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.

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Sugar and Vice by Eve Calder (thoughts)

Summary from Amazon:


Lately, Kate has a lot on her dessert plate. She’s launching a cookie-of-the-day challenge in the heart of Coral Cay, providing sweet treats for the reception of the town’s handsome new veterinarian—not to mention dealing with tourists in town for a pirate festival and the surprise arrival of her former fiancĂ©, Evan, who seems determined to win her back.

And if that’s not enough, a skeleton has been found—in the backyard behind her best friend Maxi’s floral shop. Kate knows Maxi could never hurt a fly. Maybe the remains belong to Sir George Bly, a long-dead pirate whose name has become urban legend—until now? It’s time for Kate to use every trick in the recipe book to prove Maxi’s innocence, and find the truth about the skeleton, before the last of the cookies crumble…"
My Thoughts:
Sugar and Vice is the 2nd book in the Cookie House cozy mystery series.  I've read books one and two in this series and enjoyed them both.  The thing that I enjoy about this series is that in book one (slight spoiler although not really much of one) Kate moves to Coral Cay to get a fresh start in her life.  I really enjoy that in these two books we have gotten to see her work towards that new life.  I can't help rooting for her because of it.  I also really enjoy all of the characters in this series!  Maxi especially is a great secondary character so I liked the fact that this book focused on her and her business so much.  One of the things that surprised me most about this book though was the ending.  I didn't see it coming which really added to my enjoyment.  I fully admit that there are many times with cozy mysteries where you can guess the ending early on (even though I find that still doesn't affect my enjoyment too often).  That did not happen here as I didn't see the ending coming from a mile away!  I loved how surprised I was by the ending of this one and also where the author went with it.  I'll leave it at that because I don't want to spoil anything for others.
Overall, I enjoyed this book and will continue reading more of this series with future books!  This book was fun and a good way to keep my mind off of everything that has been going on in the world lately.  I'm curious to see where the author goes next with this series.  It should be interesting and I will definitely be there for it!  I think that readers that enjoy cozy mysteries or are looking for mysteries that are on the lighter side (meaning not dark and gory) would enjoy this one.  I do think that this book can be read out of order, but I would recommend reading the books in order if possible.  There's only two currently so you have plenty of time before the next book releases!  Recommended.
Bottom Line: A fun addition to this cozy mystery series!
Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book thanks to the publisher and NetGalley. Honest thoughts are my own.

Monday, April 20, 2020

Black Rock Bay by Brianna Labuskes (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"Detective Mia Hart never planned to return home. One terrifying summer night, Mia lost two of her closest friends to suicide. Scarred and broken, she fled St. Lucy’s, a small island off the coast of Maine.
Now fifteen years later, when the body of a journalist is fished out of the bay near St. Lucy’s cliffs, Mia is forced to help with the case—and face all she’s been running from. As she approaches the island, the wintery winds of Black Rock Bay usher Mia home again.
When Mia digs into the reporter’s death, she finds he left behind a written clue: It wasn't suicide. Mia soon discovers it’s her own tragic past he was referring to. Now, as she tries to untangle a web of lies, Mia realizes that solving this case means becoming the next pawn in someone’s blood-chilling game of truth or die."
My Thoughts:
Black Rock Bay was a really atmospheric and intriguing mystery that has me excited to read more by this author!  This is my first book by this author but it certainly won't be my last!  One of the things that I enjoyed about this book so much was the sense of isolation that was present throughout this book.  Mia and her partner Izzy go back to the island where Mia grew up - it's this tiny island that is difficult to reach and with a very small population.  The island is also this strange place where no one trusts outsiders and really most of the islanders cannot be trusted themselves.  And then there were constant storms, snow, and other difficult weather that just gave this book such an eerie feeling.  The constant sense of isolation that was present was at times suffocating but so very suspenseful!  I loved every minute of it!  I also loved the feeling that there wasn't anyone that I as the reader could really trust (even Mia herself with her missing memories).  Izzy was about the only one that I fully trusted throughout the entire book.  I saw another review that compared this book to Gillian Flynn's Sharp Objects - I can definitely see the comparison.  This book has that same layer of distrust that is present throughout the book and it also has the small town feel where nothing is as it seems.  I love books that are atmospheric and keep me guessing the entire time!  My one complaint is that I just didn't quite jibe with the ending and I can't put my finger on why.  It was good (don't get me wrong) but just didn't feel as strong as the rest of the book.  I wish I could put it into words more but it would be a spoiler and I'm not even sure I could explain it if I tried.  I think I just wanted a bit more maybe so let's leave it at that.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and will definitely be reading more by this author!  The tension and suspense in this book were top notch!  I truly hope that other readers find this book because it deserves way more attention than it has gotten.  I don't think I've seen it on bookstagram at all which is a shame!  I think that readers will enjoy this one if they enjoy isolated or locked room mysteries (not quite the same but the island is cut off so close to same thing), if they enjoy slow building thrillers filled with suspense and atmosphere, and definitely if you enjoy books with characters where you don't know who to trust.  Highly recommended!

Bottom Line:  This book and author are one of my standout finds so far for 2020!

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

Monday, April 13, 2020

When You See Me by Lisa Gardner (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"FBI Special Agent Kimberly Quincy and Sergeant Detective DD Warren have built a task force to follow the digital bread crumbs left behind by deceased serial kidnapper Jacob Ness. And when a disturbing piece of evidence comes to light, they decide to bring in Flora Dane who has personal experience of being imprisoned by Ness.

Their investigations take them to a small town deep in the hills of Georgia where something seems to be deeply wrong.

What at first seems like a Gothic eeriness soon hardens into something much more sinister as they discover that for all the evil Jacob committed while alive, his worst secret is still to be revealed.

Quincy and DD must summon their considerable skills and experience to crack the most disturbing case of their careers - and Flora must face her own past directly in the hope of saving others."

My Thoughts:

Books and series like this are why I love reading so much!  I started reading this series in the middle with the 1st book that introduced Flora Dane's character.  This is now the 4th book that I've read by this author and each book has been a five star read for me!  That's amazing!  I will say that while you don't have to read this series in order (as I haven't), I would recommend starting where I did with book #8 which is titled Find Her.  It's a good place in this series to start if you aren't willing to go all the way back to book one like I plan on doing.  Lisa Gardner has become one of my go to authors at this point.  I will be reading everything and anything she writes!  But back to this book - I picked this one up because with everything going on in the current world I needed an author I could trust and a book that would sweep me away.  That is exactly what this book did!  I finished this book in about two days because I just could not set my kindle down.  I was absolutely hooked by the entire book!  The thing about this series is that I have really come to care for DD and Flora's characters for a variety of reasons.  This is the 1st book that I've read featuring Kimberly Quincy (she may have been in the previous books I've read but just didn't play a main role like she did in this one - I can't remember for sure).  This book focused on three strong women solving one very twisted mystery.  What more could you want?!?  I found myself reading as fast as I could, the suspense had me on the edge of my seat, and I was completely satisfied with the way the book ended.  It's going to be a long wait until the next book in the series releases but I already know that it will be completely worth the wait!  Also, I could fill in the time with those older books considering I now have a few of them on my shelves already after loving this series so much!

Overall, this is another five star read for me with this series!  I have well and truly loved EVERY book that I've read in it so far!  This is one of those authors and series that shouldn't be missed!  I cannot recommend it enough!  I think that readers will enjoy this one if you are a mystery fan, like darker thrilling reads (she kind of reminds me of Karin Slaughter although I'm not sure that I've read enough of Slaughter's books to say that for sure - Gardner's books aren't as graphic), or just want a book/series that will keep you turning the pages late into the night!  I highly, highly recommend this book AND this series as someone who has only read four books in it so far!

Bottom Line:  An easy book to give five stars - I loved it!

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

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Mystery Mini Reviews

Summary from Goodreads:

"Even in the chill of February, no place touches Harper McClain’s heart like Savannah. She should be walking beneath the historic city’s towering oaks, surrounded by graceful mansions. Instead, she’s hiding miles away on Tybee Island after a mysterious voice on the phone warned her that someone wanted her dead. The call was too specific to ignore. The caller knew everything about her. But that was months ago, and she’s getting tired of being scared.

Her only escape is her work at the newspaper, where the hottest story in town is the disappearance of Xavier Rayne. The singer had a hit album on his hands, and was about to go on tour, but then he walked out of his beachfront home and vanished. The police believe he drowned, but Harper suspects his disappearance may be more ominous than that. Something doesn’t feel right about it.

His bandmates and actress girlfriend say he’s run away before. They expect him to come home. Until a body washes up with two bullet holes in it. Now everyone in Rayne’s life is a suspect. As Harper digs deeper into the case, though, the threats against her own life return. The phone call she received was very real. A killer from her past is coming for her."

My Thoughts:

This mystery series is one of my favorites!  I've been looking forward to this book every since finishing the second book - and I will be impatiently waiting and hoping for more of Harper in future books!  There is just something about the Savannah setting that draws me in and then the mysteries just don't let me go!  I do think that this is a series best read in order (there are only three books so far) because there are threads that started in the first book that play a very important role in this book.  Also, maybe skip the Goodread's summary if you haven't yet read those earlier books.  I found this book just as suspenseful as the previous two books which meant I found myself reading it as fast as I possibly could.  At the risk of sounding slightly spoiler-ey I will say that we get a lot of answers in this book which I couldn't help but appreciate!  Besides the mystery aspect, one of my favorite things about this series is the portrayal of Harper's job and what it's like to work at a newspaper in this day and age.  I always find it interesting and realistic to see the struggles that the newspaper faces and feel like that aspect really makes this series stand out among other mystery series.  The characters are great as well - and at this point I will read anything and everything that this author writes!  But please tell me that will be more of Harper McClain because I'm nowhere near ready to see this series end.  I think that you would enjoy this series if you are a fan of mysteries in general, are looking for something a bit different from your typical police procedural read, and also love a mystery with a setting that is brought to life in each book.  I highly recommend ALL of the books in this series - book one is The Echo Killing if you are interested and haven't had the opportunity to check it out yet!

Bottom Line:  Another standout addition to one of my very favorite mystery series!

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

Summary from Goodreads:

"It’s Halloween night in Cedar Valley. During the town’s annual festival, Detective Gemma Monroe takes a break from trick or treating with her family to visit an old family friend, retired Judge Caleb Montgomery, at his law office. To Gemma’s surprise, Caleb seems worried—haunted, even—and confides in her that he’s been receiving anonymous threats. Shortly after, as Gemma strolls back to her car, an explosion at Caleb’s office shatters the night.

Reeling from the shock, Gemma and her team begin eliminating suspects and motives, but more keep appearing in their place, and soon another man is killed. Her investigation takes her from a chilling encounter with a convicted murderer at the Belle Vista Penitentiary, to the gilded rooms of the renovated Shotgun Playhouse, where Shakespeare’s cursed play Macbeth is set to open in a few weeks.

Yet most disturbing of all is when Gemma realizes that similar murders have happened before. There is a copycat killer at play, and if Gemma can’t stop him, he’ll carry out his final, deadly act.

My Thoughts:

Shatter the Night is the fourth book in a mystery series that I absolutely adore!  This author can write and beautifully at that!  There is something so atmospheric about her books that I just cannot get enough of.  I honestly always want to save her books but I can't (and don't) because they are just so good - I can't resist picking them up soon after they release!  This isn't a series that you necessarily have to read in order.  I think that each one could be read as a standalone but together they are that much better.  One of the things about this series that I can't get enough of (besides the writing which is just so gorgeous that I can't help but mention it again) is the characters.  These are characters that feel real with real life struggles.  Gemma is a mom that works to balance life as a police detective and being a mother.  She doesn't always balance these two things the best but I feel like that's real life.  It isn't always easy but the reality is that both things are important to her so she works at it.  I love that the mysteries always seem to keep me guessing which is exactly what this one did.  I also really appreciate the way that the setting and season play a role in these books.  This one was set around Halloween so you could feel the chill in the air at times and the end of fall coming.  It was just SO GOOD and I need more readers to find and love this series as much as I do!!  I've read and loved all four books in this series.  I think that you would enjoy this series if you are a fan of Louise Penny's Inspector Gamache series to start, are a fan of mysteries and police procedurals, or are looking for a mystery with standout atmospheric writing that paints a picture in your head.  I highly recommend this series and each of the books in this series including this one!

Bottom Line:  Another standout addition to one of my very favorite mystery series!

Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book courtesy of the publisher and NetGalley but ended up reading a copy from my local library.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

You and Me and Us by Alison Hammer (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"Alexis Gold knows how to put the “work” in working mom. It’s the “mom” part that she’s been struggling with lately. Since opening her own advertising agency three years ago, Alexis has all but given up on finding a good work/life balance. Instead, she’s handed over the household reins to her supportive, loving partner, Tommy. While he’s quick to say they divide and conquer, Alexis knows that Tommy does most of the heavy lifting—especially when it comes to their teenage daughter, CeCe. 

Their world changes in an instant when Tommy receives a terminal cancer diagnosis, and Alexis realizes everything she’s worked relentlessly for doesn’t matter without him. So Alexis does what Tommy has done for her almost every day since they were twelve-year-old kids in Destin, Florida—she puts him first. And when the only thing Tommy wants is to spend one last summer together at “their” beach, she puts her career on hold to make it happen…even if it means putting her family within striking distance of Tommy’s ex, an actress CeCe idolizes.

But Alexis and Tommy aren’t the only ones whose lives have been turned inside out. In addition to dealing with the normal ups and downs that come with being a teenager, CeCe is also forced to confront her feelings about Tommy’s illness—and what will happen when the one person who’s always been there for her is gone. When the magic of first love brings a bright spot to her summer, CeCe is determined not to let her mother ruin that for her, too.

As CeCe’s behavior becomes more rebellious, Alexis realizes the only thing harder for her than losing Tommy will be convincing CeCe to give her one more chance. "

My Thoughts:

This book was absolutely heartbreaking to read.  In all honesty, I don't think I've ever teared up while reading so many times.  I didn't sob but only because I kept setting the book down to allow myself time to get myself together.  It was also a hopeful read and one that I couldn't help but appreciate.  The thing that really struck me about this book is the importance of family and learning what really matters.  In the end, our family is what matters and thinks like work really don't matter as much.  I think that the author did a great job of delving into this topic without hitting you over the head about it.  She also did a really great job of portraying the difficulties working mothers can face with that work and life balance.  I do think that this is a book that you want to make sure that you are in the right mindset for.  It is about terminal cancer and is sad.  With everything going on in the world today (which is scary enough), I would recommend making sure that you are in the right head space for a book like this which can feel dark and depressing at times.  The author is able to give rays of hope throughout which I really appreciated.  I just cared about the characters in this book so much!  I feel like the author brought them to life for me and I almost wasn't ready for this book to end.  I wasn't ready to say goodbye to these characters (it felt like) after we had gone through so much together.  And that is the mark of a truly good book!

Overall, it feels wrong to say that I enjoyed this one due to the subject matter so instead I will say that I found this to be a thoughtful read that opened my heart to these characters and the struggles that they faced.  I think that the subject matter could be triggering so like I said previously, be aware that this book is sad and heartbreaking at times.  But also know that it is hopeful at others and such a great read overall! This is a debut author - and wow - I just cannot wait to see what she comes up with next.  I will certainly be ready and willing to read more by her in the future!  I would recommend this book to fans of contemporary fiction, fiction in general, and even women's fiction as there was a strong female friendship in this the book as well.  Also, I just have to say that this book is told in two points of view, one is Alexis' and the other is her daughter CeCe's point of view.  I think that the author did a wonderful job of portraying both of these two different points of views and the struggles that mothers and daughters can face in their relationships with one another.  Recommended!

Bottom Line:  A heartbreaking but hopeful read that will stick with me for a long time to come.

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

Monday, March 30, 2020

April NetGalley Releases (On My TBR 2020)

New books are always on my radar - that's just the truth of it!  I'm constantly adding books (both new and older titles) to my TBR list.  But I'm thinking about starting a new feature where each month I talk about a few of the upcoming releases that I've gotten from NetGalley or Edelweiss.  I get way too many books from those sites and wanted a way to share about them.  It's easier with print review copies where I can just snap a picture and post about here or on Instagram.  But I didn't want to leave out the e-books that I've gotten and want to squeal about with all of you either!  I may change this up but for now I'm going to give you the Goodread's summary and why I'm so excited to read each book.  Let me know in the comments if this is a type of post that you would like to see on a regular basis!

No Going Back by Sheena Kamal

"Nora Watts has a talent for seeing what lies beneath strangers’ surfaces, and for knowing what they’re working hard to keep hidden. Somehow, it’s the people closest to her she has trouble truly connecting with. In the case of Bonnie, the teenage daughter Nora gave up for adoption, she has to keep trying. For Bonnie has a target on her back—and it’s all because of Nora."

This is the 3rd book in what has become a favorite mystery series of mine!  I've been impatiently waiting for this book every since I finished the last page of the second book.  I shortened the Goodread's summary as it will spoil the earlier books if you haven't yet read them.  This IS a series that needs to be read in order but as there are currently only three books - I'm sure you can catch up easily.  And it will definitely be worth your time!  The first book is The Lost Ones if you are interested.  It's so good!

The Split by Sharon Bolton

"No matter how far you run, some secrets will always catch up with you...

The remote Antarctic island of South Georgia is about to send off its last boat of the summer – which signifies safety to resident glaciologist Felicity Lloyd.

Felicity lives in fear – fear that her ex-husband Freddie will find her, even out here. She took a job on this isolated island to hide from him, but now that he's out of prison, having served a term for murder, she knows he won’t give up until he finds her.
But a doctor delving into the background of Felicity and Freddie's relationship, back in Cambridge, learns that Felicity has been on the edge for a long time. Heading to South Georgia himself to try and get to her first is the only way he can think of to help her."

I've yet to read a book by this author that I didn't love.  She is one of my absolute favorites so I was so excited to receive a e-copy of this one!  The premise of this one sounds intense and I cannot wait to see if it is going to be as good as it sounds!  If you haven't had the opportunity to try out this author's books yet, start with her Lacey Flint series.  The first book is titled Now You See Me (I think it is under S.J. Bolton rather than Sharon) but that entire series (4 books total) is SO GOOD!

Have You Seen Me? by Kate White

"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."

Kate White is another author whose books I've enjoyed previously.  She has a series as well (the Bailey Weggins series) and some standalones - I haven't read everything that she has written yet but I would definitely like to.  I cut the above summary short as well but it was all I needed to know that I wanted to read this book!

You Let Me In by Camilla Bruce

  "Cassandra Tipp is dead...or is she?

After all, the notorious recluse and eccentric bestselling novelist has always been prone to flights of fancy--everyone in town remembers the shocking events leading up to Cassie's infamous trial (she may have been acquitted, but the insanity defense only stretches so far).
Cassandra Tipp has left behind no body--just her massive fortune, and one final manuscript."

This is a new to me author but this book has me SO intrigued!  It sounds kind of creepy and definitely right up my alley!  I also just adore that cover!  I just can't wait to see what this book is all about!

In Her Shadow by Kristin Miller 

"Once his secretary, Colleen is now pregnant with Michael's baby. When he brings her to his opulent estate, Ravenwood, she is abruptly thrust into a life of luxury she's never known. But Colleen finds the immense house suffused with the memory of Michael's beautiful wife, Joanna, who left months ago and who haunts her imagination. It quickly becomes apparent that there is little room for a new mistress of this house: The staff greets her with hostility, and there are entire wings and corridors from which she is prohibited to enter.
Then bones are unearthed in the grove across the street."

It sure feels like gothic novels are making a comeback in 2020 and I am HERE for it!  This cover...that premise...I am so excited to read this one!  It's kind of giving me some Rebecca vibes as well which makes me want to reread that one sometime in the near future.

Strike Me Down by Mindy Mejia

"Nora Trier catches thieves. As a forensic accountant and partner in her downtown Minneapolis firm, she’s unearthed millions in every corner of the world. She prides herself on her independence, the most essential currency of accounting, until her firm is hired by Strike.

An anti-corporate, feminist athletic empire, Strike is owned by Logan Russo, a brash and legendary kickboxer, and her marketing genius husband, Gregg Abbott. They’re about to host a major kickboxing tournament with twenty million dollars in prize money, and the chance for the champion to become the new face of the company. Gregg suspects his wife already has a new face in mind—a young trainer named Aaden, for whom Logan feels an unexpected connection.
Days before the tournament begins, it’s discovered that the prize money is missing. Gregg hires Nora’s firm to find both the thief and the money but Nora has a secret connection to Strike that threatens her independence. Her partner pressures her into taking the case anyway, hinting he has information about Strike that could change the course of the investigation in a shocking and deadly way."

I read and really enjoyed this author's 1st book a few years back - Everything You Want Me To Be.  I've been wanting to read more by her every since!  I really like the sound of this one so I'm looking forward to reading this one soon!

There you have it - six of the books that I've gotten from NetGalley and Edelweiss that I'm super excited to read and that are coming out next month.  I'm actually planning on participating in a #Netgalleyspringclean challenge on Instagram next month.  That means I'm really going to focus on getting some of these books read in the very near future.  

Are there any April releases that you are excited about?

Thursday, March 26, 2020

The Return by Rachel Harrison (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"An edgy and haunting debut novel about a group of friends who reunite after one of them has returned from a mysterious two-year disappearance.

Julie is missing, and the missing don't often return. But Elise knows Julie better than anyone, and she feels in her bones that her best friend is out there, and that one day she'll come back. She's right. Two years to the day that Julie went missing, she reappears with no memory of where she's been or what happened to her."

My Thoughts:

The Return was a creepy and atmospheric read that I really enjoyed!  One of the things that I enjoyed the most about this book was the feeling of wrongness that was present throughout the entire book.  It was in the characters, the hotel where they were staying at, their history with one another....everything felt just slightly off and wrong.  It made for a very sinister and creepy feeling that was present the entire time while I was reading this one.  For me, it was like the characters could sense this feeling of wrongness as well even when they were doing their best to ignore it and pretend everything was okay.  I've seen some reviews that didn't care for the characters and how they interacted with one another. I thought it creepily fit with everything else that was going on in this book.  Nothing was right and the question lingered on if it ever had been.  I really don't want to say too much more in order not to spoil anything.  This book was creepy at points but not so much that I ever felt truly scared while reading.  I just enjoyed this book and everything that the author was doing with it.  It felt at times like it could be from an episode of America Horror story where you just kind of know that bad things are going to happen.  The wait can be the scariest part!

Overall, I enjoyed this book and am eager to read more by this author!  The fact that this is a debut just astounds me.  I cannot wait to see what she comes up with next (and I truly hope that she keeps to the horror/thriller type of genre because I would love to find more books like this)!  Horror readers should definitely check this one out!  I will say that this book slowly builds up with the creepiness factor so I wouldn't expect a fast paced page turner.  Instead, this is one where the atmosphere builds until it felt like I couldn't take it any more.  Then I rushed through the pages having to see how it would all end!  Recommended!

Bottom Line:  An atmospheric read that has me SO excited to read more by this author!

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