[REVIEW] The First Wife – Erica Spindler

Erica Spindler
The First Wife
Macmillan St. Martin’s (US: 10th February 2015); Hachette Little, Brown Sphere (UK & AU: 10th February 2015)
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I’ve only managed to stay up-to-date with a few crime authors, and Erica Spindler is one of them. Her books are mostly standalones (though some have the odd recurring character), so readers can jump in any time, without having to catch up.

The First Wife is another gem. It may be marketed as mystery/suspense/thriller, but it feels Gothic: a fish out of water learns that her new husband and his family have a LOT of secrets. The author’s no stranger to Gothics (check out her novel Fortune), and she again does it well here.

However, usually the author’s heroines have more back-story, so except for the fact that Bailey’s only family member was her mother, she comes without baggage. And it’s in her grief-stricken and distraught state that she meets Logan Abbott, extends her holiday…and they marry not long after.

Logan’s ten years older, and he’s been married before. It definitely feels like he rushes Bailey into marriage, and with her mother dead she’s not really leaving anyone or anything behind when she moves interstate. So she’s rather alone when she first arrives at Abbott Farm, but makes friends with the staff easily.

Logan, meanwhile, is bloody annoying. He’s the king of emotional manipulation, shutting down and playing the victim when Bailey tries to get him to open up about his past – namely all the things she should’ve found out BEFORE they were married, but she’s vulnerable with grief when they first meet, and Logan pounces on that.

He knows when Bailey’s been using his laptop, so he takes it away from the house every day. Whenever Bailey asks questions, he’s all “now you’re against me, too,” when she wouldn’t even HAVE questions had Logan been more honest and upfront from the start. His reasons for keeping secrets are the usual bollocks of “I’m trying to protect you” and “I didn’t want to upset you.” WE ARE NOT AMUSED.

But it’s okay – we’re SUPPOSED to think Logan’s shifty; we’re meant to suspect him of serial killing. That’s the story’s premise: Did Logan kill his first wife, and what about these other missing women from the area?

As a result of traumatic brain injury (via a physical blow – or is it psychological?), Bailey has retrograde amnesia. The author deals with it well: Bailey has several headaches, particularly when she tries to remember, and her memory doesn’t return all at once – just little clues along the way.

But really the drawcard here is the messed-up family and their MANY secrets. Also, the side characters are great for some snide comments – Raine and August are particularly fabulous during the wonderful soap opera-style dinner.

Even though I peeked at the last page, there were still plenty of surprises in store. I’ve always enjoyed Erica Spindler’s thrillers, and she’s in even better form with this Gothic suspense. The First Wife is totally binge-read-worthy, and goes down a treat. Now eagerly waiting whatever the author has in store next.

March 2015 Releases

Done with February 2015 Releases? Here are March 2015 Releases. For future releases, check Reading Wishlist. (NOTE: If reading via a feed-reader, the formatting may be wrong. Click the blog post’s title to take you to my WordPress, where it should show up fine.)

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6 New Covers (Diaz, Ewing, Hart, Hastings, Priest, Reisz)

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[REVIEW] Captive – Aimée Carter

Aimée Carter
Captive (Blackcoat Rebellion, Book 2)
Harlequin Teen (US: 25th November 2014; AU: 1st December 2014; UK: January 2015)
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TRIGGER WARNING: Classism – it’s the world-building’s basis.

SPOILER WARNING: I’m not sure how to do spoiler-links in WordPress. I’ve put a warning directly above the spoilers, so proceed with caution, and don’t scroll too far – EVERYTHING below the warning is a spoiler.

I came to Pawn for the Masking, and stayed for Elsewhere. It was fine.

Captive starts off…well, boring, until Kitty goes to Elsewhere. Here’s where the story’s flashes of brilliance occur, namely the cage and the dollhouse. The latter is particularly fascinating, so the time spent in and about the dollhouse is far too short. Hopefully it makes an appearance in the upcoming third novel.

Then a particular character dies, and Kitty Doe does not deal with it in a healthy manner. Grief is devastating, and can affect people in a myriad of ways, so who’s to say what’s “right” and “wrong”? But I’m pretty sure that trying to bait people with firearms into killing you probably isn’t the best way to cope.

I sighed, and read on. But what happens next in the novel sent me into a rant.

SPOILER ALERT! PLEASE VACATE THIS PAGE IMMEDIATELY IF YOU DON’T WANT THE STORY SPOILED FOR YOU. EVERYTHING BELOW THIS WARNING IS A SPOILER.

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24th February 2015 Releases

Happy Release Day to:

Karen Bao
Dove Arising (Dove Chronicles, Book 1)
Penguin Viking (US & CA: 24th February 2015)
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Phaet Theta has lived her whole life in a colony on the Moon. She’s barely spoken since her father died in an accident nine years ago. She cultivates the plants in Greenhouse 22, lets her best friend talk for her, and stays off the government’s radar. Then her mother is arrested. The only way to save her younger siblings from the degrading Shelter is by enlisting in the Militia, the faceless army that polices the Lunar bases and protects them from attacks by desperate Earth-dwellers. Training is brutal, but it’s where Phaet forms an uneasy but meaningful alliance with the preternaturally accomplished Wes, a fellow outsider. Rank high, save her siblings, free her mom: that’s the plan. Until Phaet’s logically ordered world begins to crumble…

Jessica Brody
Unforgotten (Unremembered, Book 2)
Macmillan Square Fish (US: 24th February 2015)
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After a daring escape from the Diotech scientists who created her, Seraphina and Zen believe they are finally safe from the horrors of her past. But new threats await them at every turn as Zen falls prey to a mysterious illness and Sera’s extraordinary abilities make it more and more difficult to stay hidden. Meanwhile, Diotech has developed a dangerous new weapon designed to apprehend Sera – a weapon that even Sera will be powerless to stop. Her only hope of saving Zen’s life and defeating the company that made her is a secret buried deep within her mind, a secret that Diotech will kill to protect. And it won’t stay forgotten for long.

Jessica Brody
Unchanged (Unremembered, Book 3)
Macmillan (US: 24th February 2015)
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After returning to the Diotech compound and undergoing an experimental new memory alteration, Seraphina is now a loyal, obedient servant to Dr. Alixter and the powerful company that created her. Happy and in love with Kaelen, another scientifically-enhanced human designed to be her perfect match, Sera’s history with a boy named Zen is just a distant memory from a rebellious past she longs to forget. But as Sera and Kaelen embark on a nationwide tour to promote Diotech’s new product line – a collection of controversial genetic modifications available to the public – Sera’s mind starts to rebel. She can’t stop the memories of Zen from creeping back in. As more secrets are revealed, more enemies are uncovered, and the reality of a Diotech-controlled world grows closer every day, Sera will have to choose where her true loyalties lie, but it’s a choice that may cost her everything she’s ever loved.

Cecil Castellucci
Tin Star (Tin Star, Book 1)
Macmillan Square Fish (US: 24th February 2015)
Buy (US) Buy (UK) Buy (CA) Buy (Worldwide)

On their way to start a new life, Tula and her family travel on the Prairie Rose, a colony ship headed to a planet in the outer reaches of the galaxy. All is going well until the ship makes a stop at a remote space station, the Yertina Feray, and the colonist’s leader, Brother Blue, beats Tula within an inch of her life. An alien, Heckleck, saves her and teaches her the ways of life on the space station. When three humans crash land onto the station, Tula’s desire for escape becomes irresistible, and her desire for companionship becomes unavoidable. But just as Tula begins to concoct a plan to get off the space station and kill Brother Blue, everything goes awry, and suddenly romance is the farthest thing from her mind.

Cecil Castellucci
Stone in the Sky (Tin Star, Book 2)
Macmillan Roaring Brook (US: 24th February 2015)
Buy (US) Buy (UK) Buy (CA) Buy (Worldwide)

Years ago, Tula Bane was beaten and left for dead on a remote space station far from Earth, her home planet. She started with nothing and had no one, but over time, she found a home, a family, and even love. When it’s discovered that the abandoned planet beneath the station is abundant with a rare and valuable resource, aliens from across the galaxy race over to strike it rich. With them comes trouble, like the man who nearly killed Tula years ago – the man she has dreamed of destroying ever since.

Kylie Chan
Demon Child (Celestial Battle, Book 2)
HarperCollins Voyager (US & CA: 24th February 2015)
Buy (US) Buy (UK) Buy (CA) Buy (Worldwide)

War with Hell looms and the cruel demons could gain control of everything. Emma Donahoe has faced down threats to her loved ones and never given up the fight. But as the demons close in, she faces a new danger – John’s love for her could lead to her complete annihilation. As battles rage for control of Heaven and Earth, Emma must fight her own war to retain her identity as it disintegrates into the man she loves…

Claudia Gabel & Cheryl Klam
Elusion (Elusion, Book 1)
HarperCollins Katherine Tegen (US & CA: 24th February 2015)
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A new technology called Elusion is sweeping the country. An app, visor, and wristband will virtually transport you to an exotic destination where adventure can be pursued without the complications – or consequences – of real life. Regan is an Elusion insider. Or at least she used to be. Her father invented the program, and her best friend, Patrick, heir to the tech giant Orexis, is about to release it nationwide. But ever since her father’s unexpected death, Regan can’t bear to Escape, especially since waking up from the dream means crashing back to her grim reality. Still, when there are rumours of trouble in Elusion – accusations that it’s addictive and dangerous – Regan is determined to defend it. But the critics of Elusion come from surprising sources, including Josh, the handsome skeptic with his own personal stakes. As Regan investigates the claims, she discovers a disturbing web of secrets. She will soon have to choose between love and loyalty…a decision that will affect the lives of millions.

Megan Hart
Vanilla
Harlequin (US: 24th February 2015)
Buy (US) Buy (UK) Buy (CA) Buy (Worldwide)

Elise knows what she wants in the bedroom and she makes sure she gets it. Her thirst for domination has long been quenched by a stable of men only too happy to bow down before her. But sexual satisfaction isn’t the same as love, and she’s been burned in the past by giving her heart too freely. Niall is handsome, smart, successful and sweet – sweet as vanilla. When they meet, their romantic connection is electric, even though he’s way on the opposite end of the kink spectrum. Despite how she fights it, Elise falls for him – but how can a relationship work when both lovers want to be on top?

Kass Morgan
Day 21 (The 100, Book 2)
Hachette Little, Brown (US: 24th February 2015)
Buy (US) Buy (UK) Buy (CA) Buy (Worldwide)

It’s been 21 days since the hundred landed on Earth. They’re the only humans to set foot on the planet in centuries. Or so they thought. Facing an unknown enemy, Wells attempts to keep the group safe after a tragic attack. Clarke strikes out in search of other colonists, while Bellamy is determined to rescue his sister, no matter the cost. And back on the ship, Glass faces an unthinkable choice between the love of her life and life itself.

Kass Morgan
Homecoming (The 100, Book 3)
Hahcette (US, UK, & AU: 24th February 2015)
Buy (US) Buy (UK) Buy (CA) Buy (Worldwide)

Humanity is coming home. Weeks after landing on Earth, the Hundred have managed to create a sense of order amidst their wild, chaotic surroundings. But their delicate balance comes crashing down with the arrival of new dropships from space. These new arrivals are the lucky ones – back on the Colony, the oxygen is almost gone – but after making it safely to Earth, GLASS’s luck seems to be running out. CLARKE leads a rescue party to the crash site, ready to treat the wounded, but she can’t stop thinking about her parents who may still be alive. Meanwhile, WELLS struggles to maintain his authority despite the presence of the Vice Chancellor and his armed guards, and BELLAMY must decide whether to face or flee the crimes he thought he’d left behind. It’s time for the Hundred to come together and fight for the freedom they’ve found on Earth, or risk losing everything – and everyone – they love.

23rd February 2015 Releases

Happy Release Day to:

Rachel Vincent
Lion’s Share (Wildcats, Book 1)
Rachel Vincent (US: 23rd February 2015)
Buy (US) Buy (UK) Buy (CA)

Abby Wade has a dangerous secret. Two months ago, she disobeyed an order, but instead of kicking her out of the Pride, Jace offered her a job. Since then, she’s been battling a completely inappropriate crush on the young, hot Alpha. But when accepting his job offer seems like the only way to keep her skeletons safely in their closet, Abby doesn’t hesitate. Jace Hammond has a big problem. A rogue is slaughtering humans in his territory, and he must eliminate the threat before the entire shifter species is exposed. There could not be a worse time for Abby to accept a job he only offered as a boost to her confidence. Abby is smart, beautiful, and resilient – more than enough to distract any man from the mission. Unfortunately, she may just be the worst enforcer ever to hold the title. As they hunt the killer, Abby’s secret becomes a threat to Jace’s authority and to her own life. But the real danger is the grip she has on his twice-shy heart.

[GUEST BLOGGER] Cecil Castellucci on Telling the Tale in Other Ways – The Long and Short of It

This post is part of the official blog tour for Cecil Castellucci’s Stone in the Sky. Below, you’ll find the author’s links, information about her books, and a guest post about writing in the Tin Star universe.

Cecil Castellucci
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Cecil Castellucci
Tin Star (Tin Star, Book 1)
Macmillan Square Fish (US: 24th February 2015)
Buy (US Kindle Edition) Buy (US Hardcover) Buy (US Paperback) Buy (UK Hardcover) Buy (UK Paperback) Buy (CA Kindle Edition) Buy (CA Hardcover) Buy (CA Paperback) Buy (Worldwide Hardcover) Buy (Worldwide Paperback)

On their way to start a new life, Tula and her family travel on the Prairie Rose, a colony ship headed to a planet in the outer reaches of the galaxy. All is going well until the ship makes a stop at a remote space station, the Yertina Feray, and the colonist’s leader, Brother Blue, beats Tula within an inch of her life. An alien, Heckleck, saves her and teaches her the ways of life on the space station. When three humans crash land onto the station, Tula’s desire for escape becomes irresistible, and her desire for companionship becomes unavoidable. But just as Tula begins to concoct a plan to get off the space station and kill Brother Blue, everything goes awry, and suddenly romance is the farthest thing from her mind.

Cecil Castellucci
The Sound of Useless Wings (Tin Star, Prequel)
Macmillan Tor (US: 28th January 2015)
Buy (US) Buy (UK) Buy (CA)

Heckleck is raised to understand that breeding and propagating his own kind is the sole reason for living. When he is called upon to settle on a new planet, he meets the daughter of a politician, Goglu, with whom he falls helplessly in love, and is determined to win over. But nothing is easy in love and space exploration, and when his plans become thwarted, he must find a new way of life.

Cecil Castellucci
Stone in the Sky (Tin Star, Book 2)
Macmillan Roaring Brook (US: 24th February 2015)
Buy (US Kindle Edition) Buy (US Hardcover) Buy (UK) Buy (CA Kindle Edition) Buy (CA Hardcover) Buy (Worldwide)

Years ago, Tula Bane was beaten and left for dead on a remote space station far from Earth, her home planet. She started with nothing and had no one, but over time, she found a home, a family, and even love. When it’s discovered that the abandoned planet beneath the station is abundant with a rare and valuable resource, aliens from across the galaxy race over to strike it rich. With them comes trouble, like the man who nearly killed Tula years ago – the man she has dreamed of destroying ever since.

Cecil Castellucci
We Have Always Lived on Mars
Macmillan Tor (US: 30th April 2013)
Buy (US) Buy (UK) Buy (CA)

Nina, one of the few descendants of human colony on Mars that was abandoned by Earth, is surprised to discover that she can breathe the toxic atmosphere of the Martian surface. The crew, thinking that their attempts at terraforming and breeding for Martian adaptability have finally payed off, rejoice at the prospect of a brighter future. But Nina’s about to unlock the mystery of the disaster that stranded them on Mars…and nothing will ever be the same.

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