Monday, September 14, 2020

The Switch by Beth O'Leary

Title: The Switch
Author: Beth O'Leary 
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Release Date: August 8, 2020

A grandmother and granddaughter swap lives in The Switch, a charming, romantic novel by Beth O’Leary.

When overachiever Leena Cotton is ordered to take a two-month sabbatical after blowing a big presentation at work, she escapes to her grandmother Eileen's house for some long-overdue rest.

Eileen is newly single and about to turn eighty. She'd like a second chance at love, but her tiny Yorkshire village doesn't offer many eligible gentlemen.

So they decide to try a two-month swap.

Eileen will live in London and look for love. She’ll take Leena’s flat, and learn all about casual dating, swiping right, and city neighbors. Meanwhile Leena will look after everything in rural Yorkshire: Eileen’s sweet cottage and garden, her idyllic, quiet village, and her little neighborhood projects.

But stepping into one another's shoes proves more difficult than either of them expected. Will swapping lives help Eileen and Leena find themselves…and maybe even find true love? In Beth O'Leary's The Switch, it's never too late to change everything....or to find yourself.

What an adorable book! Just loved it.

We have two very different (maybe not) women, a grandmother, Eileen and her granddaughter, Leena needing a change.

Leena's sister, Carla passed away from cancer a few months back. This has left Leena feeling a terrible loss, her grief is consuming her and she is struggling at work. After having a panic attack during one of her presentations to a big client, her boss tells her to take two months off to relax.

Leena decides to visit the town her grandmother and mother lived in. This is also where Carla spent the last few months of her life. It's hard for Leena to visit her mother's home especially since Leena has not dealt with her grief and she's estranged from her mother.

Eileen is an active 79-year-old woman. She lives in Yorkshire. She is part of the community and helps everyone she can. Her husband walked out on her a few years back and she would like to find some male company. She is thinking of starting dating but she knows the pool of men in her age group is scarce in her town.

Then, Leena has a bright idea. Why don't they swap lives? Eileen should go to London, stay with her roommates and start dating while Leena stays in Yorkshire to help with all the activities her grandmother participates in and also to check on her mother.

Easy peasy, right?


The audio was fantastic. A job well done by both Daisy Edgar-Jones and Alison Steadman as the narrators.

Now in regards to the novel, I can honestly say that I adored these characters. Eileen was superb. Her parts were probably my favorite ones. She was classy, funny, interesting, helpful, a good friend and a great grandmother.

Leena was fun too. In the beginning, she was a mess but once she starts finding out more about herself, the stronger she became. I also love her romance with Jackson and her friendship with Arnold.

Kudos to Beth O'Leary for creating a cute story with memorable characters!

Cliffhanger: No

4/5 Fangs

A complimentary copy was provided by Macmillan Audio via NetGalley Shelf in exchange for an honest review.

Battle Ground by Jim Butcher
The Dresden Files #17

Title: Battle Ground
Series: The Dresden Files #17
Author: Jim Butcher
Publisher: Ace
Release Date: September 29, 2020

THINGS ARE ABOUT TO GET SERIOUS FOR HARRY DRESDEN, CHICAGO’S ONLY PROFESSIONAL WIZARD, in the next entry in the #1 New York Times bestselling Dresden Files.

Harry has faced terrible odds before. He has a long history of fighting enemies above his weight class. The Red Court of vampires. The fallen angels of the Order of the Blackened Denarius. The Outsiders.

But this time it’s different. A being more powerful and dangerous on an order of magnitude beyond what the world has seen in a millennium is coming. And she’s bringing an army. The Last Titan has declared war on the city of Chicago, and has come to subjugate humanity, obliterating any who stand in her way.

Harry’s mission is simple but impossible: Save the city by killing a Titan. And the attempt will change Harry’s life, Chicago, and the mortal world forever.

My heart is still pounding from all the action!!! One Huge Epic Fight!

Also, my heart is a little broken now. I was expecting what happened but not the way it happened. 

Dresden, you have done it again! I can’t help but root for you. You make yourself responsible for everyone and you want to keep everyone safe.

This time Chicago and its people, human and supernatural lives are all at stake. The Fodor and Ethniu, the Titan, are coming to destroy it. The White Council, the White Court, the Summer Court, the Winter court, Marcone with his people, the Knights, the werewolves, and every other group I forget are all taking a truce and battling one enemy together. If not, there won't be a next day for many of them. Apocalypse is in the mirror.

There were so many things l liked about Battle Ground. I want to tell you but then I'm spoiling it for you. Few comments though:

I know Dresden doesn’t care for Marcone but I kinda like him. I like Mab too despite her being utterly terrifying but I can't help but think about what she went through to become what she is now.

I love Waldo and Michael. They have Harry’s back Always. Sanja made me laugh, especially at the end.

Despite Dresden loving Murphy, I still have hope for Dresden and Molly (you're my girl) although I like Lara too. 

I do hope this time Jim Butcher doesn’t take six years for the next book. I’m dying to see what happens next. Jim leaves so many clues as to what is to come and it seems Dresden will need 365 days to figure it out. 

The adorable Christmas story at the end of the book was perfect. Anything with Mouse, Michael, Molly, Mab, and a little Christmas spirit together, has to be good.

Cliffhanger: No

5/5 Fangs

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

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Anxious People by Fredrik Backman

Title: Anxious People
Author: Fredrik Backman
Publisher: Simon & Schuster 
Release Date: September 8, 2020

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Man Called Ove and “writer of astonishing depth” (The Washington Times) comes a poignant comedy about a crime that never book place, a would-be bank robber who disappears into thin air, and eight extremely anxious strangers who find they have more in common than they ever imagined.

Viewing an apartment normally doesn’t turn into a life-or-death situation, but this particular open house becomes just that when a failed bank robber bursts in and takes everyone in the apartment hostage. As the pressure mounts, the eight strangers begin slowly opening up to one another and reveal long-hidden truths.

First is Zara, a wealthy bank director who has been too busy to care about anyone else until tragedy changed her life. Now, she’s obsessed with visiting open houses to see how ordinary people live—and, perhaps, to send an old wrong to right. Then there’s Roger and Anna-Lena, an Ikea-addicted retired couple who are on a never-ending hunt for fixer-uppers to hide the fact that they don’t know how to fix their own failing marriage. Julia and Ro are a young lesbian couple and soon-to-be parents who are nervous about their chances for a successful life together since they can’t agree on anything. And there’s Estelle, an eighty year-old woman who has lived long enough to be unimpressed by a masked bank robber waving a gun in her face. And despite the story she tells them all, Estelle hasn’t really come to the apartment to view it for her daughter, and her husband really isn’t outside parking the car.

As police surround the premises and television channels broadcast the hostage situation live, the tension mounts and even deeper secrets are slowly revealed. Before long, the robber must decide which is the more terrifying prospect: going out to face the police, or staying in the apartment with this group of impossible people.

Rich with Fredrik Backman’s “pitch-perfect dialogue and an unparalleled understanding of human nature” (Shelf Awareness), Anxious People’s whimsical plot serves up unforgettable insights into the human condition and a gentle reminder to be compassionate to all the anxious people we encounter every day.

"Worst hostages ever."

A bank robbery that never becomes a bank robbery. A hostage situation that might not be a hostage situation. Yet, there is intent, a mask, and a gun involved. 

Eight stranger's anxieties that are all in one apartment viewing when a masked individual walks in, a suicide, a psychologist, and two cops trying to get to the bottom of it all, becomes the perfect mixture for a good novel.

Surprisingly funny and sad with moments of revelation is what Anxious People delivers to this reader. I became engrossed in the life of these people. How fate has put them all together in one place to bring out all of their issues into the open. 

Anxiuos People has a true message. A good person can make a bad decision. Should the bad decision define us? Should we get a second chance? We have all been "idiots" at one point. Right?

I encourage people to read this book. It is not the usual prose I'm used to but it works nonetheless.

Cliffhanger: No

4/5 Fangs

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

Saturday, September 5, 2020

The Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer

Title: The Things We Cannot Say
Author: Kelly Rimmer
Publisher: Graydon House
Release Date: October 17, 2019

In 1942, Europe remains in the relentless grip of war. Just beyond the tents of the Russian refugee camp she calls home, a young woman speaks her wedding vows. It’s a decision that will alter her destiny…and it’s a lie that will remain buried until the next century.

Since she was nine years old, Alina Dziak knew she would marry her best friend, Tomasz. Now fifteen and engaged, Alina is unconcerned by reports of Nazi soldiers at the Polish border, believing her neighbors that they pose no real threat, and dreams instead of the day Tomasz returns from college in Warsaw so they can be married. But little by little, injustice by brutal injustice, the Nazi occupation takes hold, and Alina’s tiny rural village, its families, are divided by fear and hate. Then, as the fabric of their lives is slowly picked apart, Tomasz disappears. Where Alina used to measure time between visits from her beloved, now she measures the spaces between hope and despair, waiting for word from Tomasz and avoiding the attentions of the soldiers who patrol her parents’ farm. But for now, even deafening silence is preferable to grief. 

Slipping between Nazi-occupied Poland and the frenetic pace of modern life, Kelly Rimmer creates an emotional and finely wrought narrative that weaves together two women’s stories into a tapestry of perseverance, loyalty, love and honor. The Things We Cannot Say is an unshakable reminder of the devastation when truth is silenced…and how it can take a lifetime to find our voice before we learn to trust it.

5 moje Wszystko stars!

With fat tears running down my face, I'm writing this review.

It has been almost a year since The Things We Cannot Say came out yet life has made it impossible for me to read it before now. So many friends recommended it and they were not wrong. It's a beautiful devastating story. One that will be impossible to forget.

I went in blind which I'm so happy I did. Kelly Rimmer does a beautiful job at creating Tomasz, Alina, Alice, Eddie, Emilia, Saul, and all others right in front of me. 

The story begins with a wedding and then we jump to the past. A past that involves 6 million lives lost to the Nazi invasion to Poland, where 18% of the population was lost and 90 percent of Polish Jews died.

Alina is the youngest daughter of the Dziak family. Truda her oldest sister is married to Mateusz. Alina's twin brothers, Filipe and Stanislaw help her father, Bartuk, and her mother, Faustina with farming. Alina, being the youngest, gets away with doing less work and uses any free time she has to spend it with Tomasz, her true love.

Alina has known she wanted to be married to Tomasz since she was nine years old and he was twelve. Now, she is fifteen and Tomasz is ready for University. Just before he leaves to start medical school in Warsaw, Tomasz and Alina get engaged. Tomasz promises to return for her. Then WWII begins.

As farmers, Alina and her family live a hard yet comfortable life until the invasion. When the Nazis invade, everything changes drastically.

In the present (2019) Alice is dealing with her own crisis. Her dear babcia (grandmother) has had a stroke. Her son, Eddie who is the autism spectrum and communicates with an AAC app, is having a meltdown in the aisle of the store due to a yogurt label changed. Her daughter is a genius who needs constant stimuli and her husband is far from helpful with her son.

Then her Babcia communicates using Eddie's app and tells Alice:

"Babcia fire Tomasz".

The rest is for you to read.

A masterful piece is what The Things We Cannot Say novel is. It depicts the horrors of war, the fear, the famish, and so much death but also the bravery and the courage humanity can have during the worst of times.

Cliffhanger: No

5/5 Fangs

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Thick as Thieves by Sandra Brown

Title: Thick as Thieves
Author: Sandra Brown
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Release Date: August 25, 2020

In this tantalizing thriller from a #1 New York Times bestselling author, a woman uncovers lifelong secrets as she searches for the truth behind her father's involvement in a heist gone wrong.
Twenty years ago in the dead of night, four seemingly random individuals pulled the ultimate heist and almost walked away with half a million dollars. But by daybreak, their plan had been shot to hell. One of them was in the hospital. One was in jail. One was dead. And one got away with it.

Arden Maxwell, the daughter of the man who disappeared all those years ago -- presumably with the money, after murdering his accomplice -- has never reconciled with her father's abandonment of her and her sister. After countless personal setbacks she decides to return to her family home near mysterious Caddo Lake, and finally get answers to the many questions that torment her. Little does she know, two of her father's co-conspirators -- a war hero and a corrupt district attorney -- are watching her every move.

Ledge Burnet, a rebellious teen at the time of the heist, evaded his jail sentence by enlisting in the army. Now he's back in town to care for his ailing uncle-- and to keep his eye on the county's corrupt district attorney, whom he suspects was the real murderer. Although the two are bound to silence because of the crime they committed together, each has spent years waiting and hoping that the other will make a fatal misstep. But the arrival of their elusive accomplice's daughter, Arden, who may know more about the missing money than she's telling, sets them both on red alert. She ignites Ledge's determination to expose the D.A.'s treachery . . . and sparks a desire he wishes to deny.

Sandra Brown is a must-read for me. She is one of my favorite writers. I couldn’t pass on Thick as Thieves. I'm extremely thankful to Grand Central Publishing for my early copy. 

In Thick as Thieves, a heist gone wrong, a murder, and a father’s disappearance twenty years ago are at the center of the story. 

Arden Maxwell decides to move back to her family home when she realizes she is pregnant. Her home has been isolated and left unkept since her father disappeared that awful night twenty years ago. Arden might not realize it at the beginning but she is looking for answers. After tragedy strikes, she is determined to find out more about her father's disappearance and it seems like Ledge Burnet might have some or all of the answers. 

Life has not treated Ledge Burnet fairly. He lost his parents at an early age and his uncle and his wife took him in. Soon after, his aunt died and it just became the two of them. Ledge was placed in juvie for smoking marijuana. An error he's not going to repeat until the night Arden's father disappears and he is being taken to jail after he's stopped by cops and drugs are found in his car. Ledge is certain he was framed two decades ago and he, as much as Arden, wants to know the truth. 

As with the majority of the books by Sandra Brown I've read, this one is a page-turner. The suspense was killing me. Some things I guessed, some others took me by surprise. 

Mrs. Brown can write great enemies. In this case, Rusty was an evil man with too much power and a hateful soul. It was so easy to hate him.

My sole complaint would be the ending. Everything resolved too neatly for me. Anyway, the end was not enough for me not to enjoy it. 

Cliffhanger: No

4/5 Fangs

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

Secret Prey by John Sandford
Lucas Davenport #9

Title: Secret Prey
Series: Lucas Davenport #9
Author: John Sandford
Publisher: Pocket Books 
Release Date: June 1, 2004 

The company chairman lay dead in the woods, his orange hunting jacket punctured by a bullet at close range. Around him stood the four executives with whom he had been hunting, each with a reason not to be sorry about the man's death. A classic murder mystery, it would seem: the kind where the detective gathers everyone together at the end and solves the case. But Lucas Davenport knows it's not going to be that easy. There are currents running through this group, hints and whispers of something much greater than the murder of a single man. Some time soon, unless he could stop it, there would be other deaths - and Davenport can't help but wonder if maybe the final death might be his own ...

A nice addition to this series. 

It’s always great to see someone challenging Lucas’s brain. 

The book begins with the death of a man during a hunting trip. The question is Was this an accident or was the man the target? 

The answer is simple. Four individuals benefit from the man’s death. The dead man was the bank chairman and any of them could take his place at the table if they had enough votes going for them. It will be up to Lucas to find out what really happened and who is behind the murder. 

Lucas welcomes the distraction. Anything to make him forget his own personal issues. His girlfriend Weather doesn’t want to be with him anymore. She is still traumatized after what happened in the last book and being in the same room with Lucas makes her ill. 

For his part, Lucas doesn’t want to go into another depression. He’s been there and done that. He knows work can keep his mind going without spiraling down. 

I enjoyed Secret Prey. It’s quite weird but I have learned to like Lucas and I enjoy his humor and sarcasm. His closest friends humanize him, making the stories believable and entertaining.

Cliffhanger: No

4/5 Fangs

Reaper's Wrath
Road to Salvation: A Last Rider's Trilogy #2
by Jamie Begley

Title: Reaper's Wrath
Series: Road to Salvation: A Last Rider's Trilogy #2
Author: Jamie Begley
Publisher: Young Ink Press
Release Date: June 30, 2020

Have you ever wondered how soulmates fall in love after they meet? 

One touch was all it took to pierce through the hatred, the revenge, the payback that kept Reaper’s sanity in check. Unable to bear to be touched, Ginny breezed through his safeguards, stirring the flames of desire and trying to make him believe love was possible again, while his tortured soul just wanted to find the peace he had promised himself once all his enemies were there to keep him company in hell.

One look was all it took for Ginny to recognize her soulmate. Now she was determined to show him that love, mercy, and forgiveness would bring the light back into his life. Her warrior was no longer fighting alone to battle his nightmares, and this Kentucky woman wasn’t afraid of stealing his heart and making it hers.

One love that would have to be strong enough to overcome Reaper’s biggest enemy—himself. Having lost faith in love, The Last Riders, and himself, it was only when Ginny committed a desperate selfless act of love that Reaper realized that, to save her, he was going to have to put his life on the line again. This time if he lost, not only would he lose Ginny, but the Last Riders forever.

How was he supposed to know his wrath could cost him everything?

Reaper's Wrath felt quite a bit different from any other book in this series. It had a much slower pace than the others. It certainly counts as a bridge between the trilogy. There was not much action or drama but in my opinion, it was good regardless. 

Garett is dealing with all his feelings of inadequacy after being kidnapped and abused for so many years. He doesn’t believe himself a Last Rider. Yet, he feels compelled to help his brothers and to take over Ginny’s security detail to help the rest of the MC.

Ginny, for her part, makes it crystal clear to him that he is her soulmate. She wants him to acknowledge their connection but he dismisses it numerous times. He doesn’t feel lovable and he rather avoids his feelings for her. 

I love Ginny. She was a cool character. She was a strong female character and she knew what she wanted. She was determined without becoming a pushover. She was funny and smart. She was caring and she was able to develop good and lasting friendships. 

I love the details Mrs. Begley gives us about the other characters. As a reader who is invested in this world, I love to know how my favorite characters are doing. 

The relationship between Ginny and her “ brothers”, the Colemans, leaves the door wide open for them to get their own storylines. If you ask me, I would love to read more about them. I also loved the dogs in this book especially Suki.

As always, Greer and Shade added something more to the stories but Silas stole serious page time and I can see him becoming vital in the books to come. 

I'm so excited to read the last book in this trilogy. Hopefully, Ginny remains smart and interesting. 

Cliffhanger: Yes

4/5 Fangs

Broken by Evelyn Glass
Steel Talons Motorcycle Club #1

Title: Broken
Series: Steel Talons Motorcycle Club #1
Author: Evelyn Glass

Jim Wade is a broken man trying to put the pieces back together.
Struggling to walk the straight and narrow path after his old lady overdosed on painkillers and vodka almost a year ago, the only consistency in Jim’s life is the strong bond he shares with his brothers of the Steel Talons MC.

Susan McGregor is keen to impress her colleagues.

A paramedic trying to secure a full-time position with her ambulance crew, Susan knows it's only a matter of time until someone calls for help from the wild biker parties on the outskirts of town.

At the right place at the right time.

When an accident sends Jim's bike crashing against a streetlight, he finds himself in front of Susan. Though his physical injuries are superficial, his psychological wounds begin opening up under the tender lingering touch of a woman who seems too prim and proper to ever fall for a rough biker.

With only so many hours in a day who will give first, the girl or the biker?

Jim Wade is having quite a night. His motorcycle crashes and the paramedic who is helping him has a chip on her shoulder. It's also the anniversary of the death of his wife. He loved her and lost her due to an overdose. Jim knows she wasn't happy with the Steel Talons MC's life and he feels guilty about it.

Susan McGregor is trying to prove to herself and others that she can be successful. She's studying to become a doctor while paying for her studies with her job as a paramedic. She wants to prove she can make it and the last thing she wants it's to deal with a lawless guy. Yet, she can't seem to stop herself from being intrigued by him.

This novel was a quick one. It ends in a cliffhanger. I thought the female character could have been less mean and hypercritical. I like Jim despite his illegal business.

I might read the next one.

Cliffhanger: Yes

3/5 Fangs