Cover Image: The Guest List

The Guest List

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Member Reviews

Fern Michaels is well known for her character series, she portrays women who have struggled to succeed but still manage to live full lives and help others.  I've read many of her books.  This is a re-release of an older title but still a good read.  
THE GUEST LIST follows a young woman, Abby, from her troubled youth to her successful celebration of publishing her first book and reuniting with her only sister after many years apart.  There is a mystery throw in for interest but the characters carry the story.  This was a fast read for me.
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Fern did it again! This time the story was more of a mystery novel with lots of twists and turns . of course, included in the plot were lots of dogs and a good romance. Reading it was a great way to spend a day or two. I am thinking this would make the beginning of another great series from this author – Hint ~
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The characters in this story were what really made it a good one. There isn’t really a part of the book that I didn’t think was good. It never got boring and the author did a good job of keeping you reading. I did have my suspicions about how it would end and they turned out to be correct, but just because something is a bit predictable doesn’t mean it can’t still be good. I have enjoyed titles by this author in the past, and will continue to pick them up in the future when I am able. This is a great example of an author writing well-rounded characters that keep you on your toes.
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This was a slow starter for me. It took me quite a while to get into the story. And to be honest, I wasn't sure that I was going to like it much. The story did have depth, plenty of emotions and dysfunctional families with a capital D. It probably took me about half way through or so when it started to really get me going. It really twisted me back and forth trying to guess what was going on. Was Mallory really someone who could be trusted? Who was the person behind the deadly past? I began to suspect someone much later in the book. But could it be that person? If so, what was the motive?
Everything comes to a spectacular ending with so many questions answered. The secrets revealed were stunning but also left the survivors with so much of a brighter future.

" I voluntarily read an advanced reader copy of this book . And these are my honest opinions about it.”
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A twisty tale. Abby and Mallory as children were not close. Mallory was a horrible child, coddled and spoiled by an over indulgent mother. Abby was the ugly duckling due to her birth mark on her face, a fact her mother never let her forget. Events change very quickly. I was torn between who was the real villain and puppet master until almost the very end. The ending seemed hurried and thrown together, but I still enjoyed the read,
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This book pulled me right into the mystery and did not let me go.  I really liked how I thought I knew what happened and then I would change my mind.
I kept second guessing what I thought until the final chapter.  
I especially enjoyed the characters and felt sorry for Abby and Mallory, who were sisters that had spent most of their time apart from each other after their parents died.  I received an advance copy of this book and I willingly chose to write an honest review.
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The Guest List is full of mystery and suspense. It was hard to put down, although it dragged a bit at times. It was obvious to me who the killer was so it didn't make sense that Mallory and Abby, who were both intelligent, couldn't see what was right in front of them. I'd give it 3.5 stars.

Although I received a free ARC eBook from Net Galley and the publisher, I'm voluntarily submitting this review.
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Guest List, Fern Michaels, 7/16/2022



I haven’t read many books by this author.  I immediately noticed that this was a re-publication from 20 years ago, which did not bother me in the least.  The story takes place in 1976 in New Jersey, think rotary phones, vinyl records and 8-Track tapes, and smoking in restaurants.

This book encompasses many facets of life: heartbreak, romance, suspense, death, healing of scars, and revolving family drama.  The book begins with very a sad nuclear family.  The Mitchell Family consisted of John and Harriet and their two young daughters Abby and Mallory.  Harriet doated on Mallory, who was the perfect little princess (like her mom in many ways).  However, the way she treated Abby was horrific.  She called her an ugly freak because she had a port wine stain covering half of her face. Harriet even rewarded Mallory for treating her sister badly. John was Abby’s advocate and savior.

The only extended family was brother-in-law Donovan, he and John were close friends who were married to sisters.

While the girls were still small, their mother and father died under suspicious circumstances, and Donovan became their guardian. He married Carol and they adopted the two children.   

Carol could not deal with Mallory’s outbursts and had her placed in an institution.  Abby then became the golden child and grew up well with her new family, which eventually included little brother Bobby.

As adults, Mallory and Abby reunited and became the sisters that they were meant to be.  However, one by one, people close to the sisters began to die.  It didn’t take long for them to become suspicious, and they began to try and put the mysterious pieces together.  The closer they got to solving the mystery, the more danger they were in.  

The story moved slowly at first, but as the characters were further developed and suspense was added, it picked right up.   Overall, I enjoyed the book and will certainly read more of the author’s books.  I received this advanced reader’s copy from Author Fern Michaels, Kensington Books, and NetGalley. This is a voluntary review. All comments and opinions are entirely my own.
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The Guest List is an easy, enjoyable read.    The story has a little bit of everything:  love, mystery, murder, family drama, and a couple of twists and turns.  I was able to figure out the villain pretty early on, but still enjoyed the book. 


Many thanks to #netgalley #fernmichaels #theguestlist for the opportunity to read and review this book.
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I don't usually give five stars to a book that continuously takes the Lord's name in vain (as well as his Son's), but since I had to stay awake last night till I finished it, it seems only fair. And figuring out, early on, who committed the murders, didn't take away from my enjoyment.  Au contraire, I kept reading to prove to myself that I was right. 

Others have synopsized the story of two sister (one spoiled rotten, the other despised and abused), so I'm just going to add that there are characters you will love, characters you will hate and characters that you will love AND hate.  You will, for sure, empathize with the main character, though:  Abby. She may be the only character  that you can be sure isn't the killer.
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Suspense, excitement, plot twists and love all interwoven masterfully.  A real page turner. Love Fern's books.
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.Abby's mother Harriet hates her because she has a port wine stain on her face, and is constantly throwing vitriol her way, Abby's sister Mallory often joins in with vicious and insulting comments.  Right after Abby's father decides to divorce Harriet,  they both end up dead.  Abby and Mallory are then taken in by friend and brother-in-law Donovan, who marries his girlfriend Carol to help him raise the girls.  Carol is just as open about her hate of Mallory as Harriet was of Abby.  Mallory is soon sent to an institution.

Years later, Abby and Mallory reunite and try to heal past wounds.  They are planning a party to celebrate their reunion, plus the publication of Abby's new novel.  But their past will not leave them alone.

This is a mystery with few twists and turns and is not the best offering from Fern Michaels.  The guilty party is pretty obvious from the start, and some of the characters are way too over the top.  There are some poignant moments, such as Abby's feelings about her port wine stain birthmark, how it has affected her life, and how she deals with that.  But otherwise I just couldn't connect with the characters or gain much interest in the story.

This book was actually published 20 years ago and appears to be a re-release.

I received a free copy of this book from the publishers via Netgalley.  My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.
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As always, another great book by Fern Michaels.  
The Guest List takes place when two sisters, Abby and Mallory Evens were young.  Their mother, Harriet, did not like to be around Abby because she was born with a port wine stain on one side of her face. She thought Abby was not perfect, but Mallory was beautiful so she was spoiled and got anything she wanted. Both Harriet and Mallory were cruel to Abby.  When their father John Evans decided to divorce their mother, John and Harriet end up dead.  Their father’s best friend and bother-in-law took on the responsibility of raising the girls. Donovan got married to Carol to help him raise the children.  She hated Mallory and sent her to an institution.  A few years later Mallory and Abby reconnect and start realizing things are not what they seem.  There is suspense, romance and the love of two sisters that had to heal together.  An unknown twist at the end.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank Netgalley, Kensington Books and Fern Michaels for the  the opportunity to review The Guest List.
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Once again, another book that was published long ago but NG shows as being a future publication.  My bad for not thoroughly checking GR first.  I read this already, long ago and dislike re-reading books.

Thanks to the author, publisher and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this book, but my opinions are my own.
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Abby and Mallory are sisters, but their relationship is complicated. After being separated during their childhood, they will come together again to figure out why people in their lives are dying. After a couple of twists, the answer is obvious, but isn’t revealed until the very end. This was a fast-paced story, but honestly, not one of the author’s best. Thanks to NetGalley for a copy of the book for my honest review.
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A pass from me.  To be fair, this was also a pass from me back when it was originally published and I decided to give it a second chance when I realized I'd already read it, thinking I might change my opinion.  Nope.  It's not one of Michael's better offerings.  While meant to be a murder mystery twined with family drama,.it wasn't complicated enough on either front to be interesting.  Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC.
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I would like to thank Netgalley, Kensington Books and Fern Michaels for the E ARC of this book. 
We meet two sisters Abby and Mallory Mitchell. Both have had tough lives but have both made the most of their opportunities to make a good life for themselves. At the beginning of the book both girls live with their patents but a double tragedy means they end up living with their father’s best friend Donovan and his new wife Carol. However, they are soon separated. Abby doesn’t forget about Mallory and vide versa, they are able to reunite after university, but things start to happen that make both ladies rethink things from the past. 
I loved Abby, she was a very genuine character, who wanted to be loved for herself and always tried to see the best in others. I liked that she didn’t let her wine stain birthmark hold her back. Mallory, I felt sorry for, she was made by her mother to be nasty to Abby, because of her birthmark but that is not who she wanted to be. She was manipulated and damaged but with help she managed to become a nice lady that would do anything to protect her sister. 
As Abby becomes a famous writer Mallory joins her and deals with all the PR and appearances. However, the idea for her next book comes from a suggestion by Mallory and this starts things happening to them both. 
This was a well-paced book; it was a page turner as I kept wanting to know what happened next. I did work things out but that did not detract from the enjoyment. The characters were well developed and I found the situation they were in very believable. 
This was my first Fern Michaels book and it won’t be my last.
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This cozy mystery was written over twenty years ago, thus the setting includes pay phones and smoking was still allowed in a restaurant. The story begins in 1976 New Jersey with John attempting to work up the courage to tell his perfect wife, Harriet, that their newborn baby girl isn't perfect. They already have daughter Mallory, who is beautiful and perfect, just like Harriet. Baby Abby was born with a large birthmark, a port-wine stain covering half her face. 
It's kind of a Cinderella story, with one daughter a beautiful princess, the mean Mom, and the ugly, imperfect other daughter. Harriet is evil, self-centered and hateful to Abby. The descriptions of her treatment of Abby are vivid and painful to imagine. Her preferential treatment towards Mallory is unimaginable.
John and Donovan are best friends and brother-in-law's. They married sisters Harriet and Emma.  Emma died in childbirth. Donovan tries to convince John to leave Harriet.
Then the unexpected mysterious deaths of John and Harriet leaves widower Donovan the girls guardian. He quickly marries an attractive acquaintance, Carol, accepts a job with his cousin and moves to Charleston, SC with the girls.
Carol turns out to be another controlling, manipulative woman who tells Donovan to either institutionalize Mallory or she's leaving him.
Mallory is packed off for psychiatric help to a special school in Atlanta, Argone. She's at Argone for many years until she's declared cured.
There is an equal amount of the story devoted to Abby. Her college days, career ambitions, best friend and boyfriends. It culminates with their reunion and further family drama. It was an easy read, but not very hard to figure out. There are very detailed descriptions and good character development.
Not really sure why the book is just now being released, but I have read and enjoyed this author before.
Thanks to NetGalley for the advance digital reader copy of "The Guest List " by Fern Michaels and to Kensington Books. These are my honest personal thoughts an opinions give voluntarily.
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Suspense and thrills and plenty of red herrings in this book.  In this delightful whodunit, what you think you know is not always what is true.  In this book, Abby Mitchell has led a charmed life, adored by her adopted father Donovan and his wife, Carol, after the suspicious death of her parents in a tragic event. Against odds, she has blossomed at college, has a best friend, and there is a boy who loves her for who she is disregarding her facial disfigurement due to a birth mark. Abby has also become an accomplished author and is set to soar in the adult world.  But then her older sister, Mallory, whom used to shame her terribly for her birth disfigurement had been cast away to an institution as a young child, returns to Abby's life.  Mallory tries to make amends to Abby and seeks to reunite the loving sisters. Can Abby trust that Mallory is cured and changed for the better?  Or does she believe her adoptive mother, Carol, who wants to keep Abby dependent on her, that Mallory is a bad seed not to be trusted.  Soon, there is a murder or two of people close to Abby who all seem to die of the same ailment and she is conflicted whether someone she loves is connected or not.  Abby and Mallory put themselves in danger as they try to figure out exactly how their parents died. 
Well written, Fern Michaels knows how to put out a suspenseful story.  Although the sisters had it in mind who the murderer was, the reader is provided glimpses that would tell you otherwise. This was a page turner and the clues and red herrings had me continue reading and thinking, aha!   Michaels provides lots of clues and has you reflecting back to specific moments. It was fun to read to see if I was correct (I was) and you will enjoy the twist at the end.   Grab this today for a cozy mystery.
Many thanks to #netgalley #fernmichaels #theguestlist for the opportunity to read and review this book.
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Predictable for the most part but enjoyable. Not a very realistic story but of course it's fiction. I liked that Abby and Mallory were able to form a bond. The dogs added a fun aspect to the story. Good beach read.
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