Fifteen Minutes of Shame — Lisa Daily Siesta Key House Romance January 22, 2022 286 pages 3.5 ⭐️
Thank you to @netgalley for the #gifted book.
Summary: Dating guru, Darby, finds out on national TV that her husband is cheating on her which makes her seem like a fraud. With her friends and her attractive divorce lawyer, Holt, Darby works to get her life and career back on track.
💭 One thing I loved about this book was the friendships. Darby needed some people she could count on and those girls were it. Once Holt entered the picture, I was ready for the romance to heat up. It was entirely too long of a slow burn, in my opinion, which led to a very rushed “happy ever after.”
❓ Do you like slow burns in romance? If you don’t read romance, what genre do you like?
Survivor in Death – J.D. Robb Brilliance Audio – Susan Ericksen Mystery, Police Procedural February 1, 2005 4.9 ⭐️
Nine-year-old Nixie Swisher’s entire family is slaughtered and she is the only survivor. This case baffles Eve Dallas who has inadvertently become Nixie’s guardian. This is one of the hardest cases for Eve because it involves a child and brings back some of Eve’s darkest memories. It was heart-wrenching, but showed Eve in a more vulnerable light.
Nixie tore my heart out. She suffered such a huge tragedy but was so brave and determined to help Eve find the killers. She’s a character that has always stuck with me.
I will say this every time I review a book from this series: If you need a good audiobook series, I implore you to try this one starting with Naked in Death. Susan Ericksen makes the characters come alive with her brilliant narration.
❓ What character stood out to you and was hard to forget?
One Last Child — Anni Taylor BooksGoSocial Psychological Thriller January 15, 2020 438 pages 3.6 ⭐️
Thank you to @netgalley for the #gifted book.
Summary: At a preschool picnic, 5 children are kidnapped including Ivy, the granddaughter of Homicide Detective Kate Wakeland. For three and a half years, there are no clues. Then one day, all the kids are returned, except Ivy who the children say is dead. Detective Kate Wakeland refuses to stop investigating until she knows for sure what happened to Ivy.
💭The premise of this book was interesting. From the very beginning, it was clear that something was being missed by investigators leading to a lot of red herrings and twists. The novel is basically split into two halves – the first while the kids are missing, and the second when all but Ivy are returned. The pacing in each part was different as well. The second part seemed to go much faster, but also seemed long. As the mystery was unraveling I grew more and more frustrated with the investigative team other than Kate. I would not want that crew investigating anything for me.
Overall, I liked the way the story wrapped up but it was about 100 pages too long.
The Rom-Com Agenda — Jayne Denker St. Martin’s Griffin Dreamscape Media — Erika Schindele Rom-Com January 10, 2023 320 pages — 10 hrs 54 min 4.4 ⭐️
Thank you to @smpromance and @netgalley for the #gifted book.
Summary: Leah accidentally eavesdrops on Eli’s failed marriage proposal to Victoria. When Eli decides he needs to win Victoria back, his friends come up with a romantic makeover scheme that involves a makeover and watching all the rom-com movies he can find to learn what women want. As the town “Kirk” (think Gilmore Girls), Leah is somehow everywhere the friend group is and she’s drawn into the makeover scheme. With Leah constantly in Eli’s orbit, it seems impossible for them not to fall for each other.
💭Just like every corny and sweet rom-com, this book was fun if not predictable. I really enjoyed the friend group and would love to hang out with them in real life. It was a little far-fetched that Leah had every single job that was open in the town, but the comparison to Kirk made me chuckle. I also liked all the references to popular rom-coms and pop culture.
Just when I thought there was going to be little more than surface development for the characters, we got a peek into Leah’s family life. It gave her more depth and actually made me feel even more protective of her heart. Eli was a little clueless but honestly a nice guy that deserved more than Victoria could offer him.
The narration was well done and the ending was what one would expect in a feel-good rom-com. This is the perfect read for a snowy day.
The Devil You Know — P.J. Tracy St. Martin’s Minotaur Dreamscape Media — Abby Craden Police Procedural January 17, 2023 304 pages — 7 hrs 12 min 3.3 ⭐️
Thank you to @minotaur_books and @netgalley for the #gifted book.
Summary: When actor Evan Hobbes is found murdered, LAPD Detective Margaret Nolan is called upon to solve the case. Unfortunately, Hobbes is not the only one dead. While trying to make sense of this crime, Nolan faces a reality uncommon to her in the glitzy side of the city.
💭 This is the third book in this series, and it was not my favorite. There were so many subplots and characters to keep track of that it was confusing. I also found myself not caring enough about the characters or the plot. Margaret Nolan has promise as a lead character, but she gets lost in the disjointedness of the plot. I really love police procedural with female leads, but this series falls short for me.
Spare — Prince Harry Penguin Random House Audio Memoir January 10, 2023 15 hrs 30 min
Thank you to @prhaudio for the #gifted audiobook.
Summary: Prince Harry’s story in his own words. The book is broken into three parts: (1) Childhood and Diana’s death (2) Military service (3) The Meghan years
💭 I am not one to be overly obsessed with the Royal family but I have a passing interest in Diana and her kids. Obviously Harry and Meghan have made headlines and The British press vs. The US press has been vastly different. So I was interested to read Harry’s story, in his own words. While none of this was salacious as I anticipated, there were some very interesting stories specifically regarding William and the relationship between the brothers. I was so in love with Harry’s narration and I think he could have a career in audiobook narration if he wants. Overall, I’m glad I read this.
Lie, Lie Again — Stacy Wise Lake Union Publishing Domestic Fiction, Suspense January 1, 2021 369 pages 4.1 ⭐️
Thank you to @amazonpublishing and @netgalley for the #gifted book.
Summary: Sylvia, Riki, and Embry all live at 1054 Mockingbird Lane. The women lead separate yet connected lives behind the doors of each of their apartments. Sylvia believes she has met the man for her only to find out he’s been keeping secrets. Riki is crushing hard on Embry’s husband and struggling to make the parents at her private school happy. Embry is hiding a big secret from her husband.
💭 This novel starts with a bang… a body at the bottom of the stairs. But unfortunately that part goes nowhere until the very end. It seems that was used to market this book as a mystery/suspense when it is really a contemporary fiction book.
That being said, I enjoyed each of the separate stories of the woman and how they all intertwined. I didn’t especially love the characters, but I don’t think we were supposed to. The story moved along at a great pace and I found myself wishing I had more time to read so I didn’t have to put it down. At the end, we finally did find out about the body at the bottom of the stairs. But I don’t feel it added to or changed the story much.
I would definitely recommend picking this one up if you enjoy domestic fiction!
As You Walk On By — Julian Winters Penguin Group Viking Penguin Random House Audio — André Santana LGBTQIA, Young Adult January 17, 2023 336 pages — 9 hrs 49 min 5 ⭐️
Thank you to @prhaudio and @vikingbooks and @netgalley for the #gifted audiobook.
Summary: Theo’s friends dare him to ask his crush to prom. What can go wrong? At a party, Theo finally gets up his nerve only to find out his crush has a boyfriend. He takes refuge in an empty bedroom and slowly, others who are also avoiding the party join him. They make a misfit group but they are just what Theo needs.
💭 This immediately reminded me of The Breakfast Club so the book blurb was spot on! In that movie I loved all the quirky characters and it was exactly the same here. It was hard not to fall in love with Theo. He is a layered, dynamic character who is trying to find his place with his family and his friends. This new group is just what he needs. All are struggling with something of their own and the support they show each other is what we all should strive for in our relationships.
The dialogue was fun and relevant and the representation and lessons in this book are not to be missed. The characters stayed with me a long time after I finished reading.
Why Do Cats Do That? — Peter Scottsdale BooksGoSocial November 19, 2019 122 pages 3 ⭐️
Thank you to @netgalley for the #gifted book.
Summary: For every cat enthusiast, all your questions can be answered. Some of these things I already knew, but others were interesting. For example, I did not know that cats convey emotion with the shape of their tail. This was a quick, informative read.
All the Dangerous Things — Stacy Willingham Macmillan Audio — Karissa Vacker January 10, 2023 9 hrs 59 min Thriller, Mystery 4.5 ⭐️
Thank you to @macmillan.audio and @librofm for the #gifted audiobook.
Summary: One year after Isabelle’s son, Mason, is kidnapped from his crib in the middle of night, she is still relentlessly looking for answers. She doesn’t sleep, she loses time, and she wonders how she could have let this happen. In a quest for answers, she agrees to be interviewed by a true crime podcaster who digs further into her life than she could imagine. It makes her start questioning herself and her memories of that night.
💭 Having not read A Flicker in the Dark, this was my first experience with Stacy Willingham’s writing. The pacing of this story started slow as all the characters were identified, but it moved at lightning pace once it got going. The flashback scenes, while important, slowed the story.
Isabelle’s insomnia being introduced at the very beginning set the stage for a possible unreliable narrator situation. As the story progressed, it was hard not to want her to succeed in finding all the answers. As she started to trust Waylon, his motive for telling her true crime story in his podcast became suspect to me.
There were several great twists, only one of which I figured out before it hit the story. I love being surprised when the plot takes a turn I don’t expect.
Overall, this was a captivating read that kept me guessing to the end.