Winter Weather & An Unwanted Guest


As the winter temperatures finally descend on us this weekend, if you are looking for something to do…and you are tired of watching television, check out An Unwanted Guest by Shari Lapena.

This novel is the perfect balance between suspense and fun. Set in a picturesque mountain boutique hotel…all seems well until a winter storm traps all of the guests inside and cuts them off from the outside world. Under normal circumstances, this might not be such a bad thing. Surrounded by cozy fireplaces with good food, a stocked wine cellar, no telephone or internet connection, and seemingly good company, the guests decide to make the best of it. All is perfectly fine, until the next morning when one of the guests is found dead at the bottom of the stairs…and then another…and another.

As you fly through the pages, you will feel like you are playing a game of Clue…guessing who the murderer is…only to be surprised when said “murderer” ends up dead. This novel is fast-paced, exciting, and the characters are complex. Each individual is not what they seem, although it does seem as if everyone has a secret to protect.

And I won’t spoil the ending, but as she always does, Shari Lapena achieves perfectly what I call the “double twist” finale!

So who did it…the housewife, the heir to a fortune, the lawyer, the war correspondent, the inn keeper, the adulterer husband, the troubled son, the girl next door, or the writer? Guess you will have to crack open the spine (and maybe a good bottle of wine)…settle in, and find out for yourself!

Happy Friday and Happy Reading!

My Best, and As Always…


B.A. Paris’s Novel Trifecta

If you are looking for a fast-paced set of books to read (I read each in about two nights), by an incredibly talented author, B.A. Paris’s Behind Closed DoorsThe Breakdown, and Bring Me Back are the books you have been looking for!

A good friend told me about B.A. Paris’s first novel Behind Closed Doors, and after reading the first few chapters, I was hooked not only by the story, but by B.A. Paris’s writing style. Each novel is unique in story line, but all are equally thrilling and surprising. B.A. Paris flawlessly combines character development while maintaining a mysteriously thrilling ride along the way.

Number One: Behind Closed Doors is about a couple who seem to be perfect in every way. Grace is the beautifully flawless house wife. Jack is the successful intelligent attorney. They live in their perfect house, on the perfect street, with their perfect friends…but life is anything but perfect. The reality is dark and sinister. This one keeps you guessing at every turn, and when you finally figure out what the main character is forced to do…you find yourself rallying behind her, and asking yourself…”Will she be able to pull it off?

Number Two: The Breakdown is about a woman, Cass, who drives past a stranger sitting in their car on a dark and stormy night. Although she contemplates stopping to see if the driver is okay, she decides against it, only to find out the next day that the woman parked on the deserted road was brutally murdered that night.

As she holds the secret of that night close to her heart, not even telling her husband, she begins to mentally unravel. She starts to forget conversations, where she left her car, her daily routine, and other day to day actions and events. She concludes that the trauma and feeling of responsibility for the murdered woman has triggered something inside her mind, and her greatest fear has become a reality. She is falling prisoner to the illness that killed her mother…Dementia. OR IS SHE?

The twist and turns of this plot and the second guessing B.A. Paris demands of the reader make this novel unlike any other I have ever read. The truth and betrayal is unfathomable…and once again, you find yourself standing behind the main character as they rally to get their life back and achieve sweet revenge.

Behind Closed Doors and The Breakdown are the perfect depiction of good versus evil. But in the end…will “the good” triumph?

Number 3: Bring Me Back is a psychological roller coaster. This one is about a man, Finn, whose girlfriend, Layla, disappears at a rest stop never to be heard from again. Ten years later, Finn is engaged to Layla’s sister Ellen…and just when they are about to put Layla’s disappearance behind them, the past comes back to haunt them in a life altering way.

The characters are complex and multi-faceted. While reading this novel you are not only trying to figure out where the plot will take you…you also find yourself wondering what in the world is going on inside the minds of these characters! They say one thing, but do another…nothing is as it seems, but everything seems obvious.

Unlike B.A. Paris’s first two novels, Bring Me Back, was confusing in the sweetest way…I had no idea who was “the good!” Every time I thought I knew whose side I was on, the plot would change, and become more complicated…and it would leave me second guessing who the characters were, what were their intentions, and who was truly the victim.

If you are looking for some great fall books to “fall” into, these novels will not disappoint. So get your hot apple cider, put on your comfiest sweatshirt, and wrap up in your coziest blanket. Then buckle up as B.A. Paris takes you on a literary thrill ride!


If You Don’t Know, NOW YOU KNOW…

Ladies, Mommas, Wives, Entrepreneurs…and again for good measure…ALL LADIES (although men could learn a thing or two from this woman)…this one is ALL the feels, ALL the shine, ALL the laughs, ALL the real, and ALL the happy!Girl Wash Your Face

I first heard about Girl, Wash Your Face, because I queried the agency for my novel that represents this amazing book! And it wasn’t shortly after, that ALL the ladies in my life were talking about the book and this incredible force for women…Rachel Hollis!

I got the book, and instantly fell in love with Rachel Hollis’s outlook on life and her honesty! I must say this again…her HONESTY is what makes this book so different from anything I have ever read. I found myself saying…”YES! YES! YES!” as I was flying through the pages, because for once someone was writing about all the things I have always wanted to say out loud! She is real, her words are true, and…to put it plainly…what she writes makes perfect sense!

Girl, Wash Your Face is a must have book…this is one that will stay on your coffee table when you are finished, and Rachel Hollis is a must have unofficial life coach…that straddles the line between therapist and a hilarious friend that is quirky and lovable!

You can get this book pretty much anywhere…I urge you to take the time for yourself to read it…it will make you think, it will make you yell out loud “That’s right! I hear you girl!,” and most importantly, you will learn some things about your self. And we could all use a little self-education, am I right?! So if you have had “a day” and you need some literary rejuvenation…wash your face, get into your jammies, and curl up with this gem of wisdom…you won’t be disappointed!

Wherever you are in the world today, have a terrific Tuesday Leisurelings!

xoxo~ Tara Rae


The Couple Next Door

Once their sweet baby girl is asleep, a young couple go to their next door neighbor’s house for a dinner party. They take their baby monitor and check on the sleeping baby every 30 minutes. When the party ends, the young couple walks through the gate theyThe Couple Next Door share with their neighbors and return to their home…when they go upstairs to check on their sleeping baby…a parents’ worst fear is confirmed…their precious baby girl has been kidnapped.

A good friend told me about this book, and then I began to see it EVERYWHERE…Shari Lapena’s The Couple Next Door is all over top book lists, top summer reads, books you have to read, the New York Times bestseller list, etc. So naturally, I had to see what this one was all about!

With Brian gone on business, I had the perfect opportunity to fully engulf myself in a good book! I tucked my little guys in bed, curled up with a blanket, and finished the book in two nights. It’s not only a page turner, but it’s a short read…so from the moment you crack the cover, you won’t need to worry about never having time to finish it.

And let’s be honest…how many of us have taken the baby monitor outside while our precious babes have slept inside the house? Maybe we talked to our neighbors, maybe we relaxed on the back deck, maybe we sat in the driveway, or maybe we just lounged on the front porch…the couple in the book were only steps away from their back door when their baby was stolen…so from the get go, this story is eerily relatable and captivating.

As you read the pages, your mind becomes the stage for an array of various plots and scenarios. As the book begins to unfold and the truth is revealed…there is no other word for the conclusion…it is disturbing!

Another HUGE plus about this story is that it’s not specifically aimed at women…men would also enjoy this read. What happened that night and the aftermath that follows is told from the wife’s, husband’s, and detective’s perspective, so it has something of interest for any reader who likes suspense and crime thriller novels.

SO, if you have been craving a night in with a great book…put the babies to bed, lock your doors, grab a glass of whatever, and get ready for an intense literary ride! I don’t think you’ll be disappointed!

Have a terrific Thursday Leisurelings!

xoxo~ Tara Rae


Lululemons & A Bubble Bath

What’s better than a hot bubble bath, a good book, and complete and utter silence…to me, not much! And ladies, I have got a great one for you!

When Life Gives You LuluLemons by Lauren Weisberger (also the author of The Devil Wears Prada) is absolutely HILARIOUS! This book was a feel-good fast read that kept me booknodding my head, because she so vividly describes the type of women that every one of us have encountered…you know, the kind that make you feel like you are #notwinning at life while sporting their $100 Lululemon leggings.

You find yourself rooting for the three characters depicted in the book even though one of them is, quite frankly, not very nice. But you grant her forgiveness, because this chick gets things done! In the end, the adversities and hysterically funny moments, bind this group of women together as they overcome the obstacles thrown at them and get their sweet revenge (that’s not a spoiler by the way). Think of this book as a MUCH lighter, but sort of similar, of Big Little Lies.

This book leaves you feeling happy, and leaves your face a little sore from all the smiling and literal LOL moments! Check it out!

xoxo~ Tara Rae