The best books to read when you don’t want to guess what’s going on

Who am I?

I’ve always loved books about the bad choices good people make, or the good choices bad people make. I like twists and turns and ugly crying and serious “wtf” moments. Books that are like punches to the gut make me swoon. Dig up the dirt. Find the worms. Gnash your teeth, rend your garments, regret your choices and find new ways to love. Those are my favorite stories to read, but also to write. I write romance (Megan Hart), thrillers (Mina Hardy), and horror (Megan E. Hart), but to me, those different genres are all similar. Lots of screaming!

I wrote...

After All I've Done

By Mina Hardy,

Book cover of After All I've Done

What is my book about?

She's lost her best friend, her husband--and possibly, her mind. An accident left Diana Sparrow badly injured and missing a few months of her memory. She's started having recurring nightmares about the night of the accident. Maybe she hit something. Or someone.

Her former best friend Val has been sleeping with Diana's husband, but she might find some comfort in Cole Pelham. The closer they become, the more Diana begins to wonder what really happened that night – and how Cole might be connected. Worse, it seems everyone else could be involved, too. As her life unravels thread by thread and the dreams become too real to ignore, Diana will have to face the unthinkable – and do the unforgivable.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Then She Was Gone

Megan Hart Why did I love this book?

I picked up Then She Was Gone at a thrift store, thinking it would be a quick, fun read while I was at the beach. Quick read, yes. Fun…? Not so much. Then She Was Gone had me flipping the pages faster than a snake can hiss. As the story unraveled, I found myself muttering “oh no, no…no way” more than once. The story was both heart-wrenching and disturbing, and it lingered with me long after I’d closed the book. It touches on love, marriage, motherhood, loss, grief, and shattered hopes. It’s not a feel-good book, but it’s a really good read. I love stories that drag me over the rough road but also hit me in the heart, and Then She Was Gone delivers.

By Lisa Jewell,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Then She Was Gone as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


From the New York Times bestselling author of Invisible Girl and The Truth About Melody Browne comes a “riveting” (PopSugar) and “acutely observed family drama” (People) that delves into the lingering aftermath of a young girl’s disappearance.

Ellie Mack was the perfect daughter. She was fifteen, the youngest of three. Beloved by her parents, friends, and teachers, and half of a teenaged golden couple. Ellie was days away from an idyllic post-exams summer vacation, with her whole life ahead of her.

And then she was gone.

Now, her mother Laurel Mack is trying to put…

Book cover of Half Past

Megan Hart Why did I love this book?

Strong women don’t get that way because their lives have been easy, and I’m a sucker for stories about women facing the worst and getting through it. It doesn’t even have to be with grace and dignity! Half Past has a shattering premise – the utter rejection of a mother to her daughter. The book is a family mystery heavy with heartache, and I devoured it. While there’s grief and angst, the book also describes the journey of a woman who thinks she’s faced her lowest point – and how she manages to rise above it all. The book also had a really clever use of actual, simple science that I appreciated because it was so real and yet led to a horrifying reveal!

By Victoria Helen Stone,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Half Past as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

At forty-five, Hannah Smith is at a crossroads. That's her spin on it. The reality is she's divorced, jobless, and moving back to her family home in Iowa to keep an eye on her mother, who's slipping into dementia. Her return stirs up the same unnerving sense of disconnect Hannah has felt since childhood-always the odd girl out, the loner outshone by her two older sisters. Hannah knew the feelings of hurt would come back. But she never expected fear. Because when her mother looks into her eyes and whispers, "You're not my daughter," Hannah is beginning to believe it's…

Book cover of The Replacement Wife

Megan Hart Why did I love this book?

After reading Darby Kane’s Pretty Little Wife, I knew I had to pick up The Replacement Wife, and boy, am I glad I did. The main character in this book is also a mom and wife, but unlike a lot of other domestic thrillers, Elisa Wright is happy with her life. The problem isn’t her suspiciously-acting husband, but her brother-in-law, who was going to marry her good friend…until that friend went missing. The dips and swerves in this book had me convinced I knew what was going to come next, but I did not! I’ll admit, I do love an unreliable narrator, but you’ve got to find a way to make me believe and relate, and Kane turned that trope upside down and spun it around. 

By Darby Kane,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Replacement Wife as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The #1 International bestselling author of Pretty Little Wife returns with another thrilling domestic suspense novel that asks, how many wives and girlfriends need to disappear before your family notices?

Elisa Wright is a mom and wife, living a nice, quiet life in a nice, quiet town. She's also convinced her brother-in-law is a murderer. Josh has one dead wife and one missing fiancee, and though he grieved for them he starts dating someone new. Elisa fears for that woman's safety, and she desperately wants to know what happened to her friend, Josh's missing fiancee.

Searching for clues means investigating…

Book cover of Everything We Didn't Say

Megan Hart Why did I love this book?

I’m going to say everything about Everything We Didn’t Say. This family drama is full of mystery, but also love, heartbreak, surprise, distrust, fear, and redemption. One thing I loved about it was the relationship between the main character, Juniper, and the daughter she chose not to raise. Instead of a “will they won’t they” romance, this book has a similar vibe but with the relationship between a mother and daughter. Hearts are hard to heal, you know? Add to it the truth about who murdered the neighbor couple way back when, some sibling love (I do love a good sibling relationship, especially one that’s complicated) and a bittersweet romance in the past that tangles everything into a huge knot. This book gave me all the feels!

By Nicole Baart,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Everything We Didn't Say as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the author of Little Broken Things, a "race-to-the-finish family drama" (People) following a mother who must confront the dark summer that changed her life forever in order to reclaim the daughter she left behind.

Juniper Baker had just graduated from high school and was deep in the throes of a summer romance when Cal and Beth Murphy, a childless couple who lived on a neighboring farm, were brutally murdered. When her younger brother became the prime suspect, June's world collapsed and everything she loved that summer fell away. She left, promising never to return to tiny Jericho, Iowa.


Book cover of The Chain

Megan Hart Why did I love this book?

Strap yourself in. Ask yourself, what would I do, if this happened to me? Look, if I was tossed into the middle of the zombpocalypse, I already know I’d die off right away, because I can’t run fast. I like to kid myself that if I suddenly became the main character in a thriller, I’d figure out all the tricks and make it to the end, but the truth is, I’m not sure I’d have the guts to do even a single thing the mom in The Chain has to do. This book had me tapping my tablet so fast I got a blister on my finger. That’s how crazy the ride was. Not only that, every time I thought it had been resolved, something even wilder happened. A roller coaster of a book.

By Adrian McKinty,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Chain as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When a mother is targeted by a dangerous group of masterminds, she must commit a crime to save her kidnapped daughter—or risk losing her forever—in this "propulsive and original" award-winning thriller (Stephen King).

It's something parents do every morning: Rachel Klein drops her daughter at the bus stop and heads into her day. But a cell phone call from an unknown number changes everything: it's a woman on the line, informing her that she has Kylie bound and gagged in her back seat, and the only way Rachel will see her again is to follow her instructions exactly: pay a…

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The Secret Order of the Scepter & Gavel

By Nicholas Ponticello,

Book cover of The Secret Order of the Scepter & Gavel

Nicholas Ponticello Author Of The Secret Order of the Scepter & Gavel

New book alert!

Who am I?

Author Writer Teacher Reader Lego builder Musical connoisseur

Nicholas' 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

Vanderough University prepares its graduates for life on Mars. Herbert Hoover Palminteri enrolls at VU with the hope of joining the Martian colony in 2044 as a member of its esteemed engineer corps. But then Herbert is tapped to join a notorious secret society: the Order of the Scepter and Gavel. As a new pledge, Herbert has to prove himself in a series of dangerous initiation rites, even if it means risking his life and the lives of his friends.

Many years later, when Herbert thinks the scandals of his youth are finally dead and buried, a murder occurs in the Martian colony, and Herbert starts to suspect it is linked to the secret Order of the Scepter and Gavel of his past.

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