Monday, May 31, 2021

Memorial Day

 Memorial Day

Memorial Day is the day we honor and remember those who died in active military service of our country. ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ

My son in law is a history buff so I used some of his books to put together this stack for today. 

What’s on everyone’s agenda today? Right now I’m listening to the noisy cicadas and watching my daughter’s dogs chase the cicadas flying around the yard. One of her dogs loves eating them. ๐Ÿคฎ

Hope y’all have a great day! 

Sunday, May 30, 2021

Heaven’s a Lie

 Heaven’s a Lie 

Author: Wallace Stroby 

Publisher: Mulholland Books

Year: 2021

It’s no secret that I’m an action reader. Combine an action packed plot with a smart, plucky, and likable main character and I’m a happy reader! Wallace Stroby’s books have been making me a happy reader- first with his Carissa Stone series and now with his latest book Heaven’s a Lie. 

Joette Harper is down on her luck and working the front desk at a crummy hotel. One night, a deadly car accident takes place in front of the motel. Joette finds a bag full of money in wreckage and she impulsively takes it. She has debts to pay and could use a change of luck. Joette’s decision to keep the cash puts her life in danger when a very bad man comes looking for his money. 

Joette is a very real main character. She’s still grieving the death of her husband, trying to pay off medical bills, and dealing with her mother who had a debilitating stroke. Joette’s desperation keeps her fighting to keep the money against all odds. 

This book is perfect for readers who like high octane thrillers and smart, strong, and resourceful main characters. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The long holiday weekend is upon us. I’m at my daughter’s house babysitting her dogs while she and her husband are away at a wedding for the weekend. I’ll just be hanging out with their two dogs and reading. What are your weekend plans? 

#heavensalie #wallacestroby #mulhollandbooks #thriller #thrillerbooks #mystery #takethemoneyandrun #finderskeepers #bookstagram #bookreview #jerseyshore #motel #readreadread #noir #alwaysreading 

Friday, May 28, 2021

They Went Left

 They Went Left

Author: Monica Hesse 

Narrator: Caitlin Davies

Publisher: Little Brown Young Readers Audiobook 

Year: 2020

How do you find one lost boy on a continent full of lost people? 

Zofia Lederman, an 18 year old Polish Jewish girl, survived the nightmare of the Holocaust. Now months after the end of the war, she is on a desperate journey to find her younger brother Abek. Her journey takes her back to their hometown and then through Poland and into to Germany as she looks for Abek. Zofia lands in a displaced persons camp where she finds others trying to piece their lives back together. 

I loved Monica Hesse’s book Girl in the Blue Coat, a WWII mystery set in Amsterdam. They Went Left is a heartbreaking search for family, love, and hope. Zofia’s desperation is palpable thanks to Caitlin Davies’ narration. I liked that this book highlighted what happened to Zofia after being liberated rather than her time in the camps. Zofia must write to and work with numerous aid organizations during her search for Abek. Zofia and the friends she makes in the displaced persons camp must decide how to put their lives back together after surviving history’s darkest time. I found this story compelling, heartbreaking, and yet hopeful. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

#monicahesse #theywentleft #littlebrownyoungreaders #historicalfiction #wwii #holocaust #holocaustfiction #youngadultfiction #yahistoricalfiction #audiobook #audiobookreview #caitlindavies #ireadya #teenfiction #displacedpersonscamp #audible #audibledailydeal 

Hour of the Witch

 Hour of the Witch

Author: Chris Bohjalian

Narrator: Grace Experience and cast

Publisher: Random House Audio

Year: 2021

Mary Deerfield is a young woman in Puritanical Boston. She’s married to Thomas, an older and well to do man. By all accounts Mary is a good wife, stepmother, and pious woman. She just hates getting physically abused when her husband gets drunk. When Thomas stabs Mary in the hand with a fork, she realizes that Thomas will eventually kill her one day. She decides to divorce him instead. That idea doesn’t go over too well in the male-dominated Puritan community and soon whispers of Mary being involved in witchcraft begin. 

I’m guessing author Chris Bohjalian did tons of reach in order to write this book. He seems to have gotten all the details of the time period, including the language, down. Mary is a woman ahead of her time. She has thoughts, opinions, and desires. She doesn’t want to be a victim. 

I liked the over-all plot and the narration lead by Grace Experience was excellent. But the story just dragged a little too much for me. I expected more of a thriller and instead got a lot of talking about forks. This is perfect for readers who love historical fiction with a little side of legal thriller or who are intrigued with New England’s witchcraft hysteria. 
⭐️⭐️⭐️๐Ÿ’ซ for me because it was a tad to slow for my taste. 

#thehourofthewitch #graceexperience #randomhouseaudio #chrisbojalian #audiobook #audiobookreview #witchcraft #boston #puritans #audiobookstagram #devilstines #historicalfiction 

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Light Perpetual

 Light Perpetual 

Author: Francis Spufford

Narrator: Imogen Church

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio 

Year: 2021

Happy Tuesday! 
๐ŸŽง Audiobook Review ๐ŸŽง
Thank you Sion & Schuster Audio for the gifted copy of this audiobook! 

It’s 1944. Shoppers are jammed in a crowded store on a busy Saturday when a German bomb falls, killing everyone including five children. But the children’s stories don’t end there. In author Francis Spufford’s new novel, he imagines what their lives might have been if the bomb never fell. 

Spufford shows restraint in the alternative timeline of his main characters’ lives. They don’t grow up to be rich and famous or change the course of history. They live ordinary lives full of ordinary trials, tribulations, and triumphs- job changes, falling in love, mental health issues, toxic relationships, surly teenage children, good life choices, and bad. Ordinary people who would have lived ordinary lives had a bomb not fallen on them.

Narrator Imogen Church brings the story to life in the audiobook. Her narration is spot on. In one particular chapter, Ben, who has schizophrenia, has a mental health crisis as he struggles to ignore the voice in his head. Church’s narration  is both heartbreaking and frightening as he works to stay in the moment and not allow his fear to spiral out of control. 

This is a story of what could have been- the everyday joy, sorrow, hope, love, fear, challenges, grace, and second chances. This is a good choice for readers who enjoy character driven novels or who like historical fiction. Light Perpetual is available now. 

Are you a character or a plot driven reader? 

#lightperpetual #francisspufford #simonaudio #audiobooks #audiobookreview #characterdriven #london #historicalfiction #literaryfiction #bookstagram #audiobookstagram #audiobooksofinstagram #whatmighthavebeen 

Saturday, May 22, 2021

The Perfect Daughter

 The Perfect Daughter 

Author: D.J. Palmer

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Year: 2021

What is it about multi personality disorder that captures our imagination? From books to movies, we are intrigued with characters who have split personalities. 

Penny is the cherished adopted daughter of the Francone family. But she’s not just Penny. She’s also Ruby, Chloe, and Eve. When Penny is found covered in blood and holding a knife at the scene of her birth mother’s murder, her family and her doctor set out to prove Penny’s diagnosis of multiple personalities and her innocence. 

This book is filled with twists and turns, suspects, and red herrings which makes it an enthralling thriller. The author treats mental health issues with respect instead of just using it as a cliched plot device or for shock value. 

I read this as part of a #spontaneousgroupread hosted by the fabulous @andrea.c.lowry.reads She’s an amazing bookstagrammer and if you’re not following her, you really should. Loved our group discussion about the book too. 

My sister and I had a wonderful visit with our mom this week. Mom, who has Alzheimer’s, was alert and chatty. She said she’d busy writing lesson plans and curriculum. She’s been retired from teaching elementary school for 30 years. She also complained that after working for hours on it, her principal would just stick it all in a file without bothering to read it- just like a typical administrator. ๐Ÿ˜‚ The teacher part of her brain is still going strong! ๐Ÿ˜€ 

What’s everyone reading this weekend? I’m starting The Prophets today. 

#theperfectdaughter #djpalmer #stmartinspress #mentalhealth #thriller #multiplepersonalities #mystery #bookreview #kindle #ebookreview #groupread #buddyread #spontaneousgroupread  

Monday, May 17, 2021

One Got Away

 One Got Away

Author: S.A. Lelchuk

Narrator: January LaVoy

Publisher: Macmillan Audio

Year: 2021

Happy Monday! 

Nikki Griffin, a PI who’s also a bookstore owner, is back in the second installment from author S.A. Lelchuk. This time Nikki has been hired by the son of a wealthy San Francisco matriarch who believes his mother is the victim of a con-man. Following the trail of the con-man leads Nikki to some very bad men. And Nikki isn’t afraid to dish out some revenge to bad men. 

Lelcuck keeps the action going full throttle throughout the book. As Nikki’s search for the con-man and answers continues, she comes up against very dangerous group of sex traffickers. There’s lots of twists and turns to keep the action going and Nikki is like a dog who won’t let go of a bone. Nikki is a strong and complex main character. The senseless murders of her parents when she was young gave her a sense of justice and a moral code that often operates outside the law. Yet, she hasn’t last her humanity and does try to tame her darker demons. Bonus- as a bookstore owner, Nikki is an avid reader, book discussions and titles pop up throughout the story. 

January LaVoy provides an excellent narration for the audiobook. She hits the right notes during the high octane action scenes and conveys Nikki’s warmth and humor- especially during Nikki’s encounters with a lonely boy who helps her with the case. 

Even though this is the second book in the series, it could be read as a stand alone. There’s enough info in the book to give you a sense of the events of the first book. This is perfect for readers who are fans of Orphan X, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and Jack Reacher. 

How does everyone’s week look? I’m getting my second shot tomorrow and hope to see my parents later this week. 

#onegotaway #salelchuck #macmillianaudio #januarylavoy #thriller #mystery #audiobook #audiobookreview #audiobookstagram #audiobooksofinstagram #femaleprivateinvestigator #badasswoman #sanfrancisco #privateinvestigator #privateinvestigation #conman #makethempay 

Friday, May 14, 2021

The Last Thing He Told Me

 The Last Thing He Told Me

Author: Laura Dave

Narrator: Rebecca Lowman

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio

Year: 2021

๐ŸŽง Audiobook review ๐ŸŽง

TGIF! Thank you Simon & Schuster Audio for the gifted copy of this audiobook! 

Hannah’s life changes when she receives a quickly scribbled note from her husband Owen. The note simple says “protect her” referring to Owen’s 16 year old daughter Bailey. Soon after,  the news soon breaks that the tech company Owen works for is under federal investigation, Owen’s boss has been arrested, and Owen has disappeared. Hannah must find out what happened to Owen and keep Bailey safe. But from who? 

Author Laura Dave’s compelling thriller pulled me right in. Hannah is a strong, level headed, and likable main character. Her strength shows in her decision to be proactive in her search for answers and her focus to keep Bailey safe. Her relationship with her stepdaughter isn’t perfect. Bailey’s spent most of her life with just her dad because her mom died when Bailey was a small child. Bailey isn’t used to sharing Owen with anyone else and she resents Hannah’s inclusion in their lives. Kudos to the author for making Bailey a believable teen character. She’s sullen and snarky at times, but her character never becomes an eye-rolling teen clichรฉ. 

Rebecca Lowman’s excellent narration adds nuisance and depth to Hannah’s character and the story. The story races along at a fast pace and the plot twists and turns to kept me guessing. This is an  enthralling thriller about betrayal, secrets, family, lies, and sacrifice. Available now!


What’s everyone reading and doing this weekend? 

#thelastthinghetoldme #lauradave #simonaudio #rebeccalowman #thriller #mystery #sausalito #austintexas #hookemhorns #familysecrets #audiobook #audiobookreview #audiobookstagram #audiobooksofinstagram #fivestarreview #missingperson 

Sunday, May 9, 2021

The Sanatorium

 The Sanatorium 

Author: Sarah Pearce

Publisher: Penguin 

Year: 2021

Happy Sunday! Happy Mother’s Day to all the caregivers who love, nurture, and inspire others. 

The Sanatorium seemed like it was all over bookstagram when it was published.  Bookstagram didn’t make me buy it, but it made me read it. I waited patiently for it from the library instead of running out to buy it. 

Quick synopsis- this is a locked room mystery that takes place at a former TB sanatorium that’s been turned into a luxurious, but controversial hotel, high in the Swiss Alps. As a brutal snow storm rages, people start dying. 

Elin, the main character, is at the hotel to celebrate her brother’s engagement. She’s a police detective on leave after her first big case goes bad and she’s dealing with grief and family trauma. She takes over investigating the murders when a storm cuts off the hotel and police can’t get there. 

My quick take- it’s an ok read, but I didn’t love it. Here’s why- I thought it had a lot of potential, but the story didn’t add up for me. The setting was supposed to be creepy. But it didn’t feel that creepy to me. The author spent a lot of time describing the minimalist decor of the hotel with it bare furnishings and huge windows. All I kept thinking was reading a book by a roaring fire and watching it snow through those huge windows sounds kind of cozy to me. Honestly, Elin’s boyfriend Will came across as creepier than the setting to me. 

Elin goes to the hotel to celebrate her brother Isaac’s engagement.

She and her brother have a rocky relationship. Their younger brother Sam died when they were children. Elin always blamed Issac for Sam’s death. There’s a big build up to her confronting Isaac about Sam’s death. And then when Elin and Issac finally discuss what really happened when Sam died, it was rather anticlimactic. 

Here’s the part that really bothered me- the motive for for murders was very convoluted. As Elin investigates the murders, she keeps noting that the killer was obviously trying to say something because of how the murders were staged. But here’s the thing- the murders didn’t have to happen. The motive for the murders was revenge and to let the world know a terrible secret about the sanatorium. But a simple interview with the press would have achieved the desired result without the murders. It all seemed too contrived to me. I spent most of the book waiting for a huge avalanche to destroy to hotel. To be honest, I was disappointed it didn’t happen. ⭐️⭐️⭐️ 

This is perfect for readers who love locked room mysteries or who really enjoyed Ruth Ware’s One by One or Lucy Foley’s The Guest List. 

#thesanatorium #sarahpearse #penguinpublishing #thriller #mystery #swissalps #snow #blizzard #policeproceedural #hotel #murders #libbyapp #librarybook #bookstagrammademereadit 

Thursday, May 6, 2021



Author: Stephen King

Publisher: Recorded Books

Narrator: Michael Kelly 

Year: 2014

Is there a better author than Stephen King who can set the scene creating the perfect atmosphere for a story? I don’t think so. 

Joyland is set at a small amusement park along the North Carolina coast. Devin, a college student, decides to work there for the summer. He’s heartbroken after the girl he loved dumped him and he needs a change of scenery. Joyland amusement park is populated by all sorts of characters and tourists and a ghost. That’s the creepy part. It’s the ghost of a young woman who was murdered in the House of Horrors attraction and her killer was never found. Devin sets out to find the killer. Along the way he befriends a seriously ill ten year old boy who has a special gift and the boy’s mother. 

This story just pulled me right in. It has a great mix of murder mystery, creepy horror and tugs at your heartstrings. Actor Michael Kelly lends his considerable talent to the audiobook narration making this a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ read for me. 

We have some chilly rain in my little corner of the world. How’s life where you are? 

#joyland #stephenking #recordedbooks #audiobook #audiobookreview #amusementpark #northcarolina #ghost #ghoststory #murdermystery #houseofhorrors #serialkiller #sharpshooter #carnylife #carnyfromcarny #summerjob #arcadegames #libbyapp #librarybook #libraryaudiobook #michaelkelly 

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

The Lost Apothecary

 The Lost Apothecary 

Author: Sarah Penner

Publisher:Park Row Books/HarperCollins

Year: 2021

A woman trying to distance herself from her unfaithful husband discovers long buried secrets and crimes in London. 

Caroline’s devastated by her husband’s infidelity and flies to London without him on what would have been a trip celebrating their anniversary. She impulsively joins a mudlarking expedition on the Thames where she finds an old apothecary bottle. The bottle peaks her curiosity, re-awakens her love of history, and sets her on a journey to discover more. Caroline begins to do some research and discovers an 18th century apothecary serial killer who supplied poisons to women who wanted to be rid of the troubling men in their lives. 

The story is told from three different POVs- Caroline in the present day, Nella the apothecary who dispenses the poisons, and Eliza, a 12 year old maid who procures poison on behalf of her employer and becomes intrigued with Nella and her potions. 

Honestly, the 18th century timelines worked better for me than Caroline’s modern day timeline. I thought Caroline’s  story relied too much on coincidences and the whole subplot with her husband dragged a bit for me. I wish the author had focused more on Nella and Eliza’s timelines and stories. They were the more compelling characters and I wanted more about them. I enjoyed the book, but I thought it didn’t live up to it’s potential. This is perfect for fans who like multiple points of view or who like historical fiction with a little mystery involved. 


Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Dead of Winter

 Dead of Winter 

Author: Stephen Mack Jones

Publisher: Soho Press

Year: 2021

August Snow, former Detroit Police detective and current good guy with a gun, returns in Stephen Mack Jones’s new book Dead of Winter. 

This is the third installment of the August Snow series and it just keeps getting better. This time around August gets tangled up in a sketchy real estate deal while trying to protect his beloved Mexicantown Detroit neighborhood. This is a high-octane thriller that features lots of guns and lots of action. 

Snow is a great complex character- intelligent, funny, loving, and ready to go to war if he has to. He’s a good guy with some demons and a heart of gold. He’s willing to work outside the law to bring down the bad guys. Perfect for fans of Lee Child’s Jack Reacher series or Ludlum’s Jason Bourne.  Dead of Winter is out today! 
Thanks to NetGalley and Soho for the review copy. 

And special note to the author - I would love to meet you in Detroit at any time so we could go on a tour of all the fabulous restaurants that you describe in the book. My treat! The food sounds amazing! 

I survived my root canal yesterday and it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. A little tender this morning but not bad at all. Thanks for all the good vibes yesterday! ❤️ 

#deadofwinter #augustsnow #stephenmackjones #sohopress #detroit #mexicantowndetroit #thriller #pubday #actionpacked #netgalley #bookreview #thrillerreads #crimefiction #crimefighter #vigilante 

Monday, May 3, 2021

April Reading Wrap Up

 April Reading Wrap Up

April came and went with lots of great reads for me. I participated in several buddy and group reads which were awesome. I think this is the most audiobooks I’ve read in a single month. 

Tough to pick a favorite for the month because the five star reads were all great. But I’d have to say my favorite for the month was We Begin at the End because I loved the main character Duchess Day Radley. She’s a character that stays in your heart long after you’ve read the book. 

The Mountains Sing is a beautiful story of family, love, and survival set against the backdrop of the Viet Nam war. 

I’m a sucker for police procedurals and Rachel Howzell Hall’s City of Saviors did not disappoint. Two other high octane thrillers were Stephen Mack Jones’s Dead of Winter (publishing on Tuesday) and S.A. Lelchuk’s One Got Away (badass female main character). 

Stephen King’s Joyland was creepy, atmospheric, and fun. And Jenny Lawson’s Furiously Happy is so honest, hysterical, heartfelt, and full of grace. Plus- I love that cover! 


The Huntress ๐ŸŽง

The Mountains Sing

We Begin at the End

City of Saviors ๐ŸŽง

Joyland ๐ŸŽง

Furiously Happy ๐ŸŽง

Dead of Winter

One Got Away ๐ŸŽง


While Paris Slept

Give Us a Kiss ๐ŸŽง

I, the Jury ๐ŸŽง 

The Last Place You Look

Station Eleven ๐ŸŽง

The Other Side of the Door

The Lost Apothecary 

Daniel Woodrell give us a kiss is just a funny short rural noir novel that’s really kind of quirky. If you haven’t read his book Winter’s Bone I suggest that one because that’s just amazing or at least watch the movie starring Jennifer Lawrence. 

Mickey Spillane’s I, the Jury is the first appearance of his detective Mike Hammer. Hammer seeks revenge to find the killer of his best friend. This is on Amazon’s list of 100 mysteries in thrillers to read in a lifetime. It’s good and it’s a classic. The racism and sexism throughout the book is cringe worthy and  doesn’t stand up in today’s day and age. But is is classic post WWII noir where the men were tough and didn’t talk about their feelings and the women were femme fatales. 

I’ve seen lots of reviews and how creepy and scary Station Eleven is. It’s about a worldwide pandemic,  but I didn’t think it was all that scary. It’s a good solid read, but I didn’t find it that particular scary or frightening and I didn’t need my handheld while I read it. I’d call it more pandemic light then something really hard core and truly terrifying.

So bring on May! Hoping for warm weather and sunshine. My May reads will be a mixed bag. My IRK book club is reading Water for Chocolate. I read it ages ago when it was first published. I don’t remember too many details of the story, but I do recall not loving it. I’m interested to see if my attitude changes upon rereading it. 

Saturday, May 1, 2021

The Mountains Sing

Author/ Nguyen Phan Que Mai

Publisher: Algonquin Books

Year: 2020

The Mountains Sing is a sweeping multigenerational novel set in Viet Nam. It tells the story of the Tran family and set against the backdrop of the Viet Nam War. This is a gripping story of survival, love, hope, and determination. It is a beautifully written story of one woman’s courage and determination to keep her family safe and together when their world falls apart. 

This was a compelling look at the Viet Nam War and it’s after effects on the people, their culture, and land. 


I’m so glad bookstagram pals @thereadingteapot and @rjs.readingnook asked me to join their buddy read for the book. We had an excellent video chat about the book and I enjoyed getting to know new bookstagram friends! 

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...