Read it: 5 Library Books

I’m on vacation and hopefully have been reading my big eyes out on the couch or by the pool. 

One random day in January, I decided I needed to get a library card. Why I needed to have access to more books? I have no idea. But luck would have it, the local library had evening hours that night.

Over the course of January and February, I listened to or read the following books. I took out more than that, but returned them if I wasn’t interested in reading them.

Evie Drake Starts Over: A Novel (Linda Holmes)

Tl;dr: Former pro baseball player meets slightly odd fixer widow; romance ensues, they fix each other.

I liked the characters, even if there wasn’t much dimension. Then, you don’t always need depth to tell the story. It was funny, sarcastic, and decently written, but there wasn’t any braining going on on my part. It was cute if predictable, but what I needed to read after Mine.

Big Girl Panties (Stephanie Evanovich)

Tl;dr: Woman meets trainer; training; they fall in love. She’s not his type. They’re over it.

I’ve read this book before but still like it. Sure, it’s the ugly duckling meets romance novel trope, but with some funny writing and (mostly) likable characters. It irked me that the timeline didn’t mesh with The Sweet Spot, but meh. Also, hot guys can dig big chicks. It’s allowed.

Some of them I listened to in the car instead of podcasts.

Curious Minds (Janet Evanovich, Pheof Sutton)

Tl;dr: Finance chick assigned to quirky rich dude; adventure ensues. They get out of trouble and save the day.

The story was quite likable and funny. I’d have preferred to have read it, not listened to it. In my mind, the characters had specific voices which the narrator did not portray. However, the characters are quirky, fun, and I’m hoping they have many more adventures to take us on.

Dangerous Minds (Janet Evanovich)

Tl;dr:Finance chick assigned to quirky rich dude; adventure ensues. They get out of trouble and save the day.

Like Curious Minds, this was likable and funny. It introduced some new characters but let you get to know the rest better. It was more far fetched than the first one, but why not? There’s a budding unlikely romance brewing in a slightly more than cozy mystery kind of way.

The Sweet Spot (Stephanie Evanovich)

Tl;dr: Baseball player meets restaurant owner; she makes him work for dates; romance and scandal ensue.

Oh Amanda and Chase. I wanted to like this book more, but I didn’t love it. The whole thing was about games. His games, her games, their games. I liked how it took a kind of kink and normalized it so that maybe other good girls could get theirs too.

Using today’s Amazon prices for the above, my library card saved me $65.19 and lots of space on the shelf.

Read it! The Inheritance Murders

 The Inheritance Murders by E.L Johnson was provided for me at no cost through my partnership with NetGalley. The thoughts are my own. You can see other books I’ve reviewed here.

I was going through my NetGalley and a little overwhelmed with the number of books left to review. Rather than freak out and take a nap. I just decided to pick one and read the damn thing.

I’ve started doing this thing where I actually allow myself to put books down at the 51% mark if they don’t hold my interest. What? Yes. I’m sorry authors who put their time into the books, not every book is for every person!

I had read some reviews that this one wasn’t very good and was hard to follow. I figured since I’ve read some M.J. Rose books and others with difficult plots or story lines, I’d give it a whirl.

I wasn’t disappointed. Heads up, this isn’t a cozy mystery. There are some very steamy parts.

From Amazon:

Crystal works as a personal assistant, but when her boss turns up sick, it is up to her to go to a rich client’s house and support him as his family prepares for his uncle’s passing. Finding her boss’ sex-filled emails makes Crystal determined to stay professional at all costs…until she meets the client’s brother, who is exactly her type of sexy. When the uncle dies under suspicious circumstances, Crystal takes on more duties than your average PA: funeral tasks, investigating multiple deaths, searching a haunted house and becoming a sexual playmate. But, someone doesn’t want her around, and they’re willing to kill to keep their inheritance. Too bad for them that Crystal’s got a few tricks of her own. In this tale of sex, murder and ghosts, sometimes the hired help is a bit more than average, and sometimes bodies just won’t stay dead..

This book was better than the questionable reviews merited. While there wasn’t a whole lot of depth to the characters, they were likable enough (or not) as they should have been for the plot and it worked for this book. The plot was certainly the focus. While you had to keep parts straight, it was like a puzzle coming together. There were a few small twists, but you could sort of see them coming.

I think this would make a fun movie, like Clue. The ending left an opening for Crystal to have another book and I’d read that too.

Read it! MINE

MINE by Courtney Cole was provided for me at no cost through my partnership with NetGalley. The thoughts are my own. You can see other books I’ve reviewed here.

I had actually read this one year or so ago, but when I realized I hadn’t reviewed it, I had to re-read it.

No biggie, it’s a decently quick read and mostly enjoyable in a twisted sort of way.

From Amazon:

When Tessa Taylor unlocked her husband Ethan’s iPad to discover nude photos from a twenty-six-year-old bombshell named Lindsey, her seemingly perfect life came to a screeching halt.

With a hurricane barreling toward Florida and Ethan stuck on a business trip, Tessa finds herself imprisoned in her own home with a choice to make: Does she ride out the storm until she can confront Ethan in person, or does she take matters into her own hands?

Increasingly restless and desperate for revenge, Tessa resolves to act. And when she lures Lindsey over a few hours later, there’s no turning back.

What ensues is a battle of wills between two well-matched opponents, blinded by love for the same man but driven by demons of their own. Like storm-ravaged Florida, neither woman will be the same when the skies clear.

He’s mine. Both wife and mistress would stake their lives on it. But only one of them can be right.

I’m not sure it was a Thriller, but it had a whole lot of psychology going on. Tess and Lindsey are both kind of crazy, but in different ways.

I wanted to love Tess and feel bad for her that she’s in this situation, but the more you find out about Lindsey, I hate to say it, the less I disliked her then more, then less. She shouldn’t have done what she did, but really Ethan is the bad guy here.

There’s a bunch of psychotic and stalking behavior in this book. If that will bother you, don’t read it.

Is this the sort of book you’d like to read?

 

Read it! Murder, She Encountered

 Murder, She Encountered by Pam Cochran was provided for me at no cost through my partnership with NetGalley. The thoughts are my own. You can see other books I’ve reviewed here.

I’m an old school Murder, She Wrote fan. Mom and I watched it together when I was little mystery fan and it factors into several prominent memories from my childhood. I’m pretty sure I saw every episode, but when I found it online, I binged it just to make sure.

I can’t decide if Jessica’s friends were lucky she was always there when something happened or if she was bad luck.

Anyway, the title of this one snagged my interest and the blurb looked interesting so I requested it.

From Amazon:

New York City, 1939. A rising star at the Daily Trumpet, Elizabeth “Biz” Adams has been sent to the World’s Fair—billed as the “World of Tomorrow,” a look toward a brighter future even as the drumbeats of war grow louder—to cover a robbery. What she stumbles upon instead is a dead woman, dumped into the Aquacade’s pool with a nylon stocking wrapped around her neck.

Elizabeth snaps a photo as the police arrest Joey Dorman, a gentle young hot dog vendor who made no secret of his obsession with the murder victim. Even though she’s thrilled that her photo makes the front page, the fear and confusion evident on Joey’s face are haunting. So Elizabeth vows to prove his innocence—or his guilt—with her partner at the Daily Trumpet, Ralph Kaminsky. Meanwhile, her romance with Detective Sal Marino is heating up, and Elizabeth is more determined than ever to follow her heart.

But when Kaminsky’s efforts to expose the real killer land him in the hospital, Elizabeth is forced to continue the investigation on her own. And as she tries to narrow down the long list of suspects, she discovers a dark secret running through the Fair—a secret some would kill to protect.

I didn’t realize that it was part of a series until after I read it. It’s nice that you don’t need to read the others for this one to work, but I might go back and read them anyway

I liked the story, even if it was slow in parts and somewhat predictable. It was a good blend of cozy mystery and some historical fiction.

The characters were likable if a little flat. Biz is likable and smart, Kaminzky is painted as your typical cantankerous news man of the 30s.

Bonus: Every time Kaminzky spoke, I heard Jack Webb’s voice.

Do you love a cozy mystery? Is this something you’d like to read?

Read it! Southern Harm

Recently, through my partnership with NetGalley, I received Southern Harm by Caroline Fardig at no cost to me to read and review. The thoughts are my own. You can see other books I’ve reviewed here.

I was really excited to get a chance to read this book because I’ve really loved Fardig’s other books, so I’m going to feel terrible writing this review. I just didn’t like this one.

From Amazon:

After solving a murder at a local restaurant, Quinn Bellandini just wants to get back to her comfortable life running her grandfather’s B&B in Savannah, Georgia, with her sister, Delilah. But those plans get buried when Quinn and her new boyfriend, Tucker Heyward, dig up an old skeleton while doing some landscaping in his aunt Lela’s backyard. Before long, Lela becomes the prime suspect in the thirty-three-year-old unsolved murder of a high school homecoming queen.

Tucker is devastated. But Quinn’s conscience won’t let her risk an elderly woman spending her twilight years in jail for a crime she didn’t commit. And Delilah, bored by the quiet B&B biz, has been itching to do some more investigating of her own.

Soon they’re questioning a growing list of suspects, from nosy neighbors and snooty Savannah socialites to mild-mannered teachers and old high-school friends of the victim—including Quinn and Delilah’s own parents. But no one is safe from a killer who’s totally old school.

It doesn’t get much cozier or cheesier than this book. Quinn still falls flat, there wasn’t enough Grandpa Sal or Uncle Frank for amusement, and no excitement of any kind until the last few pages. Much like Quinn was phoning in breakfast each morning for her guests, this feels like Fardig wrote it in haste or turned it to an intern team for their best shot at matching her style.

There was minimal character development, barely a hint of romance, and almost nothing interesting about the plot. It mostly felt cheesier than the grits served at Bellandini’s Bed and Breakfast.

Do you love a cozy mystery? Is this something you’d like to read?

What I am and am not reading

current book mash up

A couple of years ago, my brother asked me about what I thought about a particular book he had read in high school. I admitted that I hadn’t read it, or any of the other titles he then asked about. He was bewildered and questioned if we even went to the same school.

We had. We just picked different books each year.

He asked me what I was reading at that point, knowing full well I had a least one book in process. I pulled out a book with a neon colored cover and proceeded to get scolded about my choices.

Listen, Broski, I spend my day reading education law books, online federal regulations, other various legal tomes, and advisory documents. Then, after that (if you think the fun is over, have no fear, it is not) I distill that into usable language for the great people of NY. That’s a lot of reading, thinking and writing. I don’t want to have to think all that much in my free time! Be happy I’m reading outside of work, even if it is bubblegum for my brain or a straight up trashy novel.

The chance of me reading anything that I need to really think about? Not likely at this point in my life. E and I read Uni the Unicorn the other day. We love that book. I’m working on Girl Wash Your Face again. (I wasn’t in the right head space last time, but might be now) I have a book from Amazon I borrowed and a couple from NetGalley I want to read soon. I have to re-read the Harry Potter Books so I can better chat with N about them. I’m also working on some yoga CBT and studying aerial yoga, too.

Sure I’ll think about all of them them when I read them, but I’m not looking to work through anything that doesn’t speak to me or requires me to think what the hell they’re even talking about.

I get enough of that with Education Law. Some of it makes as much sense as frequent flyer miles…don’t get me started on some of the federal stuff.

I’m curious to know, what are you currently reading? Are you a one book at a time person or do you have multiple going at once? I’d ask for reading suggestions, but I’m about 100 deep in things to read right now. Maybe when my stack is done.

Who are we kidding? My stack is never done. If you have a suggestion, I’ll take it.

Read it! The Mother-in-Law

The Mother-in-Law by Sally Hepworth was provided to me at no charge through my partnership with NetGalley. The thoughts are my own. You can read other books I’ve reviewed here.

I’ve been trying to be better about reading books and getting them reviewed promptly but this one fell through the cracks. (I still have about 5 more to review and about 80 left to read.) Also, I think I need a graphic for these posts. We’ll see how the week plays out, maybe I’ll come up with one.

Moving along.

From NetGalley:

From the moment Lucy met her husband’s mother, she knew she wasn’t the wife Diana had envisioned for her perfect son. Exquisitely polite, friendly, and always generous, Diana nonetheless kept Lucy at arm’s length despite her desperate attempts to win her over. And as a pillar in the community, an advocate for female refugees, and a woman happily married for decades, no one had a bad word to say about Diana…except Lucy.

That was five years ago.

Now, Diana is dead, a suicide note found near her body claiming that she longer wanted to live because of the cancer wreaking havoc inside her body.

But the autopsy finds no cancer.

It does find traces of poison, and evidence of suffocation.

Who could possibly want Diana dead? Why was her will changed at the eleventh hour to disinherit both of her children, and their spouses? And what does it mean that Lucy isn’t exactly sad she’s gone?

Fractured relationships and deep family secrets grow more compelling with every page in this twisty, captivating new novel from Sally Hepworth.

This book was NOT what I expected, but it was a great reminder that we all have challenges we’re facing and even those closest to us may not know what they are. I had figured out the whodunit part way through, but I just had to know how it all came to be. It also made me think about some of the challenging people in my life and what’s going on.

I enjoyed the book, but I didn’t find the characters particularly compelling or engaging. They were likable enough, but the plot is what kept me reading past my bedtime.

Is this something you’d like to read?

Read it! The Spring Cleaning Murders

The Spring Cleaning Murders by Dorothy Cannell was provided to me at no charge through my partnership with NetGalley. The thoughts are my own. You can read other books I’ve reviewed here.

I had this book on my Kindle forever but when I started it, it was a quick entertaining read. It’s a little more intense than a usual cozy mystery, but there’s more focus on plot than sordid details.

From Amazon:

When the ever-scrupulous and ever-caustic Mrs. Roxie Malloy leaves her employ in tears, Ellie Haskell—busy mother of twins—is forced to find another cleaning person. As she searches for someone who can at least aspire to taking Mrs. Malloy’s place, Ellie turns the household topsy-turvy, overcome with spring-cleaning fever. But when members of the Chitterton Fells Charwomen’s Association (C.F.C.W.A.) start biting the dust, Ellie swaps scrubbing for sleuthing to find out what dark secrets have been swept under the rug.

With the help of her husband, Ben, her feckless cousin Freddy, and an assortment of homemade cleaning solutions, Ellie joins the C.F.C.W.A.’s roster and embarks on a brief stint as a mercenary maid—just long enough to snoop through her neighbors’ things and find out which one has more than dust bunnies and dirty dishes to hide.

I liked this book. The characters were fun, well written and witty. The plot kept moving with a few twists and was well wrapped up.

While I think there are/will be more, this was a pretty good stand alone story and an excellent distraction to any sort of chores!

Is this something you’d like to read?

Read it! The Burglar

The Burglar by Thomas Perry was provided to me at no charge through my partnership with NetGalley. The thoughts are my own. You can read other books I’ve reviewed here.

I love reading about things that are very different than my current understanding of the world. I don’t know if this is an accurate representation of being a burglar, but it was portrayed well enough that it rang decently true.

From Amazon:

Elle Stowell is a young woman with an unconventional profession: burglary. But Elle is no petty thief—with just the right combination of smarts, looks, and skills, she can easily stroll through ritzy Bel Air neighborhoods and pick out the perfect home for plucking the most valuable items. This is how Elle has always gotten by—she is good at it, and she thrives on the thrill. But after stumbling upon a grisly triple homicide while stealing from the home of a wealthy art dealer, Elle discovers that she is no longer the only one sneaking around. Somebody is searching for her.

As Elle realizes that her knowledge of the high-profile murder has made her a target, she races to solve the case before becoming the next casualty, using her breaking-and-entering skills to uncover the truth about exactly who the victims were and why someone might have wanted them dead. With high-stakes action and shocking revelations, The Burglar will keep readers on the edge of their seats as they barrel towards the heart-racing conclusion.

I liked Ellie more than the book itself. The plot had some weird twists that could have been accurate, but the conclusion was odd.

It was a pretty quick read, but I don’t know about having me on the edge of my seat. Apparently, Thomas Perry is a master of the mystery genre, but I don’t think I’ll be running out to read anything else by him. If you have a long flight or train ride coming up, this might be an okay way to fill the time if you don’t have anything more pressing.

Is this something you’d like to read?

Read it! I’m Not Missing

I’m Not Missing by Carrie Fountain was provided to me at no charge through my partnership with NetGalley. The thoughts are my own. You can read other books I’ve reviewed here.

This was billed as a young adult novel, but I’m not sure it should have been. It was definitely more of an older teen book than young adult in my mind. It dealt with a whole host of topics (coming-of-age, being abandoned, teen relationships, physical relationships, leaving home and more) that I don’t know is right for many kiddos.

It was a great read though.

From Amazon:

It’s senior year, and Miranda Black’s best friend, Syd, has run away—suddenly and inexplicably, leaving behind nothing but a pink leopard print cell phone with a text message from the mysterious HIM. Everyone wants to know why Syd left, but the truth is, Miranda has no idea. When Miranda’s mother abandoned her as a child, Miranda had found shelter in her friendship with Syd, who wore her own motherlessness like a badge of honor.

Now Miranda’s been left behind again, left to untangle the questions of why Syd left, where she is—and if she’s even a friend worth saving, all while stumbling into first love with the most unlikely boy in school. How do you take on the future when it feels like so much of your past wasn’t even real?

I enjoyed this book immensely. The writing was beautiful, well detailed and witty. The characters likable and fun. There were some interesting twists but it ends up in a pretty good place.

I don’t love poetry, but I might check Carrie Fountain out now that I’ve read her prose.

Is this something you’d like to read?