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 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:

 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.