Two Nights by Kathy Reichs

Two NightsTwo Nights by Kathy Reichs

#1 New York Times bestselling author Kathy Reichs steps beyond her classic Temperance Brennan series in a new standalone thriller featuring a smart, tough, talented heroine whose thirst for justice stems from her own dark past.

Meet Sunday Night, a woman with physical and psychological scars, and a killer instinct. . . .

Sunnie has spent years running from her past, burying secrets and building a life in which she needs no one and feels nothing. But a girl has gone missing, lost in the chaos of a bomb explosion, and the family needs Sunnie’s help.

Is the girl dead? Did someone take her? If she is out there, why doesn’t she want to be found? It’s time for Sunnie to face her own demons because they just might lead her to the truth about what really happened all those years ago.–Goodreads

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I usually love Kathy Reichs, but I have to be honest, this book just didn’t give me the same thrill as her others. Perhaps it was the dry way it was written, being mostly dialogue based, or maybe it was the characters themselves, but either way, this is certainly not what I have come to expect from this author.

The plot is interesting, but I felt like this book just didn’t hit the mark. I wanted to like it and I stuck with it until the end, but even when I read the last page I still felt like it was missing something. There were entire sections of this book that I found my mind wandering away from and times when I switched to another book before coming back and reading more of it.

I had high hopes for this one, but it just wasn’t for me. I didn’t feel any connection to the main character, or the story itself.

This review is based on a complementary copy from the publisher, provided through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

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The Twilight Wife

The Twilight WifeThe Twilight Wife by A.J. Banner

From bestselling author A.J. Banner comes a dazzling new novel of psychological suspense in the vein of S.J. Watson’s Before I Go to Sleep and Mary Kubica’s The Good Girl that questions just how much we can trust the people around us.

Thirty-four-year-old marine biologist Kyra Winthrop remembers nothing about the diving accident that left her with a complex form of memory loss. With only brief flashes of the last few years of her life, her world has narrowed to a few close friendships on the island where she lives with her devoted husband, Jacob.

But all is not what it seems. Kyra begins to have visions—or are they memories?—of a rocky marriage, broken promises, and cryptic relationships with the island residents, whom she believes to be her friends.

As Kyra races to uncover her past, the truth becomes a terrifying nightmare. A twisty, immersive thriller, The Twilight Wife will keep readers enthralled through the final, shocking twist.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is an interesting mystery with a few unexpected twists that will keep you turning pages long into the night.

The first couple of chapters in this book drew me in and I was hooked by the third. I liked the main character right away and wanted to know what was going on with her. After she began discovering that things weren’t as they seemed, my curiosity grew and the pages started flying by. This is a very exciting book from the beginning and only gets better as you get farther into it.

I love psychological suspense books that keep you guessing at what is really going on all the way to the end, and this one does that well. Even when you think you have it figured out, there is still something left to be revealed around every corner.

If you love the kind of books where you and the main character have to figure out the mystery together, this would be a good one to pick. Recommended.

This review is based on a complementary copy from the publisher, provided through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

Avery by Ken Kratz

And now, for some sour grapes and whining…

Avery: The Case Against Steven Avery and What Avery: The Case Against Steven Avery and What “Making a Murderer” Gets Wrong by Ken Kratz
It’s time to set the record straight about Steven Avery.

The Netflix series Making a Murderer was a runaway hit, with over 19 million US viewers in the first 35 days. The series left many with the opinion that Steven Avery, a man falsely imprisoned for almost 20 years on a previous, unrelated assault charge, had been framed by a corrupt police force and district attorney’s office for the murder of a young photographer. Viewers were outraged, and hundreds of thousands demanded a pardon for Avery. The chief villain of the series? Ken Kratz, the special prosecutor who headed the investigation and trial. Kratz’s later misdeeds—prescription drug abuse and sexual harassment—only cemented belief in his corruption.

This book tells you what Making a Murderer didn’t.

While indignation at the injustice of his first imprisonment makes it tempting to believe in his innocence, Avery: The Case Against Steven Avery and What Making a Murderer Gets Wrong and the evidence shared inside—examined thoroughly and dispassionately—prove that, in this case, the criminal justice system worked just as it should.

With Avery, Ken Kratz puts doubts about Steven Avery’s guilt to rest. In this exclu- sive insider’s look into the controversial case, Kratz lets the evidence tell the story, sharing details and insights unknown to the public. He reveals the facts Making a Murderer conveniently left out and then candidly addresses the aftermath—openly discussing, for the first time, his own struggle with addiction that led him to lose everything.

Avery systematically erases the uncertainties introduced by the Netflix series, confirming, once and for all, that Steven Avery is guilty of the murder of Teresa Halbach.
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

It’s rather amusing that in the blurb for this book the word “indignation” is tossed out, considering what you find when you open the cover and read the contents.

When I first saw this book, I was intrigued by the idea that this might contain crucial details about the Steven Avery case that the Netflix show did not offer to viewers. Perhaps it does just that, but it is so buried in the mire of Ken Kratz trying to systematically take down “Making a Murderer” and defend his position (no pun intended) that one nearly forgets at times that this book is about Mr. Avery at all.

Whether you like him or don’t, believe him or not, this book, for me, seemed to be more about why the author should not be viewed as a criminal than the man at the heart of it all. I really can’t keep track of the number of eye rolls that came with the reading of this book.

I understand that there are various addictions out there that do not get the proper respect and attention, and I am certainly not trying to discount those, but, according to the blurb, this book was supposed to be about Stephen Avery and the evidence against him. I thought, after finishing it, that it was more about the author than anyone else.

Needless to say, I found it disappointing.

My opinion of this case has not been swayed either way by reading this, but my opinion of Ken Kratz has gone down another few points, for all the good it does.

This review is based on a complementary copy from the publisher, provided through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

Little One by Timothy G. Huguenin

Little OneLittle One by Timothy G. Huguenin

Death is cold.

Kelsea Stone can’t remember her childhood, and frankly, she doesn’t really care. She’s doing fine on her own in L.A. without any family to tie her down. But when she finds out her estranged birth parents have died and left her their house in Canaan Valley, West Virginia, she discovers more than just an inheritance waiting for her in the mountains. An angry presence lingers there, and it won’t rest until it has had its revenge.–Goodreads

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I didn’t think this was a bad book, but perhaps it was a little more on the younger reader side than I would have imagined from reading the description. Some of the actions of the characters seemed a bit silly to me and at times the story felt a little clunky, like it was afraid to move forward.

The plot is interesting and I was looking forward to solving the mystery at the heart of the book, but then I would fall into a spot where the story seemed to bog down and wonder if I really had the desire to finish it or not. Eventually, I did make it all the way to the end, but it was not without a struggle to keep paying attention.

My honest opinion is that this is a talented author that has a great imagination, but could have benefited from giving this book further consideration and the use of good beta readers before releasing it. If you cut out the portions of this that slow the story down, it would have been great. The setting was interesting and the descriptions were good.

This review is based on a complementary copy from the publisher, provided through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

the Idea of You by Amanda Prowse

The Idea of YouThe Idea of You by Amanda Prowse

With her fortieth birthday approaching, Lucy Carpenter thinks she finally has it all: a wonderful new husband, Jonah, a successful career and the chance of a precious baby of her own. Life couldn’t be more perfect.

But becoming parents proves much harder to achieve than Lucy and Jonah imagined, and when Jonah’s teenage daughter Camille comes to stay with them, she becomes a constant reminder of what Lucy doesn’t have. Jonah’s love and support are unquestioning, but Lucy’s struggles with work and her own failing dreams begin to take their toll. With Camille’s presence straining the bonds of Lucy’s marriage even further, Lucy suddenly feels herself close to losing everything…

This heart-wrenchingly poignant family drama from bestselling author Amanda Prowse asks the question: in today’s hectic world, what does it mean to be a mother?–Goodreads

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a well-written, highly emotional novel about family and second chances–perfect for a quiet afternoon to yourself.

If you enjoy reading books that mirror real life and include tough decisions for the main character, this one will do nicely. I liked a lot of things about this book. The way the author described the relationships and emotional upheaval of her characters made me feel very close to the story early on, and there was enough going on in the story to keep the pages moving quickly. The setting was described adequately but without the minutia that can slow a story down.

Lucy was someone that I could easily identify with, and I cared what happened to her right away. I thought the author did an excellent job of hinting at what had happened to her earlier in life without giving away the entire end of the book early on. I was especially enthralled with the relationship between Lucy and her stepdaughter, as it rang so true.

This was an entertaining book that kept me busy for an entire afternoon and I would happily recommend it to those who like serious novels. It made me cry–but in a good way.

This review is based on a complementary copy from the publisher, provided through netgalley. All opinions are my own.

Another You by Jane Cable

Another YouAnother You by Jane Cable

Sometimes the hardest person to save is yourself…

Marie Johnson is trapped by her job as a chef in a Dorset pub and by her increasingly poisonous marriage to its landlord.

Worn down by his string of affairs she has no self-confidence, no self-respect and the only thing that keeps her going is watching her son, Jude, turn into a talented artist.

But the 60th anniversary of a D-Day exercise triggers chance meetings which prove unlikely catalysts for change.

First there’s Corbin, the American soldier who she runs into as she’s walking on the cliffs. He is charming and has a quaintness about him, calling her an ‘English rose’.

Then there’s George the war veteran, who comes to dine at the pub, and his son Mark. George fascinates Marie with his first-hand accounts of the war, whilst Mark proves helpful in making sense of the pub’s financial situation.

And there’s Paxton. Another American soldier with an uncanny resemblance to Corbin. Young, fit and very attractive, Marie finds him hard to resist. But little does she know Paxton is also battling some inner demons.

As the heat of the summer intensifies, so do the issues in Marie’s life.

Why is Corbin so elusive? Why is the pub struggling to make ends meet? Why has Jude suddenly become so withdrawn and unhappy?

Can she help Paxton open up and begin to deal with his pain?

Or will she be shackled to the pub and her increasingly spiteful husband forever?

But as events unfold, Marie finally realises that she is not trapped, but stuck, and that it is down to her to get her life moving again.

Perfectly blending the complexities of twenty-first century life with the dramatic history of World War Two, Another You is a charming tale that will warm your heart.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I noticed with Jane Cable’s previous novel that she has a way with descriptions. Setting this book in Dorset, she did a beautiful job describing the area and creating the perfect atmosphere for a book that is part romance, part history and part–everything else. I wanted to be on that beach admiring Old Harry or in the pub awaiting a drink and a sandwich as I read this.

If you enjoy immersing yourself in emotional novels that are well-paced and have a lot to do with the study of a person’s life, this one will make you feel right at home. This is not a fast paced book, but it isn’t slow or boring either. Marie is a complex character with many different layers that are revealed throughout this novel and even without the addition of great secondary characters, she is enough to make you want to keep reading.

Jude became my favourite character in this novel early on, but there are many that are interesting and will keep you turning pages, wanting to know more about them. This book could have been based on any one of us and it is this feeling of reality and of being able to identify with situations and internal struggles of the characters that makes this such a heart-wrenching book.

I liked the different paths this novel took to get to an ending that is subjective to the beliefs of the reader. Jane Cable gave us enough information to appreciate things that were happening in the story, but not so much that we feel like we can’t use our imaginations just a little as well. I think everyone will walk away from this book with a little bit different opinion on what was really going on.

This is an emotional book, with themes of new love, loss and forgiveness included in the story. If you like literary novels, this would be a good one to choose.

This review is based on a complementary copy from the publisher, Provided through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

Dead Seeping Shaman by Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli

Dead Sleeping Shaman (Emily Kincaid Mysteries Book 3)Dead Sleeping Shaman by Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli

The End Timers, a cult-like group, have descended on part-time journalist and aspiring mystery author Emily Kincaid’s small Michigan town. With dire warnings that the end of the world is just two weeks away, the entire community has been disrupted by psychics, cult followers, believers and disbelievers alike. But when Emily’s latest job assignment leads her to an eerily motionless woman propped against a tree, she realizes that at least one person’s world has come to an end all too soon.

Emily soon learns that the victim, an eccentric psychic and leader of a shamanic healing group, harbored painful memories of the area and had mysterious ties to certain members of the cult. Turning to her friend Deputy Dolly Wakowski for help, she’s stunned to learn that Dolly has turned in her badge and joined the cult, leaving Emily to fear for her friend’s sanity and forcing her to try to solve the case on her own.

As the days tick away to the end of the world, Emily has to navigate her way through a crowd of true believers, a group of shamanic well-wishers, and a suspiciously secretive cult leader to rescue her friend and catch a killer—all the while dreading that these few precious days may be her last.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli is a rather rare jewel among writers. She can make you laugh, keep you interested and make you angry with a certain character all at the same time. It is these conflicting emotions that make me return to her writing time and again.

In this book, Emily literally stumbles upon the scene of a murder and once more, things are not as simple as they might first seem. I am always thrilled to see what she and Dolly do with the information they gather. I love the interaction between those two ladies, and for me, Dolly is always what makes the book.

There is more ex-husband drama to be had in this story, and it gave me a good reason to smile, watching the way Emily shuts him down. I liked the way the story flowed and thought the mystery was interesting and original.

I love the setting of these stories and the way the author describes the place that her main character lives as well as the surrounding areas. She makes great use of not only proper word choices, but of the seasons, the time of day, etc. for a full immersion reading experience.

This book kept me entertained for the better part of a day, with few breaks in between. If you like mysteries that think outside the box, this is perfect.

This review is based on a complementary copy from the publisher, provided through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

Somebody’s Baby-Donna Alward

Somebody's Baby (Darling, VT #3)Somebody’s Baby by Donna Alward

Number three [Somebody’s Baby] in Alward’s Darling, Vermont, series is a fantastic friends-to-lovers tale featuring a true-to-life wary-of-commitment couple.- – RT Bookreviews

Veterinarian Rory Gallagher chose a different path from his brothers, both of whom became first responders in the lovely little town of Darling, Vermont. Rory’s always had an affinity for animals–and the ladies. Known for his impressive track record in breaking hearts, Rory never meant to hurt anyone; he’s just never been in a hurry to settle down. It’s not as if he needs to pay a visit to the town’s famed Kissing Bridge to magically find love. He’ll know The One when he sees her. . .right?

Oaklee Ferguson is the kid sister of Rory’s best friend–and, even now that she’s all grown up, remains immune to the pet-doctor’s charms. When she shows up at Rory’s clinic late one night–devastated after hitting a stray dog with her car–Rory’s so-called -bedroom eyes- are the last thing on her mind. Still, his care and kindness toward the dog, and his concern for her feelings, catches Oaklee by surprise. . .and soon the two (and rescued dog makes three!) begin to share a deep connection that neither could have ever imagined. Could it be that love has been waiting for them by the bridge all along?

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What do you get when you put together two commitment phobic people and add a cute dog? A really good Donna Alward novel.

In the beginning of this novel, I really struggled to like Oaklee. She had been mentioned in the previous novel, but no one really got a good feel for her and in this book, she just struck me as such a spoiled brat. As the novel progressed, I came to understand more about her and gradually began to like her.

Rory I liked from the start. I have to say, I was fooled by the title of this book, thinking it might be further developments from the last involving Willow and Ethan, but I was glad the author went the way she did with this. Not only did we get more experience learning about Darling, but we also got to explore more members of the Gallagher family in depth. These books make you feel like you just came home again after being away for years.

This one didn’t have quite the same emotional effect on me that the last one did, but I still enjoyed it–the ending was a nice touch, especially.

If you are looking for a sweet, romantic read, this is a good book to choose.

This review is based on a complementary copy from the publisher, provided through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

Someone to Love (Darling, VT #2)Someone to Love by Donna Alward

The latest offering in the Darling, Vermont series is an emotionally poignant, can’t-put-it-down, opposites-attract tearjerker. A true treasure from page one to the beautiful, touching ending. Alward’s witty dialogue drives this powerful tale, but it’s her little boy costars and her paradoxical, damaged hero and heroine that make hearts sing and rule every page of this sweet and steamy love story.- – RT Bookreviews Top Pick! on Someone to Love

SOME WISHES DO COME TRUE

Ethan Gallagher is a firefighter in Darling, Vermont, who followed tradition and pledged his love on the Kissing Bridge to ensure lifelong happiness. A few years later, he’s a widower with two rambunctious boys who no longer believes in magic. But even he has to admit that free-spirited Willow Dunaway fills him with wonder…and an attraction he cannot deny.

Willow’s come back to Darling a different girl than the one who left after high school. Overcoming her past and owning her own business has made her into a strong, independent woman. Single dad Ethan appeals to her in a way she didn’t expect, even though settling down is the last thing on her mind. But after fire destroys the local food bank, the town rallies, and a fling between Ethan and Willow leads to unintended consequences. Can they find a way out of their heartbreak to make a home in each other’s hearts?

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I haven’t been huge on romance novels for a while, fearing that they all tend to be the same story just recycled. That is, with a few exceptions, and Donna Alward’s books are a definitely an exception. This book made tough-hearted me cry at various points from the beginning to the end.

When I picked this book up, it didn’t take long at all for me to become absorbed in the story. Every once in a while, I find a main character that I wish was real so I could become friends with them, and that character in this case, was Willow. How cool is she? Into Yoga and Natural foods, friendly, caring and the kind of person you want to see succeed. Not only that, but she was just the right level of messed up to make a story like this work. I love imperfect characters. Plus, I want to visit the Purple Pig.

Ethan was also very well-written. I liked that he came off as a bit of a grumpy git in the beginning and then softened as time went on. If you are struggling to believe in true love, this might be the book that changes your mind. Darling is a lovey little town with a lot to offer the reader. After spending some time with these novels, you will probably wish you lived there, too. I know I did.

These books are amazing. Written with just enough steam to keep you interested, but not so much that they are offensive in any way. The love story is sweet but realistic and the descriptions of the town are wonderful. This was a great book. Recommended to all romance fans.

This review is based on a complementary copy from the publisher, provided through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.