Category Archives: Simon & Schuster Inc

Review: Magpie by Elizabeth Day

Title: Magpie by Elizabeth Day
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Genre: Contemporary, Doestic Thriller
Length: 332 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through Edelweiss


She has almost everything. The rest she’ll take.

For fans of Gone Girl and The Perfect Nanny, a taut, psychological suspense novel about a perfect couple and their seemingly perfect roommate—that is until she threatens to destroy everything they’ve worked so hard to create.

Marisa and Jake are a perfect couple. And Kate, their new lodger, is the perfect roommate—and not just because her rent payments will give them the income they need to start trying for the baby of their dreams.

Except—no one is truly perfect. Sure, Kate doesn’t seem to care much about personal boundaries and can occasionally seem overly-familiar with Jake. But Marisa doesn’t let it concern her, knowing that soon Kate will be gone, and it will just be her, Jake, and their future baby.

Conceiving a baby is easier said than done, though, and Jake and Marisa’s perfect relationship is put to the test through months of fertility treatments and false starts. To make matters worse, Kate’s boundary-pushing turns into an all-out obsession—with Jake, with Marisa, and with their future child. Who is this woman? Why does she seem to know everything about Marisa and Jake?

In her quest to find out who Kate really is, Marisa might destroy everything she’s worked so hard to create—her perfect romance, her perfect family, and her perfect self.

Jake doesn’t know the half of what Marisa has created—and what she stands to lose.

For fans of Gone Girl and The Perfect Nanny, Magpie is a tense and twisting novel about mothers and children, envy and possession, and the dangers of getting everything you’ve ever dreamed of.


Magpie by Elizabeth Day is a wickedly clever domestic thriller.

Twenty-eight-year-old Marisa Grover has finally hit the jackpot with her in relationship with thirty-nine-year-old Jake Sturridge.  She quickly moves in with him following a whirlwind romance and soon falls pregnant. But when Jake announces their new lodger, Kate Stewart, is moving in, Marisa begins harbor suspicions about his fidelity. But are her instincts correct?

The storyline for this domestic thriller is incredibly well-written and full of unexpected twists. The first half of the story is narrated from Marisa’s viewpoint but then switches to Kate’s perspective.  It is absolutely fascinating and enlightening to see the differences in the women’s narration. Jake’s mother Annabelle is an interesting, albeit frustrating addition to the cast of characters.

Magpie is an extremely captivating domestic thriller that is fast-paced. Readers will appreciate Elizabeth Day’s breath-taking twists and turns. Highly recommend.

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Filed under Domestic Thriller, Elizabeth Day, Magpie, Rated B+, Review, Simon & Schuster Inc

Review: Watch Out for Her by Samantha M. Bailey

Title: Watch Out for Her by Samantha M. Bailey
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Genre: Contemporary, Psychological Thriller
Length: 330 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through Edelweiss


A tense psychological thriller about a mother who must keep watch at all times if she wants to keep her family safe—from USA TODAY and #1 national bestselling author Samantha M. Bailey.

Wherever you go…
she’ll be watching.

Sarah Goldman, mother to six-year-old Jacob, is relieved to move across the country. She has a lot she wants to leave behind, especially Holly Monroe, the pretty twenty-two-year-old babysitter she and her husband, Daniel, hired to take care of their young son last summer. It started out as a perfect arrangement—Sarah had a childminder her son adored, and Holly found the mother figure she’d always wanted. But Sarah’s never been one to trust very easily, so she kept a close eye on Holly, maybe too close at times. What she saw raised some questions, not only about who Holly really was but what she was hiding. The more Sarah watched, the more she learned—until one day, she saw something she couldn’t unsee, something so shocking that all she could do was flee.

Sarah has put it all behind her and is starting over in a different city with her husband and son. They’ve settled into a friendly suburb where the neighbors, a tight clique of good citizens, are always on the lookout for danger. But when Sarah finds hidden cameras in her new home, she has to wonder: has her past caught up to her, and worse yet, who’s watching her now?

A spine-tingling, page-turning novel from USA TODAY and #1 national bestselling author Samantha M. Bailey, Watch Out for Her is psychological suspense at its very best—a chilling look at trust, voyeurism, and obsession in the modern age, and how far we will go to watch out for those we love. (


Watch Out for Her by Samantha M. Bailey is a taut psychological thriller.

Sarah Goldman, husband Daniel and six-year-old son Jacob are starting over in Vancouver after a tense situation with their former nanny, twenty-two-year-old Holly Monroe.  Sarah is a photographer who decides to be a stay-at-home mom after giving birth to Jacob. Daniel works long hours and spends a lot of time with his golfing buddies from the exclusive country club. Sarah is somewhat high-strung and a worrier but she is ready to have a little time to herself. Daniel suggests hiring Holly to watch Jacob so Sarah can resume taking phots and run errands. Everything is working out well until Holly temporarily moves in with the family and everyone’s secrets are in danger of being revealed.

Sarah is in her early forties but she and Holly quickly become friends. She trusts their new babysitter and she works hard to not hover. But once Sarah becomes suspicious of her new nanny and when she makes a shocking discovery, she cannot get away from her fast enough. Now in a new city, Sarah is trying hard to put the past behind her, but strange occurrences make her fearful that Holly is somehow involved.

Holly is having a difficult time living up to her father’s expectations. Her relationship with her stepmother is strained but she is very close to her stepsister, Alexis. Holly goes to extreme lengths to help her father’s business but after a huge fight, she is forced to leave home. Luckily, Sarah lets her stay with them but once Holly finds out stunning information about Daniel, it is only a matter of time before everything falls apart.

Watch Out for is a suspenseful psychological thriller that is fast-paced. The storyline is quite riveting as the present unfold from Sarah’s perspective while Holly narrates past events. Sarah has a few secrets of her own that she would rather her husband not know about.  Holly is great with Jacob and she makes an instant connection with Sarah. But she turns out to be a little difficult to deal with once she moves in with them. Despite their new beginning, Sarah and Daniel’ past continues to haunts them.   With cunning twists and turns, Samantha M. Bailey brings this engrossing thriller to a dramatic conclusion.

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Filed under Contemporary, Psychological Thriller, Rated B+, Review, Samantha M Bailey, Simon & Schuster Inc, Watch Out for Her

Review: The School for Good Mothers by Jessamine Chan

Title: The School for Good Mothers by Jessamine Chan
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Genre: Dystopian, Fiction
Length: 335 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through Edelweiss


In this taut and explosive debut novel, one lapse in judgement lands a young mother in a government reform program where custody of her child hangs in the balance.

Frida Liu is struggling. She doesn’t have a career worthy of her Chinese immigrant parents’ sacrifices. She can’t persuade her husband, Gust, to give up his wellness-obsessed younger mistress. Only with Harriet, their cherubic daughter, does Frida finally attain the perfection expected of her. Harriet may be all she has, but she is just enough.

Until Frida has a very bad day.

The state has its eyes on mothers like Frida. The ones who check their phones, letting their children get injured on the playground; who let their children walk home alone. Because of one moment of poor judgment, a host of government officials will now determine if Frida is a candidate for a Big Brother-like institution that measures the success or failure of a mother’s devotion.

Faced with the possibility of losing Harriet, Frida must prove that a bad mother can be redeemed. That she can learn to be good.

A searing page-turner that is also a transgressive novel of ideas about the perils of “perfect” upper-middle class parenting; the violence enacted upon women by both the state and, at times, one another; the systems that separate families; and the boundlessness of love, The School for Good Mothers introduces, in Frida, an everywoman for the ages. Using dark wit to explore the pains and joys of the deepest ties that bind us, Chan has written a modern literary classic.


The School for Good Mothers by Jessamine Chan is a deeply unsettling dystopian novel that is completely enthralling.

Thirty-nine-year-old Frida Liu is divorced and overwhelmed with caring for her eighteen-month-old daughter Harriet. She is bitter about her ex-husband Gust and his girlfriend Susanna’s new relationship. Frida is also very resentful that Susanna is caring for Harriet and steamrolling over her with parenting decisions. Frida is fortunate to have a job that allows her to work from part of the week but she is exhausted as she tries to juggle working at home with Harriet by her side. After a sleepless night due to Harriet being ill, Frida makes a fateful decision that puts her parenting under intense scrutiny by social workers. Now trapped in an exacting bureaucracy that deems her an unfit parent, Frida is ordered to go to a year long school that will teach her how to be a  mother. If she and the other moms in the school fail, their parental rights will be forever terminated.

Frida is ill-prepared for motherhood but she loves Harriet. With her entire life upended by Gust’s infidelity and their subsequent divorce, she feels like a failure and struggles to fit into this new life. Frida is the only child of parents who immigrated from China and her relationship with her mother is fraught.  The weight of expectation weighs her down and Frida feels helpless as she tries to adjust to her new reality as a divorced mom.

Her thoughtless decision endangers Harriet and although remorseful, Frida is caught in a new system that judges mothers harshly for their “misdeeds”. The school for “bad” mothers is unrelenting and allows no room for error as she and the other mothers try to learn how to parent under the watchful eyes of those in charge. Infractions of arbitrary rules affect their chances of getting their children back. And the strict protocols and high parenting expectations seem almost impossible to reach. With the goalposts forever changing and the threat of losing their phone privileges, Frida and the other women fear their chances of regaining custody are constantly slipping away.

The School for Good Mothers is a captivating dystopian novel that is emotionally compelling. Despite her careless decision, Frida is a sympathetic woman who is determined to beat the difficult odds of regaining custody. Her time at the school is pure torture as is the lack of contact with Harriet. Her fear of her losing her parental rights is never far from her mind and she works tirelessly to prove herself a worthy mother. The end of the year at the school is both highly anticipated and greatly dreaded and after her release, she anxiously awaits the judge’s decision.  Jessamine Chan shines a harsh light on unrealistic societal expectations of mothers and how easy it is to falter under the close scrutiny of an often unforgiving system.

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Filed under Dystopian, Fiction, Jessamine Chan, Rated B+, Review, Simon & Schuster Inc, The School for Good Mothers

Review: Did I Say You Could Go by Melanie Gideon

Title: Did I Say You Could Go by Melanie Gideon
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Genre: Contemporary, Domestic Mystery, Suspense
Length: 368 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through Edelweiss


A suspenseful, gripping novel about families and friendships torn apart at the seams by obsession, secrets, and betrayal with relentless twists and turns that hurtle forward to a shocking confrontation.

When Ruth, a wealthy divorcé​e, offers to host the Hillside Academy kindergarten meet-and-greet, she hopes this will be a fresh start for her and her introverted daughter, Marley. Finally, they’ll be accepted into a tribe. Marley will make friends and Ruth will be welcomed by the mothers. Instead, the parents are turned off by Ruth’s ostentatious wealth and before kindergarten even begins, Ruth and Marley are outcasts.

The last guest to arrive at the meet-and-greet is Gemma, a widow and a single mother to her daughter, Bee. Ruth sets her sights on the mother-daughter duo, and soon the two families are inseparable. Ruth takes Gemma and Bee on Aspen vacations, offers VIP passes to Cirque du Soleil, and pays for dinners at Michelin-starred restaurants. For Gemma, who lives paycheck to paycheck, Ruth’s largesse is seductive, but as the years go by, she can’t shake the feeling that she’s accruing an increasingly unpayable debt. When Ruth’s affair with a married Hillside dad is exposed, and she’s publicly shunned, Gemma uses it to sever ties with Ruth.

Six years later, when Gemma finds herself embroiled in a scandal of her own—Ruth comes to her defense. Their renewed friendship rehabilitates their reputations, but once again, Gemma starts to feel trapped as Ruth grows more and more obsessed with their relationship.

A relentless page-turner, Did I Say You Could Go is the story of friendships steeped in lies and duplicity. It’s about two families who, when pushed to extremes, cross the line with devastating results.


Did I Say You Could Go by Melanie Gideon is an attention grabbing domestic mystery.

Ruth Thorne is a divorced, wealthy mom to fifteen-year-old Marley. She is disciplined about her appearance and she browbeats poor Marley who struggles with her weight. Ruth is clingy and needy so she does whatever it takes to keep her stranglehold on her friendship with widow Gemma Howard. But how far will she go to make sure Gemma will not abandon her again?

Gemma is in danger of losing her business after a very public scandal. So she a gratefully renews her relationship with Ruth after her former friend publicly comes to her defense.  Gemma is a hands-off mom who trusts Bee to make the right choices. Will this parenting style blow up in her face as Bee makes once bad decision after another?

Marley is extremely introverted and after their mom’s friendship imploded so did hers and Bee’s. She tentatively accepts Bee’s attempts to bring her into her circle of friends, but Marley is initially cautious. Things are going well between the teenagers, but will Ruth’s tight grip on her daughter ruin Marley’s opportunity for acceptance?

It does not take long for Gemma to remember why she gladly took the chance to end her friendship with Ruth. She is naïve and trusting and quickly feels beholden to Ruth. With her life finally back on track, how will Ruth react to Gemma’s promising new relationship?

Did I Say You Could Go is an engrossing mystery with a twisty-turny storyline. Ruth is obsessive, calculating and outright cruel so she is virtually impossible to like. Gemma is an appealing character whose precarious financial situation leaves her vulnerable to manipulation.  Resuming their friendship is an easy decision but trouble is on the horizon for both the mothers and their daughters. With stunning plot twists,  Melanie Gideon brings this mesmerizing domestic mystery to a jaw-dropping, unpredictable conclusion.

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Filed under Contemporary, Did I Say You Could Go, Domestic Mystery, Melanie Gideon, Mystery, Rated B+, Review, Simon & Schuster Inc, Suspense

Review: Such a Quiet Place by Megan Miranda

Title: Such a Quiet Place by Megan Miranda
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Genre: Contemporary, Domestic Mystery, Suspense
Length: 352 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through Edelweiss


From the New York Times bestselling author of The Last House Guest—a Reese Witherspoon Book Club selection—comes a new riveting suspense novel about a mysterious murder in an idyllic and close-knit neighborhood.

Welcome to Hollow’s Edge, where you can find secrets, scandal, and a suspected killer—all on one street.

Hollow’s Edge used to be a quiet place. A private and idyllic neighborhood where neighbors dropped in on neighbors, celebrated graduation and holiday parties together, and looked out for one another. But then came the murder of Brandon and Fiona Truett. A year and a half later, Hollow’s Edge is simmering. The residents are trapped, unable to sell their homes, confronted daily by the empty Truett house, and suffocated by their trial testimonies that implicated one of their own. Ruby Fletcher. And now, Ruby’s back.

With her conviction overturned, Ruby waltzes right back to Hollow’s Edge, and into the home she once shared with Harper Nash. Harper, five years older, has always treated Ruby like a wayward younger sister. But now she’s terrified. What possible good could come of Ruby returning to the scene of the crime? And how can she possibly turn her away, when she knows Ruby has nowhere to go?

Within days, suspicion spreads like a virus across Hollow’s Edge. It’s increasingly clear that not everyone told the truth about the night of the Truetts’ murders. And when Harper begins receiving threatening notes, she realizes she has to uncover the truth before someone else becomes the killer’s next victim.

Pulsating with suspense and with the shocking twists that are Megan Miranda’s trademark, Such a Quiet Place is Megan Miranda’s best novel yet—a twisty locked-box thriller that will keep you turning pages late into the night


Such a Quiet Place by Megan Miranda is a chilling domestic mystery.

Hollow’s Edge is a tranquil enclave whose residents are rocked by a shocking murder. In the months since Ruby Fletcher was convicted of murdering Brandon and Fiona Truett, the once close neighbors now keep to themselves. When Ruby’s conviction is overturned and moves back in with her former roommate Harper Nash, most everyone is in agreement that she has to leave. Harper halfheartedly tries to convince Ruby that she needs to go elsewhere but she does not protest much when Ruby shows no signs of going anywhere. Originally unable to believe Ruby could have murdered the Truett’s, she keeps a close watch on her unwelcome houseguest’s activities. No one hides their disdain toward Ruby and Harper is unnerved when she begins to doubt everyone around her. And Harper is even more unsettled as she starts to wonder exactly what Ruby is planning to do next…

Harper is a bit of a pushover who wants to believe the best in everyone. She did not exactly invite Ruby to live with her to begin with, but she did little to dissuade her after the fact. Harper’s once close relationships with her neighbors were already becoming more distant at the time of the Truett’s deaths. And after the trial, friendships fracture within the tight-knit community. But Harper’s friendships suffered the most since she allowed Ruby into their midst.

Ruby seems to revel in making everyone uneasy. She does not maintain a low profile and she delights in making Harper and her old neighbors uncomfortable. Ruby maintains she is only back in Hollow’s Edge because she has no other place to go. But is there more to her reappearance than meets the eye?

Narrated from Harper’s point of view, Such a Quiet Place is an enthralling domestic mystery. The storyline is well-plotted and moves at a steady pace.  The bucolic neighborhood is atmospheric with plenty of tension between the various households. Harper is a multi-dimensional character whose naivete is both endearing and frustrating. Ruby is an intriguing character with an unknown agenda. The secondary cast of characters is interesting but is there more to them than meets the eye? With unexpected twists and thrilling turns, Megan Miranda brings this suspenseful domestic mystery to a shocking conclusion.

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Filed under Contemporary, Domestic Mystery, Megan Miranda, Mystery, Rated B+, Review, Simon & Schuster Inc, Such a Quiet Place, Suspense

Review: Revival Season by Monica West

Title: Revival Season by Monica West
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Genre: Contemporary, Coming of Age, Fiction
Length: 304 pages
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through Edelweiss


The daughter of one of the South’s most famous Baptist preachers discovers a shocking secret about her father that puts her at odds with both her faith and her family in this “tender and wise” (Ann Patchett, author of Commonwealth) debut novel.

Every summer, fifteen-year-old Miriam Horton and her family pack themselves tight in their old minivan and travel through small southern towns for revival season: the time when Miriam’s father—one of the South’s most famous preachers—holds massive healing services for people desperate to be cured of ailments and disease. This summer, the revival season doesn’t go as planned, and after one service in which Reverend Horton’s healing powers are tested like never before, Miriam witnesses a shocking act of violence that shakes her belief in her father—and in her faith.

When the Hortons return home, Miriam’s confusion only grows as she discovers she might have the power to heal—even though her father and the church have always made it clear that such power is denied to women. Over the course of the next year, Miriam must decide between her faith, her family, and her newfound power that might be able to save others, but, if discovered by her father, could destroy Miriam.

Celebrating both feminism and faith, Revival Season is a story of spiritual awakening and disillusionment in a Southern, black, Evangelical community. Monica West’s transporting coming-of-age novel explores complicated family and what it means to live among the community of the faithful.


Revival Season by Monica West is an engrossing coming of age novel that is written from the perspective of the fifteen-year-old daughter of a Black evangelical, faith-healing preacher.

Miriam Horton is very devout, obeys her parents and completely idolizes her father, Samuel. Their family is well-respected and they are all very involved in her father’s church. Every summer, Miriam, her brother Caleb and their younger sister Hannah join their parents on their yearly revival tour. This summer’s revival is off to a strong start but that changes after Hannah witnesses a violent altercation between her dad and a man who casts doubts on her father’s faith healing ability. They continue on the tour but attendance continues to plummet as word of her father’s violence spreads.

Once they return home, Miriam is surprised no one seems to know what happened and Samuel carries on like nothing is wrong. As for Miriam, her viewpoint of her father is forever altered and she begins to question much of what his teachings. She has come to doubt his faith healing ability and this opinion is confirmed when she accidentally heals her best friend, Micah. As word spreads of her newfound skill, Miriam is desperate to keep her father from finding out. As Samuel becomes more volatile both at church and home, Miriam grows increasingly frightened for her family’s safety.

Miriam’s entire perspective about her father, her parents’ marriage and her faith change dramatically after she witnesses her father’s violent temper. She does not know if she can trust him and she is dismayed by her mother’s complete acquiescence to her husband. Once Miriam realizes she has the gift of healing, she knows how dangerous it is for Samuel to know. But as their family circumstances alter, Miriam contemplates the unthinkable as she grows more and more angry at her father.

Revival Season is a well-written novel with a fascinating storyline. Miriam is a multi-dimensional character whose faith in her father is destroyed which leaves her questioning her life. Her mom is mostly subservient but she does show a different side of herself to her daughter on occasion. Samuel cannot accept blame for his mistakes and he makes no effort to hide his anger at home.  The novel moves at a brisk pace and Monica West brings this thought-provoking novel to an abrupt conclusion.

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Filed under Coming of Age, Contemporary, Fiction, Monica West, Rated B, Rated B+, Review, Revival Season, Simon & Schuster Inc