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All Her Little Secrets

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Member Reviews

Wanda M. Morris's All Her Little Secrets is a riveting thriller that grabbed me with its first murder mystery and never let go.

After her boss's mysterious death, African-American lawyer Ellice Littlejohn is thrust into the executive suite. Ellie, as one of the few people of color in her workplace, wants to utilize her newfound visibility to push for more people of color to be hired, but her efforts are thwarted by coworkers whose objectives lay elsewhere and may not be totally legal. Ellie's childhood secrets threaten to destroy her carefully constructed success, forcing her to go inside herself for the fortitude to stand up to those who would use her to further their own goals as she grapples with difficult moral and ethical problems. The author had me guessing who the bad guy was due to the abundance of possible antagonists until the unexpected turn of events at the conclusion.

Ellie, who overcame adversity as a youngster to become a successful lawyer, is unusually well-rounded. Despite her achievements, Ellie continues to face obstacles because of her gender and the color of her skin. Her coworkers are also well-developed, and one of my favorite descriptions is of a rumpled colleague: "giving him the impression of a hurriedly made bed with a pillow flung in the midst of it."

There was a steady buildup of tension and plot twists that had me flipping pages until I reached the satisfying conclusion. I find myself questioning some of Ellie's choices because of my own moral compass, but if I were in a similar situation in real life, I might have done the same.

All Her Little Secrets is a great read for anybody who like legal or business thrillers like those written by John Grisham.
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I loved this book. It is THE OTHER BLACK GIRL meets THE FIRM and I have to say for me, it works even better than the highly buzzed about bestseller from Zakiya Dalila Harris. Wanda M. Morris creates a high-tension, layered mystery surrounding Ellice Littlejohn, a sharp and successful corporate lawyer whose life is balanced on keeping ALL HER LITTLE SECRETS, past and present, buried deep. 
Ellice has given all to her career, and an extramarital affair with her boss (which she even keeps secret from her best friends) so when he is murdered at work, no one around Ellice expects the implications to come. 
This was twisty and rich with themes of race, class, gender politics and I couldn't put it down. 
LOVED the narrator. Smooth voice great pace and put me in Ellice's mind -- fantastic performance
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An excellent addition to the crowded thriller genre. A recommended purchase in all formats for collections where crime fic is popular.
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When Ellice finds her boss dead in his office, she’s afraid to do anything, afraid to call the police. She doesn’t want her secrets coming to light. She is determined to discover who killed Michael and what is going on in her company behind closed doors.

Good level of suspense. Good variety of characters. I found too much repeating of the same concepts, words, etc. and making decisions without follow-through, making other decisions without acknowledging that it’s a change of plan. For a lawyer, she seems to not know enough about the law and her responsibilities. She mentions that there may be some things about her employer that she can or cannot share with the police, but she isn’t sure and she doesn’t try find out. She also mentions that she needs a personal lawyer multiple times, but she doesn’t get one and doesn’t seem to show why. A little clarity and consistency would be better. Definitely worth the read. Would make a great movie.

It’s wonderful to see a realistic, intelligent Black woman as the main character in a story other than general fiction! In some instances, racism is woven in through the storyline and very well done – how Ellice feels at work, the protesters outside, the scene in the store. At other times, there is a bit too much monologue about it – telling the reader rather than showing.

The narration is good – pacing, voice, expression.
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I received a free ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This book started out pretty good. The plot developed quickly.  The characters were pretty well developed:. But it seemed to weaken a bit as it went. Elise seemed pretty naive for someone that was supposed to be well educated and intelligent. She also seemed a bit shallow so it was hard for me to get too attached. Her murders to solved problems or get revenge were a little hard to agree with. I see why she wanted them dead but it was totally premeditated and not in the heat of the moment. The timing seemed a bit off at times. A fast read. 2.75
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When the promotion of lawyer, Ellice Littlejohn, turns out to be a token promotion of a Black female to hopefully prove that Houghton Transportation is not racist proves to be a token move, Ellice is troubled by many things. First there’s the death of her lover and chief legal counsel. It looks like suicide but its murder. Ellice has so many secrets to hide ranging from the romance she hoped to keep under wraps to events that happened to her growing up poor in rural Georgia and the brushes with the law her brother, Sam, finds himself enmeshed in over and over.  Ellice finds herself the suspect of the Atlanta police and searches for what really happened. There’s a lot in this story about the “boys’ network” and the power of white supremist groups. The more she uncovers the more sinister the plot is. This debut thriller packs a real punch as the action moves swiftly, exposing the deep racism in the workplace. The audio version is competently read by Susan Dalian whose ability to portray both male and female characters and Black and white characters.
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I had this book on my radar, so I was excited to see it available on NetGalley and prefer audiobooks most of the time for my commute. Thank you to the publisher for allowing me a copy to review. 

I enjoyed Elyse's character and the insight and train of thoughts she had. They seemed realistic. Sometimes when you read mysteries where the main character is suspicious of people and tries to look into things themselves, they jump to wild conclusions, accuse everyone, and just act totally unrealistic. I was pleased to feel this was a genuine, believable crime/scenario and that Elyse and her story were as well. I liked that she was strong and her backstory didn't define her; she made it not only out of her poverty loop, but rose to be a rich, very successful person. I liked unraveling the backstory with V also. There were parts of that I didn't see coming. Overall, enjoyable and recommended.
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This book started off really promising for me - I love the narrator, Ellice is a badass protagonist to root for, and the mystery unfolds a the perfect pace. However, things started to get pretty bleak and intense and I didn't love the ending. I recommend it if you like thrillers that don't need to have endings that wrap up in a bow.
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Morris gives a peek into a Black female attorney’s life in a repressive white male world as Ellice Littlejohn works to solve the murder of her former boss in Atlanta, GA. A twisty tale with dark insights into darker souls of power. 5-star must read.
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I seem to be in the minority when I say that this book really didn't do it for me. I found the plot too predictable and would have much preferred to cast the mystery aside and instead take a look at the real problems in the book such as Elise's childhood or being the only person of color at her place of employment. I'd definitely give Wanda Morris another chance though, as I think she has a lot of potential.
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This was amazing -- the perfect blend of thriller and social commentary. Highly recommended.

Review copy provided by publisher. 

(Short reviews are my thing.)
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ellice is a lawyer with secrets and when the men in her life end up dead she must decide what is more important, keeping her secrets or figuring out who killed them? With a story that is timely it keeps you listening as Ellice tries to figure out what is going on and stay alive.

The narrator makes you feel like Ellice is sharing her story with you. I wanted to ask her questions and yell at her when she made questionable decisions.
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A legal/suspense thriller that gave me lots of John Grisham vibes but features a middle aged Black woman working in corporate America whose life is thrown into chaos when she discovers the dead body of the man she's been sleeping with. Deciding not to report her discovery and carry on like nothing's happened things get really complicated when she learns her brother is involved and her company has promoted her as the 'token' Black person to hide a startling secret. This was a fast-paced read full of twists, secrets and overt social critiques of race and class in America. Recommended for fans of The other Black girl or Black girls must die exhausted. Much thanks to NetGalley for my ALC!
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This will be popular.  I loved the legal wrangling's mixed with the family drama.  Well done audiobook.
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Ellice Littlejohn is middle-aged black woman working as a corporate attorney at Houghton Transportation company in Atlanta.  One morning, she discovers her boss, Michael Sayles, dead in his office.  Ellice is afraid to call the police because she is worried that all of her secrets will come out.  She has been working hard all of these years to forget her past and won’t let anything stop her from achieving success.  However, when the police suspect that she was involved in the murder, she takes the investigation into her own hands.  To her surprise, she uncovers corporate secrets that threaten to upend her new promotion as an executive and reveal the past she wants to forget.

This book is a slow-burn thriller that focuses on themes of racism.  It alternates between the past and present, eventually leading up to the big reveal.  It took a bit too long for me to get invested in the plot, but the suspense and tension really built up around 45%.  Fortunately, the second half of the book had my complete attention.  I also found myself enjoying the timeline from the past more than the present day, as I had a difficult time keeping track of all of the corporate executives and their roles within the subplot.  

The writing is fantastic and I understand the hype around this book.  The themes that Morris explores are current hot topics and well executed.  However, Ellice is a REALLY foolish amateur sleuth.  She leaves evidence on phone messages, talks to the police without a lawyer, and doesn’t call the police when she discovers a dead body.  Really?  

That being said, this is a terrific debut and I would love to read more from this author.

A note on the audiobook:  It is read by Susan Dalian and she is fabulous.  I recently listened to another audiobook that she narrated and fell in love with her voice.  It is obvious that she is a professional actor and I would love to listen to more books read by her.  

3.5/5 stars rounded up to 4

Thank you to NetGalley and Lainey Mays from HarperCollins publishing for the ARC of All Her Little Secrets in exchange for an honest review.
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From my blog: Always With a Book:

As soon as I saw this was being compared to How to Get Away With Murder, I knew I had to read it. That was one of my favorite shows and let me just say…the comparison works!

For a debut, this one kicks butt! I loved how it starts off with a bang and never really lets up. There are so many little twists throughout to keep it moving and to keep you guessing as to where it is all leading. I loved our main protagonist, Ellice Littlejohn – she definitely has major Annalise Keating vibes working in her favor!

I liked the structure of the story, how for the most part it is told in the present, but occasionally goes back to the past to fill in some much needed backstory on Ellice’s history. This ends up being crucial to everything that is going on and like peeling back the layers of an onion, we realize that there are some pretty big secrets that Ellice has been hiding.

I really liked this one and loved not only the mystery of who was behind all the murders but also just how timely it was. I don’t read a ton of legal thrillers, but this one really kept me engaged and I will certainly be keeping an eye out to what comes next from this author.

Audio thoughts: I was able to grab an early listening copy of this book and flew through it. Once I started listening to it, I just didn’t want to stop and that is in part due to the story, but also because the narrator, Susan Dalien, did such a great job bringing the story to life. I’ve listened to her before and she really does a great job with the different voices and her pacing is always spot on.
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All Her Little Secrets by Wanda M. Morris
Narrated by Susan Dalian
Genre - Mystery/Thriller
Book rating - 5 out of 5 stars
Narration rating - 5 out of 5 stars

Wanda M. Morris has a hit with her breakout novel. Set in Atlanta Georgia this books follows the ups and downs of being a African American woman in the corporate world of a town that is still very steeped in racism. Ellice Littlejohn has just been promoted to an executive position in a world full of white men after the suicide of her lover who held the position before her. As the book goes on we find out that this was not a suicide but a cold and calculated murder. Their are a a lot of shady dealings going on in the company that start to unravel in front of Ellice. 

The narrator was great. She had me talking with a southern drawl while listening to this book. She keeps the characters alive and the book moves rather quickly.

I would highly recommend this book in audio or book format. It had me guessing until the very end! I will say that there are something’s in the book that may cause triggers for some people. Especially if they grew up in the time frame Ellice grew up int
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Thanks to NetGalley & HarperAudio for providing a free audio ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Ellice Littlejohn has a great job, plenty of cash and has some fun with her married, white boss on the weekends. When she discovers his corpse in his office when she comes in for a regular early-morning meeting, she walks away without saying a word because of some dark secrets in her past.

This book works on a few levels: it's an exploration of being a Black woman in a profession that doesn't always value smart women, especially ones of color; and it's also a taut, sharp thriller that could easily end up on a movie screen. Ellice is relatable, but she has so many secrets that NO ONE knows about because she's so afraid that her past will come roaring back and she'll have to deal with consequences from things that happened when she was 14. E.G. NO ONE in her life knows she has a brother. Huh? Well, OK. Her best friends from college, who she sees on the regular, don't know about her thing with her boss. Hmmm. I guess I'm just more open with people, but it's weird to see someone so shut off from her actual emotional life.

That nitpicking aside, the book was quite enjoyable. The ending is maybe a little too pat, but I genuinely can see it being optioned for a movie or series. The narration is good, although it would be nice to get a little more range from Susan Dalian; she is excellent as Ellice and she has a nice range of accents to keep the characters fresh. Ellice finally gets a chance to express some emotion in the latter half of the book and redeems herself from having been so emotionally cut off for so long.

This book wasn't perfect, but it definitely sets Wanda Morris as a writer to watch.
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I found the premise of this book interesting, but the execution was lacking. The lead character is unlikable, whiny, and self-obsessed, the story often implausible. The writing gets is repetitive, but the oft-repeated phrases are at times contradictory. The timeline of the story is inconsistent: Ellice is fourteen in 1979; throughout the story she hints at being in her early forties, but mentions Trump and the MAGA movement several times.
The best part of the audio book was the narrator; she made it possible to stick with it to the end.
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Elise Littlejohn just got the opportunity of her life, promotion to general counsel, something she has dreamed of since she left Chillicothe, Georgia, and all of its secrets behind, it is umfortunate that it has come at the expense of the death of her married lover. His death not withstanding, this could be a chance of a lifetime, all of her sacrifice is being rewarded or is Elise actually the sacrificial lamb. Pick up All Her Little Secrets to find out which one.
Susan Dalian brought this book to life. I cannot compliment her narration enough, her voice was Elise's voice in my mind, you felt everything Elise was feeling because of Dalian's narration, whether she was an adult or child, scared, serious or sassy.

All Her Little Secrets is a well written fast pace thriller replete with thought provoking prose and a flawed yet  affable protagonist that you root for even when her sins come to light. I thought the mystery aspect was well done even though the small town girl who made it with secrets trope has been utilized time and again, Morris brought a fresh perspective with her Black protagonist Elise, a perspective which made it a satisfying read. I highly recommend that you pick it up.
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