Wednesday, November 30, 2022

{I've Been Reading} The Family at No. 12

Death by Smoothie by Laura Levine 

Jaine Austen is hired as script doctor for a play based on the sitcom I Married a Zombie. It pays well, but the script is a total nightmare and then the obnoxious actress hired to play the zombie is poisoned by one of her awful green smoothies. Everyone had access to her drink and almost everyone seems to have had a motive for her murder. There's also a delightful subplot involving Jaine's father's plans to tap dance in a talent show with an iguana on his head.

I've only read a handful of the titles in this series and I'm sure my enjoyment of this book would've been increased if I'd read an earlier title where Jaine was involved in the murder of Cryptessa Muldoon, the star of the original sitcom. But I still  thoroughly enjoyed it and I'll be tracking down Death of a Neighborhood Witch just as soon as I get the chance. 


The Family at No. 12 by Anita Waller 

A woman opens her door to a stranger. He winds up dead at the bottom of the stairs. Later she finds herself pregnant. The first part of this book was compelling, if sometimes hard to read because of the subject matter. I was horrified by the circumstances, but wanted to know what was  going to happen next. Then it changed and I completely lost interest. The style and tone were completely different. The element of horrific suspense was gone. I struggled to make it through the last two thirds of the book. I've read plenty of thrillers where the plot abruptly switched to another character, or another point in the timeline. This wasn't that -- it was like a completely different author had taken over and decided to write a different book. 

Shadow Sister by Lindsay Marcott 

Ava has always questioned her mother's death. The doctors attributed it to a rare disease, but she remains convinced that it was something else. Maybe someone poisoned her mother there in the halls of the family mansion. Seventeen years have passed and she'd ready to find some answers. There are a lot of different characters and a lot of different motives, both in the past and present. Towards the end, my concern for the characters was making me actually uncomfortable. It's creepy and atmospheric and part of the Kindle Unlimited program. 


The Flight Attendant by Chris Bohjalian

Cassandra Bowden wakes up in a luxurious Dubai hotel room, in bed next to a dead man. It's not the first time she's been blackout drunk, not by a long shot, but this is the first time the consequences have been worse than just embarassing. Terrified of what might have happened, what the consequences might be, she slips out of  the room and rushes to make her next flight, lying to her fellow flight attendants about where she was the night before, then lying to the investigating officers. This one has been in my to-be-read pile for years, since before the book came out, let alone the television series. It wound up being more of a political thriller than I expected, but watching Cassandra try to end her own self destructive streak made for an intriguing read. 

Disclosure -- The publisher provided me with an advance review copy. This post contains affiliate links. 

Friday, November 18, 2022

{I've Been Reading} The Party


The Party by Nora Valters 

Ruth's life implodes after she accidentally drops a friend's new baby at a holiday party. Her fiancé blames the accident on Ruth's drinking. The baby's mother insists that Ruth's actions  left her little boy badly injured and warns their mutual friends that Ruth isn't safe to be near anyone's children.  I love domestic thrillers, especially the ones that involve parents and young children. Watching a happily child free career  woman try to clear her name and convince everyone that she's not entirely to blame was extremely entertaining. More than once, I wanted to give her a  good hard shake and call her an idiot because she was making her own situation worse and worse. The plot wound and twisted and I definitely didn't expect it to end the way it did. 

Disclosure -- The publisher provided me with an advance review copy. This post contains affiliate links. 

Thursday, November 03, 2022

{I've Been Reading} Small Game


Small Game by Blair Braverman 

Mara didn't set out to get a spot on a new reality show, but after the producers contact the survival school where she teaches, she thinks she can make it to the end and collect the prize money. She's spent her entire life leaning how to live in the wilderness. Winning would open up a whole new set of options for her. The entire book is told from Mara's point of view and I genuinely liked her and wanted to see her succeed. 

The characters and plot drew me in and kept me turning pages, but I was expecting something very different, especially after the book's description said that "something had gone horribly wrong."  The team's six weeks in the wild don't go as planned, but I was expecting something completely different. 

Forget Me Not by Miranda Rijks 

Helen is a bit reluctant to take the job decorating a gorgeous chalet in the Swiss Alps. She hasn't returned to the area since her husband vanished on a snowy mountainside. For five years, she's been raising her daughter, rebuilding her life, and waiting for enough time to pass that Paul will be declared dead and she can remarry. It's a dream job, though, and will definitely move her career forward. Maybe her fiancee is right and visiting the mountains in summer won't remind her too much of that awful night .Maybe it's time to put that part of her past behind her. But she doesn't know what really happened during the snowstorm, or what's still happening. And she's about to find out. I thoroughly enjoyed this one. The setting and characters and plot all made it easy to get swept up in the book and read it almost straight through. 

 Disclosure -- The publisher provided me with an advance review copy. This post contains affiliate links. 


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