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The Mother Next Door

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GOOD MOTHERS… Never show their feelings. Never spill their secrets. Never admit to murder. 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 GOOD MOTHERS… Never show their feelings. Never spill their secrets. Never admit to murder. 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. From award-winning author Tara Laskowski, The Mother Next Door is an atmospheric novel of domestic suspense in which the strive for perfection ends in murder…


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GOOD MOTHERS… Never show their feelings. Never spill their secrets. Never admit to murder. 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 GOOD MOTHERS… Never show their feelings. Never spill their secrets. Never admit to murder. 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. From award-winning author Tara Laskowski, The Mother Next Door is an atmospheric novel of domestic suspense in which the strive for perfection ends in murder…

30 review for The Mother Next Door

  1. 4 out of 5

    Michael David

    HAPPY PUBLICATION DAY! A Q&A with myself, because why not? Who are the Ivy Five? A group of neighbors who live on Ivy Woods Drive, a cul-de-sac of tight knit neighbors. They’ll do anything to keep the peace and protect their own. They’re also big news at pep rallies, and of course...the annual Halloween block party. 🍂 Who’s the leader of the Ivy Five (Hive)? That would be ‘queen bee’ Kendra. She’s lived in the neighborhood for years, and what she says basically GOES! Try to step on her and you’ll get HAPPY PUBLICATION DAY! A Q&A with myself, because why not? Who are the Ivy Five? A group of neighbors who live on Ivy Woods Drive, a cul-de-sac of tight knit neighbors. They’ll do anything to keep the peace and protect their own. They’re also big news at pep rallies, and of course...the annual Halloween block party. 🍂 Who’s the leader of the Ivy Five (Hive)? That would be ‘queen bee’ Kendra. She’s lived in the neighborhood for years, and what she says basically GOES! Try to step on her and you’ll get stung. 🐝 Why are there only four members? Well, there used to be five members. One of them essentially disappeared and dropped all communication years ago, after a significant event. Who’s the new ‘bee’? (Newbie, and yet also going with the “hive” theme..get it?)🤦🤣 That’s Theresa. She’s the mother next door who just moved in with her husband, who is the principal of the local high school. She also has an angsty teenaged daughter who may be making the wrong kind of friends. Why is someone threatening the Ivy Five? Because they have a devastating secret. Their Halloween block party isn’t always just fun, booze, and dancing. It can have deadly consequences. What kind of consequences? Great question. Almost each Ivy Five member has a secret that they do not want revealed. How far would YOU go to keep things under wrap? Hmmm? I’ll wait for your answer. Well, should I read this book? Do you like to be entertained? Do you like seasonal reads with unlikable, yet intriguing, characters? Then yes! The story is suspenseful, easy to get wrapped up in, and has many atmospheric moments. It’s perfect for Fall/Halloween lovers. Why 3.5 stars? While I enjoyed the ending overall, even the epilogue (!!), the intensity level lost some consistency. There was a bit of far-fetched ness, but I would still recommend it. Hence, I rounded it up to 4. Thank you to Graydon House for providing me with a widget of the ARC through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Expected Publication Date: 10/12/21. Review also posted at: https://bonkersforthebooks.wordpress.com BONUS QUESTION: Any trigger warnings I should be aware of? Nope! No animal harm, and no disparaging remarks towards Paula Abdul or Mariah Carey.🤣

  2. 5 out of 5

    L.A.

    "Ladies and gentlemen, skulls and boys: by the time our Halloween block party is over tonight, one of us will be dead..." You are invited to the annual Halloween Party🍁 on Ivy Woods Drive hosted by the Ivy Five With pumpkins 🎃 on sale, the turn of fall, football season...what could be better than an atmospheric domestic suspense. I'm thankful I did not get an invitation or even helping to host such an event with the devious work of these mothers. A look at some very privileged lives gone very wron "Ladies and gentlemen, skulls and boys: by the time our Halloween block party is over tonight, one of us will be dead..." You are invited to the annual Halloween Party🍁 on Ivy Woods Drive hosted by the Ivy Five With pumpkins 🎃 on sale, the turn of fall, football season...what could be better than an atmospheric domestic suspense. I'm thankful I did not get an invitation or even helping to host such an event with the devious work of these mothers. A look at some very privileged lives gone very wrong. The mothers are busy as bees 🐝 preparing for their annual party. In what used to be the Ivy Five, we are lacking a mother that has gone MIA. A new mother has moved into the neighborhood and has been accepted into their little society. They know more about her than she cares to reveal. There are secrets, lies with deadly consequences, and a great divide of loyalty between these women. In the beginning, you know a crime has been committed and a young woman's life was cut short, but what you don't know is who is the killer and why has this happened. A twist at the end reveals a shocking revelation. As far as the characters, I don't feel like I could connect with any of them or even like them. I enjoyed the book and I like the way it delivered in revolving doors of present to past and changed with POV of several characters...But y'all..."It's a nice place to live. And we're gorgeous people. Who wouldn't want to be here?" 😳 The coolest thing about the book is the soundtrack you can find on Spotify: http://bit.ly/MotherNextDoor "That's What Friends Are For" Dionne Warwick, Elton John, Gladys Knight, Stevie Wonder 💕 "Happy Halloween" Thanks NetGalley for this ARC in exchange for my honest review.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Lucy

    This is exactly the Halloween story I was looking for 🎃! It's creepy, mysterious, suspenseful, and tense. The pace is quick and perfect for this domestic thriller. Take a visit to Ivy Woods Drive, where the Halloween block parties require a guest list, secrets abound, and the Ivy Five are in charge. ▪️Who is counting down to Halloween with threatening notes? ▪️Why did a member of the Ivy Five disappear? ▪️Who is the Ghost Girl urban legend about? ▪️What is the mother next door hiding? Meet the Ivy Fiv This is exactly the Halloween story I was looking for 🎃! It's creepy, mysterious, suspenseful, and tense. The pace is quick and perfect for this domestic thriller. Take a visit to Ivy Woods Drive, where the Halloween block parties require a guest list, secrets abound, and the Ivy Five are in charge. ▪️Who is counting down to Halloween with threatening notes? ▪️Why did a member of the Ivy Five disappear? ▪️Who is the Ghost Girl urban legend about? ▪️What is the mother next door hiding? Meet the Ivy Five and you'll find the answers to those questions. Just keep up with their lies, secrets, and backstabbing. If you're looking for a Fall/Halloween story that's a bit creepy and highly entertaining, this is it 🧙‍♀️🍂.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Gabby

    Pretty average thriller but I love how much Halloween is a part of this story 🎃👻 Reading vlog: https://youtu.be/gwB2D-8KlqI Pretty average thriller but I love how much Halloween is a part of this story 🎃👻 Reading vlog: https://youtu.be/gwB2D-8KlqI

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jonetta

    Theresa Pressley has just moved from Philadelphia to the Ivy Woods neighborhood, somewhere in suburban Virginia outside of Washington, D.C. Her husband, Adam Wallace, is the new principal at the local high school where their daughter also is attending. Their house is on Ivy Woods Lane in a coveted cul-de-sac, one where Theresa had always dreamed of living. It doesn’t take long for her to meet the women who are considered the “in crowd,” led by Kendra McCaul, the queen bee of the Ivy Five. But cu Theresa Pressley has just moved from Philadelphia to the Ivy Woods neighborhood, somewhere in suburban Virginia outside of Washington, D.C. Her husband, Adam Wallace, is the new principal at the local high school where their daughter also is attending. Their house is on Ivy Woods Lane in a coveted cul-de-sac, one where Theresa had always dreamed of living. It doesn’t take long for her to meet the women who are considered the “in crowd,” led by Kendra McCaul, the queen bee of the Ivy Five. But curiously there are only four and it feels like she’s being recruited to replace whoever used to be that fifth. The story is told from the points of view of Theresa, Kendra and a third voice who isn’t revealed until late in the story. It didn’t take me long to question if my narrators were reliable. Kendra is famous for her annual big Halloween block party and everything is leading up to that event. You’re not sure what’s going to happen and that’s also part of the suspense build up. It’s clear early on that there’s more to Theresa than what you see on the surface and it’s a slow unraveling of her past that provides more insight into the dynamics of what’s to come. Kendra definitely has earned her position as leader of this suburban hive and she lives up to it in every moment. It’s also obvious that she and her posse are protecting a big secret. There’s definitely a Big Little Lies vibe here but not quite as intricate. One event from the past is the driver of the story and it’s that unidentified narrator that provides the drama. I listened to the story and her cynicism and snark were pitch perfect, setting the right tone for this person. I was really happy that three separate narrators were used as it made it so much easier to identify who was speaking because of the many transitions. All delivered wonderful performances and made this story even better. I’d guessed a lot about Theresa and what happened in the past but there still were some interesting twists I didn’t foresee. I really enjoyed this creepy, meandering suburban drama that kept me guessing and trying to figure things out until the end. Perfect story for the Halloween season. Posted on Blue Mood Café (Thanks to Harlequin Audio for my complimentary copy. All opinions are my own.)

  6. 4 out of 5

    Melissa (LifeFullyBooked)

    3.5 stars rounded up I liked last year's One Night Gone by Laskowski, but I found this one to be a bit more compulsively entertaining. Combine Desperate Housewives with Mean Girls and you get an idea of the fast-paced novel here. Theresa and her family move onto the Ivy Woods cul-de-sac. Theresa wants nothing more than to fit in with the "Ivy Five" (well, now they're down to four) women who lead privileged lives. They host the annual Halloween party that is the event of the town. Yet every single 3.5 stars rounded up I liked last year's One Night Gone by Laskowski, but I found this one to be a bit more compulsively entertaining. Combine Desperate Housewives with Mean Girls and you get an idea of the fast-paced novel here. Theresa and her family move onto the Ivy Woods cul-de-sac. Theresa wants nothing more than to fit in with the "Ivy Five" (well, now they're down to four) women who lead privileged lives. They host the annual Halloween party that is the event of the town. Yet every single one of them have secrets, tell lies, and will stop at nothing to keep those secrets from coming to light. Even Theresa. Overall, this is a captivating novel that kept me invested, just because I wanted to see how things would shake out. I found a lot of it to be unbelievable, but that didn't take too much away from my enjoyment. So much drama occurs that it was kind of fun to watch how these mean girls/elite women, in turn, got their just desserts for their past actions. For a quick domestic thriller, this one is perfect for the fall season with its Halloween vibes. I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book, all opinions are my own.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Kendall

    Welcome to the Ivy Five in the neighborhood of Ivy Woods Drive. Who are the Ivy Five? A group of five women that run the posh neighborhood of Ivy Woods Drive. Every year they host the annual Halloween block party which is what these ladies are known for. Let's meet Kendra.... she's the Queen Bee of the group and watch out her stinger will come for revenge if she doesn't get her way. Currently, there are only four members because one of the members mysteriously disappeared and they haven't heard fr Welcome to the Ivy Five in the neighborhood of Ivy Woods Drive. Who are the Ivy Five? A group of five women that run the posh neighborhood of Ivy Woods Drive. Every year they host the annual Halloween block party which is what these ladies are known for. Let's meet Kendra.... she's the Queen Bee of the group and watch out her stinger will come for revenge if she doesn't get her way. Currently, there are only four members because one of the members mysteriously disappeared and they haven't heard from her since. This will come to haunt the Ivy Five at the annual Halloween block party.....not all dancing and having fun. Of course, the Ivy Five group is not all it seems and dark secrets start unfolding at the seams with every member. I loved the fall and Halloween vibes in this one and definitely recommend checking this one out if you love unreliable characters and a shit show train of drama between women. I've been such a fan of Tara and can't wait to read her next novel!!!! Thank you to Graydon House and Tara Laskowski for my copy! 4.5 stars! Pub date: 10/12/21 Published to GR: 10/3/21

  8. 5 out of 5

    Frank Phillips

    This was a book I was looking forward to for a very long time, so when I finally picked it up a couple of days back, I could hardly contain my excitement. Unfortunately, this book was just an 'okay' experience for me. It was by no means a bad read, but it was not a book I'd say will blow your mind. Keep in mind, I understand that not every suspense/thriller strives to do so. For the most part, this was about a group of housewives all living in a subdivision that called themselves the Ivey Five. This was a book I was looking forward to for a very long time, so when I finally picked it up a couple of days back, I could hardly contain my excitement. Unfortunately, this book was just an 'okay' experience for me. It was by no means a bad read, but it was not a book I'd say will blow your mind. Keep in mind, I understand that not every suspense/thriller strives to do so. For the most part, this was about a group of housewives all living in a subdivision that called themselves the Ivey Five. At the beginning of the story, there are only four members of this clique, leading one to believe there was at one time a fifth member. Additionally, it becomes very evident there's some sort of secret they are keeping. Did it have anything to do with the fifth member, who moved away and was never heard from again? What about the urban legend about the babysitter who died tragically years earlier? Intriguing, right? Well when everything was said and done I found myself saying 'Well, duh, that's pretty much a no-brainer!' which was a let-down. I will say that I did listen to this in parts on audiobook, so it's possible there were small details I missed, so perhaps this is worth a reread years down the road. Another problem I had with this one was also that the women kept referring to themselves as witches, and Halloween was a huge part of the storyline, so I was confused when there was absolutely nothing paranormal about this story - did I really actually miss something? I think for the most part, this could be on me. I had just finished my BOTM selection which I absolutely LOVED, and then I started this expecting to fall in love with it just as much. I know having high expectations can be a recipe for disaster, so lesson learned!! If you like neighborhood dramas, with mystery elements to them and a cast full of gossipy housewives, then this might be the book for you! I, unfortunately, wanted something more at the time I read this, so it was somewhat of a miss for me. I by no means am writing Laskowski off, and will look for any forthcoming releases by her, so please don't let this deter you from giving her books a shot. Anyway, here's to hoping for a stellar end to what's turned out to be a fantastic 2021 of reading!!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Carrie

    The Mother Next Door by Tara Laskowski is mostly being tagged as a thriller but for me I felt this one fell more into the drama category with a bit of suspense. The story is told by changing the point of view between the main characters which are in a timeline leading up to the Halloween party and also with passages between their point of view of Halloween. Theresa has just made the move to the suburban cul-de-sac Ivy Woods Drive. Being in a new neighborhood of course Theresa wants to fit in with The Mother Next Door by Tara Laskowski is mostly being tagged as a thriller but for me I felt this one fell more into the drama category with a bit of suspense. The story is told by changing the point of view between the main characters which are in a timeline leading up to the Halloween party and also with passages between their point of view of Halloween. Theresa has just made the move to the suburban cul-de-sac Ivy Woods Drive. Being in a new neighborhood of course Theresa wants to fit in with the other moms around. Four of those mothers are in a group that call themselves the Ivy Five and they take Theresa into their friend group hoping to make it whole again after losing their former fifth member. As the ladies are planning the upcoming Halloween block party they begin to receive threatening messages. Now perhaps I may be reading just too many thrillers set up as coming into a new neighborhood and the secrets and lies being hidden there but for me I just found The Mother Next Door to be just an Ok read. I do however seem to be a minority opinion on this one as others are loving it and normally I do enjoy some good old popcorn drama but I just found the story rather slow moving. Also for me the characters didn’t really stand out that much and I didn’t particularly find myself caught up in their drama the way I have with other stories of this nature. Again, not bad but it won’t become a favorite of mine. I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley. For more reviews please visit https://carriesbookreviews.com/

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jen

    This was a fun read, though I didn't find it quite as dark and mysterious as the synopsis made it look like. It was indeed in a similar vein in tone and twists to Big Little Lies, though; that was a apt comparison. The story centers primarily on Theresa, who moves into an upper-class neighborhood outside of Washington DC when her husband gets a job as high school principal. The neighborhood is ruled by a clique of mean girls and Theresa is desperate to fit in. As we get to know both Theresa and This was a fun read, though I didn't find it quite as dark and mysterious as the synopsis made it look like. It was indeed in a similar vein in tone and twists to Big Little Lies, though; that was a apt comparison. The story centers primarily on Theresa, who moves into an upper-class neighborhood outside of Washington DC when her husband gets a job as high school principal. The neighborhood is ruled by a clique of mean girls and Theresa is desperate to fit in. As we get to know both Theresa and the group of women, secrets are exposed, particularly as it relates to a dark event in their past, in which no one was really that innocent. The POV is told in alternating voices between Theresa, Kendra (one of the "Ivy Five" clique)., and via flashbacks from an unknown character. None of these characters were hugely likeable, but I gleaned that going in and it didn't bother me. I am always fascinated by what makes people act as they do, and thought the book did a good job in characterizing the various players so I could see what was driving their behavior. Though there were more than a few characters, but the author did a good job at giving them the depth I needed to understand their decisions. The threats that the women received didn't come off quite as foreboding to me as I think they were intended, but the flashback scenes were quite atmospheric. I figured out part of the twist but not all of it, and thought that it all came together really well when the mystery was revealed. All in all, this was a fun read and I enjoyed it. I think those who like domestic suspense as well as friendships that might not be all they seem will enjoy it. Thanks to Netgalley for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Anne

    ”Dig under the surface of those freshly mowed lawns and you’ll find the worms.” The Mother Next Door is a Halloween themed thriller about a group of mothers who viciously guard their secrets to hide their flaws. There are three narrators who tell the story. First is Theresa, a recent neighbor on Ivy Drive, with her husband, the new high school principal, and her daughter (15). And Kendra, the control freak group leader of the Ivy Five, with her husband and son (18). Both points of view are in th ”Dig under the surface of those freshly mowed lawns and you’ll find the worms.” The Mother Next Door is a Halloween themed thriller about a group of mothers who viciously guard their secrets to hide their flaws. There are three narrators who tell the story. First is Theresa, a recent neighbor on Ivy Drive, with her husband, the new high school principal, and her daughter (15). And Kendra, the control freak group leader of the Ivy Five, with her husband and son (18). Both points of view are in the present and help countdown to this year’s Halloween party – a grand event they outdo each time. Then, you have “Halloween” chapters by an unnamed narrator whose name is made known near the end of the book. It took me while to realize the Halloween chapters are about the party the group hosted thirteen years ago. It is better to know less about the characters before you read. Just understand Kendra is in charge, and there are three more mothers, plus Theresa in the cast (the Ivy Five). There are three teens on the street who are noteworthy. And a few more people who are introduced early in the story. Finding out the relationships between the characters motivated my reading. Early on, the Halloween chapters add atmosphere and foreboding with lavish descriptions about the party and decorations. As they progress, you get hints about what happened and suspense builds. It’s clear people have secrets they wish to keep secret. This hold on the façade is threatened when the women begin receiving cryptic messages. As these trickle in, the group scrambled to discover who is behind this attack and what that means for them. You will likely suspect (or guess) the plot twist before it comes. But those willing to go with it, can enjoy a story tailor made for a seasonal read. There is a psychological focus (not gore). It is mildly creepy (not scary). Fans of drama should get their fill. I did try the audio before reading a digital book. I quite it because I mixed up the characters not because of the quality (some books don’t work well as audios for me). On the audio, the characters sounded extremely shallow; I found them more appealing by reading though. Overall, I enjoyed this quick read. Not a spectacular thriller; think gentle thriller. However, it is the ideal book to get you into the fall fun spirit.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Anne

    Calling this one unfinished. I listened to 15% of the audio, which was very good, but I had trouble keeping up with the large cast even with the three distinct narrators. Perhaps, for me, reading would be a better experience. Unfortunately, an audio was the only format choice I had for loan. Besides, I found the characters rather annoying. Again, perhaps I would feel differently about them if reading. I will keep this on my October shelf and perhaps, next year, I will have a digital format acces Calling this one unfinished. I listened to 15% of the audio, which was very good, but I had trouble keeping up with the large cast even with the three distinct narrators. Perhaps, for me, reading would be a better experience. Unfortunately, an audio was the only format choice I had for loan. Besides, I found the characters rather annoying. Again, perhaps I would feel differently about them if reading. I will keep this on my October shelf and perhaps, next year, I will have a digital format accessible.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Andrea Bartz

    If the women of BIG LITTLE LIES were the moms of East Coast high schoolers, they'd be right at home in THE MOTHER NEXT DOOR—a witty, wicked thriller packed with hidden agendas, juicy secrets, and pitch-perfect satire of the suburban dream. If the women of BIG LITTLE LIES were the moms of East Coast high schoolers, they'd be right at home in THE MOTHER NEXT DOOR—a witty, wicked thriller packed with hidden agendas, juicy secrets, and pitch-perfect satire of the suburban dream.

  14. 4 out of 5

    DJ Sakata

    Favorite Quotes: The women stood between two cafeteria tables, four of them with slight smiles, heads cocked at the same angle, a united front. An army with moisturizing sunscreen and Kate Spade purses, doused in St. Yves perfume. ...she was about as clever as a pipe cleaner. We passed gossip around our group like a bottle of wine— plenty for everyone. The perfect house on the hill that I’d had to have. The perfect house in the perfect neighborhood. I’d built a castle on top of a snake’s nest. My Rev Favorite Quotes: The women stood between two cafeteria tables, four of them with slight smiles, heads cocked at the same angle, a united front. An army with moisturizing sunscreen and Kate Spade purses, doused in St. Yves perfume. ...she was about as clever as a pipe cleaner. We passed gossip around our group like a bottle of wine— plenty for everyone. The perfect house on the hill that I’d had to have. The perfect house in the perfect neighborhood. I’d built a castle on top of a snake’s nest. My Review: This was cleverly paced and shrewdly plotted with just the right levels of humor and irony to temper the intrigue and needling angsty suspense that kept tickling my gray matter. The author is new to me and I enjoyed her writing style and hope to read much more of it in the future as her prose was smartly provocative yet easy to follow and called up sharp visuals behind my eyes. She craftily stuffed agile narratives with uniquely compelling characters who kept me a bit on edge and curious to know more about each one, although I wouldn’t want to share air with any of them.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Wendy

    Oh, where to start? I wanted so much more from this. It was cliche after cliche, and if it weren’t for all of the F-bombs, I’d have thought this was a YA book. It started out with a lot of promise; who was narrating? Who had what secrets? Who to trust? But the writing was so simplistic and I eventually found myself rolling my eyes at every turn. “ I hit the railroad tracks and turn left toward the bridge. It was even darker down here, dark shapes surrounded by darker shapes...” HUH? Sentences lik Oh, where to start? I wanted so much more from this. It was cliche after cliche, and if it weren’t for all of the F-bombs, I’d have thought this was a YA book. It started out with a lot of promise; who was narrating? Who had what secrets? Who to trust? But the writing was so simplistic and I eventually found myself rolling my eyes at every turn. “ I hit the railroad tracks and turn left toward the bridge. It was even darker down here, dark shapes surrounded by darker shapes...” HUH? Sentences like this, aggravated the hell outta me. If you haven’t read many thrillers, then this would be okayyyy. It was just too light and cheesy for my taste. I will say, the Halloween atmosphere was the best thing this book had going for a it. THAT part, I enjoyed. A ouija board table cloth? Yesss. 🔮✨ Bumped up a star for little spooky treats like that; there just weren’t enough of them.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Kellye

    Really loved Tara's follow up to her multiple award winning debut. As an mystery writer, I can usually guess the twists but this story definitely took me in places I wasn't suspecting. There was one reveal at the midpoint that completely made me say 'Oh wow." as I was reading it. A lot of people are comparing this to Little Big Lies (which I haven't read) and Desperate Housewives, which I loved. But it also feels a bit like a grown up Pretty Little Liars. Tara has such an amazing voice and really Really loved Tara's follow up to her multiple award winning debut. As an mystery writer, I can usually guess the twists but this story definitely took me in places I wasn't suspecting. There was one reveal at the midpoint that completely made me say 'Oh wow." as I was reading it. A lot of people are comparing this to Little Big Lies (which I haven't read) and Desperate Housewives, which I loved. But it also feels a bit like a grown up Pretty Little Liars. Tara has such an amazing voice and really does an amazing job carefully laying out the puzzle pieces so that everything fits and makes sense once it's complete.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Donna

    +++ 3.5 stars +++ Ivy Woods Drive is known for its annual Halloween party planned by neighborhood moms known as the Ivy Five - Kendra, Bettina, Pia, and Alice. Wait, that's only four. What happened to the fifth member? Theresa is the new principal's wife. She wants to fit into the neighborhood so she wants to be the new fifth member. She grew up around there so could there be an underlying reason for this? My suspicious mind was at work. Alice and Kendra are getting messages -- "It's been 13 years +++ 3.5 stars +++ Ivy Woods Drive is known for its annual Halloween party planned by neighborhood moms known as the Ivy Five - Kendra, Bettina, Pia, and Alice. Wait, that's only four. What happened to the fifth member? Theresa is the new principal's wife. She wants to fit into the neighborhood so she wants to be the new fifth member. She grew up around there so could there be an underlying reason for this? My suspicious mind was at work. Alice and Kendra are getting messages -- "It's been 13 years. This is the Halloween I take revenge" signed Ghost Girl. The story goes back in time to several weeks before the Halloween party. Interspersed in current events are chapters by anonymous narrator. I thought the story moved slowly while Theresa is getting to know the other ladies but it was interesting enough for me to keep reading. I couldn't figure out the anonymous narrator. Theresa's background is not what I was imagining. I thought the ending was great.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Danielle B

    Ivy Woods Drive is located in a seemingly perfect suburban neighborhood. A group of moms from the neighborhood have been dubbed “The Ivy Five” due to their influential roles in planning the infamous annual Halloween Block Party. Unfortunately the Ivy Five has been one member short for quite some time. As luck would have it, a new mom, Theresa, moves in to the neighborhood and welcomes the opportunity to join the Ivy Five and make the group complete once again. Everything seems perfect until the Ivy Woods Drive is located in a seemingly perfect suburban neighborhood. A group of moms from the neighborhood have been dubbed “The Ivy Five” due to their influential roles in planning the infamous annual Halloween Block Party. Unfortunately the Ivy Five has been one member short for quite some time. As luck would have it, a new mom, Theresa, moves in to the neighborhood and welcomes the opportunity to join the Ivy Five and make the group complete once again. Everything seems perfect until the ladies start receiving threatening messages. Will the neighborhood’s secrets from the past be exposed? Tara Laskowski creates a perfect blend of spooky and suspenseful in THE MOTHER NEXT DOOR. The Halloween setting fits just right for this perfectly paced story of lies and deception. This one gripped my attention and didn’t let go! Many thanks to Graydon House for my ARC in exchange for my honest review. This review will be posted to my Instagram Blog (@coffee.break.book.reviews) on September 30, 2021.

  19. 5 out of 5

    oohlalabooks

    This is a slow burn drama with a tinge of suspense. Theresa and her family move into the Ivy Woods community just in time for the Halloween block party on the cul de sac. Really cool that I picked this up during Halloween and I also live on a cul de sac and yes this is very relatable! Theresa becomes obsessed with “The Ivy Five”, but hold up there’s only four where is, who was, and what happened to the fifth one? This is where the story picks up, secrets come out & there’s drama and threats. Tha This is a slow burn drama with a tinge of suspense. Theresa and her family move into the Ivy Woods community just in time for the Halloween block party on the cul de sac. Really cool that I picked this up during Halloween and I also live on a cul de sac and yes this is very relatable! Theresa becomes obsessed with “The Ivy Five”, but hold up there’s only four where is, who was, and what happened to the fifth one? This is where the story picks up, secrets come out & there’s drama and threats. Thank you to NetGalley, Harlequin Trade Publishing, and the author for a gifted copy. This is my honest review.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Sonica

    Review to come!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews

    Theresa is new to the exclusive cul-de-sac Ivy Woods Drive and wants to fit in. The Ivy Five moms welcome her since one of their five has been gone for a long time. If they allow her in, they will be back to five instead of four. The four Ivys - Kendra, Bettina, Pia, and Alice have always hosted a Halloween Party that took months to prepare for and a party that was talked about as the best ever. This year someone has been sending messages saying they know what the moms did in the past. What could t Theresa is new to the exclusive cul-de-sac Ivy Woods Drive and wants to fit in. The Ivy Five moms welcome her since one of their five has been gone for a long time. If they allow her in, they will be back to five instead of four. The four Ivys - Kendra, Bettina, Pia, and Alice have always hosted a Halloween Party that took months to prepare for and a party that was talked about as the best ever. This year someone has been sending messages saying they know what the moms did in the past. What could that be? They ignore the messages at first, but they come more frequently and scare the Ivy Five. Wonder who did what and when? The women are all catty and shallow with secrets of their own, including the missing Ivy girl. I didn’t like any of the women. Or trust them. What will happen at this year's party? Will everyone's secrets be revealed? Will it be perfect just like each woman thinks she is? The book flowed well, but there was too much drama in it for me even though the theme seemed to be that you never know who to trust. 3/5 This book was given to me by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Amy Lee

    A fun filled thriller that will keep you guessing! Rich well developed characters drive a tale about secrets and what we will do to keep them hidden. The setting, an idyllic suburban neighborhood during the spookiest time of year. The cast of characters, the Ivy Five, their families and a supporting cast of neighbors and one nosy reporter. A quick read, perfect for Halloween season! This would make a wonderful spooky movie!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    3.5/5 This was a juicy and entertaining read about grown women behaving badly that I mostly enjoyed. I think I expected it to be a little darker and creepier based off of the synopsis than it actually was, but it was still a fun seasonal read. There were plenty of secrets and betrayals and although some of them seemed obvious to me, they were still entertaining. If you like reading about unlikable characters and specifically catty women this could appeal to you. It was almost a women’s fiction wi 3.5/5 This was a juicy and entertaining read about grown women behaving badly that I mostly enjoyed. I think I expected it to be a little darker and creepier based off of the synopsis than it actually was, but it was still a fun seasonal read. There were plenty of secrets and betrayals and although some of them seemed obvious to me, they were still entertaining. If you like reading about unlikable characters and specifically catty women this could appeal to you. It was almost a women’s fiction with a side of light suspense, nothing super dark which is what I was craving, but like I said earlier, it was still a fun read. The audio was great, multiple narrators kept me engaged much more than I would’ve expected and I’m positive I enjoyed this one more based on listening rather than reading. It definitely heightened the experience for me, so if you’re planning on adding this one to your TBR I would recommend the audio.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Laura Peden

    A fun domestic suspense novel that transports you to an upscale neighborhood in October, where there’s Halloween block parties, secrets & murder 🎃🤫💀

  25. 4 out of 5

    Sarah_harts_books

    Big Little Lies plus The Hunting Wives and sprinkle in a little spooky Halloween vibe and Ladies and Gentleman, Ghouls and Boys I give you, The Mother Next Door!!!! A fast-paced thriller themed round Halloween a great quick suspenseful read just in time for spooky season. This delightfully thrilling story takes us along through the point of view of two women. Kendra and Teresa. Showing how far we are willing to go to keep secrets. To protect ourselves. And to protect the ones we love.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Chandra Claypool (WhereTheReaderGrows)

    Part Big Little Lies, Desperate Housewives and Gossip Girl vibes, this light 'thriller' is more neighborhood drama with a clique of mothers in a neighborhood I would never want to live in. 😏 I really wanted to like this book more than I did. It centers around a Halloween party (yay! My favorite time of year!), has lies, history amongst the women... in which the Ivy Five is actually four but have they found their new fifth in Theresa? As someone who reads a ton of thrillers, this one felt a teeny Part Big Little Lies, Desperate Housewives and Gossip Girl vibes, this light 'thriller' is more neighborhood drama with a clique of mothers in a neighborhood I would never want to live in. 😏 I really wanted to like this book more than I did. It centers around a Halloween party (yay! My favorite time of year!), has lies, history amongst the women... in which the Ivy Five is actually four but have they found their new fifth in Theresa? As someone who reads a ton of thrillers, this one felt a teeny bit repetitive of ones that I've read before. And trust me, I know that the amount of books I devour will lead to a lot of this... especially in this genre but bear with me! The chapters go back and forth with the different perspectives of some of the moms and there are occasional "Halloween" chapters that gives us a look into the past. I love a good full circle feel of a story. However, I could never get myself to really care about any of the characters... especially towards that end that may have stretched it a bit too far. Secrets can only get you so far... but I'll hush for now. And dangit, I also sure do love urban legends and this one has the Ghost Girl. Personally, I think this was just a reader/book mismatch. However, if you like neighborhood drama with a touch of suspense, grab that popcorn and crack open your beverage of choice.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Lani

    Not sure that I've read a fiction book before that is centered around Halloween, so I give props to the author for that idea. It's more of a domestic drama than a thriller. This was kind of cliché with the well-off neighborhood of gossipy, cliquey moms. Good mystery involved, kept me engaged, but nothing I'll be talking about for days after reading it. Not sure that I've read a fiction book before that is centered around Halloween, so I give props to the author for that idea. It's more of a domestic drama than a thriller. This was kind of cliché with the well-off neighborhood of gossipy, cliquey moms. Good mystery involved, kept me engaged, but nothing I'll be talking about for days after reading it.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Cassie’s Reviews

    After her husband Adam accepts a job as principal for the local High school, Theresa and her daughter Lily move into the exclusive cul de sac Ivy Woods. Ivy Woods is also home to the popular mom group The Ivy Five but now only four of them ,since one of the moms left suddenly and hasn’t been seen or heard from. They are known for their spectacular Halloween party. Soon Theresa finds herself being accepted as one of the Ivy Five. It’s a dream until the moms begin receiving threatening messages. T After her husband Adam accepts a job as principal for the local High school, Theresa and her daughter Lily move into the exclusive cul de sac Ivy Woods. Ivy Woods is also home to the popular mom group The Ivy Five but now only four of them ,since one of the moms left suddenly and hasn’t been seen or heard from. They are known for their spectacular Halloween party. Soon Theresa finds herself being accepted as one of the Ivy Five. It’s a dream until the moms begin receiving threatening messages. The messages allude that they know the secret of what really happened in the past at one of the parties. They choose to ignore the messages but soon it’s obvious the person behind the messages isn’t going to stop. Soon Theresa finds herself caught up in the mess and some how her own past may just be connected. Filled with many secrets and backstabbing, this book will keep you on your toes and have you guessing until the end! Four stars! Told in multiple POV in past and present the story flows perfect and gives you a sneak peek into everyone’s lives.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    What a ride , it give me the vibes of Pretty Little Liars and though out my time reading the book I kept thinking of the song Got A Secret To Keep.In fact I would say that song is the perfect song for this book, the atmosphere , the feeling of been watched, the unknown messenger who kept sending messages as well as their parts of the story just gives it that perfect fall vibe .Plus with how suspenseful, sinister and a bit twisted , as well as just the right amount of spookiness to it , it wouldn What a ride , it give me the vibes of Pretty Little Liars and though out my time reading the book I kept thinking of the song Got A Secret To Keep.In fact I would say that song is the perfect song for this book, the atmosphere , the feeling of been watched, the unknown messenger who kept sending messages as well as their parts of the story just gives it that perfect fall vibe .Plus with how suspenseful, sinister and a bit twisted , as well as just the right amount of spookiness to it , it wouldn't let you down.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Anne

    I loved the fact that this book was set around Halloween and that these are adult women who can't seem to act like adults even though they all have children! There is a neighborhood tradition to hold a block party and each year it seems to get a little wilder and more outrageous. Theresa and husband (Adam--the new principal) are the newest members of (dare I call it a coven)? Well, yes I will! All of the mothers are anxious to put on the best party ever and outdo the past; but what we learn earl I loved the fact that this book was set around Halloween and that these are adult women who can't seem to act like adults even though they all have children! There is a neighborhood tradition to hold a block party and each year it seems to get a little wilder and more outrageous. Theresa and husband (Adam--the new principal) are the newest members of (dare I call it a coven)? Well, yes I will! All of the mothers are anxious to put on the best party ever and outdo the past; but what we learn early on is there are secrets lurking behind the activities of each year; and if you're wise, you may want to make other plans--but hey, how many characters are really wise in a novel like this? So enjoy the costumes, the elaborate food prep, but be careful what you wish for in a novel of secrets and lies from the past...it's chilling and dark...so maybe save your reading for the daytime! Thanks to NetGalley for this ARC!

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