Book Review: Something in the Water by Catherine Steadman

Something in the Water by Catherine Steadman

Something in the Water
by Catherine Steadman

Erin is a documentary filmmaker. Mark is a banker. They are happy and in love, planning their upcoming wedding. While on their honeymoon in Bora Bora, they find a mysterious bag in the water. The contents of the bag forever change their relationship.

The story is told from Erin’s viewpoint. She and Mark seem to have everything going for them, but things get very complicated during and after their honeymoon. The characters are mostly likable and believable. A slow build up that is intriguing and suspenseful.

A page-turning psychological thriller. Great for fans of domestic thrillers with a strong female protagonist.

I received a digital copy of this book from Ballantine Books and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Book Review: The Neighbor by Joseph Souza

The Neighbor by Joseph Souza

The Neighbor
by Joseph Souza

Leah, Clay, and their kids move from Seattle to Maine. They are the only people residing in their housing development, until a new family moves in next door. Leah becomes focused on befriending the new neighbors, and eventually crosses the line with getting to know them.

Told from alternating viewpoints of Leah and Clay. The main focus is Leah wanting to befriend her neighbors, but the small town where they live also has a mystery involving a missing co-ed. Leah is a bit obsessed with the missing girl, and starts looking into her disappearance. Clay is struggling with his brewery business, and not giving his wife and kids much of his time.

A psychological thriller with several stories happening at once. While a lot is happening, nothing is very engaging. In fact, much of the story is repetitive. Leah and Clay are both self-absorbed and not at all likable. The book touches on the topic of racial tension, but manages to be more awkward than interesting. On the plus side, this domestic thriller does contain some twists and is a fairly quick read.

I received a digital copy of this book from Kensington and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Book Review: Bring Me Back by B. A. Paris

Bring Me Back by B. A. Paris

Bring Me Back
by B. A. Paris

While driving through France, Finn and Layla stop so he can go to the restroom. When he returns to the car, Layla is gone. She is never seen again. Twelve years later, Finn is happy and engaged to Ellen, Layla’s sister. Mysterious messages start to arrive, and they seem to be from Layla.

Told through alternating time periods – before Layla went missing and after. About halfway through, the narration also alternates between characters. The story has plenty of suspense to keep the reader interested, but I was not a fan of the characters. I never connected to them, and, ultimately, they felt a bit flat.

Psychological thriller. Unreliable narrators. Twisty ending.

I received a digital copy of this book from St. Martin’s Press and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Book Review: Lies by T. M. Logan

Lies by T. M. Logan

Lies
by T. M. Logan

Joe is driving home with his son, when he sees his wife pulling into a hotel parking garage. He decides to follow her, and that’s when everything changes. When he sees his wife arguing with Ben, a family friend, he is unsure how to approach them. After his wife leaves, Joe does confront Ben, and Ben is knocked unconscious. Joe has to leave suddenly, but returns to check on Ben and finds Ben and his car are gone. At first it seems to be a relief, but Joe soon realizes his perfect life is about to be destroyed.

Exciting and fast-paced. This psychological thriller is twisty and keeps the reader guessing. This could definitely be a one-sitting read. I started it late at night, so it stretched to a two-sitting read for me. Great for fans of twisty domestic thrillers.

I received a digital copy of this book from St. Martin’s Press and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Book Review: Cross Your Heart by Kierney Scott

Cross Your Heart by Kierney Scott

Cross Your Heart
by Kierney Scott

Detective Jess Bishop is back! Jess was injured at the end of book #1 in the series, Forget Me Not, and has been on leave while recovering. Since Jess is always on the job, she continued to look into cases, and discovered a link in some cold cases involving children. Once reinstated in her position at the FBI, she brings the case to her team, but is not allowed to reopen the cases. That all changes when another child is reported missing. Jess and her team work to connect the cases of the missing children and find their killer.

This is the second book in the Detective Jess Bishop series by Kierney Scott. Jess is a FBI agent. She’s smart, determined, and damaged. I’ve read the first book in the series, and enjoyed this second book even more. This book can be read as a standalone, but the first book does introduce more of the characters backgrounds and personalities, plus there is the whole thing about how she got injured.

Smart, gritty, and fast-paced. Great for fans of crime thrillers, especially ones with strong female characters.

I received a digital copy of this book from Bookouture and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Book Review: Murder Most Fermented by Christine E. Blum

Murder Most Fermented by Christine E. Blum

Murder Most Fermented
by Christine E. Blum

Halsey and her friends in the Rose Avenue Wine Club are back! While digging to plant a small vineyard in the community garden, Halsey and her dog, Bardot, discover a body. Soon, Halsey is investigating the death. Of course, she has the help of the other wine club ladies.

This is the second book in the Rose Avenue Wine Club mystery series. I read the first book, so I was already familiar with Halsey’s story and the women in the wine club. This book could be read as a stand-alone, but the first book is referenced a few times.

The normal formula for a cozy mystery – female protagonist restarts her life in a new place and acts as amateur sleuth. Bonus points for the wine club and lovable, but hyperactive dog. Kooky neighbors and shenanigans galore… Halsey even gets herself arrested. A light, fun, and entertaining cozy mystery.

For wine drinkers – In the back of the book, a list of wines the women drink is included. There is also a food and wine pairing list.

I received a digital copy of this book from Kensington and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Reading Update: May 2018

Books on bookshelf

I normally slow down my reading this time of year, and that seems to be the case once again. I did read some books, and, admittedly, my slow reading months still contain a lot of books. For personal reading goals, I did manage to finish reading the alphabet series by Sue Grafton, finished the A-Z reading challenge, and I caught up on a lot of books from Netgalley. In fact, for the first time ever, I have a feedback ratio over 80% on Netgalley. That is the recommended ratio, but I usually request books at such a frequency, that my ratio usually stays in the 70s. So, I was pretty happy about that achievement.

The breakdown for May reading – 12 physical books, 14 ebooks, 11 audiobooks, and 3 graphic novels. My ratings and reviews for all 40 books listed below can be found on Goodreads.

May Books

physical books
1. Feed by Mira Grant
2. The Troop by Nick Cutter
3. I Am Not Sidney Poitier by Percival Everett
4. Vox by Christina Dalcher
5. T is for Trespass by Sue Grafton
6. Smashed, Squashed, Splattered, Chewed, Chunked and Spewed by Lance Carbuncle
7. The Christmas Mystery by James Patterson
8. The Sign of Four by Arthur Conan Doyle
9. The Secret Files of Fairday Morrow by Jessica Haight and Stephanie Robinson
10. Fairday Morrow and the Talking Library by Jessica Haight and Stephanie Robinson
11. Unlucky by Jana Deleon
12. The Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks

ebooks
1. Southern Discomfort by Caroline Fardig
2. French Kiss by James Patterson
3. The Glory of Green by Judy Christie
4. Downtown Green by Judy Christie
5. Strangers and Strawberries by Leena Clover
6. Killer Heels by Traci Tyne Hilton
7. Death by the Sea by Kathleen Bridge
8. Better Off Read by Nora Page
9. The Long-Lost Secret Diary of the World’s Worst Dinosaur Hunter by Tim Collins
10. Read and Gone by Allison Brook
11. Criminal Company by Traci Tyne Hilton
12. Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney
13. Mardi Gras Murder by Ellen Byron
14. Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier

audiobooks
1. The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje
2. Circus Mirandus by Cassie Beasley
3. U is for Undertow by Sue Grafton
4. Shelter by Jung Yun
5. V is for Vengeance by Sue Grafton
6. W is for Wasted by Sue Grafton
7. X by Sue Grafton
8. The Wishing Spell by Chris Colfer
9. Y is for Yesterday by Sue Grafton
10. Rising Strong by Brené Brown
11. Caraval by Stephanie Garber

graphic novels
1. Supergirl: Being Super by Mariko Tamaki and Joëlle Jones
2. I Hate Fairyland by Skottie Young
3. Adulthood is a Myth by Sarah Andersen

Reading Challenges

Status as of 5/31/18 shown in italics. The listed books were read in May.

Goodreads 2018 Reading Challenge (240/250)

Popsugar 2018 Reading Challenge (20/50)
A book you borrowed or that was given to you as a gift – I Am Not Sidney Poitier by Percival Everett

A-Z Challenge (26/26)
I – I Hate Fairyland by Skottie Young
J – Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier
X – X by Sue Grafton
Z – The Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks

Color Challenge (0/15)

Genre Bingo Challenge (19/24)
YA Fantasy – Caraval by Stephanie Garber
Historical – The Long-Lost Secret Diary of the World’s Worst Dinosaur Hunter by Tim Collins
Family Saga – Shelter by Jung Yun

Modern Mrs. Darcy Challenge (9/12)
A book recommended by someone with great taste – Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney
A book that’s more than 500 pages – Feed by Mira Grant
A book by an author of a different race, ethnicity, or religion than your own – I Am Not Sidney Poitier by Percival Everett

Read Harder (14/24)
A book with a female protagonist over the age of 60 – Better Off Read by Nora Page

Bookriot’s 100 Must-Read Hilarious Books (46/100)
I Hate Fairyland by Skottie Young
I Am Not Sidney Poitier by Percival Everett
Adulthood is a Myth by Sarah Andersen
Smashed, Squashed, Splattered, Chewed, Chunked and Spewed by Lance Carbuncle
The Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks

Bookriot’s 100 Must-Read Books About Monsters (35/100)
Feed by Mira Grant
The Troop by Nick Cutter

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Book Review: Fairday Morrow and the Talking Library by Jessica Haight and Stephanie Robinson

Fairday Morrow and the Talking Library by Jessica Haight and Stephanie Robinson

Book Review: Fairday Morrow and the Talking Library
by Jessica Haight and Stephanie Robinson

The second book in the Fairday Morrow series has Fairday and her friends, Lizzy and Marcus, back to solve another Begonia House mystery. Fairday and her family live in the Begonia House, which her parents are repairing to open a B&B. In the first book, The Secret Files of Fairday Morrow, Fairday and her friends solve a paranormal mystery in the house involving a missing bride and a mysterious death. This second book brings forth a new paranormal mystery involving a cryptic librarian and a bookworm.

A fun middle grade book full of riddles and adventure. Confident and clever characters. The Begonia House continues to perplex the kids, who tackle solving the mysteries of the place. A quick and entertaining read for older kids.

I received a copy of this book from the authors in exchange for an honest review.

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Book Review: The Secret Files of Fairday Morrow by Jessica Haight and Stephanie Robinson

The Secret Files of Fairday Morrow by Jessica Haight and Stephanie Robinson

The Secret Files of Fairday Morrow
by Jessica Haight and Stephanie Robinson

Fairday Morrow and her family move to Ashpot, Connecticut, where her parents hope to open a bed and breakfast. As Fairday explores her new home, she discovers there is a mystery to solve. Along with her best friend, Lizzy, and new friend, Marcus, the kids investigate the mystery of Fairday’s new home.

A middle grade supernatural mystery. Fun and exciting. While the story is somewhat spooky with the supernatural aspect, it is not scary. The kids are confident, bold, and clever. Great traits in young characters.

I received a copy of this book from the authors in exchange for an honest review.

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Book Review: Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier

Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier

Jar of Hearts
by Jennifer Hillier

Georgina, known as Geo to her friends, is 30 years old and living a successful life with a bright future, when she is arrested for helping cover up a murder that occurred 14 years earlier. Her best friend went missing in high school and was never found. Now, her remains have been found and Geo’s high school boyfriend is arrested. To complicate matters, the detective working the case was Geo’s other best friend in high school. Geo is arrested for helping cover up the murder and sent to prison. She does her time and is soon to be released. When murders resembling those of her best friend’s start occurring, Geo is pulled into the case.

The story is told from Geo’s point of view. Geo is smart and strong. She has secrets from her past that no one knows and they slowly unfold through the story. She recalls her high school years through flashbacks, remembering her friendships and her involvement in her friend’s death. Geo’s life after her friend’s remains are found is also told, covering Geo’s time in prison and her adjustment to life after prison.

While the characters aren’t exactly likable, they are well written and make for a compelling story. An intense and twisted thriller. This was a fast paced read that I couldn’t put down.

I received a digital copy of this book from Minotaur Books and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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