Thursday, July 16, 2020

Peace Talks by Jim Butcher

Title: Peace Talks
Series: The Dresden Files, #16
Author: Jim Butcher
Publisher: Ace
Release Date: July 14, 2020

Harry Dresden is back and ready for action, in the new entry in the #1 New York Times bestselling Dresden Files series. When the Supernatural nations of the world meet up to negotiate an end to ongoing hostilities, Harry Dresden, Chicago's only professional wizard, joins the White Council's security team to make sure the talks stay civil. But can he succeed, when dark political manipulations threaten the very existence of Chicago--and all he holds dear?


Six years I waited for Harry to come back. SIX YEARS!!!!

Was it worth the wait? For me? ABSOLUTELY. I loved every second of it. There's intrigue galore, amazing characterization. Awesome dialogue.

Peace Talks made me happy in all kinds of ways. I got my fix of some Thomas, Molly, Michael, Mouse, Lara Raith, Marcone, Waldo, Mab, Justine, you name it, it was there. Best, I was listening to James Marsters for almost all of the book. He is just superb as Harry and the other forty or so characters he renders his voice for this series. 

In addition, if you had read the short stories, you'll be happily surprised to reacquaint yourself with so many other characters from those.

As always, Harry is having all kinds of trouble. He's tired, running on little sleep and food and trying to save the world. Or this case Chicago and some very important people to him. Yet, Harry is becoming smarter and trying to do things logically, without burning down the building which shows some major growth on his part. 

For people who like Karin and Dresden together, they are going to be happy. Me being a #MollyTeam or even a #LaraTeam, it didn't make me happy but it didn't make me mad either. I guess I still hold a grudge for Karrin shooting Harry so many moons ago but if Harry is happy with her so be it.

After finishing Peace Talks, I started thinking of so many things that could go wrong since this book doesn't have all the answers. Luckily, I don't have to wait long for Battle Ground. 

I believe if you are a reader who's saying there was not enough action in this book, the next one is going to have too much. The question is who are we going to lose. It terrifies me. I don't want it to be any of my favorites (which is like 20!)

On a side note, I'm super concerned about Ramirez. I don't trust him anymore. Be careful, Molly.

Peace Talks sets such a masterful way for Battle Ground. Frenemies must come together to protect it all or die trying and Harry Dresden is going to be in the middle of it all with the baddies from all sides gunning for him. Watch out!

Cliffhanger: YES! A big one!

5/5 Fangs

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

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

The Silent Wife by Karin Slaughter

Title: The Silent Wife
Series: Will Trent
Author: Karin Slaughter
Publisher: August 4, 2020
Release Date: William Morrow

Atlanta, Georgia. Present day. A young woman is brutally attacked and left for dead. The police investigate but the trail goes cold. Until a chance assignment takes GBI investigator Will Trent to the state penitentiary, and to a prisoner who says he recognizes the MO. The attack looks identical to the one he was accused of eight years earlier. The prisoner’s always insisted that he was innocent, and now he’s sure he has proof. The killer is still out there.

As Will digs into both crimes it becomes clear that he must solve the original case in order to reach the truth. Yet nearly a decade has passed—time for memories to fade, witnesses to vanish, evidence to disappear. And now he needs medical examiner Sara Linton to help him hunt down a ruthless murderer. But whenthe past and present collide, everything Will values is at stake…

Oh my Gosh!! A new Will Trent novel <3. 

Will is one of my favorite male characters. He is so broken and so smart at the same time. 

Surprisingly, I adored Sara Linton too. In general, we tend to be harder on the female characters. Thinking things like "she is making the wrong choice", "she is putting herself in danger unnecessarily", "she is acting mean for no reason" or maybe it's just me that expects to read more about smarter, interesting and powerful women characters. Luckily, I never have to complain about Sara. She is perfect for Will. She makes him more confident and even though it takes him a while to open up, she gets him to do it. Also, her own traumas and the way she has handled herself through all of it, makes me respect her. Or maybe because she is a doc is why I like her so much. Who knows, it may be all of it.

Getting back to The Silent Wife, Karin Slaughter wields her magic wand and we get to be back in Grant County, with a younger Sara and Grant County's Chief officer, Jeffrey Tolliver. 

How you might ask? simple a serial killer. 

At the beginning of the book, a prison riot brings the GBI to investigate. While gathering information, an inmate, Daryl Nesbit, wants to talk to Will and Faith. He says he is innocent of a crime and he has the proof. Women have gone missing after he was put in prison and he blames Jeffrey and Lena Adams for letting the serial killer run free. 

By several POV's and by intercalating past and present chapters, we get a bigger picture of what truly happened. The identity of the serial killer was shocking but maybe not too much. It all made sense.

Karin's writing is always raw and gritty. True evil is out there in the world and she knows how to bring it into her fictional world in a masterful way. 

In regards to the characters, I already drooled over Will and Sara at the beginning of my review, so I will say that Faith is another strong female character. Being in her head is always entertaining and I do love her relationship with Will as a partner and as his friend. Amanda as their boss is the cherry on top. She seems to be one step ahead of everyone every single time. I know the majority of readers love Jeffrey. I'm in the minority. I was never a Jeffrey fan. I thought Sara deserved better. However, he annoyed me very little in this one. 

One thing I want to make clear in case I haven't done it in my prior reviews is that I HATE Lena. I hope she gets what she deserves. She is a horrible person and doesn't learn from her mistakes. Really sad for her husband. 

Cliffhanger: No

4/5 Fangs

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Always the Last to Know by Kristan Higgins

Title: Always the Last to Know
Author: Kristan Higgins
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: June 9, 2020

Sometimes you have to break a family to fix it.

From New York Times bestselling author Kristan Higgins, a new novel examining a family at the breaking point in all its messy, difficult, wonderful complexity.

The Frosts are a typical American family. Barb and John, married almost fifty years, are testy and bored with each other...who could blame them after all this time? At least they have their daughters-- Barb's favorite, the perfect, brilliant Juliet; and John's darling, the free-spirited Sadie. The girls themselves couldn't be more different, but at least they got along, more or less. It was fine. It was enough.

Until the day John had a stroke, and their house of cards came tumbling down.

Now Sadie has to put her career as a teacher and struggling artist in New York on hold to come back and care for her beloved dad--and face the love of her life, whose heart she broke, and who broke hers. Now Juliet has to wonder if people will notice that despite her perfect career as a successful architect, her perfect marriage to a charming Brit, and her two perfect daughters, she's spending an increasing amount of time in the closet having panic attacks.

And now Barb and John will finally have to face what's been going on in their marriage all along.

From the author of Good Luck with That and Life and Other Inconveniences comes a new novel of heartbreaking truths and hilarious honesty about what family really means.

Wow, another Women’s Fiction winner for Kristan Higgins!

I wait every year for Kristan Higgins's new book. I even delay reading them because I want to savor the moment and that way, it is less time for me to wait for her next release.

It’s always a real pleasure immersing in her stories. There is always something that clicks with me.

Always the Last to Know, wasn't an exception. It made me laugh and it made me cry. 

Once I read the first few pages,  I knew the next few hours would be centered around one family: The Frost Family.

There is John, the patriarch who has been a good provider but not a very good father to his first child or a good husband to Barb, his wife.  The day he has a massive brain bleed, Barbara finds out something he has been hiding from her.

Barbara, the wife and mother, who has never been truly happy in her marriage despite trying to do things she assumed were expected of her as a "wife". She has a great relationship with her daughter Juliet but the same couldn't be said about her youngest daughter, Sadie. Sadie has always been John's favorite.

Juliet is a successful architect but lately, she has noticed she has competition at work from someone she brought in and tried to mentor. She also worries about her own marriage and her two girls especially the one who's becoming a typical teenager. 

Lastly, we meet Sadie. A New Yorker by heart. Someone who didn’t want to stay and live in a small town. Her dream was to be discovered as an artist and become a famous painter. In the present, she's almost engaged to Alexander Mitchum, who’s a yacht salesman but her main love has been always been Jon snow, I mean scratch that,  Noah Pelletier. Noah had a different dream than hers. He wanted to stay in town, marry Saddie and form a family together. 

The trials and tribulations of these characters were perfectly described by Kristan Higgins. She humanized them and gave them meaning. I ended up liking all three women in a very different way. Of course, I love Noah and Sadie together and I laughed every single time Mickey spoked. She had me in stitches. Barbara and Caro's friendship was a refreshing change. I also love how awesome Juliet's husband, Oliver really was. 

I'm sad to say goodbye to this family but I'm sure next year, I'll meet some awesome new ones. 

Cliffhanger: No

4/5 Fangs

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

28 Summers by Elin Hilderbrand

Title: 28 Summers
Author: Elin Hilderbrand 
Publisher:  Little, Brown and Company
Release Date:  June 16, 2020

By the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Summer of '69: Their secret love affair has lasted for decades -- but this could be the summer that changes everything.

When Mallory Blessing's son, Link, receives deathbed instructions from his mother to call a number on a slip of paper in her desk drawer, he's not sure what to expect. But he certainly does not expect Jake McCloud to answer. It's the late spring of 2020 and Jake's wife, Ursula DeGournsey, is the frontrunner in the upcoming Presidential election.
There must be a mistake, Link thinks. How do Mallory and Jake know each other?

Flash back to the sweet summer of 1993: Mallory has just inherited a beachfront cottage on Nantucket from her aunt, and she agrees to host her brother's bachelor party. Cooper's friend from college, Jake McCloud, attends, and Jake and Mallory form a bond that will persevere -- through marriage, children, and Ursula's stratospheric political rise -- until Mallory learns she's dying.

Based on the classic film Same Time Next Year (which Mallory and Jake watch every summer), 28 Summers explores the agony and romance of a one-weekend-per-year affair and the dramatic ways this relationship complicates and enriches their lives, and the lives of the people they love.

Summer is here when Elin Hilderbrand has a new book out!

28 Summers is a different story and not my favorite one of hers. 

Unpopular opinion here-->



I've some very mixed feelings about Jake McCloud. I got mad at him a lot of times. Why did he marry Ursula DeGournsey? More than half the time they had nothing in common. To me, he married a memory of a girl that at some point was nice. 

Jake didn't respect his marriage or Ursula enough to tell her the truth and leave her or divorce her. I hated how glorified cheating was portrayed in this book. Jake cheats, Mallory cheats, Ursula cheats, Bear cheats.

How would you feel if you realized your partner has cheated every year since you have been together with someone else? Ursula didn't care except for Jake's actions affecting her career and the possibility of him becoming the next President of the USA. 

It nagged me that Jake and Mallory never felt guilty of what they were doing. They just waited to see each other "Same Time Next Year" and family be damned. Their affair goes on so perfectly that Jake's daughter never learns her father is a cheater. 

In addition, Jake and Mallory have a pact. A phone call telling the other one that a wedding or a child was coming. But, Mallory had to find out about Jake's wedding and child, not by Jake calling her or did I miss it?

I hated that Mallory was portrayed as flaky, commitment-phobic and insecure. Although, as a teacher she was great. I can see how the kids would love her. I liked that she loved her Nantucket home. She was happy with what she had. Me, not her, wanted more for her. She deserved so much more. 

Now, why did I say I had mixed feelings about Jake at the beginning of my review? Because I really liked him during those first phone calls with Mallory. I like his fight for his sister's disease. I like that he came to see Mallory in the end (although, he waited one day instead of flying right that second).

I do love Elin's writing. I get to experience Nantucket through her eyes and summer through her words. 

I hope her next book is a winner for me. 

Cliffhanger: No

3/5 Fangs

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

Title: Little Fires Everywhere
Author: Celeste Ng
Publisher: Penguin Books
Release Date: March 17, 2020

In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is planned – from the layout of the winding roads, to the colors of the houses, to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules.

Enter Mia Warren – an enigmatic artist and single mother – who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenaged daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past and a disregard for the status quo that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community.

When old family friends of the Richardsons attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town--and puts Mia and Elena on opposing sides. Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Elena is determined to uncover the secrets in Mia's past. But her obsession will come at unexpected and devastating costs.

Little Fires Everywhere explores the weight of secrets, the nature of art and identity, and the ferocious pull of motherhood – and the danger of believing that following the rules can avert disaster.

A really good story! Not a perfect ending but quite good just the same. 

Little Fires Everywhere follows two very different women. One living in the cookie-cutter world of Shaker-Heights. Following all rules and regulations. Another one, seeming to be living a carefree life. She's a nomad going from city to city, getting inspiration and augmenting her artistic talent as she travels. 

Mrs. Richardson is a wife, a mother of four, and a writer for the local newspaper. She is well-known and well-liked. Her marriage is solid and her relationship with her kids is a good one except for the one with her youngest daughter, Izzy. 

Mia Warren is an artist. She and her daughter Pearl (who's 15) move around quite often. They have lived in many cities and states. Recently, Pearl has asked Mia to settle down for a bit. To let her enjoy high school and make new friends. Mia agrees to try.  

Mia and Helena's world collide capriciously. Mrs. Richardson is intrigued and resentful at the same time of a woman like Mia. Despite her reservations, she rents her a rental property and offers her a job at her house as a housekeeper. 

Mia was working for a restaurant but she feels like she can't say no to such an offer. She will still be able to create art in her free time. It would also give her the chance to keep an eye on Pearl who develops a fast friendship with Helena's son, Moody, then Lexie (the other daughter) and a crush on the oldest son, Trip.

Little Fires Everywhere had a cast of captivating topics and characters. Entertaining and thought-provoking.  Celeste Ng has a true talent with words. 

Now, I want to watch the TV series. 

Cliffhanger: No

4/5 Fangs

Temptation Bay by Anna Sullivan

Title: Temptation Bay
Series: Windfall Island #1
Author: by Anna Sullivan
Publisher: Forever

Temptation Never Tasted So Sweet...
Maggie Solomon has always been one of Windfall Island's favorite daughters. A beautiful, passionate charter pilot who loves this remote Maine island, Maggie has never cared much for outsiders—until her latest passenger arouses the curiosity of the town . . . and something hot and irresistible in Maggie. With his long, lean looks and razor-sharp wit, the man is temptation itself.

Cop-turned-PI Dexter Keegan is on a covert mission to solve the case that will make his career: uncovering the identity of the Stanhope heir, kidnapped nearly a century ago. No one on this fiercely protective island can know what he's doing, not even the spirited, blue-eyed beauty who infuriates—and excites—Dex. As the desire between them ignites, Maggie becomes the key to the case . . . and the target of an unknown enemy. Now Dex will do anything to protect the woman he's come to love—even risk his own life.

I had this story on my NetGalley for a while. I decided it was time to read it. 

I thought the beginning of the story had an interesting setting. The prologue opens during the time of prohibition almost a century ago. A dark night, men transporting alcohol illegally, a ship, and a baby.

In the present, we meet the heroine of the story. Maggie Solomon. She is a charter pilot who's picking up her next client. She is flying him to Windfall Island, Maine. Maggie is great at her job and everyone knows it. She has loyal friends. She is treated like she was born on the island. She is part of the "team" and will keep as many secrets as she can.

Dexter Keegan is a PI. He used to be a cop but he decided to change his line of work. Recently, he has been offered a cold case that can make his career. Dex has been paid to discover the real events surrounding the kidnapping of one of the heirs of the Stanhope family. What he was not expecting was to be stonewall by the islanders. Everyone is tightlipped about it. 

Sparks fly between Maggie and Dex from the moment they meet. However, they have their own reasons to try to keep the attraction in check without putting their lives at risk. Dex believes someone might not be too happy if he is successful in finding the descendants of the heir living on the island.

I liked the story but didn't love it. Maggie was hard to like. She gave Dex such a hard time. Then, she gave me whiplash when she did a 180- degree change in regards to her feelings. On the other hand, Dex was easy to like although he behaved out of character in a certain situation. 

What I like the most about Temptation Bay was the mystery of the child's disappearance and who could be the actual descendant. I might read the next one. 

3/5 Fangs

Cliffhanger: No

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

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

The Lion's Den by Katherine St. John

Title: he Lion's Den
Author: Katherine St. John
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Release Date: June 30, 2020

Belle likes to think herself immune to the dizzying effects of fabulous wealth. But when her best friend, Summer, invites her on a glamorous getaway to the Mediterranean aboard her billionaire boyfriend's yacht, the only sensible answer is yes. Belle hopes the trip will be a much-needed break from her stalled acting career and uniquely humiliating waitressing job, but once she's aboard the luxurious Lion's Den, it soon becomes clear this jet-setting holiday is not as advertised.

Belle's dream vacation quickly devolves into a nightmare as she and the handful of other girls Summer invited are treated more like prisoners than guests by their controlling host-and in one terrifying moment, Belle comes to see Summer for who she truly is: a vicious gold digger who will stop at nothing to get what she wants.

Belle realizes she's going to have to keep her wits about her -- and her own big secret closely hidden -- if she wants to make it off the yacht alive.

The Lion's Den was a great way to evade reality. It has a combo of good things:

Perfect summer reading: ✅
Mediterranean Yacht cruise ✅
Mystery aboard ✅

Our heroine is Belle. She is an actress but not famous yet. She has been invited by her best friend Summer to spend a week on her rich boyfriend's yacht cruising the Mediterranean. Summer has also invited her mother, her sister Brittani, her friend Wendy, Claire and unbeknownst to Summer, Brittani has decided to invite her friend Amythest, an exotic and interesting young woman. 

As soon as the traveling begins, they realized things are not as they seem. Nothing gets done without the permission of Summer's boyfriend, John. They are told to sign an NDA, have no access to wifi, someone locks their room at night and John's goons are always hanging around. 

Belle is the sole voice of the narration. It's she who tells us what is going on in the yacht and also the one who takes us back into the past. In the flashbacks, we learn how she met Summer, how they became friends and how their friendship evolved over time. 

The Lion's Den kept my interest. I enjoyed Belle. She was a good character. She wasn't naive or too perfect, which made her relatable and likable. I also enjoyed the twists although I thought the ending was too cookie-cutter for me. 

Cliffhanger: No 

4/5 Fangs

**A complimentary copy was provided by Grand Central Publishing in exchange for an honest review.**