Friday, September 27, 2019

Don't You Forget About Me by Mhairi McFarlane

Title: Don't You Forget About Me
Author: Mhairi McFarlane
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Release Date: September 10, 2019

Internationally bestselling author Mhairi McFarlane delivers a funny, romantic, heartfelt novel perfect for fans of Josie Silver or Sally Thorne, and anyone who loves Bridget Jones!

You always remember your first love... don’t you?

If there’s anything worse than being fired from the lousiest restaurant in town, it’s coming home early to find your boyfriend in bed with someone else. Reeling from the humiliation of a double dumping in one day, Georgina takes the next job that comes her way—bartender in a newly opened pub. There’s only one problem: it’s run by the guy she fell in love with years ago. And—make that two problems—he doesn’t remember her. At all. But she has fabulous friends and her signature hot pink fur coat... what more could a girl really need?

Lucas McCarthy has not only grown into a broodingly handsome man, but he’s also turned into an actual grown-up, with a thriving business and a dog along the way. Crossing paths with him again throws Georgina’s rocky present into sharp relief—and brings a secret from her past bubbling to the surface. Only she knows what happened twelve years ago, and why she’s allowed the memories to chase her ever since. But maybe it’s not too late for the truth... or a second chance with the one that got away?

Georgina is having the second worse night of her life when the story begins. 

First, her boss fires her without a real reason. Then, when she goes to see her boyfriend, she discovers him with another woman. He doesn't feel guilty because he tells her, he thought they were seeing other people. He never thought they were exclusive despite being together for six months. 

Without a job, Georgina takes a job as a bartender at a new pub. Everything is going well until she realizes, that the co-owner of the pub is none other than Lucas McCarthy, the boy she fell in love in high school. At first, she has no idea how to behave around him but soon she discovers, he has no idea she was the girl from school.

Georgina doesn't have a great relationship with her mother and an even worse one with her stepfather. Same goes with her sister but she does get along with her brother in law. There are some secrets she's keeping from them and they feel like Georgina had ruined her potential after dropping out of college. Luckily, Georgina has a set of amazing, supportive friends.

I liked Don't You Forget Me. It was more a story of self-discovery than a romance. I love Georgina's friends and how they had her back. The book made me laugh and teared up at times too. Lucas made me mad for the longest time but the end had me forgiving him and I might have swooned a little bit too.

Cliffhanger: No

3/5 Fangs

A complimentary copy was provided by William Morrow Paperbacks via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

A Stranger on the Beach by Michele Campbell

Title: A Stranger on the Beach
Author: Michele Campbell
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Release Date: July 23, 2019

There is a stranger outside Caroline's house.

Her spectacular new beach house, built for hosting expensive parties and vacationing with the family she thought she'd have. But her husband is lying to her and everything in her life is upside down, so when the stranger, Aiden, shows up as a bartender at the same party where Caroline and her husband have a very public fight, it doesn't seem like anything out of the ordinary.

As her marriage collapses around her and the lavish lifestyle she's built for herself starts to crumble, Caroline turns to Aiden for comfort...and revenge. After a brief and desperate fling that means nothing to Caroline and everything to him, Aiden's obsession with Caroline, her family, and her house grows more and more disturbing. And when Caroline's husband goes missing, her life descends into a nightmare that leaves her accused of her own husband's murder.

A Stranger on the Beach was a fast-paced, easy-read and suspenseful thriller that had me entertained from page one.

Caroline Stark is a forty-two-year-old woman who takes care of herself. She's a beautiful woman loves her husband and her daughter too. She thinks her life is doing great until she starts noticing that her husband has been acting distant for a few months and when she has planned an amazing party at their new beach house, he tells her, he might not be able to make it. However, he shows up but not alone, a woman has followed him in. When Caroline confronts him, he leaves her to go after the other woman leaving Caroline behind devastated.

When Caroline stops at a bar, she sees Aidan Callahan again. The first time she noticed him, he was looking at her beach house. The second time, he was working at the party she had thrown and now the third time, he's her bartender. Caroline can't avoid noticing how attractive Aidan is and after a night of passion, she believes it to be just a one night stand. What she wasn't expecting was for Aidan to become obsessed with her. Or was he?

This is where the story becomes engrossing. Two different POVs are told to the readers. One by Caroline and one by Aidan. One of them is lying. Which one is it? More importantly, why? and is the Truth going to come out in time?

I couldn't put down A Stranger on the Beach. It was well-written with good character development and so deliciously devious that made this love of thrillers quite happy. I'm not going to lie, I saw what the end game was from way too early but it didn't dimer my pleasure in the least.

Cliffhanger: No

4/5 Fangs

Shattered Bonds by Faith Hunter

Title: Shattered Bonds
Series: Jane Yellowrock #13 
Author: Faith Hunter 
Publisher: Ace
Release Date: October 29, 2019

Jane Yellowrock must dig deep and find strength within herself if she is to survive in the latest novel in this New York Times bestselling series.

Jane Yellowrock is a shapeshifting skinwalker, and vampire killer-for-hire, but her last battle with an ancient arcane enemy has brought her low. She seeks retreat in the Appalachian Mountains to grieve the loss of her friends, and to heal--or to die--from the disease brought on by her magic.

But malevolent elements in the paranormal community still seek to destroy Jane, and the younger Son of Darkness stalks her, even into the safety of the hills. With nowhere to run and her body failing, the rogue-vampire hunter and her inner Beast must discover a way to defeat this new threat, and find a form that gives her a chance to fight another day.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

The Son of Darkness is coming for Jane. He wants something she has and he won't stop at anything until he gets it. 


Not so much. This is the younger Son of Darkness. There were always two. Yet, he seems to be even more powerful the other SOD. 

Usually, this is when Jane gets herself ready to go into battle and helps prepare everyone for it. This time, she's the one that needs help. Jane is dying from magical cancer. A tumor is growing inside of her and nothing seems to be stopping it. She has moved away from the city of NOLA and into the mountains. Her brothers, Alex and Eli as well as Bruiser, her lover are with her and of course, Beast is never too far.

When Jane discovers that people she cared about are being taken, that a circle of witches might be being used for nefarious purposes and that her good friend and primo, Edmund is being tortured, she knows she can continue to hide any longer.  She needs to assume her power as the Dark Queen for better or worse. 

"The Dark Queen has been silent."

Of course, she will need all the help she can get from her new in-between shape, a new Elder of The People named Savannah Walkingstick of Long Hair Clan, her estranged brother (Ayatas), Soul, Lincoln Shaddock (the MOC of Asheville), the Everhart-Truebloods family, Eli, Alex, Bruiser and of course Beast.

I love Shattered Bonds. Jane and Beast were fantastic in this one. A true item. They have both accepted each other completely.

After the great ending Faith Hunter delivers, this series has so much new potential. I can't wait to see where this author decides to take the Yellowrock Clan next.

Cliffhanger: No

5/5 Fangs

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

Jane Doe by Victoria Helen Stone

Title:Jane Doe
Series: Jane Doe #1
Author: Victoria Helen Stone 
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Release Date: August 1, 2018

A double life with a single purpose: revenge.

Jane’s days at a Midwest insurance company are perfectly ordinary. She blends in well, unremarkably pretty in her floral-print dresses and extra efficient at her low-level job. She’s just the kind of woman middle manager Steven Hepsworth likes—meek, insecure, and willing to defer to a man. No one has any idea who Jane really is. Least of all Steven.

But plain Jane is hiding something. And Steven’s bringing out the worst in her.

Nothing can distract Jane from going straight for his heart: allowing herself to be seduced into Steven’s bed, to insinuate herself into his career and his family, and to expose all his dirty secrets. It’s time for Jane to dig out everything that matters to Steven. So she can take it all away.

Just as he did to her.

Jane Doe was a pleasure to read. A female psychopath with the desire for revenge. Just wonderful.

From the first page, I was enthralled by Victoria Helen Stone's writing. I was obsessed with Jane and her callously and unapologetic way of using her mind and her body to gain the trust of Steven, her target. The man who was able to take away from Jane the only thing she valued.

Jane knew from a very young age that she was different. She has always been in control. Once, after taking a psychology class she realized what she really was. She does have some issues with impulse control. What Jane wants, Jane gets. In this case, Jane wants Steven to pay and if this means Steven family has to pay, more the merrier.

I love being in Jane's head. She manipulated Steven so well and he deserved whatever was coming for him. Her dark humor and her interaction with her cat had me either laughing or smiling most of the time. The addition of a certain ex-boyfriend to the mix made it all even more interesting for me.

"A cat. Another little sociopath to curl up beside me at night and keep me warm.”

Jane Doe is refreshing, twisted and dark but without the gory. The ending was perfection!

Cliffhanger: No

4/5 Fangs

Saturday, September 7, 2019

The Child Finder by Rene Denfeld

Title: The Child Finder
Series: Naomi Cottle #1
Author: Rene Denfeld
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Release Date: September 5th 2017

Three years ago, Madison Culver disappeared when her family was choosing a Christmas tree in Oregon’s Skookum National Forest. She would be eight years old now—if she has survived. Desperate to find their beloved daughter, certain someone took her, the Culvers turn to Naomi, a private investigator with an uncanny talent for locating the lost and missing. Known to the police and a select group of parents as The Child Finder, Naomi is their last hope.

Naomi’s methodical search takes her deep into the icy, mysterious forest in the Pacific Northwest, and into her own fragmented past. She understands children like Madison because once upon a time, she was a lost girl too.

As Naomi relentlessly pursues and slowly uncovers the truth behind Madison’s disappearance, shards of a dark dream pierce the defenses that have protected her, reminding her of a terrible loss she feels but cannot remember. If she finds Madison, will Naomi ultimately unlock the secrets of her own life?

"No matter how far you have run, no matter how long you have been lost, it is never too late to be found." 

I had The Child Finder in my To-Read-List for quite a while. I was in the mood for something suspenseful and this one fit the bill perfectly. 

I can say that  I was thoroughly captivated. At times, I was so worried for Madison. So sad for the parents of all the kids missing. Sad for Naomi and how she was avoiding living her own life. And to be honest, I even felt sad for the monster.

The book begins with the disappearance of a five-year-old girl, Madison Culver. A girl, who loved to read, enjoyed nature and believed in fairy tales. She was last seen when her family stopped in the forest to cut a Christmas tree. 

Fast forward three years and Naomi Cottle is investigating her disappearance in Oregon’s Skookum National Forest. She has been hired by Madison's parents. She's their last resource. Naomi's reputation precedes her. She's known as the Child Finder. She has found thirty children but not all of them alive.

Why does Naomi dedicate her life to do this? She does it because once she was lost too. She has no recollection of her own life before she was found running by a family of migrants and taken to the Sherif who in turn took her to live in foster care and where she was given the last name of Cottle. During her time living there, she met a boy, Jerome who grows up to be a man.  Jerome's the only man she could love but she won't stay with him. Her calling is to leave and to help those lost children.

Besides Jerome, Naomi's only other friend is Diane which I loved. I also liked Ranger Dave. I hope to see him again.

The Child Finder is a chilling, haunting, page-turner novel. One that absolutely shows you how sometimes bad things happen to good people.

Cliffhanger: No

4/5 Fangs

Thursday, September 5, 2019

The Unkindest Tide by Seanan McGuire

Title: The Unkindest Tide
Series: October Daye, #13
Author: Seanan McGuire
Publisher: DAW Books
Release Date: September 3, 2019

Hundreds of years ago, the Selkies made a deal with the sea witch: they would have the sea for as long as she allowed it, and when the time came, she would call in all their debts at once. Many people assumed that day would never come. Those people were wrong.

When the Luidaeg—October "Toby" Daye's oldest and most dangerous ally—tells her the time has come for the Selkies to fulfill their side of the bargain, and that Toby must be a part of the process, Toby can't refuse. Literally. The Selkies aren't the only ones in debt to the Luidaeg, and Toby has to pay what she owes like anyone else. They will travel to the fabled Duchy of Ships and call a convocation of the Selkies, telling them to come and meet the Luidaeg's price...or face the consequences.

Of course, nothing is that simple. When Dianda Lorden's brother appears to arrest Dianda for treason against the Undersea, when a Selkie woman is stripped of her skin and then murdered, when everything is falling apart, that's when Toby will have to answer the real question of the hour.

Is she going to sink? Or is she going to swim?

Why is this series still standing? Because Seanan McGuire created an amazing world we don't want to part ways from. I'll probably cry when it does.

We are now on book 13 and I don't want this to end. I love Toby. She's a strong female character with a great heart and a knack for getting into trouble. Being "hero" of the realm comes with its drawbacks. 

I'm glad at the beginning of the book, Toby is enjoying a nice night with her family before the Luidaeg's comes to visit. It was nice to see all of the kids, Jaz, and Tybalt all relaxed for a change. 

The Luidaeg is coming for payment. Toby owes her a lot and it's time to settle her debts. As payment, Toby and friends will accompany the Luidwaeg to the sea and travel to the Duchy of Ships to have the Selkies pay their own debts. Of course, nothing is simple when Toby is around.

I love seeing Tybalt and Toby together. He's so Shakesperean and he always delivers perfect lines that make me laugh or swoon. Quentin has grown so much as a character. He's now a man, almost ready to leave his blind fosterage. Dean is also becoming his own person and ruler which Marsha is making sure he does. Marsha is an intriguing character. I wonder if she will have a more important role in the next few books. She certainly did in this one. Pete was a nice addition and a surprise. I hope to see her again but probably not. I love to see Deanda again. She's another favorite of mine. The addition of the Merrow's conflict made the plotline more interesting too.

What can I say about the Luidaeg? She's probably my favorite character after Toby and Tybalt. She can be funny. She has helped Toby so many times. She loves Quentin. She has been in terrible pain for so many years thanks to her own sister. I hope after this book, she achieves some type of peace.

Cliffhanger: No

4/5 Fangs

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

Sunday, September 1, 2019

The Last Widow by Karin Slaughter

Title: The Last Widow
Series: Will Trent #9
Author: Karin Slaughter 
Publisher: William Morrow
Release Date: August 20, 2019

New York Times bestselling author Karin Slaughter brings back Will Trent and Sara Linton in this superb and timely thriller full of devious twists, disturbing secrets, and shocking surprises you won’t see coming

A mysterious kidnapping

On a hot summer night, a scientist from the Centers for Disease Control is grabbed by unknown assailants in a shopping center parking lot. Vanished into thin air, the authorities are desperate to save the doctor. 

A devastating explosion

One month later, the serenity of a sunny Sunday afternoon is shattered by the boom of a ground-shaking blast—followed by another seconds later. One of Atlanta’s busiest and most important neighborhood’s has been bombed—the location of Emory University, two major hospitals, the FBI headquarters, and the CDC.

A diabolical enemy

Medical examiner Sara Linton and her partner Will Trent, an investigator with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, rush to the scene—and into the heart of a deadly conspiracy that threatens to destroy thousands of innocent lives. When the assailants abduct Sara, Will goes undercover to save her and prevent a massacre—putting his own life on the line for the woman and the country he loves.

Talk about being at the wrong place and at the wrong time!

Michelle Spivey, a CDC scientist is shopping with her daughter, when she's abducted by a man in a van. 

A month later, Sara and Will are at her aunt Bella's home to enjoy lunch when an explosion is heard. Will and Sara run to the rescue but they are derailed when they find the scene of a car crash. Sara's instinct, as a doctor and as a medical examiner, is telling her something is wrong. She tries to alert Will but things go from a DEFCON 1 to 5 real fast. The end result is that Sara is abducted in front of Will (who's severely injured) and her mother, Cathy.

Will is not himself without Sara. He will do anything to bring Sara home back to her family. He will break any rule necessary to get her back. Amanda Wagner and Faith Mitchell will be by his side and help him in any way necessary. The GBI will work closely together with the FBI. When the investigation leads to a white supremacist group involved in bioterrorism and pedophilia, Will will go undercover. There are some harsh scenes to read but not as bad as some from other Karin's books. 

There are so many things I liked about The Last Widow. As you know from my prior reviews, I'm in love with Will Trent. I just love him so much. I love his 3 piece suits, his scars, his dog, his intelligence. Sigh! 

Faith said it best:  "Will was a missed opportunity." or like Maggie told Faith: "You should've locked that down before Sara entered the picture."

Karin made me love Will even more on The Last Widow:
"Then there was his sweet side.

He marked his calendar with a star on the days Sara got her hair done so he would remember to compliment her. He was constantly finding ways to say her name. He listened to her, respected her, thought she was smarter than he was, which was true, because she was a doctor, but what man admitted that?"
I could continue loving on Will but I need to talk about the other characters. Sara as always is phenomenal. She's a strong, resolute and resourceful lady. Amanda always has something up her sleeve and she loves Will in her own way, after all, her friends call Will, "her boy". 

Faith, I love her. She's a tough cookie, very smart and determined. May I hope that agent Aiden Van Zandt and Faith will become something in a later book? He was intriguing and I thought they had chemistry in this one.

The Last Widow was a fast-paced, gripping, nail-biting thriller. I couldn't put it down. I read and listened to it alternatively. The POVs come mostly from Will and Sara, some by Faith.

Cliffhanger: No

4/5 Fangs

Silent Prey by John Sandford

Title: Silent Prey
Series: Lucas Davenport #4
Author: John Sandford
Publisher: Berkley

He was right. His guards slain, the brilliant, insane pathologist of Eyes of Prey flees to New York, there to continue his research into aspects of death. Carefully, he conducts his experiments, searching the eyes of his dying victims for what they can reveal, the mounting body count causing an uproar in the city.

In desperation, the police reach out for the man who knew Bekker best, but when Lucas arrives, he finds unexpected danger as well. For Lily Rothenburg, the policewoman whose intense affair with Lucas has never completely faded, is there too. Now, consumed with her own investigation of a group of rogue killers within the police department, she draws Lucas into her orbit again, until their hunts merge, their twin obsessions driving them ever closer to the edge . . . and then over.

Silent Prey follows Lucas as a consultant this time for the NYPD. 

Lily Rothenburg comes to Minnesota to ask Lucas to come to her city to catch Bekker, the deranged criminal from Eyes of Prey who escaped during his trial to NYC. Dekker is not only killing his victims but he's also publishing articles about his "medical findings".

For her part, Lily wants Lucas to help her with her own investigation into a group of possible rogue cops nicknamed, Robin Hood who are murdering people who they consider dangerous. When one of Lily's cop friends, Walter Petty, who's investigating Robin Hood gets murdered, it makes it personal for her.

Silent Prey was easy to enjoy. Even though I haven't liked Lucas because of his philandering ways, he's starting to change or at least he's trying. He's still an arse but not a complete one. He does make me laugh and he's a true detective. I like how he pieces things together and he always gets to surprise me with something. 

I wasn't a fan of Bekker and in this one, he was even weirder. I have no clue how a psychopath like him who was always high on so many things could even move, let alone plan and abduct anyone.

The Robin Hood storyline was much more interesting to me than the Bekker one. Sandford made no one safe and that kept my interest going.

I've decided to stick with this series and hope for the best.

Cliffhanger: No

3.75/5 Fangs

The Passengers by John Marrs

Title: The Passengers
Author: John Marrs 
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: August 27, 2019

You’re riding in your self-driving car when suddenly the doors lock, the route changes and you have lost all control. Then, a mysterious voice tells you, “You are going to die”. 

Just as self-driving cars become the trusted, safer norm, eight people find themselves in this terrifying situation, including a faded TV star, a pregnant young woman, an abused wife fleeing her husband, an illegal immigrant, a husband and wife, and a suicidal man.

From cameras hidden in their cars, their panic is broadcast to millions of people around the world. But the public will show their true colors when they are asked, "Which of these people should we save?...And who should we kill first?"

What a dark and possible nightmare!

In the near future, people are using self-driving cars. One day, eight passengers are taken hostages by a mysterious voice. Their routes are modified and they are told they are in a collision course to their death. Social media and a group of selected people are all in charge of selecting the sole survivor. 

Who would you pick? 

The pregnant female? The husband or wife? The abused wife? Or the man you met once and had a connection with?

The hacker has placed cameras inside each of the cars. He also has cameras inside the Vehicle Inquest Jury, where Libby Dixon is a Juror. Each of the passengers will have a chance to defend their lives as the sole survivor. The only problem is that each of them is hiding a terrible secret and the man behind their abduction seems to know their deepest secret. A secret so terrible that death could be a better choice.

What made The Passengers so exciting and scary is that it could become a possibility in the near future. The idea of self-driving cars is not outrageous any longer.  I for one, hate driving, and I'm not sure I wouldn't love a self-driving car. Although, after reading this book, I'd think about it twice. Maybe I'd chose a level 3 and not a 5.

John Marrs does a wonderful job with The Passengers. He gives us great characters, a fantastic plot and at least two very good twists.

Cliffhanger: No

4/5 Fangs

Thank you, Loren Jaggers, Berkley and Netgalley for my complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.