What I Read: March 6-12

A Most Intriguing Lady by Sarah Ferguson: This is an interesting historical romance, leaning more in the style of Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer rather than your standard modern-day HR. I had a lot of fun following Mary and Tre’s story (this takes place over the span of a few years which was an unexpected but refreshingly realistic touch). Thank you Bibliolifestyle and Avon for the finished copy!

Exposed (VIP #4) by Kristen Callihan: This is a recommendation that I picked up from a BookTube video and it was…fine. I liked Rye and Brenna, but this book might have been more enjoyable if I would have read other books in the series first (which is completely my fault!) I would consider picking up some of the other books, but my tbr is so long already that i’m not sure this was compelling enough to bump other books out of the way.

I Will Find You by Harlan Coben: Harlan Coben is always a sure thing for me and I Will Find You was no exception. I read this book in less than twelve hours (which is pretty par for the course with any Coben novel). I mean, it has a boy (potentially) back from the dead, a VERY anxiety-inducing prison escape, and a plot that never stops. Harlan, i’m sorry you spent probably a year or more writing this, and I devoured it in half a day. One of the best things about his books is that they’re all set in the same universe, so you’ll start to notice little mentions and characters from other books. Thankfully, I have a LOT of Harlan Coben backlist to get through, so I won’t be TOO impatient waiting for his next release. Thank you Novel Suspects and Grand Central Publishing for the ARC!

The Bribe (Calamity Montana #1) by Willa Nash and Devney Perry: This is a perfectly serviceable contemporary romance, but it felt incredibly insta-lovey and there is some intense melodrama introduced toward the end that felt a bit over the top. I still read it in a day, though, so maybe it wasn’t so bad. I do wish that the town of Calamity felt more like its own character, but i’m guessing it might play a larger part in subsequent books in the series.

Hang the Moon (Written in the Stars #2) by Alexandria Bellefleur: This was cute, but I’ll probably forget most of the details in a week. The book equivalent of cotton candy: enjoyable in the moment and a nice little treat, but ultimately it’s all sugar, zero substance.

What I Read: April 4-10

Caste by Isabel Wilkerson: I’m a little late to the party with this one (it seems like everyone I know has already read this), but i’m so glad I finally picked it up. Caste reads smoothly, but the subject matter is difficult. I ended up reading this in smaller chunks, taking the time to digest Wilkerson’s writing (and also allowing myself to read a few lighter, less serious things in between). If you’re interested in an in-depth look how slavery’s ripple effect impacts our country today, this is a great choice. Caste feels very academic but without a heavy-handed, overly collegiate tone – Wilkerson breaks her findings down into digestible chapters and never makes the reader feel silly or uneducated for not knowing parts of our country’s history.

Who Is Maud Dixon? by Alexandra Andrews: Phew this was a RIDE! The tone of this book is unlike most thrillers i’ve read in the past, which made it feel fresh and original. I had some theories about where this would end up (I was partially right, partially wrong) but after it hit a certain point, I couldn’t wait to find out how it ended. Thank you Novel Suspects for the finished copy!

Galatea by Madeline Miller: I’ll buy and read anything Madeline Miller writes, so I had to order this short story (which is bound in the prettiest, tiniest little book). This is only 50-ish pages long, so it won’t do me any good to give you a recap. If you’ve enjoyed Miller’s writing in the past, give this a read.

Grown by Tiffany D. Jackson: Grown has been on my radar for ages. The ripped-from-the-headlines story follows Enchanted, a Black teenager with dreams of becoming a singer. Enchanted is BUSY – she’s an athlete, a high school student, and a big sister who steps in (more often than she’d like sometimes) to care for her younger siblings. A chance encounter puts her in the sights of 28-year-old R&B star Korey Fields, who immediately takes a liking to her (ick. I’m sure you can guess where this is going.) Although this was just a touch too YA for me (that’s a me problem, not a book problem – this is very clearly a YA book!) and there were a few aspects of the plot that I didn’t love, I think it’s an especially valuable book that shows young readers how easy it is for dangerous adults to manipulate and deceive teens (even when they think they’re “grown”).

The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell: I have complained many times about struggling to find horror books that actually scare me. Well, thanks to The Silent Companions, I now realize that I have a splinter phobia.

Paradise Cove (Matchmaker Bay #2) by Jenny Holiday: I really enjoyed the first book in this series and found myself more interested in the side characters than the main couple, which made Paradise Cove a must-read. Jake is featured somewhat in book one, and we know he has an incredibly tragic past. Nora is new to town, and they quickly become friends. I liked this and would recommend it, but it includes a trope that I’m not particularly fond of. However, I definitely plan to pick up book three.

CURRENTLY READING: A Night to Surrender (Spindle Cove #1) by Tessa Dare

What I Read: March 28-April 3

The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs by Steven Brusatte: As a dinosaur-obsessed kid from the 90s (Jurassic Park hit theaters the day before I turned six so it was pretty much fate), this book caught my eye a few years ago. And then…sat on my shelf for way too long. Fellow dino-loving kids, you need to give this a read (Brusatte’s casual but relentless roasting of T-Rex’s “teeny, tiny, laughably small, useless, weak arms” is just a bonus).

A Princess in Theory (Reluctant Royals #1) by Alyssa Cole: This story is one part The Princess Diaries and one part Black Panther with a dash of Cinderella, and it’s a delight. Thabiso is well-meaning, although a bit naive (being a sheltered, coddled prince will have that effect), and Naledi is a whip-smart, independent woman…who could stand to be vulnerable sometimes. A LOT happens in this book which was both a strength and a weakness – it’s a complete, well-rounded story with a very solid plot (and some great side plots!) but it did feel just a tad too long at some points.

CURRENTLY READING: Caste by Isabel Wilkerson and Who is Maud Dixon? by Alexandra Andrews (Thank you Novel Suspects for the finished copy!)

REVIEW – An Ambush of Widows by Jeff Abbott

I’ve had some not-so-great luck with new thrillers lately. As a longtime fan of the genre, I was struggling to pinpoint if either newer thrillers just weren’t good (to me, at least) or if I finally became burned out on the genre.

Well, kudos to Jeff Abbott for reminding me why I loved thrillers in the first place! An Ambush of Widows was a pleasant surprise. Sure, the synopsis sounded intriguing. But this exceeded my expectations by a mile.

So many chapters are left on a cliffhanger, and you have to make it through a few chapters from differing perspectives before you get your answers. Abbott drops clever clues throughout, and even though I had it (somewhat) figured out with a decent amount of the book left, there were still things I missed.

If you’re feeling a little disenchanted by the thriller genre as a whole, pick up An Ambush of Widows. It just might reignite your love of twisty, mysterious novels.

Thank you Novel Suspects for the ARC!

REVIEW – Win by Harlan Coben

Win was easily one of my most anticipated reads of the year. I’ve only read a handful of Harlan Coben’s books so far, but he quickly became one of my favorite writers.

If you’ve read any of his Myron Bolitar series, you know (and probably love) Win. I was excited for the opportunity to read a book that had Win at its center, and this didn’t disappoint. For those who don’t know, Windsor Horne Lockwood III, better known as just Win, is rich. No, not like…rich like someone you know in real life. Not rich like a celebrity. But RICH. Seriously, disgustingly, unimaginably so. He’s also handsome, cunning, manipulative and…lethal. Win is a little bit like Bruce Wayne, minus the bat costume.

Win’s suitcase and a priceless family painting (lost some 20 years ago) are found in the home of a recluse who has been murdered. Win has no idea how it got there but he has an inkling that it might be related to the kidnapping (and eventual escape) of his cousin Patricia.

As always, Coben manages to write a twisty, fun thriller that keeps readers on their toes. I’d recommend giving one or two of my Myron Bolitar books a try first, so you’re already acquainted with Win before reading his story.

Thank you Novel Suspects for the ARC!