The Marriage Pact - by Michelle Richmond

Alice and Jake are newlyweds and one of their wedding gifts is an invitation to join an exclusive club of married couples. The goal of the club is to help couples make their marriage last and not be another divorce statistic. Newly married and insecure they decide to join. It seems like it could be fun. The rules for a happy marriage seemed innocuous: surprise your spouse with a gift each month, answer the phone when your spouse calls, take quarterly trips. “Noooooooo” That’s what I wanted to scream at them. You just know this can’t be good. From that moment on, I was glued to the pages and cringing every step of the way. The ending wasn’t what I had expected and I thought Richmond kept the characters true to themselves. 

From the books blurb:

In this relentlessly paced novel of psychological suspense, New York Times bestselling author Michelle Richmond crafts an intense and shocking tale that asks: How far would you go to protect your marriage?

Newlyweds Alice and Jake are a picture-perfect couple. Alice, once a singer in a well-known rock band, is now a successful lawyer. Jake is a partner in an up-and-coming psychology practice. Their life together holds endless possibilities. After receiving an enticing wedding gift from one of Alice's prominent clients, they decide to join an exclusive and mysterious group known only as The Pact.

The goal of The Pact seems simple: to keep marriages happy and intact. And most of its rules make sense. Always answer the phone when your spouse calls. Exchange thoughtful gifts monthly. Plan a trip together once per quarter.
 . . . Never mention The Pact to anyone.

Alice and Jake are initially seduced by the glamorous parties, the sense of community, their widening social circle of like-minded couples. And then one of them breaks the rules. The young lovers are about to discover that for adherents to The Pact, membership, like marriage, is for life. And The Pact will go to any lengths to enforce that rule. For Jake and Alice, the marriage of their dreams is about to become their worst nightmare. 

I received a copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.


Two Nights - by Kathy Reichs

I have never read any of the Temperance Brennan books by Kathy Reichs before so I can’t compare this to her other books. I have a feeling though that Two Nights is a completely different departure for Reichs. Thrillers are also not my usual go to books either but sometimes I like to read something different. For fans of the thriller genre this has the usual requirements: former loner cop with a past and a tough exterior, action, a sidekick, guns, and bad guys. I liked Sunnie and thought she had a hard edge but also a soft side. The books was fast paced and engaging. Reichs does a good job throughout the book explaining Sunnie’s traumatic childhood. Overall, I thought this was a pretty good thriller and fans of thrillers in general will enjoy this book as well.

From the books blurb:

#1 New York Times bestselling author Kathy Reichs steps beyond her classic Temperance Brennan series in a new standalone thriller featuring a smart, tough, talented heroine whose thirst for justice stems from her own dark past.
Meet Sunday Night, a woman with physical and psychological scars, and a killer instinct. . . .

Sunnie has spent years running from her past, burying secrets and building a life in which she needs no one and feels nothing. But a girl has gone missing, lost in the chaos of a bomb explosion, and the family needs Sunnie's help.

Is the girl dead? Did someone take her? If she is out there, why doesn't she want to be found? It's time for Sunnie to face her own demons because they just might lead her to the truth about what really happened all those years ago.

I received an advance copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.


Meddling Kids - by Edgar Cantero

One of my pet peeves is when the books blurb compares the book to other books that people really like and are popular. Once you see that comparison, it is stuck in your mind the whole time you are reading the book. That is what this book does. Although, I have never read John Dies at the End or Welcome to Night Vale, a lot of my fellow GoodReads friends have and most of them enjoyed these books. So maybe that has set my expectations a little high. The premise of the book looked interesting: childhood friends solve local mysteries not unlike Scooby Doo and come together as dysfunctional adults to go back and solve a mystery from their childhood. The blurb says “With raucous humor and brilliantly orchestrated mayhem” but I think the humor was lost on me. The orchestrated mayhem wasn’t much different than any other book of this type. I did more ‘eye rolling’ than anything. I was a little disappointed. I wasn’t sure if the author was going for meta or campy. Whatever Cantero was going for, didn’t work for me. Overall, despite the attempt at humor, the mystery itself wasn't too bad.

From the books blurb:

For fans of John Dies at the End and Welcome to Night Vale comes a tour de force of horror, humor, and H.P. Lovecraft. The surviving members of a forgotten teenage detective club (and their dog) must reunite as broken adults to finally solve the terrifying case that ruined them all…and sent the wrong man to prison. Scooby Doo and the gang never had to do this!

1990. The teen detectives once known as the Blyton Summer Detective Club (of Blyton Hills, a small mining town in the Zoinx River Valley in Oregon) are all grown up and haven’t seen each other since their fateful, final case in 1977. Andy, the tomboy, is twenty-five and on the run, wanted in at least two states. Keri, one-time kid genius and budding biologist, is bartending in New York, working on a serious drinking problem. At least she’s got Sean, an excitable Weimeraner descended from the original canine member of the team. Nate, the horror nerd, has spent the last thirteen years in and out of mental health institutions, and currently resides in an asylum in Arhkam, Massachusetts. The only friend he still sees is Peter, the handsome jock turned movie star. The problem is, Peter’s been dead for years.

The time has come to uncover the source of their nightmares and return to where it all began in 1977. This time, it better not be a man in a mask. The real monsters are waiting.

With raucous humor and brilliantly orchestrated mayhem,
Edgar Cantero’s Meddling Kids taps into our shared nostalgia for the books and cartoons we grew up with, and delivers an exuberant, eclectic, and highly entertaining celebration of horror, life, friendship, and many-tentacled, interdimensional demon spawn. 

I received a copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.