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Thursday, February 21, 2019

If You Go Down to the Woods: A Novel by Seth C. Adams

Release Date - March 5, 2019 (Paperback)



Since hearing about this book, I can't stop Teddy Bear's Picnic from playing in my head. My mom sang that to me a lot when I was little.

If You Go Down to the Woods Today is the debut novel by Seth C. Adams. I think describing it as a creepy take on Stephen King's novella The Body is pretty apt.

"If you go down to the woods today, you're sure of a big surprise." That's how the children's song goes and it fits this book perfectly.

Joey is 13 and thrust into a brand new town when his family moves to Payne, Arizona, for his dad's new job. His first introductions to people in the town bring a mix of reactions. The local bullies are not pleased that Joey interrupted their bullying session. Bobby, aka Fat Bobby, is delighted to have someone stand up for him. Soon, Joey, Fat Bobby, and two others form the Outsider's Club.

The four of them are about to stumble across something in the woods that they never should have found - a car, bundles and bundles of cash, and a body. And, there's the "Collector" out there who knows what they found and is about to become a sinister and potentially deadly force to be reckoned with.

I caught and loved a few things straight off. First, the narrative is first-person and usually not to my liking, but Joey does such a great job at drawing the reader into his world. Second, there is very little dialogue starting out. I found I loved not having all the talk and that the author let the descriptions build a lot of suspense.

There were characters I hated. There were characters I loved. The mystery is kind of apparent, but the action keeps you on your toes. I was hooked from the start.


Wednesday, February 20, 2019

My Favorite Cowboy by Donna Grant

Release Date - February 26, 2019



My Favorite Cowboy is the third book in the Heart of Texas series. I read the first book, so I was well versed in Abby and Clayton's lives. This time, it's Caleb's turn.

Audrey Martinez keeps busy working for two big ranches and helping out time a horse is in need of a charitable veterinarian. When four horses at the auction house become ill, Audrey is desperate to find out what is happening. It isn't long before she realizes the horses are being poisoned.

Caleb and his brothers are called in to help set up cameras at the auction house. Very little time passes between their arrival and an attack on the horses. They realize this criminal activity is personal and it's all pointed at Audrey. Caleb's falling for her, so they team up to do everything in their power to keep her safe and figure out what's going on.

I liked My Favorite Cowboy, but I never loved the story. I thought the mystery was a little easy to figure out. As characters are introduced, it was clear to me who was harming the horses and why it was happening. That was disappointing.

I liked the chemistry between Audrey and Caleb, but I never really felt they had what it would take to last. I never loved Audrey for Caleb. That was also disappointing.

In the end, this is a book I enjoyed but know it won't stick with me. It was a good way to spend a few hours, but I can't say it's a keeper.


Monday, February 18, 2019

The Last Letter by Rebecca Yarros

Release Date - February 26, 2019



Can I describe how I feel about The Last Letter in just a few words? Piece of cake. It broke my heart.

At 18, Ella found herself married and expecting twins. The same impetuous man she married isn't ready for fatherhood and abandons her. Skip forward several years, she's now a single mom and owner of her grandmother's resort. In her downtime, which is minimal, she writes to a military team member at the request of her brother, Ryan.

When Ryan is killed in action, his final letter is to his pal Beckett. He wants Beckett to get out and do everything possible to be there for Ella and her twins. Ryan's death isn't the only bad news Ella gets and she needs support now more than ever. Beckett will do anything for the woman he's gotten to know via regular letters and the children he's come to love through those same letters. He also will do anything for the friend he's lost.

The Last Letter is heartbreaking, touching, and endearing all at once. I'd just finished one military man asked to be there for his family member book and couldn't imagine it would get better. Rebecca Yarros' book broke my heart but also uplifted me at the same time. Not sure how she pulled that off.

Here's the thing. You can't read this book and have dry eyes. It's just not going to happen. This book is going to drag your emotions all over the place. You're going to laugh, cry, want to hit something, and start all over again. Having finished it, I feel drained. At the same time, I know it's a book I'll read again and again, it's just that damn good.