Thursday, October 31, 2019

Month in Review: October 2019

{Technical difficulty so will add image when I can.}

Posting this a slight bit early as I'm off to Bouchercon this morning...and I am so excited!!! It was another great month of reading. I don't know about you, but this year has been filled with amazing reads :)

  Reading Stats: 

  • Read this month: 21
  • Year to date: 183

Books Read: 

  1. 29 Seconds -- T.M. Logan
  2. The Daughters of Temperance Hobbs -- Katherine Howe
  3. What Happens in Paradise -- Elin Hilderbrand (audio book)
  4. One Night Gone -- Tara Laskowski
  5. The Patient -- Steena Holmes (audio book)
  6. The Chestnut Man -- Soren Sveistrup
  7. Ribbons of Scarlet -- Kate Quinn
  8. Christmas Shopaholic --Sophie Kinsella (e-book)
  9. Before We Were Yours -- Lisa Wingate
  10. Beautiful on the Outside -- Adam Rippon (print/audio book)
  11. The Poison Garden -- A.J. Banner (audio book)
  12. Strangers at the Gate -- Catriona McPherson
  13. If I Could Only Tell You -- Hannah Beckerman
  14. The Sleepover -- Carol Wyer (e-book)
  15. Double Blind -- Iris Johansen & Roy Johansen
  16. A Cosmology of Monsters -- Shaun Hamill
  17. It Takes One -- Kate Kessler
  18. The Rabbit Hunter -- Lars Kepler
  19. Vendetta -- Iris Johansen
  20. Cilka's Journey - Heather Morris (print/audio book)
  21. The Vanishing Season -- Joanna Schaffhausen (e-book)
  
Favorite Books of October: 
 


  • The Chestnut Man by Soren Sveistrup
  • A Cosmology of Monsters by Shaun Hamill
  • The Rabbit Hunter by Lars Kepler

Challenges:
I am participating in 2 challenges/projects this year and I will be keeping be giving updates in these posts.


#UnReadShelfProject2019:

*These numbers only refer to books that have been sitting on my shelf for a while or that I have recently purchased. It does not include any review books.



  • Total # unread books on shelf at beginning of October: 180
  • Books read in October (that count): 2
  • Books bought/received as gift in October: 0
  • Books cleaned off shelf/donated: 0
  • Total unread books on shelf at end of October: 178
 
 YTD Stats: 

  • Total # unread books on shelf at beginning of January: 186
  • Total Books read from shelves (that count): 28
  • Total Books bought/received as gift: 39
  • Total Books cleaned off shelf/donated: 19
  • Total unread books on shelf at end of October: 178
  •  

#ThrillerThursdayChallenge:


  • January's challenge: a thriller from a debut author
    •  Book read: The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides
  • February's challenge: a thriller with a one word title
    • Book read: Unwanted by Kristina Ohlsson
  • March's challenge: a thriller with the word "Woman" in the title
    • Book read: The Woman in the Dark by Vanessa Savage
  • April's challenge: a thriller written in a language other than English
    • Book read: The Darkness by Ragnar Jonasson (Icelandic)
  • May's challenge: a historical thriller
    • Book read: The Way of All Flesh by Ambrose Parry 
  • June's challenge: a thriller that's been made into a movie
    • Book read: Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
  • July's challenge: a new-release thriller/released in 2019
    • Book read: The Chain by Adrian McKinty
  • August's challenge: a thriller with the word "Girl" in the title
    • Book read: The Birthday Girl by Melissa de la Cruz
  • September's challenge: a thriller published before the year you were born
    • Book read: The ABC Murders by Agatha Christie
  • October's challenge: a thriller from a series that's new to you
    • Book read: It Takes One by Kate Kessler (series: Audrey Hart, book 1)
  • November's challenge: a thriller with more than 10k reviews on Goodreads
    •  
  • December's challenge: a thriller with "Murder" "Kill" "Killing" or "Death" in the title
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Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Short & Sweet Review: Double Blind by Iris Johansen & Roy Johansen


Title: Double Blind
Author: Iris Johansen & Roy Johansen
Series: Kendra Michaels, #6
Published: July 2018, St. Martin's Press
Format: Hardcover, 325 pages
Source: Library

Summary: 
Kendra Michaels, formerly blind and now a hired gun for law enforcement agencies who relies on her razor-sharp powers of observation, is reluctant to help the FBI with the most recent case they’ve brought to her. But then she hears the details: the body was found just blocks away from Kendra’s condo. The young woman was carrying an envelope with Kendra’s name on it, and inside was an SD card with what appears to be an innocuous video of a wedding reception. The woman died trying to get the video to Kendra, but for what purpose? Before Kendra and the FBI can answer that question, the bride is abducted from her suburban home.

And so the hunt is on for a killer whose nightmarish plan is slowly becoming clear. A plan that involves a powerful law firm and a multi-billion dollar corporation. As the body count rises, Kendra joins forces with private investigator Jessie Mercado and agent-for-hire Adam Lynch to stop the plot as it grows ever closer to its terrifying conclusion.

In Double Blind, Iris and Roy Johansen deliver an emotional, gripping new entry in the bestselling Kendra Michaels series.




***Short & Sweet Reviews are short, quick reviews. These will mainly be used for series books where I have already done full reviews on some of the earlier books or for books that I feel will suffice with a quick review. These will not be used for review requests or blog tours.


My thoughts: It's no surprise that I will read just about anything Iris Johansen writes, and that includes the spin-off series that she and her son co-write featuring Kendra Michaels. I find Kendra to be such a unique character and she continues to prove that nothing and no one will stop her from stopping the bad guys.

Once again, Kendra is brought into a case with the FBI that literally has her name on it. But, she has Adam Lynch working by her side and ends up getting Jessie Mercado involved in the case as well. I love that each of these characters are all strong-willed characters and getting them together ends up in results. Of course, things go south when the killer targets someone very close to Kendra and I could really feel Kendra's pain and frustration at this point.

I love the chemistry between Kendra and Adam. They always seem to be circling each other but never quite know how to move forward to that next step. But the ending leaves us with some things to think about and I can't wait to get my hands on the next book, Hindsight, to see where things head!



Books in this series:

  
   
.5  With Open Eyes
      1.  Close Your Eyes
      2.  Sight Unseen  

      3.  The Naked Eye 

      4.  Night Watch
      5.  Look Behind You

      6.  Double Blind

      7.  Hindsight - due out January 2020

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Monday, October 28, 2019

Review: The Sleepover by Carol Wyer


Title: The Sleepover
Author: Carol Wyer
Series: Detective Natalie Ward, #4
Published: September 2019, Bookouture
Format: ARC E-copy, 376 pages
Source: Netgalley via Publisher

Summary: 
Roxy had a secret. Now she’s gone.

When fourteen-year-old Roxy says she’s going for a sleepover at her best friend Ellie’s house, Cathy sees no reason to check her daughter’s story. The two families are neighbours, and the girls are in and out of each other’s homes every day.

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Friday, October 25, 2019

Blog Tour & Review: If Only I Could Tell You by Hannah Beckerman


Title: If Only I Could Tell You
Author: Hannah Beckerman
Published: October 2019, William Morrow Paperbacks
Format: Paperback, 368 pages
Source: Publisher via TLC Book Tours

Summary: 
Hannah Beckerman pens a life-affirming novel that tells the story of a family divided and the secret that  can possibly unite them—a must for fans of This Is Us.

Audrey knows that life is filled with ups and downs, but she can’t help feeling like she’s been dealt more than her fair share as she’s watched her family come undone over the years. Her dream as a mother had been for her daughters, Jess and Lily, to be as close as

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Review: Beautiful on the Outside by Adam Rippon (print/audio)


Title: Beautiful on the Outside
Author: Adam Rippon
Narrator: Adam Rippon
Published: October 2019, Hachette Audio / Grand Central Publishing
Length: 8 hours, 19 minutes / 256 pages
Source: Audio via Hachette Audio via Libro.fm / Print via Grand Central Publishing

Summary:
Former Olympic figure skater and self-professed America's Sweetheart Adam Rippon shares his underdog journey from beautiful mess to outrageous success in this hilarious, big-hearted memoir.

Your mom probably told you it's what on the inside that counts. Well, then she was never a competitive figure skater. Olympic medalist Adam Rippon has been making it pretty for
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Thursday, October 24, 2019

Review: Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate


Title: Before We Were Yours
Author: Lisa Wingate
Published: June 2017, Ballantine Books
Format: Hardcover, 347 pages
Source: Personal copy

Summary: 
Memphis, 1939. Twelve-year-old Rill Foss and her four younger siblings live a magical life aboard their family’s Mississippi River shantyboat. But when their father must rush their mother to the hospital one stormy night, Rill is left in charge—until strangers arrive in force. Wrenched from all that is familiar and thrown into a Tennessee Children’s Home Society orphanage, the Foss children are assured that they will soon be returned to their parents—but they quickly realize the dark truth. At the mercy of the facility’s cruel director, Rill fights to keep her sisters and brother together in a world of danger and uncertainty.
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Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Review: Strangers at the Gate by Catriona McPherson


Title: Strangers at the Gate
Author: Catriona McPherson
Published: October 2019, Minotaur Books
Format: ARC Paperback, 368 pages
Source: Publisher

Summary: 
From the Agatha-award winning author of Quiet Neighbors comes a twisty, fascinating standalone that begs the question: how well can we ever know the people around us?

When Finn and Paddy decide to move from their home in the city to the small town of Simmerton, it feels like everything has finally fallen into place. Paddy's been made partner at the law firm in town, and Finn has found full-time work as the deacon. Paddy's new

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Monday, October 21, 2019

Review: The Poison Garden by A.J. Banner (audio)


Title: The Poison Garden
Author: A.J. Banner
Narrator: Sarah Mollo-Christensen
Published: October 2019, Brilliance Audio
Length: 6 hours 43 minutes
Source: Publisher

Summary:
A woman’s idyllic life becomes a deceptive hall of mirrors in a thriller of exquisitely constructed psychological suspense by A. J. Banner, bestselling author of The Good Neighbor. 

Elise Watters seems to have it all—a blissful marriage, a gorgeous Victorian home surrounded by lush gardens, and a dream job running her late mother’s herbal boutique.
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Friday, October 18, 2019

Review: Our Little Secret by Darren O'Sullivan


Title: Our Little Secret
Author: Darren O'Sullivan
Published: February 2019, HQ
Format: Paperback, 368 pages
Source: Publisher

Summary: 
A deserted train station: A man waits. A woman watches.

Chris is ready to join his wife. He’s planned this moment for nearly a year. The date. The

time. The train. But he hadn’t factored in Sarah.

So when Sarah walks on to the platform and sees a man swaying at the edge she assumes he’s just had too much to drink. What she doesn’t expect is to stop a suicide.

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Thursday, October 17, 2019

Review: The Chestnut Man by Soren Sveistrup


Title: The Chestnut Man
Author: Soren Sveistrup
Published: September 2019, Harper
Format: ARC Paperback, 528 pages
Source: Publisher

Summary: 
The heart-pounding debut from the creator of the hit Scandinavian television show The Killing.

If you find one, he’s already found you.

A psychopath is terrorizing Copenhagen.

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Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Blog Tour & Review: Ribbons of Scarlet by Kate Quinn


Title: Ribbons of Scarlet
Author: Kate Quinn, Stephanie Dray, Laura Kamoie, Sophie Perinot, Heather Webb & E. Knight
Published: October 2019, William Morrow Paperbacks
Format: Paperback, 560 pages
Source: Publisher via TLC Booktours

Summary: 
Six bestselling and award-winning authors bring to life a breathtaking epic
novel illuminating the hopes, desires, and destinies of princesses and peasants, harlots and wives, fanatics and philosophers—six unforgettable women whose paths cross during one of the most tumultuous and transformative events in history: the French Revolution.


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Review: The Patient by Steena Holmes (audio)


Title: The Patient
Author: Steena Holmes
Narrator: Siiri Scott
Published: October 2019, Brilliance Audio
Length: 11 hours 28 minutes
Source: Publisher

Summary:
A therapist must face her own worst fear—one of her patients is a serial killer.

Danielle Rycroft suspects someone close to her has a dark secret. In the confidential setting of therapy, her patients share their anxieties and fears. Now, with a string of murders in town putting her on edge, Danielle’s own worries come close to eclipsing her patients’. In each case, the pattern is the same: parents killed while their children sleep blissfully

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Sunday, October 13, 2019

Review: Christmas Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella


Title: Christmas Shopaholic
Author: Sophie Kinsella
Series: Shopaholic, #9
Published: October 2019, The Dial Press
Format: ARC E-copy, 427 pages
Source: Netgalley

Summary: 
’Tis the season for change and Becky Brandon (née Bloomwood) is embracing it, returning
from the States to live in the charming village of Letherby and working with her best friend, Suze, in the gift shop of Suze’s stately home. Life is good, especially now that Becky takes time every day for mindfulness . . . which actually means listening to a meditation tape while hunting down online bargains.


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Short & Sweet Review: Princess by James Patterson


Title: Princess
Author: James Patterson
Series: Private, #14
Published: November 2018, Grand Central Publishing
Format: Paperback, 368 pages
Source: Personal copy

Summary: 
Jack Morgan receives an offer he cannot refuse...

When the head of the world's foremost investigation agency receives at invitation to meet Princess Caroline, third in line to the British throne, he boards his Gulfstream jet and flies straight to London.

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Saturday, October 12, 2019

Review: Recursion by Blake Crouch


Title: Recursion
Author: Blake Crouch
Published: June 2019, Crown Publishing Group
Format: Hardcover, 336 pages
Source: Personal copy

Summary: 
Memory makes reality.
That’s what New York City cop Barry Sutton is learning as he investigates the devastating phenomenon the media has dubbed False Memory Syndrome—a mysterious affliction that drives its victims mad with memories of a life they never lived.

That's what neuroscientist Helena Smith believes. It’s why she’s dedicated her life to creating a technology that will let us preserve our most precious memories. If she succeeds,

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Friday, October 11, 2019

Review: One Night Gone by Tara Laskowski


Title: One Night Gone
Author: Tara Laskowski
Published: October 2019, Graydon House
Format: Paperback, 352 pages
Source: Publisher

Summary: 
It was the perfect place to disappear...

One sultry summer, Maureen Haddaway arrives in the wealthy town of Opal Beach to start her life anew—to achieve her destiny. There, she finds herself lured by the promise of friendship, love, starry skies, and wild parties. But Maureen’s new life just might be too good to be true, and before the summer is up, she vanishes.

Decades later, when Allison Simpson is offered the opportunity to house-sit in Opal Beach

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Tuesday, October 08, 2019

Review: What Happens in Paradise by Elin Hilderbrand (audio)


Title: What Happens in Paradise
Author: Elin Hilderbrand
Series: Paradise, #2
Narrator: Erin Bennett
Published: October 2019, Hachette Audio
Length: 9 hours 47 minutes
Source: Publisher via Libro.fm

Summary:
Secret lives and new loves emerge in the bright Caribbean sunlight, in the
follow-up to national bestseller Winter in Paradise

A year ago, Irene Steele had the shock of her life: her loving husband, father to their grown sons and successful businessman, was killed in a helicopter crash. But that wasn't Irene's

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Monday, October 07, 2019

Book Spotlight: Dark Water by Robert Bryndza

Last week, Robert Bryndza's 3rd book in his Erika Foster series, Dark Water, was released in the U.S. I have long been a fan of this series since the first book was published in the UK back in 2016 and I am thrilled that the series is finally being published here in the states. And I am thrilled to be able to offer two readers a copy of this book...But - the giveaway is over on my Instagram page. 

You can find my review of Dark Water here.

Read on to see what others have to say and then you can find out where to enter the giveaway below!!! 



Title: Dark Water
Author: Robert Bryndza
Series: Erika Foster, #3
Published: October 2019, Grand Central Publishing
Format: Paperback, 384 pages

Summary: 
USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author Robert Bryndza is back again with the third book in the thrilling, crime series, starring Erika
Foster, which has sold over 2 millions copies worldwide.

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Review: The Daughters of Temperance Hobbs by Katherine Howe


Title: The Daughters of Temperance Howe
Author: Katherine Howe
Series: The Physick Book, #2
Published: June 2019, Henry Holt & Company
Format: ARC Paperback, 338 pages
Source: Publisher

Summary: 
New York Times bestselling author Katherine Howe returns to the world of The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane with a bewitching story of a New England history professor who must race against time to free her family from a curse

Connie Goodwin is an expert on America’s fractured past with witchcraft. A young, tenure-track professor in Boston, she’s earned career success by studying the history of magic in colonial America—especially women’s home recipes and medicines—and by exposing society's threats against women fluent in those skills. But beyond her studies, Connie harbors a secret: She is the direct descendant of a woman tried as a witch in Salem, an ancestor whose abilities were far more magical than the historical record shows.

When a hint from her mother and clues from her research lead Connie to the shocking realization that her partner’s life is in danger, she must race to solve the mystery behind a hundreds’-years-long deadly curse.

Flashing back through American history to the lives of certain supernaturally gifted women, The Daughters of Temperance Hobbs affectingly reveals not only the special bond that unites one particular matriarchal line, but also explores the many challenges to women’s survival across the decades—and the risks some women are forced to take to protect what they love most.



My thoughts:  While this a sequel to Katherine Howe's The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane, and technically the second in the series, of which I did not read, it is not the first book I have read by Katherine Howe. A few years back, I read Conversion after hearing it compared to Megan Abbot's The Fever which I had loved. I remember loving Conversion, so it was a no-brainer to pick up this latest book.

Not having read the prior book, I was not sure what to expect, but considering it had come out ten years earlier, I decided to throw caution to the wind and just jump in. And it was fine. Katherine Howe gives just enough back story that I never felt lost and even states that it is a self-contained story. 

I found this story to be completely engaging. I loved the alternating timeline - moving back and forth between the past and the present. Most of the story is told in the present, following Connie as she is desperate to break a family curse before it is too late. I loved Connie - she is a strong woman and I always love when we have a strong female lead. I also enjoyed the snippets we got of the past, learning about Connie's ancestors. I've always been fascinated by the history of witchcraft and these flashback scenes were just so interesting. 

Katherine Howe does a fantastic job weaving historical fact and fiction into this book. And her historical note at the end of the book is not to be missed. Not having read the earlier book has only made me want to go back and pick it up now because I am excited to read more of these characters and to get Connie's earlier story. Plus I really like Katherine Howe's writing style.


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