Thursday, December 31, 2020

December Wrap Up

 December Reading Wrap Up


Happy last day of 2020! 

I think we’re all happy to see this year come to an end. I gad a good reading month. My favorites were Addie LaRue and Nothing to See Here. 

I’m trying to make a list of my top ten books for the year. It might have to be a top 17 list insofar ten. ๐Ÿ˜€

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Prodigal Son

 Prodigal Son


Author: Gregg Hurwitz 

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Year: 2021

The Nowhere Man is usually game for helping anyone in a desperate situation. But not this time. 

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Evan Smoak is back in this high octane thriller that continues the Orphan X series. Evan has been out of the super secret government assassin Orphan Program for awhile now. He’s spent most of his time since then as the Nowhere Man helping desperate people get out of bad situations. But now the Nowhere Man is in retirement which was forced upon him by the President of the United States. It’s not easy for Evan to be a regular guy, but he’s trying- until he answers a phone call from his birth mother asking for help. Evan doesn’t want to get involved with the woman who gave him up as an infant. She asks him to help a down on his luck man who witnessed a murder and who is now a target. 

Evan agrees to help and this leads him to long buried family secrets and the discovery of terrifying new military drone technology. Can Evan help this man while trying to cope with finally meeting his mother? 

This is one of my favorite action series. Evan could be one dimensional, but Hurwitz has made him a complex man trying to find and maintain humanity and empathy in the midst of death and destruction. 

Thank you to NetGalley, Gregg Hurwitz,  and St, Martin’s Press for the free eARC. Prodigal Son publishes January 26th. It’s the sixth in the series, but can be easily read as a standalone. 

#orphanx #nowhereman #evansmoak #gregghurwitz #stmartinspress #netgalley #thrillerbooks #actionbooks #doyouneedmyhelp #series #kindle #advancedreaderscopy #dogthedog #drones #dronetechnology

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

They Never Learn

 They Never Learn


Author: Layne Fargo

Publisher: Gallery Press

Year: 2020

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Who doesn’t love a good antihero? 


Scarlett Clark is a killer English professor- literally. Each year, she finds the worst man on her university’s campus and murders him. She is judge and jury for men who abuse and rape. She makes their deaths look like suicides or accidents. But all her meticulous planning goes awry with her latest target. It’s personal and messy. And Scarlett’s secret extracurricular activities might be exposed. 


Carly Schiller is a freshman at the university. She’s finally free of her emotionally abusive and controlling father and she’s trying to navigate college life. Carly and her roommate Allison form an intense relationship. When Allison is assaulted at a party, all Carly wants is revenge for her friend. 


Told from two different points of view, this thriller has lots of twists and turns as Scarlett fights to advance her career and keep her crimes from being discovered. Carly goes from socially awkward mousy girl to a young woman burning for justice. An intense thriller of justice, friendship, love, and revenge. 


Monday, December 28, 2020

Where the Forest Meets the Stars

 Where the Forest Meets the Stars



Author: Glendy Vanderah 

Publisher: Lake Union Publishing 

Year: 2019

⭐️⭐️⭐️

Happy last Monday of 2020! 


This book was my book club’s December read and we met via zoom last night to discuss it. We all agreed it was a good book and an easy read. We all loved the main character Ursa, a charming and whip smart little girl, who claimed to be an alien. Ursa turns up out of the woods by Jo’s cottage one day. Jo is a doctoral student doing field research on birds. Ursa says she is an alien sent to Earth from her planet in the Pinwheel Galaxy to study Earth and humans and must witness five miracles before returning to her home planet. Naturally there is a handsome and lonely next door neighbor who gets involved in the mystery of Ursa too. 


My book club all agreed that the ending wrapped up too quickly and neatly.

But all in all, it’s an enjoyable read. 





Monday, December 21, 2020

Little Cruelties

 Little Cruelties


Author: Liz Nugent

Publisher: Gallery Scout Press

Year: 2020

Happy winter solstice! 


I read this for this month’s #buddyreadstodiefor on Instagram and can’t wait to chat with the group about it soon. 


This is the story of three brothers growing up in Dublin. From the opening page of the book, the reader knows one brother is dead but not who it is. Each section of the book is told from each brother’s POV. It was interesting to get the brothers individual recollection of events from their childhood and see how it affected them in adulthood. 


This a dysfunctional family! I think just about every character in this book is unlikable. William is the oldest brother. He can’t stand his younger siblings, is the apple of his mother’s eye, driven to succeed, and is a sexist and a misogynist. Brian the middle brother is jealous of Will, has a terrible temper, and is tight with a buck. Luke, the youngest, somehow manages to have a successful but short lived career as a pop singer, has drug and alcohol addictions, and mental health issues. Each brother does things that wreck havoc on each other’s lives. 


This is not so much a thriller as it is a family drama. Author Liz Nugent deftly weaves the story together and keeps you interested and invested in this awful  family. 

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Thursday, December 17, 2020

The Unraveling of Cassidy Holmes

 The Unraveling of Cassidy Holmes 


Author: Elissa R. Sloan

Publisher: William Morrow Books

Year: 2020

We got a little snowstorm last night. Our total is about 18” of snow. It looks pretty, but I’m over it already. ๐Ÿ˜€


⭐️⭐️⭐️


Cassidy Holmes has been compared with Daisy Jones and the Six. Both are about musical groups. Both are told from multiple points of view. But for me, the Cassidy Holmes book pales in comparison. The band members in the Daisy Jones book were interesting and engaging. The characters is this book were pretty flat and not really likable. 


The author did a good job showing the very unglamorous side of life in the spotlight and all the pressure and demands made on rising pop stars. 


This book just wasn’t for me. Readers who enjoy shows such as The Voice and American Idol or are really interested in the music industry will enjoy this one. 

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue

 

Author: V.E. Schwab

Narrator: Julia Whalen

Publisher: Macmillan Audio

Year: 2020

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

This was a definite bookstagram made me read it book. 


I probably wouldn’t have listened to this audiobook if the title hadn’t been all over bookstagram. It was hard to ignore. I was familiar with the author’s young adult work, but had never read any of her books. 


I don’t feel the need to do a whole big review of this book because so many others have posted great and informative reviews. Here’s what I loved:


*the characters- all the characters were well drawn and interesting. Addie is smart, strong, independent, and sympathetic. Luc is mysterious, tricky, and maybe more lonely than he realizes. Henry is sweet and vulnerable. 


*the settings- from the rural French countryside and Paris in the 1700s to present day NYC. The author paints the sights and sounds vividly. 


*the pacing- the story spans 300 years and it never bogged down. It touched on a few historical events such as the French Revolution. But Addie isn’t swept up in big historical events. She’s trying to leave her mark in a world the forgets her everyday. 


*the ending- it wasn’t what I expected and that made it perfect. 


*the narration- Julia Whalen does a superb job narrating the audiobook. She also narrated two of my other favorite books this year- Pretty Things and The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. 


This turned out to be one of my favorites this year and bookstagram made me read it. 

Saturday, December 12, 2020

Nothing to See Here

 Nothing to See Here 


Author: Kevin Wilson

Narrator: Marin Ireland

Publisher: Harper Audio

Year: 2019

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


I bought this audiobook for two reasons: 1. I loved the cover. 2. It was on sale. I had no idea what it was about when I started listening to it. And oh, what a fun surprise this book turned out to be! 


Madison, wife of a wealthy US senator, asks her former best friend Lillian to become caretaker for her twin stepchildren when the children move in with Madison and her husband. There’s a catch- the children catch on fire. Yep, fire children. They can spontaneously combust usually when they get angry or upset. 


This seems like a such a weird premise for a story, but that’s the heart of the story. It celebrates weirdness. Lillian and Madison became friends because they realized they could totally be themselves together without any judgement. And Lilian brings that attitude when she begins caring for the fire children. She accepts them for what they are and then loves them for who they are. 


This is one of my favorite books I’ve read this year. It’s just a delight! And Marin Ireland’s narration is spot on! 

The Mountains Wild

 The Mountains Wild


Author: Sarah Stewart Taylor

Narrator: Marisa Calin

Publisher: Macmillan Audio 

Year: 2020

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


Twenty three years ago, Maggie and her family learned her cousin Erin went missing in Ireland. Maggie spent weeks in Ireland after Erin disappeared trying to track her movements and help the police. 


Now more than two decades later, Maggie is a Long Island detective. The Gardaรญ call once more with the news Erin’s scarf has been found and another girl is missing. Are the two cases related? Maggie returns to Ireland determined to find answers. 


This is a well paced police procedural that moves between past and present and the investigations of a cold case and a current disappearance. Author Sarah Stewart Taylor seamlessly blends the timelines together. Ireland’s County Wicklow provides an atmospheric setting of mountains and dark woods that is beautiful and mysterious. Marisa Calin does a wonderful job bringing the characters to life with her audio narration. 


Man of the Year

 Man of the Year


Author: Caroline Louise Walker

Publisher: Gallery Books

Year: 2020

⭐️⭐️⭐️


Synopsis: Dr. Robert Hart, Sag Harbor’s just-named Man of the Year, is the envy of his friends and neighbors. His medical practice is thriving. He has a beautiful old house and a beautiful new wife and a beautiful boat docked in the village marina. Even his wayward son, Jonah, is back on track, doing well at school and finally worthy of his father’s attentions. So when Jonah’s troubled college roommate needs a place to stay for the summer, Hart and his wife generously offer him their guesthouse. A win-win: Jonah will have someone to hang with, and his father can bask in the warm glow of his own generosity. 


But when Robert suspects his new houseguest of getting a little too close to his wife, the good doctor’s veneer begins to crack, and all the little lies he tells start to mount. Before long, Robert is embroiled in a desperate downward spiral, threatening to destroy anyone who stands in his way. It’s only the women in his life—his devoted office manager, his friends and neighbors, his wife—who can reveal the truth…if he’s willing to look. 


Robert is all about his reputation and how others perceive him. He has the town

convinced that he’s a great guy, but he’s really a jerk with a big ego. He’s paranoid about his wife and he sets off a tragic train of events - for which he takes no responsibility. 


For most of the book, I kept waiting for more to happen. The downward spiral the blurb promised was just Robert telling more lies and trying to manipulate his family to cover up a repulsive lie he told. I was surprised by the twist at the end and that kind of redeemed the book for me. If you’re a huge fan of psychological thrillers, give this a try. 

Monday, December 7, 2020

Majesty

 Majesty 


Author: Katherine McGee

Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers

Year: 2020

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


The sequel to American Royals finds Beatrice now queen and moving ahead with her wedding to Teddy. Beatrice’s younger sister Sam has her own growing pains. Sam is now the second in line for the throne and the palace expects better behavior. Sam’s best friend Nina is trying to get over Prince Jefferson and how their relationship ended in disaster. Meanwhile Daphne once again has her eyes on Jefferson and renews her crusade to win him back. 


There’s lots of falling in and out of love and some palace intrigue as the Royals settle into their new roles. I thought Prince Jefferson was pretty much MIA in this book. He’s there, but his storyline focuses on Nina and Daphne instead of him coping with his father’s death and his feeling towards the two girls. 


Overall, a fun young adult story that features lots of romance, drama, and royalty. 

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

The Law of Innocence

 The Law of Innocence 


Author: Michael Connelly

Publisher: Little Brown

Year: 2020

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


Mickey Haller (the Lincoln Lawyer) is  a defense lawyer who is accused of murdering a former client. Haller decides to represent himself and it’s made more difficult because Haller is in lock up and not out on bail. As Haller and his team prepare to go to trial, they must untangle the secrets of the dead con man Haller is accused of killing. 


Michael Connelly is an auto buy author for me. He is the master of modern day police procedural and crime fiction. Although this book focuses on Haller’s trial, it still felt like a police procedural. Connelly’s most famous character Det. Harry Bosch plays a minor role in this book. Bosch does some investigation work to help Haller prove his innocence. I like when his characters from different books cross paths. This story is a great mix of courtroom drama and who done investigation. Connelly proves once again he is a incredible storyteller. 

November Reading Wrap Up

 November Reading Wrap Up


November was a good reading month for me. My five ⭐️ favorites were Dear Justyce by Nic Stone, The Law of Innocence by Michael Connelly, Long Way Doen the graphic novel by Jason Reynolds, 11/22/63 by Stephen King, and Safe by S.K. Barnett. 

Under Your Spell

  Author: Laura Wood Narrator: Ellie Heydon Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio Year: 2024 ๐ŸŽง๐—”๐˜‚๐—ฑ๐—ถ๐—ผ๐—ฏ๐—ผ๐—ผ๐—ธ ๐—ฅ๐—ฒ๐˜ƒ๐—ถ๐—ฒ๐˜„๐ŸŽง Many thanks...