Sunday, January 31, 2021

January Wrap Up

 January Wrap Up



Happy Sunday! 

What a wild month January turned out to be! From the insurrection at the Capital to the inauguration of our first female VP to Bernie and his mittens memes to a Wall Street insurrection by a bunch of Reddit guys. February needs to be calm! 

My husband and I spent three weeks at our place on the Outer Banks of NC. The weather was sunny and not too chilly most of the time. We spent most of our time walking the dogs, looking for shells, and reading. 

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
The Initial Insult - dark and twisted
Goodnight Beautiful- so cleverly written 

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Leave the World Behind - pulled me in
Beach Read - sweet 
One Little Secret 🎧 - solid thriller
One Life - interesting autobiography 
The June Boys 🎧 - good thriller with many suspects
The Mystery of Mrs. Christie - Agatha Christie would approve
Ask Again, Yes -  book club pick/good characters 
Finlay Donovan Is Killing It - fun! 
Bloodline - wild thriller 
Invisible Girl - solid thriller 

⭐️⭐️⭐️
The Project - big disappointment for me
Trading Secrets - I rounded up to three stars but it wasn’t that good

Waiting for the snow to arrive. We’re expecting 12-18+ inches tonight through Tuesday. ❄️ My Kindle is stocked up with good books. What are you planning on reading in February? 

#monthlywrapup #fivestarread #fourstarread #threestarread #bookworm #audiobooks #kindlebooks #libbyapp #netgalley #ebooks #librarybooks #readreadread #readwithmyears #january2021 #bookstagram #readingwrapup 

Saturday, January 30, 2021

One Little Secret

 One Little Secret 


Author: Cate Holahan

Narrator: Hillary Huber

Publisher: Blackstone

Year: 2019

Three married couples go away for a beach vacation while their kids are away at various summer camps. It should be a week of sun, sand, food, drinks, and fun. Instead it turns into too much booze, secrets, lies, and murder when one of the wives is found dead on the beach. 

I’m usually pretty good keeping tack of a book’s characters in my head but for some reason, it took me a few chapters to get the husband and wife combinations straight. That was no fault of the author. I was listening to the audiobook and got distracted by the dogs. I should have just rewound the book. That’s on me. But once I got myself up to speed, I was good to go. I don’t want to give away too much, so I’ll try to be general. Several people on the vacation are entwined in something and have motive to murder. The plot is tightly constructed and moves along at a good pace. The characters are all flawed- some more so than others. It’s billed as a locked room mystery, so if you enjoy those, this book is a good choice for you. This is an enjoyable and satisfying mystery. Narrator Hillary Huber provides a great performance of the audiobook. TW- sexual assault and physical abuse. 
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

We’re traveling home from the beach today. Heading back north where the current temp is 14 degrees with snow coming on Monday. 🙁 What’s your weather doing? 

#audiobook #audiobookreview #onelittlesecret #cateholahan #blackstoneaudio #audible #audible #mystery #thriller #killervacation #vacation #domesticabuse #worstvacationever #beachhouse #readwithmyears 

Thursday, January 28, 2021

One Life

 One Life 


Author: Megan Rapinoe

Publisher: Penguin Press

Year: 2020

Woke up this morning to a little snow here on the Outer Banks of NC. Snow on the beach doesn’t happen here very often. ❄️

US National Women’s Soccer Team superstar Megan Rapinoe discusses her childhood, love of the game, sexuality, rise to fame, and activism in this thoughtful autobiography. 

Rapinoe recounts her childhood in the small conservative Northern California town of Redding. She’s from a large and boisterous family with supportive and loving parents. Megan and her twin sister both excelled at sports from an early age and both loved soccer. Megan doesn’t sugar coat her family. She discusses h er older brother Brian’s battle with addiction and his arrests and prison time. 

Soccer opened many doors for her and gave her a path of college and then the chance to play around the world for the US women’s team. Rapinoe has had a long and successful soccer career and this book could have really gotten bogged down in stats and the minutia of every game she every played in. But she sticks to the bare minimum when describing a playing season and games. As a casual fan, I really appreciated that! And it helped the narrative move swiftly. 

She’s candid about her sexuality and discusses how she came out to her mother and then her decision to be an openly gay athlete on the world’s largest stage. She credits Colin Kaepernick’s protest for social justice for inspiring her to speak out more for equality not only for the LGBTQ community, but also for gender and income equality, social justice, prison reform, and BLM. 

I liked Rapinoe’s no holes barred and breezy conversational tone. This was a quick and entertaining read for me. I think even the most casual fan can enjoy Rapinoe’s journey and her message of empowerment and being true to yourself. 
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

#meganrapinoe #onelife #penguinpress #soccer #uswntsoccer #uswnt #authobiography #librarybook #lgbtq #socialjustice #worldcupsoccer #olympicsoccer #womensworldcup #bookreview #librarybookreview #libbyapp #kindle #ebookreview 

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

The Initial Insult

 The Initial Insult 


Author: Mindy McGinnis

Publisher: Harper Collins Children’s

Year: 2021

In this homage to Edgar Allan Poe, Mindy McGinnis once again delivers a dark and gritty of story of revenge. 

In the town of Amontillado, having the right last name means everything. Tress Montor’s last name used to mean something. Now it means white trash. Tress’s parents disappeared when she was little and the only witness to what happened was her best friend Felicity Turnado. Felicity never remembered the circumstances of the Montors disappearance because she had an epileptic seizure when it happened. 

The disappearance of her parents turned Tress’s life upside down. In one night she went from having a family, security, and love to living in a run down trailer with her alcoholic grandfather at his sketchy wild animal zoo. After years of wondering, Tress decides she’s going to make her former BFF Felicity tell her what happened. And Tress does it in the most Poe like way imaginable. As a high school keg party rages at the decrepit Usher house, Tress tries to force Felicity to remember that fateful night using one brick at a time. The only thing Tress didn’t count on interrupting her plan is an escaped black panther from her grandfather’s zoo. 

McGinnis is one of my favs. She specializes in tough, strong but broken girls. You’re rooting for Tress to find the truth and have a better life, but you’re also horrified at what she does to Felicity. She’s also a master at twists you don’t see coming. When I read The Female of the Species I literally threw the book across the room at one point. Because I was just so shocked. (Seriously, that book was amazing & heartbreaking.)

This is an intense, creepy, and dark thriller that shouldn’t be missed. It’s the first in a planned duology. Thank you to NetGalley Mindy McGinnis and Harper Collins Children’s for the ARC. The Initial Insult publishes February 23. You’ll want to read this one! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

#theinitialinsult #mindymcginnis #edgarallanpoe #blackpanther #animalattraction #caskofamontillado #disappearance #mystery #thriller #ireadya #publishingsoon 

Monday, January 25, 2021

Trading Secrets

 Trading Secrets 


Author: Rachael Eckles

Publisher: Aphrodite Books

Year: 2020

Celeste is a high flying financial wiz. She’s  smart, rich, demanding, sexy, and beautiful. She and her business partner Savin pulled off a big insider trading deal to ruin Celeste’s brutal and possessive boyfriend Omar after Omar beats and rapes her. They thought they had gotten rid of Omar, but now he’s back and wants revenge. 

Celeste is an interesting character, but not exactly likable. I’m all for strong female characters, but she doesn’t have much substance. She’s just rich and raunchy. When she finally meets the mysterious and suave Theodore, he seemed liked a a creepy stalker to me. And their relationship seems a little one sided. He was way into her and she was thrilled he was rich and great in the sack. For as demanding as Celeste is and with all the resources she has at her fingertips, she never knows how he makes his money or much about him. When tragedy strikes, Celeste is convinced Omar is behind it. She comes up with a hair brained scheme to bring down Omar once again. And that’s where this book really lost me. Her plan just didn’t make sense to me and the story kind of bogged down. And the big twist- saw it coming a mile away. 

This just wasn’t my cup of tea. I did like all the world travel to beautiful places and luxurious hotels. It seems like it’s better suited for fans of Sex in the City and 50 Shades than me.  ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Thanks to Book Publicity Services for the review copy. 

#tradingsecrets #rachaeleckles #insidertrading #highfinace #thrillerbooks #thrillers #worldtravel #couture #abusiverelationship #readreadread

Sunday, January 24, 2021

The Mystery of Mrs. Christie

 The Mystery of Mrs. Christie 


Author: Marie Benedict 

Publisher: Sourcebooks 

Year: 2020

In December of 1926 Agatha Christie, the queen of crime fiction, disappeared for 11 days. When she was found, she told the police she had amnesia and never spoke of those 11 missing days again. She never even mentioned it in her autobiography. Total mystery. 

Marie Benedict’s fictionalized account of those 11 days paints of portrait of devoted wife Agatha twisting herself into knots to please her persnickety husband Archie. She thinks if she does everything right, he will love her and end his affair with another woman. Through most of the book I kept thinking, Agatha Christie couldn’t have been like this in real life. And that’s how Marie Benedict got me! I missed all the clues even though I was staring right at them. I missed the big twist. My bad. But that just made the ending so much more delicious for me. 

This is a smart, snappy and imaginative account of what might have happened during those 11 days. I think Agatha Christie would be very happy with Benedict’s account. 
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

#themysteryofmrschristie #mariebenedict #sourcebooks #agathachristie #missingperson #archiechristie #mystery #thriller #queenofcrime #readreadread #bookreview #kindle #ebookreview #ebookreader #beachreads #beachreading 

Friday, January 22, 2021

The June Boys

 The June Boys 


Author: Court Stevens

Narrator: McKenzie Fetters

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Year: 2020

Happy Friday friends! 

Synopsis: The Gemini Thief is a serial kidnapper, who takes three boys and holds them captive from June 1st to June 30th of the following year. The June Boys endure thirteen months of being stolen, hidden, observed, and fed before they are released, unharmed, by their masked captor. The Thief is a pro, having eluded authorities for nearly a decade and taken at least twelve boys.
Now Thea Delacroix has reason to believe the Gemini Thief has taken a thirteenth victim: her cousin, Aulus McClaghen.
But the game changes when one of the kidnapped boys turns up dead. Together with her boyfriend Nick and her best friends, Thea is determined to find the Gemini Thief and the remaining boys before it’s too late. Only she’s beginning to wonder something sinister, something repulsive, something unbelievable, and yet, not impossible:
What if her father is the Gemini Thief?

This is an intriguing and well plotted thriller. The characters are well drawn and there’s several suspects to keep you guessing. I’ve read tons of YA books of all genres over the course of my career as a librarian. For some reason, teens in YA mysteries being smarter or finding obvious clues the police overlooked always bothered me a little bit. That’s just me! But the teen characters in this struck the right note for me. They were regular kids trying to find their friend. They weren’t brilliant like Sherlock and when they did their own limited snooping around, they did it like kids in real life would. So kudos to the author for writing realistic teens! Narrators McKenzie Fetters did a great job giving voice to the audiobook of this compelling thriller. 

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 

#thejuneboys #courtstevens #thomasnelsonpublishing #mckenziefetters #audiobook #audiobookreview #readwithmyears #librarybook #libbyapp #thegeminithief #ireadya #mystery #thriller #yamystery #yathriller #teens #youngadultbooks #teenbooks 

Monday, January 18, 2021

Goodnight Beautiful

 Goodnight Beautiful 


Author: Aimee Molloy 

Publisher: Harper

Year: 2020

My first thought when I got to a certain part in this book was - oh that’s cleaver writing! 


I really enjoyed this book. It sucked me right in and I flew through it. This is the story of a missing husband and also includes some long standing family drama  and a twist that caught me off guard. The characters are well drawn and the story moves along at a fast clip. 


This a is cleverly written, well plotted, and thoroughly enjoyable book with twists and turns to keep you guessing! 


⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


Synopsis: Newlyweds Sam Statler and Annie Potter are head over heels, and excited to say good-bye to New York City and start a life together in Sam's sleepy hometown upstate. Or, it turns out, a life where Annie spends most of her time alone while Sam, her therapist husband, works long hours in his downstairs office, tending to the egos of his (mostly female) clientele. Little does Sam know that through a vent in his ceiling, every word of his sessions can be heard from the room upstairs. The pharmacist's wife, contemplating a divorce. The well-known painter whose boyfriend doesn’t satisfy her in bed. Who could resist listening? Everything is fine until the French girl in the green mini Cooper shows up, and Sam decides to go to work and not come home, throwing a wrench into Sam and Annie's happily ever after. 

Friday, January 15, 2021

Ask Again, Yes

 Ask Again, Yes


Author: Mary Beth Keane

Publisher: Scribner

Year: 2019

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Synopsis: Francis Gleeson and Brian Stanhope, rookie NYPD cops, are neighbors in the suburbs. What happens behind closed doors in both houses—the loneliness of Francis’s wife, Lena, and the instability of Brian’s wife, Anne, sets the stage for the explosive events to come.

A lifelong friendship and love blossoms between Kate Gleeson and Peter Stanhope, born six months apart. One shocking night their loyalties are divided, and their bond will be tested again and again over the next thirty years.


This is a rich family drama that spans several decades and tackles issues including mental illness, friendship, alcoholism, love, regret, forgiveness, and acceptance. You can’t help but become invested in their stories. This rich tapestry of complex of love and emotions. 


This is my book club’s pick for this month. I’m sure we’ll have a lively discussion about this book when we zoom at the end of the month. 


Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Finlay Donovan Is Killing It

 Finlay Donovan Is Killing It


Author: Elle Cosimano

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Year: 2021

Finlay is a divorced mother of two young children desperately trying to keep her head above water as the bills pile up and her ex husband pushes for custody. She’s at a Panera with her agent discussing her stalled writing career when a woman seated by them mistakes Finlay’s thriller writing conversation for an assassin for hire conversation. The woman wants to hire Finaly to take care of her terrible husband. And that begins Finlay’s career as a “hit man.” She and Vero, her babysitter, become embroiled in dead bodies, a missing woman, a hot young bartender, a sexy cop, and the Russian mob. 


And it’s all great fun! This book reminded me for Janet Evanovich’s early Stephanie Plum books. There’s humor, suspense and romance all mixed together to create a light hearted and charming read. This is perfect if you’re looking for a light hearted and fun mystery. 

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


Thank you to NetGalley St Martin’s Press and author Elle Cosimano for the review copy. Finlay Donovan Is Killing It publishes on February 2nd. And check out Elle’s backlist of YA titles if you like your mysteries with a side of speculative twist! Nearly Gone and Holding Smoke are particularly note worth. 

Saturday, January 9, 2021

Bloodline

 Bloodline



Author: Jess Lourey

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Year: 2021

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The whole time I was reading this I kept thinking the plot was like a creepy Jordan Peele movie. 


Joan, a reporter, and her boyfriend Deck move to his idyllic hometown after Joan was mugged. Deck is positive that life in a mall town will be the perfect place to raise  the baby they are expecting. Joan agrees to go but soon discovers the town of Lilydale is not as perfect as it seems. 


This has a very creepy thriller vibe. Sort of a horror movie vibe without the gore. The author does a wonderful job slowly ratcheting up the tension as Joan becomes increasingly paranoid. It’s a great mix of suspense and chills. 

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Invisible Girl

 Invisible Girl


Author: Lisa Jewell

Publisher: Atria 

Year: 2020

Invisible Girl is a slow burning suspense novel centered around the disappearance of a teenage girl. 


At firs glance it is hard to see how all the characters are connected. As the story unfolds, we get to see the thin threads that connect their lives and the effects those threads have on their lives. 


The plot centers around the Fours family: mom Cate, dad Ronan, daughter Georgia and son Josh. They have creepy neighbor across the road named Owen. Then there’s Saffyre Maddox, the girl who goes missing. Their lives all crash together in different ways- some good and some very bad. 


The author does a wonderful job of weaving the plot together and constructing the characters. Not everyone is who they seem and there’s enough red herrings to keep you guessing. It was easy to get invested in Saffyre’s story because she’s smart, tough, and yet vulnerable. This is an engaging book to curl up with for a weekend. 


⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


Monday, January 4, 2021

The Project

 The Project


Author: Courtney Summers

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Year: 2021

⭐️⭐️⭐️

I had high hopes for this one. Maybe too high. 


Synopsis: Lo Denham is used to being on her own. After her parents died, Lo's sister, Bea, joined The Unity Project, leaving Lo in the care of their great aunt. Thanks to its extensive charitable work and community outreach, The Unity Project has won the hearts and minds of most in the Upstate New York region, but Lo knows there's more to the group than meets the eye. She's spent the last six years of her life tryingand failingto prove it.

When a man shows up at the magazine Lo works for claiming The Unity Project killed his son, Lo sees the perfect opportunity to expose the group and reunite with Bea once and for all. When her investigation puts her in the direct path of its charismatic and mysterious leader, Lev Warren, he proposes a deal: if she can prove the worst of her suspicions about The Unity Project, she may expose them. If she can't, she must finally leave them alone.

But as Lo delves deeper into The Project, the lives of its members, and spends more time with Lev, it upends everything she thought she knew about her sister, herself, cults, and the world around herto the point she can no longer tell what's real or true. Lo never thought she could afford to believe in Lev Warren . . . but now she doesn't know if she can afford not to.


Courtney Summers’ books Sadie and All the Rage are two of my favorite books. They are brutal, punch in the throat emotional reads. This one didn’t give me that heart wrenching emotional response. The characters missed the mark for me. I liked Lo’s character, but she seemed flat to me. Lev’s  character never struck me as a charismatic leader. He’s handsome and attractive but I didn’t think he was compelling enough for people to blindly follow him. There was never enough of a punch in this book to make me really connect with it. I’m sure other readers will be pulled right in and love it. 


Thank you to NetGalley, Courtney Summers and St. Martin’s Press for the eARC. The Project publishes on February 2nd. 


Sunday, January 3, 2021

Rebecca

 Rebecca


Author: Daphne du Maurier

Narrator: Anna Massey

Publishers: Hachette Audio

Year: 2013

“Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.” 


One of the most famous opening lines in literature and I finally got around to reading Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. I was familiar with the bare bones of the story. An impressionable young woman falls quickly in love and marries wealthy older widower Maxim de Winter. He brings her to Manderley, his grand imposing ancestral family estate. Once there, she realizes the hold Max’s dead wife Rebecca still has on the estate and on him. There’s also creepy Mrs. Danvers, the head housekeeper, who is intent on sabotaging the new marriage. 


It’s a classic. It won the Anthony Award for Best Novel of the Century. It’s slow burning and creepy. I listened to the audiobook narrated by Anna Massey. Her performance is powerful and exquisite. She strikes all the right notes from self conscious girl trying to fit in to confused newlywed trying to understand her moody husband to unafraid woman finally standing up for herself. Massey has great material to work with. 

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


If you’re a big fan of domestic or gothic suspense, this is a must read. Today’s domestic thrillers stand on du Maurier’s and Rebecca’s shoulders. 


This is on Amazon’s list of 100 mysteries and thrillers to read in a lifetime and I certainly see why. 



Under Your Spell

  Author: Laura Wood Narrator: Ellie Heydon Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio Year: 2024 🎧𝗔𝘂𝗱𝗶𝗼𝗯𝗼𝗼𝗸 𝗥𝗲𝘃𝗶𝗲𝘄🎧 Many thanks...