Tuesday, May 31, 2022

The Verifiers


Author: Jane Pek

Narrator: Eunice Wong

Publisher: Penguin Random House Audio

Year: 2022

🚲 𝐁𝐨𝐨𝐤 𝐑𝐞𝐯𝐢𝐞𝐰 🚲

Claudia works as a sleuth for Veracity, a secretive online-dating detective agency. Veracity quietly investigates people their clients meet via online dating apps. When a client turns up dead after asking Veracity to investigate a man she met online, Claudia just can’t let it go. The more she uncovers, the more questions arise. 

There’s something for almost every reader in Jane Pek’s debut novel The Verifiers. It’s part techno thriller, part family drama, infused with humor, and has a dash of romance. Claudia wants to break out from her family’s expectations of a perfect, respectable career and of finding a nice Chinese boy settle down with. I loved that Claudia was a life long thriller reader and used lessons learned from her favorite fictional detective. This was a fun and enjoyable debut thriller that sets up a sequel nicely. Eunice Wong’s narration was wonderfully entertaining. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

QOTD: what book are you finishing the month with? 

I’m reading Canary in a Coal Mine. Doubt I’ll finish it today. 

#theverifiers #janepek #randomhouseaudio #audiobook #audiobookreview #audiobookstagram #igreads #lqbtq #lqtbqbooks
#diversifyyourbookself #weneeddiversebooks #aapiheritagemonth #debutbook #2022debut #crimefiction #thriller #bookstagram 

Thursday, May 26, 2022

All I Want


Author: Darcey Bell

Narrators: Emily Tremaine and Kevin R. Free

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio

Year: 2022

🎧𝗔𝘂𝗱𝗶𝗼𝗯𝗼𝗼𝗸 𝗥𝗲𝘃𝗶𝗲𝘄🎧

Thank you @simon.audio for the #giftedbook. 

Emma and Ben, a married couple expecting their first baby, buy a dilapidated Victorian house in upstate New York. They move in, the renovation gets underway, and then weirdness starts. 

The house used to be an old rehab facility for alcoholic Broadway actors. Emma finds a diary in the attic written by a long ago Broadway ingenue who gets knocked up by a very famous and married leading man. He sends the girl to the rehab center to hide the pregnancy and give the baby up for adoption. The diary begins to hint at nefarious things going on as the unnamed writer becomes more afraid for herself and her soon to be born baby. 

Emma begins to feel isolated and alone in the house while her husband spends most of his time working in the city. Soon she notices weird things starting to happen. Is the old house full of evil or cursed? Is her husband gaslighting her? 

I’ve been trying to avoid psychological thrillers. Most of them just don’t work for me anymore. Psychological thrillers are so prevalent that it’s hard to escape them. But I thought I’d give one a try. I read Beneath the Stairs a little while ago and liked the premise of a spooky of house. 

I enjoyed the narration by Emily Tremaine and Kevin R. Free. I thought this story was all right until the last chapter that contained the big twist. This chapter just came so far out of left field that it didn’t even make any sense to me. I thought it took away from the rest of the story and was unnecessary. ⭐️⭐️⭐️ 

I’m sure many other readers who love psychological and domestic thrillers will enjoy this one especially if they like isolated spooky houses. 

QOTD: change my mind on psychological thrillers. Give me some amazing recommendations and hidden gems! 

#alliwant #simonaudio #darceybell #psycholicalthriller #domesticthriller #thrillerfiction #spookyoldhouse #audiobook #audiobookstagram #bookstagram #igreads #thrillerthursday 

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Two Nights in Lisbon


Author: Chris Pavone

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Year: 2022

📖 𝐇𝐚𝐩𝐩𝐲 𝐏𝐮𝐛𝐥𝐢𝐜𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐃𝐚𝐲! 📖

Ariel Price accompanies her new husband on a business trip to Lisbon. When John fails to return from an early morning walk, Ariel is sure something is wrong. The Lisbon police and the US Embassy staff offer little help, only asking more questions about her husband that she can answer. When Ariel gets a phone call demanding $3 million Euros for John’s release, Ariel is forced to seek help from someone in her past. As the police, CIA, FBI, and a reporter begin to dig into their pasts, Ariel worries long buried secrets might emerge. She realizes she might not really know her husband Just like he might not know her. 

This was a fun cat and mouse game. I particularly enjoyed the sun splashed Lisbon setting because it was a bit different. It’s best to go into this one blind. The twists and turns didn’t surprise me, but that didn’t hamper my enjoyment. I like author Chris Pavone’s writing style. At first I thought he made Ariel a little too paranoid, always thinking everyone was watching her (especially men). So it took me a little while to warm up to her character. Overall, I found this to be an enjoyable thriller that’s perfect to read on the beach or poolside this summer. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Thank you to NetGalley  and Farrar, Straus and Giroux for the digital review copy. Two night is Lisbon is available today. 

QOTD: ever have a bat in your house? Last night a noise in our bedroom woke me up. I thought it was a mouse, but I thought I heard wings flapping. There was enough ambient light that I saw a shadow fly across the ceiling. I woke my husband up. He was able to trap in and release it outside. 

#twonightsinlisbon #chrispavone #farrarstraussandgiroux #netgalley #publicationdaytuesday #lisbon #thrillerbooks #thriller #crimefiction #kidnapping #ransom #bookstagram #igreads #booknerd #alwaysreading

Saturday, May 21, 2022

The Killing Hills


Author: Chris Offutt

Publisher: Grove Press

Year: 2021

📖 𝐁𝐨𝐨𝐤 𝐑𝐞𝐯𝐢𝐞𝐰 📖

Army CID agent Mick Hardin is on leave at his home in rural Kentucky. Mick and his wife, who is about to give birth, aren’t getting along at the moment. Mick’s sister is the newly appointed sheriff and she asks for his help when a woman is found murdered deep in the hills. Mick has the investigation experience and knows the people and the land. He hopes he can find the culprit before more killings take place. 

This novel packs a ton of story, atmosphere, and characters into only 240 pages. The dialogue and writing are spare, but author  Chris Offutt makes every word count. The rural hill county setting and it’s characters are so well crafted they feel real- at times sinister, suspicious, loving, and often humorous. 

This is a great southern noir murder mystery that pulled me right in for a bumpy ride over rough terrain. And I loved every minute of it. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

QOTD: Have you seen any good movies (in a theater or streaming) lately? I need some recommendations! 

My friend and I went to see the new Downton Abbey movie the other night. My first time back in a movie theater in over two years. The movie was good and I was thrilled to have real movie theater popcorn again. 🍿

#thekillinghills #chrisoffutt #grovepress #crimefiction #mysteryfiction #murderinvestigation #kentucky #policeprocedural #noir #southernnoir #bookstagram #igreads #alwaysreading #backlistbook

Thursday, May 19, 2022

The Diamond Eye


Author: Kate Quinn

Narrator: Saskia Maarleveld

Publisher: Harper Audio 

Year: 2022

💎 𝐁𝐨𝐨𝐤 𝐑𝐞𝐯𝐢𝐞𝐰 💎

This historical fiction novel is based on the life of Mila Pavlichenko who became one of the Soviet Union’s deadliest snipers during WWII. 

Mila was a graduate student when Germany invaded. She felt compelled to join the army to defend her country and to protect her young son. During her service, she recorded over 300 kills and was nicknamed Lady Death. When she left the battlefield, she was part of a delegation sent to the U.S. to drum up support for the Soviet Union. She and First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt became unlikely friends. 

This book offered a look at a different angle of WWII. So many books deal with the US and/or Great Britain vs Germany. It was interesting to get a different perspective. Mila was from Ukraine, at the time part of the Soviet Union. She lived in Odessa and traveled to Mariupol. I couldn’t help thinking about how war has come to that region again while I was listening to the audiobook. 

Saskia Maarleveld provides a fantastic narration for the audiobook. I also enjoyed a small connection to Quinn’s The Huntress through one of the characters. This is perfect for historical fiction fans and readers who love strong female main characters. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

QOTD: how are things in your little corner of the world? 

Can’t complain here. We had some rain overnight and it’s cloudy today. But the weatherman says hot weather is coming this weekend. We could hit 90 degrees F. 

#thediamondeye #katequinn #saskimaarleveld #harperaudio #historicalfiction #wwii #sovietunion #sniper #ladydeath #audiobookstagram #audiobook #audible #bookstagram #igreads 

Monday, May 16, 2022

The Violin Conspiracy


Author: Brendan Slocumb

Narrator: JD Jackson

Publisher: Random House Audio 

Year: 2022

🎻 𝐁𝐨𝐨𝐤 𝐑𝐞𝐯𝐢𝐞𝐰 🎻

I really didn’t think this book would hold my attention. I know next to nothing about classical music. I thought a story about a missing violin would be, honestly, slow. Author Brendan Slocumb definitely proved me wrong. Slocumb has crafted a riveting character in Ray and an engrossing & nuanced story. 

Ray’s talent is evident but as a Black man, the odds are stacked against him. Ray must deal with racism in the classical music community and even his own mother’s disinterest & criticism as her pursues his dream. The only family member who truly believes in Ray is his grandmother who gives him the beat up old violin that belonged to his great-great-great grandfather. The old violin is actually a Stradivarius which sets off a legal battles for true ownership of the instrument. When the violin is stolen, Ray will stop at nothing to get it back. 

I was pulled right into Ray’s world and I enjoyed the look behind the curtain of the life of a classical musician. JD Jackson does a fantastic job narrating the audiobook. Part mystery, part family drama, part love story for music, this book has something for every reader. I can definitely see this book being adapted into a movie or limited series.  ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Shout out to @gray__pages because her enthusiasm for this book prompted me to give it a try! 

QOTD: what are you reading this week? 

My library hold for Her Last Affair is ready so I’ll be starting that tonight. 

#theviolinconspiracy #brendanslocumb #jdjackson #randomhouseaudio #audiobookstagram #audiobook #classicalmusic #violinist #crimefiction #familydrama #bookstagram #igreads #audiobookreview #librarybook #libraryaudiobook 

Friday, May 13, 2022

Saint X


Author: Alexis Schaitkin

Publisher: Celadon Books

Year: 2020

🌴 𝐁𝐨𝐨𝐤 𝐑𝐞𝐯𝐢𝐞𝐰 🌴

Claire is seven years old when her older sister Alison dies under suspicious circumstances while on a family vacation in the Caribbean. 

I thought this was going to be way more mystery/thriller. Instead I got more literary fiction which is not always a bad thing. It just took me by surprise. 

This is a slow burning character study of what happens when a grown up Claire runs into one of the men who was a suspect in her sister’s death. The man and his friend were cleared by the police of any involvement, but Claire becomes obsessed with finding the truth. Although well written and compelling, the pace was a smidge slow for me and I thought the book ran a little too long. I’m sure other readers who enjoy literary fiction will be pulled into this story of grief, obsession, and the long term effects of those touched by one family’s trauma. 

Happy Friday! What are you doing or reading this weekend? 

I’m dog sitting for my daughter and son in law while they’re out of town for a wedding. 

#saintx #backlistbook #caribbean #caribbeanvacation #literaryfiction #crimefiction #mysteryfiction #mysterybutmakeitliterary #familydrama #grief #sisters #siblings #bookstagram #igreads #celadonbooks 

Monday, May 9, 2022

Ace of Spades


Author: Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé

Publisher: Fiewel & Friends

Year: 2021

♠️ 𝐁𝐨𝐨𝐤 𝐑𝐞𝐯𝐢𝐞𝐰 ♠️

I realized this morning that I never posted any kind of review of Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé. 

This was an impressive debut! I went into it only knowing just the bare bones of the story - pretty much that it was set an exclusive private school and it’s billed as Gossip Girl meets Get Out. That’s all you really need to know. 

The story immediately sucked me in and I was hooked. If you haven’t picked this one up yet, make sure you put it at the top of your TBR. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

QOTD: what are you reading this week? 

I’m reading Jon Krakauer’s Under the Banner of Heaven. It’s my book club’s pick for this month. 

#aceofspades #thrillerbooks #highschool #senioryear #secrets #highschoolcankillyou #teenfiction #racism #crimefiction #debutauthor #latetothisparty #librarybook #lovemylibrary #bookstagram #igreads #readerlife #bibliophile  

Sunday, May 1, 2022

April Reading Wrap-Up


𝗔𝗽𝗿𝗶𝗹 𝗥𝗲𝗮𝗱𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗪𝗿𝗮𝗽-𝗨𝗽

How is it May already? We spent most of the month at our place on the Outer Banks, NC. It was a sunny but cool spring there. We were lucky to miss a late spring snowstorm that dumped a foot of heavy wet snow and ice at our primary place in PA. The electricity was out there for three days because of the storm. Glad I missed that! 

Reading-wise it was a good month. Lots of enjoyable reads. 

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️- loved and would recommend 

The Killing Hills - an Army CID agent helps his sister, a sheriff, investigate the murder of a woman in their rural hometown. Gritty southern noir packed with great characters and atmosphere. 

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️- really enjoyed and would recommend 

I’ll Be You - a washed up former child actress must figure out why her twin sister is missing. Thank you @netgalley for the digital ARC. 

Never Saw Me Coming- diagnosed psychopathic students together on a college campus. What could go wrong? 

Peach Blossom Spring- a sweeping multi generational saga of a mother’s persistence and dedication to her son. 

🎧 Faye, Faraway - a woman discovers a way to time travel back to her childhood to see her mother. This was my book club’s read for the month. 

Saint X - the death of a college freshman while on a Caribbean vacation has unknown ramifications for her family and the men accused of her murder. More literary than thriller but I still liked it. 

🎧 The Violin Conspiracy- compelling story of a Black man  who overcomes racism and his own family to become one of the world’s top classical musicians. His priceless violin is stolen before the most important competition of his career. 

🎧 The Diamond Eye - historical fiction account of the life Mila Pavlichenko who became the one of Soviet Union’s most deadly snipers during WWII. 

The Lioness - a Serengeti safari goes terribly wrong for a Hollywood star and her entourage. Thank you @netgalley for the digital ARC. 

QOTD: what book are you starting May off with? 

I’m going to start the month with Two Nights in Lisbon courtesy of @netgalley. I’ve read a few of Chris Pavone’s previous books and liked them.

#readingwrapup #monthlywrapup #truecrime #historicalfiction #fantasy #thrillerfiction #mysteryfiction #fantasyfiction #readerlife #alwaysteading #audiobooks 

Under Your Spell

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