Tuesday, July 07, 2020

Book Spotlight: Lady Clementine by Marie Benedict - now out in Paperback!!!

Earlier this year, I read Lady Clementine by Marie Benedict when it was first released in hardcover, and I really enjoyed it! You can read my thoughts on the book here

Today the book is being released in paperback and to celebrate, I am helping the publishers get the word out. Lady Clementine was the first book I've read by Marie Benedict but it certainly won't be the last!

Title: Lady Clementine
Author: Marie Benedict
Published: August 2020, Sourcebooks Landmark
Format: Paperback, 336 pages

From Marie Benedict, the New York Times bestselling author of The Only Woman in the Room! An incredible novel that focuses on one of the people who had the most influence during World War I and World War II: Clementine Churchill.

In 1909, Clementine steps off a train with her new husband, Winston. An angry woman emerges from the crowd to attack, shoving him in the direction of an oncoming train. Just before he stumbles, Clementine grabs him by his suit jacket. This will not be the last time Clementine Churchill will save her husband.

Lady Clementine is the ferocious story of the ambitious woman beside Winston Churchill, the story of a partner who did not flinch through the sweeping darkness of war, and who would not surrender either to expectations or to enemies.

Praise for Lady Clementine:

"Benedict is a true master at weaving the threads of the past into a compelling story for today. Here is the fictionalized account of the person who was the unequivocal wind beneath Winston Churchill's wings -- a woman whose impact on the world-shaper that was WW2 has been begging to be told. A remarkable story of remarkable woman."--Susan Meissner, bestselling author of The Last Year of the War

"The atmospheric prose of Marie Benedict draws me in every single time. Lady Clementine's powerful and spirited story is both compelling and immersive. Benedict fully inhabits the measured and intelligent voice of Clementine Churchill. Entranced throughout, I discovered the secrets behind a familiar story I thought I knew. Deftly moving from the early nineteen hundreds through World War II, Benedict skillfully paints a vivid picture of the times and life of Clementine, the remarkable woman who was the steady force beside Winston Churchill." --Patti Callahan Henry, New York Times bestselling author of Becoming Mrs. Lewis

"In her latest novel, Lady Clementine, Marie Benedict has gifted us all with another thoughtful and illuminating behind-the-scenes look at one of history's most unusual and extraordinary women. Benedict stuns readers with a glorious assortment of Clementine Churchill's most personal secrets: her scandalous childhood, her unexpected role as a social outsider, her maternal insecurities, and the daily struggles she faces to smooth her husband's political blunders and to keep up with his relentless demands for guidance and attention. With a historian's eye and a writer's heart, Benedict provides an unforgettable glimpse into the private world of a brilliant woman whose impact and influence on world events deserves to be acknowledged."--Lynda Cohen Loigman, USA TODAY author of The Two-Family House and The Wartime Sisters


Monday, July 06, 2020

Review: Hurry Home by Roz Nay

Title: Hurry Home
Author: Roz Nay
Published: July 2020, Crooked Lane Books
Format: ARC Paperback, 262 pages
Source: Publisher

From the bestselling author of Our Little Secret comes a suspenseful new thriller featuring two estranged sisters desperate to keep their deepest and darkest secret where it belongs--in the past.

Blood is thicker than water... And it could cost you everything.

Alexandra Van Ness has the perfect life. She lives in an idyllic resort town tucked away in the Rocky Mountains, shares a designer loft with her handsome boyfriend, Chase, and has her dream job working in child protection. Every day, Alex goes above and beyond to save children at risk.

But when her long-lost sister, Ruth, unexpectedly shows up at her door, Alex's perfect life is upended. Growing up, Ruth was always the troublemaker, pulling Alex into her messes, and this time will be no different. Still, Alex will help Ruth under one condition: we will never, ever, talk about the past. But when a local child goes missing, both women are forced to confront the secrets they've promised to keep buried.

Utterly engrossing and claustrophobic, Hurry Home is a tantalizing reflection of the chain-and-shackles relationship between sisters that asks: what lines wouldn't you cross for your own?

My thoughts: I was fortunate to meet Roz Nay at Bouchercon last fall and able to tell her how much I loved her debut novel, Our Little Secret, so of course, I could not wait to get my hands on her sophomore book...and let me just tell you...it's fantastic!!! I could not read this book fast enough.

I am always a fan of books that involve any type of family drama and when it involves sisters, I am all over it! Maybe it's because I have two sisters myself - I also have four brothers, but that's besides the point - but this book just spoke to me. What would happen if I was estranged from one of my sisters and she just showed up? Then as the story moves forward, you get the sense that not all is as it seems.

I loved that the story is told from alternating points of view and we get both sisters' perspectives of what is going on. But this just provides more questions because you really start to wonder who to believe. The story also moves back and forth in time as we get flashbacks to when the sisters were young. This is a crucial part of the story and I was on pins and needles waiting to find out what really had happened. Again, much like a jigsaw puzzle, pieces are slowly given to us and it is up to us as the reader to see how they fit together.

I love a book that challenges me and this one kept me on my toes. I had to flip back a few times to check on things because this one really keeps you thinking. I was wavering back and forth about how I felt about each of the sisters and I definitely did not see the big reveal coming AT ALL! It totally took me by surprise and I loved that.

I cannot recommend this book enough. It's a book you will absolutely be able to binge-read because once you start reading, you are definitely not going to want to put it down. It's completely all-consuming and will have you scratching your head as to what is going on in the best way. Roz Nay is now a must-read for me and I cannot wait to see what she has up her sleeve next!


Review: The Paris Hours by Alex George

Title: The Paris Hours
Author: Alex George
Published: May 2020, Flatiron Books
Format: Hardcover,
Source: Personal copy

One day in the City of Lights. One night in search of lost time.

Paris between the wars teems with artists, writers, and musicians, a glittering crucible of genius. But amidst the dazzling creativity of the city’s most famous citizens, four regular people are each searching for something they’ve lost.

Camille was the maid of Marcel Proust, and she has a secret: when she was asked to burn her employer’s notebooks, she saved one for herself. Now she is desperate to find it before her betrayal is revealed. Souren, an Armenian refugee, performs puppet shows for children that are nothing like the fairy tales they expect. Lovesick artist Guillaume is down on his luck and running from a debt he cannot repay—but when Gertrude Stein walks into his studio, he wonders if this is the day everything could change. And Jean-Paul is a journalist who tells other people’s stories, because his own is too painful to tell. When the quartet’s paths finally cross in an unforgettable climax, each discovers if they will find what they are looking for.

Told over the course of a single day in 1927, The Paris Hours takes four ordinary people whose stories, told together, are as extraordinary as the glorious city they inhabit.

My thoughts: I've been on such a great roll with historical fiction this year and as soon as I saw this book, I knew I wanted to read it. Not only is the cover so striking, but it really is a beautifully written story.

I will admit that at first, I had a hard time keeping the characters straight, but once I really got into the story, each character develops in such a way that you end up understanding just who they are individually and collectively. I loved that the book focuses on these four ordinary people, who are living ordinary lives. And while there are famous people scattered within the pages, their stories are really kept to the background - they are not the main focus of this story at all. 

This is not a story to rush through, but rather one to take your time with and soak up the lyrical writing and secrets that each character has to reveal. I loved that as we get to know each of our characters, we get flashbacks of their lives, so that we have a fuller look at who they really are. 

I found myself completely captivated by this book and know that at some point I will most likely reread this book just to relive this twenty-four hour period with these characters, characters I have not stopped thinking about. I also know that I will most definitely be reading more from this very talented author.


Thursday, July 02, 2020

Review: A Happy Catastrophe by Maddie Dawson

Title: A Happy Catastrophe
Author: Maddie Dawson
Published: May 2020, Lake Union Publishing
Format: Paperback, 380 pages
Source: Publisher


Marnie MacGraw and Patrick Delaney have been in love for a few years now, enough to realize that they are imperfectly perfect together. Still, there are somethings that maybe need a little attention. Marnie's ebullient; he's brooding. She thrives on change; he prefers stability. She sees marriage and parenthood in their future, but he can't see beyond the shadow of an earlier tragedy.

Then an eight-year-old surprise from Patrick's past shows up on their doorstep, cartwheeling into their lives and spinning things in all directions. While it's not exactly the change she envisioned, it looks like instant family to Marnie. But Patrick, afraid of being hurt again, retreats further into himself. Suddenly, two very different pieces of a beautiful puzzle fid it harder and harder to fit. How can Marnie trust in the magic of the universe when it seems to be doing its best to knock her off her feet?

But some love stories are worth waiting for. And what's love without a little chaos anyway?

My thoughts: This is the first book I've read by Maddie Dawson and while it's a sequel to her previous book, Matchmaking for Beginners, I had no trouble reading it as a stand-alone. I've found that I've been gravitating towards these contemporary romance books a bit more during this time, throwing them in between my thrillers as a nice palate cleanser and this one certainly hit the spot.

I love a story with quirky characters and this one is filled to the brim with them. I loved how both Patrick and Marnie were flawed characters, thereby making them more relatable and real. It was easy to become invested in this story because I found myself able to relate to just about all the characters in the story in some way. 

This book, while charming and magical, also has its moments of depth and I loved that. It explores what it really means to be a family and that isn't always what you think it might be. Relationships are also explored and there are many happen in this book, not just between lovers, but also friendships, parent-child and a few others. 

There are so many little life lessons in this book about life, love and loss. The cover of this book might look all cozy and cute, but this story has substance. Life isn't always easy, but rather chaotic and messy, but when you give it a chance, love's magic will sort things out in the way it is meant to. I really enjoyed this book and am glad I took a chance on it and will certainly be reading more from this author soon!


Wednesday, July 01, 2020

Month in Review: June 2020

While things are slowly opening up, I am still staying home for the most part...and I am totally fine with that. The weather has been fantastic and I've been spending lots of time reading on the deck - and the dogs love it! I have just about made my Goodreads goal for the year - I'm one book shy and we are only six months in...this year will surely be a year for the records. I don't think I am going to change my goal because who knows what will happen moving forward and I don't want to add unnecessary pressure. I'm a homebody by nature - and quite honestly don't mind having to stay home. And who knows...maybe I might actually get caught up on all the piles of books I have sitting around!
Reading Stats:
  • Read this month: 25
  • Year to date: 149

Books Read:  
  1. The Persuasion -- Iris Johansen (audio book)
  2. Girls of Summer -- Nancy Thayer (audio book)
  3. The Good Stranger -- Dete Meserve (e-book)
  4. White Bodies -- Jane Robins (e-book)
  5. Perfectly Famous -- Emily Liebert (e-book)
  6. Saving Ruby King -- Catherine Adel West (e-book)
  7. Such a Fun Age -- Kiley Reid
  8. Stranger in the Lake -- Kimberly Belle (e-book)
  9. The Splendid and the Vile -- Erik Larson
  10. The 20th Victim -- James Patterson
  11. 28 Summers -- Elin Hilderbrand (audio book)
  12. That's Not a Thing -- Jacqueline Friedland
  13. Fighting Dirty -- Lori Foster (e-book/audio book)
  14. Don't Make a Sound --T.R. Ragan (audio book)
  15. The Mist --Ragnar Jonasson
  16. Just Mercy -- Bryan Stevenson
  17. The Mountains Wild -- Sarah Stewart Taylor
  18. Etched in Sand -- Regina Calcaterra
  19. Hello, Summer -- Mary Kay Andrews
  20. The Son -- Jo Nesbo
  21. The Vanishing Half --Brit Bennett
  22. A Woman Alone -- Nina Laurin
  23. The Dilemma -- B.A. Paris
  24. A Happy Catastrophe -- Maddie Dawson
  25. You Can't Catch Me -- Catherine McKenzie (audio book)
Favorite Books of June: 
  • Saving Ruby King by Catherine Adel West
  • The Mountains Wild by Sarah Stewart Taylor
  • The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

Once again I am participating in #TheUnreadShelfProject2020, hosted by @theunreadshelf. I will be posting monthly updates both here and over on Instagram.


*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 June: 172
  • Books read this month (that count): 5
  • Books bought/received as gift this month: 10
  • Books cleaned off shelf/donated: 0
  • Total unread books on shelf at end of June: 177
 YTD Stats:  
  • Total # unread books on shelf at beginning of January: 158
  • Total Books read from shelves (that count): 21
  • Total Books bought/received as gift: 40
  • Total Books cleaned off shelf/donated: 0
  • Total unread books on shelf at end of June: 177


Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Review: The Dilemma by B.A. Paris

Title: The Dilemma
Author: B.A. Paris
Published: June 2020, St. Martin's Press
Format: ARC Paperback, 352 pages
Source: Publisher

It’s Livia’s fortieth birthday and tonight she’s having a party, a party she’s been planning for a long time. The only person missing will be her daughter, Marnie.

But Livia has a secret, a secret she’s been keeping from Adam, her husband, until the party is over. Because how can she tell him that although she loves Marnie, she’s glad their daughter won’t be there to celebrate with her?

Adam is determined everything will be just right for Livia and the party is going to be perfect… until he learns something that will leave him facing an unbearable decision.

My thoughts: I've been a fan of B.A. Paris for quite some time now and even had the opportunity to meet her a few years ago. While she usually writes thrillers, this latest one is a bit of a departure but I loved it all the same!

I'm always a big fan of stories that focus on family drama and one that involves people keeping secrets and this one absolutely delivers on that 100%. It is told from alternating viewpoints of a husband and wife and essentially takes place over the course of a 24-hour period. I loved the build-up to the eventual reveal of what the secrets were - both Adam and Livia each had their own secret they were keeping from the other - and as the book progresses, the tension builds which just hooks you further into the story.

I also loved that because of the alternating view points, we are experiencing what is going on from each of the characters' perspectives. Events are happening and because of the secrets, reactions are very different. We are privy to some things, but not everything and this proves to increase the readers anxiety - at least it did for me!

I really enjoyed this book. It was definitely more of an emotional read, filled with some suspenseful moments. There were times I was afraid to see what would come next, but I also could not put this book down either...I was so invested in these characters that I needed to keep reading. 

This book, while definitely not the thriller that B.A. Paris is known for, was such a great read. It's the type of read that will stay with you long after you finish that last page as you think about what you would have done if you were to find yourself in either character's position. I highly recommend picking this one up.


Monday, June 29, 2020

Review: Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid

Title: Such a Fun Age
Author: Kiley Reid
Published: December 2019, G.P. Putnam's Sons
Format: ARC Paperback, 307 pages
Source: Publisher

Alix Chamberlain is a woman who gets what she wants and has made a living, with her confidence-driven brand, showing other women how to do the same. So she is shocked when her babysitter, Emira Tucker, is confronted while watching the Chamberlains' toddler one night, walking the aisles of their local high-end supermarket. The store's security guard, seeing a young black woman out late with a white child, accuses Emira of kidnapping two-year-old Briar. A small crowd gathers, a bystander films everything, and Emira is furious and humiliated. Alix resolves to make things right.

But Emira herself is aimless, broke, and wary of Alix's desire to help. At twenty-five, she is about to lose her health insurance and has no idea what to do with her life. When the video of Emira unearths someone from Alix's past, both women find themselves on a crash course that will upend everything they think they know about themselves, and each other.

With empathy and piercing social commentary, Such a Fun Age explores the stickiness of transactional relationships, what it means to make someone "family," the complicated reality of being a grown up, and the consequences of doing the right thing for the wrong reason.

A striking and surprising debut novel from an exhilarating new voice, Such a Fun Age is a page-turning and big-hearted story about race and privilege, set around a young black babysitter, her well-intentioned employer, and a surprising connection that threatens to undo them both.

My thoughts: I was fortunate to pick this book up last year at BookExpo, but for some reason never got around to reading it. Well, I finally did and now I'm kicking myself for not getting to it sooner...this book is highly readable and very thought-provoking. It's definitely a book that absolutely lived up to all the hype that it got.

As soon as I started this book, I was completely hooked. The story grabs you right away and really keeps you engaged throughout. You may not love the characters but you will be unable to walk away from them until you see this book through to the resolution. I loved that not only does it deal with race, but also with class and how the two intersect. 

While the book is quite intense, there are many light-hearted moments to keep it from getting too bogged down and I appreciated that. It's a very relatable book in many instances and I loved the relationship that Emira develops with Briar during her time babysitting...this I could totally relate to as I babysat for many years myself and often got attached to the children I watched. 

This book will take you through a range of emotions. It is both an entertaining read and one that will make you uncomfortable at times. But that is why is such an important read, especially in light of what is going on the world today. This would absolutely make a fantastic book club pick - there is so much to discuss.

It's hard to believe this is a debut novel because this writing is fantastic. I know without a doubt that I will be on the lookout for whatever comes next from the talented author.


Sunday, June 28, 2020

Book Spotlight: Silent Scream by Angela Marsons -- with link to #Giveaway

Earlier this month, Angela Marsons' 1st book in her D.I. Kim Stone series, Silent Scream, was released in the U.S. I have long been a fan of this series, discovering it through a UK publisher and have read quite a few books in the series already. 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 Silent Scream here.

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

Title: Silent Scream
Author: Angela Marsons
Series: DI Kim Stone, #1
Published: June 2020, Grand Central Publishing
Format: Paperback, 384 pages

When a wave of murders sweeps through Britain's Black Country, a detective must face her past -- or risk letting a killer walk free -- in this crime novel perfect for fans of Rachel Abbott and Val McDermid.

Five figures gather round a shallow grave. They had all taken turns to dig. An adult-sized hole would have taken longer. An innocent life had been taken, but the pact had been made. Their secrets would be buried, bound in blood . . .

Years later, a headmistress is found brutally strangled, the first in a spate of gruesome murders which shock the Black Country. But when human remains are discovered at a former children's home, disturbing secrets are also unearthed. D.I. Kim Stone fast realizes she's on the hunt for a twisted individual whose killing spree spans decades. As the body count rises, Kim needs to stop the murderer before they strike again. But to catch the killer, can Kim confront the demons of her own past before it's too late?

What others are saying:

"D.I. Kim Stone is the most fascinating character to arrive on the scene since Val McDermid gave us Tony Hill." -- Mark Edwards, author of Follow You Home

"With its clever, neatly joined plotting, electrifying twists and tensions, and brilliant characterization, Silent Scream heralds a dynamic start to a gripping new crime series." -- Lancashire Post

"It's perfectly plotted, complex, and succeeds in adding something new to the serial killer sub-genre." -- CrimeFictionLover.com

"A brilliantly written, complex story, and a great start to a fantastic series of books." -- JenMedsBookReviews.com

"A cracking debut novel with a fantastically feisty female lead who also has a wicked sense of humor." -- CompulsiveReaders.com

"By the time I finished the novel, I was left with the feeling that I wanted MORE Kim Stone. Silent Scream is highly recommended by me." -- Fictionphile.com

"One subtle difference makes this book stand out for me over many I have read recently. Emotion. Tons and tons of emotion." -- ConfessionsofaReviewer.blogspot.com


Giveaway Details -- (US/Canada Only) 
Thanks to the publisher, two readers will win a finished copy of  Silent Scream  by Angela Marsons. To enter the giveaway, please head over to my Instagram page to this post. The giveaway ends Wednesday, July 1st and is not affiliated with or sponsored by Instagram.


Thursday, June 25, 2020

Review: The Wife Stalker by Liv Constantine

Title: The Wife Stalker
Author: Liv Constantine
Published: May 2020, Harper
Format: ARC Paperback, 400 pages
Source: Publisher

Breezing into the tony seaside paradise of Westport, Connecticut, gorgeous thirtysomething Piper Reynard sets down roots, opening a rehab and wellness space and joining a local yacht club. When she meets Leo Drakos, a handsome, successful lawyer, the wedding ring on his finger is the only thing she doesn’t like about him. Yet as Piper well knows, no marriage is permanent.

Meanwhile, Joanna has been waiting patiently for Leo, the charismatic man she fell in love with all those years ago, to re-emerge from the severe depression that has engulfed him. Though she’s thankful when Leo returns to his charming, energetic self, paying attention again to Evie and Stelli, the children they both love beyond measure, Joanna is shocked to discover that it’s not her loving support that’s sparked his renewed happiness—it’s something else.

Piper. Leo has fallen head over heels for the flaky, New Age-y newcomer, and unrepentant and resolute, he’s more than willing to leave Joanna behind, along with everything they’ve built. Of course, he assures her, she can still see the children.

Joanna is devastated—and determined to find something, anything, to use against this woman who has stolen her life and her true love. As she digs deeper into Piper’s past, Joanna begins to unearth disturbing secrets . . . but when she confides to her therapist that she fears for the lives of her ex-husband and children, her concerns are dismissed as paranoia. Can she find the proof she needs in time to save them?

My thoughts: I've been a fan of this writing duo ever since reading their debut novel, The Last Mrs. Parrish, which I absolutely loved. And I feel that this book, their third one together, is definitely more in line with that one, which I loved!

This is a fast-paced thrilling psychological thriller that really keeps you on your toes. It's told from two view points, alternating between Joanna and Piper, and really keeps you on the edge of your seat as you get the sense that something is not quite right, but you aren't sure just what. I also loved that I didn't necessarily love either character, but I couldn't put my finger on why. But they are written in a way that you want to know more about them and understand their motivations.

I love a book where you think you know what's going to happen, that you think you have all the information, but you couldn't be more wrong. I knew there was a big twist coming, and maybe that upped my anxiety as I was reading it, but I just couldn't figure out where this was heading and boy that did ending floor me! So much so that I actually had to reread it to make sure I read what I thought I had just read. It was just so good & clever and I totally did not see it coming!

This was one book that I just could not put down and the short chapters combined with all the drama that was unfolding kept me completely engaged with the book. Again, it wasn't necessarily that I loved the characters, but I just NEEDED to know where everything was headed.

This is the perfect beach read - it's fast-paced, thrilling and really keeps you guessing as to where things are headed. I've met these authors before and I don't understand how such lovely ladies can be so twisted in their writing. Can't wait to see what they come up with next!


Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Review: A Good Marriage by Kimberly McCreight

Title: A Good Marriage
Author: Kimberly McCreight
Published: May 2020, Harper
Format: Hardcover, 400 pages
Source: Personal copy

Big Little Lies meets Presumed Innocent in this riveting novel from the New York Times bestselling author of Reconstructing Amelia, in which a woman’s brutal murder reveals the perilous compromises some couples make—and the secrets they keep—in order to stay together.

Lizzie Kitsakis is working late when she gets the call. Grueling hours are standard at elite law firms like Young & Crane, but they’d be easier to swallow if Lizzie was there voluntarily. Until recently, she’d been a happily underpaid federal prosecutor. That job and her brilliant, devoted husband Sam—she had everything she’d ever wanted. And then, suddenly, it all fell apart.

No. That’s a lie. It wasn’t sudden, was it? Long ago the cracks in Lizzie’s marriage had started to show. She was just good at averting her eyes.

The last thing Lizzie needs right now is a call from an inmate at Rikers asking for help—even if Zach Grayson is an old friend. But Zach is desperate: his wife, Amanda, has been found dead at the bottom of the stairs in their Brooklyn brownstone. And Zach’s the primary suspect.

As Lizzie is drawn into the dark heart of idyllic Park Slope, she learns that Zach and Amanda weren’t what they seemed—and that their friends, a close-knit group of fellow parents at the exclusive Grace Hall private school, might be protecting troubling secrets of their own. In the end, she’s left wondering not only whether her own marriage can be saved, but what it means to have a good marriage in the first place.

My thoughts: A while back, I read and loved Kimberly McCreight's Reconstructing Amelia, and ever since reading that, I knew I wanted to read more of her books. I do have one or two sitting on my shelves, but for some reason just haven't gotten to them. When I saw A Good Marriage was a Book of the Month selection, it was an easy pick...and I'm so glad I got it as it was just the push I needed to get back to reading her books. 

Once again, I did this as a buddy read with two other friends and it was so fun to read this one together. We had such a great discussion afterwards and knowing that you are going to be discussing a book makes you read it a little more carefully, I think. You look for things to discuss, at least I do.

This book has a lot going on and further you get into the book, the more hooked you become. There's the domestic drama aspect but then there's the legal thriller aspect and I loved the way the two were intermingled. It really kept it moving and while I did feel that the court transcripts did get a little repetitive at times, the book as a whole is rather a quick read - I read it in one day.  

This is such an intricately plotted mystery with lots of little twists that keep you completely engaged. I was totally caught off guard when the killer was finally revealed. I thought I had things worked out a few times only to be completely off guard...and I love that! I love when you realize you don't know who you can trust. The web of lies that McCreight builds is so twisted that you find yourself not knowing where to turn.

I really enjoyed this and now am more excited to read this authors backlist as we wait for what comes next from her. A Good Marriage is definitely a good pick for your summer reading or your book club!


Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Review: The Mountains Wild by Sarah Stewart Taylor

Title: The Mountains Wild
Author: Sarah Stewart Taylor
Series: Maggie D'arcy Series, #1
Published: June 2020, Minotaur Books
Format: Hardcover, 416 pages
Source: Publisher

In a series debut for fans of Tana French and Kate Atkinson, set in Dublin and New York, homicide detective Maggie D'arcy finally tackles the case that changed the course of her life.

Twenty-three years ago, Maggie D'arcy's family received a call from the Dublin police. Her cousin Erin has been missing for several days. Maggie herself spent weeks in Ireland, trying to track Erin's movements, working beside the police. But it was to no avail: no trace of her was ever found.

The experience inspired Maggie to become a cop. Now, back on Long Island, more than 20 years have passed. Maggie is a detective and a divorced mother of a teenager. When the Gardai call to say that Erin's scarf has been found and another young woman has gone missing, Maggie returns to Ireland, awakening all the complicated feelings from the first trip. The despair and frustration of not knowing what happened to Erin. Her attraction to Erin's coworker, now a professor, who never fully explained their relationship. And her determination to solve the case, once and for all.

A lyrical, deeply drawn portrait of a woman - and a country - over two decades - The Mountains Wild introduces a compelling new mystery series from a mesmerizing author.

My thoughts: As soon as I as heard about this book, I knew I had to read it. There are just so many things that immediately appealed to me right from the start - police procedural, the settings of Long Island and Ireland, and the fact that it is the start of a new series. Well, it completely exceeded all my expectations and then some...I loved this book!

I fully admit that this cover completely hooked me - it totally evokes the atmospheric nature of the book. And luckily the story itself captivated me right from the start. I loved that it was told all from one character's point of view - that of Maggie, who is such a great character. We see the mystery unfold layer by layer, alternating back and forth in time. It is full of richly developed characters that round out the story and quite a few times I thought I had everything figured out only to be completely blind-sighted at the end. The twists and turns are expertly thrown in so that you think you know where things are headed, but then a new clue arises to turn it all upside down.

I loved learning about the relationship that Maggie had with Erin. The little snippets we get from the past when they were young provided clues about Erin and just how troubled she really was. I also love that we get details about Maggie herself - we learn a little bit about why she became a detective and find out about the major case that made a name for her. This case, didn't quite have the ending she wanted and I wonder if it will be revisited again in future books?

This book kept me glued to the pages and the further I got into the book, the harder it was to put down. It's not so much a fast-read as it is a captivating one, where you become so engaged in what is going on that you just need to keep reading. This is more of what I would classify as a character-study than a plot-driven book and I really found that I was fascinated with the way Maggie's mind worked. She truly is a fascinating character and I hope she is the focus of the series, but I guess that is to be determined.

I loved this book and as a series debut I look forward to seeing where things go from here. All I can say is I am all in and will be anxiously awaiting the next book!


Short & Sweet Review: The 20th Victim by James Patterson

Title: The 20th Victim
Author: James Patterson
Series: Women's Murder Club, #20
Published: May 2020, Little, Brown & Company
Format: Hardcover, 432 pages
Source: Personal copy

Three victims, three bullets, three cities. The shooters' aim is as fearsomely precise as their target selection. When Lindsay realizes that the fallen men and women excel in a lucrative, criminal activity, she leads the charge in the manhunt for the killers. As the casualty list expands, fear and fascination with this suspicious shooting gallery galvanizes the country.

The victims were no angels, but are the shooters villains . . . or heroes?

***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: Once again, we are back with another thrilling, action-packed installment in this series, which is probably my most favorite in the James Patterson series I read. I will say, though, that there were so many different storylines to follow that I felt the ending was just a bit rushed in order to wrap everything up, but overall it was a pretty good book. 

One thing I was not expecting was the storyline involving Clare...that was a tough one and despite it having a relatively good ending, it still got to me. I could relate to how this impacted Lindsay, and I felt that that was well done. And I don't know if it was because of this news or just because, but I loved that there were a few get-togethers with all four of the women. This is one thing that I was just complaining in my review of the previous book that I missed from the older books and I was so happy to see!

I'm not sure what to expect next or how many more books will be coming in this series, but I will for sure be reading until it ends. These books are fun, quick reads that I just enjoy as I do with all the James Patterson books I pick up.

Books in this series:

1.   1st to Die                                    13.   Unlucky 13
     2.   2nd Chance                               14.   14th Deadly Sin
     3.   3rd Degree                                15.    15th Affair
     4.   4th of July                                 15.5   The Trial
     5.   The 5th Horseman                   16.    16th Seduction
     6.   The 6th Target                          16.5   The Medical Examiner
     7.   7th Heaven                                 17.    The 17th Suspect   
     8.   The 8th Confession                  18.   The 18th Abduction
     9.   The 9th Judgment               19.   The 19th Christmas
    10.  10th Anniversary                 20.   The 20th Victim
    11.   11th Hour
    12.   12th of Never     

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