Wednesday, April 14, 2021

You Love Me - NetGalley review

*I received a free copy of this novel from NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group for my honest review.*

Joe Goldberg, what are you doing to me? You left your son behind and moved to the Pacific Northwest and fell in love. Again. Are you up to your old tricks? You are, but you are trying so hard to be good.

I have waited so long for the third novel. I have only watched the first season of You on Netflix and now, the book comes to me in Penn Badgley's voice and it is perfect! And I picture Penn while reading. I was immediately transported back into Joe's mind from the first chapter and I had to pace myself through the first half of the book because I didn't want to devour it in one sitting. The build up is the best part, right? I think you would agree with me on that.

I really got the feeling that Joe was trying to turn a corner, but things happen that are beyond his control and he has to react. And he only knows one way to react. And you might think that it would be the same old stories in a new city, but it really feels like a fresh take on Joe and his sociopathic nature that we have grown to love. And the twists were ones that I did not see coming even though they seem so obvious once they are out.

Please, don't make us wait so long for the fourth book! At least now we have the Netflix series to satiate ourselves!

5 stars!

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Farm to Trouble; The Bodies in the Library; and A Glimmer of Death

 Three quick reviews on cozy mysteries.

Solid story for a new series!! Shiloh Bellamy is being called back from LA to her Michigan farm home to help her ailing father out. But the farm is in shambles and she has a lot of work ahead of her. And her father is against the investor that Shiloh found to help with some expenses. Luckily for her, the investor is found dead the next day.

There are a lot of great characters in this new series and I can't wait to read the next one. A quirky diner and owner, long time friends of Shiloh's from before she ran away to LA, a persnickety police chief and mayor.... so many options for future mysteries and goings on in Cherry Glen, MI. And Shiloh's pug that she takes everywhere, Huckleberry.

I feel like this was a great little cozy and the mystery wasn't easily guessed. I hope that Shiloh can feel more comfortable to stand up for herself in future books. I dislike that sometimes the characters will just let people walk all over them instead of standing up for themselves. Four stars for me!

Hayley is a new curator of Lady Fowling's first edition library of mystery books. She is trying to breath new life into the library and estate and has agreed to let a group of fan fiction writers use a room each week for their meetings. And then one turns up dead in the room the morning after a meeting.

It took me some time to get into this book. Not sure if it was the stodgy narration in the audio version. It could have been that there was something going on at the time with me that kept me from getting interested in the novel as quickly as I usually can.

The series has some interesting characters, not the least of which is Glynis, the secretary of the Lady Fowling who seems to fight Hayley on almost everything that she is trying to accomplish with the library/estate. And Hayley doesn't have the experience with the mysteries in the library as she should being the curator so she is learning and reading the books as she can.

I'm not giving up on the series as it isn't the worst thing that I have read in the last year. Hopefully, my lack of enthusiasm was just a fluke. Just 3 stars for me.

Another first in a series! Looking forward to the next!

Odessa is mourning the loss of her husband and trying to keep her house and her catering business. She has started a new career in realty since her catering business has seemed to hit a snag, but she took a job in Charlie Risko's office and is dealing with his shadiness and mood swings. And then Charlie is found dead. Dessa has the gift of being able to read emotions and glimmers or auras and is using this to try and save the day and her catering business.

Very interesting characters and just enough details make me want to read the second in the series that is out this year (2021), but I hope that there are more characters to come that will have redeeming qualities that will make them feel like friends. I like that the friendship between Dessa and former-cop-now-BBQ-restaurant owner is starting very slowly because Dessa is still mourning the loss of her husband. I also like how Dessa is starting to want to bake again after her loss. I almost wish some recipes were included at the back of the book! Four stars for this one!

Monday, April 12, 2021

A Million Reasons Why - NetGalley Review

Four stars for me! 

*I received a free copy of this novel from NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for my honest review.*

Caroline's life seems almost idyllic - married to a loving husband, 3 kids, and a wonderful childhood. And then Walt and Caroline give DNA kits for Christmas (a gag gift, maybe?) and everyone does the test and forgets about it. And then Caroline gets an email from a woman saying they are half sisters. And life implodes.

Sela developed aggressive kidney disease while pregnant and went into labor early. She is dealing with the loss of her marriage and her mother and being a single mom while also trying to deal with the disease progression and constant tests.

The story switches back and forth between Caroline's and Sela's points of view and it is done quite well. Strawser's writing is very prose like and flows very well and I found it very hard to put down. This wasn't my first Strawser novel, but it might be my favorite. I feel like the DNA testing story line is very relevant now and the novel put a different spin on just finding lost or unknown family members.

I liked seeing Caroline's thought process from how she thought her life and childhood was to having her eyes opened to some meddling that she wasn't aware of before the DNA tests. Thing were unveiled in a well paced process and not overwhelming. This was a great story!

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Do No Harm and The Wife Upstairs

I'm not sure why I can't stop reading long enough to write reviews. I have some from NetGalley that I need to review. Trying to get back to everything.

Emma, a doctor in a local clinic, and Nate, a detective in the local police department, have a son, Josh, who has leukemia and needs a life saving treatment not covered by insurance. And with a local opioid ring causing havoc with overdoses, Nate's time is split between family and work. Now, suspend reality for a minute because Emma starts stealing and forging prescriptions for oxy to raise the money needed for the treatment.

I don't feel like this was as much of a thriller as it is a moral dilemma novel. I have a hard time believing that a doctor immediately goes to, "Let's steal some prescriptions to pay for everything" and risking their entire life and career in the process. Knowing how hospitals work, they don't generally need payment up front before starting any treatment and if you have limited income, they tend to write off part of the balances when you start paying or make a payment plan.

I guess with every novel, there is a sense of needing to suspend reality to an extent. There were a couple of twists that I didn't see coming. Overall a good story - told between Emma's and Nate's points of view and fast paced over the few weeks from diagnosis to treatment. Well written. A little hard to like any of the characters except the kid. Three stars for me.

Jane is a dog walker in a ritzy Alabama community and has secrets. She meets and begins dating Eddie Rochester who also has secrets. Jane is wildly out of place when she moves in with Eddie and they get engaged. And Bea, Eddie's dead wife, is a constant factor in everything that happens.

Another book where the characters are so unlikeable. Jane is hiding from a past that she wants to keep buried and she is broke and stealing small trinkets and jewelry from her clients. And when she moves in with Eddie, Bea is everywhere in the house. Eddie immediately adds Jane to his bank accounts so that she doesn't have to work. That's a little odd for someone you barely know.

There is a good build up of tension in the novel and bits and pieces of the back stories are added in to spice things up a bit and keep the story moving along. But with no one being outright evil and all of the characters just being so unlikeable, it's hard to get invested to give more than 3 stars.

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Triple Chocolate Cheesecake Murder

Book #27 in the Hannah Swenson series and man.... it just needs to stop. Two stars for me.


*I received a free copy of this novel from NetGalley and Kensington for my honest review.*

It's Easter in Lake Eden and Hannah has to supply everyone with Easter desserts. And solve a murder with Andrea as the prime suspect. 

I'm not sure why I keep reading this series. There is so much 'fluff' in the writing and it's hard not to end up just skimming to get the gist and get to the end to be done with it. I'm not sure when the 'internal monologues' in Hannah's head started becoming to prominent in the books, but it's a little ridiculous with how much it is used. The extra bits in the recipes become a little condescending to me - I can follow a recipe without having every bit overexplained and it seems to have gotten worse on the recipes I did skim through.

And really, the police force needs Hannah to investigate a murder? And it's not the first time that Mike has said that he needs her help, but she makes it out like it's the first time. And now she is living at Norman's house permanently and they argue about who will get up at 4AM and make breakfast? 

One good thing that came out of this book is a recipe for Hot Chocolate cookies and I am excited to make them. The books have started to lean more towards the recipes and everyone trying out new recipes and drinking massive amounts of coffee everyday. Maybe Hannah is dehydrated and should switch to water in the afternoon? I know that this is a very popular series and some of the books have been made into Hallmark movies. I just feel like there needs to be some new life breathed into them before Hannah is the one dead in her cookie shop.