Home > Ashley Winstead
Ashley Winstead writes about women finding meaning and catharsis across genres. She has a Ph.D. in English and lives in Houston with her husband, two cats, and beloved wine fridge.
Genres: Mystery, Romance
In My Dreams I Hold a Knife (2021)
Fool Me Once (2022)
The Last Housewife (2022)
The Boyfriend Candidate (2023)
Midnight Is the Darkest Hour (2023)
Fool Me Once (2022)
The Last Housewife (2022)
The Boyfriend Candidate (2023)
Midnight Is the Darkest Hour (2023)
Ashley Winstead recommends
The Young of Other Animals (2024)
"The Young of Other Animals is unlike any book I've read before - an intense, distinctive novel about mothers and daughters, generational trauma, and redemption. Part family drama, part mystery, and part dark comedy, this book is gutting in the way only the best literature, written by an author with immense skill, wisdom, and compassion, can be. What a knockout."
Till There Was You (2024)
"Till There Was You is the best kind of love story--the kind where big, serious emotions live side by side with laugh-out-loud wit and glamorous escapism. Hameroff has written a celebrity romance that feels achingly real: a delicious, whirlwind tale of courtship amid rising fame (with one hell of a hot musician) that's still somehow grounded with a tender, thoughtful heart. I loved this assured debut and know it's destined for readers' favorites shelf."
A Step Past Darkness (2024)
"A Step Past Darkness is a tour de force of genre blending that delivers everything you could want in a novel: a mind-bending mystery, a charming team of ragtag outcasts, a romance to root for, a brilliant sendup of small-town politics and prejudices, and even a mine pulsing with dark magic. This book is fearless, unbound by space or time and willing to break rules and tackle hard, important questions. It will blow every expectation readers have out of the water (and I can't wait to watch). Utterly gripping and original."
Island Witch (2024)
"Raw, brutal, and beautiful, Jayatissa pulls no punches in Island Witch, both a devastating historical retelling of a reviled demoness from Sri Lankan lore and a thrilling murder mystery. In this haunting, rage-filled story, Jayatissa gives voice to feared women, women at the margins, women for whom villainy is the closest thing to justice. A stunning achievement."
Hurt for Me (2024)
"Heather Levy delivers the sexy, feminist, kink-positive thriller I've been waiting for, centering a dominatrix heroine who knows what she wants and makes no apologies (hallelujah). Hurt for Me is an engrossing down-the-rabbit-hole ride into the fascinating world of BDSM, exploring not only how cathartic it can be to give and receive pain, but the ways kink culture can be exploited by the power-hungry. Part steamy romance, part nail-biting mystery, and throughout a nuanced exploration of trauma and desire - this complex, compassionate book is a winner."
Everyone Who Can Forgive Me is Dead (2024)
"Fans of Jessica Knoll's Luckiest Girl Alive will love this tautly-constructed thriller in which a woman's fate rests on answering the one question that has always eluded her: what is she capable of in her darkest moments? For accomplished journalist Charlie Colbert, no truth is more dangerous than the one that hides in her own mind, no relationship more troubled than the one she has with herself. Hollander paints an engrossing tale of a woman coming to terms not only with the ghosts of her past but her own true nature. A nail-biting ride that will keep readers turning pages long into the night."
First Lie Wins (2024)
"Prepare to trust no one on this high-speed thrill ride through timelines, identities, and motives as you work to piece together Elston's expertly crafted puzzle. First Lie Wins is a fun, clever spin on the con artist novel, perfect for fans of The Lies I Tell and The Lady Upstairs."
The Engagement Party (2023)
"My God, this book is delicious. The Engagement Party is a swallow-down-in-one-desperate-gulp kind of thriller, so compelling I felt feral turning its pages. Darby Kane is a master at constructing juicy, twist-filled plots. The multiple points-of-view, ensemble cast, dark, isolated Maine setting, and decade-old secrets combine to create a locked-room mystery of the highest order, a puzzle-box so clever and sly it would make Agatha Christie proud."
Hot Springs Drive (2023)
"Hot Springs Drive is a haunting meditation on human desire and the monstrosity that can emerge out of ordinary hearts, on ordinary suburban streets - though in Hunter's hands, no character is ever truly ordinary. I couldn't stop turning the pages even as I wanted to slow down and savor Hunter's gorgeous sentences. A stunning achievement by a writer with a keen eye for capturing humanity in all its beautiful, wretched fullness."
Love Interest (2023)
"I can't gush enough about Love Interest, an enemies-to-lovers gem that has quickly taken its place among my favorite romances. Clare Gilmore has managed to write a love story that feels both utterly of the moment-laugh-out-loud funny and irreverently edgy-and like an instant classic, delivering the heart and depth that make some romances stand the test of time. And have I mentioned how sexy it is? Love Interest is Nora Ephron for Gen Z, complete with the swoony NYC setting. Prepare to add Gilmore to your auto-buy list."
The Christmas Wager (2023)
"Sweetness and spice blend perfectly in this rivals-to-lovers story....Idyllic, snowy Maple Falls is a town you'll never want to leave and Bella and Jesse are characters you'll love to root for....Pure swoony, escapist fun. This book deserves to be on your classics shelf, reopened and savored every Christmas."
The Hurricane Blonde (2023)
"The Hurricane Blonde is a stunning achievement. Sutton has managed to create a murder mystery that feels as magnetic, timeless, and inextricable from Hollywood legend as the Black Dahlia. And yet Hurricane is more than simply a tragedy about a beautiful woman on the silver screen who met a grisly end - it's also, profoundly, a book about ruinous grief and letting go of the myths that have harmed us, as individuals and as a culture, no matter how glittering those myths may be. There's no one better at writing the dark side of Hollywood than Halley Sutton."
The Deja Glitch (2023)
"I absolutely adored this sweet, frothy confection of a book, with its clever spin on the time loop story and full cast of lovable characters. James is an expert at weaving together romance, humor, and journeys of self-empowerment, all within sun-soaked California settings sparkling with light magic. The Deja Glitch performs a magic trick of its own: read it and experience instant joy."
Thicker Than Water (2023)
"Thicker Than Water is an incredible achievement: an emotionally rich family drama married seamlessly to a murder mystery so arresting and briskly paced it will captivate even the most seasoned thriller reader. I fell in love with Collins' characters and rooted for their catharsis as deeply as I yearned for answers to the horrific violence underpinning the story, and these twin hooks made the book impossible to put down. What a multi-layered marvel."
The Night It Ended (2023)
"A gorgeously atmospheric dark academic thriller set at a snowy boarding school so vividly rendered you can practically feel the frost freezing your blood. Garner centers female rage in the most delicious and page-turning of ways, plunging readers into a world where women's machinations, conspiracies, anger, and even violence rule all. The Night It Ended is a twisty, frantically-paced story you'll be desperate to devour all the way to the ice-cold ending."
A Most Agreeable Murder (2023)
"An utter delight . . . a fast-paced mix of marriage plot and manor-house murder mystery with something for everyone: a scintillating romance, an intricate puzzle to solve, and layers of snarky, pointed wit that would make Austen proud. I snorted and swooned my way through this book in record speed--it's some of the most fun I've had reading all year. Cozy mystery fans, this is a must."
Girls and Their Horses (2023)
Eliza Jane Brazier
"Does for horse girls what Megan Abbott's Dare Me did for cheerleaders...A powerful, searing novel of hierarchy, desire, and desperation, told by a brilliant storyteller unafraid to take risks."
The Game She Plays (2023)
"The Talented Mr. Ripley meets The Guest List in this slow-simmering psychological thriller full of scheming, manipulation, and murder among the English aristocracy. Part love story, part seething tale of lives unraveling, and part scathing indictment of the unearned privilege that insulates the wealthy, The Game She Plays unfolds like a clever chess game: all calculated moves and ratcheting tension until a final violent strike."
The Drowning Woman (2023)
"The Drowning Woman is brilliant. Propelled by two richly drawn women, both victims and perpetrators, who hold the possibility of saving or damning each other, its world is messy and violent in a way that feels frighteningly real and impossible to look away from. The magnetism of Harding's writing and her jaw-dropping twists make The Drowning Woman one of those rare stories that's both compulsively readable and full of gravitas. Harding's power as a storyteller is enormous; this book will stick with you long after reading."
Ciao For Now (2023)
"Kate Bromley has discovered the formula for joy. That's the only explanation for how much CIAO FOR NOW made me laugh, grin ear to ear, and - most importantly - swoon. The banter! The gorgeous Roman setting and deep dive into the fashion world! The enemies-to-lovers tension between Violet and Matt! (Did I mention the banter?) It's everything a reader could want. Bromley is a romantic comedy genius and this is her best book yet."
I Didn't Do It (2023)
Jaime Lynn Hendricks
"I Didn't Do It is thriller perfection: so twisty, twisted, and fast-paced I was physically unable to put it down. Jaime Lynn Hendricks delivers the most irresistible of packages: a brilliant premise, an ensemble cast hiding juicy secrets, a plot that unfolds at breakneck speed, and layers of delicious, publishing-insider snark. It's official: all hail the queen of the page-turner."
Five First Chances (2023)
One Last Chance
"What rules of physics wouldn't you bend to bring back someone you loved? Sarah Jost's inventive debut is a heart-wrenching emotional rollercoaster that asks big questions about how to be at peace with our all-too-short mortal lives. A tender love story tucked inside a larger tale of a woman coming into her own, this lightly magical fable of love won and lost is perfect for fans of Rebecca Serle and Josie Silver."
Jane and Edward (2023)
"Melodie Edwards' witty reimagining of Jane Eyre gives us a pitch-perfect protagonist who's somehow even more endearing than the original. Edwards' elegant, slyly funny prose makes it so you can't help but cheer on the pragmatic Jane as she moves through the high-stakes worlds of corporate law and academia, learning to assert her value. Like any classic worth its salt, this book is brimming with heart, characters that stick with you, and smart, timeless insights about life and love."
I Love It When You Lie (2023)
"A superb character-driven mystery positively dripping with atmosphere. I Love It When You Lie is both a propulsive twisty ride - after all, hell hath no fury like a Williams sister scorned - and a book that shines a light on women's hidden lives and invisible labor to keep families and communities running. Bird has given us a pitch-perfect small-town suspense and the exact kind of anti-heroines I've been waiting for. You won't be able to put this down."
The Ingenue (2022)
"The Ingenue is a beautiful fever dream of a story, a genre-blending mix of mystery and fairytale that metamorphizes into different stories as you're reading: an intimate look at the bonds between mothers and daughters, a searing exploration of who you are when you're no longer exceptional, a knife-edged tale of vengeance. It is utterly enthralling, provocative, and so smart it held me captive until the perfect, sinister end. A book for anyone who was told they were special and is still clawing their way back."
The Resemblance (2022)
"Lauren Nossett's The Resemblance is a fresh, haunting take on dark academia that brilliantly peels back the layers of genteel southern Greek life to reveal the horrors lurking underneath. A sinister, addictive blend of self-aware police procedural and campus novel, this is the kind of book that slips its fingers around your throat and doesn't let go, complete with a jaw-dropping twist. Nossett is a gutsy, sensational new voice in crime fiction."
A Very Typical Family (2022)
"By turns mordantly funny and deeply moving, A Very Typical Family is an emotional gut punch of a story about the often-fraught relationships we have with the people we loved first and fiercest: our siblings. Godfrey's redemption-seeking narrator is one of the most endearing eccentrics to grace the page since Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine and The Cactus. If you like characters who march to their own beats--and who doesn't--you'll love this rich and compelling story."
Small Town, Big Magic (2022)
(Witchlore, book 1)
"A fresh, fun, zany spin on paranormal romance, SMALL TOWN, BIG MAGIC casts a big spell. Take one girlboss witch, add a magical journey of healing and self-discovery, and sprinkle in a dash of romance, and you've got an enchanting read perfect for fans of THE EX HEX and PAYBACK'S A WITCH."
As Seen on TV (2022)
"Brimming with hope and charm, AS SEEN ON TV is the perfect blend of escapist Hallmark comedy and tender, true-to-life love story. The beautiful beating heart of this book is its conviction that what's real is infinitely more powerful than what's perfect. This book is a gem: warm and dazzlingly romantic, with a cast of quirky characters you'll adore."
What We Harvest (2022)
"Unputdownable, unforgettable, and gorgeously written. A must-read book."
Catch Her When She Falls (2022)
"Gripping and mesmerizing, reading Catch Her When She Falls is like watching a building catch fire, aware that dark ends are coming but unable to look away. Ten years after a shocking murder, amateur sleuths question whether the man in prison is responsible, causing his former girlfriend to reopen a case she never wanted to confront again. As new clues pile up, her paranoia and fear ratchet higher until almost everyone is a suspect. A portrait of a woman unraveling, this is the definition of 'shirk all responsibilities and stay up until 2 a.m.' reading. A superb story."
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