Monday, August 30, 2021

Enola Holmes and the Black Barouche by Nancy Springer

 Release Date - August 31, 2021

I am a big Sherlock Holmes fan, and Enola Holmes and the Black Barouche was a pleasant surprise. I was immediately drawn into Enola's world and her goal to be an independent young woman. She's smart, witty, and incredibly charming.

Enola is on her own and determined to stay a step ahead of her brothers. When she hears Sherlock won't eat and is suffering from depression, she heads to his home to get him motivated again. She never expects that trip to draw her into a case involving a dead woman.

Letitia Gordon arrives to ask Sherlock to investigate her sister's sudden death. All Letitia was sent is a box of ashes. She finds it unusual that she never heard her twin was sick. Plus, her twin's husband seems to have already moved on with his life. Something's up and Letitia wants to know what's going on.

Enola jumps in and offers to help out. She heads to the Earl of Dunhench's estate. There, she learns this is the second of the earl's wives to die suddenly. And in both deaths, there was no visitation, burial, and the bodies were cremated in secret. Something isn't right and Enola is determined to uncover the truth.

I loved this book. I was hooked from the first few pages and couldn't put it down. The banter between Enola and Sherlock was fantastic and seemed to stay pretty true to everything I've read of him in past Sherlock Holmes' novels. It is a young adult novel and didn't take me long to read. The only thing I find disappointing is that I was done so fast. I am eager for more of Enola!

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

The Other Me by Sarah Zachrich Jeng

 Release Date - August 10, 2021

Artist Kelly is spending her birthday at her best friend, Linnea's, Chicago art show. She's not having the best of times and steps out for a minute. When she steps through, she finds herself in her hometown in Michigan at her very own birthday party. The problem is that she's now married to a former high school classmate and her life is nothing like her life in Chicago. She has no idea what happened, but she's desperate to get back to the life she had in the city.

As if things weren't already strange, Kelly soon finds ripples of her old life reappearing. Her tattooed that vanished in Michigan return briefly. Linnea remembers her briefly and offers to help her figure out what's going on. Just as quickly as Linnea is back in her life, she disappears again. Something is horribly wrong and Eric's secretive nature may be part of it. If only Kelly could figure things out and discover a way to get back to her old life.

This was a strange read. It's not a romance, it's not paranormal, and it's not quite women's fiction. While I had plenty of theories about what had happened, the truth is even weirder. It's like stepping into the Twilight Zone, and it was one wild ride!

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Where I Left Her by Amber Garza

 Release Date - August 24, 2021

Whitney's 15-year-old daughter, Amelia, has been especially moody as of late. In addition to the moodiness, her daughter is more distant and secretive than usual. When Amelia asks to go to her friend's house for an overnight, Whitney agrees and even forgoes her usual request to meet the girl's parents. Instead, Whitney drops Amelia off, watches Amelia head inside, and takes off. 

When she doesn't hear from Amelia the next morning, she's concerned and heads to Lauren's house. There, she discovers an elderly couple lives there. They're convinced she has the houses mistaken, but Whitney remembers the roses lining the walkway. Panic starts to take over as Whitney realizes her daughter has vanished, and she has no idea what Lauren's last name is, so she can't give the police much information, either.

Where I Left Her goes back and forth between the days leading up to Amelia's disappearance and the hours after. You quickly learn that there is more to Whitney than is being told, so as she delves into her daughter's lies, you also start to question what Whitney is saying.

That's where I was less than pleased. As you learn more, you start to realize that Whitney is overprotective at all the wrong times, and it's no wonder her daughter was so moody. You also start to see a different side of Whitney, one that I just didn't like. The book has a few twists that you may not see coming, but when it's all said and done, I never loved Where I Left Her. It was a good read, but it was full of characters I just didn't like.

Monday, August 16, 2021

Ghosts by Dolly Alderton

 Release Date - August 3, 2021

Modern dating isn't what it used to be when I was in my 20s. I'm thankful for that!

Author Nina Dean has her hands full with an upcoming book deadline, her dad's progressing Alzheimer's disease, and friends who are having kids, dating, and getting married. She's not bothered by her single status, but she doesn't mind searching for Mr. Right, if he's out there.

Enter Max. She comes across his profile on a dating app, and she's smitten. The two go on a date and the chemistry is undeniable. Soon, they're proclaiming their love for one another, he's about to meet her parents, he's met her friends, and... he disappears. He ghosts Dolly and she cannot figure out what went wrong. He told her he loved her, so why did he vanish?

Ghosts is not your typical romance novel. A lot of the book is spent with Nina trying to come to terms with her dad's progressive illness, while also dealing with her best friend's pregnancy and shift into being a devoted mom with little time for Nina. There's also the annoying neighbor who ruins Nina's quiet evenings. The romance Nina finds with Max is exactly what she needs, but then he pulls his disappearing act leaving the reader to wonder what's going on.

My heart broke for Nina. The story was absorbing, but I felt for her when Max vanished. More so, I found myself reliving many moments as she experienced things with her dad. When he got angry... When he wandered away... When he was sad and scared as he realized what was going on... I've watched my mom go through all of that, and unless you experience it first-hand, I don't think you really know how stressful and heartbreaking it is. 

I didn't love Max throughout the book, but I did adore Nina's family as they struggled through the disease's progression.

Saturday, August 14, 2021

How to Kill Your Best Friend by Lexie Elliott

 Release Date - August 17, 2021

College buddies Bronwyn, Georgie, and Lissa have been inseparable for years. When Lissa dies while swimming in a cove off the private island she and her husband own, it's hard for Georgie to comprehend how such a strong swimmer would have drowned. Bronwyn is equally stunned.

As they reunite with their significant others and children on the island where Lissa died, both Georgie and Bronwyn start to wonder what they've missed. Someone is lurking in the shadows and doesn't seem to have friendly intentions, yet a storm is moving in, so as the danger heightens, no one can leave.

Chapters in How to Kill Your Best Friend switch back and forth between the "murder" lessons, Bronwyn's insight, and Georgie's insight. I didn't love the changes, as I felt it dragged the pace down, especially in the first quarter of the novel. Once I started skimming the different ways to kill a friend, I found the book became more enticing.

 I also was never surprised by the murderer's identity. How things played out became the best part of the novel to me. This was the second novel I've read by Lexie Elliott, and the other never thrilled me either. I have a feeling that my tastes just don't meld with the author's writing style.

Monday, August 9, 2021

One Year Gone by Avery Bishop

 Release Date - August 10, 2021

What a ride! One Year Gone is a gripping novel that's told by Jessica Moore, mom of the other narrator Bronwyn. It starts when Jessica gets a middle-of-the-night message from her daughter. Bronwyn disappeared a year ago, and Jessica has been desperate to learn the truth behind Wyn's disappearance. The police are convinced Wyn ran away, but Jessica wants answers. What would make Wyn leave?

The texts Jessica receives put a whole new spin on the case. Wyn claims she was kidnapped by a member of the police, but she doesn't know where she is. That makes it very hard to investigate anything as the kidnapper could be anyone on the force locally or on the other side of the country at this point.

Jessica knows one thing. She will do anything to bring her daughter back.

There are plenty of possible kidnappers throughout One Year Gone, and that keeps you on the edge of your seat. I had my suspicions. At times, I thought I had nailed it. As it plays out, the frenzy to unravel the truth grows to all-consuming levels. Rather than work, I had to finish it. I was up far too late and got up too early in desperation to learn the truth. This book is fantastic!

Friday, August 6, 2021

Such a Good Wife by Seraphina Nova Glass

Release Date - August 10, 2021

Seraphina Nova Glass' latest thriller shares the story of Melanie Hale, a stay-at-home mom who has her hands full with a teen daughter and autistic son. She does a lot to meet his needs, while also being there for the rest of her family. When her husband encourages her to go to a local writing group's meetings and have time to herself, she takes him up on it.

At that first meeting, she meets a talented romance author. Luke is handsome, charming, and interested in her. She makes a mistake and has a brief affair. Things go horribly wrong when she goes to break things off with him and finds him dead.

Melanie doesn't hang around. She runs from the scene, makes an anonymous call to 911, and hopes she can move past it. It's clear that someone knows, however, and will make her pay to keep her little secret.

Such a Good Wife is addicting. I had a hard time putting it down as secrets were revealed. Melanie works tirelessly to cover her tracks and try to figure out who wanted Luke dead. Some aspects of this novel become shocking, yet they aptly capture Melanie's urgent need to clear her name and keep her family from finding out the truth. She will do anything to have things turn out in her favor.

The bottom line is that this is a fascinating story that's hard to put down.

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

The Therapist by B.A. Paris

 Release Date - July 13, 2021

When her boyfriend gets an amazing deal on a home in the exclusive gated community called "The Circle," Alice is happy to start a new chapter in her life. She and Leo are head over heels, and this is the chance for them to live in London together. 

During a housewarming party, Alice meets one of her new neighbors and gives him a tour of their remodeled bedroom. The problem is he isn't who he says he is. He's actually a private investigator hired to look into a murder.

This begins the foray into a shocking truth that has Alice questioning everything. Leo never told her he got the house for a steal because Nina Maxwell, a popular therapist, was murdered in the upstairs bedroom. Leo lied to Alice, and she's not sure she can forgive him.

As Alice begins to explore Nina's murder, she can't help but become more involved than she should. Nina's husband may not have been the killer. If he wasn't, Alice could be putting herself at risk by digging into the past.

The Therapist wanted to have me on the edge of my seat with the possibility of a ghostly Nina, mysterious events at night, and plenty of suspects found within The Circle. That said, the story never clicked with me. I read it all hoping it would improve, but it missed the mark.

I wish I hadn't found the mystery to be so predictable. I was never shocked as the truth of Nina's murder is revealed. It was never surprising. I also grew so tired of Alice and Leo. I can't believe they made it as far as they did as a couple. They were doomed from the start.

Sunday, August 1, 2021

Dark Roads by Chevy Stevens

 Release Date - August 3, 2021

After her dad's death, Hailey McBride is pushed to move in with her aunt and her aunt's domineering boyfriend, part of local law enforcement. Like many other young women in the area, Hailey disappears. The difference is Hailey ran away after learning something and is hiding up in the woods.

A year later, Beth Chevalier comes to Cold Creek hoping to find answers regarding her sister's murder. Her sister was Hailey's friend and Beth wants answers. Who is killing women along the dark roads in Cold Creek and how can they stop these murders?

Dark Roads is fiction but based loosely on a number of killings. Within Chevy Stevens' novel there are plenty of twists that readers may or may not see coming. I wasn't surprised with the big reveal, so it wasn't shocking. That didn't stop me from wanting to stop reading. I was so engrossed with Hailey's situation that I couldn't put the book down.

Beth is an addict, so she's a little harder to like. I also found her to be a little naive at times. Hailey is definitely the character I couldn't get enough of.

You Can Go Your Own Way by Eric Smith

 Release Date - October 25, 2022 After his dad's death, Adam Stillwater and his mom do everything in their power to keep the family...