ISBN: 9781335452559 Pages: 336 pages Publication Date: May 30th 2023 Price: $18.99 US | $23.99 CAN Genre: Romance, Anthologies, Short Stories, Adult, Contemporary, Fiction, Contemporary Romance, African American Romance Where to Buy: BookShop.org| Barnes & Noble| Harlequin| Amazon| Books A Million
Synopsis:For readers of Bolu Babalola’s LOVE IN COLOR and Dhonielle Clayton’s BLACKOUT, a collection of six stories filled with hope, humor, and heat that explore the chances a couple may take when they mistakenly believe the world is ending; for fans of Love Actually and all the best 90s disaster films that end in a triumphant kiss, with stories by Taj McCoy, Farah Heron, Lane Clarke, Charish Reid, Sarah Smith, and Denise Williams.
When the global threat of meteor showers – exacerbated by an increasing amount of space debris in our solar system – causes widespread panic, a world-wide siren system alerting people to significant threats is developed. The plan immediately hits a rocky start when the US accidently launches the siren during a routine testing without being able to signal the all-clear, causing people to take immediate shelter.
Each of these 6 stories forces two people – strangers, colleagues, crushes, rivals – to take cover with one another, exploring what chances a person may take when they mistakenly believe the world is ending. Spoiler: it’s a lot of confession making and kissing.
Filled with joy, heat, and emotion, this collection also seamlessly incorporates issues impacting people of color in an authentic and genuine way.
Taj McCoy’s Bio: Taj McCoy is a law grad committed to championing plus-sized Black love stories and characters with a strong sense of sisterhood and familial bonds. Born in Oakland, Taj started writing as a child and celebrated her first publications in grade school. When she’s not writing, Taj boosts other marginalized writers, practices yoga, co-hosts the Fat Like Me and Better Than Brunch podcasts.
Farah Heron’s Bio: Farah Heron writes complex story arcs and uplifting happily ever afters while pursuing careers in human resources and psychology. Her romantic comedies and women’s fiction are full of huge South Asian families, delectable food, and most importantly, brown people falling stupidly in love. She lives in Toronto.
Lane Clarke’s Bio: Lane Clarke has been in love with books since the age of two. Her stories feature Black culture and big-hearted characters with self-doubts and big dreams, who—with a little laughter and good friends—can accomplish anything. She currently lives in Northern Virginia and works as an attorney in Washington, D.C.
Charish Reid Bio: Charish Reid is a fan of sexy books and disaster films. When she’s not grading papers or prepping lessons for college freshmen, she enjoys writing romances that celebrate quirky Black women who deserve HEAs. Charish currently lives in Sweden.
Sarah Smith’s Bio: Sarah Smith is a copywriter-turned-author who wants to make the world a lovelier place, one kissing story at a time. Her love of romance began when she was eight and she discovered her auntie’s stash of romance novels. She lives in Bend, Oregon.
Denise Williams’s Bio: Denise Williams wrote her first book in the second grade. That book featured a tough, funny heroine, a quirky hero, witty banter, and a dragon. Minus the dragons, these are still the books she likes to write. After penning those early works, she finished second grade and eventually earned a Ph.D. in education, going on to work in higher education. Denise lives in Des Moines, Iowa.
Hey guys! I’ve been trying not to add too many books to my TBR recently however it’s been very hard. I keep telling myself not to go over 500. It’s getting pretty close. It’s just there are so many books out there that sound super interesting. I’m excited to share what I’ve added so let’s dive in!
Synopsis: 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.
Author Bio: 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, www.hannahmarymckinnon.com.
How would you describe your latest book in a few sentences?
When Frankie Morgan loses her “forgiveness list” – the names of people who have wronged her in the past, and whom she could work to forgive – she thinks nothing of it. But as the people on Frankie’s list have increasingly serious accidents, Frankie’s in trouble. She wrote her own name on the list because her past self is the one person she’ll never forgive. If she doesn’t find out who’s behind the attacks, she might be next.
What’s “the story behind the story.” Tell us about the inspiration for THE REVENGE LIST?
I can usually pinpoint exactly where the inspiration for my novels came from. Typically, it’s a news article (You Will Remember Me and Her Secret Son) or a radio segment (Sister Dear), maybe some daydreaming (The Neighbors) or a specific character (Never Coming Home).
With The Revenge List, it was after batting various plot ideas around with my agent Carolyn, and former editor Emily that a random idea popped into my head: “What if an anger management group therapy exercise went terribly wrong?” That was it—we all needed to know what the rest of the story was.
What did you have the most fun with, character or plot?
Both, because they’re intrinsically linked. I loved building Frankie’s history to figure out who had wronged her in the past, how it had shaped her life and was still influencing her in the present. Frankie’s a firecracker, and it was incredibly interesting to write from the perspective of a woman who struggles with anger and doesn’t always handle it in a way that’s expected.
Did any of the characters appear fully formed?
No, they never do, but Frankie’s character came together quite quickly once I’d decided on a rough premise. I knew she’d have a certain amount of anger caused by her past, that she might be construed as an “angry woman” and I wondered what it would be like to write from that character’s perspective – without her being angry all the time, of course, because that would be exhausting. I also deliberately placed her in a male-dominated industry, which I have a lot of experience working in.
Did the story end the way you’d initially thought?
Yes, it did. I had the ending in mind when I started outlining and it barely changed. It still gives me the shivers.
Five facts readers don’t know about THE REVENGE LIST
The fictional coffee shop, Jake’s Cakes, originally appears in Sister Dear. It was fun to revive it as a little easter egg for anyone who reads both books.
I put Frankie in construction because it’s such a male dominated industry, but also because, I often went to construction sites when I was a kid as my dad worked as an architect. I still find them fascinating.
Like Frankie, I had a job at a grocery store when I was in school but thankfully nothing bad ever happened there.
I set the book in Portland, Maine because I’ve been there and loved it.
I modeled reporter Danika Danforth’s personality on my good friend Hank Phillippi Ryan. One reader told me “reporters aren’t that nice” and I replied, “Hank is!”
Do you have a favorite chapter or scene?
I adored writing the scenes with Frankie and Rico because I loved the brother/sister relationship and dynamic. I don’t have a brother, but if I did, I hope it would be someone like Rico as he was such a wonderful, caring man who clearly adored his sibling but wouldn’t put up with her nonsense, either.
Do you have a favorite character?
It’s got to be Frankie. I loved writing from her perspective – I found her so interesting and complex, including the fact that, even given her history, she’s still an optimist at heart. She became a great (fictional) friend.
What do you hope readers will take away from THE REVENGE LIST?
I always say I hope to surprise readers, and that they keep thinking about the book long after they’ve finished the final page. My ultimate goal hasn’t changed: it’s to entertain, to provide people with a form of escape and to leave them satisfied thinking, “I enjoyed that. It was time well spent! What else has Hannah Mary written?”
B. Publishing Journey
At what point in your life did you realize that you were called to be a writer?
It wasn’t until my 40s when we came to Canada and my start-up HR company failed. I had a decision to make – keep working corporate or try something else. I plumped for the latter and I’m beyond thrilled I did. I love my second career so much and can’t imagine doing anything else.
Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published (or this book?)
I made a lot of mistakes before my first novel was published, including rushing to submit the manuscript to an agent before it was truly ready. After editing it for two years, taking creative writing courses, and reading a lot, I managed to secure representation. If I’d taken those classes and learned about the industry earlier, it may not have taken as long…but the rejections kept my feet firmly on the ground and made me more determined. In a FitBit meditation with Ceasar F. Barajas, I recently heard we could “think of rejection as redirection.” It really resonated with me.
How did publishing your first book change your process of writing, if at all?
I’ve learned to trust my writing process. If I can get the bones of the story on paper, I’ll add layers and complexity as I go over the novel again and again in preparation for my editor’s eyes. I accept the finer details will come as I work. I’ll figure out plot-holes if I allow myself time to work through them. Just like most people who draw, paint, or write music or books, the first draft will never be my best work. Rome wasn’t built in a day and all that. I’m glad I’ve accepted this because it stops me from being overly self-critical when I start a project. I also set myself deadlines and work hard to beat them.
What’s your favorite part about writing/being an author? What do you find challenging?
The camaraderie of the writing community is like nothing I’ve experienced elsewhere. Authors, agents, publishers, readers, reviewers—we all love books and it’s wonderful.
In terms of writing, I adore the anticipation of starting a new novel where everything is open, and the only limit is my imagination. I also love when I get to the editing part and think, “Yeah, there’s something here” — it’s always such a rush. What’s challenging? Pushing through the first draft and the edit thereof. I need cookies for both!
How has your writing process changed since your first book published in 2016?
I’ve become a lot more streamlined because of deadlines. Also, I’ve figured out what works for me (plotting and structure) and what doesn’t (winging it), all of which goes a long way. Having written seven published and two upcoming novels means I have a good few years of experience in the industry, and I’ve learned to trust my instincts. When I find myself thinking, “Gah, this is terrible!” I remind myself I’ve said that about every previous books. That’s a lie. My husband reminds me of it each time and he’s right.
All your books are filled with many plot twists and turns. How much of the stories have you mapped out in advance, or does your writing style, take, well, twists and turns as you go along?
I love twists and turns, and the more books I write, the more I plot them. While detailed outlines make me more productive and efficient because I know where I’m headed, it doesn’t necessarily mean I’ll end up at the destination I mapped out. Things change as I write. I plot, but I’m flexible and still need my manuscript to surprise me as it evolves.
In The Neighbors, for example, the ending changed quite dramatically as I got closer to finishing my first draft. In Her Secret Son, the final chapters were different because I wasn’t happy with whom I’d planned to kill. Sister Dear and You Will Remember Me’s endings are close to how I’d imagined but more sinister. Never Coming Home and The Revenge List barely changed at all.
With all my books, more twists and turns appeared as I wrote. That’s another fun part of writing, discovering what your characters will do when you let them loose. I can’t possibly know everything from the beginning, nor would I want to.
What is your writing process like?
Extremely structured with plots, deadlines, and word-count targets. For The Revenge List, the “what if” idea came first, then Frankie’s character, followed by the storyline. I noodled the thoughts around as the main characters took shape. The next step was to write an outline. I started by jotting down the big picture plot points, which I used as stepping-stones to build and write the rest of the outline. I filled out personality questionnaires for my main characters to understand them better, and searched for photos on the internet to build a gallery. I also put a map of Portland together to work out who lived and worked where.
I wrote the basic manuscript that was a little over two-thirds of the final word count, then layered and developed until I was happy calling it a first draft, and sent it to my editor. She loved it (phew!).
What kind of research did you do, and how long did you spend researching before beginning the book?
One of the characters in The Revenge List has appendicitis, which our eldest son had when he was ten, so I drew on that experience, which thankfully was far easier than my fictional scenario. I called in the experts for more in-depth medical advice, police, and court procedures, and how adoption in Maine works, which was all fascinating. Research is one of my favorite parts of writing a book—not only because it’s interesting to learn new things, but mainly because I get to speak with such brilliant and knowledgeable people.
I don’t do a lot of research before I write but tend to put placeholders for areas that need fleshing out and go back to them after I’ve finished my first draft. That way I’m not spending hours on facts that don’t make the cut, or getting sidetracked by facts which are interesting, but potentially irrelevant to the story.
What was the most unique research you had to do for a book?
Bet you I’m flagged by more than one government agency with my search history. For 2022’s book, Never Coming Home, one element was figuring out what Drano does to a corpse (spoiler: it’s not pretty), the generalities of hiring a hitman on the dark web, as well as technical aspects of spyware on cell phones. Like I said: flagged!
You often set your novels in Maine. Can you tell us why?
I prefer writing about places I’ve been as there’s only so much you can do online to visualize a town (which is why I make them up in certain novels, too). We have family in New Brunswick, and when we visit, we sometimes drive from Toronto via the United States, which takes us through Maine. It’s beautiful and I loved Portland in particular. I hope to return soon.
What’s the one element of a thriller novel that is a MUST?
Plot twists and secrets. I want to be surprised when I’m reading a thriller, although that can be said for any genre, so I guess you need to throw in a dead body or three somewhere as well.
Do you find it easier to write character and dialogue for the opposite sex because you are the opposite sex? (A woman writing a man’s part and dialogue for example).
I enjoy both equally although I do find when I write a man’s point-of-view I’m more direct. Nevertheless, one of my first questions is, “Whose story is this?” After that, to be honest, I try not to overthink whether I’m writing a man or a woman. The important thing is to give them a voice, develop their character and backstory, and make them seem as human to the reader as they are to me.
Do you come up with the plot or the characters first, and how do you develop them?
It depends on the book. Generally, it’s an idea for a plot first. A “what if” scenario prompted by a radio segment, as was the case for Sister Dear, or a news story, like with You Will Remember Me. With The Revenge List it was the “what if an anger management therapy exercise went wrong” question that was the genesis for the story. It’s quite fascinating how an entire fictional world can be built from nine words. Gosh, I love my job.
How long did it take to write the book, and how many drafts do you usually write before publication?
The Revenge List took about two weeks to plot, plus four months to write and edit to the point where it was ready to send to my editor. Structural edits thereafter were quite minimal – maybe two weeks of work. I fully expect my next ten novels to kick me in the crotch because of this!
In terms of drafts, there’s the basic puke draft/edit, then I’ll go over it probably 7-10 times before it’s ready for my editor. After that we’ll do another number of passes to restructure if necessary, and smooth out the rough bits. I love working with my editor!
Do you read other fiction while you’re working on a book, or do you find it distracting? Do you listen to music while you write?
I’m always with a book in hand (or headphones in my ears taking my audiobooks for a walk) and it would be awful for me to not read when I’m writing. To me, books aren’t distracting at all, but music is. I need silence when I work. My preferred writing spot, at least to draft my initial manuscripts, is our spare bedroom with its dodgy Wi-Fi connection and a laptop. I leave my phone downstairs, so I’m not tempted to check emails, the news, or go on social media. My productivity at least doubles.
Do you have a go-to first reader after you feel your manuscript is ready?
Fellow crime author A.F. Brady and bookstagrammer Sonica Soares have read quite a few of my recent novels before anybody else. They’re extremely insightful and give brilliant, candid feedback, which is exactly what I need.
What is your writing Kryptonite?
Cookies! But seriously, it’s the first pass after the puke draft. It takes forever and it’s my least favorite part.
Finish this: “I can’t write without…”
A tidy desk! For me, a cluttered space = a cluttered mind. It makes me jumpy. I also need a huge jug of water.
Where do you get your ideas?
I can pinpoint exactly how each book started. Time After Time is a story about a woman who’s unhappy with her life, which was me when we moved to Canada and my HR company crashed and burned, although the rest of the novel is fictional. The idea for The Neighbors came to me when two houses on our courtyard went up for sale, and I wondered who might move in. Her Secret Son stemmed from a news segment I saw while I was at the gym (probably wishing I were eating cake instead).
Sister Dear was a radio segment about a woman who’d found a wedding ring at a playground and was trying to locate the owner through social media. You Will Remember Me was inspired by the true story of a man who vanished from a ski hill in Lake Placid and showed up six days later in Sacramento with amnesia.
Never Coming Home was different – this one was character driven. I wanted to write a story from a male antagonist’s point-of-view, and Lucas literally popped into my head and said, “Ta-daa! Okay, I’m here, get writing!”
With The Revenge List, it was after batting various plot ideas around with my agent Carolyn, and former editor Emily that a random idea popped into my head: “What if an anger management group therapy exercise went terribly wrong?” That was it—we all needed to know what the rest of the story was.
Who or what are your literary influences?
Long-standing ones are Lisa Jewell, David Nicholls, and one of my closest friends, Jennifer Hillier. I’ll read anything they write.
Newer additions include Kimberly Belle, Heather Gudenkauf, Gilly Macmillan, Mary Kubica, Hank Phillippi Ryan, Caz Frear – there are so many brilliant authors it’s hard to name only a few.
Is anything in this book based on real-life experiences?
Heck no! There might be the odd detail here or there, but the rest is made up.
How do you market your work?
In collaboration with my publisher, HarperCollins who are incredibly supportive and have a fabulous team I can’t praise highly enough. I’m also very active on social media and love connecting with readers, reviewers, and bloggers. My author friends and bookstagrammers / book bloggers are fabulous champions of my novels, too. Their tireless enthusiasm is a balm for the writerly soul and I’m grateful to every single one of them. It really does take a village.
Did anything good come out of the seemingly endless pandemic?
Well…with online events I never have to ask, “Does my bum look big in this?” But seriously, one fantastic thing that happened is First Chapter Fun. Back in March 2020, when Covid first hit Canada, I was in a Messenger chat with a group of authors, discussing how we could help promote one another and give our books a boost. I half-jokingly offered to read the first chapter of their novels on Facebook and Instagram, and within a few days I had over 40 daily readings lined up and launched First Chapter Fun. I read for 53 days in a row (didn’t think the “must do hair and make-up” thing through very well), introducing viewers to a new novel and author each day.
In May 2020, I teamed up with my partner-in-fictional-crime, powerhouse crime author Hank Phillippi Ryan. We created a new Facebook group www.facebook.com/groups/firstchapterfun and www.instagram.com/firstchapterfun. We now read once a week, every Tuesday on both platforms simultaneously at 12.30 pm ET, and often have giveaways. All the previously aired episodes are saved and can be viewed at leisure. It’s a wonderful community where we share the love of books and introduce new and/or new-to-you authors twice a week. Our goal is to keep your “to be read” pile completely out-of-control and, or so we’ve been told, we’re succeeding. Hank and I have also become great friends and talk all the time, something for which I’ll be eternally grateful.
What kind of advice would you give to aspiring thriller READERS?
Try different sub-genres, of which there are many. Perhaps you love police procedurals, or psychological thrillers may fascinate you. Maybe you don’t want something overly graphic, so cozies might be to your taste, or alternatively you could go hard-boiled noir. I think some people have the impression thrillers are all blood, guts, and gore, but that’s not the case. There’s something for everyone.
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Read as much and often as you can and listen to audio books. I wrote an article about how the latter make you a better author here. Write, even if you think it’s rubbish, because an empty page is impossible to edit. Another tip someone once suggested was to skip ahead if I couldn’t get a grasp on a chapter or scene, that I should focus on another part of the manuscript and trust myself enough to backfill later. It was revolutionary to me, and it beats the heck out of staring at a blank page or shoving my hand in the cookie jar.
Also, I was advised to read my manuscript out loud. Every. Single. Word. Doing so helps avoid repetition, improves cadence, and zaps stilted dialogue. And, finally, share your work. It can be scary, but it’s the only way you’ll get feedback and improve your craft. Speaking of feedback: try not to take it personally. It’s unlikely lip service will get you where you want to be.
G. About Me
Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you started writing.
Writing novels wasn’t on my radar until we moved from Switzerland to Canada in 2010. When we arrived, and my HR start-up company failed, it catapulted me into deciding what I truly wanted to do, and whether I wanted to reinvent myself. After a long while (with a lot of moping about) I realized the answer was to become an author, and I got to work.
My debut was a rom com called Time After Time (2016) a light-hearted story about paths not taken. After that I wanted to write grittier stories, and quickly transitioned to the dark side of suspense.
My thrillers are:
The Neighbors (2018)
Her Secret Son (2019)
Sister Dear (2020)
You Will Remember Me (2021)
Never Coming Home (2022)
The Revenge List (2023)
The thriller for 2024 is done and I’m working on the one for 2025. It all does a great job of keeping me out of trouble.
NEWSFLASH: I’m branching out this year! My holiday romantic comedy, The Christmas Wager will publish as Holly Cassidy in fall of 2023. It’s about real-estate hot-shot Bella, who’s tasked with purchasing an old, failing Christmas store in the quaint little town of Maple Falls, which is nestled in the Colorado mountains. She thinks it’ll be easy…until she meets the owner’s stubborn but hunky grandson, electrician Jesse. Bella wants the store for next to nothing, Jesse refuses, and they end up competing in the town’s quirky annual Holiday Games. Sparks fly – as do snowballs – but will these rivals find love together?
I’m excited to take you on a trip to Maple Falls this autumn. It was such fun to go back to my rom com roots and I’m hoping to continue doing this in conjunction with my thrillers.
What career did you think you’d have as an adult?
I remember telling my dad when I was about thirteen that I wanted to own a company. Not a huge surprise considering I grew up in the eighties when Wall Street and shoulder pads reined supreme.
At age 26, when I became a shareholder of the IT recruitment company I worked for in Switzerland, I accomplished that dream and shifted the goal posts to becoming the boss. I was promoted to CEO age 35. I’ve always been very driven, which definitely helped with my writing career.
What would your job of choice be if you didn’t write books?
I worked in IT recruitment for fifteen years before coming to Canada and was the CEO for a pan-European company. Perhaps I’d still be doing that if I didn’t change careers over a decade ago. If I was told I had to stop writing, I’d have to find a job in publishing somewhere. I can’t imagine working in another industry now.
What is the first book that made you cry?
I have absolutely no idea, but the last one was Things We Do in the Dark by Jennifer Hillier. It got right under my skin, and I’ll admit to shedding a few tears. It’s not something that happens very often.
Have you ever gotten reader’s block?
Gosh, yes, absolutely. When I was in my thirties, we had three kids in 16 months (twins the second time around, I’m not an alien) and while my husband was a stay-at-home dad, I was the CEO of a European IT recruitment company. I was so busy, I don’t think I picked up a novel in five years, and I missed them dearly. I’m so glad reading books is such a large part of my job now.
How do you start your day (a routine of sorts?)
Always with a cup of Yorkshire tea (milk and a tiny bit of sugar, please) and a hug from my husband (and kids, if they let me, lol).
Favorite band or music? Favorite book and/or movie?
I listen to all kinds of music but I’m useless at remembering the names of singers or bands. Impossible to choose a favourite book, but one of my favourite movies is Inception because it’s so utterly brilliant. The other is still Love, Actually. I watch it every Christmas when I’m wrapping presents, know most of the words and absolutely adore it. Nocturnal Animals and Arrival haunted me. They’re both excellent.
Place you’d like to travel?
I’m looking forward to visiting my family and friends in Switzerland. I can’t wait to get back into the mountains.
What is something about you that people would surprise people?
I only attended school in English for three years, from age 8-11. The rest of my studies were in German and French, so I never took English literature (sorry, Shakespeare)! Oh, and my maiden name is Abplanalp, a very traditional Swiss-German name that has a story about a baby, a crib, and a landslide (yup!) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abplanalp
What are some things you enjoy when not writing?
I read a lot, as one might expect, and love being whisked away into the worlds other authors create—thrillers, romantic comedies, or otherwise.
I love getting outdoors for a hike, I’m a huge fan of the movies (I love the trailers!), I have a home gym with a water rower that’s a great workout and incredibly peaceful.
We have three teenage boys, so my husband and I spend time with them as often as they’ll let us. Watching films or playing board or card games as a family are some of my favourite things to do. There’s something deeply comforting about us having a laugh together and hanging out. Oh, I cook too, and love to bake. I make a mean lemon cheesecake, and yummy wholewheat bread.
If you were to collaborate with an author, who would it be and why?
It would be interesting to work with another author on project, however, and while I don’t have anyone specific in mind, it would have to be someone who plots their stories. I have a lot of trouble writing without an outline, and not knowing where I’m headed. I’d get very antsy, and I think it would compromise things.
Is there anything you’d like to say to your readers and fans?
Thank you for your continued support. Readers, reviewers, bloggers and bookstagrammers are so generous and creative in everything they do for the book community. It’s truly a wonder to behold and they are magic!
H. What’s Next
What are you working on now?
My holiday romantic comedy, The Christmas Wager, publishes as Holly Cassidy in the fall of 2023. It’s about real-estate hot-shot Bella, who’s tasked with purchasing an old, failing Christmas store in the quaint little town of Maple Falls, which is nestled in the Colorado mountains. She thinks it’ll be easy…until she meets the owner’s stubborn but hunky grandson, electrician Jesse. Bella wants the store for next to nothing, Jesse refuses, and they end up competing in the town’s quirky annual Holiday Games. Sparks fly – as do snowballs – but will these rivals find love together? I’m excited to take you on a trip to Maple Falls this autumn!
Another thriller will release in 2024 and I’m unbelievably excited already. We don’t have a title yet but it’s about the rise and demise of an all-female pop-rock group called The Bittersweet, and the lengths some of the members go to boost their fame. After all, aren’t rock bands potentially worth more dead than alive…? I can’t wait to introduce you to my brand-new protagonist, drummer Vienna.
I’m now working on the outlines for my romantic comedy for 2024, and my thriller for 2025. I hope I don’t mix up the plots (although…!).
Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Fiction, Mystery Thriller, Horror, Japan, Japanese Literature, Adult, Crime, Suspense Pages: 240 pages Publication Date: August 5th 2008 Publisher: Mulholland Books My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
Plot: Her pupils killed her daughter. Now, she will have her revenge.
After calling off her engagement in wake of a tragic revelation, Yuko Moriguchi had nothing to live for except her only child, four-year-old Manami. Now, following an accident on the grounds of the middle school where she teaches, Yuko has given up and tendered her resignation.
But first she has one last lecture to deliver. She tells a story that upends everything her students ever thought they knew about two of their peers, and sets in motion a maniacal plot for revenge.
Narrated in alternating voices, with twists you’ll never see coming, Confessions explores the limits of punishment, despair, and tragic love, culminating in a harrowing confrontation between teacher and student that will place the occupants of an entire school in danger. You’ll never look at a classroom the same way again.
Hey guys! It’s time to update you on all the Netgalley arcs I need to read. I am happy to share that I’ve either read or DNF’d the ones from the last time I did this. So that is very exciting! I currently have 14 books I need to read. I’m currently reading one of them right now. I have a couple of them on hold at the library. A couple of them have been released already. Since I’ve started blogging again, I’ve been trying to read them before release. Let’s dive in!
Genre: Romance, Contemporary, Adult, Contemporary Romance, Fiction, Chick Lit, Politics, Adult Fiction Pages: 384 pages Publication Date: May 9th 2023 Publisher: Graydon House My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
Plot:“Charming, swoony, and utterly unputdownable. I LOVE this book!” —LYNN PAINTER, New York Times bestselling author of Better Than the Movies
A laugh-out-loud rom-com about learning to embrace living outside your comfort zone.
As a shy school librarian, Alexis Stone is comfortable keeping out of the spotlight. But when she’s dumped for being too meek—in bed!—the humiliation is a wake-up call. She decides she needs to change, and what better way to kick-start her new more adventurous life than with her first one-night stand?
Enter Logan, the gorgeous, foul-mouthed stranger she meets at a hotel bar. Logan is audacious and filterless, making him Alexis’s opposite—and boy, do opposites attract! Just as she’s about to fulfill her hookup wish, the hotel catches fire in a freak lightning storm—and in their rush to escape, Logan is discovered carrying her into the street, where people are waiting with cameras. Cameras Logan promptly—and shockingly—flees.
Alexis is bewildered until breaking news hits: pictures of her and Logan escaping the fire are all over the internet. It turns out Logan is none other than Logan Arthur, the hotshot politician challenging the Texas governor’s seat. The salacious images are poised to sink his career—and jeopardize Alexis’s job—until a solution is proposed: to squash the scandal, he and Alexis could pretend to be in a relationship until election day…in two months. What could possibly go wrong?
Hey guys! As I posted I had this amazing opportunity to go to the Literacy Partners Gala on Monday, May 1st. If you would like to hear about that event, you can find the post Here. It was an incredible evening. I’m so happy to have had the opportunity to go to this. At the event, they had a bunch of books on the table. I mainly was the only one interested in the books at the table so I got lucky. I honestly never heard of any of the books besides one of the children’s books. I’m very excited to pick up these books. Let’s dive in to see what I picked up!
ISBN: 9781525804960 Pages: 384 pages Publication Date: May 9th 2023 Publisher: Graydon House Genre: Romance, Contemporary, Adult, Contemporary Romance, Fiction, Chick Lit, Adult Fiction, Politics Where to Buy: HarperCollins| BookShop.org| Barnes & Noble| Amazon
Synopsis:A laugh-out-loud rom-com about learning to embrace living outside your comfort zone.
As a shy school librarian, Alexis Stone is comfortable keeping out of the spotlight. But when she’s dumped for being too meek—in bed!—she decides she needs to change. And what better way to kick-start her new more adventurous life than with her first one-night stand?
Enter Logan, the gorgeous, foul-mouthed stranger she meets at a hotel bar. Audacious and filterless, Logan is Alexis’s opposite—and boy, do opposites attract! Just as she’s about to fulfill her hookup wish, the hotel catches fire in a freak lightning storm. In their rush to escape, Logan is discovered carrying her into the street, where people are waiting with cameras. Cameras Logan promptly—and shockingly—flees.
Alexis is bewildered until suddenly pictures of her and Logan escaping the fire are all over the internet. Turns out Logan is none other than Logan Arthur, the hotshot candidate challenging the Texas governor’s seat. The salacious scandal is poised to sink his career—and jeopardize Alexis’s job—until a solution is proposed: he and Alexis could pretend to be in a relationship until election day…in two months. What could possibly go wrong?
Author Bio: Ashley Winstead 2021 breakout thriller was In My Dreams I Hold a Knife. Her 2022 romance debut, Fool Me Once, was an Amazon Editor’s Best Romance as well as a USA Today, PopSugar, New York Post, and Goodreads best or most anticipated romance of the year. Her work has been translated into more than a dozen languages and optioned for film/TV.
Genre: Horror, Thriller, Mystery, Fiction, Mystery Thriller, Paranormal, Suspense, Adult, Supernatural Pages: 372 pages Publication Date: May 10th 2022 Publisher: Flatiron Books My Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars
Plot: From Edgar Award-finalist Jason Rekulak comes a wildly inventive spin on the supernatural thriller, for fans of Stranger Things and Riley Sager, about a woman working as a nanny for a young boy with strange and disturbing secrets.
Mallory Quinn is fresh out of rehab when she takes a job as a babysitter for Ted and Caroline Maxwell. She is to look after their five-year-old son, Teddy.
Mallory immediately loves it. She has her own living space, goes out for nightly runs, and has the stability she craves. And she sincerely bonds with Teddy, a sweet, shy boy who is never without his sketchbook and pencil. His drawings are the usual fare: trees, rabbits, balloons. But one day, he draws something different: a man in a forest, dragging a woman’s lifeless body.
Then, Teddy’s artwork becomes increasingly sinister, and his stick figures quickly evolve into lifelike sketches well beyond the ability of any five-year-old. Mallory begins to wonder if these are glimpses of a long-unsolved murder, perhaps relayed by a supernatural force.
Knowing just how crazy it all sounds, Mallory nevertheless sets out to decipher the images and save Teddy before it’s too late.
Hey guys! It’s been a hot second since I’ve created a TBR for myself. I’ve been just picking up books as I go. I’ve also been trying to catch up with my Netgalley arcs. I’m still behind but slowly getting there. I can’t stop requesting arcs. Anyway, for my May TBR I picked books I own, Netgalley books, and books I’ve put on hold from the library. I hope I get to all of these in May. Let’s dive in to see what books I picked.