Wednesday, December 27, 2023

{I've Been Reading} Public Anchovy #1

Public Anchovy #1 by Mindy Quigley

I had mixed feelings about the first two Deep Dish Mysteries, but after this one I'm completely hooked. It's a fast paced, extremely fun mystery that could only happen in this series. Delilah and her staff are catering a prohibition themed dinner party in a historic mansion when an unexpected death occurs and a storm hits, knocking out the power and blocking the roads, leaving everyone trapped in the dark with a killer. I don't want to spoil the plot, but starting with the original murder suspect, the night keeps getting wilder. It's probably a good idea to read the first two books before this one, if only so you'll understand why Delilah is living in a house owned by her pet cat, Butterball. 

Deep Fried Death by Maddie Day 

This is the eleventh in the Country Store Mysteries and, I think, the first I've read. (Others are available on Kindle Unlimited, so I'll be going back and catching up at some point soon.) The trouble starts when a dead body is discovered in Pans N Pancakes' entry in the annual outhouse races.  The victim owns a competing restaurant and of course we know that the protagonist, Robbie Jordan, is innocent, but there's no shortage of other suspects. It's a fast paced read, set mainly in the restaurant itself, and contains plenty of references to the other books in the series.

Sun Damage by Sabine Durant 

This wasn't at all what I expected based on the book's description. I enjoyed it, but first I had to double check that I hadn't opened the wrong title on my Kindle. The situation that the cover copy described does happen, eventually. The plot is a slow burn, with a setting and conflict that gradually pulled me in. The background of the woman who isn't who she claims to be kept me reading until the end. It's different than most of the domestic thrillers I read, a nice change of pace with lower stakes and more subtle drama. 

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

Wednesday, December 13, 2023

{I've Been Reading} Hanging by a Thread


Hanging by a Thread by Dorothy Howell

The shop owners of Hideaway Grove have been counting on an upcoming women's conference to boost their business. When the owner of a new bakery is found murdered, everyone in town starts to panic. It would be disastrous if the conference was cancelled... If the murder really was a mob execution, maybe everyone is in danger... What's the best way to carry a newly purchased handgun? Abbey's aunt Sarah has more to lose than most since it's her competitor who wound up dead. Now Abbey is trying clear her aunt's name, while also keeping her sewing studio afloat and filming a promotional video for the town and learning to sew poodle skirts in time for the conference luncheon.  This is a fast paced, fun mystery that's enjoyable if you don't try to take it too seriously and worry about the practical details. 

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

Thursday, December 07, 2023

{I've Been Reading}


The Paleontologist by Luke Dumas

Paleontologist Simon Nealy is setting uncomfortably into his new job at the Hawthorne Museum of Natural History, a facility on the edge of disaster. The dark halls, which are still closed due to the pandemic,  are stained with mildew and water damage. Badly stored fossils crumble under his hands. Almost all of the staff is working remotely and his only contact with them is through the spotty internet connection. A maintenance man warns him that if he hears noises after dark, not to go looking for what caused them. Simon came to the museum hoping to discover what happened to his six year old sister, who was taken from the insect hall decades earlier.  What he finds are impossible bloody footprints and the shadows of ancient creatures. This upernatural thriller. gets off to a slow start, but once the pace picks up, it's a wildly enjoyable ride.  

Dating Can Be Deadly by Amanda Flower 

I'm jumping into the Amish Matchmaker mysteries with the fifth book into the series. According to the author's note it's the fifteenth of her Amish books. I thoroughly enjoyed the chance to view Millia's  lifestyle through her eyes. She has her hands full at the Holmes County Fair. Her nephew is exhibiting her two pet goats, a pair of ornery escape artists. Her (not Amish) best friend Lois is meeting up with a man she met online. Millie and several members of her quilting circle have entered quilts into the annual competition, but the judge is found dead in the quilt barn, a shredded quilt beneath her. The author captures the fun and chaos of the fair and has created a thoroughly entertaining mystery. It looks like I've got a lot of reading to do if I'm going to get caught up with Millie and her friends, and I look forward to it. 

The Neighbors We Want by Tim Lane

This was a different reading experience. The pace is absolutely frantic, but the plot moves at a snail's pace. My best guess is that the author was trying to capture the disjointed thought process of a sleep deprived stay at home dad and after a couple of chapters I was starting to follow it...but at the beginning I was completely lost. Adam is obsessed with the young woman who lives next door. His already strained marriage has become worse since his wife caught him looking from their window across to hers and he can't ignore the fact that he hasn't seen his young neighbor in days or that he saw her ex-boyfriend doing something extremely creepy and his truck has been sitting there the entire time. The plot leaps between characters and won't let you forget for an instant that it's set in Portland. It all ties together by the end, but at that point I didn't care what happened to anyone. 

Murder at the Pumpkin Pageant by Darci Hannah

Featuring a haunted lighthouse, a ghost hunting live stream that ends with the discovery of a very real body, and lots of pumpkin flavored baked goods, this cozy mystery should have been exactly what I was looking for, but I never got caught up in the fun. Clever plotting made the solution to the murder satisfying, but I'm not entirely sure if I want to read the rest of the series and spend more time with these characters. 

Diclosure -- The publishers have provided me with review copies. 

Thursday, November 30, 2023

{I've Been Reading} Please Tell Me

 Please Tell Me by Mike Omer

In her therapist's playroom, eight-year-old Kathy uses an intricate Victorian dollhouse to act out horrific murders. The little girl hasn't spoken since she escaped the abductor who had held her captive for the past eighteen months. No one knows who took her or what happened during that stretch of time, but the stories she play acts with the dolls she buries in the playroom sandbox match up with unsolved murders...and she did some of them before the murders occurred. 

I really enjoyed this thriller. The pace is a bit slow and there are a lot of characters doing a lot of things that don't have much to do with Kathy and her story, but one things start to come together my patience absolutely paid off. 

My biggest complaint -- and the thing that drew me to the book in the first place -- is the dollhouse. I think the author is unaware of the fact that there are dollhouses for children to play with and dollhouses for adult collectors. Some of the scenes with the dollhouse left a sour taste in my mouth in a book that I otherwise loved. 

No Child of Mine by Nichelle Geraldes 

"She was not exhausted from the work of multiplying cells. That work could be done by a mouse or someone in a coma." I'm still not sure how I feel about this horror novel where one of the biggest horrors is just being pregnant. Essie's birth control fails and although she almost immediately decides to keep the pregnancy, she sees it as an inconvenience that will derail her law school graduation. There's also a curse that causes  the women in her family line to lose their husbands shortly after giving birth, but she's not as concerned about that.  The plot alternates between Essie's daily life and two women in a previous era. It gets seriously creepy and I was holding my breath for the last few chapters, but I spent the first three quarters of the book feeling extremely critical of the protagonist. 

Seeds of Murder by Rosie Sandler 

This one is the first in a new series and, as uninterested as I am in actual gardening, I can't wait to read more.  Steph Williams is the new gardener for an exclusive gated community and spends her days working on the extensive grounds....except for the upper paddock (where she quickly finds what appears to be an unmarked grave) and the locked enclosures. The wealthy homeowners are all keeping secrets and have decided that she's the one who is blackmailing them all. She has no idea what's going on behind closed doors, but she's got to figure it out fast if she wants to save her dream job. The characters and mystery are intriguing and the setting is absolutely fantastic. 

The Wife in the Photo by Emily Shiner 

Here's another domestic thriller where the new housekeeper has lied to get her position and has ulterior motives. What makes it stand out from the rest is that those reasons aren't kept secret  for long. There's more going on than it first seems and it's an extremely fun roller coaster ride to find out what actually happened that night that Evan's wife died. I've read several of Emily Shiner's books, thoroughly enjoying some while being disappointed in others. This is one of the best. 

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

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

{I've Been Reading} Mister Lullaby

The Woods are Waiting by Katherine Greene

Silver coins in their pockets and sprinklings of dirt in their shoes...the old traditions date back hundreds of years and are supposed to keep the children safe from the Hickory Man who lurks in the woods, but they aren't working. The lost child posters in town are layered thickly, new pictures covering the ones that are decades old. Cheyenne's mother sprinkles salt across doorways and sweeps herbs into the wooden floors, convinced that it's her duty to keep her neighbors safe. It's why Cheyenne moved away and why she's returned. Her mother is getting worse and more children have been found dead in the woods. This is some seriously creepy folk horror and I absolutely loved it, even though there are a few sounds I may never hear again without thinking about the Hickory Man.  

Mister Lullaby by J. H. Markert

The people of Harrod's Reach all know about the abandoned train tunnel. They've used bits of twisted metal from a long ago crash as rustic decor. They've played a game that dates back to the 1800s, daring each other to run from one end to the other. They know about the mysterious deaths in the tunnel, the severed limbs found just outside the entrance.  Mister Lullaby by J. H. Markert feels like a Stephen King novel. It's got all of the right elements and the right language, it just didn't capture my imagination the way the author's last book did, maybe because there's so much going on in so few pages. 

The Homemaker by Miranda Rijks

I've lost track of how many domestic thrillers I've read where a nanny or housekeeper lies her way into a job because she has a hidden motive to get closer to her employer. This is one of the better ones. Maria and Imogen aren't likeable characters, but watching them interact while each hides secrets from the other was absolutely fascinating. I did  find myself wondering if some of the events were physically possible, but it was a thoroughly entertaining read that left me holding my breath more than once. 

Breaking by Amanda Cassidy 

Mirren Fitzpatrick was drinking at the beachside bar when her eight-year-old daughter vanished from the water's edge. As searchers fail to find the missing child, the media circus grows. Everyone questions what kind of mother Mirren was. I had my suspicions about Mirren, because early chapters make it clear that she's never really bonded with her adopted daughter.  The characters are hard  to like. There's a lot going on, though, and even though I thought I could tell where the plot was headed, the end was not what I expected. 

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

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

{I've Been Reading} Trotting into Trouble


Trotting into Trouble by Amber Camp 

When Mallory Martin's horse rescue is called to retrieve a horse that was found wandering alone in a hunting area, she stumbles across the rider's body and gets tangled up in the murder investigation. I enjoyed the mystery and the chance to vicariously spend some time with Mallory's rescue animals, which are a major part of the book. If you haven't read the first book in the series (I hadn't) be aware that this book will let you know who the killer was. I'm going to be watching for the third book so I can spend more time with Mallory and her animals. 

Stay by Jane Bailey

In the last days before the lockdown, Caitlin is hitchhiking home and accepts a ride from a happy couple and their young daughters. They seem like a perfect family and she's in no hurry to face her parents so she accepts their offer to stay the night. Then she accepts their offer to stay longer and help homeschool the girls. Something about Marcus and Mimi and their hippy lifestyle seems a bit off, but they're so welcoming she just wants to settle in for a while. I keep picking up books that are set during lockdown and, so far, this has been one of the best. The author uses the pandemic, along with the isolated setting, to keep Caitlin isolated and it works extremely well. As she walks through the fields with the girls, Caitlin sings songs from traditional Irish folklore that echo her situation and add to the atmosphere. I can't wait to read more by this  author! 

Disclosure -- The publishers provided me with advance review copies. This post contains affiliate links. 

Wednesday, November 08, 2023

{I've Been Reading} A Corpse at the Witching Hour

 A Corpse at the Witching Hour by Debra Sennefelder

On Halloween night, Hope is helping hand out candy at a historic house with a chilling reputation. A woman has died there every twenty years and Halloween is the night. When she finds a dead witch on the lawn, she desperately hopes that it's a decoration...but of course it's not.  I really enjoy the Food Blogger mystery series and this book absolutely lived up to my expectations. It's the perfect world to lose yourself in with a great setting and yummy food ideas and a rich history that gives many people motives to have committed the murder. 


The Beautiful and the Wild by Peggy Townsend 

A woman being held captive in a shipping container on an isolated Alaskan homestead struggles to free herself and rescue her son from the man who is keeping them both there. The author really captures the setting and Liv's desperation. I might have questioned a few of her decisions, but I stayed up way too late to see how it would all turn out. 

The Elevator by Claire Cooper 

Two women find themselves trapped in an elevator and share dark secrets from their past. It's an intriguing premise and the book gets off to a great start before bogging down in the flashback scenes. As soon as the elevator lurches to a stop, the plot's pace slows to a near crawl. I found myself really working at it to keep track of who was who and how it all connected and the reveal was interesting, but it took forever to get there. 

 Disclosure -- The publishers provided me wtih advance review copies. This post contains affiliate links.

Tuesday, October 31, 2023

{I've Been Reading} The Better Mother



 The Better Mother by Emily Shiner

Zoe has a perfect life with her husband and young daughter. When a thirteen-year-old boy shows up on their doorstep, claiming to be her husband's son, her first response is to welcome him into their lives. I loved this domestic thriller. The author immediately presents Zoe as a likeable character with a strong marriage, a wonderful mother to her young daughter. So when things start going wrong and her suspicions begin to mount, its easy to empathize with her.  I'm not sure I loved the ending, but it was a very enjoyable read right up until the last bit which had me questioning why that touch was needed. 

The Perfect Girl Friend by Hayley Smith

Lauren and Jay meet at a music festival and feel an immediate connection, spending more of the weekend in his camper van than watching the acts that they came to see. When it's over, he suggests that instead of returning to her own life she joins him at his off the grid cottage.  At first sight, the place is nothing like she'd imagined. Wallpaper is falling from the walls. Everything is stained and shabby. Then she sees the garden. It's paradise and Lauren ignores every chilling red flag that pops up along the way. She goes along with things that make no practical sense, but there's a reason she's so happy to embrace this new lifestyle. This is a fantastic domestic thriller that kept me turning pages and guessing until the very end. I loved it! 


Disclosure -- This post contains affiliate links. The publishers provided me with review copies. 

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

{I've Been Reading} Sieve and Let Die


Sieve and Let Die by Victoria Hamilton

When an irate customer who made a scene at her friend's pharmacy is later found dead on the building's back steps, Jaymie jumps right into the investigation. I didn't realize how many of the Vintage Kitchen mysteries I've somehow missed. There have been lots of changed in Jaymie's life since the last book I read, but being behind on those developments didn't diminish my enjoyment of the book at all. I was  able to jump right in and enjoy the mystery. It was a fun read with lots of intriguing plot elements. 

The Night of the Sleepover by Kerry Wilkinson

Leah has always been a heavy sleeper. The night that three of her best friends vanished from a slumber party, she didn't awaken or hear a thing. She has no idea where they went and the official investigation never came up with an explanation. Twenty-five years later, a true crime documentary about the missing girls is being filmed and all of the old theories and ideas are suddenly being stirred up again. This one is  a slow burn with some intriguing twists. The ending surprised and satisfied me, but I haven't made up my mind whether I'm going to read the sequel when it comes out in December. 

Disclosure -- The publishers provided me with advance review copies. This post contains affiliate links. 

Wednesday, October 11, 2023

{I've Been Reading} Room For Rent


Room For Rent by Noelle W. Ihli

Nya has been working her way through college, struggling to make ends meet.  With one semester left to go, she believes that the worst is behind her. She's found a cheap place to live and signed the rental agreement online. For such low rent she didn't expect much, but her first reaction when she sees the house and the man she'll be sharing it with is to run. The profile picture made her think that Sidney was a young woman, not the creepy guy in the corner of the drum circle. Then it sinks in that she has no other options. She'll have to sleep in her car or find a way to co-exist with an angry stoner who lives in filth and roams the house in his underwear. 

Even as the situation worsens, Nya does everything she can to make her living situation tolerable. If she can just hang on for four more months she'll be able to leave the state and move in with her former roommate's family. Right now, though, she has no one to turn to, no one who can help her. There's nothing for her to do except go to class, study hard, and to avoid Sidney, who is getting worse by the day. The book works so well because Nya is such a likeable protagonist. that I wanted to see her safe. You may see some of the twists coming, but it's definitely a page turner.

Let it Crow! Let it Crow! by Donna Andrews 

After her mentor, Faulk, becomes injured and unable to compete, blacksmith Meg Langslow agrees to be part of Blades of Glory, a reality show that has its competitors making knives and reproductions of historical swords. She has plenty of other things she'd rather be doing, but friends have invested in the new show and to help them out, she'll do what she can to save the production from disaster. I picked this one up based on the description and title and quickly realized that it wasn't the first book about these characters. Turns out it's the thirty-fourth and I've got a LOT of catching up to do because I want to know all about Meg and her friends and family. I loved the characters and the setting, an over the top Gothic castle all decked out for Christmas, and the plot kept me guessing. How did I not manage to stumble across this series sooner?! 

The Followers by Bradeigh Godfrey

Domestic thrillers about social influencers are some of my favorites, right up there with domestic thrillers about new moms. For the first few pages of this one, I was having serious doubts.  Molly Sullivan has been sharing intimate detail of her life with her followers for five years and in the first chapter she's live streaming a pap smear to raise awareness about cervical cancer. She shares everything on her feed, including a photo she took of herself with her new fiancé. He doesn't want to be sharing anything online, for good reason. Molly takes down the picture as soon as he objects, but by then it's  already too late. The plot didn't go where I thought it would and had me actually crying by the end. The character development is fantastic.  I LOVED this one! 

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

Thursday, October 05, 2023

{I've Been Reading} Downpour

Downpour by Christopher Hawkins

Have you ever gotten a splinter from a rotten old bench or fence post?  That's what this book is like, in the best possible way. Downpour tells the story of Scott, a man who was trapped in a rotting farmhouse with his family even before the rain started eating away at the shingles and boards or changing the living things unlucky enough to be caught outside in it. I read this one straight though. It's a relentless slow burn that I didn't want to put down. 

Let Him In by William Friend 

Hart House has a troubling history. The most recent tragedy was Alfie's wife, Pippa, who died in the cellar. Now his twin daughters have an imaginary friend. Sometimes he appears as a man, sometimes as a black snake, sometimes as a bird or fish. He takes them on adventures into the night and wants them to call him "daddy." Alfie turns to Pippa's twin sister, Julia a psychiatrist who grew up in Hart House and knows a lot more about what might be going on than she'll willing to admit. This is a chilling, atmospheric horror novel with lots of creepy layers, including a cultish religion and ties to children's literature.  

The New Husband Brian R. O'Rourke

Mary's husband is hours later returning from a thirty day wellness retreat but when he does arrive at theier house she can't believe the changes to his mood and appearance. He's cheerful, in far better shape than he was when he left, and can't keep his hands off of her. The changes are amazing, but  they're not all for the better. I was getting definite Stepford vibes, but couldn't figure out what the author was up to. Brent refuses to talk about the retreat. An elderly neighbor pulls Mary aside and insist he's a different man altogether. I did figure out what was going on, but the author still had me holding my breath until the last page. Can't recommend this one enough if you're into domestic thrillers and it's on Kindle Unlimited! 

Disclosure -- This post contains affiliate links. The publishers provided me with advance review copies. 

Friday, September 29, 2023

I've Been Reading

 I've been reading, but I haven't been keeping very good track of what I've read. Life took an unexpected detour a couple of months back and, while things are definitely not back to normal, the dust is finally starting to settle. 


The Lodge by Miranda Rijks 

This domestic thriller is set at a game reserve in South Africa. Anna  accompanies her fiancé, Joel, who is interviewing for a position as veterinarian.  She can't imagine relocating to such a remote location, but it's his dream job and he's promised her luxurious accommodations and the trip of a lifetime. She's worried about animals and their open sided tent and making her way on dark paths at after dark. The place has real dangers...then she finds herself face to face with her toxic (and supposedly deaad) ex who is staying at the lodge with his new girlfriend. I absolutely loved this one. 


Prom Mom by Laura Lippman 

This one pulled me in quickly. Amber Glass gave birth alone in a hotel room on the night of her prom. The baby didn't survive. She has no memory of what happened before she was found there on the bathroom floor, but years have passed and she's built a new life for herself. Now she's back in her hometown, opening a gallery that features the work of outsider artists. She didn't mean to cross paths with her prom date and reopen old wounds, but once she sees Joe, she can't keep herself from seeing him again and finding out what he's done with his own life. I was immediately pulled into this one, caught up in the characters and their lives. 

The Guest Room by Tasha Sylva 

Tess, a young woman who rents out her murdered sister's room, can't stop herself from digging through her unwitting tenants' belongings to learn every last detail about them. When her latest roommate's journal reveals his obsession with an unnamed woman, she convinces herself that he must be responsible for the unsolved murder. The book has some interesting twists and turns, but I found Tess extremely unlikeable.

Country Roads by Colin Leonard is a slowly paced horror novel that gets better towards the end. People are dying on rural Irish roads late at night, gruesome deaths at the base of a twisted old tree.  As much as I love this type of old fashioned folk horror, nothing about this book really stood out to me. 

Disclosure -- The publishers provided me with advance review copies. This post contains affiliate links. 

Wednesday, August 09, 2023

{I've Been Reading} Mister Magic

Mister Magic by Kiersten White 

I have hazy memories of a show I watched as a young child, something that played early in the morning, before any of  the normal cartoons came on. There was never anyone else up with me flipping channels before the sun rose, so I can't ask and I can't remember enough details to even try an online search.  Mister Magic captures that feeling perfectly. It was a show that ran for years, but there are no recordings or written records. No one knows who produced it or what channel it aired on. The adults who watched it as children can't agree on exactly what Mister Magic looked like, whether he was a puppet or animation or a live actor. They do agree that a tragedy ended the show and a few  claim that they saw the episode where it happened. Now the members of that last Circle of Friends, the children who participated in the last season of the show, are reuniting. Online rumors are flying fast.

Val has lived on an isolated ranch with her father since she was eight years old. She knows that something awful happened when she was a child and has always feared that she was responsible, but she doesn't know who they're hiding from. When two strangers show up at her father's funeral, thrilled to have found her, she learns about the show that she'd completely forgotten. And the reader starts to learn about it through her eyes. 

I absolutely loved this book. There's something dark lurking behind all of those childhood memories and it takes a while to get to what it is, but it all comes together into a creepy and satisfying conclusion. 

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

Thursday, July 20, 2023

{I've Been Reading}

The Mother at Number 5 by Jill Childs

This might be the first domestic thriller that had me almost yelling at the page for the protagonist to stop and think about what she was about to do. After sharing drinks with a stranger at a vacation resort and spilling far too many personal details, Ros comforts herself with the thought that she'll never see the other woman again. There's no need to worry about the secrets she told her. Then Lotte buys a house just down the street and enrolls her daughter at the same school Ros's children attend. The ending was a surprise and the journey to get there was an intriguing one. 


 The Homemaker by Shari J. Ryan

My favorite domestic thrillers are the ones that involve new mothers. This book, with its description of a new mother who is told that she doesn't have a baby, works extremely well. That back cover copy is vague and had me expecting something else but once I started reading it really was as "unputdownable" as the book's Amazon listing promised.  It wasn't until halfway through that I started to even suspect what was really going on. 

Hot Pot Murder by Jennifer Chow 

I was just as intrigued by the many descriptions of food as I was by the murder mystery. There are plenty of suspects, all with some sort of motive, and the stakes are very high. Yale and her cousin Celine are trying figure out who was behind the fatal accident at a restaurant owners association dinner and to make a success of their food stall at the night market. I jumped into this series with the second book and was able to quickly figure out who was who and what was going on, but I definitely want to check out the first book. 


Disclosure -- The publishers provided me with advance review copies. This post contains affiliate links. 

Wednesday, June 21, 2023

{I've Been Reading} The Wicked Unseen

The Quiet Tenant by Clemence Michallon

This book is seriously creepy. Rachel has been held prisoner in a backyard shed for five years. She knows little about her captor, but now and then she sees signs indicating that there's been another victim. He's killed those other women, but not Rachel. Not yet. Then things change. His wife has died and her parents are selling the isolated property out from under him. He'll be moving into a new house with his teenage daughter, and Rachel is to take on a new role as a family friend who has fallen upon hard times and is renting their spare room. She'll join them in the kitchen for meals -- when she isn't handcuffed to the radiator in a locked room upstairs. Her only chance to stay alive is by following his new rules. 

Over the past few years, I've read several books about women kidnapped and locked away for years. This one is different. The fact that we see Aidan through his thirteen-year-old daughter's eyes and the eyes of a local bartender who has a bit of a crush on him makes him even more chilling.  


The Wicked Unseen by Gigi Griffis 

Audre and her family don't fit into their new community at all. She loves horror movies and has a pierced nose. Her parents collect ouija boards and her father is a former member of the Church of Satan. They don't blend into the highly religious rural community that was worried about secret devil worshippers even before a teenage girl vanished. 

I wanted to like this one a lot more than I did. The Satanic Panic still fascinates me.  The writing style pulled me right in, but if it hadn't been for the lack of cell phones and two mentions of movies that had just come out, I wouldn't have been able to tell that the book was set in 1996. Audre's attitudes make it feel like she's living in 2022.  She's angry and mean, lashing out at everyone whose views differ from her own.  Yes, some members of the local church as terrible and deserve it, but she seems to hate everyone, even friends who have done nothing to hurt her. The book makes some great points, but it's very anti-Church and anti-police. 

Disclosure -- The publishers provided me with advance review copies. This post contains affiliate links. 

Thursday, May 25, 2023

{I've Been Reading} Six Ostriches

 Six Ostriches by Phillip Schott

After emergency surgery on an ostrich reveals that the huge bird had swallowed what looks like a Viking artifact, veterinarian Peter Bannerman gets curious. Not long after, he begins receiving calls from distressed clients. Farm animals have been killed and mutilated and it all seems to be connected. Six ostriches is an intriguing  mystery filled with lots of interesting details. I definitely want to go back and read the first book in the series. 


The Perfect Husband by Danielle Ramsay

This domestic thriller starts out strong and keeps going right until the end. On her wedding night, Sophie finds herself in the emergency room with a broken wrist, wondering how her groom has so suddenly transformed into a monster. In the days that follow, things only get worse. The protagonist is a likeable woman who is plunged into a nightmare and I absolutely could not put the book down. It felt too real, like something that could happen. The book's Amazon page said it's inspired by a true story, which leaves me wondering how much of this could be real. 

Disclosure -- The publishers provided me with advance review copies. This post contains affiliate links.  

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

{I've Been Reading} With My Little Eye


Mother May I by Joshilyn Jackson 

Actress Meribel Mills is terrified. Her stalker not only sends threatening notes and pictures scrawled in scented marker, he's been in her home. She hoped that moving cross country with her daughter would buy them some time, but she still feels that she's being watched. 

I absolutely loved this book. The characters were engaging and I really wanted  things to end well for all of them. I found myself turning pages with an ever increasing sense of dread, not wanting to read what was about to happen, but unable to put the book down. I wasn't ready for the book to to over, because I wanted to spend more time with Meribel and her daughter, but the ending is absolutely satisfying. 

A Vacation to Kill For by Eunice Mays Boyd

Olive Wallace has invited friends and family to join her on a trip of Europe.  Everyone in the tour group caters to her every whim because Olive is very wealthy and constantly updating her will. She delights in her sense of control until a string of accidents makes it appear that someone wants the money now, before she can change her mind yet again.

This was an absolutely charming read and I loved the chance to vicariously travel with the characters.. The book was written before the author's death in 1971, then edited by the author's goddaughter before publication.  

Disclosure -- The publishers provided me with advance review copies. This post contains affiliate links.


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