REVIEW – Elizabeth & Margaret: The Intimate World of the Windsor Sisters by Andrew Morton

“When others referred casually to “your sister,” Princess Margaret would snap haughtily, “You mean the queen.””

It’s no secret – the Royal Family is fascinating. I think we’ve all had an interest at one point or another in getting a glimpse behind the scenes of arguably the world’s most famous family. Elizabeth and Margaret is a portrait of two sisters who could not be more different. The book covers most of the sisters’ lives, starting at birth and ending when Margaret passed away in 2002.

At one point, the book really pivots to being primarily about Margaret – i’m not sure if that’s because she’s more “interesting” or if the Queen has just been that well protected, but as someone who didn’t know much about Margaret, I found it fascinating. It’s a little repetitive at times, but overall it’s a very accessible and easily readable book.

Fans of The Crown will be surprised at some of the facts presented in this book (especially concerning Peter Townsend). This is a great supplement to the show, and gave me a little more knowledge behind what I see on the screen (i’m only on season two so i’m catching up!)

Thank you Grand Central Publishing for sending me a copy of this book!

REVIEW – Thick as Thieves by Sandra Brown

Thick as Thieves wasn’t exactly what I expected, but I still enjoyed my reading experience! Arden Maxwell is back in her hometown after years away (her father disappeared after his assumed involvement in a notorious heist and murder). What Arden doesn’t know is that two of the men who were involved with that crime two decades ago are watching her every move.

The crime and mystery in this book is complex and interesting – we eventually get chapters from the perspective of each person who was involved on that night, and slowly piece together what actually happened.

This can be classified as “romantic suspense” which isn’t a genre i’m really familiar with – I didn’t know this about the book going in, so the accelerated romantic plotline threw me for a loop. I didn’t dislike that aspect of the story, but it did feel a little forced (and almost inappropriate?) at times. However, since romantic suspense isn’t something I typically read, this could be typical for the genre.

Thank you Grand Central Publishing for sending me a copy of this book.

REVIEW – Win by Harlan Coben

Win was easily one of my most anticipated reads of the year. I’ve only read a handful of Harlan Coben’s books so far, but he quickly became one of my favorite writers.

If you’ve read any of his Myron Bolitar series, you know (and probably love) Win. I was excited for the opportunity to read a book that had Win at its center, and this didn’t disappoint. For those who don’t know, Windsor Horne Lockwood III, better known as just Win, is rich. No, not like…rich like someone you know in real life. Not rich like a celebrity. But RICH. Seriously, disgustingly, unimaginably so. He’s also handsome, cunning, manipulative and…lethal. Win is a little bit like Bruce Wayne, minus the bat costume.

Win’s suitcase and a priceless family painting (lost some 20 years ago) are found in the home of a recluse who has been murdered. Win has no idea how it got there but he has an inkling that it might be related to the kidnapping (and eventual escape) of his cousin Patricia.

As always, Coben manages to write a twisty, fun thriller that keeps readers on their toes. I’d recommend giving one or two of my Myron Bolitar books a try first, so you’re already acquainted with Win before reading his story.

Thank you Novel Suspects for the ARC!

REVIEW – We Keep the Dead Close by Becky Cooper

We Keep the Dead Close is a very well-researched true crime book with an incredibly elaborate “plot.” Yes, Cooper discusses Jane Britton’s murder and the subsequent investigation, but she also covers the gender politics and discrimination that are rooted deep in Harvard’s history.

This held my interest for maybe the first third, and then slowed down a bit towards the middle. Cooper takes a few detours that are somewhat connected to Jane’s story, but feel somewhat meandering at times. You’ll definitely learn more about archaeology than you ever thought possible in a true crime book. This does have some shades of I’ll Be Gone in the Dark – in that Cooper reminded me of Michelle McNamara. Cooper’s obsession with Jane’s case mirrors that of McNamara’s when she was researching the GSK.

Overall, Cooper’s dedication to researching and telling Jane’s story is admirable, and I have to give her major props for the work it took to make this book happen.

Thank you Novel Suspects and Grand Central Publishing for the ARC!

REVIEW – A Mother’s Lie by Sarah Zettel

If you’re looking for a quick, heart-racing thriller, this is the book for you! Beth has worked so hard to keep her daughter Dana safe – which has meant keeping her away from Beth’s family. When a woman approaches Dana claiming to be her grandmother, everything unravels.

I read this in less than 24 hours – it’s definitely a page-turner with quick, punchy chapters that kept me wanting (NEEDING!) to know what was going to happen next.

As far as the thriller genre goes, I wouldn’t say this one is particularly memorable, but it is one of those great books that’s perfect when you’re searching for an easy thriller read.

Thank you Bibliofinder and Grand Central Publishing for sending me a copy of this book.

REVIEW – The Less People Know About Us by Axton Betz-Hamilton

“Slowly, our tether unwound, until it felt as if all we had left in common were the crimes committed against us.”

This is an INSANE story and tough to get through. It’s about a family facing identity theft, but it goes so much deeper (and so much more sinister) than that. Nothing in this book is simple or as it seems – there are so many layers to get through and every single one is more shocking than the last.

“All of it was an elaborate illusion, a magic trick we never stopped perfecting. On the outside, our lives looked solid and well put together, but on the inside, everything was falling apart.”

This book also examines the desperation of keeping up appearances – spending money you don’t have, buying things you can’t afford. The theme of “perception” runs throughout the entire book, and it gets so incredibly dark at times. Betz-Hamilton also outlines how insecurity can be passed down through generations. It’s also incredibly sad – the isolation Betz-Hamilton felt as a child, and the effects she carries with her to this day.

“…I learned that the most basic, fundamental truths about us were nothing more than masterful illusions.”

The Less People Know About Us provides a raw and uncomfortable look at betrayal, financial abuse and compulsive lying. Even after the facts are laid out in front of you, it’s still hard to fathom how one person can so deeply and irrevocably harm the people they are supposed to love.

Thank you Grand Central Publishing for the free book!