There is a Murderer Lurking Amongst Family and Friends in The Last Time I Saw You by Liv Constantine!

The Last Time I Saw You by Liv Constantine

My Review:

Can you forgive and repair old friendships and have them be as strong as they used to be?  In this Agatha Christie-like murder mystery where everyone is a suspect, Kate wants to know who killed her mother, Lily, and who is sending her threatening notes.  Her old best friend Blaire returns to her life after being estranged, ready to help, but does she have her own agenda?  And is Kate’s husband, Simon having an affair?  Is her dad keeping a secret?  Is the nanny being honest?  Set in the world of old money and generational wealth of Baltimore,  Kate has suffered more than one tragic loss and her family and friends support her, yet one of them could be a murderer.  Filled with lots of twists and turns, this whodunnit keeps you on your toes!  The Last Time I Saw You‘s author, Liv Constantine is the master of deception and lies, with this fast paced psychological suspense, perfect for a day on the beach!

I was fortunate enough to attend a book talk with the authors and learned about them and their writing process.

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Liv Constantine is the pen name for Lynne and Valerie Constantine, the dynamic duo sisters who write together over FaceTime; one lives in Maryland, the other in Connecticut.  They figured out the secret to success with their huge best seller, The Last Mrs. Parrish, and are back with a new psychological thriller that will keep you flipping through the pages, called The Last Time I Saw You.  Lynne and Val started working together 20 years ago in person and enjoy having each other as writing partners. They split the writing pretty evenly but both have their own strengths, as Val is best at setting and scene and Lynne is the pro on writing dialog.  They come up with the story line and characters together and luckily, they rarely disagree.

The theme of The Last Time I Saw You is friendship, and it is dedicated to the Tuesday ladies, the special group friends who spent time with their mom and aunt, always elegantly dressed with nice shoes, fancy hair and makeup.

After a big splash in the book world with Mrs. Parrish, there was considerable pressure to follow suit.  This sophomore book took them one and a half years to write, and according to the authors, it was like pulling teeth all the way!  Revisions were plentiful as their publisher told them they needed one more twist in the plot, and then the decision to change who the murderer was in the third draft led to some rewriting.  Lucky for us, the book is complete and out in the world!  FYI, their third book, about a wife stalker, only took four months to write and is in edits now!

When asked about the attention received for The Last Mrs. Parrish, Lynne and Val told a few stories.

Lynne and Valerie Constantine author talk

(Lynne, sorry about this photo with your eyes closed licking your lips…you must be thinking about Patrick Dempsey!)

When The Last Mrs. Parrish was chosen for the People Magazine pick, the sisters were ecstatic and ventured out to CVS to buy up a bunch of copies.  Unfortunately  Harvey Weinstein was on the cover and they got a lot of strange looks from observers!

When they were notified that Reese Witherspoon chose Mrs. Parrish for her book club, over the phone, they screamed with delight but were then told they had to keep it quiet for close to three weeks.   They lied to one of their husbands who was in the room at the time, making up some story about how someone was going to write an article about them.  He thought they were a bit dramatic but they stuck to their story.  Ultimately Lynne and Val were thrilled when Witherspoon announced her pick of The Last Mrs. Parrish and they had the pleasure of connecting with Reese on Instagram.

The most recent, exciting news is that Amazon is developing a series based on Mrs. Parrish, but mums the word on details as of now!

Goodreads Summary

Val and Lynne Constantine

About the Authors:

Liv Constantine is the pen name of USA Today, Wall Street Journal, and international bestselling authors and sisters Lynne Constantine and Valerie Constantine, co-authors of the Reese Witherspoon book club pick, THE LAST MRS. PARRISH. Separated by three states, they spend hours plotting via FaceTime and burning up each other’s emails. They attribute their ability to concoct dark story lines to the hours they spent listening to tales handed down by their Greek grandmother. Their next book, THE LAST TIME I SAW YOU, was released on May 7, 2019.

Visit them at www.livconstantine.com

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Reading, Writing and Pretty Revenge with Author Emily Liebert: women’s fiction with a healthy dose of psychological suspense is sure to grab you!

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My Review:

You will surely be hooked from the get go when you dive in to Emily Liebert’s upcoming emotional thriller, Pretty Revenge!  Eighteen years ago, Kerrie’s life was turned upside down.  Hurt by the betrayal and disappointment she once felt, and having never fully recovered, she is stuck in a bad relationship with no job and feeling disappointed.   After coming across the person she blames for her sad life on tv, old memories rise to the surface and retaliation becomes her goal.  She takes a job and reestablishes her life in the city with the sole purpose of revenge.

Jordana is a sophisticated New Yorker who seems to have it all.  She is a sought after wedding expert with a handsome, wealthy, successful husband and a beautiful apartment in the best part of town.  With dark secrets, she is running from her past while keeping herself busy with wedding plans for her wealthy clients.  When the job demands become overwhelming, she hires a much needed assistant who is agreeable to everything she is asked to do and seems to be extremely competent.   Focused on the details of expensive weddings and client management, the two women seem to develop a solid working relationship; but are they truly who they say they are, and how well do they really know each other?

With women and secrets, lies and deceit, friendships and forgiveness, Pretty Revenge delivers a suspenseful dose of crazy you won’t want to miss!  From her bestselling women’s novels focused on complex female relationships to this psychologically thrilling suspense, where we see a slightly darker side of those relationships…Liebert’s new spin is a huge success!  Easy to read with humorous, witty language, the novel’s impending dread constantly builds as it brings us to the truth, and appealing to my pollyanna side, we are lead to believe everything will tie up in a bow after the last page – perfect for a weekend away!  A most enjoyable read – available July 2019 – preorder a copy so you can have your own Pretty Revenge this summer!

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Q and A with Emily Liebert

You have been greatly successful with your women’s fiction novels, what made you decide to try psychological suspense this time?

EL: Writing women’s fiction novels was fun and fulfilling, but—ultimately—I wanted something edgier to sink my teeth into. I started reading a lot of psychological suspense and became motivated to challenge myself to try something new and bigger. With that said, I think both PRETTY REVENGE and the novel I’m writing now still have a women’s fiction element to them. I’m not going too far to the dark side, at least not yet! I also moved publishing houses to Simon & Schuster for these next two books, which I hope will be a major relaunch for me.

Are your characters in Pretty Revenge based on anyone you know?  Do you think people you know have recreated themselves and are hiding big secrets?

EL: I rarely base my characters directly on people I know, but there are always circumstances and stories from my life or from my friends’ lives that meander their way in. I don’t believe I know anyone who’s hidden his/her past life and is pretending to be someone else. I do, however, believe that everyone has at least one secret, some bigger than others.

The cheating husband of the woman who appears to have it all is not a new idea…why do you think we love to read about those types?

EL: Stereotypes are stereotypes for a reason, and I think people relate to them. They see their own lives reflected in the characters and plot. I always say, even if it’s not a revolutionary idea, there’s a fresh spin on it.

I was a fan of Kerrie’s from the get go but I felt compassion toward Jordana as her real life was revealed.  Who did you root for in Pretty Revenge, Jordana or Kerrie?

EL: As the author of the book and the creator of the characters, I have to say I was rooting for both of them in different ways. You think Kerrie is the underdog at first and you understand why she wants revenge. But then, my hope, is that people will realize how broken and vulnerable Jordana is too.

Your writing is very witty and fun to read.  Do you add descriptive phrases and detail afterward or does it just come out on the page as we see it?

EL: I love this question, and I get asked often about the humor in my writing. That is me! I’m funny (if I do say so myself). Also, I think you have to be able to laugh in life, even when it may not seem like the right moment. A big bucket list item for me would be to do standup comedy just once. I imagine it would be the hardest thing I’ve ever done, and I’m not sure I’d be able to go through with it, but stay tuned!

When you are starting a new book, do you develop your characters first, assigning them a past, present and future, or do you write the storyline and their details develop along with the plot?

EL: There’s always a nugget of an idea to begin with and maybe one character who I assign to that. Then, as I start fleshing out the idea, I’ll establish who the 2-3 main characters are and begin defining their personalities. After that, I’d say the storyline and the characters’ pasts/presents/futures unravel together.

What 3 books have you read lately that you recommend and what is on your nightstand right now?

EL: Three books I’ve loved recently are advanced copies of The Last Time I Saw You by Liv Constantine and The Night Before by Wendy Walker (both pub in May), and Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell. On my nightstand are an advanced copy of Jane Green’s The Friends We Keep and Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty.

Goodreads Summary

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About the Author:

Emily Liebert is the USA TODAY Bestselling Author of five books.

PRETTY REVENGE, her forthcoming novel, will release on July 2, 2019.

Her first book Facebook Fairytales is available across the globe.

In 2012, Emily wrote her debut novel, You Knew Me When (Penguin), which published on September 3, 2013. Her second novel, When We Fall, published on September 2, 2014. Those Secrets We Keep, her third novel, released on June 2, 2015, and her fourth novel, Some Women, came out on April 5, 2016, all with Penguin Random House.

Emily is featured often in the press, by outlets such as: Today Show, The Rachael Ray Show, Anderson Cooper, FOX News, Good Day New York, The Couch, Oprah Radio, Martha Stewart Radio, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, InStyle, OK!, Nylon, Ladies’ Home Journal, Woman’s World, WWD, Woman’s Day, The New York Post, The Washington Post, The New York Daily News, The Chicago Tribune, Boston Herald, and The Huffington Post.

She has also served as a spokesperson for Microsoft, appearing on TV and radio stations nationwide.

 

The blind leading the blind at a NYC psychiatric institution makes for unmatched psychological suspense in The Blind by A.F. Brady.

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My Review:

Therapists are supposed to have it together but in The Blind, Dr. Samantha James is not on solid ground.  Her love hate relationship with alcohol, abusive boyfriend and struggle with anxiety, are self destructive and cloud her judgement, while and at the same time she has fooled her colleagues and is the shining star therapist at the Manhattan psychiatric institution where she takes on all the most difficult patients.

When her boss is overloaded and reaches out for help, Sam goes the extra mile to help out with paperwork.  Things come to a head when she reads her own psych evaluation and she is faced with her personal demons that could impact her career.  At the same time, she is finally having a break through with Richard, her most difficult and mysterious patient who up until now has refused to talk.  Lines become blurred when this doctor – patient relationship method of communicating strays from tradition, secrets are unleashed, and the question becomes, “who is helping whom”?

The Blind is “on the edge of your seat” reading, the linear timeline is fast moving and easy to follow with character and background information slowly revealed amidst many shocking snippets of Sam’s crazy days and nights during a five month time span. Upsetting episodes of domestic violence, disturbing alcohol related binges and purges, tension filled sexual encounters and tender moments of friendship are peppered with Sam’s emotional instability and her continual struggles to hide reality, all under the illusion of a perfect life…wonderfully addictive!

I loved this book and can’t wait to read Alex Brady’s new novel, Once A Liar.

The main character, Dr. Samantha James has Borderline Personality Disorder and according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, more than 4 million people are diagnosed with BPD with around 75% of them, women.

Mental illnesses are not talked about as much as they could be, so enjoy this SHORT VIDEO with information about BPD.

One more thing….

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I had the wonderful opportunity to hear Alex (A.F.) Brady speak on a panel with Lynne Constantine, one of the sisters who wrote The Last Mrs. Parrish and the upcoming novel, The Last Time I Saw You, and Wendy Walker, author of Emma in the Night and her upcoming novel, The Night Before, moderated by comedian and life coach, Lisa Lampanelli.  According to the smart and witty Alex Brady, author and psychotherapist, it is POSSIBLE the characters she writes about MAY deal with similar issues and illnesses as her real life patients.  She enjoys the writing process, gets little sleep when working on a plot twist and has a wonderfully helpful husband who picks up the slack with their two little ones when she needs to put in the time to concentrate on her novels.  Alex appreciates a good, rugged cocktail, but be forewarned…you will be taking your chances if you offer her a Malibu Bay Breeze!

Goodreads Summary

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A.F. Brady is a New York State Licensed Mental Health Counselor/Psychotherapist. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Brown University and two Masters degrees in Psychological Counseling from Columbia University. She is a life-long New Yorker, and resides in Manhattan with her husband and their family. The Blind is her first novel.  Her most recent book, Once A Liar was released in Jan. 2019.

33 Books for Vacation 2019

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Many authors I enjoy have recently released new books or have a new one being published this year.  Below are the beautiful covers with links to reviews and summaries so you can choose some books for the next snow day, a long ski weekend or a coveted beach getaway.  Catch up with the authors’ earlier novels this winter and order the new ones so you have a great stack for the summer!

The Best Books to Take on Vacation!

If you enjoyed the addictive psychological thriller The Wife Between Us,

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you will love the latest bestseller An Anonymous Girl by Sarah Pekkanen and Greer Hendricks.

 

If you enjoyed the Brooklyn Jewish family saga The Two-Family House,

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you will love to read about Jewish sisters, secrets and the Springfield Armory in The Wartime Sisters by Lynda Cohen Loigman.

 

If you loved reading about the internet, addiction and crime in The Truth About Thea,

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you will love the new political thriller, Why We Lie, by Amy Impellizzeri, available March 2019.

 

If you loved these beach read favorites, The Forever Summer and The Husband Hour,

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you won’t want to miss reading about the glamorous Hamptons in Drawing Home by Jamie Brenner, available May 2019.

 

If you immersed yourself in old New York and read about the Barbizon Hotel, The Dakota, and Grand Central Terminal, in The Dollhouse, The Address and The Masterpiece,

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you will want to read about the theater district, 1950s New York and the Chelsea Hotel in The Chelsea Girls: A Novel by Fiona Davis, available July 2019.

 

If you enjoy reading about family and tragedy set in Apartheid era South Africa and loved Hum If You Don’t Know the Words,

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you will definitely want to read about love, family bonds and three South African women in If You Want to Make God Laugh by Bianca Marais, available July 2019.

 

If you enjoyed reading about tragedy and love in How to Walk Away

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you will want to add to your list Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center, available August 2019.

 

If you cried your eyes out and loved The Memory of Us and Before the Rain Falls,

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you won’t want to miss The Way of Beauty and the newest novel, The Beautiful Strangers by Camille Di Maio, available March 2019.

 

If you enjoyed learning about a real World War ll heroine in Lilac Girls ,

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you will love learning about the Women of World War l in Lost Roses by Martha Hall Kelly, available April 2019.

 

If you were overflowing with emotion after reading The Orphan’s Tale,

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you will surely want to read about World War ll spies in The Lost Girls of Paris by Pam Jenoff.

 

If you were moved and impacted the story of racism and police violence in The Hate U Give,

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you will want read about hip-hop and the struggle to achieve dreams in On the Come Up by Angie Thomas.

 

If you loved reading about a love letter and World War ll Austria in The Lost Letter,

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you will want to read about a family secret and World War ll in In Another Time by Jillian Cantor, available March 2019.

 

If you adored learning about the all women spy ring from World War l in The Alice Network, 

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you will want to follow the journalist and pilot as they search for the Nazi war criminal in The Huntress by Kate Quinn.

 

If you enjoyed reading about the woman who made the final meals for death row prisoners in The Last Suppers

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you will want to add to your list this story of three generations of women and a dark secret in Forgiveness Road by Mandy Mikulencak.

So many books, so little time.  What will you take on your next vacation?

 

 

 

In need of a distraction? Look no further…These addictive psychological thrillers keep you hooked right up to the end!

 

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My Review:  Authors Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen are superstars when it comes to psychological thrillers.  Last year they came out with The Wife Between Us which has you working hard to figure out what is going to happen next, and with unexpected plot twists,  the authors rewards you with continual surprises and unanticipated shocks.  A bitter ex-wife, a younger, prettier replacement…you think you know what’s going on.  But you don’t!  Little tidbits feed your knowledge of what you believe could be the truth but you will be fooled.  Skillfully written with all loose ends tied up by the conclusion, this is impressive writing by the author duo and so much fun to read.

 An Anonymous Girl, their recent bestseller, currently headed to the big screen, delivers continual suspense and gives you much to think about.  A doctor conducting a study on morals and ethics is looking for women volunteers to participate.  The questions are simple but get increasingly more challenging and unpredictable.  Relationships become murky when overcome with jealousy and deceit.  What is real?  And who can be trusted?

Manipulative and oh, so addictive, these two fantastic thrillers are not to be missed!  I read each book in less than 24 hours, one after the other!  All you need is a weekend of no plans – you must cuddle up with these gems and your favorite stress eating snacks (gummy bears and licorice😜)…and dive right in…you will be on the edge of your seat!

Check out this Video interview; Sara Haines of GMA talks with Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen about their writing process and how they work together.

Goodreads Summary

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About the Authors:

Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen are the co-authors of the blockbuster New York Times bestseller, THE WIFE BETWEEN US, as well as the forthcoming, AN ANONYMOUS GIRL. AN ANONYMOUS GIRL has been optioned for a television series by eOne, with Sarah and Greer executive producing. THE WIFE BETWEEN US has been optioned for film by Amblin Entertainment, with Sarah and Greer screenwriting the adaptation.

 

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn

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My Review:

If you are looking for an addictive quick read with brief chapters, interesting characters and psychological suspense, The Woman In the Window is for you!

Dr. Anna Fox is trapped in her home.  Not literally…she is agoraphobic, presumably triggered by a tragic event.  Her child psychologist medical practice has ended due to her being unable to leave her house, so she spends much of her time on the computer watching horror movies, consulting lonely people with problems in chat groups and playing chess.  When she is not online she spies on her neighbors, peering through her camera lens and out the window.  Throughout her waking hours Anna consumes wine like water and pops pills for her ailments.

The story consists of Anna and her neighbors; amongst them are Ethan, a homeschooled teenage boy who seems lonely and depressed, Alistair, Ethan’s father who believes Anna is delusional, and Jane, Ethan’s mother who pays Anna a visit to play chess and drink wine.  We meet, Anna’s support system; Dr. Fielding and physical therapist Nina, both who make house calls, and Anna’s ex-husband Ed and their young daughter Olivia.  Anna also has an elusive, odd tenant, David, who lives in her basement.

The story is told my Anna, and her suspicions about the neighbors grow when she hears screams and sees something devastating our her window, but when the authorities are called in, proof is unattainable and Anna’s fear to leave the safe haven of her home is only one of the setbacks.  Her state of mind is questionable and nobody’s stories line up, but the truth lies amongst the chaos.  Manipulation and illusions drive this twisted mystery and kept me second guessing right up until the end.

This was a true page turner with multiple surprises, mysterious characters, and eye opening reveals that caused me to reevaluate what I thought I knew every step of the way.  A most enjoyable read, narrated by a woman, and written by a man.  The Woman in the Window has been compared to Gone Girl, The Girl on the Train and Rear Window, and it will be hitting the big screen starring Amy Adams as Anna, releasing in 2019.

Goodreads Summary

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About the Author:

A.J. Finn, pseudonym for Daniel Mallory, has written for numerous publications, including the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, and the Times Literary Supplement(UK). A native of New York, Finn lived in England for ten years as a book editor before returning to New York City.

Here is my photo of author A.J. Finn at the East Hampton Library Author Night this past summer:

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Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage

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My Review:

If you are in need of a blood chilling thriller to make your heart pound, Baby Teeth is for you!  Author Zoje Stage mastered dark and suspenseful when she created Hanna, a seven year old, only child of Suzette and Alex.  Suzette had a difficult childhood, poor mothering and a continual battle with Crones Disease, and when she meets Alex in a professional environment, he saved her from loneliness and despair by respecting her design work and falling in love.  Alex, an architect, is a cheery Swedish man who desperately loves his wife, Suzette, and showers his very bright but mute daughter Hanna with love and attention.  Both parents want to be the best they can be; they spend lots of time with Hanna, they have patience for their daughter, but she doesn’t speak a word and seems to only love her Daddy.

After being kicked out of several preschools for bad behavior that Alex cannot recognize or accept, Suzette is homeschooling her daughter but seeing red flags in her behavior towards her.  She witnesses outrageous outbursts but due to her lack of confidence in her parenting and wife skills, she keeps some of what she experiences with her daughter to herself so as not to upset her disbelieving husband.

Hanna has an alter ego that seems to want to kill Mommy so she can have Daddy all to herself and she is working on a plan.  When mother and daughter are alone she terrorizes and scares her but when Daddy gets home she is her cuddly sweet self.

Life becomes dangerous for Suzette when warnings escalate from Hanna’s artwork that depicts a dead Mommy to Hanna speaking obscene and threatening messages to her mother when nobody else is around to sophisticated scheming that leads to illness and physical violence!  Suzette and Alex’s parenting skills are in question along with safety in their home when they finally reach out for help ad share what is going on with outsiders as the danger and threats escalate…but will it be too late?

This is a creepy story…but good creepy!  If you want to feel positive about your own family, OR you don’t want to have children, this book will support you in a big way!  Baby Teeth is a quick summer read that will keep you engaged and freaked out.

Summary on Goodreads

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About the author:

An author of dark and suspenseful novels, Zoje lives in Pittsburgh, PA. Her debut novel BABY TEETH (St. Martin’s Press) was released 17 July 2018. It will be released in the UK as BAD APPLE (Transworld) on 9 Aug.

 

Girls’ Night Out by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke

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My Review:

In Girls’ Night Out, the thrilling summer read by authors Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke, Ashley invited her old friends Natalie and Lauren to go on a girls’ vacation in Tulum, Mexico… but it is not the easygoing carefree celebratory trip they had wanted.  Ashley and Natalie are best friends that work together and they are in  disagreement about whether or not to sell the company they own.  For personal reasons they have not shared with each other, neither are willing to budge.  Lauren, typically the third wheel in this longtime friendship, had lost her husband the prior year and had a falling out with Ashley at his funeral.  Both were hoping to repair their fractured friendship, but bad feelings run deep.

The ladies plan to spend some quality time together hoping they can mend some fences, but their issues are not exactly fixable with a few cocktails far away from home…despite the beautiful setting and casual atmosphere, problems esclate when a charming local insinuates himself in the midst of their relationships and their planned girl time.  This fast paced thriller will keep your attention as everyone’s secrets are slowly revealed and at the same time physical danger ensues…your pulse will increase as you race to the finish…another fun page-turner by writing team Liz Kenton and Lisa Steinke!

Girls’ Night Out is a perfect summer thriller…a girlfriends trip to Mexico….secrets and tragedy….a fun escape!

Goodreads Summary

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About Liz and Lisa:

Liz Fenton & Lisa Steinke are the authors of  Girls’ Night Out and the Amazon Charts bestselling novel, The Good Widow.

Liz and Lisa have been best friends for 30 years.  They have also published three women’s fiction novels with Simon & Schuster/Atria Books. Your Perfect Life is a hilarious and heartwarming story of two childhood best friends who switch bodies at their twenty-year high school reunion. The Status of All Things, is a cautionary tale of a woman who realizes she can change the course of her entire life by what she writes in her Facebook status. And The Year We Turned Forty follows three women who get the chance to relive the year they turned forty, a year they each made decisions that altered the course of their lives.  But a lot happened before their first publishing deal…

Something in the Water by Catherine Steadman

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My Review:

I read the whole book in two sittings!  Psychological thrillers are supposed to grab you right away, pull you in, create situations where you make assumptions and then force you to second guess yourself…Author Catherine Steadman did just that in her fast moving debut novel Something in the Water.  (FYI she is also an actress from Downton Abbey and she narrated the audio book!)

Mark is an investment banker and Erin is a filmmaker in the midst of making a documentary about people in prison.  (The subjects of money and crime could be foreshadowing!!!) The handsome couple is honeymooning in exotic Bora Bora and they are very much in love.  While on a secluded scuba diving day trip they discover something in the crystal clear blue water.  They make a decision about what to do and so it begins!  That is all I can say!  Around ever corner the newlyweds have to decide how to proceed, and as they dig their grave (figuratively…and maybe even literally!) they battle their moral compass while their loyalty to each other is tested.  Greed, curiosity and BIG secrets make this latest Reese Witherspoon Book Club choice a fun summer read!

Goodreads Summary

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About the Author:

Catherine Steadman is an actress and writer based in North London. She is known for her roles in Downton Abbey and Tutankhamun, starring alongside Sam Neill, as well as shows including Breathless, The Inbetweeners, The Tudors, and Fresh Meat.

In 2017 she will feature in political thriller Fearless and new BBC comedy Bucket. She also has appeared on stage in the West End including Oppenheimer for the RSC, for which she was nominated for a 2016 Laurence Olivier Award.

Something in the Water is her first novel.