Where we last left the blog.......

It's been a bit longer than I intended since my last blog post, but that certainly does not mean I have not been reading!! I was preparing for my daughter's college graduation. She graduated on May 6 from Florida State University with a BS in International Affairs and Sociology. Yay!!

Now what did I read since the end of March?

Before I Go - Colleen Oakley 5*

I purchased this book, because the author was coming to talk about her newest book at my local indie bookstore. I really found myself connecting with the characters and enjoying their story and read the book in two days. I cannot believe this was Oakley's debut novel! Don't think that by the synopsis this book is a sad tale of a young woman's lost battle with breast cancer. It is so much more and how the author handled it without anything feeling maudlin shows she really has great writing chops! It was a funny, upbeat, emotional, and real story. Well done. It was wonderful to meet Colleen in person and I purchased her latest, Close Enough to Touch. Review to come in the future.


The Book of Summer - Michelle Gable 4*

My second book by Ms. Gable and what I loved most about this story is the true Nantucket character that comes through in the personalities in the book. The author deftly moves back and forth between 2 times lines, that of Bess and her mother Cissy in present day and that of Ruby, Bess's grandmother just prior to WWII. It's all surrounding Cliff House, the family home, which is perched to be pitched into the sea if something can't be done to save it. The cover is one of the best of the new books coming for summer, too. It makes me want to start planning a Nantucket get-a-way soon! Thank you to the author for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.


The Forever Summer - Jamie Brenner 5*

Wow! What a gem of a story! The Forever Summer by Jamie Brenner, my first by her. I am ready to pick up and leave for vacation in P-town. I want to soak up the eclectic, free spirit vibe there. This is a wonderful story of family, friends, community and they are often pieces that fit together in ways that will surprise you. Grab your beach chair and settle in for a perfect beach read. There are secrets, hidden letters and a journal, old love and new love and family drama. At the heart of it all is the charming Beach Rose Inn. Get ready to check in, your room is ready. Thank you to the author, publisher and Great Thoughts Great Readers Group for the ARC in exchange for my review.


The Good Widow - Liz Fenton & Lisa Steinke 4*

I really enjoyed this tautly written thriller, my 2nd book by this author duo. Jacks Morales' marriage is floundering. She receives word that her husband of eight years has been killed an auto accident in Maui. The only thing, he told he was on business in the Midwest! Then Jacks finds out her husband was not alone in the car. A female was killed too. Now she's really wondering what was going on! She meets Nick, the fiancé of the woman killed when he shows up at her door one day. Together they both bond over their mutual grief and confusion over what happened. Nick suggests they head to Maui to bring themselves closure. Things turn decidedly stranger when they reach the tropical paradise. There are plenty of twists to keep even a hard core thriller reader like me guessing. Thank you to the publisher, authors and Great Thoughts Great Readers group for the opportunity to read & review this ARC.


Crossing the Street - Molly Campbell 5*

Molly Campbell, writes such delightful characters. I love a book where I want to leap into the pages to befriend the characters. I definitely wanted to cross the street with Beck Throckmorton and hang out with her octogenarian neighbor Ella and her great-granddaughter Roberta, known affectionately as Bob. Beck is living alone in a quiet neighborhood, working as a Starbucks barista and writing bodice rippers in the evening, but she feels she may slowly be turning into a weird cat lady. Her life seems like crap and getting crappier by the minute. Beck left her boyfriend, because she thought he didn't appreciate her feminist ideals, then said boyfriend marries Beck's sister D. If that wasn't bad enough, when Beck finally finds a guy who might be good boyfriend material, she thinks Theo is as boring as a saltine cracker. Well, at least his clothes match and his hair's always coiffed. When 8 year old Bob turns up across the street, Beck tries to stay away. She's still got terrible nightmares of her babysitting years, but Bob has led a hard-knock life and Beck finds herself drawn into Bob's life with Ella. This a sweetly funny story about friends and neighbors who are often more like family than our own flesh and blood. Bravo, Molly on this wonderful second book! Thank you to the author for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.


Dark Corners - Ruth Rendell 3*

I read this book as the book club leader of my local indie bookstore. I have read most of Ms. Rendell's books, include those as Barbara Vine, and while this book was good, it was not as good as some of her older books. Sadly, this is the last of her published books. Luckily I still have many to read. I am a huge fan of Rendell and this book was certainly classically her style, I just felt it was not as good as many of her other books that I have read. RIP, Ruth.


The To-Hell-And-Back Club - Jill Hannah Anderson 4*

I felt an affinity to the main character Peyton, because I too am an empty nester. This was a wonderful true-to-life story. I found myself laughing and crying throughout. I wish I had my own To Hell and Back Club to rely on! Peyton's marriage has not been great for a long time, but now that the kids are away at college, there's no way to ignore the fact that she and Jerry are just two bodies inhabiting a space. When her three best friends are killed in a car accident, it's the catalyst that gets changes happening in Peyton's life. Thank you to the author for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.


Unsub - Meg Gardiner 4*

Thank you to Penguin First To Read for the ARC in exchange for my honest review. I read a lot of thrillers and true crime. I especially enjoy books about serial killers. I've long been a fan of Patricia Cornwall, Kathy Reichs, and loved Thomas Harris' Silence of the Lambs. Unsub was a very good read and would be excellent for fans of these authors. I can see the characters of Caitlin and boyfriend Sean making a comeback in a series. The tension built at a steady pace and I found the clues based on Dante's Inferno to be another big draw, possibly for Dan Brown readers. Thank you to Penguin First To Read for the ARC copy. 


A Ring Of Truth - Michelle Cox 5*

I loved the continuation of the story of Henrietta Von Harmon and Inspector Clive Howard. We were introduced to them in the first book where they worked together on a police case and fell in love. Now in book two, the relationship has expanded, Clive has asked Henrietta to marry him, and we start to learn a bit more about Clive and his life outside of the police and back at his family home Highbury in upscale Winnetka. The author has done an excellent job of keeping the supporting characters from book one, Elsie, Stan, Eugene, and the Hennessys. In my opinion this is the hallmark of any successful series, you need more than one or two characters to keep the story going, the supporting characters just help deepen and enrich the development of the story. It certainly gives the author more to work with and more directions to take. I think this series would be perfect for any fans of Anne Perry (Charlotte & Thomas Pitt or the Monks series) or Charles Todd (Ian Rutledge or Bess Crawford series). I for one cannot wait to see what happens with Clive and Henrietta. The way they play off each other is engaging. I can already see the author has some ideas based on the hints dropped in The Ring of Truth. Thank you to the author for the ARC in exchange for my honest review.


The Gypsy Moth Summer - Julia Fierro 3*

This is my first book by Ms. Fierro and I enjoyed the ethereal quality of the writing. There was a dream-like quality to the story and her style is very descriptive. The story takes place on the fictional Avalon Island off the coast of Long Island which is inhabited by a host host of characters.. The island was home to Grudder Aviation, but the island has always been culturally divided into two halves, the tony rich and the workers and families employed by Grudder. Many people are suffering from cancer in 1992 when the book takes place, so there a feeling of unease and the arrival of the gypsy moth just makes things even more uncomfortable. I struggled to feel engaged with the characters and the plot. I just couldn't get into the story of what was happening and connection between the characters. Thank you to Net Galley, publisher, and author for the review copy in exchange for my honest review.


As Red As Blood - Salla Simukka 5*

I absolutely loved this first book in the Lumikki Andersson trilogy. I eagerly look forward to books 2 & 3. Lumikki is a girl under the radar. She's a high school student with a background that the author slowly reveals like a dripiing faucet over the course of the book. We learn that she was bullied and learned to fight back in her own way. She's smart, tough, quiet, and most of all observant. There are comparisons being made to Stieg Larsson's Lisbeth Salander and I can see the similarities, but where Salander could be cruel, Lumikki is more shrewd and cunning, but in a good way. This story focused on an underworld crime involving the Russian Mafia, prostitutes, and a bag full of money that falls into the wrong hands. I can't wait to see what Lumikki gets involved with next. Lumikki means Snow White in Finnish, thus the titles of the books in the trilogy, As Red as Blood, As White as Snow, and As Black as Ebony. Thank you to the publisher for the review copy in exchange for an honest review via Blogging for Books.



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