Posted in Mystery, Police Procedural

Don’t Miss: Divided in Death

Divided in Death – J.D. Robb
Brilliance Audio – Susan Ericksen
January 26, 2004
4.5 ⭐️

In the 18th book of the series, Eve investigates the death of Blair Bissel, whose wife, Reva works for Roarke. All indications point to Reva murdering her husband after finding out about his affair with her best friend. But something doesn’t add up for Eve.

As a case, this is interesting because it involves Roarke’s business and some major players in the government. This means that Eve’s team has to hunker down in her home office to work covertly. What I loved most about this book though is the struggles with Eve and Roarke’s relationship as they find out something about her childhood. Roarke is a man of action and wants to take care of it, but Eve needs to handle it on her own. I personally don’t love when these two are in conflict, but it added an needed element to the story.

This is my 4th listen through this very long series, so I feel personally connected to these characters. If you need a good audiobook series, I implore you to try this one starting with Naked in Death.

Posted in Psychological Thriller, Suspense

Don’t Miss: The House in the Pines

Thank you to @duttonbooks and @netgalley for the #gifted digital ARC and @PRHaudio for the complimentary audiobook.

Summary: When Maya sees a video of a girl dying at a table in a restaurant, she immediately recognizes the man she’s with. In fact, that same man was with her friend, Aubrey, when she died. Maya needs to know what happened so she can finally get closer about the past.

Characters: Maya is a hot mess. From the first chapter, we find out she’s off her antipsychotic medication. She insists she doesn’t need it but the people closest to her (mom) and her family history indicate she does. She’s so unreliable as a narrator that I honestly didn’t know if I could believe anything she thought. Frank appears manipulative, but we only know of Frank through Maya’s viewpoint. Same with Aubrey.

Plot: The story was a bit all over the place. It seemed to be running in a linear way but once the flashbacks were introduced, I often found myself confused between past and present. The way new characters, and old ones, were introduced also seemed disjointed. The story itself was interesting, and I wasn’t sure where it was going although I had my suspicions. It was interesting to see those realized.

Pacing: The pacing was not overly fast, but things happened in a way that I felt I was always a step behind. The alternating between past and present happened at breakneck speed in some cases. But the narrative felt slower.

Writing: I really enjoyed Reyes’s writing style. There was a flow in it, especially in the flashback scenes that kept me reading.

Enjoyment: Overall, I am glad I read this book and know that I want to read more by this author because of her writing style.

Posted in Psychological Thriller, Suspense

Don’t Miss: The Villa

The Villa – Rachel Hawkins

St. Martin’s Press – Macmillan Audio

January 3, 2023

Thank you to @stmartinspress and @netgalley for the #gifted digital ARC and @macmillanaudio and @libro.fm for the complimentary audiobook.

Summary:

1974 – Mari, her married boyfriend Pierce, and step sister Lana, are invited to a villa in Italy by rock star Noal Gordon. During the summer, Mari writes a best selling horror novel, Lara records a platinum album, and Pierce is brutally murdered. 

In present day, Emily and Chess rent the same notorious villa to write their next novels. But Emily is drawn to the history of the place and wants to find out what really happened that fateful summer. 

Thoughts:

This was a wild ride. Told in alternating chapters with Mari and Emily as narrators, the story of the two timelines weaves together. Honestly, the similarities of the events in both times sometimes made it feel like I was reading the same story twice. The way this was written was reminiscent of Taylor Jenkins Reid but not done as well. It wasn’t until the very end that I considered googling events to see if any part of this story was based in truth. The ending was not the payoff I had hoped for, but it was entertaining.

Posted in Dystopian Fiction, Science Fiction

Don’t Miss: The Measure

The measure of your life lies within.

Every adult in the world wakes up to a box at their door with this inscription. The boxes contain a string that is the full measure of their life. The world is thrown into chaos as some people look at their string and others don’t. We are observers in the journey of 8 people who all have unique experiences with the string.

💭 Wow. Just wow. I was riveted to every character and story presented. At one time or another, I could see myself within every character. The strength it would take to even decide to open the box is something I can’t even imagine. I have anxiety just thinking about it!

The relevance of the current world mirrored in the plight of the strings is astounding. The author addresses bias and unconscious bias, downright prejudice, and politics. However, she also illuminates the human spirit of support and love for those going through similar situations and empathy from those who aren’t.

It takes a lot from a book to invoke the kind of emotion in me that this one did. By the end I was wrecked and the characters have taken up residence in my head. I haven’t stopped thinking about them or this book since the minute I finished it. As always, Julia Whelan’s narration was absolute perfection!

My IRL book club is reading this now and I can not wait to dig into the discussion with them. Thank you, Nikki Erlick, for sharing this masterpiece with the world. 

❓ Would you open your box if it meant knowing when your life would end?

Posted in Horror, Supernatural, Young Adult

Don’t Miss: The Depths

An island adventure turns strange…

Thank you to Penguin Teen and @netgalley for the complimentary book!

Addie accompanies her mom and new husband on their honeymoon to Eulalie Island. It’s not long before she realizes there is something special, and strange, about the island. The flowers change colors, the birds call her name, and she finds a little girl alone in the woods who wants to play. When Addie learns of the two girls who died on the island long ago, she wonders if the island is also trying to claim her.

💭 There is just enough realness and oddness combined in this one. I thought Addie’s back story was interesting and it helped to make sense of why the island would love her. The continued description of the sisters and their appearance as Addie sees them was enough to make me gag, but it added to the idea that something sinister was afoot. What was difficult for me was that I didn’t really love any of the characters, and I think it’s necessary to love Addie and Billy for this to work completely. This is definitely one that fantasy and horror readers would enjoy!

Posted in Cozy Mystery

Don’t Miss: Getaway With Murder

A mountain yoga retreat ends in murder…

Turning 50 was a new beginning for Misty Murphy. Her youngest went off to college, she divorced her husband, and she purchased an old inn in the Blue Ridge Mountains. With the help of handyman Rocky, she turns the inn into a beautiful lodge ready for guests. The first renters are a yoga group wanting the lodge for a retreat. Expecting zen clients, Misty is in for a shock when the owner and head yoga instructor is found murdered.

💭 A cute start to a new cozy series, I loved that the main character was older and had some life experience. Misty and Rocky made a good team although Rocky also topped Misty’s suspect list at one point! I look forward to further character development as the series progresses.

Posted in Psychological Thriller, Suspense

Don’t Miss: Daisy Darker

Stuck on an island with a killer, would you survive?

The Darker family gathers on a tidal island to celebrate Nana’s 80th birthday knowing that until the tide comes in they will not be able to leave for 8 hours. Years before, a fortune teller predicted that Nana’s 80th birthday would be her last, so she reveals the contents of her will. Each member of the Darker family has a secret they hold close, and when they start dying one by one, the secrets come to light.

💭 I will admit to being annoyed at first with the similarity in plot to And Then There Were None, down to the island and the poem. After all, who can really top Christie in locked room story telling? 

As the story progressed and the secrets started trickling out, I became more intrigued by where this mystery was going. What I did not see coming was the twist at the end. It erased any annoyance I had about the plot.

Feeney is not always a hit for me, but this one was for sure!

Posted in Romantic Suspense

Don’t Miss: That Cowboy of Mine

Is the handsome stranger too good to be true?

Thank you to St. Martin’s Press and Netgalley for the complimentary digital copy for review.

Cal Bennett wakes to a shotgun pointed at his face. He’s on the property of Dillon Young and does not know how he got there. Strange things have been happening on Dillon’s ranch, all designed to get her to sell her property. Makes sense that she’s immediately suspicious of Cal. Until someone shoots at Dillion and Cal rescues her. Is he in on it or is he someone she can trust?

Just the right amount of suspenseful, I enjoyed the story. As readers we knew right away who was behind all of Dillon’s troubles, but we didn’t know who was helping them or if Cal was on that list.Dillon was a strong woman who made it easy to cheer her on. I wanted her to overcome all the obstacles thrown her way and come out of it with love, if possible.

This was my first book by Donna Grant and I anticipate I’ll be seeking others out in the future!

Posted in Middle Grade

Don’t Miss: Sisterhood of the Sleuths

Books from your childhood are like a warm hug.

Thank you Hachette Audio and @librofm for the complimentary audiobook!

When a box of original Nancy Drew books shows up at the vintage shop Maizy’s mom owns, she is intrigued. There is a photo on the top of her grandmother and two other women when they were young. When Maizy asks her grandmother about it, she denies that it’s her. Determined to find out the secret behind the photo and who left the books, Maizy and her friends Nell and Cam start their own mysterious adventure!

💭 I loved this story! Not only is it a story of discovery for Maizy herself; learning about her own friendships and that it’s okay to be exactly who are, it’s a story of past friendships. 

The nostalgia surrounding the Nancy Drew books was like a warm hug. I remember reading those when I was Maziy’s age. Some of the references to all the things Nancy could flawlessly do, made me wonder if a reread of them would hold up for me.

The characters and the narration were perfect and fun! I would recommend this to any middle grade reader and to those who loved Nancy Drew as a child themselves!

Posted in Contemporary Young Adult

Don’t Miss: When You Get the Chance

What happens when fiction is better than reality?

Thank you to Wednesday Books and @netgalley for the complimentary digital copy for review.

In a twist on the Mamma Mia! story, Millie has big dreams for her future. She wants to star on Broadway, but when her dad refuses to let her skip her senior year in order to attend an acting school on the other side of the country, Millie decides to take matters into her own hands. She never knew her mother, but using some careful sleuthing, she narrows it down to three options. She is determined to find her mother and get her to allow her to attend the school of her dreams. The only thing standing in her way is her rival, Oliver. When they both apply for the same internship, things get a little tense.

This is a charming novel with great characters. Although Millie can be a little self-centered and selfish, being prone to her “Millie moods” it is easy to root for her. She has some big lows but also some soaring highs! Oliver is a great rival for Millie. He’s just the right amount of sarcastic. The witty banter between the two is engaging and fun! 

As the search for her mother plays out, we get to know all of the side characters pretty well and it is a great group. I kind of wish I had all these people in my real life. While the ending was not a full surprise, it was satisfying and brought Millie’s whole experience full circle!