July TBR

 

Home Before Dark by Riley Sager – “What was it like? Living in that house. Maggie Holt is used to such questions. Twenty-five years ago, she and her parents, Ewan and Jess, moved into Baneberry Hall, a rambling Victorian estate in the Vermont woods. They spent three weeks there before fleeing in the dead of night, an ordeal Ewan later recounted in a nonfiction book called House of Horrors. His tale of ghostly happenings and encounters with malevolent spirits became a worldwide phenomenon, rivaling The Amityville Horror in popularity–and skepticism. Today, Maggie is a restorer of old homes and too young to remember any of the events mentioned in her father’s book. But she also doesn’t believe a word of it. Ghosts, after all, don’t exist. When Maggie inherits Baneberry Hall after her father’s death, she returns to renovate the place to prepare it for sale. But her homecoming is anything but warm. People from the past, chronicled in House of Horrors, lurk in the shadows. And locals aren’t thrilled that their small town has been made infamous thanks to Maggie’s father. Even more unnerving is Baneberry Hall itself–a place filled with relics from another era that hint at a history of dark deeds. As Maggie experiences strange occurrences straight out of her father’s book, she starts to believe that what he wrote was more fact than fiction. Alternating between Maggie’s uneasy homecoming and chapters from her father’s book, Home Before Dark is the story of a house with long-buried secrets and a woman’s quest to uncover them–even if the truth is far more terrifying than any haunting.”
 
Well Met by Jen De Luca – “Emily knew there would be strings attached when she relocated to the small town of Willow Creek, Maryland, for the summer to help her sister recover from an accident, but who could anticipate getting roped into volunteering for the local Renaissance Faire alongside her teenaged niece? Or that the irritating and inscrutable schoolteacher in charge of the volunteers would be so annoying that she finds it impossible to stop thinking about him? The faire is Simon’s family legacy and from the start he makes clear he doesn’t have time for Emily’s lighthearted approach to life, her oddball Shakespeare conspiracy theories, or her endless suggestions for new acts to shake things up. Yet on the faire grounds he becomes a different person, flirting freely with Emily when she’s in her revealing wench’s costume. But is this attraction real, or just part of the characters they’re portraying? This summer was only ever supposed to be a pit stop on the way to somewhere else for Emily, but soon she can’t seem to shake the fantasy of establishing something more with Simon or a permanent home of her own in Willow Creek.”
 
Keeper by Jessica Moor – “When Katie Straw’s body is pulled from the waters of the local suicide spot, the police are ready to write it off as a standard-issue female suicide. But the residents of the domestic violence shelter where Katie worked disagree. These women have spent weeks or even years waiting for the men they’re running from to catch up with them. They know immediately: This was murder. Still, Detective Dan Whitworth and his team expect an open-and-shut case–until they discover evidence that suggests Katie wasn’t who she appeared.”

Nostalgic Book Haul (June)

 

Sweet Valley High #33 – Starting Over“Sally Larson is thrilled when she moves in with her cousin Dana’s family. After years of living in foster homes, Sally longs to have a real home, and she’s determined to make a good impression. As long as Sally lets Dana control her life, she feels she’ll be accepted. After all, her cousin is pretty, popular, and the lead singer for the Droids, Sweet Valley High’s smash rock band. Sally even hopes to overcome the resentment of Dana’s brother, Jeremy. But when Dana begins to resent her, too, Sally’s afraid she’ll have to leave–and she knows this is her last chance to make a life for herself. Will Sally ever be able to call Sweet Valley home?”
 
Sweet Valley University #30 – Beauty and the Beach“Ben Mercer has a big surprise in store for Jessica Wakefield. He’s returning to Sweet Valley Shore–and bringing his supersmart girlfriend, Priya Rahman, along with him. Elizabeth Wakefield is heading back to the beach and straight for the arms of gorgeous head lifeguard Ryan Taylor. But Ryan is hiding something from her–something important. Will Elizabeth’s perfect summer romance be over before it even begins? The last thing Nina Harper wants to do this summer is fall in love. Can Stu Kirkwood, a sweet, sexy surfer, make her change her mind?”
 
Goosebumps #3 – Monster Blood“While staying with his weird great-aunt Kathryn, Evan visits a funky old toy store and buys a dusty can of monster blood, It’s fun to play with at first. And Evan’s dog, Trigger, likes it so much, he eats some! But then Evan notices something weird about the green slimy stuff it seems to be growing. And growing. And growing. And all that growing has given the monster blood a monstrous appetite…”

Winter Book Haul

 

My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell – “Vanessa Wye was fifteen years old when she first had sex with her English teacher. She is now thirty-two and in the storm of allegations against powerful men in 2017, the teacher, Jacob Strane, has just been accused of sexual abuse by another former student. Vanessa is horrified by this news, because she is quite certain that the relationship she had with Strane wasn’t abuse. It was love. She’s sure of that. Forced to rethink her past, to revisit everything that happened, Vanessa has to redefine the great love story of her life – her great sexual awakening – as rape. Now she must deal with the possibility that she might be a victim, and just one of many.”
 
Keeper by Jessica Moor – “When Katie Straw’s body is pulled from the waters of the local suicide spot, the police are ready to write it off as a standard-issue female suicide. But the residents of the domestic violence shelter where Katie worked disagree. These women have spent weeks or even years waiting for the men they’re running from to catch up with them. They know immediately: This was murder.
Still, Detective Dan Whitworth and his team expect an open-and-shut case–until they discover evidence that suggests Katie wasn’t who she appeared.”

 
If It Bleeds by Stephen King – “Holly Gibney of the Finders Keepers detective agency is working on the case of a missing dog – and on her own need to be more assertive – when she sees the footage on TV. But when she tunes in again, to the late-night report, she realises there is something not quite right about the correspondent who was first on the scene.”

June TBR (Nostalgic Reads)

 

Sweet Valley High #15 – Promises“Steven Wakefield is crushed when his girlfriend, Tricia, dies after a tragic illness. The only things that keep him going are the memory of their love and his promise to Tricia to take care of her sister, Betsy, after she’s gone. Betsy Martin’s wild exploits with drink, drugs, and boys have left her with the worst reputation in Sweet Valley. But when Steven takes her into the Wakefield home, Betsy makes a promise to change. And as her goodness grows, so does her love for Steven. Jessica, Steven’s conniving younger sister, doesn’t like this one bit. She makes a little promise of her own to get Betsy out of the house and out of Steven’s life… forever!”
 
Sweet Valley University #13 – SS Heartbreak“When Elizabeth Wakefield catches Tom Watts kissing another woman on the Lido Deck, she can’t believe her eyes. Elizabeth tells Tom to get out of her life forever. But can she get him out of her heart? Todd Wilkins is confused. He thought he was still in love with Elizabeth, but now that she’s giving him a chance to rekindle their romance, he finds himself fantasizing about another woman. Jessica Wakefield is running out of patience. She’s desperate to find the dashing stranger who saved her life, but he refuses to come forward. Is he just shy – or does he have something to hide?”
 
Goosebumps #2 – Stay Out Of The Basement“Dr. Brewer is doing a little plant-testing in his basement. Nothing to worry about. Harmless, really. But Margaret and Casey Brewer are worried about their father. Especially when they… meet… some of the plants he is growing down there. Then they notice that their father is developing plantlike tendencies. In fact, he is becoming distinctly weedy- and seedy. Is it just part of their father’s ‘harmless’ experiment? Or has the basement turned into another little shop of horrors?”

June TBR

 

Nightingale by Amy Lukavics – “June Hardie is everything a young woman in 1951 shouldn’t be–independent, rebellious, a dreamer. June longs to travel, to attend college and to write the dark science fiction stories that consume her waking hours. But her parents only care about making June a better young woman. Her mother grooms her to be a perfect little homemaker while her father pushes her to marry his business partner’s domineering son. When June resists, her whole world is shattered–suburbia isn’t the only prison for different women… June’s parents commit her to Burrow Place Asylum, aka the Institution. With its sickening conditions, terrifying staff and brutal “medical treatments,” the Institution preys on June’s darkest secrets and deepest fears. And she’s not alone. The Institution terrorizes June’s fragile roommate, Eleanor, and the other women locked away within its crumbling walls. Those who dare speak up disappear… or worse. Trapped between a gruesome reality and increasingly sinister hallucinations, June isn’t sure where her nightmares end and real life begins. But she does know one thing: in order to survive, she must destroy the Institution before it finally claims them all.”
 
My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell – “Vanessa Wye was fifteen years old when she first had sex with her English teacher. She is now thirty-two and in the storm of allegations against powerful men in 2017, the teacher, Jacob Strane, has just been accused of sexual abuse by another former student. Vanessa is horrified by this news, because she is quite certain that the relationship she had with Strane wasn’t abuse. It was love. She’s sure of that. Forced to rethink her past, to revisit everything that happened, Vanessa has to redefine the great love story of her life – her great sexual awakening – as rape. Now she must deal with the possibility that she might be a victim, and just one of many.”
 
Her Every Fear by Peter Swanson – “Following a brutal attack, Kate Priddy makes the uncharacteristically bold decision of moving from London to Boston – in an apartment swap with her cousin, Corbin Dell. But soon after her arrival Kate makes a shocking discovery: Corbin’s next-door neighbour, Audrey Marshall, may have been murdered. Far from home and emotionally unstable, her imagination playing out her every fear, who can Kate trust?”
 
The Killer Across the Table by John E. Douglas and Mark Olshaker – “In this riveting work of true crime, Douglas spotlights four very different criminals he’s confronted over the course of his career, and explains how they helped him to put together the puzzle of how psychopaths and predators think. Taking us inside the interrogation room and demonstrating the unique techniques he uses to understand the workings of the most terrifying and incomprehensible minds, The Killer Across the Table is an unputdownable journey into the darkest reaches of criminal profiling and behavioural science from a man who knows serial killers better than anyone else. As Douglas says: ‘If you want to understand the artist, look at his art.’ If you want to understand what makes a murderer, start here.”