What I Read: June 27-July 3

The Marlow Murder Club (The Marlow Murder Club #1) by Robert Thorogood: This is like the Thursday Murder Club combined with Golden Girls – I enjoyed the cast of characters and the mystery was interesting (and caught me by surprise a few times!) Thank you Poisoned Pen Press for the finished copy!

Float Plan (Beck Sisters #1) by Trish Doller: I loved this so much more than I thought I would. Anna’s development throughout the book felt realistic and emotional, and the descriptions of the ocean and islands were like taking a little vacation. And, of course, Keane was super dreamy and a perfect book boyfriend. I don’t want to wait too long to grab book two!

Slightly Dangerous (Bedwyn Saga #6) by Mary Balogh: My journey through the Bedwyn Saga has been a bit of a rollercoaster, but the payoff was worth it (granted, I totally skipped book five). Wulfric’s story is absolutely worth a read, but I would highly recommend reading at least some of the other books in the series before picking this up. Wulfric is like Mr. Darcy cranked up to 1,000 and I absolutely loved every part of the reading experience. Now I need to decide which Mary Balogh series to tackle next: The Survivors’ Club or the Simply Quartet.

CURRENTLY READING: I’m about a quarter of the way through Shady Hollow (Shady Hollow #1) by Juneau Black, which i’m enjoying so far.

What I Read: March 14-20

On the Way to the Wedding (Bridgerton #8) by Julia Quinn: The Bridgerton series ended on a little bit of an odd note. Gregory is kind of the forgotten Bridgerton sibling – only popping up a handful of times (and really, for a sentence or two) in some of the previous books. This story is cute enough on its own, but it was a bit too drawn out and a little too lackluster for me to really have enjoyed it. However, I completed my goal of finishing the series before season two starts on Netflix, so i’m calling this a win.

The Ravenous Dead (Gravekeeper #2) by Darcy Coates: This was a decent continuation of the series, but I felt like it was a little repetitive in places (I enjoyed book #1 just a smidge more). The secondary characters still shine in this one, with one, in particular, stealing a scene or two towards the end. This is categorized as horror, but it’s really more of a cozy mystery with some spooky elements. Thank you Poisoned Pen Press for the ARC!

Busted (Will Trent #6.5) and Unseen (Will Trent #7) by Karin Slaughter: I have one more book left in the Will Trent series (book #10, since I read book #8 and book #9 completely out of order a few years ago) and I am DISTRAUGHT. Unseen was particularly upsetting because a huge part of the plot revolves around a much-loathed character from the Grant County series (but the book is incredible, as always. It’s a character you love to hate). PRO TIP: If you have not read any Karin Slaughter books, either pick up a standalone (I’d recommend Pretty Girls) or start the Grant County series from the beginning.

Space Junk (Space #1) by Sara L. Hudson: This was my most pleasant surprise of the week. I downloaded this book on my Kindle after it came highly recommended from a beloved friend (and it was only $.99, I think). This is a romcom, heavy on the comedy part – some moments had me laughing out loud! I’m also adding Flynn to my unofficial list of book boyfriends. The best part? There’s an entire series, featuring the supporting cast we met in Space Junk, and it’s available on Kindle Unlimited. My only dilemma is between purchasing the series on its own or finally signing up for KU again.

Danger on the Atlantic (Jane Wunderly #3) by Erica Ruth Neubauer: I’ll be honest – this is a cute historical cozy mystery series, but Redvers is really who keeps me coming back for more (he’s so dreamy. Think part James Bond, part Sherlock Holmes). Danger on the Atlantic takes place on a cruise ship, so there’s somewhat of a locked room mystery element at play. Thank you Kensington for the ARC!

The Last House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward: This was an odd book. I could tell it was written with the intent to perplex and confuse the reader, but I was pretty aware of the main “twist” right from the start. There are some really sad and awful reveals in the last bit of the book, but they feel a bit rushed and left without much explanation. Overall, it’s just incredibly sad – but worth a read.

CURRENTLY READING: I started The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by VE Schwab last night – I pretty much ignored this when it was getting a lot of hype, but I ended up with a copy of the book so I figured it’s worth a try. I like it so far, but i’m not even 50 pages in yet.

What I Read: Feb. 21-27

Don’t Cry for Me by Daniel Black: This is a heartbreaking story of a dying father communicating with his son through a series of letters. It’s a quick, emotional read, but I found myself getting frustrated with the father’s excuses for his abusive behavior and was really hoping we would get some sort of perspective from the son at the end.

Hook, Line and Sinker (Bellinger Sisters #2) by Tessa Bailey (available 03/01/2022): I was so excited when this showed up in the mail (Thank you Avon!) I loved It Happened One Summer when I read it a few weeks ago, and I was really looking forward to reading more about Hannah and Fox. Although each book has its strengths (and weaknesses), both are really fun contemporary romance reads.

The Book of Accidents by Chuck Wendig: I should have learned my lesson when I read Wanderers in 2019, but I had high hopes for this book. There are some really great bits here, but ultimately the story is disjointed and there are a lot of (seemingly important) things that don’t get much detail and a few things that get way too much detail. The very end is really fantastic, but I couldn’t wait for this one to be over.

The Whispering Dead (Gravekeeper #1) by Darcy Coates: I read my first book by Darcy Coates (The Haunting of Leigh Harker) and absolutely LOVED it, so I was excited to start this series. I think I need to manage expectations for this book: this is NOT horror. It’s more of a cozy mystery-ish story with some spooky elements (yay ghosts!) The pacing is a little off, but overall it’s a fun, quick read with a really lovable cast of characters. I also have an early copy of book two, The Ravenous Dead (available 03/15/2022), sitting on my shelf (Thank you Poisoned Pen Press!)

CURRENTLY READING: In an effort to finally finish the Bridgerton series, I’ve picked up It’s in His Kiss (Bridgerton #7) by Julia Quinn and i’m loving it so far. Hyacinth and Gareth are both delightful characters, and i’m always ready for more Lady Danbury content.

REVIEW – The Summoning by J.P. Smith

“There were no such things as ghosts. There was just memory and suggestion.”

Kit, a widow whose husband died on 9/11, is trying to make ends meet – she’s an actress but jobs are few and far between. Her only daughter, Zoey, is in the hospital and the bills are piling up. Kit spends her time masquerading as a medium, providing closure to those who have lost loved ones and making enough money just to scrape by each month. But then she meets an interesting stranger in a bar. And her seances start to feel much more real…

Phew, this was sad. You can’t help but feel awful for Kit. I was concerned at first when I saw that this book included a 9/11 mention, but it was handled really well. Kit’s husband’s death was just a real part of her life. The manner in which it happened didn’t dominate the book or contribute too heavily to the plot.

I hesitate to give too much away because I enjoyed uncovering bits and pieces of Kit’s story as I read. It was difficult to know what was really going on throughout the course of the book, which I feel was intentional. Ultimately, although the story all comes together by the final chapter, things went in a direction I wasn’t expecting. I found that a few ends were left…unfinished. I think a few elements could have been explored a bit more.

Overall The Summoning was a solid, creepy read. Thank you Poisoned Pen Press for the ARC!

COZY MYSTERY REVIEW – It Takes Two to Mango by Carrie Doyle

Let’s get this out of the way: you’re probably going to hate Plum. She’s pretentious and mean and makes a lot of really nasty assumptions about people. However, Plum does grow as a person (no, really) and by the end of the book you might almost…like her? Or at least tolerate her.

The mystery is interesting (and a bit tough to solve) in this book, and the setting is just fantastic. Overall, a solid start to a new series.

Thank you Poisoned Pen Press for the ARC!