Tuesday, May 4, 2021

The Newcomer
by Mary Kay Andrews 

Publisher: St Martin's Press
Pages: 448
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  In trouble and on the run...

After she discovers her sister Tanya dead on the floor of her fashionable New York City townhouse, Letty Carnahan is certain she knows who did it: Tanya’s ex; sleazy real estate entrepreneur Evan Wingfield. Even in the grip of grief and panic Letty heeds her late sister’s warnings: “If anything bad happens to me—it’s Evan. Promise me you’ll take Maya and run. Promise me.”

With a trunkful of emotional baggage...

So Letty grabs her sister’s Mercedes and hits the road with her wailing four-year-old niece Maya. Letty is determined to out-run Evan and the law, but run to where? Tanya, a woman with a past shrouded in secrets, left behind a “go-bag” of cash and a big honking diamond ring—but only one clue: a faded magazine story about a sleepy mom-and-pop motel in a Florida beach town with the improbable name of Treasure Island. She sheds her old life and checks into an uncertain future at The Murmuring Surf Motel.

The No Vacancy sign is flashing & the sharks are circling...

And that’s the good news. Because The Surf, as the regulars call it, is the winter home of a close-knit flock of retirees and snowbirds who regard this odd-duck newcomer with suspicion and down-right hostility. As Letty settles into the motel’s former storage room, she tries to heal Maya’s heartache and unravel the key to her sister’s shady past, all while dodging the attention of the owner’s dangerously attractive son Joe, who just happens to be a local police detective. Can Letty find romance as well as a room at the inn—or will Joe betray her secrets and put her behind bars? With danger closing in, it’s a race to find the truth and right the wrongs of the past.


Kritters Thoughts:  With a complicated synopsis, the basics are a young woman who's younger sister has been murdered escapes NYC with her niece and hopes to run from her problems and start a new life away from it all, but in Florida she continues to find out clues about her sister and eventually it all implodes.  

I am thankful for Mary Kay Andrews books I don't read synopsis, because had I read this one, I am not sure if I would have so quickly dove into the book.  I trust Andrews with my reading time and so far she hasn't disappointed!

Letty was the sweetest character with the purest of intentions to give her niece the childhood that she only wished she could have had herself or that her sister could have provided.  Her niece, Maya was was just the sweetest addition of humor throughout the book as she interacted with all the occupants at the hotel and as she was adjusting to a new normal without her mother.  

I loved the mix of a mystery with a women's fiction with strong women at the center of the story.  Without spoiling all the things, I loved the last bit of the book and how the author let the conclusion happen, it was a bit predictable, but still satisfying in the end.  


Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel

Ebook 2021 Challenge: 50 out of 100

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from St Martin's Press.  I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for receipt of the book; rather, the opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Monday, May 3, 2021

Her First Mistake
by Carey Baldwin

Publisher: Bookouture
Pages: 315
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Mia covered her mouth to keep from crying out. She hated the dark, but her mother had made her promise. But what was the point of being a good little girl if she couldn’t help her mother? She’d promised her mother not to scream, but she hadn’t promised not to escape…

To the world, Mia Thornton is invisible—a quiet, timid preschool teacher. People would never guess that she found the will to dig her way out of a locked shed when she was just six years old. That she never saw her mother again.

Now, all Mia longs for is a normal life and friends to call her own. But when she runs into a group of colleagues one evening, she discovers that, once again, she’s been excluded. Stung at the rejection, she pockets the keys of one of the women in a petty act of revenge. Celeste Cooper is fearless, pretty, popular—everything Mia wishes she could be.

The next day, Celeste is reported missing. And Mia realizes that it might have been her fault. Wracked with guilt, she joins the search, determined to make up for her mistake. But as she grows closer to Celeste’s family, Mia can’t help but feel she’s being watched…

What if Celeste’s disappearance has more to do with Mia than she realizes? And if she keeps digging, does she risk being dragged back into the dark forever?


Kritters Thoughts:  Mia Thornton had a very hard childhood and barely made it out of it alive to eventually live with her aunt where things were a little more normal.  Although Mia never really fit in with her co workers, she ended up out one night when one goes missing and it send this story into a tail spin as she must investigate where this co worker went and if she holds any of the blame.  

I typically enjoy a book where the investigation is led by an amateur, it is fun to watch them learn to investigate in the middle of it all.  I loved how Mia was weaving in and out of the way of the detectives and she kept getting caught up in their investigations - it was so entertaining!

For me I judge mystery/thrillers based on the outcome of the book and while this one came together well, I am not sure I am satisfied with who it ended up being in the end.  For me, it felt out of left field and I wasn't sure that the clues pointed to them were all there, but I did enjoy the story/plot and how the author put it all together.  

I was excited to find out after finishing the book that this author has a series or more in her backlist and I hope to dive in and try them soon.  


Rating: definitely a good read, but can't read two in a row

Ebook 2021 Challenge: 49 out of 100

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from Bookouture.  I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for receipt of the book; rather, the opinions expressed in this review are my own.


Saturday, May 1, 2021


The month of April was up and down with days full of reading and days that were packed with other responsibilities and activities.  I was surprised to find that I completed 20 books this month and as we slide into summer, I am hoping for more hours outdoors with a book or two!  


1. The Women of Chateau Lafayette by Stephanie Dray
2. In Times of Rain and War by Camron Wright
3. Unraveled by Laura Cook Boldt and Tom Boldt (audio)
4. Summertime Guests by Wendy Francis
5. The Silent Girl by Kelly Heard
6. The Good Sister by Sally Hepworth
7. The Last Bookshop in London by Madeline Martin
8. Three Missing Days by Colleen Coble
9. Under the Southern Sky by Kristy Woodson Harvey
10. Food Americana by David Page
11. An Invincible Summer by Mariah Stewart
12. The Last Night in London by Karen White
13. The Venice Sketchbook by Rhys Bowen
14. Rebel Spy by Veronica Rossi
15. The House Swap by Jo Lovett
16. The Social Graces by Renee Rosen
17. Night Fall by Nancy Mehl
18. America's Daughter by Celeste De Blasis
19. Silent Night by Nell Pattison
20. Long Walk Home by Ellyn Oaksmith


Total pages read, clicked and flipped: 7,835


Where having I been Reading?:
France
London
St. Louis, MO
Boston, MA
South Carolina
Australia
London (2)
Alabama
North Carolina
Massachusetts
Venice, Italy
New York City, NY (2)
Kansas City, MO
Boston, MA
Lincolnshire, England (2)
Washington State




Friday, April 30, 2021

Long Walk Home
by Ellyn Oaksmith

Publisher: Bookouture
Pages: 290
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Lola recognized him straight away. After ten long years of telling herself that maybe she hadn't really loved him—there he was. And straight away she knew she wanted him still.

Lola Alvarez loves working in the restaurant of Blue Hills, her family’s winery, looking out over vine-covered slopes down to the crystal-blue waters of the lake. But she is also determined to make her own mark on the business—to show her older sister Carmen that she’s not the same flighty teen she used to be.

Her plan to build gorgeous vacation cabins in the mountain meadow above the winery will be the perfect addition to Blue Hills, even if she has to go behind Carmen’s back to make her dream a reality. When Carmen sees how popular they are she’ll have to come round—right?

But then Gus Weaver comes back to town. Gus was her first love, the bad boy she used to climb out of windows to see. But he’d broken her heart when he left town suddenly, without so much as a goodbye. After that, she’d never seen him again.

Until now. As fate intervenes and they’re forced to work together on Lola’s project, sparks start to fly between them once again. But he’s led her astray before. Can Lola keep her mind on what she truly wants, when her heart—and the way it beats faster every time she looks into Gus’s blue eyes—is telling her something very different?


Kritters Thoughts:  Lola Alvarez is the baby of the family of three sisters and has always been treated like the baby of the family that can't be responsible for a thing when she really wants to contribute to the family vineyard and be in control of one thing or another.  While maybe a few of her ideas have flopped, she wishes she could be a contributing member of the family and the vineyard.  And Gus Weaver left this small town ten years ago and with it a bad reputation, can he return and repair the relationships that he left and hopefully find his new path in life.  

While reading this book, I realized that this trop in this book is one of the ones I love the most, reunited love that can grow and blossom quickly due to a past that is reconnected.  I love this because it allows for the story to move fast, but it doesn't feel like instalove because the reader knows that there is a past they are building on and it isn't this instant love and hop in bed situation!  

There was some physical lusting, but not too over the top and some great flirtation, but I loved that there was a large focus on Gus and Lola's careers as they were both trying to build that part of their lives while circling around each other!  

Being the oldest in my family, it was fun to read a book from the perspective of the baby in the family because it was so out of my experience.  I didn't know when I started this book that it was the third in a series, so I definitely want to go back and read book one and two and read more about this family.


Rating: definitely a good read, but can't read two in a row

Ebook 2021 Challenge: 48 out of 100

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from Bookouture.  I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for receipt of the book; rather, the opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Thursday, April 29, 2021

The Silent Suspect
by Nell Pattison

Publisher: Bookouture
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  On a quiet street, one house is burning to the ground…

By the time sign language interpreter Paige Northwood arrives, flames have engulfed her client’s home. Though Lukas is safe, his wife is still inside. But she was dead before the fire started…

Lukas signs to Paige that he knows who killed his wife. But then he goes silent – even when the police charge him with murder.

Is he guilty, or afraid? Only Paige can help him now…



Kritters Thoughts:  The third in a series that features a sign language interpreter as she always gets involved with mysterious cases where hearing impaired folks are involved.  As I said yesterday in my review, the mystery is self contained in this book, but there is so much character development for Paige from book to book that it is worth going back to book one and starting at the beginning.

So far, my favorite book of this series!  I don't know if it was the mystery or the character growth or both in this one, but I loved it from start to finish.  I really enjoyed reading about Paige's personal life and the things she went through in this book.    

For me the villain came out of left field a bit and the ending felt like it came together a little too quickly for me, but the lead up and the twists and turns made up for a swift ending.  

Without spoiling anything, I will say that I think we aren't done with three books in this series as the way this one ended, I am inclined to think there is more and as this one was my favorite, I sure hope I am right!


Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel

Ebook 2021 Challenge: 47 out of 100

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from HarperCollins.  I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for receipt of the book; rather, the opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Silent Night
by Nell Pattison

Publisher: Avon
Pages: 400
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  What happened while they were sleeping?
A school for the deaf takes an overnight trip to the snowy woods. Five teenagers go to sleep, but only four wake up. Leon is missing, and a teacher’s body is found in the forest…

Sign language interpreter Paige Northwood is brought in to help with interrogations. Everyone at the school has a motive for murder – but they all have an alibi.  

As Paige becomes increasingly involved, she suspects there’s something sinister going on. With the clock ticking to find Leon, only one thing is certain: the killer is among them, and ready to strike again…


Kritters Thoughts:  The second in this mystery series with Paige Northwood returning to work with the police department as a principal of a deaf student is found dead on a trip with some of the students and staff and one of those students has gone missing.  While the mystery is contained within these pages, there is character development from book to book with Paige and some of the recurring cast where it is worth it to start at the beginning.  

First, I love how Paige is connected to the police department, so she gets great access, but she isn't a professional detective.  And just like in the first book, the author writes the story so well, so the reader is aware what is being said in sign language and how having deaf characters and sign language make this book so unique and enjoyable.  

This plot went up and down and there were a few moments where I would maybe have made some cuts to make the story move a little faster, but in the end I was satisfied with the villain and loved the journey to the conclusion.  

Tomorrow, I will review the third book in the series.


Rating: definitely a good read, but can't read two in a row

Ebook 2021 Challenge: 46 out of 100

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from Netgalley.  I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for receipt of the book; rather, the opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

America's Daughter
by Celeste De Blasis

Publisher: Bookouture
Pages: 221
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  With Washington’s army, she joined America’s fight for independence…

The night that Addie Valencourt sneaks out to witness the Boston Tea Party, she knows that her world is about to change forever. Soon, the glittering summers in rural Virginia with her cousins and the plush prosperity of her father’s home in Boston are eclipsed by the fight for American independence.

When the British forces lay siege to Boston, Addie’s family is torn in two. Her brothers and her childhood sweetheart Silas leave to become aides to General Washington alongside Alexander Hamilton, while Addie’s English-born, Loyalist father welcomes the British into his home. Just as Addie takes the painful decision to join the fight, she meets enigmatic Scottish Highlander John Traverne. But he’s on the side of the English king, so Addie will not give in to the spark between them.

As the bitter war continues, Addie’s life becomes increasingly bound with the fate of America. When Silas is captured by the British, Addie risks all to search for him, but venturing into enemy territory brings her face to face with her Highlander again, and she must make an impossible choice between love, or the future of her nation…


Kritters Thoughts:  Addie Valencourt is one half of a set of twins and a part of a large family due to her father on his third wife, due to many tragedies.  Her and her siblings are living in Boston on the cusp of the Revolutionary War and they are on opposing sides from their father and their surrounding neighbors.

it was interesting to see this family being torn apart by this war as in my history lessons it was often conveyed how much the Civil War tore families apart, so it was surprising to me that families ended up on both sides of this war also.  And forgive me for not thinking deeply about the Revolutionary War but it also was interesting to read that some colonials felt as though Britain was basically occupying them and setting taxes and rules to benefit themselves and not the Americas.  When you read historical fiction often, you can feel this sense of occupation when reading a World War II book set in France or England, but to read about the United States and get that occupied feeling was unique and I enjoyed reading that.  

I like to share to readers, especially when it feels a little out of the blue, but this book has a sex scene and it was semi open door and while I understand for the characters why it was included and where, but for me as a reader, it just felt out of place and I didn't feel as though the whole thing was needed to complete the story.  

I am excited that this is book one in a series and I can't wait to follow Addie and her siblings on future adventures.     

If you like this book, a great companion would be a young adult book - Rebel Spy by Veronica Rossi.  Both books take great looks at both sides of the revolutionary war and this felt unique and special.  


Rating: definitely a good read, but can't read two in a row

Ebook 2021 Challenge: 45 out of 100

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from Bookouture.  I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for receipt of the book; rather, the opinions expressed in this review are my own.


Night Fall
by Nancy Mehl

Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Pages: 336
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  For any little boy or girl who hears the Train Man speak,
Who feels his rancid breath caress their pretty cheek,
Must close their eyes, pretend to sleep, and very softly pray,
Or else the evil Train Man may carry them away.


Finally free of her troubled upbringing, Alex Donovan is able to live out her childhood dream of working for the FBI. But soon after she becomes a member of the FBI's elite Behavioral Analysis Unit, authorities in Missouri contact them about bodies found on freight trains--all killed in the same way.

Alex never expected to be forced to confront her past in this new job, but she immediately recognizes the graffiti messages the killer is leaving on the train cars. When the BAU sends her to gather information about the messages from her aunt in Wichita, Kansas, Alex is haunted by the struggles she thought she'd left behind forever.

In a race against time to solve the case and recover a deadly virus sample the killer intends to spread, Alex must face how far she'll go--and what she's willing to risk--to put a stop to the Train Man.


Kritters Thoughts:  Alex Donovan works at the FBI, but not just the FBI in the Behavioral Analysis Unit where they are on the hunt for serial killers with the skills of getting into their minds and trying to figure out their next steps before they strike again.  

The first in a series, Alex Donovan was a great character to follow in this book and while I enjoy an amateur detective, it was fun to follow a detective who knew her stuff.  What I thought was interesting in this book was that they new the villain almost from the beginning, but were trying to figure out who his next victim would be and where.  

There were two things that I didn't completely love about this book, but I could overlook them a bit because I loved the main character and the plot worked despite these two things.  One I found out a few things way too early and while I am an avid mystery/thriller reader, it was just too early and it impacted my pleasure in reading the book.  The other while is in the synopsis, is semi spoilerie, but one of the things that this villain is doing other than killing people, he has a dead virus that he wants to release into the world and while COVID is mentioned in the book and maybe I feel as though it is a little too early to go there, I just didn't think it was necessary and something else could have been used to drive this part of the plot.  

With those two things in mind, I can still say that I enjoyed the reading and will look out for the next Alex Donovan book, but just hope that the villain has some better antics up his/her sleeve!  


Rating: definitely a good read, but can't read two in a row


Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from Partner in Crime Tours.  I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for receipt of the book; rather, the opinions expressed in this review are my own.

 

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