Wednesday, March 27, 2024

{I've Been Reading} Three Fudges and a Baby

Three Fudges and a Baby by Nancy Coco

Can fudge maker Allie McMurphy clear the name of her best friend's midwife before the baby is born? It's not looking good, since Hannah was found holding the gun and the baby is already overdue. The Candy Coated mystery series is everything I love about cozies, with an interesting setting I'm not likely to ever get to in real life and a fun cast of characters. Although I've only read a few of this twelve book series, there was just enough backstory to keep me from feeling lost.  I was seriously tempted to put this book down just long enough to make one on fudge recipes included between the chapters, but the plot kept me reading.  I definitely want to try making some fudge and  want to spend more time with Allie and her friends in her historic hotel on Mackinac island. 

Rhythm and Clues by Olivia Blacke 

The Record Shop Mystery Series keeps getting better and better! In this one, a killer strikes during a violent storm that knocks out the power and phones. The victim is an investor who had his eyes on Sip and Spin Records and was already involved with a number of local businesses, leaving some of his new partners thrilled and others unhappy...maybe angry enough to want to do away with him? The blocked roads and lack of communication really complicate things, making this one a slightly more suspenseful than the usual cozy. It's set in a tight knit community with a bunch of likeable characters and the quirky names of the shop's coffee creations add to the fun.

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

Wednesday, March 20, 2024

{I've Been Reading} The Playgroup

 The Playgroup by Leah Mercer

The Nest, a community run nursery co-op, should have been where little Florence was safest. Bur a responsible adult made a mistake and now the little girl is in the hospital with life threatening injuries. Accusations are flying. The depiction of the accident itself is absolutely chilling and although I was concerned to see that the chapters alternate between four different women, that didn't turn out to be a problem and it was always clear who I was reading about at the moment. All of the women are desperate to save their own hides, no matter who they have to blame to keep their own names clear. Everyone is hiding dark secrets and would do just about anything to keep them. This one is a fast paced page turner. 

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

Wednesday, March 13, 2024

{I've Been Reading} The Perfect Couple

 The Perfect Couple by Jan McLoughlin

His job offers the young couple the opportunity to relocate to England for a year and live in  gothic mansion while he works. She starts to hear and see things as soon as she's alone in the house. He's kind of a jerk, policing her vocabulary and behavior so she won't seem too American and embarrass him. Their new home is near the small village her grandmother came from and she begins to hear rumors of a family curse. I mostly enjoyed this one. The Jayce compares her situation to The Shining and, while that makes total sense, I think I was getting more of a Rosemary's Baby or Yellow Wallpaper vibe. It was great until the ending, which was a bit of a let down after the author had built up so much great suspense. 

The Other Wife by Danielle Ramsay

"And if I do, what becomes of her? Of my wife?"
"You live your life as if she never existed." 

The protagonist finds herself in a stark white room, cared for by an unsympathetic housekeeper who tells her that she's suffering from memory loss caused by her migraines. She's kept drugged, confined to her  room. I had a hard time identifying with the woman because, as convinced as she is that she's not Mrs. Langdon and doesn't belong in the remote Scottish estate with this man who claimes to be her husband, she never explains where she thinks she should be. The first half of the book is extremely repetetive and absolutely drags. Then it got better. I had guessed the big twist, but the way the author pulls it all together is much more satisfying than I expected it to be. This is a unique domestic thriller with a traditional Gothic feel to it. 

The Nurse by Jenna Kernan

A newly graduated nurse is hired to take care of a wealthy doctor's wife, making sure she takes her pills on time and eats her meals, driving her on her errands and to her golf club. Doctor Roth warns Emily that his wife has delusions, that she'll claim responsibility for things that never happened...but Emily soon begins to suspect that her client is over medicated and might need her help. This is a slow burn that has the feel of an old fashioned gothic thriller. Once Emily starts uncovering the Roth family's secrets, it's a wild ride to the conclusion. 

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

Wednesday, March 06, 2024

{I've Been Reading} Bye, Baby


Bye, Baby by Carola Lovering

After realizing that her baby has been stolen from her stroller, influencer Cassie Barnwell stands in her apartment, screaming for the woman who used to be her best friend. In the apartment downstairs, Billie stands with the baby in her arms, thrilled that after pushing her away for so long Cassie finally wants her. This is the best domestic thriller I've read in I don't know how long. As the plot moved in unexpected directions, I found myself aching for both characters and hoping that things would somehow turn out okay. 

If I Lose Her by Brianne Sommerville 

The marketing materials warned that this one is dark and it definitely is, at first, in a misery lit sort of way.  It's a different style of thriller. The first chapters feel more like a true story than a domestic thriller. Gradually, the pace picks up and the plot starts to twist until it reaches an unexpected conclusion.  Jo's fear and confusion are realistically portrayed, especially when she makes mistakes that any mother could have made. 

Listen for the Lie by Amy Tintera 

Lucy was found wandering and covered in her best friend's blood and doesn't remember what happened. Everyone believes that she killed her best friend, but Lucy herself doesn't know. I absolutely loved this one. Chapters alternate between Lucy's point of view and new episodes of a popular true crime podcast  that is investigating the crime. The only thing that's immediately clear is that Lucy really doesn't know if she killed her friend or not and she's a fun character to spend some time with. 

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


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