Wednesday, June 12, 2024

{I've Been Reading} Do What Godmother Says

The Last Note of Warning by Katharine Schellman

At night she Vivian Kelly works in a speakeasy, serving drinks and dancing until sunrise. It's the 1920s so the drinks she serves are illegal and the stakes are high -- but the trouble she finds herself in stems from her reputable day job, making deliveries and alterations for a dressmaker. I absolutely loved this historical mystery. If Vivian fails to solve the murder, it will be devastating for herself and her family. The risks she is taking are real and the suspense kept me turning pages late into the night. It's the third book in the series, but there's enough backstory woven in that I was never confused (although references to previous events definitely have me wanting to track down the first two books!) 

Do What Godmother Says by L.S. Stratton

The portrait has hung in Shanice's grandmother's bedroom for as long as she can remember. It's part of her family history, but until her grandmother gives it to here while they're preparing the house to sell, she's never researched the artist or asked any real questions about it. This thriller tells the parallel stories of Shanice in the present day and the artist, Estelle, in 1927. I loved the historical details, the elements of spiritualism and the occult, and the building suspense as both Estelle and Shanice struggle with what they've become caught up in. 

A Twinkle of Trouble by Daryl Woods Gerber 

The fifth Fairy Garden mystery is fast paced and fun. Fiona is just back from visiting her mother in the fairy realm and Courtney is keeping busy with the Summer Blooms Festival and her shop. I enjoyed spending more time with Courtney and her friends and the mystery was intriguing. 

Irreplaceable by Nolon King with Lauren Street 

Nina Turner is obsessed with true crime podcasts, but she doesn't immediately recognize her new home as the site of a notorious murder. Once she puts the pieces together, she falls even more in love with the property. The plot alternates between Nina and her husband, who knew exactly what he was moving them into and has his own undisclosed motives. This one was a fun and entertaining read. As Nina made discoveries in the house,  I felt like I was puzzling my own way through the place's awful history forming and revising theories about what happened years earlier. 

Disclosure -- The publisher provided me with an advance review copy. 

Wednesday, June 05, 2024

{I've Been Reading} Over the Edge

 Don't Let Her Stay by Nicola Sanders 

Stay at home mom Joanne is finally feeling like she's got things under control, with a new job working remotely for her former employer and a perfect nanny lined up to help her our a couuple of days  a week. Then her adult stepdaughter moves in without warning, insisting that she'll take care of the baby. This starts out like a run of the mill domestic thriller, but the last half of the book is a wild ride that will keep you wondering who and what to trust. 

Over the Edge by Kathleen Bryant

After discovering a body in a remote canyon, former journalist Del Cooper begins to investgate how Franklin, a homeless man from Sedona, wound up so many miles from town and who would have murdered him. This thriller focuses heavily on the local politics and land deals, to the point that I found myself forgetting about the murder. Sedona is one of my favorite places and I enjoyed the chance to revisit in book form, but didn't love the mystery element. 

Disclosure -- The publishers provided me with advance review copies. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

{I've Been Reading} Eleven Huskies

 Eleven Huskies by Philipp Schott

This one didn't hold my attention the way that Six Ostriches, the second book in the series, did. Of course I was worried about the poisoned dogs, but the actual murders? Those were felt like an isolated event that had little to do with Peter and his wife's canoe trip. What did pull me in and keep me turning pages was a harrowing scene about halfway through the book. Suddenly I was very interested in what was going to happen next. I love the characters and the way they feel more like real people than your usual cozy mystery protagonists, but I can barely remember who died or why they were killed. 

The Small Museum by Jody Cooksley

Be forewarned -- this historical mystery is incredibly dark and will keep you hooked until the end. A young woman is abruptly married off to a respected doctor in London, suddenly isolated from her family and familiar surroundings. Her sister in law and the housekeeper control her clothing, her meals, even her actions, and she rarely sees her new husband.  As she begins to convince him that her skills as an illustrator could be useful to him and gets her first glimpses into his cabinet of curiosities, the plot shifts to a courtroom scene where Maddie is on trial for something awful. This book completely captured my imagination and I couldn't put it down.  

Disclosure -- The publisher provided me with an advance review copy. 

Monday, May 06, 2024

{I've Been Reading} The Deepest Lake

 I've lost track of how many thrillers I've read where a family member travels to an isolated retreat to uncover what really happened to a loved one. It's a common plotline and one that I tend to enjoy. The Deepest Lake is one of the best. By the time that Rose applies for the memoir writing retreat under her maiden name, she's already done everything she could to find out what really happened to her daughter. There was a police investigation. She hired a private investigator. Chapters alternate between Rose's search for information and Jules' experiences when she was on the property a few months earlier. I love the way the author contrasts mother and daughter's approaches to travel in a foreign country. They're both likeable characters and as the plot unfolded I got more and more worried about them. It's a suspenseful, enjoyable read that I definitely recommend. 

Disclosure -- The publisher sent me an advance review copy. 


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