposite wall.
Bree opened her mouth to try to make the silence more pleasant, when the cabin door opened again, and two more women came in.
This time she barely stifled a groan. Kinley Parker and Clementine McClain? Seriously? She hadn’t known Kinley that well. She’d been so shy and quiet she’d virtually blended into the wallpaper, but apparently lived in Jasper Creek, not that Bree had ever seen her around. Clementine, on the other hand, was Sheriff McClain’s daughter, and Bree remembered her as being the biggest tattletale ever at camp, treating every rule like it was handed down by God himself. No wonder she’d ended up as the sheriff’s deputy, or so Bree had heard.
Anyway, this was great. Just great. So, what? She had to share her cabin with all three of them? Unacceptable. She was going to need a word with Jackson.
Keeping her smile pasted on, Bree directed it to Kinley and Clementine. “Oh, wow, you guys are here as well? How great is this?”
Kinley clearly did not think this was great. Her brown eyes were woeful behind her large glasses as she looked at the bunk situation, and Bree found herself putting a possessive hand on the top bed of the bunk she’d chosen. “Sorry, this one’s mine.”
“And don’t even think about the top bunk here,” Violet said without turning around. “It’ll have my pillow on it in approximately two seconds.” She’d opened her giant pink suitcase on the bottom bunk, and had pulled out a softlooking pillow in a pillowcase embroidered all over with wildflowers, and… Were those fairy lights?
Kinley sighed, glanced at the third mattress-less bunk and sighed again. “I guess I’m here, then,” she said and shuffled over to the bunk where Bree stood. “Do you mind if I take the bottom?”
Bree gave her the biggest smile she could manage. “No, not at all.”
“Uh, hi.” Clementine gave a nervous-looking wave, an equally nervous-looking smile on her face. Her hair was still as red as Bree remembered, and she still had as many freckles.
She glanced with some trepidation at Violet’s bunk and the only other habitable bed. “Um, well, I suppose I’ll take this one.”
Violet had now put her pillow on the top bunk and was in the process of hauling out what appeared to be bed linens, along with what were definitely fairy lights.
“I don’t think we’re allowed those in here,” Clementine said as she stared at the bed currently taken up by Violet’s giant case. “The fairy lights, I mean. At least, I don’t think you can?”
“Too bad,” Violet said. “I’m not doing lights-out at nine. Especially not when I want to read. Plus—” she sent a challenging look to the room in general “—they’re pretty.” Her gaze settled on Bree. “This bed stays mine, okay?”
Bree’s smile became fixed. Dammit. It appeared Violet hadn’t forgotten the whole sleeping bag/bunk stealing incident. “No problem,” she said brightly.
Kinley, meanwhile, had sat down on the bunk underneath Bree’s, squeezing herself awkwardly between Bree’s case and the end of the bed.
And suddenly, it was too much. The room felt tiny and there were too many people in it, people she didn’t like and didn’t know, and none of this was anything like what she’d expected.
There had to be somewhere else she could stay. In fact, she’d take it up with Jackson right now.
Her smile felt fake and forced, but if she didn’t smile, she was going to end up growling, and she didn’t want to growl. She wasn’t a feral beast.
“I’m just going to…um…” She went over to the door and paused. “No one touch my stuff.”
It wasn’t until she’d gone through it that she realized what she’d said. As if she were fourteen again, hating the camp, and Sheriff McClain, and basically everyone who’d forced her here.
Ugh. She had to make sure she didn’t fall back into old patterns. That meant no growling or getting angry, or being generally unpleasant. She was Bree White, the friendliest, most professional, most successful Realtor in her agency, and sharing a cabin with three of her enemies from a particularly dark time in her life wasn’t that bad.
Still. It was worth checking other options, just to be sure. Bree stopped outside the cabin, looking around at the rest of the camp. Where the hell could Jackson be?
Then, from around the corner of the dining hall, came a man wearing a very familiar hat. A battered black cowboy hat.
And her heart sank all the way into her brand-new sneakers.
So. Not only was she bunking with her three sworn enemies, but he was here too?
Please not him. Anyone but him.
But the man striding over the grass toward her didn’t miraculously turn into someone else. He was tall, but then, he always had been. Even at twenty, his shoulders had been broad and his chest wide. The black cotton of the T-shirt he wore was stretched lovingly over a chest and shoulders that seemed even wider and more muscular ten years later. On the T-shirt there was a picture of a cabin in gold with a phoenix above it, wings outswept, and the words Camp Phoenix above, while underneath the cabin was the camp motto. Rise Up. Her brain had barely registered the T-shirt before it got distracted by the way the worn denim of his jeans clung to his narrow hips and powerful thighs.
Not that she was noticing his thighs. Not when eyes greener than the grass beneath her feet were focused on hers with magnetic intensity.
Flint Decker. Sheriff Flint Decker and his stupid hat.
Okay, if Jackson wasn’t around, then she’d have a few words about sleeping arrangements with the sheriff himself.
USA Today bestselling, RITA-nominated, and critically-acclaimed author Caitlin Crews has written more than 100 books and counting. She has a Masters and Ph.D. in English Literature, thinks everyone should read more category romance, and is always available to discuss her beloved alpha heroes. Just ask. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her comic book artist husband, is always planning her next trip, and will never, ever, read all the books in her to-be-read pile. Thank goodness.
Nicole Helm writes down-to-earth contemporary romance and fast-paced romantic suspense. She lives with her husband and two sons in Missouri. Visit her website: http://www.nicolehelm.com
Maisey Yates is a New York Times bestselling author of over one hundred romance novels. Whether she’s writing strong, hard working cowboys, dissolute princes or multigenerational family stories, she loves getting lost in fictional worlds. An avid knitter with a dangerous yarn addiction and an aversion to housework, Maisey lives with her husband and three kids in rural Oregon. Check out her website, maiseyyates.com or find her on Facebook. Jackie Ashenden writes dark, emotional stories with alpha heroes who’ve just got the world to their liking only to have it blown wide apart by their kick-ass heroines. She lives in Auckland, New Zealand, with her husband the inimitable Dr Jax and two kids. When she’s not torturing alpha males, she can be found drinking chocolate martinis, reading anything she can lay her hands on, wasting time on social media, or forced to mountain biking with her husband.
They Both Die at the End meets The Butterfly Effect in this YA novel by Joan F. Smith, where a teen uses her gift of foreknowledge to help a lifeguard save a drowning man―only to discover that her actions have suddenly put his life at risk.
It was supposed to be an ordinary day at the pool, but when lifeguard Nick hesitates during a save, seventeen-year-old December uses her gift of foreknowledge to rescue the drowning man instead. The action comes at a cost. Not only will Nick and December fall in love, but also, she envisions that his own life is now at risk. The other problem? They’re basically strangers.
December embarks on a mission to save Nick’s life, and to experience what it feels like to fall in love―something she’d formerly known she’d never do. Nick, battling the shame of screwing up the rescue when he’s heralded as a community hero, resolves to make up for his inaction by doing December a major solid and searching for her mother, who went missing nine years ago.
As they grow closer, December’s gift starts playing tricks, and Nick’s family gets closer to an ugly truth about him. They both must learn what it really means to be a hero before time runs out.
Rating: 3 out of 5.
First and foremost, I was excited about the premise of this book. The first thing I could think of was actually Final Destination – moreso because of the domino effect that “intervening” in certain events caused.
It’s certainly heavy with the subjects it deals with and I found myself drawn the most to the different relationships in the book. For me the relationships were the best part of the book and I’m glad that a lot of attention were paid to that respect, but it also made me feel like other aspects could have been given a little more attention.
I did feel the way that the book ended was very sudden and jarring, so for me that was a little harder to swallow. Still, it was an emotional and sometimes heavy read that did carry a lot of impact.
Every mother worries about their child. But Sara Harmon fears hers…
When a teen falls while taking a selfie at the edge of a cliff, the last thing she sees before plummeting to her death is Katie Harmon, the nine-year-old girl she was babysitting, looking down at her.
Investigators gather at the scene, and Katie’s mother, Sara, rushes to comfort her daughter. Yet there’s a small, secret ping of alarm in Sara’s heart that she cannot share—though rookie detective Kim Pierce senses it.
For years, others have tried to unravel this secret. From true-crime podcasters to a haunted journalist searching for a killer who vanished after being released from prison several years ago. And now, with detectives tightening the focus of their investigation, Sara is consumed by her darkest fear—that the babysitter’s death was not an accident.
Wow, this one was a ride. It’s my first foray into Rick Mofina’s writing and I thoroughly enjoyed it. While it was a pretty complex series of twists and turns, it’s well worth the journey when everything falls into place. The suspense was on point in this book and kept me on the edge of my seat pretty much the whole time. If I had one criticism it’s that a couple of the characters didn’t really feel clear and could use some refining to just take it to that next level. Overall I really enjoyed the writing style and the plot sucked me in, so a very enjoyable read.
Rick Mofina is a former crime reporter and the award-winning author of several acclaimed thrillers. He’s interviewed murderers face-to-face on death row; patrolled with the LAPD and the RCMP. His true crime articles have appeared in The New York Times, Marie Claire, Reader’s Digest and Penthouse. He’s reported from the U.S., Canada, the Caribbean, Africa, Qatar and Kuwait’s border with Iraq. This is his 31st book. For more information please visit www.rickmofina.com
Seventeen-year-old Scarlett, unlike her theatrically gifted parents, is not one to spend time near a spotlight. Scarlett dreams of becoming a renowned fashion designer, where she can flex her creative talents away from a crowd. So it’s no surprise when she sneaks into her school’s costume shop to explore the racks. Unexpected, however, is coming face-to-face with Nathaniel Wilder, a talented theater student who piques a new interest.
With fashion still as her main priority, Scarlett vows to learn how to make a 50s-inspired dress for her best friend, Macie. After all, she needs a strong portfolio of work to help her get into her dream school, the Fashion Institute of Technology. The one problem? She has no idea how to operate a sewing machine. Thanks to Nathaniel’s encouragement, Scarlett decides to shadow the school’s drama teacher to practice her skills, hoping to fuse her passion for fashion with theater…and be closer to him for the spring play.
Scarlett’s designs are unfolding, but a distressing event involving Macie shakes everyone in Scarlett’s world—causing their friendship to falter and Nathaniel to unexpectedly pull away. With building stressors threatening the rest of the year, including a rival who wants to tarnish Scarlett’s reputation, Scarlett must rely on her determined spirit and newfound sewing skills to keep her fashion dreams—and her most important relationships—from unraveling.
Rating: 3 out of 5.
First and foremost, I absolutely love what they’ve done with the cover of this book. The first time I saw it I was immediately interested without knowing anything about it.
If you’re looking for a book that will take you right back to having crushes and the drama of high school, this one really packs that punch. There were certainly some things that might make you cringe normally, but they were written really well so that you didn’t have that feeling.
I did really like the different interests that were represented as well as the characters themselves and their development and growth throughout the book.
All in all this was a cute and endearing young adult romance and was an entirely fun read.
Each spring, Ithaca condemns twelve maidens to the noose. This is the price vengeful Poseidon demands for the lives of Queen Penelope’s twelve maids, hanged and cast into the depths centuries ago.
But when that fate comes for Leto, death is not what she thought it would be. Instead, she wakes on a mysterious island and meets a girl with green eyes and the power to command the sea. A girl named Melantho, who says one more death can stop a thousand.
The prince of Ithaca must die—or the tides of fate will drown them all.
Sarah Underwood weaves an epic tapestry of lies, love, and tragedy, perfect for fans of Madeline Miller, Alexandra Bracken, and Renée Ahdieh.
Rating: 3 out of 5.
I’m always up for something that is tied to mythology in some way, so I was excited to pick this one up. While I enjoyed the premise and overall story, I found myself wanting a little more with this one. There were definitely a lot of great aspects to the way this story was told, perhaps being a look at the events and characters of The Odyssey through a different lens, but there were also aspects of it that just didn’t quite get there for me.
The writing style is beautiful and flows really well, that was something I especially enjoyed with the book as a whole and kept me engaged. While the characters were really interesting on one level, I did feel like they could have been built out a bit more. At times it felt like they didn’t have depth so they were hard to really root for. All in all an interesting take on the story that I did enjoy overall.