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Sunday, July 14, 2024

Death At The Crossroads by PJ Donison

When hotshot litigator Aaron Anders’ wife, Suzanne, goes looking for a divorce attorney, every lawyer in town turns her down. Except one.
What was Camelia Belmont thinking?

Desperate to make partner, Camelia takes Suzanne’s case, despite Aaron’s notorious scorched earth tactics. But when another high profile client kills himself, and her chances of making partner fizzle, Camelia barely manages to hold her anxiety and the vodka bottle at bay. To complicate matters, Suzanne’s health is failing, and all she wants is to die divorced. But the Paradise Valley socialite’s life gets complicated when sexy senior associate Kaitlyn Fischer is killed on her way to a midnight tryst … in Suzanne’s car.

Was Suzanne’s car used as a murder weapon? And was Suzanne the real target? Camelia’s boss, criminal defense attorney Byron McCaffrey, doesn’t want any part of it, but when she discovers a link to a product liability case Anders won on appeal, Camelia is convinced the “accident” was intended for Suzanne. But she’ll have to come up with more than circumstantial evidence against Aaron Anders, especially since the cops and the prosecutor’s office decide the case was accidental. Camelia can’t help but defy Byron’s demand to leave the criminal investigation alone, even if it means getting fired..

All Suzanne wants is a divorce, but her clock is ticking. Finally, Camelia gets a break from an unlikely ally, but is it too late?
Can she discover what really happened or will someone get away with murder?

Death At The Crossroads is the second book in the suspenseful Camelia Belmont Murder Mystery series. If you like soft-boiled whodunnits with a smart female sleuth, true-to-life characters, and dark insights into the legal profession, you’ll love PJ Donison’s second literary mystery in the series.

Kindle Edition, 569 pages
Published May 27, 2024
 by PublishDrive
5/5 stars

This is the 2nd book Camelia Belmont Murder Mystery series by PJ Donison. I thoroughly enjoyed the first book, Death Comes for Christmas,  and opened when this one when it was released.

Divorce attorney Camille has taken on a new case and it’s a biggie. Suzanne is looking to divorce her attorney husband and given that no one else else in town will take her case Camille does

Death at the Crossroads is an intense story. It’s about a lawyer wanting to do the best for her client despite the numerous obstacles that she has to overcome - between a boss that is antagonistic, the client, her husband and lawyer that are not above board along with her own personal demons. 

This was a fast paced story even if it does come in over 500 pages, it was gripping and it didn’t take long for me to get to the part where I could not put it down. There are many layers and points of view but everything came together at the end.

The ending also left the door open for a sequel, which I can’t wait to read.

Monday, July 8, 2024

Greenwild by Pari Thomson

Open the door to a spellbinding world where the wilderness is alive and a deep magic rises from the earth itself . . .

Eleven-year-old Daisy Thistledown is on the run. Her mother has been keeping big, glittering secrets, and now she has vanished. Daisy knows it’s up to her to find Ma―but someone is hunting her across London. Someone determined to stop her from discovering the truth.

So when Daisy flees to safety through a mysterious hidden doorway, she can barely believe her eyes―she has stepped out of the city and into another world.

This is the Greenwild. Bursting with magic and full of amazing natural wonders, it seems too astonishing to be true. But not only is this land of green magic real, it holds the key to finding Daisy’s mother.

And someone wants to destroy it.

Daisy must band together with a botanical genius, a boy who can talk with animals, and a cat with an attitude to uncover the truth about who she really is. Only then can she channel the power that will change her whole world . . . and save the Greenwild itself.

Hardcover, 364 pages
Published June 6, 2023
 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
4/5 stars

Greenwild is a book I stumbled upon in the world of Instagram, purchasing a copy because I loved the cover...and the blurb. It is book one in a series with book 2 recently released entitled the City Beyond the Sea.

This middle grade fantasy isn’t for the faint of heart as it comes in with almost 400 pages. But it is very interesting and a read which I enjoyed. Eleven year old Daisy has been separated from her mother, in fact, she was told that her mother has died in a far away country. But Daisy knows something is up especially when she is followed and forced to go on the run. What follows next is a mysterious doorway, another world, magic and interesting characters. As Daisy becomes friends with kids with special abilities she begins to wonder what her mother has withheld from her.

Greenwild is a story of friendship and determination. It highlights the importance of the environment and taking care of it. This is a well written story with great world building and I am looking forward to reading the next book.

This book was part of my 2024 reading off my shelf challenge

Sunday, July 7, 2024

I Will Ruin You by Linwood Barclay

In the latest novel from New York Times bestselling author Linwood Barclay, a teacher’s act of heroism inadvertently makes him the target of a dangerous blackmailer who will stop at nothing to get what he wants.

How would you react in a life-or-death situation?

It’s a question everyone asks themselves, but few have to face in real life. English teacher Richard Boyle certainly never thought he would find himself talking down a former student intent on harming others, but when Mark LeDrew shows up at Richard’s school with a bomb strapped to his chest, Richard immediately jumps into action. Thanks to some quick thinking, he averts a major tragedy and is hailed as a hero, but not all the attention focused on him is positive.

Richard’s brief moment in the spotlight puts him in the sights of a deranged blackmailer with a score to settle. The situation rapidly spirals out of control, drawing Richard into a fraught web of salacious accusations and deadly secrets. As he tries to uncover the truth he discovers that there’s something deeply wrong in the town—something that ties together Mark, the blackmailer, and a gang of ruthless drug dealers, and Richard has landed smack in the middle of it. He’s desperate to find a way out, but everyone in his life seems to be hiding something, and trusting the wrong person could cost him everything he loves.

What price will he pay for one good deed?

Paperback, 352 pages
Published May 7, 2024
 by William Morrow Paperbacks
4/5 stars

Canadian author Linwood Barclay's latest novel, I Will Ruin You, was a fun read even though there is serious matter. It’s one of those books where I just shook my head at all the poor decision-making, weird coincidences, and at times comical situations. That being said this was an addicted read to find out what was going on, because honestly, I was stumped with all the hijinks.

I mean this book started off captivating as Richard Boyle prevents what could’ve turned into a major tragic event from happening at his school. He is a hero by most, but not all. Then things start to go sideways. That being said it did only take me a couple days to read this as I was curious and taken off guard for part of the conclusion, but not all.

Barclay is one of my go to authors and he remains in that position as I find his books different, twisty, along with some interesting characters.

This book was part of my 2024 reading off my shelf challenge.

Friday, June 14, 2024

The Door-to-Door Bookstore by Carsten Henn

The charming international bestseller about an elderly bookseller who delivers his recommendations door-to-door and an unlikely friendship with a nine-year-old girl that changes his life, for fans of The Midnight Library and A Man Called Ove.

The bookseller Carl Christian Kollhoff delivers books to special customers in the evening hours after closing time, walking through the picturesque alleys of the city. These people are almost like friends to him, and he is their most important connection to the world.

When Kollhoff unexpectedly loses his job, it takes the power of books and a nine-year-old girl to make them all find the courage to rebuild their bonds with each other.

A bestselling phenomenon internationally, Carsten Henn’s The Door-to-Door Bookstore is a feel-good novel about books and friendship.

Hardcover, 239 pages
Published August 1, 2023
by Hanover Square Press
3.5/5 stars

This year I've made a conscious effort to read more books about books, I think that’s the bookworm in me coming out. The Door-to-Door Bookstore is a recent translation that was released in North America last August. 

This was a charming read, also a quick one coming in at 239 pages, but it does pack a punch. From the point of view of an elderly gentleman whose job it is to deliver books to special customers in the evening hours. He has his routine until one day it is interrupted by a nine-year-old girl and then things go amuck.

The Door-to-Door Bookstore is a story of friendship, community and love of books. There is humor, drama, along with righting wrongs.  A nice read that highlights the impact reading has an individuals.

Highly recommend for bookworms out there.

This book was part of my 2024 Reading Off My Shelf Challenge

Thursday, June 13, 2024

Meet Me at the Lake by Carley Fortune

Fern Brookbanks has wasted far too much of her adult life thinking about Will Baxter. She spent just twenty-four hours in her early twenties with the aggravatingly attractive, idealistic artist, a chance encounter that spiraled into a daylong adventure in Toronto. The timing was wrong, but their connection was undeniable: they shared every secret, every dream, and made a pact to meet one year later. Fern showed up. Will didn't.

At thirty-two, Fern's life doesn't look at all how she once imagined it would. Instead of living in the city, Fern's back home, running her mother's Muskoka lakeside resort—something she vowed never to do. The place is in disarray, her ex-boyfriend's the manager, and Fern doesn't know where to begin.

She needs a plan—a lifeline. To her surprise, it comes in the form of Will, who arrives nine years too late, with a suitcase in tow and an offer to help on his lips. Will may be the only person who understands what Fern's going through. But how could she possibly trust this expensive-suit wearing mirage who seems nothing like the young man she met all those years ago. Will is hiding something, and Fern's not sure she wants to know what it is.

But ten years ago, Will Baxter rescued Fern. Can she do the same for him?

Paperback, 336 pages
Published May 2, 2023
by Viking
 3.5/5 stars

This is Canadian author Carley Fortune's 2nd book which takes place in Ontario. This Canadian reader loves reading with Canadian settings and places that are familiar.

This was an audio book for me and the reader did a stellar job bringing this story to life. This dual-time story is told from the point of view of Fern Brookbanks, a 32 year old taking place just months after the death of her mother.  It also jumps back 10 years when she first meets Will. 

Meet me at the Lake is story a of relationships, loss and finding oneself. As Fern is still grieving, the past unexpectedly comes back. Can she come to grips with what happened 10 years ago and reconcile to the present. Well, you will have to read the book to find out.

I enjoyed this read, I was draw into the story. It had me itching to head north find a lake and paddle around.  The only negative takeaway is that I wish the ending wasn't rushed and the issues presented were given more space.  The author notes added to the ended with her own experiences.

A good start to my summer reading, hopefully I will be reading her recent release, This Summer Will Be Different in the coming months.

This book was part of my 2024 reading off my shelf challenge .

Tuesday, June 11, 2024

A Friend in the Dark by Samantha M. Bailey

A digital romance turns deadly...

Eden Miller’s world is crumbling. Her husband blindsided her with divorce, and her daughter barely speaks to her. In an impulsive decision to escape her present and revisit the past, she sends a friend request to her college crush, Justin Ward.

One night twenty-three years ago changed the course of her life. It closed the door on Justin and opened the door to her husband, Dave. But what if Eden could have a do-over?

Eden begins an online relationship with Justin that awakens her in ways she never thought possible, and his voice and words make her take bold risks. But something’s off. He knows too much about her and her family…he’s been following her.

Eden is forced to awaken from her fantasy and look for answers—who really is the man on the other line? The truth about Justin—and about what happened that fateful night two decades ago—puts her and her family in a fight for their lives.

Kindle Edition,  242 pages
Published March 1, 2024
by Thomas & Mercer 
4/5 stars

This is Sam Bailey’s third book and I have enjoyed each of her previous ones. I went into this book blind, which is always fun.

Recently separated, Eden Miller is still struggling with her husband leaving and add to that her daughter is away at school. What follows is an intense series of events that takes her on a journey that awakens the past and it appears someone wants to destroy her future.

A Friend in the Dark is a fast paced story with dual viewpoints and lots of twist and turns. It is dark and suspenseful, I managed to read it in a day while on a recent vacation.

This book is part of my Kindle library, however I hope one day to meet up with the author
 and get a signed copy for my shelf .

Monday, June 10, 2024

The Haters by Robyn Harding

The bestselling author of The Party and The Drowning Woman returns with a twisted tale of fame, obsession, and the dark recesses of social media.

Camryn Lane is living her dream. After years of struggle and rejection, her first novel has finally been published. Her editor is happy; her teenage daughter is proud; and her boyfriend and friends are all excited for her. She’s on top of the world—until she receives a disturbing message from an unknown sender.

Rattled by the accusations she finds there, Camryn swallows the sick feeling in her stomach and resolves to put the missive out of her mind. But when she checks her ratings on a popular book site, she finds a scathing one-star review. The reviewer is so articulate and convincing that soon, Camryn’s book is flooded with bad reviews. Could the reviewer be the same person who sent the ugly email? And why do they want to ruin her?

As the online harassment creeps into Camryn’s personal life, she vows to find out who’s behind it. Is it really a disgruntled reader? Or could it be someone she knows? The troll’s actions are escalating, and when the abuse turns deadly, it will take everything Camryn has to unmask the enemy so intent on destroying her—and finally learn why she's being targeted.

Kindle Edition, 352 pages
Expected publication July 2, 2024
 by Grand Central Publishing
4/5 stars

Author Robin Harding has yet again written another captivating read that kept me glued to the pages.

For any aspiring writer, Camryn,  this would be your dream come true after years of rejection. Her first novel is finally published and what is supposed to be a celebration turns ugly and personal. Who is this mystery reviewer leaving bad reviews that quickly escalates into something personal. For Camryn her emotions get the better of her, doing things out of character.

I enjoyed this book, though I had my suspicions, they would get blocked with the twists that came within the pages. As a devoted guidance couselor Camryn struggles with the accusations. Going through a messy divorce, could it be the ex husband, jealous teachers or friends, students?  A quick read with shortish chapters.

I finished this in a day and half. Look for it on shelf’s in a months time.

My thanks to Grand Central Publishing for a digital arc in exchange for a honest review.

Saturday, June 8, 2024

Among the Innocent by Mary Alford

When Leah Miller's entire Amish family was murdered ten years ago, the person believed responsible took his own life. Since then, Leah left the Amish and joined the police force. Now, after another Amish woman is found murdered with the same MO, it becomes clear that the wrong man may have been blamed for her family's deaths.

As Leah and the new police chief, Dalton Cooper, work long hours struggling to fit the pieces together in order to catch the killer, they can't help but grow closer. When secrets from both of their pasts begin to surface, an unexpected connection between them is revealed. But this is only the beginning. Could it be that the former police chief framed an innocent man to keep the biggest secret of all buried? And what will it mean for Leah--and Dalton--when the full truth comes to light?

USA Today bestselling author Mary Alford keeps you guessing as two determined souls plumb the dark depths of the past in order to forge a brighter future--together.

Audiobook, 9 hours 41 minutes
Published June 7, 2022
 by Recorded Books
3.5/5 stars


This was my book club's Feb 2024 pick (yea I am a little behind on my reviews), it's also my first time reading a Mary Alford book.

Leah Miller is a police officer who 10 years previous lost her family to a killer who police say they have identified and is dead. However, Amish women start being murdered with the same MO. Questions about what really happened 10 years ago and who was responsible resurface.

For Christian fiction, I found the violence a bit gritty in its manner. But other than that, I found this to be a compelling read. There were many twists and turns, secrets from the past unearthed in this multilayered story kept me turning pages. Actually I listened to the audiobook, so it wasn't hard to find audiobook worthy chores.

Leah along with the new police chief, Dalton work against a ticking clock to unravel the mystery and catch the killer.  The ending was good though I felt one part left open the possibility of a sequel - because this reader would like to read more.

All in all a good mystery/suspense read.

My copy of the audiobook was obtained through Scribd.

Friday, June 7, 2024

A Study in Drowning by Ava Reid

Effy Sayre has always believed in fairy tales. Haunted by visions of the Fairy King since childhood, she’s had no choice. Her tattered copy of Angharad—Emrys Myrddin’s epic about a mortal girl who falls in love with the Fairy King, then destroys him—is the only thing keeping her afloat. So when Myrddin’s family announces a contest to redesign the late author’s estate, Effy feels certain it’s her destiny.

But musty, decrepit Hiraeth Manor is an impossible task, and its residents are far from welcoming. Including Preston HĂ©loury, a stodgy young literature scholar determined to expose Myrddin as a fraud. As the two rivals piece together clues about Myrddin’s legacy, dark forces, both mortal and magical, conspire against them—and the truth may bring them both to ruin.


Hardcover, 378 pages
Published September 19, 2023 
by HarperTeen
3.5/5 stars

This was one of my impulsive purchases of 2023. That cover just shouted 'buy me buy me'  until I did. Finally in January I sat down and read it and I still remember it and many aspects of the story - that's a good sign when behind on reviews.

A Study In Drowning is the story of two college aged individuals who are sent on different missions involving a recently deceased author and an epic story he wrote. With each having different motives they ultimately come together to solve not just mysterious happenings that are taking place at the estate, but of the legacy left behind by this author.

This was a a gothic ya story and also my first time reading this author.  I felt the premise intriguing, it was atmospheric with the nighttime scenes, strange noises and creatures.  They were parts that felt flat and maybe dragged a little and yea I was confused by the behavior of some of the characters.  But ultimately everything came together at the end with twists that took me by surprise.

All in all 3.5 stars, I was sold with the Gothic setting.

This book was part of my 2024 reading off my shelf challenge

Thursday, June 6, 2024

The Rom-Commers by Katherine Center

She’s rewriting his love story. But can she rewrite her own?

Emma Wheeler desperately longs to be a screenwriter. She’s spent her life studying, obsessing over, and writing romantic comedies―good ones! That win contests! But she’s also been the sole caretaker for her kind-hearted dad, who needs full-time care. Now, when she gets a chance to re-write a script for famous screenwriter Charlie Yates―The Charlie Yates! Her personal writing god!―it’s a break too big to pass up.

Emma’s younger sister steps in for caretaking duties, and Emma moves to L.A. for six weeks for the writing gig of a lifetime. But what is it they say? Don’t meet your heroes? Charlie Yates doesn’t want to write with anyone―much less “a failed, nobody screenwriter.” Worse, the romantic comedy he’s written is so terrible it might actually bring on the apocalypse. Plus! He doesn’t even care about the script―it’s just a means to get a different one green-lit. Oh, and he thinks love is an emotional Ponzi scheme.

But Emma’s not going down without a fight. She will stand up for herself, and for rom-coms, and for love itself. She will convince him that love stories matter―even if she has to kiss him senseless to do it. But . . . what if that kiss is accidentally amazing? What if real life turns out to be so much . . . more real than fiction? What if the love story they’re writing breaks all Emma’s rules―and comes true?

Kindle Edition, 325 pages
Expected publication June 11, 2024 
by St. Martin's Press
4.5/5 stars

Coming next week to a bookstore near you The Rom-Commers is Katherine Centers’s latest. An auto read author for me, I was fortunate enough to get both the digital and audio arc. I highly recommend both formats.

The Rom-Commers is the story of Emma Wheeler, whom I connected to her right away, I think mostly because I have been a caretaker myself so I was able to feel what she was going through, how she put her life on hold. Then there is Charlie Yates, the cranky screen writer who is idolized by Emma, but has no desire to have her help.  He is having issues with the rom/com he is writing (though he doesn't really know it...yet).

This was a great read, there was great banter, laugh out loud moments along with a serious side - as I have come to expect with this author. It was well written with real characters in real life situations. Definitely a book and author I recommend.  Be sure to read the blurb, it gives more details into the story - if you want, I actually went in blind.

My thanks to St. Martin’s Press for a digital arc and McMillan Audio for the audio arc.

Wednesday, June 5, 2024

The Ministry of Time by Kaliane Bradley

A time travel romance, a spy thriller, a workplace comedy, and an ingenious exploration of the nature of power and the potential for love to change it all: Welcome to The Ministry of Time, the exhilarating debut novel by Kaliane Bradley.

In the near future, a civil servant is offered the salary of her dreams and is, shortly afterward, told what project she’ll be working on. A recently established government ministry is gathering “expats” from across history to establish whether time travel is feasible—for the body, but also for the fabric of space-time.

She is tasked with working as a “bridge”: living with, assisting, and monitoring the expat known as “1847” or Commander Graham Gore. As far as history is concerned, Commander Gore died on Sir John Franklin’s doomed 1845 expedition to the Arctic, so he’s a little disoriented to be living with an unmarried woman who regularly shows her calves, surrounded by outlandish concepts such as “washing machines,” “Spotify,” and “the collapse of the British Empire.” But with an appetite for discovery, a seven-a-day cigarette habit, and the support of a charming and chaotic cast of fellow expats, he soon adjusts.

Over the next year, what the bridge initially thought would be, at best, a horrifically uncomfortable roommate dynamic, evolves into something much deeper. By the time the true shape of the Ministry’s project comes to light, the bridge has fallen haphazardly, fervently in love, with consequences she never could have imagined. Forced to confront the choices that brought them together, the bridge must finally reckon with how—and whether she believes—what she does next can change the future.

An exquisitely original and feverishly fun fusion of genres and ideas, The Ministry of Time asks: What does it mean to defy history, when history is living in your house? Kaliane Bradley’s answer is a blazing, unforgettable testament to what we owe each other in a changing world.

Hardcover, 335 pages
Published May 1, 2024
 by Avid Reader Press / Simon & Schuster
3/5 stars

This debut was blurbed to be for fans of Outlander and a couple others that I haven't read.  The synopsis sounds like an intriguing read.  And it was, however it didn't hit the mark for me like it did others.

I had both the print and audio, maybe if I just stuck with the book I might have enjoyed it more.  I found the audio disjointing in that it wasn’t consistent in speed. I found myself adjusting the speed as the voices would speed up or slow down throughout. 

The story itself was interesting with some history playing a big part, I mean who isn't intrigued by the Franklin expedition to the Arctic.  The chapters were on the long side (30-40 pages) with a few short chapters intermixed.  Made it hard to read just one more chapter- yes I am one of those that can’t leave a book mid chapter.

An original idea for a story with the time machine and repercussions for those expats. The slower pace picked up for the last quarter where things really get interesting, the previous is getting to know the characters and world.

All in all and ok read.

This book was part of my 2024 Reading Off My Shelf Challenge.

Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Don't Ask, Don't Follow by Mary Keliikoa

Murder, dark family secrets, and the unwavering bond of sisterhood— regardless of the cost

Beth Ralston, a paralegal in Portland, Oregon, would rather be racking up billable hours than mingling at an office party— especially when her sister Lindsay, aka her plus one, is a no-show.

After making her obligatory rounds, Beth returns to her office to find that her boss, who she'd talked with moments before, has been murdered. She sees a woman fleeing the scene. Wait— was that Lindsay? Unable to catch up to her in time, Beth waits for the police to arrive and notices that Lindsay has left her phone behind with an unsent text message to Beth displayed on the screen: “ Don't ask. Don't follow.”

Lindsay is unreachable for days, and when Beth starts to come under suspicion for the crime, she decides that waiting is impossible. While retracing Lindsay's steps, determined to bring her home, Beth uncovers what her sister, an investigative reporter bent on changing the world, was trying to expose— corruption, secrets, and betrayal on an unimaginable level. Revealing the truth might bring back the one person she's desperate to find— but it could also destroy the only life and family Beth's ever known.

Kindle, 353 pages
Expected publication June 4, 2024
by Oceanview Publishing
4/5 stars

This is my first book by Mary Keliikoa, it grabbed my attention right away.

For Beth, a party at her family’s law firm ends in death and a cryptic message from her sister, Lindsey.  Basically, Don’t Ask Don’t Follow as she is seen fleeing the scene of the crime. Does Beth follow those instructions, of course not .

What follows is 350 pages of Beth trying to figure out why her boss was killed, why she’s being followed, what her sister is up to, along with secrets of the past that are about to be revealed. And should those secrets even be revealed at all

I really enjoyed this book. I found Beth to be likeable with her devotion to her sister. I found myself frustrated at times with her parents and other things that went on. It was your classic case of not knowing who to trust, believe and quietly whispering to my Kindle for Beth not to do some of the things she does

Don’t Ask Don't Follow is a story of family secrets and following your gut instinct. Like I said a new author for me and one I will definitely be taking another look at.

My thanks to Oceanview Publishing (via Netgalley) for a digital arc in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, May 27, 2024

Night Falls on Predicament Avenue by Jaime Jo Wright

In 1910, Effie James is living a dream for two. Her younger sister is harboring a secret that has left timid Effie determined to fulfill her daring sister's grand plan of seeking out adventure in their small Iowa town. When a British gentleman arrives, disrupting their peace with efforts to find the wife many claim lived her final days at the now abandoned house at 322 Predicament Avenue, Effie is thrust into intrigue she couldn't have prepared for. But what she finds inside will forever link her to the scandal staining the house's walls and to a woman whose secrets promise a curse.

A century later, Norah Richman is living out her late-twin's dream of running their great aunt's bed-and-breakfast on Predicament Avenue--a place Norah believes nothing good can come out of after her sister's abduction and murder thirteen years ago. Her first guest is a crime historian and podcaster, and Norah resolves to stay far away from the charming and enigmatic man--until another guest is found dead. As they dig deeper, something sinister unfurls that will reveal an ominous unknown far greater than the possibility of death itself.

Kindle, 344 pages
Published April 9, 2024
 by Bethany House Publishers
4/5 stars

Another captivating read in this dual timeline book by one of my auto-reads authors. Most Jaime Jo Wright's books have that same formula, it’s one that I enjoy and know that I will get a intriguing read.

With one storyline taking place in 1910, in a small town and the disappearance of a young woman. A century later, Nora is still suffering the loss of her sister 13 years previous. She was murdered and the case remains unsolved.  As a podcaster arrives in town it stirs up memories, suspicions and mayhem while hoping to solve the mystery.

One of the things I like about Jamie Jo Wright is the atmosphere she creates in her books. There is the Gothic feel with dark secrets and an almost supernatural vibe. She kept me on my toes yet again.

Night Falls on Predicament Avenue is a nice mystery, but also grief plays a big role along with a touch of romance. One of those books where I couldn’t quite figure out the bad guy until the end.

My thanks to Bethany House for a digital arc (via Netgalley) in exchange for a honest review.

Sunday, May 19, 2024

The Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George Speare

When his father returns East to collect the rest of the family, 13-year-old Matt is left alone to guard his family's newly built homestead. 

One day, Matt is brutally stung when he robs a bee tree for honey. He returns to consciousness to discover that his many stings have been treated by an old Native American and his grandson. Matt offers his only book as thanks, but the old man instead asks Matt to teach his grandson Attean to read. Both boys are suspicious, but Attean comes each day for his lesson. In the mornings, Matt tries to entice Attean with tales from Robinson Crusoe, while in the afternoons, Attean teaches Matt about wilderness survival and Native American culture. 

The boys become friends in spite of themselves, and their inevitable parting is a moving tribute to the ability of shared experience to overcome prejudice.


Paperback, 144 pages
Published May 1, 1993
 by Yearling
4/5 stars

This middle grade book was an audio read, coming in around the 3 hour mark and perfect for a road trip.

Told from the POV of 13 year old Matt, alone on the family homestead while his dad goes to bring his mom and sister home. This was more than an adventure story but rather an exploration of Native culture and friendship taking place before the American Revolution.

The original plan was that Matt‘s father would be gone for seven weeks and those seven weeks turn into many months. Even though he is only 13 years old, he is prepared and knows what to do. However, there are obstacles in his way in terms of man, animal and the unknown.

This was a fun read by talented author who knows her history and a great book not just for middle-aged readers but older ones as well.  It's a story of friendship, bravery and history.

I obtain the audiobook via cloudLibrary, but I also have a print on my shelf

Friday, May 17, 2024

Bride by Ali Hazelwood

A dangerous alliance between a Vampyre bride and an Alpha Werewolf becomes a love deep enough to sink your teeth into in this new paranormal romance.

Misery Lark, the only daughter of the most powerful Vampyre councilman of the Southwest, is an outcast—again. Her days of living in anonymity among the Humans are over: she has been called upon to uphold a historic peacekeeping alliance between the Vampyres and their mortal enemies, the Weres, and she sees little choice but to surrender herself in the exchange—again...

Weres are ruthless and unpredictable, and their Alpha, Lowe Moreland, is no exception. He rules his pack with absolute authority, but not without justice. And, unlike the Vampyre Council, not without feeling. It’s clear from the way he tracks Misery’s every movement that he doesn’t trust her. If only he knew how right he was….

Because Misery has her own reasons to agree to this marriage of convenience, reasons that have nothing to do with politics or alliances, and everything to do with the only thing she's ever cared about. And she is willing to do whatever it takes to get back what’s hers, even if it means a life alone in Were territory…alone with the wolf.

Hardcover, 400 pages
Published February 6, 2024 
by Berkley
3.5/5 stars

This is my first time reading in Ali Hazelwood book, I've seen her rom/coms about but this was a fantasy romance.

Misery Lark is a pawn for her father to do as he pleases. She is forced to marry a werewolf, and what follows is a year of changes.  It is not just the story of her marriage and the new lifestyle she has entered but it's also her search for a long lost friend. Her role has always been a pawn with no control of her own life. It was witty with some good banter, it was mysterious as attempts are made on her life and it was suspenseful as to what the outcome was going to be.

An enjoyable read with some twists, unique world building and relationships but ultimately Misery taking back her life. 

This was part of my 2024 reading off my shelf challenge.

Thursday, May 16, 2024

Finlay Donovan Is Killing It by Elle Cosimano

It’s murder being a hit-mom.

"Getting the job done" for one single mom takes on a whole new meaning in Finlay Donovan Is Killing It, a deliciously witty adult debut - the first in a brilliant new series from YA Edgar Award nominee Elle Cosimano.

Finlay Donovan is killing it...except, she’s really not. The new book she promised her literary agent isn’t written, her ex-husband fired the nanny without telling her, and this morning she had to send her four-year-old to school with hair duct-taped to her head.

When Finlay’s overheard discussing the plot of her new novel with her agent over lunch, she’s mistaken for a contract killer and inadvertently accepts an offer to dispose of a problem husband in order to make ends meet...and she soon discovers that crime in real life is a lot more difficult than its fictional counterpart.

Audiobook, 9 hours, 59 minutes
Angela Dawe (Narrator)
Published February 2, 2021
 by Macmillan Audio
5/5 stars

This is a series that I have seen around and around, however it wasn’t until I saw the cover reveal for book 5 in the series that I finally decided to bite the bullet and grabbed the audio from CloudLibrary.

Captivated right from the very beginning, I mean how could one not be with that opening. It isn’t hard to connect with Finlay.  The reader of this audio did a great job reading about this stressed-out single mom with financial difficulties, writers block, and an ex-husband and his fiancĂ© ready to take custody of her two kids.

It’s like one thing after another when she is thrown in the middle of murder mayhem. Donning her detective cap she sits out to solve a murder, write a book and try to keep her sanity.

Finlay Donovan Is Killing is such a great title, reflecting the story perfectly.  It's the story of single motherhood, misunderstandings and it is just plain funny with witty banter and an original plot, which was a refreshing change.

I can’t wait to read what she’s up to next and that cliffhanger sure has me wanting to begin it ASAP.

Sunday, May 12, 2024

A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas

FEYRE WILL BRING VENGEANCE.

She has left the Night Court - and her High Lord - and is playing a deadly game of deceit. In the Spring Court, Tamlin is making deals with the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees, and Feyre is determined to uncover his plans. But to do so she must weave a web of lies, and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well.

As mighty armies grapple for power, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords - and hunt for allies in unexpected places.

BUT WHILE WAR RAGES, IT IS HER HEART THAT WILL FACE THE GREATEST BATTLE.



Paperback, 705 pages
Published May 2, 2017
 by Bloomsbury Publishing
5/5 stars

Book 3 in the ACOTAR series lived up to everything I expected. Continuing right where Book 2 left off Feyre is on a mission of revenge and ending a war before it starts. But she isn't on her own.

I enjoyed book 1 in this series and loved book 2 - that ending!!  This one I loved as I got to know the characters and their history better. While the first half was somewhat slower paced but after that I struggled to put it down. A hybrid read for me, I was totally absorbed in the story. It was action packed, emotional and had so many layers.  The world building is intricate and layered.  

I can't wait to read A Court of Frost and Starlight next, thankfully a novella sized book.

I am still a YA fantasy newbie, this series sure has set the bar high.

This book was part of my 2024 Reading Off My Shelf Challenge

Saturday, May 11, 2024

The Shelterlings by Sarah Beth Durst

A group of magical misfit animals learns to appreciate their seemingly useless powers—and themselves—when they work together to thwart a villain’s attempt to steal their magic.

 Holly, a grey squirrel, and her animal friends have accepted that they will never be wizards’ familiars. Though they are each magical, their powers are so offbeat—Holly herself can conjure pastries (and only pastries)—that no professional magic-worker would choose any of them as a companion for noble quests. So instead of going on adventures, they languish at the Shelter for Rejected Familiars, where they are known as “shelterlings.” When an old friend appears with a plan for curing the shelterlings’ defective magic, everyone is on board to help him locate and retrieve the ingredients for a powerful spell. 

But when they learn that his offer is not what it seems, Holly and the shelterlings must fight to defend their magic, discovering in the process that their unorthodox skills may just be what is needed to save the day.

Hardcover, 247 pages
Published June 21, 2022
 by Clarion Books
4/5 stars

Middle grade is a genre that I enjoy reading, and this book was no exception. The cover was attractive enough for me to take a second glance and decided it needed to be on my shelf (can you spot the dragon in the background)?

Shelterlings is the story of what some might call misfit critters. Those animals that didn’t quite make the bar in the wizarding world and are sent to a, for lack of better word, a group home. Embarking on a quest that could solve their problems, these critters with special abilities ban together with one common goal.

This was a fun read. I enjoyed the variety of animals, the quirky personalities, the fun and often time dangerous adventures as well as the teamwork that played throughout. A great read that highlights teamwork, friendship and forgiveness. I recommend this fun book for kids but enjoyable for adults, like me.

This book was part of my 2024 reading off my shelf challenge.

Friday, May 10, 2024

Ruthless Vows by Rebecca Ross

The epic conclusion to the intensely romantic and beautifully written story that started in Divine Rivals.

Two weeks have passed since Iris Winnow returned home bruised and heartbroken from the front, but the war is far from over. Roman is missing, and the city of Oath continues to dwell in a state of disbelief and ignorance. When Iris and Attie are given another chance to report on Dacre’s movements, they both take the opportunity and head westward once more despite the danger, knowing it’s only a matter of time before the conflict reaches a city that’s unprepared and fracturing beneath the chancellor’s reign.

Since waking below in Dacre’s realm, Roman cannot remember his past. But given the reassurance that his memories will return in time, Roman begins to write articles for Dacre, uncertain of his place in the greater scheme of the war. When a strange letter arrives by wardrobe door, Roman is first suspicious, then intrigued. As he strikes up a correspondence with his mysterious pen pal, Roman will soon have to make a decision: to stand with Dacre or betray the god who healed him. And as the days grow darker, inevitably drawing Roman and Iris closer together…the two of them will risk their very hearts and futures to change the tides of the war.

Hardcover, 432 pages
Published December 26, 2023 
by Wednesday Books
4/5 stars

I can't believe I finished this book back in February and have not written my review for it. Especially since it was one of my highly anticipated books of 2024.

Ruthless Vows, book 2 in the Letters of Enchantment Duology, pretty much continues where Divine Rivals left off.  Iris Willows is home from the front, she has no idea where Roman is, whether he is hurt or even still alive.  Deep down though she knows he is alive and is now desperately trying to find him.

I enjoyed this duology, with the magical typewriter from book 1, the intricate world building and strong characters.  The storyline moved at a nice pace, kept my attention with the suspense and action.  There was a fitting conclusion and I will miss Iris and Roman,  as well as a few other characters.

If you like YA fantasy, a clean read and to be entertained then I highly recommend this series.  For myself, I am now on search for Rebecca Ross’s backlist as we await  something new.

This was part of my 2024 reading off my shelf challenge

Thursday, May 9, 2024

The Phoenix Crown by Kate Quinn and Janie Chang

From bestselling authors Janie Chang and Kate Quinn, a thrilling and unforgettable narrative about the intertwined lives of two wronged women, spanning from the chaos of the San Francisco earthquake to the glittering palaces of Versailles.

San Francisco, 1906. In a city bustling with newly minted millionaires and scheming upstarts, two very different women hope to change their fortunes: Gemma, a golden-haired, silver-voiced soprano whose career desperately needs rekindling, and Suling, a petite and resolute Chinatown embroideress who is determined to escape an arranged marriage. Their paths cross when they are drawn into the orbit of Henry Thornton, a charming railroad magnate whose extraordinary collection of Chinese antiques includes the fabled Phoenix Crown, a legendary relic of Beijing’s fallen Summer Palace.

His patronage offers Gemma and Suling the chance of a lifetime, but their lives are thrown into turmoil when a devastating earthquake rips San Francisco apart and Thornton disappears, leaving behind a mystery reaching further than anyone could have imagined . . . until the Phoenix Crown reappears five years later at a sumptuous Paris costume ball, drawing Gemma and Suling together in one last desperate quest for justice.

Paperback, 384 pages
Published February 13, 2024
 by William Morrow Paperbacks
3.5/5 stars

I am a huge fan of Kate Quinn, she’s an auto read for me. Janie Chang is relatively new to me.

The Phoenix Crown takes place before, during and after the great San Francisco earthquake. It is the story of 4 women connected through a man named Henry Thorton. He is in possession of the legendary Phoenix Crown. While this Crown plays a minor role it is the link that binds them together.

Not only does The Phoenix Crown give an authentic telling of what happened not just involving the earthquake but of the life style (i.e. the opera society, botany just to name a few things).  It is a story with many layers. There is the bond that connects these women towards a mutual goal, they have a unique friendship and have each other’s backs.

An entertaining and enlightening read.

This book was part of my 2024 reading off my shelf challenge.

Wednesday, May 8, 2024

The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley

Jess needs a fresh start. She’s broke and alone, and she’s just left her job under less than ideal circumstances. Her half-brother Ben didn’t sound thrilled when she asked if she could crash with him for a bit, but he didn’t say no, and surely everything will look better from Paris. Only when she shows up – to find a very nice apartment, could Ben really have afforded this? – he’s not there.

The longer Ben stays missing, the more Jess starts to dig into her brother’s situation, and the more questions she has. Ben’s neighbors are an eclectic bunch, and not particularly friendly. Jess may have come to Paris to escape her past, but it’s starting to look like it’s Ben’s future that’s in question.

The socialite – The nice guy – The alcoholic – The girl on the verge – The concierge

Everyone’s a neighbor. Everyone’s a suspect. And everyone knows something they’re not telling.

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Guest List comes a new locked room mystery, set in a Paris apartment building in which every resident has something to hide…

Paperback, 368 pages
Published February 22, 2022
 by William Morrow
4/5 stars

This book has been on my shelf since it’s release back in 2022. Sometimes you need a little extra push with certain books and while there was no reason why I didn’t start this. It is the fact that in a few short weeks I will be meeting Lucy Foley at an event here in Canada.

The book begins with a chapter that grabbed my attention right away. And then what follows is a cast of characters and their various points of view. When Ben's sister comes to town and cannot locate him she sets out on a quest find out what happened.

There’s so many aspects to the story that kept me guessing, suspicious of pretty much everyone. The twist and turns kept me on my toes with an ending that was not anticipated at all.  The Pairs Apartment is a well written puzzle where all the pieces come together nicely in the end. I should have listened to the hype and read this sooner so that I can now go through her backlist and see what I have been missing.

This book was about 2024 reading off my shelf challenge.

Tuesday, May 7, 2024

If Something Happens to Me by Alex Finlay

For the past five years, Ryan Richardson has relived that terrible night. The car door ripping open. The crushing blow to the head. The hands yanking him from the vehicle. His girlfriend Ali’s piercing scream as she is taken.

With no trace of Ali or the car, a cloud of suspicion hangs over Ryan. But with no proof and a good lawyer, he’s never charged, though that doesn’t matter to the podcasters and internet trolls. Now, Ryan has changed his last name, and entered law school. He's put his past behind him.

Until, on a summer trip abroad to Italy with his law-school classmates, Ryan gets a call from his father: Ali's car has finally been found, submerged in a lake in his hometown. Inside are two dead men and a cryptic note with five words written on the envelope in Ali’s handwriting: If something happens to me…

Then, halfway around the world, the unthinkable happens: Ryan sees the man who has haunted his dreams since that night.

As Ryan races from the rolling hills of Tuscany, to a rural village in the UK, to the glittering streets of Paris in search of the truth, he has no idea that his salvation may lie with a young sheriff’s deputy in Kansas working her first case, and a mobster in Philadelphia who’s experienced tragedy of his own.

In classic Alex Finlay form, If Something Happens to Me is told by several distinct, compelling characters whose paths intersect, detonating into a story of twist after pulse-pounding twist. The novel cements Finlay as one of the leading thriller writers today.

Kindle Edition, 336 pages
Expected publication May 28, 2024 
by Minotaur Books
4/5 stars

This is my 3rd Alex Finlay read and when I think of him I know I’ll get a twisty story with characters I like and root for...well maybe not all of them but you know what I mean. If Something Happens To Me was that kind of read.

Beginning with that mysterious night 5 years prior I read a story with multiple POVs (that weren’t confusing), lots of characters, locations and intrigue.

If Something Happens To Me is the story of Ryan and his search for the truth of what happened 5 years ago and why.  There were many twists, red herrings and a nice fast pace that kept me turning the pages. It has a release date of May 28th, I highly recommended for those that love to get lost in the pages.

My thanks to Minotaur Books for a digital arc (via Netgalley) in exchange for a honest review.

Monday, May 6, 2024

The Secret Keeper by Genevieve Graham

From USA TODAY and internationally bestselling author Genevieve Graham comes a gripping World War II novel about two sisters who join the war effort—one as a codebreaker and the other as a pilot—and the secrets that threaten to tear them apart. Perfect for fans of The Rose Code and The Nightingale .

Twin sisters Dot and Dash Wilson share many things, and while they are practically inseparable, they are nothing alike. Dot is fascinated by books, puzzles, and Morse code, a language taught to both girls by their father, a WWI veteran. Dash’s days are filled with fixing engines, dancing with friends, and dreaming of flying airplanes. Almost always at their side is their best friend Gus—until war breaks out and he enlists in the army, deploying to an unknown front.

Determined to do their duty, both girls join the WRENS, Dash as a mechanic and Dot as a typist. Before long, Dot’s fixation on patterns and numbers takes her from HMCS Coverdale, a covert listening and codebreaking station working with Bletchley Park in England, to Camp X, a top-secret spy school. But when personal tragedy strikes the family, Dot’s oath of secrecy causes a rift between the sisters.

Eager to leave her pain behind, Dash jumps at the opportunity to train as a pilot with the Air Transport Auxiliary, where she risks her life to ferry aircraft and troops across the battlefields of Europe. Meanwhile Dot is drawn into the Allies’ preparations for D-Day. But Dot’s loyalties are put to the test once more when someone close to her goes missing in Nazi-occupied territory. With everyone’s eyes on Operation Overlord, Dot must use every skill at her disposal to save those she loves before it’s too late.

Inspired by the real-life stories of women in World War II, The Secret Keeper is an extraordinary novel about the unbreakable bonds of sisterhood and the light of courage during the darkest of nights.
Paperback, 448 pages
Published April 2, 2024
 by Simon & Schuster
4/5 stars

Genevieve Graham is synonymous with writing books about little known facts in Canadian history. I have learned so much from her stories.

The Secret Keeper is the story of twin sisters, opposite in personalities and interest. One has taken to engines and airplanes while the other loves a good puzzle and attention to detail.

It is in the early years of the war, but these two women have the desire to help in someway.  While working in separate locations they can still communicate, until tragedy strikes.  Their relationship is fractured. I found the book had a slow beginning but around the 40% mark things picked up and I was captivated.  It was being educated and entertained, reading the struggles women faced and learning about Hydra and Camp X - they didn't teach that in my history classes.  Like I said Graham has a passion for Canadian history and that shines through in her writing.

The Secret Keeper is a story of family, secrets and healing.  The author notes at the end were great to read. They gave the author's inspiration, her research and a lovely list of books for those that would like to read more about Hydra and Camp X.  

If you enjoy HF off the beaten path, then I highly recommend Genevieve Graham.. 

This book was part of my 2024 Reading Off My Shelf Challenge

Sunday, May 5, 2024

The New Couple in 5B by Lisa Unger

A couple inherits an apartment with a spine-tingling past in this binge-worthy thriller from the New York Times bestselling author of Secluded Cabin Sleeps Six.

Rosie and Chad Lowan are barely making ends meet in New York City when they receive life-changing news: Chad’s late uncle has left them his luxury apartment at the historic Windermere in glamorous Murray Hill. With its prewar elegance and impeccably uniformed doorman, the building is the epitome of old New York charm. One would almost never suspect the dark history lurking behind its perfectly maintained facade.

At first, the building and its eclectic tenants couldn’t feel more welcoming. But as the Lowans settle into their new home, Rosie starts to suspect that there’s more to the Windermere than meets the eye. Why is the doorman ever-present? Why are there cameras everywhere? And why have so many gruesome crimes occurred there throughout the years? When one of the neighbors turns up dead, Rosie must get to the truth about the Windermere before she, too, falls under its dangerous spell.

Kindle Edition, 387 pages
Published March 5, 2024
 by Park Row
2.5/5 stars

This is my second Lisa book,  Seclude Cabin Sleeps Six was my first.

Sometimes its hard to read a book when you struggle to like the characters. because that's what happened here.  The saving grace was that I was genuinely curious about what was going on and what the ending would reveal.  Some of my guesses were partial correct.

Having inherited an apartment from a recently deceased uncle life is supposed to improve life for Rosie and Chad.  The financial worry is put to rest however that is not what happened. This was a twisty story with a cast of characters that lacked personality. They were lots of redherrings with some supernatural elements that I did not anticipate.

The New Couple in 5B was a book I was hoping to love but unfortunately it was just an OK read for me.

This book was part of my 2024 reading off my shelf challenge

Monday, April 29, 2024

Miss Morgan's Book Brigade by Janet Skeslien Charles

1918: As the Great War rages, Jessie Carson takes a leave of absence from the New York Public Library to work for the American Committee for Devastated France. Founded by millionaire Anne Morgan, this group of international women help rebuild devastated French communities just miles from the front. Upon arrival, Jessie strives to establish something that the French have never seen—children’s libraries. She turns ambulances into bookmobiles and trains the first French female librarians. Then she disappears.

1987: When NYPL librarian and aspiring writer Wendy Peterson stumbles across a passing reference to Jessie Carson in the archives, she becomes consumed with learning her fate. In her obsessive research, she discovers that she and the elusive librarian have more in common than their work at New York’s famed library, but she has no idea their paths will converge in surprising ways across time.

Kindle, 352 pages
Expected publication April 30, 2024
 by Atria Books
3/5 stars

I loved the author's first book, The Paris Library, a story about forgotten women in history. I anticipated the same thing with Miss Morgan's Book Brigade (yea its a mouthful) and that is what I got. 

It’s near the end of the World War 1 when Jessie Carson, a 40-year-old library employee, is accepted by the daughter of JP Morgan into the CARD program. CARD - American Committee for Devastated France.  I have never heard of this program before and was treated to a glimpse of women helping restore France after the war.

There are things I enjoyed about this book, mostly the lesson in the effort of  American, Canadian and Australian women doing their part to restore France.  The library program was used to connect with those left with nothing, the war took more then just the men. It was great to see the importance of reading and how it affected the women in France, who were left alone as a result of the war.

There were also things I struggled with, mostly this was a tell story with a number of info dumps. I had to remind myself many times that this was a 40-year-old woman while her character did not always feel like it. It was slow paced and the timeline for 1987 was sparse though finally at the end everything fit together.

All in all an informative read that I liked.

My thanks to Atria Books for a digital arc in exchange for a honest review.

Sunday, April 28, 2024

Twenty-Seven Minutes by Ashley Tate

Phoebe Dean was the most popular girl alive and dead.

For the last ten years, the small, claustrophobic town of West Wilmer has been struggling to understand one thing: Why did it take young Grant Dean twenty-seven minutes to call for help on the fateful night of the car accident that took the life of his beloved sister, Phoebe?

Someone knows what really happened the night Phoebe died. Someone who is ready to tell the truth.

With Phoebe's memorial in just three days, grief, delusion, ambition, and regret tornado together with biting gossip in a town full of people obsessed with a long-gone tragedy with four people at its heart—the caretaker, the secret girlfriend, the missing bad boy, and a former football star. Just kids back then, are forever tied together the fateful rainy night Phoebe died.



Paperback, 360 pages
Published January 23, 2024
 by Doubleday Canada
2.5/5 stars

An intriguing cover with an enticing blurb had me pre-ordering this book.

Twenty-seven minutes is the time that elapsed from when the accident happened until help was called.  So what happened in that space of time? 

It’s been 10 years since that night, with Phoebe's mother still grieving she has planned a memorial to remember her daughter. This book had great potential but I found the multiple POV‘s with similar characters a little confusing. For me the story dragged and felt repetitive.  As for the twists and ending it did catch me off guard but the extremely slow build up took away from that.

This book was part of my 2024 Reading Off My Shelf Challenge 

Sunday, April 21, 2024

Days at the Morisaki Bookshop by Satoshi Yagisawa

The moving international sensation about new beginnings, human connection, and the joy of reading.

Hidden in Jimbocho, Tokyo, is a booklover's paradise. On a quiet corner in an old wooden building lies a shop filled with hundreds of second-hand books.

Twenty-five-year-old Takako has never liked reading, although the Morisaki bookshop has been in her family for three generations. It is the pride and joy of her uncle Satoru, who has devoted his life to the bookshop since his wife Momoko left him five years earlier.

When Takako's boyfriend reveals he's marrying someone else, she reluctantly accepts her eccentric uncle's offer to live rent-free in the tiny room above the shop. Hoping to nurse her broken heart in peace, Takako is surprised to encounter new worlds within the stacks of books lining the Morisaki bookshop.

As summer fades to autumn, Satoru and Takako discover they have more in common than they first thought. The Morisaki bookshop has something to teach them both about life, love, and the healing power of books.

Paperback, 150 pages
Published July 4, 2023
 by Harper Perennial
3/5 stars

This was a relatively quick read, coming in at 147 pages, I suppose a bit longer than a short story and possibly the size of a novella. This was the author's debut published in 2009 and has since been translated to English.

Like I said a quick read, the story of a 25-year-old girl as her life takes a change in direction. She is suddenly working at a used bookstore that is owned by an uncle she has not seen in years. What follows is her life, the life of the uncle whose wife has left him five years previous. All this is recap in blurb.

The Morisake bookshop is a story of new beginnings, family dynamics and grief. It was a fun read, nothing spectacular jumped out at me and at times I would have liked more. There is a sequel to this book so maybe at some point in time I will read it and see what Takako is up to.

This book was part of my 2024 reading off my shelf challenge.

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

The Husbands by Holly Gramazio

When Lauren returns home to her flat in London late one night, she is greeted at the door by her husband, Michael. There’s only one problem—she’s not married. She’s never seen this man before in her life. But according to her friends, her much-improved decor, and the photos on her phone, they’ve been together for years.

As Lauren tries to puzzle out how she could be married to someone she can’t remember meeting, Michael goes to the attic to change a lightbulb and abruptly disappears. In his place, a new man emerges, and a new, slightly altered life re-forms around her. Realizing that her attic is creating an infinite supply of husbands, Lauren confronts the question: If swapping lives is as easy as changing a lightbulb, how do you know you’ve taken the right path? When do you stop trying to do better and start actually living?

Paperback, 352 pages
Published April 2, 2024
by Doubleday Canada
2.5/5 stars

This book was an impulse buy for me, and sometimes those work out and sometimes they don't. It's also a ReadwithJenna pick. Again sometimes these celebrity picks work and sometimes they don't.

Let me warn you, I'm going against the flow with my thoughts on this one. The premise is intriguing - imagine coming home single only to find your husband waiting for you in your flat. And it's set in England, which is one of my favorite settings. But it doesn't take long for Lauren to realize she can exchange her husband by sending him back up to the attic and a new one appears. So many questions arise, like how does this happen and how does one stay sane after going through hundreds of husbands?

The writing was good, and I enjoyed getting to know Lauren and her quirky personality, she was kinda flat though. But after 150 pages I was wondering what the point of the book was. And even after 260 pages, I was left scratching my head. Maybe 352 pages was a bit longish. 

I usually like magical realism books with a touch of sci-fi or supernatural elements, but in this case, the magical attic is never really explained. The ending was sudden and fitting, but not satisfying because I didn't feel like I got a clear takeaway from the story.

This book was part of my 2024 Reading Off My Shelf Challenge

Monday, April 8, 2024

The Hike by Lucy Clarke

THE PERFECT DAY FOR A HIKE

Leaving behind their everyday lives, four friends hike out into the beautiful Norwegian wild – nothing between them and the mountain peak but forest, sea and sharp blue sky.

THE PERFECT PLACE TO DISAPPEAR

But there’s a darker side to the wilderness. A woman went missing here one year ago, scarring the mountain with suspicion and unanswered questions.

Now, the friends are hiking into the heart of the mystery. And waiting on the trail is someone who’d do anything to keep their secrets buried – and to stop the group walking away alive . . .



Paperback, 378 pages
Published April 27, 2023
 by HarperCollins
3.5/5 stars

The Hike is the story of four women, friends who embark on an annual retreat. This time it’s the Scandinavian wilderness, to escape their lives and reconnect with each other. As well as enjoy nature as they have never experienced before. What they got was so much more then they bargained for.

Each woman comes with a different story. They are in different situations in life, for some there is invisible pain and hurt, secrets kept from each other and themselves that are slowly revealed during this hike.  But it's also the mystery and danger of the unknown once these women feel the danger of the environment and mankind. Ultimately fearing for their lives, they stumble across a secret hidden for years and those that wish to keep it hidden.

I did a hybrid read (audio and book), which helped me zip through this read.  It was atmospheric, mysterious, a nice blend of women's fiction and suspense.  This is my first Lucy Clarke read, I will be checking out her backlist.

This book was part of my 2024 Reading Off My Shelf Challenge