Today’s theme is (Some of) The Best of the Best! Be sure to check out the posts on Jojo Moyes & Louise Penny too!
Discovering Joshilyn Jackson was like walking through a gorgeous forest and feeling happy to be alive, and then getting further in and finding an even more beautiful meadow filled with wild flowers, and THEN following a babbling brook from the meadow and running into a secret waterfall that pours into a glorious pool of cool water, perfect for swim on a hot summer’s day.
In other words, the first book I read was wonderful, but they just kept getting better! (and still do.)
There’s something about the way Jackson looks at the world—and writes about it—that makes the reader feel deeply connected to her characters, who are smart, quirky, curious and quietly committed to honesty and self-awareness (though sometimes it takes a while to get there), determined to making their worlds better places, whether it’s small scale or more grand.
I feel like I’m being a little grandiose in describing her books and writing, but honestly, since reading the first title I found, I’ve been in awe at how well she tells a story, how she tells a story, and the stories she decides to tell!
Last year, with NEVER HAVE I EVER, Jackson took a new direction into domestic suspense, but like everything she writes, it was just a bit different, and distinctly terrific, with a bit more depth, a few more twisty twists and a plot that, even as it surprised us and kept us in suspense and bated breath, reminded us that love and family are the most important things for us to cling to.
If you haven’t yet read Joshilyn Jackson, you really should. Her writing and storytelling are among the best of the best, and she always leaves me with that perfect combination of joy at an amazing read, and the kernel of disappointment that I’ll never get to read that book again for the first time.
And really, isn’t that the best benchmark of a great book?
NEVER HAVE I EVER
From New York Times bestselling author Joshilyn Jackson, a twisting novel of domestic suspense in which a group of women play a harmless drinking game that escalates into a war of dark pasts.
In this game, even winning can be deadly…
Amy Whey is proud of her ordinary life and the simple pleasures that come with it—teaching diving lessons, baking cookies for new neighbors, helping her best friend, Charlotte, run their local book club. Her greatest joy is her family: her devoted professor husband, her spirited fifteen-year-old stepdaughter, her adorable infant son. And, of course, the steadfast and supportive Charlotte. But Amy’s sweet, uncomplicated life begins to unravel when the mysterious and alluring Angelica Roux arrives on her doorstep one book club night.
Sultry and magnetic, Roux beguiles the group with her feral charm. She keeps the wine flowing and lures them into a game of spilling secrets. Everyone thinks it’s naughty, harmless fun. Only Amy knows better. Something wicked has come her way—a she-devil in a pricey red sports car who seems to know the terrible truth about who she is and what she once did.
When they’re alone, Roux tells her that if she doesn’t give her what she asks for, what she deserves, she’s going to make Amy pay for her sins. One way or another.
To protect herself and her family and save the life she’s built, Amy must beat the devil at her own clever game, matching wits with Roux in an escalating war of hidden pasts and unearthed secrets. Amy knows the consequences if she can’t beat Roux. What terrifies her is everything she could lose if she wins.
A diabolically entertaining tale of betrayal, deception, temptation, and love filled with dark twists leavened by Joshilyn Jackson’s trademark humor, Never Have I Ever explores what happens when the transgressions of our past come back with a vengeance.
(This review is part of Read-A-Romance Month. Hope you’ll come back every day to check out my book recommendations. You can find the calendar here. Also check out The Romance of Reading, a Facebook “book club” where we’ll have great authors guest hosting every week.)
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