** Blog Tour ** The Mother Next Door by Tara Laskowski #BookReview #5Stars @HarlequinBooks

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Mother Next Door!

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Thank you to Harlequin Books for inviting me on the blog tour!

Special thanks to Tara Laskowski, Harlequin Books, and NetGalley for the privilege of previewing this book in exchange for an honest review.

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Mother Next Door

Publish Date: October 12, 2021

Ladies and gentlemen, skulls and boys: by the time our Halloween block party is over tonight, one of us will be dead.” – The Mother Next Door

Halloween 1

The annual Halloween block party is the pinnacle of the year on idyllic suburban cul-de-sac Ivy Woods Drive. An influential group of neighborhood moms—known as the Ivy Five—plans the event for months.

Except the Ivy Five has been four for a long time.

When a new mother moves to town, eager to fit in, the moms see it as an opportunity to make the group whole again. This year’s block party should be the best yet… until the women start receiving anonymous messages threatening to expose the quiet neighborhood’s dark past—and the lengths they’ve gone to hide it.

As secrets seep out and the threats intensify, the Ivy Five must sort the loyal from the disloyal, the good from the bad. They’ll do anything to protect their families. But when a twisted plot is revealed, with dangerous consequences, their steady foundation begins to crumble, leaving only one certainty: after this year’s block party, Ivy Woods Drive will never be the same.

Halloween 2

This book is the perfect match for the Fall season and invoking Halloween vibes 🎃!  It’s the ideal story to read curled up in your favorite comfy chair on a cold fall day, in front of a warm fire while sipping on a pumpkin spice latte or mulled cider.

This book transported me to a suburban enclave near Washington DC called Ivy Woods Drive – where the Halloween party invitation is exclusive, the cocktails are strong, the costumes are vampy, the people are beautiful, and the secrets are everywhere.

This domestic thriller is told through changing the points of view between the main characters, including the influential, rich, and powerful group of moms that live on Ivy Woods Drive. The street hosts an annual Halloween blowout with a costome contest, games, prizes, and entertainment. Each year is better than the next. The story unfolds in the time leading up to the Halloween party and during their epic Halloween block party.

The Mother Next Door‘s tone and characters remind me of Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty, with friendships, secrets, and lies between mothers.  The main character is Theresa, the newest mom on Ivy Woods Drive. She is the wife of the new high school principal, and their family just moved into their dream house on that exclusive street. Theresa is on the outside looking in, and longing to fit in with the tight-knit, haughty Ivy Woods moms. No matter how old you are – whether you are in grade school or college-age or middle-aged – most of us want to be liked and accepted. Theresa is no exception.

None of these characters were likeable for me, but I think that was intentional by the author. I enjoyed this fast paced domestic thriller, the characters, and their motivations. The Ivy Woods moms will remind you of people that you know if you live in a community with public or private schools, parent organizations, school functions, Okfundraisers, and families. It pokes fun that these kind of moms and I loved it.

To add to the mystery, an unknown person is sending sinister messages to the Ivy Woods women saying they know what the moms did in the past, a la “I Know What You Did Last Summer“. Totally creepy! I was dying to know who this was.

Here are some of my favorite quotes:

“Look closer. Look under the makeup and the masks, look into the windows of the perfect houses. Dig under the surface of those freshly mowed lawns and you’ll find the worms.”

“We hate ourselves. We are too fat, or too thin. We should work hard, be smarter. We are worried about money. WE are ashamed of the way that our friends and family treat us. But we lie about it all. We hide behind a protective facade, glass figurines inside elaborate dollhouses designed to look like perfect, safe, happy places.”

“To survive as a working mom, you need to multitask.”

“What happens behind the drink table stays at the drink table.”

My rating: 5 of 5 stars 5 Stars

This book is about secrets, betrayal, acceptance, marriage, family, perceptions, and power. It’s highly entertaining and a super fun read that is an ideal way to pass the time on a cold Fall day. It’s a great combination of Big Little Lies, Desparate Housewives, and The Hunting Wives all wrapped up in one delicious story.  It will definitely put you in the mood for Halloween!

Thanks for stopping by, and be sure to check out my fellow bloggers on this book tour!

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