Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Lies, Lies, Lies by Adele Parks

 Release Date - August 2020


Daisy and Simon are parents of a lovely, talented young daughter and seem to be in a happy marriage, but outside appearances aren't always what they seem. Simon desperately wants another child, but in their 40s now, they've already been through one fertility struggle and Daisy's not sure she can do it again at this age. Plus, Simon's drinking seems to be worsening.

Everything goes horribly wrong when Simon drinks too much at a party. Their world is thrown into chaos, and Daisy struggles to figure out the next steps in keeping her family whole.

How did I feel about Lies, Lies, Lies? It's clearly taken me time to even finish the book. I struggled with it and should have quit, but I wanted to keep going and get this one checked off my list. The basis of this story comes down to the secrets people keep from each other and how they have the power to destroy everything. As a result, I didn't like Simon or Daisy, and it's hard to root for the lead characters when you don't like them.

As things play out, there's another character that I didn't like, and this circles back to Daisy. I was so frustrated with her because of it. By the time, truths started getting revealed, I simply no longer cared for anyone other than the poor little girl. It was just a so-so read that appealed to me at times but thoroughly frustrated me the rest of the time.

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

 Release Date - March 2021


I've been wanting to read Where the Crawdads Sing for awhile, but I finally decided to buy a copy as I realized my daughter also wanted to read it. I am well aware of the backlash against the author, but I'm not the judge or jury, so it's not my place to decide to blacklist a book based on what the media says.

Where the Crawdads Sing was an atmospheric, delightful read. At the heart of the story is Kya Clark, aka "Marsh Girl." Her mother walked away from her at the age of six. Her sibings all left shortly after leaving young Kya along with her alcoholic father. She spent more time fending for herself than she did being parented, or even loved, and the one attempt she made to go to school ended with her being horribly bullied by her peers.

Instead, she's learned to read with the help of one of her brother's friends, and she's made a name for herself writing and illustrating guides to the birds and shells in the marshlands of North Carolina. She also fells head over heels for the town's Golden Boy, Chase Andrews, a handsome former high school football star. When Chase is found dead, Kya becomes the primary suspect and she's arrested for the crime, even though there's no clear evidence. 

Where the Crawdads Sing is a coming of age and mystery in one. It had the same atmosphere to me that To Kill a Mockingbird always evoked. You have the sleepy south, pretty judgmental townspeople, and an innocence that's hard to ignore. I loved this book and am eager to see how the movie gets it wrong. (Maybe they do well, but I've never seen a movie capture a book without messing something up.)

Monday, July 18, 2022

They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera

 Release Date - December 18, 2018

Mateo and Rufus are strangers who meet under the most unpleasant of circumstances. You see, they live in a time when a midnight call from Death-Cast means you're in the last 24 hours of your life. You don't know when your life will end, just that it will end at some point that day. 

When Mateo gets the call, he's already dealing with so much. His father is in the hospital in a coma having suffered a stroke. Rufus is wanted by police for assaulting the abusive boyfriend of one of his friends. With death hot on their heels, they both head to a dating-style app that's for Deckers (people who get the call). The pair meet up and decide to spend the rest of their lives together, pushing each other to step out of their comfort zone and have the most fun they can before their time is up.

This story is sad, humorous, and joyful at the same time. There's no secret. The title says it all. They Both Die at the End. There are no mistakes. Death-Cast doesn't get anything wrong. Instead, you read the book to cheer them on and hope they're able to make the most of it and have a blast.

Sunday, July 17, 2022

Going Home, At Your Age? by Jacqueline Diamond

 Release Date - August 1, 2022


It's probably been 25 years since I read my first Jacqueline Diamond romance. She's never failed to draw me into her worlds and want to become part of that community. More recently, she's done something so many authors haven't done. Her characters in the A Better Late Than Never series have grown up, like me, and are now 50-somethings with changing perspectives on relationships, family, and life in general. I'm very thankful for this as the so-called "bodice rippers" I read in my 20s just don't appeal to me anymore. As I grew older, my tastes shifted to suspense, mystery, and especially psychological thrillers.

Going Home, At Your Age? features Sara. She's back in her hometown, carrying the weight of a secret she's kept for decades. She had a child and gave that child up for adoption, sending a scathing letter to all who she felt turned their backs on her. Now, her baby is about to have a baby of her own, and Sara's not sure how she feels. 

Only one person ever knew her secret, as he helped deliver her baby. Nate's still in town and just as hard to ignore. Sara became the town's pariah when she left as many felt she broke Dr. Nate's heart when she left.  As the truth is revealed, Sara finds herself having to right old wrongs and decide what happens next.

This is a quick read, but it's an engaging one. I was drawn in to the community and enjoyed watching Sara reveal her secret and seeing how her friends and family reacted. After that happens in the first couple of chapters, it's easy to get absorbed in the California town and want to be part of it.


Sunday, July 10, 2022

Tell No One by Barbara Taylor Sissel

Release Date - May 2019


Her dad walked away from her when she was young, and that's the main reason Caroline Corbett never made an effort to keep in touch with him. She didn't care about his other family. But, her dying aunt wants to see him one more time, so Caroline agrees to find him. It may be a good distraction from her husband's deception.

When his mom remarried at the age of eight, Harris Fenton had a father figure he could look up to. Everything changed one day, and Harris found himself fatherless once more. It's always haunted him, and it's impacting his own relationships with his sons.

As Caroline gets closer to the truth, Harris finds his life unraveling in major ways. Neither of them will be the same when the truth is revealed.

I've always loved Lake Union books. They partner with fantastic authors, and Barbara Taylor Sissel is one of my favorites. For me, it was harder to like Harris than it was Caroline. You'll understand why as you read more into his story. I do wish the ending hadn't been as rushed. It all came together faster than I wanted, but it was still a solid read.


Monday, July 4, 2022

The Homewreckers by Mary Kay Andrews

 Release Date - May 2022


What a fun bundle of a romance this was. Since her husband's death, Hattie Kavanaugh has done all she can to keep busy. She works for her in-law's home renovation company, but her latest purchase is proving to be more money pit than restoration. She feels horrible, and that's a big part of why she's agreeing to star in a new renovation TV show. She's there to renovate the house, get the cash, and be done with it. She didn't sign up to be part of the dating sideline the producer seems to be demanding.

When someone sets fire to a dumpster outside and then find the missing wallet from a decades-old cold case, there's clearly more to this home than Hattie imagined. It's getting harder to complete the task at hand when so many unexpected events keep occurring.

Part-mystery, part-romance, I loved the blend of home renovation, missing teacher, and current events with the arson, repeated pesky "noise violation" reports. It became a mystery/romance that was full of atmosphere, passion, and likable characters. I've enjoyed Mary Kay Andrews novels for awhile, and as this was part mystery - my favorite genre - I was hooked. 

Rizzoli & Isles: Listen to Me by Tess Gerritsen

 Release Date - July 5, 2022


I love Rizzoli and Isles and binged the entire TV series one summer. So, it's not surprising I was delighted with the release of a new book. I especially love that Jane's mom plays an integral part in this book.

When a nurse is found murdered in her home, Jane's on the case. It seems unusual though that anyone would have targeted Sofia, as everyone loved her. 

Meanwhile, Jane's mom, Angela, is alone while her beau is on the other side of the country caring for his sister. When Angela gets secretive new neighbors, she can't help but find herself wondering why they never come out in the day, keep their blinds closed, and are putting up bars on the windows. Plus, one of Angela's friend's teen daughter runs away, and Angela is convinced something is awry in her usually quiet neighborhood.

What Jane and Angela don't know is that their investigations are going to put them in a world of trouble. There's much more to either case than they could imagine, and they need to keep focused.

Listen to Me is a great read, and it was also fun to catch up. There are several things going on, so you're kept hooked to each story. Plus, there are the interactions with the family members and Maura that I always loved. I feel like part of the family, even if I'm an outsider looking in.

Essentially, you have the mystery of the missing teen, the murder of Sofia, a stranger following a young woman who was hit by a car, and Angela's neighbor. As a result, there are four mysteries that all have you guessing. Some area more easily unraveled than others, but I love trying to be the first to crack them and for the most part I was able to.

Enjoy Listen to Me as much as I did. It's a must-read.

Lies, Lies, Lies by Adele Parks

 Release Date - August 2020 Daisy and Simon are parents of a lovely, talented young daughter and seem to be in a happy marriage, but outsid...