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Showing posts from September, 2021

The Last House on Needless Street by Catronia Ward

 Release Date - September 28, 2021 One of the last homes on Needless Street has been empty for years. That's exactly how Ted likes it. He lives alone in the final home on the street with his teenage daughter and cat. His daughter and cat are not allowed outside. It's too dangerous. When someone moves in next door, he's alarmed. This person's arrival threatens to shake up their quiet neighborhood. Dee is that new neighbor. Eleven years ago, her six-year-old sister Lulu disappeared at a nearby lake. Dee has never stopped searching for Lulu, and she's certain that detectives made a mistake when they searched the neighborhood. In fact, it's Ted she's come to suspect. If she can get through the terror she feels every time she's in the woods that Ted spends time in, she might be able to unravel the truth. This is such a complex novel. Things you believe must be true soon have you questioning your instincts. Other aspects of the story, especially the cat, hav

Never Saw Me Coming by Vera Kurian

 Release Date - September 7, 2021 Chloe Sevre isn't the young woman you'd expect. She's an honor student and newly arrived college, but she's also one of seven young adults with psychopathic tendencies who agree to be part of a secret college-run study. What no one knows is that Chloe chose this school to get closer to Will, a former friend she's planning to kill. Before she can take the steps needed to murder Will, a college student is murdered. Then, a second student is murdered. Someone is killing the teens in the study, and Chloe needs to stay on her toes if she's to avoid being next. Never Saw Me Coming keeps you on your toes. While I was addicted and needed to know the outcome, there were also things that bothered me. The story jumps from Chloe to other members of the study. There's the addition of romance, which adds a break from the suspense and mystery. The bounces from Chloe to the others ended up being somewhat distracting, but I had to keep readi

The Santa Suit by Mary Kay Andrews

 Release Date - September 28, 2021 After her husband leaves her for their client, Ivy Perkins packs up everything and leaves Atlanta for an old North Carolina farmhouse she buys online. The Four Roses seems to be the perfect setting for starting over, even if it is more rundown than she expected. Things start off with a bit of a hitch when Ivy finds the house is draftier than expected and the heating system isn't working, but her realtor/new neighbor helps her get things fixed and soon she's finding her home in this small town. It all starts with a mystery that she feels compelled to solve.  The former homeowners were the town's Santa and Mrs. Claus. Tucked in the pocket of the Santa suit is a letter from a little girl asking Santa to make sure her dad gets home safely from the war. Ivy has no idea how to track down this little girl who would now be a grown woman, but she has to know if the girl's dad came home for Christmas. By trying to uncover the girl's identi

Eight Perfect Hours by Lia Louis

 Release Date - September 28, 2021 Noelle Butterby put her dreams on hold after her mom's stroke. That the love of her life also left never helped. She's on her way back from a college alumni event when snow shuts down the motorway. She's stuck with cars all around and no chance of getting home any time soon and a dead phone. That's how she meets Sam, a handsome stranger who was on his way to the airport. While it's not exactly what she planned to do, Noelle takes his offer to use his charger. Sitting in his car for eight hours leads her to realize that there's something about Sam that creates feelings she's never experienced. But the minute the traffic clears, Sam's on his way and Noelle may never see him again. Fate intervenes and Sam and Noelle have to admit there's something unusual going on. Even when they leave never intending to see each other again, they somehow do meet up. But, they both have significant others, so they have no future toget

The House of Ashes - Stuart Neville

 Release Date - September 7, 2021 After her nervous breakdown, Sara Keane's husband has moved them from England to Northern Ireland. They'll live rent and mortgage-free in an old farmhouse his father purchased. In her new home, Sara has no friends, no car, no job, and no chance to leave the home. Damien wants it that way. He wants her to focus on getting well and not dealing with any distractions. She sees it as being a prisoner. When an elderly woman appears one day, feet bloody, and crying that this is her home and asking about the children, Sara starts looking into the woman's identity and the home's past. She learns that the home has a terrifying history, and that she and Mary have a lot in common, even if Sara doesn't want to admit it. That is all it takes to start bonding with this woman, even if Damien doesn't want her to learn the truth about this home's past. The House of Ashes is really a sad, haunting mystery that goes back for 60 years and is

When Sparks Fly by Helena Hunting

 Release Date - September 21, 2021 Avery Spark and her sisters suffered the greatest loss when their parents were killed in a car accident. They're successful business owners now and run their grandmother's hotel. In her downtime, Avery and her roommate, Declan McCormick, enjoy food, sports, and hanging out with their friends. On one of their usual evenings, Avery mixes things up by heading out on a date the night before she has to travel. It upsets Declan and that's where everything goes wrong. Declan decides to go out to a bar and ends up hungover on the morning he offered to loan Avery his SUV. Forced to take her car before winter tires are installed, Avery is in a horrible crash and needs a caregiver for several months while she heals. Declan's guilt has him signing up for the role. During their time together, Avery must rely on Declan in more ways than she ever imagined. He must overcome the guilt he feels. They start falling for each other, but can their new fee

The Matzah Ball by Jean Meltzer

 Release Date - September 28, 2021 With many Christmas romances out there, The Matzah Ball was a refreshing change of pace. I'm not Jewish, so I did spend some time hitting certain words on my Kindle to get a definition, but that wasn't a big deal. Context usually made it clear. Rachel Rubenstein-Goldblatt hides a secret from her parents. She's actually a bestselling author of Christmas romances. When she learns her publisher is not extending her contract, she's stunned. She needs the income, and that leads to her proposal. She'll write a Jewish romance, even though Hannukah doesn't lend itself to the same magical atmosphere as Christmas does. To pull it off, she needs a ticket to attend a sold-out Jewish dance. The music and festivities may be exactly what she needs to find the magic for her new book. The problem is the event's host and organizer is her archenemy, Jacob Greenberg. Jacob broke her heart when they were 12. She hasn't seen him in decade

The Necklace by Matt Witten

 Release Date - September 7, 2021 I was intrigued when I heard that Matt Witten's novel has been optioned for a film with Leonardo DiCaprio attached as producer of  The Necklace . Not everyone may realize what a kind-hearted man he is on sets, and he's been a favorite actor since What's Eating Gilbert Grape.   So that aside, I started reading, and it took absolutely no time to get me hooked. As much as I wanted not to keep mentally casting Kate Winslet as Susan Lentigo, I couldn't help it. Her performance in Mare of Easttown made me feel she was a perfect choice for both young and old Susan. And, I wouldn't hate seeing the chemistry between the two back on a screen. Two decades earlier, Susan Lentigo was a happily married mom to a young daughter. When she's asked to take a shift at the diner where she works, she makes arrangements with her mom to get Amy after school and watch her until after dinner. Only Susan never gets her mom's message that she has to ba

Beautiful Country by Qian Julie Wang

 Release Date - September 7, 2021 Oh did my heart break for Qian, the author of Beautiful Country . Young Qian and her family immigrated, albeit illegally, from China in the 1980s. Her parents, both college professors, were forced to teach the government's way or suffer the consequences. Eventually, their only choice became to leave the country and try to start anew in the U.S. In New York City, the family faced unimaginable conditions. Forced to work in sweatshops and live in overly crowded apartments, the stress gets to Qian's parents. Life in the "Beautiful Country" isn't as wonderful as they'd hoped. To find the beauty, the family must face bigger struggles than imagined and figure out how to start life anew in a country that doesn't want to welcome immigrants. This book is so beautifully written. While Qian is an adult now, she tells the story well through her thoughts as a child. The child who learns English by reading books and watching TV, and