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The House Guests

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"A compelling page-turner one won't want to put down.”—New York Journal of Books    Two women. Two families. Two lifetimes' worth of secrets. In the wake of her husband’s sudden death, Cassie Costas finds her relationship with her teenage stepdaughter unraveling. After their move to historic Tarpon Springs, Florida, Savannah hates her new town, her school and most of all her "A compelling page-turner one won't want to put down.”—New York Journal of Books    Two women. Two families. Two lifetimes' worth of secrets. In the wake of her husband’s sudden death, Cassie Costas finds her relationship with her teenage stepdaughter unraveling. After their move to historic Tarpon Springs, Florida, Savannah hates her new town, her school and most of all her stepmom, whom she blames for her father’s death. Cassie has enough to contend with as she searches for answers about the man she shared a life with, including why all their savings have disappeared. When Savannah’s rebellion culminates in an act that leaves single mother Amber Blair and her sixteen-year-old son homeless, Cassie empathizes with the woman’s predicament and invites the strangers to move in. As their lives intertwine, Cassie realizes that Amber is hiding something. She’s evasive about her past, but the fear in her eyes tells a darker story. Cassie wonders what the woman living under her roof is running from…and what will happen if it finally catches up to her.


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"A compelling page-turner one won't want to put down.”—New York Journal of Books    Two women. Two families. Two lifetimes' worth of secrets. In the wake of her husband’s sudden death, Cassie Costas finds her relationship with her teenage stepdaughter unraveling. After their move to historic Tarpon Springs, Florida, Savannah hates her new town, her school and most of all her "A compelling page-turner one won't want to put down.”—New York Journal of Books    Two women. Two families. Two lifetimes' worth of secrets. In the wake of her husband’s sudden death, Cassie Costas finds her relationship with her teenage stepdaughter unraveling. After their move to historic Tarpon Springs, Florida, Savannah hates her new town, her school and most of all her stepmom, whom she blames for her father’s death. Cassie has enough to contend with as she searches for answers about the man she shared a life with, including why all their savings have disappeared. When Savannah’s rebellion culminates in an act that leaves single mother Amber Blair and her sixteen-year-old son homeless, Cassie empathizes with the woman’s predicament and invites the strangers to move in. As their lives intertwine, Cassie realizes that Amber is hiding something. She’s evasive about her past, but the fear in her eyes tells a darker story. Cassie wonders what the woman living under her roof is running from…and what will happen if it finally catches up to her.

30 review for The House Guests

  1. 4 out of 5

    Kathryn

    I thoroughly enjoyed The House Guests  by Emilie Richards. Any moment I had I was very happy to pick the book up and sink into it. I was immediately drawn by the gritty Amber and her Dad's wisdom on the luck of the bird and the worm. I liked her son Will too, a sixteen year old with a good heart. But their plight and the mystery that surrounds them had me worrying and wondering. Cassie has had a big upheaval in her life and has returned to her hometown, most likely where she feels more secure. She I thoroughly enjoyed The House Guests  by Emilie Richards. Any moment I had I was very happy to pick the book up and sink into it. I was immediately drawn by the gritty Amber and her Dad's wisdom on the luck of the bird and the worm. I liked her son Will too, a sixteen year old with a good heart. But their plight and the mystery that surrounds them had me worrying and wondering. Cassie has had a big upheaval in her life and has returned to her hometown, most likely where she feels more secure. She has lost her husband and Savannah, her stepdaughter, blames her for the death of her Dad. So tension abounds between the two, and yet Cassie's love is to be only admired.  A few times their relationship had me tearing up. Sometimes when reading a book there are memorable events that I never forget. One such one involves Savannah and so called friends and two teachers. At times I'd want to say to Savannah 'get over it', but really she is struggling and its going to take awhile. I found the pacing just right, the characters interesting - I wanted to know more about them and how they would fare. I enjoyed seeing them find their ways through the maze of challenges. I loved the Greek flavour of the family restaurant, the minor characters and the friendships and bonds that develop.  There is some mystery, some underlying tension - is the bogey man going to jump out at some stage! Of course there are some issues explored and that is done with compassion and thoughtfulness.  Thanks to Emilie Richards for another story for me to read and enjoy.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    Typically when you read a thriller you are expecting someone to die at the outset and to spend the rest of the novel trying to figure out whodunit. Here we have a domestic thriller where most of the characters are very likeable. Down home goodness. Family-oriented. But that is what captivates you. Cassie's devotion to Savannah in the midst of her teenage angst. Amber's and Will's protective natures. The joy and comfort and aggravation that a big family like the Costas can bring. Family tradition Typically when you read a thriller you are expecting someone to die at the outset and to spend the rest of the novel trying to figure out whodunit. Here we have a domestic thriller where most of the characters are very likeable. Down home goodness. Family-oriented. But that is what captivates you. Cassie's devotion to Savannah in the midst of her teenage angst. Amber's and Will's protective natures. The joy and comfort and aggravation that a big family like the Costas can bring. Family traditions and loyalty. You feel for the characters and they resonate with you. Emilie Richards wraps her story around you and pulls you in emotionally with just the right dose of mystery. Would recommend for readers who like contemporary fiction with a mix of intrigue.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    THE HOUSE GUESTS is by far one of the best books I’ve read this year, so far. The twists and turns just kept on coming and hooked me from the very first chapter! Emilie Richards has crafted a clever and engaging domestic drama. This book sucked me in in the first few pages. None of the characters are truly who they seem to be on the surface when they are first introduced in THE HOUSE GUESTS. At first, I truly thought I knew why things were happening, but boy was I wrong! Trust me, once you start THE HOUSE GUESTS is by far one of the best books I’ve read this year, so far. The twists and turns just kept on coming and hooked me from the very first chapter! Emilie Richards has crafted a clever and engaging domestic drama. This book sucked me in in the first few pages. None of the characters are truly who they seem to be on the surface when they are first introduced in THE HOUSE GUESTS. At first, I truly thought I knew why things were happening, but boy was I wrong! Trust me, once you start reading THE HOUSE GUESTS you won’t be able to put it down as Emilie Richards takes you on one heck of an emotional roller coaster ride! This is an intense story that never slows down. compelling characters pull you into the carefully crafted world of the Costas family. It was such a complex family story with so many twists and turns, I could not put this book down. I felt as if every chapter was another twist and turn. This book was women’s fiction, a mystery, and a contemporary romance all in one wonderful story. The complexity of the family and how well it played out is such a tribute to Emilie Richards’ writing. Once you are immersed into their lives you just want to keep coming back for more. Emilie Richards steps out of her comfort zone of women’s fiction and weaves a tale that includes suspense and intrigue and is fantastic. THE HOUSE GUESTS is a great mystery story that had me up late one night trying to finish. I just had to know what was going on with Amber and why. After you read what she had to endure and why, you won’t believe it! I still can’t shake this amazing story, I’m kicking myself for not reading more of MS. Richards books……if you haven’t read THE HOUSE GUESTS yet, you need to read it very soon!! You will love every minute of it just like I did! I received a complimentary copy of this book from Harper Collins through Netgalley. All opinions expressed are my own and were voluntarily given.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kristina

    The House Guests by Emilie Richards has Savannah Westmore unhappy in Tarpon Springs, Florida with her stepmother, Cassie Costas. After the death of her father, Cassie moved Savannah and herself to Tarpon Springs for a fresh start. Savannah lashes out at Cassie and makes bad choices. She ends up making a decision that will have long-term effects. I thought The House Guests was well-written and engaging. The characters are developed and realistic especially Savannah (the rebellious, troubled teen) The House Guests by Emilie Richards has Savannah Westmore unhappy in Tarpon Springs, Florida with her stepmother, Cassie Costas. After the death of her father, Cassie moved Savannah and herself to Tarpon Springs for a fresh start. Savannah lashes out at Cassie and makes bad choices. She ends up making a decision that will have long-term effects. I thought The House Guests was well-written and engaging. The characters are developed and realistic especially Savannah (the rebellious, troubled teen). I liked the secrecy surrounding Amber Blair. It added an air of mystery to the story and wonder. I was curious about how the secret would affect all of them. The author captured the area and Greek American community that inhabits Tarpons Springs, especially the delectable food. I like how everything came together and I appreciated the epilogue that nicely wrapped up the story. There are some good life lessons in this book. The House Guests is a story about friendship, grief, hope, trust, love, and, most importantly, family. One of the phrases I wanted to share from The House Guests is, “My daddy always said you can’t keep a bird from flying over your head, but you can keep it from building a nest in your hair.” The House Guests is an eventful story with a tormented teen, a purloined purse, money mayhem, a problematic party, a shocking secret, delectable epicurean delights, and a gregarious Greek family.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    Do you ever go into a book with the wrong expectations and that basically ruins the whole thing for you? I really thought this would be a domestic suspense/thriller and instead it was more women’s fiction with a side of lighter suspense and unfortunately that just didn’t work for me so well here. There were definitely still elements that I liked but overall I was hoping for more. I do want to say that the narrator, Vanessa Johansson was fantastic and I credit her with me even finishing this one. Do you ever go into a book with the wrong expectations and that basically ruins the whole thing for you? I really thought this would be a domestic suspense/thriller and instead it was more women’s fiction with a side of lighter suspense and unfortunately that just didn’t work for me so well here. There were definitely still elements that I liked but overall I was hoping for more. I do want to say that the narrator, Vanessa Johansson was fantastic and I credit her with me even finishing this one. I’m quicker to set a book aside in print versus audio and that’s especially true for me if the narrator is engaging and this one was. Between that and the fact that I was invested in the mystery aspect I felt compelled to finish and I’m mostly glad I did. This was character driven with two women who were interesting enough but anything related to the mystery of both Cassie’s husbands death and Amber’s past were both easy for me to figure out. I was hoping for more surprises than I got and I guess just overall I wanted more tension and suspense.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Lucy

    This book contains a lot of flavor as it takes place in historic Tarpon springs. Interesting information on sponge diving and the Greek culture are incorporated. I love the Kouzina restaurant and Yiayia’s strong personality. The story kept me riveted from beginning to end with secrets and mysteries that need unraveling as well as developing friendships and family dynamics. I have read this author for many years and find the way she weaves a story is mesmerizing. The characters are well developed This book contains a lot of flavor as it takes place in historic Tarpon springs. Interesting information on sponge diving and the Greek culture are incorporated. I love the Kouzina restaurant and Yiayia’s strong personality. The story kept me riveted from beginning to end with secrets and mysteries that need unraveling as well as developing friendships and family dynamics. I have read this author for many years and find the way she weaves a story is mesmerizing. The characters are well developed and the pacing is spot on. An emotional read that holds your attention. It is a long read but worth every minute and you hate to see it end. I received a complimentary copy from the author. The honest review and opinions are my own and were not required.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Darcy

    This one wasn't what I expected as I started. I really didn't care for Savannah, thought she was a selfish little girl who needed to grow up. By the end of the book I liked her and think she is a better person. Savannah's mom, Cassie, I wasn't sure about her. Cassie took some hard hits through out this one, but in the end she seems in a better place, despite all that she learned. Now Amber, her I felt so bad for, she was struggling to live and loosing the money seemed like it was the worst thing This one wasn't what I expected as I started. I really didn't care for Savannah, thought she was a selfish little girl who needed to grow up. By the end of the book I liked her and think she is a better person. Savannah's mom, Cassie, I wasn't sure about her. Cassie took some hard hits through out this one, but in the end she seems in a better place, despite all that she learned. Now Amber, her I felt so bad for, she was struggling to live and loosing the money seemed like it was the worst thing to happen to her, when in reality it was the best. Of course it took most of the book to see things that way, but in the end Amber is free in a way she has never been her whole life. I think going forward her life will be nothing but rainbows. Even Will, who now knows everything can be a bit more settled with all that he learned.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Diane

    I enjoyed this book very much! The House Guests by Emilie Richards is surprising in the depth of friendship, trust, and mystery. Cassie Costas is a recent widow who is raising a teenage stepdaughter, Savannah. Cassie has noticed Savannah has become sullen and difficult. Cassie is also struggling to understand what happened to the funds in the retirement account she shared with her husband. The life insurance did pay a modest amount, but it will not be enough to live on with Savannah and send her I enjoyed this book very much! The House Guests by Emilie Richards is surprising in the depth of friendship, trust, and mystery. Cassie Costas is a recent widow who is raising a teenage stepdaughter, Savannah. Cassie has noticed Savannah has become sullen and difficult. Cassie is also struggling to understand what happened to the funds in the retirement account she shared with her husband. The life insurance did pay a modest amount, but it will not be enough to live on with Savannah and send her to college. The missing money is a mystery. Cassie decides to move back to Florida and be closer to family and to move Savannah to a less stressful school. Amber Blair is a single mother raising her teenage son, Will. She waits tables or serves as a floor manager in restaurants to earn a living for her little family. Amber never knows when she will need to relocate with Will. Amber always has a plan and stays ready to move to a different small town where she will not be recognized. She has secrets she cannot share with Will. Amber had saved enough money to pay on her delinquent rent and lost the brocade money pouch she had made to take to her landlord. Now she and Will are homeless. Savannah is having a challenging time adjusting to her new life in Tarpon Springs. She misses her father since his death on a boat during a storm. She feels if Cassie and her father had not been arguing, he would have never gone boating during inclement weather. She finds about eight hundred dollars in a brocade pouch. She does not see anyone around who could have dropped the money. She is soon convinced by her friends to keep the money and they decide to throw a party. Will has questions about a father he has never known. His mother has told him his father died a hero and that is all he needs to know. Will is a good student and hopes he will get to continue in Tarpon Springs long enough to finish high school. He loves and respects his mother, but he has no idea of her secrets. Each woman is dealing with harsh circumstances. Each woman has no idea how their lives will intersect and the future events that will change each of their families. Publication Date: June 29, 2021 Thank you to NetGalley, the author, and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this book.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Carla Johnson-Hicks

    Cassie Costas and her stepdaughter Savannah have recently moved to Tarpon Springs Florida after the sudden death of their husband and father. Savannah is having a hard time fitting in as well as dealing with the death of her dad, which she blames on Cassie. Then she makes a decision that proves to have long-range effects. Due to Savannah's unwise actions, single mom Amber and her teenage son Will move in with Cassie and Savannah. While Cassie tries to find out what happened to her husband before Cassie Costas and her stepdaughter Savannah have recently moved to Tarpon Springs Florida after the sudden death of their husband and father. Savannah is having a hard time fitting in as well as dealing with the death of her dad, which she blames on Cassie. Then she makes a decision that proves to have long-range effects. Due to Savannah's unwise actions, single mom Amber and her teenage son Will move in with Cassie and Savannah. While Cassie tries to find out what happened to her husband before his death and where all their money disappeared to, Amber is keeping secrets from everyone, including Will. I really enjoyed this story. It is women's fiction with a couple of mysteries embedded into the story. The characters are wonderful. I like that they are realistic and relatable, flaws and all. Both Cassie and Amber are loving mothers, who would do anything to protect their children. I felt so bad for Cassie and how Savannah treats her, but Cassie continues to love her and do what she thinks is best for her. I really liked the theme of family in this story. Cassie is part of a large Greek family and their welcoming nature, love of family and friends and loyalty to one another was amazing. You didn't have to be blood to be family. Roxanne and Yiayia, Cassie's aunt and grandma were such great secondary characters. Amber's secrets are gradually revealed to the reader and bring this story to it's climax. I was totally immersed in this story and the lives of these characters. This is a story that pulled me in from the beginning and held me right to the end. There are some twists, and suspense, but most of this story is about the bonds between people who call themselves family, whether by blood or by choice. This is a story of family and friendship, grief, secrets and sadness, hope, trust and eventually love. I definitely recommend this book. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book upon request. The rating and opinions shared are my own.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    Cassie Costas is struggling to pick up the pieces of her former life. To make matters worse, her stepdaughter's thoughtless act leaves Amber's family homeless. Seeking to teach her daughter a lesson and make restitution, she invites Amber and Will to move in as their house guests. While Cassie and Savannah are coming to terms with Mark's death, Amber is trying to escape the past. Will the #TheHouseGuests teach the Costas how to live in the moment instead of focusing on the past? In turn, secure Cassie Costas is struggling to pick up the pieces of her former life. To make matters worse, her stepdaughter's thoughtless act leaves Amber's family homeless. Seeking to teach her daughter a lesson and make restitution, she invites Amber and Will to move in as their house guests. While Cassie and Savannah are coming to terms with Mark's death, Amber is trying to escape the past. Will the #TheHouseGuests teach the Costas how to live in the moment instead of focusing on the past? In turn, secure in their love, will Amber find the courage to stop running? Thank you to #NeGalley and the publisher for the early edition in exchange for an honest review. Emilie Richards is a masterful storyteller and pens charismatic characters. There's honesty in their flaws and delving into their stories, readers find layers to be revealed. Curl up on the couch and dive into a story that will leave you treading water until the final chapter.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Janie Hickok Siess

    Author Emilie Richards has penned more than seventy novels, including several series, that have been published in sixteen languages. She was raised in Gulfport, Florida, about thirty miles from Tarpon Springs, the setting of The House Guests. She says the story was inspired by an idea that had been "tugging" at her for years after reading about a woman who was rendered homeless when she lost her rent money. Also "tugging" at her were memories of an elementary school field trip to the Sponge Dock Author Emilie Richards has penned more than seventy novels, including several series, that have been published in sixteen languages. She was raised in Gulfport, Florida, about thirty miles from Tarpon Springs, the setting of The House Guests. She says the story was inspired by an idea that had been "tugging" at her for years after reading about a woman who was rendered homeless when she lost her rent money. Also "tugging" at her were memories of an elementary school field trip to the Sponge Docks of Tarpon Springs, where she watched a "sponge diver in a deep sea diving suit and helmet demonstrating how sponges were harvested." To write the book, she returned to Tarpon Springs to learn about the Greek-Americans who settled the town and still make up a large portion of its population, as well as Greek culture and food. During her visits, she observed the annual Epiphany celebration, and sampled the cuisine, including moussaka, pastitsio, horiatiki salad, and baklava. Her research brings credibility and believability to a story that is both charming and suspenseful. As the book opens, Amber Blair is down on her luck. Again. She has been on the move since before her sixteen-year-old son, Will, was born. Tarpon Springs, Florida, is her latest stop. She was hired to manage a restaurant, but it remained closed for an extended period of time when Amber and other employees contracted hepatitis. Health insurance being a luxury she has never been able to afford, she wracked up a hospital bill and fell behind on her rent. But with her health finally improving and being back at work, she has saved up enough money to pay one month of the back rent and made an arrangement with her landlord to pay the remainder due. She also sells homemade items on Etsy such as the zipper pouch created from a brocade jacket and embroidered with the name of her landlord's wife into which she has stuffed the wad of cash she plans to give the landlord. But disaster strikes when she stops by the local thrift shop in search of more vintage clothing she can repurpose for crafts, opens her purse, and discovers the pouch is gone. Her search for it is futile, and the landlord is out of patience. Once again, she and Will find themselves packing up their car. Blair reserves a spot for them at a local campground where they can sleep in side-by-side tents until she can manage to save up enough money to again secure housing for them. Fifteen-year-old Savannah Westmore hates everything about her life. Before moving to Tarpon Springs, she was expelled from the prestigious school she attended in Manhattan. No one, including her beloved father, Mark, a psychiatrist, believed her version of events. After a fight between Mark and her stepmother, Cassie, about their savings account that Savannah overheard, Mark, an expert sailor, went out in his boat, despite bad weather. He drowned, and Savannah blames Cassie, believing that her father would never have gone sailing that day were it not for the quarrel. Cassie and her father married when Savannah was just three years old and her father always had custody of her, although she visits her physician mother, Gen, at her Palm Springs home during school breaks. After Mark's death, Cassie purchased a home in Tarpon Springs in order to be surrounded by her loving Greek family and enrolled Savannah in Coastal winds, the local public high school. But Savannah is no longer interested in her studies and has been befriended by two girls who, like Savannah, are social outcasts. When they find a pouch containing eight hundred dollars in the parking lot across from the thrift store, Helia convinces Minh and Savannah to throw a party at Cassie's house while she is out of town. Cassie returns to find her beautiful new home defiled, and Savannah severely hung over. Cassie also finds an embroidered pouch in the garbage can . . . that matches the one depicted in the newspaper article that Travis, a distant cousin and local journalist, has just published. Travis convinced the woman who is the subject of the article to let him write a story about how she and her son were evicted from their apartment after the woman lost the pouch containing the rent money she worked so hard to save. Cassie learns the woman's identity and location from Travis, finds her at the campsite where she and her son are settling in, and convinces her that they must stay with her and Savannah. After all, it was only because of the immature, irresponsible actions of Savannah and her friends that Amber and Will have become homeless. So begins an endearing tale of loss, friendship, survival, and what it means to be a family. Richards has crafted characters who are empathetic and believable. All four of the main characters -- Cassie, Savannah, Amber, and Will -- find themselves at crossroads. Cassie and Savannah were both devastated by Mark's death. For Savannah, who had a close, loving relationship with her father, grief has been fueled by anger and disappointment. Mark did not believe her when she related her version of the events at school that culminated in her expulsion. From her perspective, he also convinced Cassie that she was lying. Both of them noticed a profound change in Mark's personality and their relationships with him in the year preceding his death. He became irritable, withdrawn, uninterested in their lives. They were at a loss as to why their attentive, doting husband and father became so distant and disconnected from them. With his sudden and tragic death, they were deprived of the opportunity to understand and repair their family dynamic. Worse, Cassie believed that Mark's successful practice had made them financially secure, and she is stunned to learn that, after using the bulk of the proceeds from Mark's life insurance policy, she has little money left. She knew Mark drained and closed their savings account, but when she learns that all of their investments and retirement accounts are gone, as well, Cassie embarks on a quest for answers. Richards compassionately details Cassie's journey from a wife content to let her husband manage the family finances to an independent woman who must take responsibility for all aspects of her own life and well-being. For Cassie, the answers are elucidating, as well as heartbreaking and, ultimately, empowering. Richards also depicts Savannah's evolution from a comfortable girl with every advantage necessary to ensure success and happiness to a rebellious, resentful, and distinctly ungrateful teenager. In Savannah's mind, her hatred of Cassie, her stepmother, is justified. She doesn't want to live in Tarpon Springs with Cassie, especially after Amber and Will move in and she is forced to relinquish her large bedroom suite to them. She just wants to mark time until she turns eighteen and can escape. To what? She has no idea, but she is convinced her life will magically improve. She is naive and gullible in many respects, but also intelligent, insightful, and full of promise if she can work through her grief and find equilibrium. And realize that not all parents are genetically connected to their children. Rather, the act of parenting is much more complicated and demanding than simply creating a life. Injecting clues about Amber's past at deftly-paced intervals, Richards keeps readers engaged in the mystery. Amber is not her real name and she is determined to protect Will from someone who does not know she has a son. She has moved with Will from place to place over the years, never daring to settle in one location for too long. But as she and Cassie get to know each other, and Cassie's family members welcome her and Will into their midst, Amber finds herself wondering if she and Will can safely remain in Tarpon Springs. Will has developed friendships and is a stabilizing influence on Savannah. He is doing well in school, and emphatically wants to stay. Hard-working and unfailingly loyal to Amber, he enjoys his job at Kouzina, the restaurant owned and operated by Yiayia, Cassie's grandmother, and widowed aunt, Roxanne. But he is weary of Amber's deflection when he asks about his father, spurred on to demand answers by Savannah, who insists that he has a right to know about his parentage and family. As Amber scrambles to shield Will from danger, she also tries to resist her growing attraction to Travis and remain realistic about the prospect of staying in one place permanently. Aside from Cassie, there is only one person on earth who knows the truth about why Amber has been on the run for so many years, and what might happen if the person looking for her ever finds her . . . and learns of Will's existence. Now that individual might be in danger, as well. The book's location serves as a vibrant additional character, especially the Kouzina and its bickering proprietors, Yiayia and Roxanne. The voices of Richards' characters are just right, especially the teenagers who manage to get themselves into mischief that escalates as the story's even pace accelerates toward a heart-stopping resolution, with all secrets revealed and the characters' futures determined. The House Guests is a thoroughly engrossing and entertaining story about four characters' transitions, against their wills, from the lives they were living into futures they neither envisioned nor designed. But that's the point. They all learn that some things in life are beyond one's control and they must adapt in order to survive and, hopefully, find happiness. Thanks to NetGalley for an Advance Reader's Copy of the book.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Robin Loves Reading

    Savannah Costas makes a decision that proves to have long-range effects. She and her stepmother are having a difficult time dealing with her father's death. In fact, Savannah blames her stepmother for his death. What is more is that they have been forced to recently move and Savannah is completely unhappy. Due to Savannah's unwise actions, Amber and her teenage son Will move in with Cassie and Savannah. Meanwhile, Cassie is having a difficult time with her husband's sudden death. For one thing, t Savannah Costas makes a decision that proves to have long-range effects. She and her stepmother are having a difficult time dealing with her father's death. In fact, Savannah blames her stepmother for his death. What is more is that they have been forced to recently move and Savannah is completely unhappy. Due to Savannah's unwise actions, Amber and her teenage son Will move in with Cassie and Savannah. Meanwhile, Cassie is having a difficult time with her husband's sudden death. For one thing, their finances were not in order, and Cassie is determined to discover why that is the case. What is more is that after years of mothering Savannah, their relationship is strained to the point that it is completely broken. With regard to Amber, it seems as if she is hiding something and this gives Cassie pause. However, she feels really bad for Amber and Will's plight and bends over backwards to give them a home and security all while working out her own difficulties. Savannah was very difficult in this story. Rebellious, unhappy and uncertain, she was the epitome of a troubled teen. Having raised six children, Savannah was easy to understand, even if she was unlikable at times during this story. Despite the challenges facing Savannah, Cassie, Amber and Will, this touching story has a strong family vibe to it - whether it is due to Cassie's extended Greek family, or Cassie's kind nature despite the uncertainty she is facing. Will was the "good" kid in this story. His bond with his mother was wonderful, even if she kept secrets from him. The secrets that Amber kept led to the mysterious air of this domestic drama. It was intriguing to see what Amber was hiding from her past and if in any way it would impact what was going on with Cassie and Savannah. This story of family and friendship was truly compelling and flowed together nicely, weaving in drama, grief, sadness, hope, trust and even love. All of the characters were solid, even Roxanne and Yiayia, Cassie's aunt and great aunt. I love how Emilie Richards drew each character and allowed the reader to follow their growth. This is only my second book by this talented author, but that is something I soon hope to change. Many thanks to MIRA and to NetGalley for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Liz (Quirky Cat)

    Mystery and women's fiction meet in the middle for Emilie Richards' latest novel, The House Guests. Cassie Costas is reeling from the loss of her husband. It was so sudden, and she's had no time to process. To make matters more complicated, her stepdaughter is struggling right alongside her, and it's taking a toll on their relationship. That's not all it's doing, as Savannah rebels against everything, from the move to her stepmom and everything in between. Her actions result in two others losing Mystery and women's fiction meet in the middle for Emilie Richards' latest novel, The House Guests. Cassie Costas is reeling from the loss of her husband. It was so sudden, and she's had no time to process. To make matters more complicated, her stepdaughter is struggling right alongside her, and it's taking a toll on their relationship. That's not all it's doing, as Savannah rebels against everything, from the move to her stepmom and everything in between. Her actions result in two others losing their home, which Cassie feels compelled to rectify. Only, things don't go quite as planned. The House Guests is a thrilling and emotionally compelling read - one that has multiple layers and so many mysteries to unravel. It's a lot to take in and will keep you thoroughly invested right up to the end. The story is about two single mothers and their teenage children. All of them have secrets. Secrets they're hiding, and secrets they're trying to uncover. It's a rough and fascinating balance, one that should have plenty of appeal for a broader audience. Personally, I found myself intrigued by the mysteries that Cassie was delving into. First, the one revolving around her husband. And second, the one revolving around the woman she just took in. It was fun trying to predict what was actually going on. This story flowed smoothly from one plot arc to the next, leaving me captivated right up through to the final pages. It's one of those novels that you can really sink your teeth into, which I can't get enough of! Thanks to MIRA and #NetGalley for making this book available for review. All opinions expressed are my own. Read more reviews at Quirky Cat's Fat Stacks

  14. 5 out of 5

    Terri

    I have really liked everything I've read by Emilie Richards, but The House Guests totally blew me away. Ms. Richards writes a wonderful book of hard times, fighting back, learning to trust and finding family where you least expect it. In this book, she immerses the reader in those traditions and ideals of the Greek people who were transplanted in this country and the struggles between those holding on to the old ways and the younger generations who want change. There are amazingly two different I have really liked everything I've read by Emilie Richards, but The House Guests totally blew me away. Ms. Richards writes a wonderful book of hard times, fighting back, learning to trust and finding family where you least expect it. In this book, she immerses the reader in those traditions and ideals of the Greek people who were transplanted in this country and the struggles between those holding on to the old ways and the younger generations who want change. There are amazingly two different suspense/mystery plots going on in the book. One is with Amber who has suddenly lost almost everything. The other is with Cassie and her daughter, who unwittingly caused Amber and her son to be at their lowest. When Cassie tries to make amends, the only thing she can think of is to invite Amber and her son Will to move in with them. Cassie has struggles of her own, the least of which is not her step-daughter, Savannah. It's definitely a tense household and it becomes even more so as things unravel for both women. Cassie and Amber may find exactly the support they need in each other if only they can give a little in their relationship. I'm really not sure if this book is character or plot driven, because both are so strong. It's a long book, but worth every minute you spend reading it. I was given a complimentary copy of this book by the author and Mira Books. All thoughts are my own.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Bridget

    When Savannah Westmore's father dies she and her stepmother, Cassie struggle to cope with his sudden passing. They move to historic Tarpon Springs, Florida, but Savannah dislikes it there and blames her stepmum for her dad's death. Savannah rebels and her resulting behaviour causes immense distress for sixteen-year-old Will and his mum, Amber Blair. Savannah's actions result in Amber and Will losing their home, which Cassie feels compelled to rectify and is the catalyst for Cassie's determinatio When Savannah Westmore's father dies she and her stepmother, Cassie struggle to cope with his sudden passing. They move to historic Tarpon Springs, Florida, but Savannah dislikes it there and blames her stepmum for her dad's death. Savannah rebels and her resulting behaviour causes immense distress for sixteen-year-old Will and his mum, Amber Blair. Savannah's actions result in Amber and Will losing their home, which Cassie feels compelled to rectify and is the catalyst for Cassie's determination to uncover the secrets behind her husband's death and financial ruin. She sparks a series of events that could put their lives in danger. The House Guests is a thrilling and emotionally compelling read. It has multiple layers and there are many mysteries to be unravelled. Very well-written by Emilie Richards, the characters are complex and richly developed. Savannah, the rebellious, angry and troubled teen was of particular interest and I liked the secrecy surrounding Amber. The supporting characters, especially Cassie's aunt, Roxanne and grandma, Yiayia provide another level of fascinating relationship dynamics. There's a lot going on and I was thoroughly invested right up to the end. A heartfelt, convincing and very worthwhile novel. A special thank you to MIRA Books and the author for a complimentary copy of this novel at my request, received via NetGalley. This review is my unbiased opinion.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    I was given a copy of this book to read and review for Wicked Reads. This is an almost painfully slow story about four people sharing a house in Florida. The house belongs to Cassie and her stepdaughter, Savannah. The houseguests are Amber and her son Will. Cassie invites Amber to live with her after Savannah steals Amber’s savings. I really struggled with this book. There are a couple of storylines here that should be exciting. Cassie is digging into the mysterious circumstances surrounding the I was given a copy of this book to read and review for Wicked Reads. This is an almost painfully slow story about four people sharing a house in Florida. The house belongs to Cassie and her stepdaughter, Savannah. The houseguests are Amber and her son Will. Cassie invites Amber to live with her after Savannah steals Amber’s savings. I really struggled with this book. There are a couple of storylines here that should be exciting. Cassie is digging into the mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of her husband, Savannah’s father. Amber is running from something - and for the longest time, readers don’t know what. However, both of these storylines drag along without any building tension. Interspersed between are scenes where Cassie and Savannah struggle with grief, relocating and being poor(er) than they are accustomed to. Cassie reads as slightly useless and Savannah as spoilt so I found it really difficult to have empathy for either of them. Amber and Will are much more likeable but Amber is too secretive and guarded for readers to ever connect with. With too many characters and too many narrative perspectives, this book becomes unwieldy. I was unable to keep the additional supporting characters straight. Cassie’s family members, her husband’s previous colleagues, the men Cassie and Amber date, Savannah’s friends… It is all a bit much in a single story. There are a couple of revelations at the end that should have been exciting - but they just weren’t. I’m a fast reader and I read just about everything. It isn’t often that I pick up, put down and avoid a book as much as I did this one.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jane Conklin

    This was such a fun, thrilling read! I love a good mystery, but I don’t always want to be disturbed by the ending and this one checked all the boxes for me! It was well balanced by character development and relationships between the characters. I also really enjoyed reading about Greek culture and traditions! Thank you so much to MIRA for supplying me with an ARC! All opinions are 100% my own.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Olgas Movie

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Terrible.Worse than any lifetime movie or Nicholas sparks book.The books started out good when Amber and her son were to be evicted but then after she and caddies become room mates and became friends it started to get boring and nothing interesting happen much after that.If I wanted to read about car pools schedules,bratty kids and bullying at school I'd read my mom's old diary.Lol That's basically what it was.A classic mommy blog style book describing most of the mundane ordinary things mothers Terrible.Worse than any lifetime movie or Nicholas sparks book.The books started out good when Amber and her son were to be evicted but then after she and caddies become room mates and became friends it started to get boring and nothing interesting happen much after that.If I wanted to read about car pools schedules,bratty kids and bullying at school I'd read my mom's old diary.Lol That's basically what it was.A classic mommy blog style book describing most of the mundane ordinary things mothers do in a day.Nothing different or new from all the other books out there.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Yvonne

    Cassie Costas has her hands full since her husband’s shocking death. Her teenage step-daughter, Savannah, hates her and blames her for her father’s death. Cassie is determined to find out the truth behind her husband’s death but dealing with her rebellious step-daughter is getting in the way. Savannah’s latest stunt leaves a single mother, Amber Blair, and her teenage son, Will, penniless as well as homeless. Cassie invites them to stay in their home until they get back on their feet. It’s not lo Cassie Costas has her hands full since her husband’s shocking death. Her teenage step-daughter, Savannah, hates her and blames her for her father’s death. Cassie is determined to find out the truth behind her husband’s death but dealing with her rebellious step-daughter is getting in the way. Savannah’s latest stunt leaves a single mother, Amber Blair, and her teenage son, Will, penniless as well as homeless. Cassie invites them to stay in their home until they get back on their feet. It’s not long before Cassie realizes Amber has some secrets of her own and may endanger all their lives. This book is rich in family drama. Amber and Cassie both are desperately keeping their secrets from each other and their children. I was totally captivated and engaged in trying to figure out what was going on with these women. The story moved at a nice, steady pace. I found it quite intriguing how Cassie invited two strangers into her home and how close they all became. It shows how family isn’t necessarily made from blood. Although these are two separate stories, they fit together so well. Every character in this book is well developed and well written. There is character growth which is so satisfying for this reader. I won’t get too specific because I don’t want to ruin things. I really enjoyed the supporting characters as well, especially Cassie’s family. So many lively and personable characters. I found myself completely engrossed in this storyline. I couldn’t wait to see how it all wrapped up. At the same time, I hated to see it end. FTC Disclosure: I voluntarily reviewed a free Advance Reader Copy of this book from NetGalley and the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Nancy Lepri

    The House Guests by Emilie Richards MIRA June 29, 2021 Women's Contemporary Fiction 10-0778331865 Did you ever believe your life was perfect only to find out it's not? Cassie Costas's life in Manhattan is wonderful. She is married to Mark Westmore, the love of her life, and raising his teenage daughter, Savannah. She and Mark wed when Savannah was three, and she relishes her life as a wife and mother. Savannah’s biological mom, Gen, consumed by her career and stating she's not mother material, gives The House Guests by Emilie Richards MIRA June 29, 2021 Women's Contemporary Fiction 10-0778331865 Did you ever believe your life was perfect only to find out it's not? Cassie Costas's life in Manhattan is wonderful. She is married to Mark Westmore, the love of her life, and raising his teenage daughter, Savannah. She and Mark wed when Savannah was three, and she relishes her life as a wife and mother. Savannah’s biological mom, Gen, consumed by her career and stating she's not mother material, gives Cassie carte blanche to raise her child. Cassie could not adore Savannah more if she gave birth to her. Mark’s demeanor changes and things become tense around the house, but when he perishes in a boating accident, Cassie and Savannah's lives fall apart. The once gregarious fifteen-year-old is now belligerent and argumentative toward Cassie. When she is expelled from the prestigious school she attends, Cassie believes they both need a fresh start. They head to Tarpon Springs, FL, Cassie's hometown, and where her relatives reside. Cassie purchases a large home, and they settle in, though somewhat acrimoniously. Savannah feels she is an outcast at her new school—the same one Cassie attended—and she befriends two girls who also seem to be outsiders to the rest of their classmates. One day after school, they head to a strip mall, where Savannah spots a zippered pouch lying on the ground. She finds it is filled with a wad of folded cash inside but there is no identification. Suggesting they turn this over to the police, her friends—purple-haired foster kid, Helia, and Minh, whose family moved from Vietnam—tell her the cops will keep the money for themselves. They contend she should host a party which would help them become popular in school. Savannah considers this for several moments, but they wear her down. The following weekend, knowing Cassie will be in New York to settle her father's finances, Savannah decides to go along with the plan. She is angry at Cassie, blaming her for her dad's death, remembering the explosive argument they had before he went out on his boat. Meanwhile, Amber Blair, single mother to teenage son Will, approaches the thrift shop to buy a special T-shirt for Will. At the checkout, she discovers her pouch with her rent money is missing. She panics and knows her landlord will evict her, as things are precarious between them since she was late with her payment before. Agonizing about the fact she will need to uproot her son again, she arrives home only to learn she is being thrown out. Where will they go now? As they prepare to leave, Travis Elliot, a freelance journalist, states he heard from her neighbor about her predicament, and he wants to write an article about her. Amber needs to keep their anonymity and refuses his request, but when he promises to omit her name and other identifying factors, she agrees, yet believing nothing will help return her funds. On Cassie’s trip to New York, she learns Mark’s savings are gone, and this is after she purchases a large home in a gated community in FL. She cannot believe this is happening, but she knows she must take some responsibility for she let Mark handle all their monetary matters. She returns to FL angry, confused, and upset only to walk into her house a day earlier than planned and find her beautiful home totally trashed. How much more can she take? Livid with Savannah, she insists on learning where she got the cash to pay for the party. When Savannah reluctantly confesses about finding the pouch full of money, Cassie is beside herself with anger and disbelief. Meanwhile, Travis, who is a distant cousin to Cassie, later releases his article about Amber. Cassie puts two and two together and confronts Savannah about this. She is outraged that Savannah's actions caused a family to lose their home, so with Travis's help, she searches for Amber, finding her and Will living in a tent at a local campground. She pressures her to move in with her and Savannah, insisting her home is big enough for all of them. Though Amber is shocked and refuses, Cassie makes her an offer she can't resist. Now we face a situation with unrelated individuals living under the same roof with their own problems and secrets. Savannah is reluctant to befriend Amber and Will, for she, too, is suffering from the guilt of her actions. As time passes, they become a cohesive family. Cassie, still devastated to learn Mark's retirement funds are gone, tries to get to the bottom of the situation, which has her uncovering things she’d rather not know, but needing to put the missing puzzle pieces together. Meanwhile, Amber is hiding her own confidences—secrets she won't even share with her son. Reticent about her past, this makes Cassie wonder if she's fleeing from the law or if she and Savannah could be in danger by her presence in their home. This engrossing and suspenseful novel encompasses the trials of two different families who come together, demonstrating the meaning of family is not just determined by blood ties. Secrets are withheld presumably to protect, but only validate problems that produce terrifying scenarios. Cassie’s Greek ancestry is well documented with descriptions of meals served in her grandmother’s restaurant and the traditions they share, which adds much significance to the plot. The many interesting background characters offer insight into the situations both Cassie and Amber encounter, impacting the peril they face as well as adding substance to the story. This is a compelling page-turner one won't want to put down.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Alyson Stone

    Book: The House Guests Author: Emilie Richards Rating: 4 Out of 5 Stars I would like to thank the publisher, Mira Books, for sending me an ARC. This book turned out to be a lot different than I thought it was. I really thought the thriller aspects were going to play a bigger role than they did. I’m really not complaining. This is one of those deals in which not having the thriller aspects at the forefront turned out to be a good thing. This is more of a family and domestic than anything, which i Book: The House Guests Author: Emilie Richards Rating: 4 Out of 5 Stars I would like to thank the publisher, Mira Books, for sending me an ARC. This book turned out to be a lot different than I thought it was. I really thought the thriller aspects were going to play a bigger role than they did. I’m really not complaining. This is one of those deals in which not having the thriller aspects at the forefront turned out to be a good thing. This is more of a family and domestic than anything, which is something that I love in books. I love the focus on the two women and their families as they try to navigate a rather cruel world. One thing that I really loved was seeing the two women’s lives. We have Cassie, whose husband has died and is now being raising her teenage stepdaughter on her own. Savannah, Cassie’s stepdaughter, blames Cassie for her father’s death. We see their messy relationship right from the get go as they struggle and now have to deal with this hole in their lives. We see them at their lowest point. We see Cassie trying to figure out what to do next and how to move forward. We also get to see Savannah’s struggles as well. She was a girl who had it all and now has lost everything-her school, her friends, and her pride. You see, she was kicked out of school for beating up another student who was picking on a younger student and no one believed her what had happened. Then, there is whole money situation. Cassie thought that her husband had money tucked aside and has now discovered that it is gone. Now, she has to not only figure out what happened to the money, but figure out a way to make everything work. They end up leaving New York and moving Florida-where the problems don’t stop. Then, Savannah starts to rebel. She and a group of friends find a wallet with money in it. They decide to throw a party that is going to forever change Savannah’s life. You see the money belonged to Amber, a woman who is just trying to make it. The main issue with the money is that it is her rent money and she and her teenage son, Will, are now forced out onto the streets. I really enjoyed Amber and Will’s story. Life has thrown them a bunch of curveballs, but they still have each other. No matter what happens to them, they are there for each other and it seems like nothing can break their bond. A local reporter learns about their story and writes about it. Cassie learns about their story and asks them to move into her house-since it is actually Savannah’s fault that they have been forced out onto the streets. Once Amber and Will move in, Cassie learns that, like her, there is more to their story than what meets the eye. As we see the two families intertwine, we see that both have dark secrets and that the men in their lives have failed them in more way than one. Now, this does not mean that it is the men’s fault, but we learn that the men’s decisions, who are now out of the picture, are the reason that they are even in this situation. We see these two women have to rebuild and try to keep the past buried. I really can’t say anymore without spoiling the book. This whole idea of two strangers meeting and becoming friends under rather difficult circumstances is something that I loved in this book. Emilie presents it all in a way that doesn’t make you feel sorry from the families, but in a way that gives you hope. This is the type of book that shows us that even when we hit rock bottom, there is still hope out there and that you can come back. Throughout the whole book, we see that sense of hope, community, and strength. The only reason I gave this a four star instead of a five is because I found the ending a little short. Don’t get me wrong, it was a pretty solid ending, but it just seemed to be missing something to really drive the punch home. Overall, I do highly encourage you to pick this up when it comes out. If you are looking for something that focuses more on the family side and domestic side of thrillers, then I encourage you to check this one out. This book comes out on June 29, 2021. Yotube: https://youtu.be/gYGrgEPop1c

  22. 4 out of 5

    Kathy

    4.5 stars. The House Guests by Emilie Richards is a multi-layered novel about family, friendship and new beginnings. Cassie Costas and fifteen-year-old daughter of her heart Savannah have recently relocated to Tarpon Springs, FL from New York. Following the devastating loss of husband and dad Mark Westmoreland, Cassie and Savannah’s once close relationship is going through a very rough spot. Savannah is resentful, hurt and angry and refuses to talk to her stepmother. Cassie is trying to understand 4.5 stars. The House Guests by Emilie Richards is a multi-layered novel about family, friendship and new beginnings. Cassie Costas and fifteen-year-old daughter of her heart Savannah have recently relocated to Tarpon Springs, FL from New York. Following the devastating loss of husband and dad Mark Westmoreland, Cassie and Savannah’s once close relationship is going through a very rough spot. Savannah is resentful, hurt and angry and refuses to talk to her stepmother. Cassie is trying to understand what was bothering Mark in the months leading up to his death. She is also trying to understand her new financial situation. With the assistance of her beloved Aunt Roxanne and the rest of their family, Cassie hopes to make a new life for her and Savannah. Amber Blair and her sixteen-year-old son Will have fallen on tough times in the past, but their current situation is very unexpected. Cassie’s recent illness coupled with lack of income have left them in dire straits. Amber is grateful for Will’s understanding as they find themselves unexpectedly homeless. She wants to do the best she can for Will but begins to wonder if it might be time for them to move on. Once Cassie discovers exactly how badly Savannah’s latest rebellion has hurt Amber, she is determined to make it up to her and her son. Despite Amber’s reservations, she agrees to Cassie’s invitation to move in with her and Savannah. While they tiptoe around one another at first, Cassie and Amber become very close friends. And much to Cassie’s relief, Savannah has settled into her new school and becomes friends with Will and two other girls. While Savannah’s hostility toward her has dimmed a bit, their relationship is still quite strained. Cassie wants answers to questions about a few things that happened before Mark died. She hopes to finally get explanations for the sudden changes in his behavior and his inexplicable decisions. Cassie also continues trying to repair her relationship with Savannah but will she lose patience following her stepdaughter’s latest misstep? Amber has lived her life looking over her shoulder for so many years she cannot imagine living without fear. She has managed to prevent Will from delving too deeply into the past, but she knows a day of reckoning is inching near. Amber is uncertain about living with Cassie and Savannah, but she knows it is the right choice for now. As she continues shielding Will from the past, is Cassie underestimating his desire for the truth? The House Guests is an emotionally compelling novel with a hint mystery and a dash of intrigue. Cassie and Amber are vibrantly developed women with relatable strengths and all too human foibles. Will and Savannah are typical teenagers who believe they are more mature than they are. Trouble ensues as they make well-intentioned but ill-advised decisions that do not always work out as planned. The two story arcs are well-written and perfectly illustrate the consequences of keeping secrets. With interesting twists and unanticipated turns, Emilie Richards brings this captivating novel to a realistic conclusion.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Janet

    Date reviewed/posted: February 23, 2021 Publication date: June 29, 2021 When life for the entire galaxy and planet has turned on its end, you are continuing to #maskup and #lockdown to be in #COVID19 #socialisolation as the #secondwave is upon us, AND it is a loverly minus 26 degrees, snowy and icy where I am currently stuck living, so superspeed readers like me can read 300+ pages/hour, so yes, I have read the book … and many more today. I requested and received a temporary digital Advance Reader Date reviewed/posted: February 23, 2021 Publication date: June 29, 2021 When life for the entire galaxy and planet has turned on its end, you are continuing to #maskup and #lockdown to be in #COVID19 #socialisolation as the #secondwave is upon us, AND it is a loverly minus 26 degrees, snowy and icy where I am currently stuck living, so superspeed readers like me can read 300+ pages/hour, so yes, I have read the book … and many more today. I requested and received a temporary digital Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley, the publisher and the author in exchange for an honest review. From the publisher, as I do not repeat the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it as they do it better than I do 😸. Two women. Two families. Two lifetimes' worth of secrets. In the wake of her husband’s sudden death, Cassie Costas finds her relationship with her teenage stepdaughter unravelling. After their move to historic Tarpon Springs, Florida, Savannah hates her new town, her school and most of all her stepmom, whom she blames for her father’s death. Cassie has enough to contend with as she searches for answers about the man she shared a life with, including why all their savings have disappeared. When Savannah’s rebellion culminates in an act that leaves single mother Amber Blair and her sixteen-year-old son homeless, Cassie empathizes with the woman’s predicament and invites the strangers to move in. As their lives intertwine, Cassie realizes that Amber is hiding something. She’s evasive about her past, but the fear in her eyes tells a darker story. Cassie wonders what the woman living under her roof is running from…and what will happen if it finally catches up to her. This is a dead spooky read - it starts off as a family drama and then goes deep and dark as one can NEVER trust who moves in, no matter how much of a "safe choice" they seem. There were many times I wanted to slap Savannah for being such a B but that is my lousy parenting skills...lol. This is the kind of book that you start and do not want to put down so don't start it before bed, okay?? Take this book to the beach (or your back yard, porch or balcony) and enjoy it - just wear a tonne of SPF110 as you will lose track of time as you read this. - If we are in the 3rd or 4th wave/mutation of COVID19 by then, stay inside: no tan is worth dying for. As always, I try to find a reason to not rate with stars as I simply adore emojis (outside of their incessant use by "🙏-ed Social Influencer Millennials/#BachelorNation survivors/Tik-Tok and YouTube Millionaires/snowflakes / literally-like-overusers etc. " on Instagram and Twitter... Get a real job, people!) so let's give it 🏖️🏖️🏖️🏖️🏖️

  24. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    Emilie Richards returns to the warmer, more nurturing Women's Fiction that she is known for, after a foray into the darker side in 2019's A Family of Strangers. Although there is a bit of suspense and a dangerous encounter at the book's climax, the focus is on the multilayered relationships among the three main female characters. Amber is a young mother of teenaged son Will who has found herself homeless after she loses the purse that contained the money she needed to pay her back rent. Cassie is Emilie Richards returns to the warmer, more nurturing Women's Fiction that she is known for, after a foray into the darker side in 2019's A Family of Strangers. Although there is a bit of suspense and a dangerous encounter at the book's climax, the focus is on the multilayered relationships among the three main female characters. Amber is a young mother of teenaged son Will who has found herself homeless after she loses the purse that contained the money she needed to pay her back rent. Cassie is a recent widow who has moved from New York City back to her Florida hometown, along with her rebellious teenage stepdaughter, to find a fresh start after her husband's tragic death, and the subsequent discovery of devastating financial losses. And Savannah is the 15 year old teenage girl who blames Cassie for the loss of her father, her home, and her friends Through Savannah's careless behavior, Amber and Will end up moving in with Cassie and Savannah. This is the catalyst for Cassie's determination to uncover the secrets behind her husband's financial ruin and death, and for Amber consider curtailing her vagabond life of running and hiding from her past. When Savannah encourages Will to find out information about his birth father, she sets in motion a series of events that could put their lives in danger. The House Guests is long, rich and engaging. Cassie and Amber are scrappy and resourceful, and to their delight they find that their unconventional living arrangement leads to a much needed friendship. Both women find potential love interests, but the focus is definitely on how their relationship gives them the courage and support to solve their own problems. Savannah is troubled, selfish and angry, but by the end of the book she has realized that Cassie, despite the "step" in her name, has been a true mother to her in every sense of the word. Richards sets the book in Tarpon Springs, Florida, a real city that has the highest percentage of Greek-Americans in the country, and the cultural touches she adds (including a mouth-watering Greek restaurant owned by Cassie's grandmother) are interesting without dragging the book down in too much detail. The secondary characters, especially Cassie's aunt and grandmother, provide another layer of interesting relationship dynamics. I've been reading Emilie Richards' work for more than 25 years (yes, that makes me an Old), and she is still writing heartfelt, relevant novels. The House Guests is the perfect summer read.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Diane

    Although Emilie Richards has written over 70 books, The House Guests is the first one I have read. After finishing this wonderful novel, I will be reading more of them. Savannah is a 15 year-old girl who is angry that her stepmother Cassie moved her from New York City to Tarpon Springs, Florida following the drowning death of her father. She blames Cassie for his death because she overheard them arguing before he left and went sailing in a storm and died. Amber is a single mom raising her 16 year- Although Emilie Richards has written over 70 books, The House Guests is the first one I have read. After finishing this wonderful novel, I will be reading more of them. Savannah is a 15 year-old girl who is angry that her stepmother Cassie moved her from New York City to Tarpon Springs, Florida following the drowning death of her father. She blames Cassie for his death because she overheard them arguing before he left and went sailing in a storm and died. Amber is a single mom raising her 16 year-old son Will in Cassie's hometown of Tarpon Springs. They have moved frequently because Amber is on the run from someone. She works as a waitress at a restaurant, and money is tight. When Amber loses a small money pouch filled with her rent money, she and Will are evicted from their apartment. Savannah finds the money pouch, and in a bid to make new friends, throws a party at her stepmom's new home. The partygoers trash the home, and Cassie is at her wits' end what to do with Savannah. Cassie discovers that Amber and Will have been evicted, and offers for them to move into her home. Amber is wary at first, but Will is a good student and athlete, and she wants to give him some stability after years of constantly being on the move. Cassie and Amber become friendly, although Savannah is less than kind to Will. Cassie confides in Amber that her husband lied to her about many things, and spent most of their money with no explanation. The two women find strength and companionship in each other. I really enjoyed the Greek restaurant that Cassie's family owned. As someone with previous restaurant experience, that setting, and her boisterous Greek family, were so interesting to me. Richards details there were so well drawn that I could see the restaurant in my mind's eye. The House Guests drew me in from page one with characters I grew to care deeply about. Every good story has secrets (why is Amber on the run, and what was Cassie's husband hiding), and this had more than enough to keep me turning the pages to find the answers. I highly recommend this moving story of female friendship and the family you create. I read it in one day because I did not want to put it down. I also did not want it to end. Maybe we'll meet Amber, Will, Cassie and Savannah in Tarpon Springs again. (Pretty please, Emilie Richards?) Thanks to Harlequin for putting me on their Summer 2021 Mystery/Thriller Blogger Tour.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Rajiv

    [Blog]::[Youtube]::[Twitter]::[Instagram]::[Pinterest]::[Bloglovin] When I started reading this book, I was in for a pleasant surprise. It’s not a traditional thriller where you immediately know what the plot is. Frankly, I would characterize this more as women’s fiction where the suspense thriller is secondary. Hence, I was not sure if I would enjoy reading it. However, I loved the way the author portrayed the characters and ended up liking it. What stands out in the story is how the author w [Blog]::[Youtube]::[Twitter]::[Instagram]::[Pinterest]::[Bloglovin] When I started reading this book, I was in for a pleasant surprise. It’s not a traditional thriller where you immediately know what the plot is. Frankly, I would characterize this more as women’s fiction where the suspense thriller is secondary. Hence, I was not sure if I would enjoy reading it. However, I loved the way the author portrayed the characters and ended up liking it. What stands out in the story is how the author writes the emotions of the characters. My favorite character in the story was Cassie and her complex relationship with Savannah. Savannah blames Cassie for the death of Savannah’s father, and it was interesting to der how they adjusted with each other. Similarly, Will constantly asks questions about his father while Amber tries to dodge them. The story gets interesting once Amber and Will move in as house guests. I also enjoyed how Amber bonds with Cassie. You already know that Cassie and Savannah are on shaky grounds, and you wait for their relationship to collapse. Moreover, it was interesting to see how Will got along with Savannah. The author also writes the thriller nicely. I was intrigued to find out what Amber was running away from and why. Some memorable moments were when Cassie meets Fletcher to find answers or when she meets Nick or Ivy. None of the characters are likable because of their secrets, but I liked how the author told their story. Overall, “The House Guests” will be a hit or miss because it is not the traditional thriller that you expect it to be. Nevertheless, I found the book interesting mainly because of how the author wrote it.

  27. 4 out of 5

    WycEd Reader

    Check out our full post for THE HOUSE GUESTS on Wicked Reads. Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team Sarah – ☆☆☆ This is an almost painfully slow story about four people sharing a house in Florida. The house belongs to Cassie and her stepdaughter, Savannah. The houseguests are Amber and her son, Will. Cassie invites Amber to live with her after Savannah steals Amber’s savings. I really struggled with this book. There are a couple of storylines here that should be exciting. Cassie is digging into Check out our full post for THE HOUSE GUESTS on Wicked Reads. Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team Sarah – ☆☆☆ This is an almost painfully slow story about four people sharing a house in Florida. The house belongs to Cassie and her stepdaughter, Savannah. The houseguests are Amber and her son, Will. Cassie invites Amber to live with her after Savannah steals Amber’s savings. I really struggled with this book. There are a couple of storylines here that should be exciting. Cassie is digging into the mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of her husband, Savannah’s father. Amber is running from something – and for the longest time, readers don’t know what. However, both of these storylines drag along without any building tension. Interspersed between are scenes where Cassie and Savannah struggle with grief, relocating, and being poor(er) than they are accustomed to. Cassie reads as slightly useless, and Savannah as spoilt, so I found it really difficult to have empathy for either of them. Amber and Will are much more likeable, but Amber is too secretive and guarded for readers to ever connect with. With too many characters and too many narrative perspectives, this book becomes unwieldy. I was unable to keep the additional supporting characters straight. Cassie’s family members, her husband’s previous colleagues, the men Cassie and Amber date, Savannah’s friends… It is all a bit much in a single story. There are a couple of revelations at the end that should have been exciting, but they just weren’t. I’m a fast reader and I read just about everything. It isn’t often that I pick up, put down, and avoid a book as much as I did this one. Reviewers received a free copy of this book to read and review for Wicked Reads.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Tessa (Talks Books)

    The House Guests is a story of two single mothers with big secrets who find each other and form a bond that helps them survive the revelations and find the life they could have only dreamed of living. What I Liked I love the themes of friendship and family, with their emphasis on support and connection over the need for a genuine blood relation. The Greek family in the story gives me the warm fuzzies even as the tension mounts. With that type of family backing, you up, you know that everything wil The House Guests is a story of two single mothers with big secrets who find each other and form a bond that helps them survive the revelations and find the life they could have only dreamed of living. What I Liked I love the themes of friendship and family, with their emphasis on support and connection over the need for a genuine blood relation. The Greek family in the story gives me the warm fuzzies even as the tension mounts. With that type of family backing, you up, you know that everything will always be alright – that you can weather all storms. The novel is very unexpected. I was expecting a high-octane thriller, but instead, I experienced a low simmer building of suspense with each flip of the page. I found myself continually holding my breath, waiting for the other shoe to drop, and that kept up the tension until the multiple explosions at the end as the secrets revealed and the consequences faced. All the characters are instantly relatable and sympathetic except for Savannah. Though she is developed with extraordinary realism, her grief makes her a character that is a bit off-putting. She comes across as spoiled, unsympathetically demanding, and even cruel as her anger (caused by grief and situational depression) takes hold, and she says and does completely insensitive things. It comes across as particularly harsh because of all the love and warmth she is surrounded by. And, Yiayia was probably my favorite character. The matriarch of the Greek family that is central in the story is warm and welcoming to all, and her role at the end of the story had me laughing and cheering. What I Wished I found the novel to be a much longer read than I expected. Since I enjoyed the story, I think that might be because of the exposition levels over dialogue. I wish there had been a better balance between the two to keep the pages flipping as fast as the story's pace. But, that is the only thing that impacted my enjoyment of this unexpected find. To Read or Not to Read If you are looking for a suspenseful read with the warmth of a chick-lit story, The House Guests is one you won't want to miss this summer!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    “The House Guest” is a change from Emilie Richards’ Shenandoah Album Series. The first difference is that it takes place in Tarpon Springs, Florida. The Greek culture of this area plays an integral part of this story. Cassie, the lead character in the book, has her roots in Tarpon Springs and the Greek community. Reading this book, while the restaurants in my area were all closed, left me pining for some Souvlaki, with a Horiatiki salad. Cassie’s Grandmother owns a restaurant, and many of the sc “The House Guest” is a change from Emilie Richards’ Shenandoah Album Series. The first difference is that it takes place in Tarpon Springs, Florida. The Greek culture of this area plays an integral part of this story. Cassie, the lead character in the book, has her roots in Tarpon Springs and the Greek community. Reading this book, while the restaurants in my area were all closed, left me pining for some Souvlaki, with a Horiatiki salad. Cassie’s Grandmother owns a restaurant, and many of the scences have food as a major element. However, the book is not a recipe book or a travelogue. Cassie is a recent widow and the money she and her husband had saved is gone, and Cassie doesn’t know where. Meanwhile, Cassie meets Amber, through the actions of Cassie’s stepdaughter, Savannah. Amber and her sixteen year old son are homeless, and Cassie invites these strangers to live with Savannah and her. Amber has secrets of her own, and has been running from them for a long time. As Cassie and Amber get to know one another, their secrets become the heart of this story. Although this book seems to be classified as a suspense novel, I found it to be Woman’s Fiction at it finest. The relationships of the women in the book are what really lead to the climax of the story. Even Savannah’s “real mother” has a role to play in it. As a long time fan of Emilie Richards’ books I can see how her earlier books have lead to this story. I really enjoyed this book, even if it made me hungry for some good Greek food!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Reeca Elliott

    Savannah just lost her father. On top of that…her step mother, Cassie, has moved her to a podunk town in Florida. Savannah is not happy. She has been rebelling for quite a few weeks. She runs across a lost purse with quite a bit of cash in it. She and her friends throw a wild party with the money. Little does she know, this small act of rebellion changes her life. Amber is the owner of the small purse. She needed the money to pay her rent and her back rent. Through some twists and turns, Cassie f Savannah just lost her father. On top of that…her step mother, Cassie, has moved her to a podunk town in Florida. Savannah is not happy. She has been rebelling for quite a few weeks. She runs across a lost purse with quite a bit of cash in it. She and her friends throw a wild party with the money. Little does she know, this small act of rebellion changes her life. Amber is the owner of the small purse. She needed the money to pay her rent and her back rent. Through some twists and turns, Cassie finds out about the issue. Amber and her son are now living in a tent at a campground. So, to make amends, Cassie moves this small family into her home. There is a lot going on in this story, several storylines at one time. The author melds them together with ease. And her characters are wonderful. Especially Amber! I can just fell her angst and her worry coming off the pages. And when you get to the kicker toward the end…then you understand where all her secrecy is coming from. This was almost a 5 star read. It was just a tad too long. It could have been shortened by quite a few pages and still been a fabulous read. Need a good family story with a kick!…this is it! Grab your copy today. I received this novel from the publisher for a honest review.

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