Sunday, May 19, 2024

A Marriage of Lies by Amanda McKinney


Title: A Marriage of Lies
Author: Amanda McKinney
Publisher: Storm Publishing
Release Date: March 29, 2024

Beneath the surface of every marriage there are secrets. This one is deadly.

My husband is lying. The minute he came home with alcohol on his breath and unable to look me in the eyes I knew it.

We used to be in love – the intense ‘I can’t be without you for a second’ kind. Where it hurts deep to be apart.

But now, we’re the couple that keep secrets from each other.

We hide the truth.

He thought I wouldn’t find out. I’m a detective – it’s literally my job to uncover clues and solve mysteries. I know what he did.

And now I’m sitting here, in a police interview, being asked the question ‘did you kill her?’ to which I utter one life-shattering ‘yes.’


From the opening scene, I knew this one was a keeper.

They always say no one knows what is happening in a marriage and this story proves it.

A woman has been murdered and a detective is trying to find out who did it.

Rowan Velky, a local detective, and her partner, Kellan Palmer are the first detectives to enter a gruesome crime.

Who is behind the killing? Why?

Nothing else should be said about this one. The less you know the more entertained you will be.

Did I guess the big reveal, yep from the get-go but I don't feel like it took away any of my enjoyment.

The end was great!

Amanda McKinney is now on my radar.

Cliffhanger: No

5/5 Fangs

Look on the Bright Side by Kristan Higgins

Title: Look on the Bright Side
Author: Kristan Higgins
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: May 28, 2024

Lark Smith has always had a plan for her life: find a fantastic guy, create a marriage as blissful as her parents’, pop out a couple of kids and build a rewarding career as an oncologist.
Things aren’t going so well.

For one, the guy didn’t work out. Theoretically, she’d love to find someone else, but it hasn’t happened. Two, she’s just been transferred out of oncology for being too emotional. (Is it her fault she’s a weeper?) Three, her parents just split up.

Deviating from the plan was…well, not in the plan. A potential solution comes from the foul-tempered and renowned surgeon Lorenzo Santini (aka Dr. Satan). He needs a date this summer for his sister’s wedding. His ancient Noni wants to see him settled. In exchange, he could make a few introductions and maybe get Lark back into the field of her choice.

As a sucker for old people and fake relationships, Lark agrees. Teeny problem—she instantly falls for his big, warm family. Especially his estranged brother.

Meanwhile, Lark’s mom has moved in with Lark’s flamboyant landlady, Joy, and an unlikely friendship blossoms. The three women have a long summer and a big beautiful house on the ocean to figure out what’s next…and quite possibly learn that the best things in life aren’t planned at all.

Look on the Bright Side had me tearing up by the end!

Lark Smith is rotating through oncology when she's told she will be sent to rotate through the ER instead because she gets too emotional with her patients. Yet, the only thing she wants is to become an oncologist, so when Dr. Lorenzo "Satan" Santini offers her an exchange she decides to accept it. Dr. Satan needs a date for the next three months to convince his dying grandmother that he is not alone. If Lark says yes, he will call his connections to get her closer to an oncology position. The last thing Lark was expecting was to fall for his family and for his brother, Dante.

Chapter by chapter, we start discovering what happened to Lark and why she has an obsession with oncology. At the same time, we also get two more POVs. One is Lark's mother Ellie. The other one is Joy, Lark's landlady.

The summer will be a summer of growth for all three.

Look on the Bright Side is a woman's fiction novel with a side of romance. It is also about loss, healing, and self-discovery.

As always, Kristan Higgins writes an emotional ride that I can't help but enjoy.

Cliffhanger: No

4/5 Fangs

A complimentary copy was provided by Berkley via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Truth about the Accident by Nicole Trope


Title: The Truth about the Accident
Author: Nicole Trope
Publisher: Bookouture
Release Date: June 30, 2023

I gaze at my husband’s once handsome face, so still and pale in the hospital bed. The doctors say I should keep talking. He might be able to hear me even after the terrible accident that left him fighting for his life. But all I have to whisper to my husband is I know what you did.

Every day I wave my husband Damon off with a kiss and a smile, drive our precious children to school, and make sure our house is pristine before preparing a delicious meal. I pretend I’m not filled with fury that he once nearly destroyed our perfect life. It’s important to carry on as normal.

That is, until the accident.

My husband was hit by a car. It was pouring with rain. Nobody saw what happened. But the police are asking questions…

Do they know about the terrible argument we had that day?

Do they know about the text message I sent, telling someone to Delete everything ?

And do they know that no one is happier that my husband is in a hospital bed, than me?

Revenge with a side of intrigue!

Damon, a charming handsome man, has been hit by a car. The driver didn't stop to help. 999 has been called and the witnesses are all unsure who hit him or the color of the car that did it. The rain made everything more difficult for the cops investigating the hit-and-run. Now, Damon is in a coma and he might not survive.

Marla is Damon's wife. She has been fighting time with any cosmetic procedure available to keep herself young and pretty. Her children are almost adults. She is day drinking wondering what it's going to happen to her marriage.

Sonya has a soon-to-be teenage son. She is a therapist and she is upset her 1 o'clock is a no-show. She is thinking of what's going to happen when her son doesn't want to spend time with her any longer.

Athena is at her first ultrasound to check on her pregnancy. Her boyfriend is a no-show to the appointment. Is this her future?

The Truth About the Accident was a quick read. The alternating chapters by the three women plus a mystery woman were captivating. There is also a dual timeline that guides the reader until the time of the accident giving us multiple twists.

Cliffhanger: No

4/5 Fangs

A complimentary copy was provided by Bookouture via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Finlay Donovan Rolls the Dice by Elle Cosimano
Finlay Donovan #4


Title: Finlay Donovan Rolls the Dice
Series: Finlay Donovan #4
Author: Elle Cosimano
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Release Date: March 5, 2024

From New York Times bestseller Elle Cosimano comes Finlay Donovan Rolls the Dice―the fiercely anticipated next installment in the beloved Finlay Donovan series.

Finlay Donovan and her nanny/partner-in-crime Vero are in sore need of a girls’ weekend away. They plan a trip to Atlantic City, but odds are―seeing as it’s actually a cover story to negotiate a deal with a dangerous loan shark, save Vero’s childhood crush Javi, and hunt down a stolen car―it won’t be all fun and games. When Finlay’s ex-husband Steven and her mother insist on tagging along too, Finlay and Vero suddenly have a few too many meddlesome passengers along for the ride.

Within hours of arriving in their seedy casino hotel, it becomes clear their rescue mission is going to be a bust. Javi’s kidnapper, Marco, refuses to negotiate, demanding payment in full in exchange for Javi’s life. But that’s not all―he insists on knowing the whereabouts of his missing nephew, Ike, who mysteriously disappeared. Unable to confess what really happened to Ike, Finlay and Vero are forced to come up with a new plan: sleuth out the location of Javi and the Aston Martin, then steal them both back.

But when they sneak into the loan shark’s suite to search for clues, they find more than they bargained for―Marco's already dead. They don’t have a clue who murdered him, only that they themselves have a very convincing motive. Then four members of the police department unexpectedly show up in town, also looking for Ike―and after Finlay's night with hot cop Nick at the police academy, he’s a little too eager to keep her close to his side.

If Finlay can juggle a jealous ex-husband, two precocious kids, her mother’s marital issues, a decomposing loan shark, and find Vero’s missing boyfriend, she might get out of Atlantic City in one piece. But will she fold under the pressure and come clean about the things she’s done, or be forced to double down?

I swear this series is much funnier if you listen to the audiobooks!

I didn't think I was going to enjoy this one as much as the first Finlay book but surprisingly, I did. I  had so much fun with it. 

I recommend reading this series in order. By the end of Finlay Donovan Rolls the Dice. It felt like an arc had ended. So I'm excited about next Finlay's adventure. 

This novel begins with Finlay and Vero planning to travel to Atlantic City to find Javi and the Aston Martin but their girls' weekend becomes complicated when they can't leave alone. Finlay's ex-husband Steven, her children, and her mother are all coming with them.  

Their trip became even more complicated when the cops showed up. 

I loved the emerging Finlay. The character continues to evolve and is becoming more assertive. I also love her friendship with Vero.  They are a great duo. 

I look forward to reading the next one. 

Cliffhanger: No

4.5/5 Fangs

A complimentary copy was provided by Minotaur Books via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Lovers at the Museum by Isabel Allende


Title: Lovers at the Museum
Author: Isabel Allende
Publisher: mazon Original Stories
Release Date: April 1, 2024

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Wind Knows My Name comes a mesmerizing tale of two passionate souls who share one magical night that defies all rational explanation.

Love, be it wild or tender, often defies logic. In fact, at times, the only rationale behind the instant connection of two souls is plain magic.

Bibiña Aranda, runaway bride, wakes up in the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao still wearing her wedding dress, draped in the loving arms of a naked man whose name she doesn’t know. She and the man with no clothes, Indar Zubieta, attempt to explain to the authorities how they got there. It’s a story of love at first sight and experience beyond compare, one that involves a dreamlike journey through the museum.

But the lovers’ transcendent night bears no resemblance to the crude one Detective Larramendi attempts to reconstruct. And no amount of fantastical descriptions can convince the irritated inspector of the truth.

Allende’s dreamy short story has the power to transport readers in any language, leaving them to ponder the wonders of love long after the story’s over.

This was an Amazon First Reads.

Bibiña Aranda, a runaway bride, is found still wearing her wedding dress, and next to her is a naked man, Indar Zubieta. They are found one morning in the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao after a night of passion.

A detective is called to investigate the break-in. 

Everyone is stupefied. 

How did the couple get into the museum? How did they evade the security guards? 
They didn't even know each other or their names!!

Was there magic involved?

A short story by a great author! A super easy and fast read. 

Cliffhanger: No

3.5/5 Fangs

Winter Lost by Patricia Briggs
Mercy Thompson #14


Title: Winter Lost
Series: Mercy Thompson #14
Author: Patricia Briggs
Publisher: Ace
Release Date: June 18, 2024

Mercy Thompson, car mechanic and shapeshifter, must stop a disaster of world-shattering proportions in this exhilarating entry in the #1 New York Times bestselling series.In the supernatural realms, there are creatures who belong to winter. I am not one of them. But like the coyote I can become at will, I am adaptable.My name is Mercy Thompson Hauptman, and my mate, Adam, is the werewolf who leads the Columbia Basin Pack, the pack charged with keeping the people who live and work in the Tri-Cities of Washington State safe. It’s a hard job, and it doesn’t leave much room for side quests. Which is why when I needed to travel to Montana to help my brother, I intended to go by myself.But I’m not alone anymore.Together, Adam and I find ourselves trapped with strangers in a lodge in the heart of the wilderness, in the teeth of a storm of legendary power, only to discover my brother’s issues are a tiny part of a problem much bigger than we could have imagined. Arcane and ancient magics are at work that could, unless we are very careful, bring about the end of the world. . . .

Action-packed winter storm!

For the hard-core readers of this series, this installment doesn't disappoint.

Mercy is still recuperating from the attack she suffered in the last book. She is not doing well. Her mind and her magic were affected by the Soul Taker. No one really knows how to fix her.

Adam knows she is not well but no one he knows can help her.

Then, Mercy's half-brother, Gary shows up. He is unable to talk or comprehend. Something happened to him while he was taking care of a ranch in Montana. Despite her own problems, Mercy knows she has to help him.

Mercy and Adam decide to take a trip to Montana to find the answers. Their trip is not an easy one. The winter storm is a powerful one. Someone is behind it. But why? By whom?

As they arrive at the Lounge, they are met by a wedding party. It's not a typical one. Mercy and Adam come to the realization that more than Gary's life is in danger.

I love Mercy and Adam together. They have learned to trust each other and to let the other be independent when the right occasion arises. My one complaint is that I missed the rest of the pack and I also miss Bran.

Cliffhanger: No

4/5 Fangs

A complimentary copy was provided by Ace via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, March 31, 2024

No One Needs to Know by Lindsay Cameron


Title: No One Needs to Know
Author: Lindsay Cameron
Publisher: Bantam
Release Date: May 9, 2023

When an anonymous neighborhood forum gets hacked, the darkest secrets of New York’s wealthiest residents come to light—including some worth killing for—in this gripping suspense novel from the author of Just One Look.

It was all confidential. Right up to the moment when it wasn’t.

UrbanMyth: It was lauded as an alternative to the performative, show-your-best-self platforms—an anonymous discussion board grouped by zip code. The residents of Manhattan’s exclusive Upper East Side disclosed it all, things they would never share with their friends or their spouses: secret bank accounts, steamy affairs, tidbits of juicy gossip. These are the same parents who would go to astonishing lengths to ensure their children gain admission to the most prestigious boarding schools and universities. So when a “hacktivist” group breaks into the forum and exposes the real identity behind each poster, the repercussions resound down Park Avenue with a force none could have anticipated.

And someone will end up dead.

Will it be Heather, the outsider who would do anything to get her daughter into the elite’s good graces and into even better schools? Norah, the high-powered suit failing to balance work and the emotional responsibilities of motherhood? Or Poppy, perfect on the outside but hiding more than her share of secrets?

Each of them has something to hide. Each of them will do anything to keep their secrets hidden. And each of them just might kill to protect their own.

Entertaining for sure!

There are 3 main female characters.

Heather: she is relentless in trying to get her daughter into an elite boarding school. She will stop at nothing to accomplish it.

Poppy: Rich and full of privilege. Yet, she is bored. Her husband treats her like a decoration he purchased and is showing off.

Norah: a down-to-earth mother who works for Poppy's husband. She works and enjoys it and doesn't feel like she fits with all the other mothers which she is happy about.

Then there is a website called Urban Myth. The website is supposed to be private. Everyone can post their deepest secrets. The information is so juicy that everyone on the Upper East Side has the app.

Then, a man disappears and the site is hacked and all three ladies' secrets are in the open.

I think the blurb is misleading. The hacking happens not at the beginning of the book but way into it. By then, I don't think it made much of a difference. We already knew each woman and what they were dealing with privately.

No One Needs to Know had unlikable characters except for Norah. She was my favorite.

I enjoyed the ending and I would recommend this book to anyone who would like to read something like Desperate Housewives. I certainly do.

Cliffhanger: No

4/5 Fangs

A complimentary copy was provided by Bantam via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.