Thursday, August 13, 2020

A Good Marriage by Kimberly McCreight (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"Lizzie Kitsakis is working late when she gets the call. Grueling hours are standard at elite law firms like Young & Crane, but they’d be easier to swallow if Lizzie was there voluntarily. Until recently, she’d been a happily underpaid federal prosecutor. That job and her brilliant, devoted husband Sam—she had everything she’d ever wanted. And then, suddenly, it all fell apart. 


No. That’s a lie. It wasn’t sudden, was it? Long ago the cracks in Lizzie’s marriage had started to show. She was just good at averting her eyes. 

The last thing Lizzie needs right now is a call from an inmate at Rikers asking for help—even if Zach Grayson is an old friend. But Zach is desperate: his wife, Amanda, has been found dead at the bottom of the stairs in their Brooklyn brownstone. And Zach’s the primary suspect. 

As Lizzie is drawn into the dark heart of idyllic Park Slope, she learns that Zach and Amanda weren’t what they seemed—and that their friends, a close-knit group of fellow parents at the exclusive Grace Hall private school, might be protecting troubling secrets of their own. In the end, she’s left wondering not only whether her own marriage can be saved, but what it means to have a good marriage in the first place."

My Thoughts:

A Good Marriage is one of those books that I almost let myself put off reading because of all of the hype that it was receiving pre-release.  I know that shouldn't be a thing but sometimes books that are SO popular almost scare me off more than those books which receive little to no buzz (I STILL haven't read The Hunger Games if that tells you anything).  Kimberly McCreight is also an author who I've always intended to read but hadn't yet tried until now.  All of that being said, I'm so glad that I decided to mood read my way through August because it led to me picking this one off of my shelves where it was sitting with all of the other books that I haven't gotten to yet.  I have to say that I really, really enjoyed this one!  I wasn't sure what to expect because as with so many popular books, I had seen a mix of reviews where some readers loved it and others not as much.  The thing about this book though is that for me, it gripped me from the very first page.  It's told from a couple of different viewpoints - one is from Lizzie's point of view as she is drawn into the investigation of what happened to Zach's wife and the second viewpoint is from Amanda's viewpoint and the events leading up to her death.  The combination of the two viewpoints made for a very compelling read.  So compelling that I ended up finishing the last fourth of this book by candlelight at my kitchen table because we had lost power earlier that afternoon from a huge storm.  I just HAD to see how everything was all going to end!!  And while I really, really enjoyed this book - there were a few minor issues that I had with it that kept it from being a five star read.  I cannot share specifics because spoilers but if you've already read this one and want to discuss, just send me a message.  I will say that this book really takes a look at marriages and some of the hard truths that can be behind some of them.  I felt so badly for Amanda for a variety of reasons throughout the book.  And it was hard for me to relate the facts of her death with the parts of the book that were told from her viewpoint because I liked her.  I didn't want that ending for her even though technically it had already happened.  Does that even make sense?  I just came to care for her character so it was hard to see everything that she was forced to go through with really no happy ending to come.  I've seen reviews that compare this to a legal thriller but I don't think that I agree.  There are some legal parts to it but it's not a courtroom setting or anything like that so just a FYI so that you go into this book with the right expectations.  I do think that this is a very suspenseful read - and totally worth all of the hype that it received!  Lesson learned that I should probably shy away from hyped books less...

Overall, I enjoyed my time with this book and am eager to read more by this author.  I believe I already have at least one of her other books waiting on my shelves to be read.  Readers that enjoy mysteries, suspenseful reads that keep you guessing, and those that enjoy books where everyone seems to have a secret or two should definitely check this book out.  Also, I saw a comparison to Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty - I can see the comparison (not in specifics necessarily) so if you enjoyed that one you may want to pick this one up as well.  All in all, this is a book that I would definitely recommend!

Bottom Line:  A suspenseful and compelling read!

Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book thanks to the publisher.  Honest thoughts are my own.

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Relative Silence by Carrie Stuart Parks (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"Fifteen years ago Piper Boone’s only child died in a boating accident, and Piper’s almost perfect life came to an end too. After living through a divorce and losing her job, she retreats to Curlew Island and her childhood home—a secluded mansion for the politically powerful Boone family, who are practically American royalty.

But Piper’s desire to become a recluse is shattered when a mass shooter opens fire and kills three women at a cafĂ© where Piper is having lunch. The crisis puts her family in the spotlight by dredging up rumors of the so-called Curlew Island Curse, which whispers say has taken the lives of several members of the Boone family, including Piper’s father and sister.

Forensic artist Tucker Landry also survives the shooting and is tasked with the job of sketching a portrait of the shooter with Piper. They forge a bond over their shared love of movies and tragic pasts. But when police discover a connection between the shooting and two more murders on Curlew Island, they face a more terrible lineup of suspects than they could have imagined: Piper’s family.

Unraveling the family’s true history will be the key to Piper’s survival—or her certain death."

My Thoughts:

Relative Silence was a fascinating mystery that kept me turning the pages!  I love a book where the author really keeps me guessing and unsure of who to trust.  At the beginning of this book, Piper goes through a life changing event that is still haunting her to this day.  Then in present day, she is forced to contend with much more as she realizes that someone may be trying to kill her although she has no idea why.  The book really goes from there and let's just say that I was turning the pages as fast as I could to figure it all out.  I'm trying not to give anything away so sorry if that all feels very vague.  I will say that I liked that we as the reader didn't know who to trust or what was really going on.  The only thing that I knew for sure was that it must tie in to what had happened so long ago (even if I didn't know how or why).  It made for a very suspenseful read in my opinion!  This book is Christian fiction but honestly I hardly noticed.  It wasn't heavy handed or preachy which I really appreciated.  There were some great side characters that I also really appreciated as well.  One was a detective named Mandy who is trying to help Piper out throughout the book.  Piper also grows as an individual throughout this book which I couldn't help but appreciate.  I wasn't too sure of her at first but by the end I was really rooting for.  She had so much strength despite everything and I couldn't help but admire that.  I also really liked the fact that the weather and setting played such an important part of this book.  Being caught on an island with a hurricane bearing down caused the tension to level up quite a few notches for me.  Those last 100 pages just flew by as I had to see how everything would end!

Overall, I enjoyed my time which this book and would definitely be open to reading more by this author.  I finished this book in just a matter of days because I couldn't (and didn't want to) set it down.  It was a really solid mystery that kept me guessing until the very end.  I will say that there were a few things relating to the mystery that I figured out while reading but I definitely didn't guess who was behind it all.  I really appreciated that the author was able to take me by surprise with the way that this book ended.  I think that readers who enjoy suspenseful reads, mystery lovers, and Christian fiction readers would all enjoy this book.  Recommended!

Bottom Line:  A suspenseful mystery that kept me guessing until the very end.

Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book thanks to the publisher as part of a PICT book tour.  Honest thoughts are my own.

Book Details:

Genre: Suspense
Published by: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: July 14th 2020
Number of Pages: 336
ISBN: 0785226184 (ISBN13: 9780785226185)
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Carrie Stuart Parks

Author Bio:

Carrie Stuart Parks is Christy, Carol, and Inspy award-winning author, an award-winning fine artist, and internationally known forensic artist. Along with her husband, Rick, she travels across the US and Canada teaching courses in forensic art to law enforcement as well as civilian participants. She has won numerous awards for career excellence. Carrie is a popular platform speaker, presenting a variety of topics from crime to creativity.

Catch Up With Carrie Stuart Parks:
CarrieStuartParks.comGoodreadsBookBubInstagram, & Facebook

Monday, August 3, 2020

The Lost Girls of Devon by Barbara O'Neal (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"It’s been years since Zoe Fairchild has been to the small Devon village of her birth, but the wounds she suffered there still ache. When she learns that her old friend and grandmother’s caretaker has gone missing, Zoe and her fifteen-year-old daughter return to England to help.

Zoe dreads seeing her estranged mother, who left when Zoe was seven to travel the world. As the four generations of women reunite, the emotional pain of the past is awakened. And to complicate matters further, Zoe must also confront the ex-boyfriend she betrayed many years before.

Anxieties spike when tragedy befalls another woman in the village. As the mystery turns more sinister, new grief melds with old betrayal. Now the four Fairchild women will be tested in ways they couldn’t imagine as they contend with dangers within and without, desperate to heal themselves and their relationships with each other."

My Thoughts:

The Lost Girls of Devon was one of those books that just felt like the perfect book at the perfect time.  I absolutely love when that happens!  I feel like there is a certain kind of magic when a book fits into your reading mood so perfectly without you even realizing that it was what you were in the mood for necessarily.  There was just something about it that really drew me into the book from the very beginning.  There's a lot going on in this book but it never felt like too much.  I was worried about what happened to Zoe's missing friend throughout the book.  I was also equally concerned about Zoe and her mother's relationship, the romance that seemed to be developing between Zoe and Sage, the secrets Zoe's daughter Isabel was hiding, and the health struggles that Zoe's grandmother was facing.  I was just completely absorbed in their lives - there is really no other way to put it.  Another thing that I appreciated about this book was despite the harder topics it covered, I found this book hopeful.  I can't really explain what I mean about that without spoiling anything but I still really wanted to mention it.  The characters are up against many different things but it still left me hopeful by the end without just wrapping those darker threads into a bow.  This book is also told from each of the four women's viewpoints which was the perfect setup in my opinion.  We got to read from Zoe's point of view the most but she was really at the center of everything.  I felt like I understood each of these women more because of the way that the book was written.  Having the opportunity to really see things from their point of view allowed for the author to bring all of these characters to life for me.  I liked the way things ended with this book but I almost wasn't ready to say goodbye to these characters.  I really enjoyed this book and am looking forward to reading more by this author in the future!

Overall, this book really swept me away in its' pages and was a wonderful reading experience.  These are characters that I came to really care about.  I won't be forgetting their story anytime soon.  I'm so glad that I took the opportunity to read this book because it just fit with my reading mood perfectly.  I love when that happens!  Also, can we please talk about how gorgeous that cover is!  It brings to mind (for me anyways) a summer read but I have to say that this book felt just a bit heavier than that.  It may not have given me the summer vibes that the cover did but it really was a compelling read with characters that came to life for me.  I would recommend this book to fans of women's fiction, those readers who enjoy a lighter mystery, and just fiction in general.  I really think that this book would appeal to a variety of readers - I hope that many other readers find it and love it just as much as I did!  Highly recommended!

Bottom Line:  This is one of those books that I found myself just entranced by from beginning to end!

Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book as part of a TLC book tour.  Honest thoughts are my own.

**Please note that Blogger seems to have cut out portions of my thoughts - I didn't realize until afterwards so I went back and edited it with my original thoughts as best as I could.  My apologies!

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Library Loot (July 14th)


I thought it would be fun (and a nice change of pace) to share some of the recent books that I've checked out from the library.  I've been mostly posting book reviews lately and wanted to change it up a bit - maybe breathe a little bit of fresh life into the blog, you know?  I've been putting holds on at the library nonstop since curbside opened up.  I may or may not have WAY TOO many books currently checked out right now but it feels so good!  Here are just a few of the books that I've got waiting to be read:

  • The Eighth Girl by Maxine Mei-Fung Chung - This book features a protagonist with multiple personalities and is labeled as a thriller.  That's really all I needed to know....how could I possibly resist that premise?!?  I couldn't so this one instantly went on to the holds list.
  • The Mountains Wild by Sarah Stewart Taylor - The cover is one of the things that first caught my eye with this book I'm not going to lie.  I also can't resist a new detective series so this one instantly was on my radar.  But what sealed the deal is when this author was compared to Tana French - SIGN ME UP!  That's all they really needed to say.
  • No Going Back by Sheena Kamal - This is the 3rd book in the Nora Watts series.  I've been impatiently waiting for this book every since finishing the 2nd one (especially with the way it ended).  This has fast become a favorite series of mine so I won't be waiting long to pick this one up.  I NEED to know what is going to happen next!
  • I'll Never Tell by Catherine McKenzie - This book has been on my radar since last year when it released.  The setting features a summer camp which fits with the summer vibes we have going.  I am loving the idea of reading a thriller set in the heat of summer so let's hope this book fits the bill.
I've got SO many other books checked out including the following:
  • You Let Me In by Camilla Bruce
  • The Good House by Tananarive Due
  • Take Me Apart by Sara Sligar
  • The Majesties by Tiffany Tsao
  • My Sister's Bones by Nuala Ellwood
and some more but I'm sure you get the point by now.  I obviously have no shelf control.  How many of you are shaking your head at me?  Or is that just me?  I have SUCH great reading ahead of me!  There is every chance that I won't get through the majority of these but the fun is in trying.  June was just a so-so month for me reading/numbers wise.  Let's hope that July turns out to be absolutely amazing!

What book or books have you checked out from the library lately?

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Closer Than She Knows by Kelly Irvin (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"Teagan O’Rourke has always loved murder mysteries. In her job as a court reporter, she has written official records for dozens of real-life murders. She’s slapped evidence stickers on crime scene photos. She’s listened to hours of chilling testimony. But she’s never known the smell of death. And she never thought she might be a victim. 

Until now. 

A young police officer is murdered just inches away from her, and then a man calling himself a serial killer starts leaving Teagan notes, signing each with the name of a different murderer from her favorite mystery novels. 

Panicked, Teagan turns to her friend Max Kennedy. Max longs for more than friendship with Teagan, but he fears she’ll never trust someone with a past like his. He wonders how much of God’s “tough love” he can take before he gives up on love completely. And he wonders if he’ll be able to keep Teagan alive long enough to find out. 

As Teagan, Max, and Teagan’s police officer father race to track down the elusive killer, they each know they could be the next victim. Desperate to save those she loves, Teagan battles fears that once haunted her in childhood. Nothing seems to stop this obsessed murderer. No matter what she does, he seems to be getting closer . . ."

My Thoughts:

Closer Than She Knows is a suspenseful read that kept me guessing.  This book would be considered Christian fiction which is something that some readers would definitely want to know beforehand in case that isn't their thing.  The characters beliefs do play a major part of this book at times which is why I felt like it was important to mention.  I found myself instantly intrigued by the setup of this book.  Teagan finds herself in the sights of a serial killer at the very beginning of this book which really started this book off with a bang.  I found myself trying to figure out who the killer could be right along with all of the other characters.  I liked that the author also hit on some other heavier issues within this book.  For example, Max is a former alcoholic.  This isn't something that is just glossed over but is something that he deals with throughout the book.  The need for foster parents is another issue that was also brought up within the pages of this book.  I thought that the way that the author brought these things into this book added to the mystery without distracting from it.  It made the book feel more like real life as these are issues that are faced by so many all of the time.  I spent the entirety of this book trying to figure out who the killer was and the why's behind it all.  While I did end up suspecting the correct person at one point, I wasn't for sure until the very end when everything is revealed.  I thought that this book was a page turner - especially with that ending!

Overall, I liked this one and would be open to reading more by this author in the future.  I thought that the author did a good job of writing a suspenseful read that kept me guessing.  I really liked Teagan's family and would love to read more of them in future books.  I also enjoyed the fact that the author's love of mysteries was interspersed throughout this book.  The killer would leave Teagan notes signed as the killer from different mystery novels that Teagan had read and loved.  I just thought it was a fun way to pay homage to the mystery genre and the author's love of books.  I think that readers who enjoy suspenseful reads, Christian fiction, or just mysteries in general would enjoy this book.

Bottom Line:  A suspenseful read that kept me turning the pages.

Disclosure:   I received a copy of this book courtesy of the publisher as part of a PICT book tour.  Honest thoughts are my own.


Book Details:

Genre: Romantic Suspense
Published by: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: June 9th 2020
Number of Pages: 352
ISBN: 0785231862 (ISBN13: 9780785231868)
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads
Kelly Irvin

Author Bio:

Kelly Irvin is a bestselling author and two-time Carol Award finalist. She is a former newspaper reporter and retired public relations professional. Kelly lives in Texas with her husband, photographer Tim Irvin. They have two children, three grandchildren, and two cats. 

Visit her Online:
KellyIrvin.com
Goodreads
BookBub
Instagram
Twitter
Facebook

 Here is an excerpt from the book:

“We’re almost there, Ms. O’Rourke.” Officer Moreno came to a full stop at the corner of Park and Academic Court, where the glass-covered police department recruitment center and property room facilities glinted in the late-afternoon sun.

A smile brought out dimples on Moreno’s cherub-cheeked face. Her assignment to escort a court reporter and the evidence to the property room was almost to the halfway point. Teagan had told Moreno to call her by her first name, but the patrolwoman couldn’t seem to manage it. “I’ll get us through security, we’ll stow the evidence, and I’ll have you back to your car in a jiffy.”

Did people still say “in a jiffy”? Teagan’s grandma might, but this woman was no more than twenty-four. A couple of years younger than Teagan. She studied the officer’s face as she turned onto Academic Court and accelerated. The woman was for real. A straight shooter determined to be successful in a man’s world.

Teagan smiled, but Moreno had already returned her gaze to the road, hands at the proper ten and two positions on the wheel. “I know there’s plenty of other things you’d rather do than babysit evidence—”

The driver’s side window exploded.

The force knocked Teagan’s head against her window. Sudden pain pricked her face. Fragments of glass pierced her cheeks and forehead.

The car swerved, jumped the curb, and crashed into the wrought-iron fence that protected the academy.

Was this what Mom felt the day she died? The inevitability of it?

Air bags ballooned.

Teagan slammed back against her seat.

I’m sorry, Max.

I’m sorry I never said it.

A second later the bag deflated. The smell of nitrogen gases gagged her. Powder coated her face. The skin on the back of her hands burned.

Time sped up in an odd, off-kilter tick-tock.

Teagan struggled to open her eyes. Pain pulsed in her temple. Her stomach heaved. Waves of adrenaline shook her body as if she’d grasped a live electrical wire.

I’m alive. Today’s not my day to die.
The evidence. Protect the evidence."


Tuesday, July 7, 2020

The Lost and Found Bookshop by Susan Wiggs (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"There is a book for everything . . . 

Somewhere in the vast Library of the Universe, as Natalie thought of it, there was a book that embodied exactly the things she was worrying about.

In the wake of a shocking tragedy, Natalie Harper inherits her mother’s charming but financially strapped bookshop in San Francisco. She also becomes caretaker for her ailing grandfather Andrew, her only living relative—not counting her scoundrel father.

But the gruff, deeply kind Andrew has begun displaying signs of decline. Natalie thinks it’s best to move him to an assisted living facility to ensure the care he needs. To pay for it, she plans to close the bookstore and sell the derelict but valuable building on historic Perdita Street, which is in need of constant fixing. There’s only one problem–Grandpa Andrew owns the building and refuses to sell. Natalie adores her grandfather; she’ll do whatever it takes to make his final years happy. Besides, she loves the store and its books provide welcome solace for her overwhelming grief.

After she moves into the small studio apartment above the shop, Natalie carries out her grandfather’s request and hires contractor Peach Gallagher to do the necessary and ongoing repairs. His young daughter, Dorothy, also becomes a regular at the store, and she and Natalie begin reading together while Peach works.

To Natalie’s surprise, her sorrow begins to dissipate as her life becomes an unexpected journey of new connections, discoveries and revelations, from unearthing artifacts hidden in the bookshop’s walls, to discovering the truth about her family, her future, and her own heart."


My Thoughts:

The Lost and Found Bookshop is one of those books that is just meant for book lovers!  I mean, I can't be the only one who would love to inherit a bookshop (although I would definitely take a hard pass on how she inherits the bookshop - let's be honest).  This book deals very openly with grief and loss - and the struggles that come from it which I feel like needs to be said because it might hit too close to home for some readers.  The bookshop itself though just was such a bright spot for me and all I wanted was for Natalie to understand that as well.  I loved all of the characters in this book but especially her grandfather!  He was just so sweet and I just wanted everything to work out for the both of them.  I also really, really enjoyed the chemistry between Natalie and Peach.  The two of them just worked so well together which meant that I couldn't help but want them to find their happy ever after.  My one complaint with this book is that it took them so long to figure out their feelings/what they wanted.....I just wanted the opportunity to see their relationship develop a little more is the best way to put it.  That being said, I was totally behind their relationship because they were just perfect together!  And anyone could see that even if they didn't see it themselves until later on.  This book felt like just the perfect summer read!  It had its heavier moments as Natalie tried to navigate her grief over the unexpected loss of her mother.  But it also had just enough lightness to it that meant I was able to breeze through it!

Overall, I enjoyed this book and getting to know these characters!  This is my 2nd book by this author and she is definitely going to be one of my go to's authors for this type of book.  It felt like the perfect blend of romance and women's fiction all combined into one really good book.  I think that readers that enjoy books featuring bookshops, those who enjoy a slow building romance, and those who enjoy women's fiction will really enjoy this book!  I'm looking forward to diving more into this author's backlist after enjoying this one so much.  Recommended!

Bottom Line:  A really great summer read for book lovers!

Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book thanks to the publisher and NetGalley.  Honest thoughts are my own.

Friday, June 19, 2020

A Deadly Inside Scoop by Abby Collette (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"Recent MBA grad Bronwyn Crewse has just taken over her family's ice cream shop in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, and she's going back to basics. Win is renovating Crewse Creamery to restore its former glory, and filling the menu with delicious, homemade ice cream flavors—many from her grandmother’s original recipes. But unexpected construction delays mean she misses the summer season, and the shop has a literal cold opening: the day she opens her doors an early first snow descends on the village and keeps the customers away.

To make matters worse, that evening, Win finds a body in the snow, and it turns out the dead man was a grifter with an old feud with the Crewse family. Soon, Win’s father is implicated in his death. It's not easy to juggle a new-to-her business while solving a crime, but Win is determined to do it. With the help of her quirky best friends and her tight-knit family, she'll catch the ice cold killer before she has a meltdown..."

My Thoughts:

A Deadly Inside Scoop was a laugh out loud, delightful beginning to this new cozy mystery series!  I am so glad that I requested this book from NetGalley.  I cannot remember where I first heard about this one but I'm so thankful that I had it on my radar!  Let me tell you all of the things that made this book standout for me.  One, the author is obviously a mystery lover and threw in references to author mystery authors/books here and there that I couldn't help but appreciate.  Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express is just one example.  I loved the nod that she gave in this book to that classic - it just warmed my book loving heart!  I also adored ALL of the characters in this book!  Win has a large family that is also her support system.  She also has two best friends that were absolutely hilarious.  I was reading this one in bed just giggling to myself while my husband gave me strange looks.  But I just couldn't help myself - it was too funny!  The banter back and forth between the three friends as well as the situations that they found themselves in at times were just too great!  I know this is going to sound wrong to many of you - but I'm not a huge ice cream person usually.  I enjoy it to be clear but it just isn't my go to treat or snack.  I will say that the different flavors that Win was making though helped to give me some serious cravings for ice cream while I was reading.  The mystery was solid and kept me guessing.  This was just such a great beginning to this cozy mystery series overall that I cannot wait to get my hands on the next book!

All in all, this book was a refreshing and enjoyable beginning to this new cozy mystery series!  I was super excited to have found out that this author has two other cozy series under a pseudonym that I can check out while I'm waiting for book two to release.  If you enjoy cozy mysteries with great characters, laugh out loud moments, and just a plain fun read; then check this book out!  I can easily recommend it especially to all of my other cozy mystery or suspense readers!  

Bottom Line:  I'm so excited to have found both this series and this author as this book was an absolute delight!

Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book thanks to the publisher and NetGalley.  Honest thoughts are my own.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

A Royal Affair by Allison Montclair (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"In London 1946, The Right Sort Marriage Bureau is just beginning to take off and the proprietors, Miss Iris Sparks and Mrs. Gwendolyn Bainbridge, are in need of a bigger office and a secretary to handle the growing demand. Unfortunately, they don't yet have the necessary means. So when a woman arrives—a cousin of Gwen's—with an interesting and quite remunerative proposition, they two of them are all ears.

The cousin, one Lady Matheson, works for the Queen in "some capacity" and is in need of some discreet investigation. It seems that the Princess Elizabeth has developed feelings for a dashing Greek prince and a blackmail note has arrived, alluding to some potentially damaging information about said prince. Wanting to keep this out of the palace gossip circles, but also needing to find out what skeletons might lurk in the prince's closet, the palace has quietly turned to Gwen and Iris. Without causing a stir, the two of them must now find out what secrets lurk in the prince's past, before his engagement to the future Queen of England is announced. And there's more at stake than the future of the Empire —there is their potential new office that lies in the balance."

My Thoughts:

This series and this book are just a delight to read!  I enjoyed the first book in this series (The Right Sort of Man) last year so I was so excited to get my hands on a copy of this book.  This book was just as fun and pleasurable to read as that first book!  One of the things that I adore about this series is the two main characters of Gwen and Iris.  They are two very different women but they work together so well and really complement each other.  With a book that has two main characters, as the reader I sometimes can end up preferring one over the other but that just isn't the case in this series.  I'm constantly rooting for Gwen as she works to take back control of her life.  I'm also constantly rooting for Iris to actually find love and maybe even settle down one day.  They are just so much fun to read about and I love reading about the different types of trouble that they constantly seem to find themselves in.  At first, I had a bit of a time keeping track of all of the different kings, princes, and the like that were possibly caught up in the mystery both present day and in the past.  Happily enough, I just allowed myself to go along for the ride and before I knew it I was able to  figure out who was who.  The mystery was one that kept me guessing but honestly I really read this one for the characters and just the adventure of it all.  Both this book and the first were just fun books to read!  I found myself laughing out loud a few times with this one - especially over some of the comments Iris and Gwen would make.  This book really just was a delightful read and I'm eager to continue on with it in future books!

Overall, I cannot say enough good things about this series and this book!  They are just fun, light reads that I enjoyed immensely.  I don't think that you have to read these book in order necessarily but as there is only two books...I feel like why wouldn't you want to?  They are both completely worth it in my opinion!  I am so glad to have found this author and series!  It is one that I will definitely be both continuing on with and recommending!  This is a book that I definitely think historical mystery fans will enjoy, one that I would also recommend to cozy and mystery readers, and I would also recommend the series to fans of Rhys Bowen's Her Royal Spyness series!

Bottom Line: A delightful addition to what is becoming a favorite series of mine!

Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book thanks to the publisher.  Honest thoughts are my own.

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Tuesday's Gone by Nicci French (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"In Tuesday’s Gone, a London social worker makes a routine home visit only to discover her client, Michelle Doyce, serving afternoon tea to a naked, decomposing corpse. With no clues as to the dead man’s identity, Chief Inspector Karlsson again calls upon Frieda for help. She discovers that the body belongs to Robert Poole, con man extraordinaire. But Frieda can’t shake the feeling that the past isn’t done with her yet. Did someone kill Poole to embroil her in the investigation? And if so, is Frieda herself the next victim?"

My Thoughts:

I am well and truly hooked on this series at only two books in (wait...make that three books in - I just remembered that I started off this series with like the 6th book)!  My one regret is that I waited so long after finishing the first book before grabbing this one.  I can already tell that this is a series where things that happen from the first book will continue to play an important role in future books in this series.  This book had such a creepy premise with a woman with mental issues having tea with a dead man.  How could you not want to read this one based off of that premise?  I was intrigued instantly by that summary!  This book was a slow build whereas I remember blowing through the first book (actually I think I read that one in just a day).  I loved that it was a slow burn though because I took my time with it and was just so completely immersed in Frieda's world.  Her character is SO intriguing to me - I hope that we continue to learn more about her background as the series goes on!  I also enjoyed the fact that we got to see all of the other characters that we met in the previous book.  This is definitely a series that I would recommend reading in order.  There are major things at play (cannot say more than that) in this book that are carrying over from Blue Monday.  And the ending of this book - let me tell you what - I didn't see that coming whatsoever!  I'm so glad that I already have the next book waiting on my shelves.  This is a series to check out if you haven't already in my humble opinion!

Overall, I enjoyed my time with this book immensely!  I loved that this one was a bit slower so that I ended up taking my time with it.  I'm really loving the characters in this series and especially Frieda herself.  I'm so intrigued by the way this book ended - I'm itching to grab that next book (especially just thinking about it all over again).  I would recommend this series (start with that 1st book please) to mystery lovers, those readers who enjoy a suspenseful read, and those readers that really enjoy character focused mysteries.  More readers need to find this series!  I can easily recommend this one!

Bottom Line: This series has become a standout series for me!

Disclosure:  I checked this book out from my local library.  Honest thoughts are my own.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Watching From the Dark by Gytha Lodge (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"Aidan Poole logs on to his laptop late at night to Skype his girlfriend, Zoe. To his horror, he realizes that there is someone else in her flat. Aidan can only listen to the sounds of a violent struggle taking place in the bathroom—and then the sound of silence. He is desperate to find out if Zoe is okay. But then why is he so hesitant to call the police?

When Aidan’s cryptic messages finally reach them, Detective Chief Inspector Jonah Sheens and his team take the case—and discover the body. They soon find that no one has a bad word to say about Zoe, a big hearted young artist at the center of a curious web of waifs and strays, each relying on her for support, each hiding dark secrets and buried resentments. Has one of her so-called “friends” been driven to murder? Or does Aidan have the biggest secret of them all?"

My Thoughts:

Watching From the Dark is the 2nd book in the DCI Jonah Sheens series - the 1st book is She Lies in Wait which I read and loved last year.  This book was just as good as that first book which has me bumping this series to the top of my highly anticipating list!  I love a good police procedural and I especially enjoy books like this that also take the time to develop their characters well!  This book is actually told from two different viewpoints: one is the investigation into Zoe's death done by DCI Sheens and his team and the other storyline is Zoe's life and the events that led up to her murder.  I really appreciated the fact that we were able to get to know Zoe's character so well with the way that the story was told.  It almost made me sad though at the end because the loss of her life and her potential felt like such a waste.  It's rare that an author is able to make me care so much about the murdered character but that's exactly what Lodge did with this book.  I also really enjoyed the fact that we got to know DCI Sheens and his team a bit more.  They all work together well and complement each other despite their differences.  I'm eager to read more books in this series when they release because I really enjoy all of the characters so much.  This book is a slow build which fit my reading mood perfectly.  I am pretty sure that I suspected almost everyone involved at least once in Zoe's murder.  The book kept me guessing until the end - and even the ending left me with a bit of surprise.  This is both an author and series that has jumped to the top of my must read list!

Overall, I really enjoyed my time with this book and am eagerly anticipating more books in this series!  It's going to be a long wait for that 3rd book but I know that it will be entirely worth it.  I'm so glad that I gave this author a try last year because I would have been missing out on this series otherwise.  You definitely don't need to read the series in order as this one stands alone well - it just will add to the reading experience if you do choose to read both.  I would recommend this book to fans of police procedurals, those who enjoy a good mystery, and those who enjoy suspenseful reads that keep you guessing until the end.  I highly recommend!

Bottom Line:  This author and series has jumped to my favorites list!

Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book thanks to the publisher and NetGalley.  I ended up reading a copy from my local library.  Honest thoughts are my own.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Don't Make a Sound by T.R. Ragan (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"Plagued by traumatic childhood memories, crime reporter Sawyer Brooks still struggles to gain control of her rage, her paranoia, and her life. Now, after finally getting promoted at work, she is forced to return home and face her past.

River Rock is where she’d been abandoned by her two older sisters to suffer alone, and in silence, the unspeakable abuses of her family. It’s also where Sawyer’s best friend disappeared and two teenage girls were murdered. Three cold cases dead and buried with the rest of the town’s secrets.

When another girl is slain in a familiar grisly fashion, Sawyer is determined to put an end to the crimes. Pulled back into the horrors of her family history, Sawyer must reconcile with her estranged sisters, who both have shattering memories of their own. As Sawyer’s investigation leads to River Rock’s darkest corners, what will prove more dangerous—what she knows of the past or what she has yet to discover?
 "

My Thoughts:

I feel like I need to begin this review with ALL of the trigger warnings!  This book is dark and not always easy to read so it may not be for all readers.  But it was also such a suspenseful read that kept me turning the pages to see what was going to happen next the entire time.  I just think that because this book was so dark that readers will want to go in knowing that ahead of time as it isn't always easy to read - Sawyer has been through some horrific things in her childhood as have both of her sisters.  If you can handle all of that, this book was a very compelling read!  Sawyer is a prickly character for very good reason.  She is also someone that I was instantly rooting for especially after we learn about everything that she has been through.  This book also gave me some serious Sharp Objects vibes thanks to the town Sawyer grew up in and all of the darkness that seemed to be contained within it.  Another interesting aspect to this book is that there is vigilante storyline (that's the best way I can describe it) that is interspersed throughout the book.  I was curious and guessing how it related to Sawyer's storyline while I was reading but my guesses weren't confirmed as correct until the end.  I'm very curious to see how this will play out in future books as this book is the first in a series.  I will definitely make sure that I'm ready for a darker read when I pick up the next book.  I'm looking forward to that next book though as well as checking out what else this author has written! 

Overall, it feels kind of wrong to say I enjoyed this one when it had such difficult subject matter but I really did.  It wasn't always easy for me to read but it was a very compelling book.  I'm eager to read more about Sawyer and to see what other kinds of trouble she will find herself in next.  Make no mistake, I'm 100 percent sure that she will find herself in other trouble - that is just the type of person she is.  I'm rooting for her though and looking forward to future books because of it.  I would recommend this book to readers that don't mind darker reads, those who enjoy a good mystery, and those who like suspenseful reads that they don't want to set down.  I wouldn't recommend this book to everyone though because it could be very triggering - please message me if you need specific trigger warnings.  In the end, I'm excited to have found this new to me author and looking forward to checking out what else she has written!

Bottom Line:  A very dark, suspenseful and compelling read - but be warned that it may not be for everyone!

Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book thanks to the publisher as part of a Great Escape Virtual Book Tour.  Honest thoughts are my own.

If you are interested in reading a copy, check out the tour giveaway for this book below:

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Have You Seen Me? by Kate White (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"On a cold, rainy morning, finance journalist Ally Linden arrives early to work in her Manhattan office, only to find that she’s forgotten her keycard and needs to have a colleague she’s never met let her in. When her boss finally arrives, he seems surprised to see her—because she hasn’t worked there in five years.

Ally knows her name, but little else, and it’s only after several hours in an emergency room and multiple interviews with the hospital psychiatrist that she begins to piece together important facts: she lives on the Upper West Side; she’s now a freelance personal finance journalist; she’s married to a lovely man named Hugh. But she still can’t recall what happened to her during the previous two days. When she learns that she’s experienced a dissociative fugue state, Ally tries to think of triggers and remembers that she’d been seeing a therapist about a traumatic event from her childhood, in which she came across evidence for a murder that was never solved.

Desperate to unearth answers, Ally focuses on figuring out where she spent the missing forty-eight hours. As ominous details of the two days pile up, so does the terrifying pressure: she must recover the time she lost before the time she has left runs out."

My Thoughts:

This book has cemented my love of Kate White's books - she has become yet another author where I plan to read everything and anything that she has written.  There is just something about her books that I cannot help but enjoy!  Have You Seen Me? has such an intriguing premise that I couldn't help but want to read it as soon as I had read the above summary.  Unreliable narrators are a popular choice in thrillers but the idea of showing up to work only to find that you don't work there (and haven't for some time) is horrifying to contemplate.  I cannot even imagine!  I loved that the author then took us one this suspenseful journey where Ally is trying to find her missing memories.  I spent my entire time reading this book trying to figure out what was going on and what had caused Ally to disassociate from her life.  The short chapters helped to make this book one very tense and fast paced read!  My one and only complaint with this book was that I didn't love the ending.  I can't really say why without sharing spoilers but I will say that I was a bit unsatisfied with the ending.  It wasn't horrible or anything - just a bit unsatisfying (and really it's a me thing more than the book itself honestly).  That being said - the fact that I enjoyed this book so much up until that ending still made this book a really enjoyable read for me!  I think that this is my 4th book by White and they have all been at least four star reads.  I WILL be reading more by White and soon.  

Overall, I enjoyed this book immensely and can easily recommend it!  It was a page turner that kept me reading late into the night.  This book is labeled as a novel of suspense which I would definitely agree with as it was a very suspenseful read!  There was just a description on bookstagram the other day on the difference between mysteries, thrillers and suspense which has really stuck with me.  I think that it's important to try and share what kind of book it is so that people go in with the right expectations (if that's something they worry about I suppose).  Anyways, I can easily recommend this one to fans of suspense, those readers who enjoy unreliable narrators (not necessarily the case here but similar feel since Ally is missing memories), and those readers who love a good mystery.  

Bottom Line:  A page turning and suspenseful read that I couldn't stop reading!

Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book thanks to the publisher.  Honest thoughts are my own.

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Cross Her Heart by Melinda Leigh (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"For more than twenty-five years, Philadelphia homicide detective Bree Taggert has tucked away the nightmarish childhood memories of her parents’ murder-suicide…Until her younger sister, Erin, is killed in a crime that echoes that tragic night: innocent witnesses and a stormy marriage that ended in gunfire. There’s just one chilling difference. Erin’s husband, Justin, has vanished.

Bree knows how explosive the line between love and hate can be, yet the evidence against her troubled brother-in-law isn’t adding up. Teaming up with Justin’s old friend, former sheriff’s investigator and K-9 handler Matt Flynn, Bree vows to uncover the secrets of her sister’s life and death, as she promised Erin’s children. But as her investigation unfolds, the danger hits close to home. Once again, Bree’s family is caught in a death grip. And this time, it could be fatal for her."

My Thoughts:

Cross Her Heart was a really good page turner that fit my reading mood perfectly.  I was in the mood for a book that would keep me reading and unable to set down - and that's exactly what this book did!  I've been struggling to really concentrate lately with everything that's going on in the world so I needed a book like this that helped keep my mind off of everything.  Because let me tell you that this book starts off fast paced and that didn't stop until the very end.  One of the things that surprised me about this book is how dark it was and how much of a role grief played in this novel.  I feel like you don't always get to see the effects of grief in a mystery like we did in this book.  It really gave this book a realistic feel that I couldn't help but appreciate.  I also liked how this book kept me guessing throughout the book.  I didn't have a clue on how everything was going to turn out until I was actually supposed to know.  This book begins a new series but the ending wrapped everything up perfectly.  I couldn't help appreciating the fact that there were just a few new questions that were left that I'm hoping we will get answers to in future books.  I will definitely be continuing on with this series, that's for sure!

Overall, I enjoyed my time with this book and am excited to have found this author!  She's got another series for me to check out while I wait for the next book in this series to release which has me happy.  I love finding new mystery authors to follow especially because that seems to be all I want to read lately.  I need ALL of the mystery recommendations at this point.  I think that readers that enjoy mysteries, suspense, and even those romantic suspense readers would enjoy this one.  There isn't a romance in this book BUT there are hints that one might be forming in future books which I am definitely here for.  Recommended!

Bottom Line: A solid beginning to this new mystery series!  I cannot wait to get my hands on the next book!

Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book courtesy of the publisher and NetGalley.  Honest thoughts are my own.