1. Five Total Strangers – I read a bunch of really great thrillers last month but the thrillers for this month were not that great. Mira is trying to get home for holidays but a winter storm leaves her stranded at the airport a few hours away from her parent’s home. Mira’s seat mate on the plane mentions that she is going to rent a car with a few other passengers who are all headed in the same direction and she can give Mira a lift to her parent’s house. Mira agrees reluctantly and soon things begin going wrong during the drive and keeps delaying their trip. Mira is convinced each of the people in the car are hiding something and she is scared she won’t make it to her parent’s house alive. Rating: 7

2. The Family Game – I feel like this book had so much potential and I kept waiting for it to get interesting, but it only did so in the last few chapters. Womp, womp. Harriet is marrying into one of the wealthiest and most powerful families in the country and with that comes a lot of baggage. Her fiance is estranged from his wealthy family but Harriet encourages him to reconcile now that they will be getting married. She wants to know what she is getting herself into. During a family gathering, Harriet learns of a brother/son that the family has never spoken about and the details surrounding his death are concerning. When Harriet begins to look further into the history of this family, she uncovers some shocking secrets that could completely derail her own relationship and safety. Rating: 7

3. The Villa – Where is the rest of this book? I got almost 3/4 of the way through the book and still didn’t feel like there was a story here. I finished it feeling like there was so little substance to it and was unsure how it receives such wonderful praise? Emily and Chess are childhood friends and though their careers have pulled them in different directions, they decide to reconnect on a girls’ trip to Italy. They rent villa that is notorious for being the home of an infamous murder by rock star and his girlfriend. The story oscillates between the past and present though it does nothing to add much to the story. Emily finally feels she knows the truth of what could have happened in the villa all those years ago and wants to use it as inspiration for her novel she is writing. But secrets from the past and a betrayal by Chess threaten to derail Emily’s focus and ultimately their friendship. Rating: 5

4. It Starts With Us – I am a Colleen Hoover fan and always love her books. This one is no exception. It is a sequel to “It Ends With Us” which I absolutely LOVED. It is a tad better than this one but I still enjoyed reading this one from start to finish! Lily and Ryle have now ended their marriage and are trying to coparent civilly while moving on with their lives. Lily thinks this is maybe the time she can finally be with Atlas, the love of her life, but conflict with Ryle threatens to destroy Lily and Atlas’ budding relationship. I love the way Colleen Hoover writes her stories because I have such strong intense emotions about the characters and that is always the sign of a good book. Rating: 8.5

5. Never Lie – Though I was obsessed with The Housemaid written by this same author, this book fell really flat for me. It felt hollow – if that makes sense. Like there was more to the story that needed to be there but wasn’t. Tricia and Ethan are searching for the house of their dreams and are supposed to meet their realtor at this remote property that has promise. Unfortunately once they arrive at the house to tour it, the realtor is not there and the weather begins to get really bad and they end up being snowed in at the property. Ethan is thrilled for a mini adventure while Tricia is hesitant because the house belonged to a well renowned psychologist and author that mysteriously went missing years ago. All of the woman’s belongings are still in the home and as well as her session tapes with all her patients. To kill time while waiting out the storm, Tricia decides to listen to the tapes and thinks she knows what may have happened to the psychologist. There are definitely some twists and turns but not enough to really captivate me. Rating: 6

6. The Wish – There is a reason I don’t read Nicholas Sparks books often – they absolutely wreck me emotionally. And this one was no different. A great read but it will leave you sobbing for sure. Maggie is a travel photographer that has lived an amazing life once she reached adulthood, though her adolescence was difficult. When she was a teenager, she met a boy one summer that would change her life forever. Maggie recounts this summer to her new assistant who is working at her art gallery during the holiday season. Maggie is facing a scary medical diagnosis and feels nostalgic for her past and wants to share her memories. When her new assistant shows an interest in hearing her story, Maggie details that heartbreaking summer that forever changed her. Rating: 8.5