Saturday, August 28, 2021

Dark Roads by Chevy Stevens


Title: Dark Roads
Author: Chevy Stevens
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Release Date: August 3rd, 2021

The Cold Creek Highway stretches close to five hundred miles through British Columbia’s rugged wilderness to the west coast. Isolated and vast, it has become a prime hunting ground for predators. For decades, young women traveling the road have gone missing. Motorists and hitchhikers, those passing through or living in one of the small towns scattered along the region, have fallen prey time and again. And no killer or abductor who has stalked the highway has ever been brought to justice.

Hailey McBride calls Cold Creek home. Her father taught her to respect nature, how to live and survive off the land, and to never travel the highway alone. Now he’s gone, leaving her a teenage orphan in the care of her aunt whose police officer husband uses his badge as a means to bully and control Hailey. Overwhelmed by grief and forbidden to work, socialize, or date, Hailey vanishes into the mountainous terrain, hoping everyone will believe she’s left town. Rumors spread that she was taken by the highway killer—who’s claimed another victim over the summer.

One year later, Beth Chevalier arrives in Cold Creek, where her sister Amber lived—and where she was murdered. Estranged from her parents and seeking closure, Beth takes a waitressing job at the local diner, just as Amber did, desperate to understand what happened to her and why. But Beth’s search for answers puts a target on her back—and threatens to reveal the truth behind Hailey’s disappearance…

Dark Roads is another entertaining tale by Chevy Stevens.

The story unfolds along the Cold Creek Highway. Over the years, multiple women have gone missing without a culprit ever being caught in this area of British Columbia.

Hailey McBride is a seventeen-year-old girl. Her dad has recently passed away in an accident. Haley has moved in with her aunt and her husband. Her husband, Vaughn is a police officer. People called Vaughn the Iceman for a reason. He is mean and a bully and he wants to control Hailey. Luckily, Haley has a good friend in Johnny who helps her out when she needs it. Hailey also meets Amber, a waitress at the local diner. She falls for her but then Hailey makes a discovery that causes her to run away.

A year later, Beth, Amber's sister is in town. She wants to know what happened to Amber. She meets both, the Iceman and Johnnie and she will have to make her own choices and decide who she can trust. 

Unfortunately for Beth, the killer has her eyes set on her and she is running out of time.

I liked Dark Roads. Yes, some areas were just too unbelievable for me but I was able to let it go and kept hoping for the best. 

I do think that Wolf stole this book. He was such a good boy 🐕

After reading this book, I do know that the one thing I won't ever do is to be around those 450 miles of the Highway of Tears. All those women have died and most have never been found or if found, their killers are running free.

Cliffhanger: No

3/5 Fangs

A complimentary copy was provided by St. Martin's Press via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

For Your Own Good by Samantha Downing

Title: For Your Own Good
Author: Samantha Downing
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: July 20th, 2021

Teddy Crutcher has won Teacher of the Year at the esteemed Belmont Academy, home to the best and brightest.

He says his wife couldn't be more proud—though no one has seen her in a while.

Teddy really can’t be bothered with the death of a school parent that’s looking more and more like murder or the student digging a little too deep into Teddy’s personal life. His main focus is on pushing these kids to their full academic potential.

All he wants is for his colleagues—and the endlessly meddlesome parents—to stay out of his way.

It's really too bad that sometimes excellence can come at such a high cost.

Talk about a nutso teacher!

Teddy Crutcher is a teacher at a private school, the Belmont Academy. He has won the Teacher of the Year award but kids don't enjoy being in his class. He can be sarcastic and when he thinks a student is too privileged, he decides to make him suffer. He believes that by making them sweat he is doing them a favor.

Enters Zach Ward, a 17-year-old student. He has the looks, he comes from money and he is liked by everyone. Zac is smart and has good grades and his family is a power couple. That is enough for Teddy to give  Zac a B on his latest paper to bring down his GPA.

Besides, picking on a student, Teddy also has a secret pastime. A pastime that Teddy believes is his duty. Some teachers need to be more mellow, some need to be more alert, and some need to die!

Just when Teddy thinks he is getting away with everything, an ex-student Fallon is back to watch him. 

Was Teddy narcissistic and unrepentant? Sure. Was he a psychopath? Sure. Yet, I was avidly awaiting the next chapter and devouring every second of his craziness.

Once again, Samantha Downing has done it and For Your Own Good takes you on a rewarding thriller ride. 

I know, with so many books out there sometimes you just have to pick your poison. Grab this one, it's worth it.

Cliffhanger: No

4/5 Fangs

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

Falling by T.J. Newman

Title: Falling
Author: T.J. Newman
Publisher: Avid Reader Press / Simon Schuster
Release Date: July 6th, 2021

You just boarded a flight to New York.
There are one hundred and forty-three other passengers onboard.

What you don’t know is that thirty minutes before the flight your pilot’s family was kidnapped.

For his family to live, everyone on your plane must die.

The only way the family will survive is if the pilot follows his orders and crashes the plane.

Enjoy the flight.

What would you choose, your family or the lives of over one hundred under your care?

This is the dilemma Captain Bill Hoffman of flight 416 is confronted with.

His wife and his two kids have been taken hostages by a terrorist and unless he crashes the plane when he is told, they won't survive the day. 

Bill is told he can't contact anyone, he can't say anything to Ben, his copilot. He can't share his news with the Crew either or his family is gone.

What to do?

Falling has an excellent premise to trap you and ensnare you all the way through. 

I could feel the tension in the cabin. The desperation and fear of the passengers and the determination of the Crew which by the way had a fantastic characterization. Bid Daddy, Jo and Kellie are the crew you want to have in a situation like this other than Bill or Sully Sullenberger for that matter.

Cliffhanger: No

4/5 Fangs

A complimentary copy was provided by Avid Reader Press / Simon Schuster via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

We Are the Brennans by Tracey Lange


Title: We Are the Brennans
Author: Tracey Lange
Publisher: Celadon Books
Release Date: August 3, 2021

When twenty-nine-year-old Sunday Brennan wakes up in a Los Angeles hospital, bruised and battered after a drunk driving accident she caused, she swallows her pride and goes home to her family in New York. But it's not easy. She deserted them all—and her high school sweetheart—five years before with little explanation, and they've got questions.

Sunday is determined to rebuild her life back on the east coast, even if it does mean tiptoeing around resentful brothers and an ex-fiancé. The longer she stays, however, the more she realizes they need her just as much as she needs them. When a dangerous man from her past brings her family's pub business to the brink of financial ruin, the only way to protect them is to upend all their secrets—secrets that have damaged the family for generations and will threaten everything they know about their lives. In the aftermath, the Brennan family is forced to confront painful mistakes—and ultimately find a way forward, together.

The Brennan’s will stick out in my mind for a while. They might have looked like a perfect Irish family growing up but they have flaws like everyone else.

Meet the Brennans:

Sunday Brennan: She left town five years ago. She moved to LA without a major explanation. No one understood her leaving, particularly her boyfriend Kale who loved her, and she had loved him back. Sunday has a secret and the secret is consuming her. She is barely making it in LA.  After getting upset and drinking too much, she is involved in an accident and ends up in the hospital.

Denny: He is the big brother. The one people relied on but he has made a mess of his life. He’s about to lose his business. He’s separated from his wife Theresa and only sees his child Molly a few hours a day. He has lied to his business partner and he is not sure how to fix any of it.

Jackie: The artist. The son who had a run-in with the law. He can't help his brother with the Pub without breaking his parole but he will be there in other ways as the story unfolds. 

Shane: the gentle giant with a learning disability and who is protected by all his siblings in one way or the other.

Mickey: Their father who is experiencing short-term memory issues with secrets of his own. He was a good provider and a good father. 

It was easy to feel invested with the Brennans. They had much to overcome and find a way back to being a family again. A chance for the secrets to come out instead of further destroying their happiness. 

As a debut novel, I thought this one was outstanding. Like I mentioned earlier, I won't easily forget the Brennans just like I won't forget the Pines. 

Cliffhanger: No

4/5 Fangs

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

Pack Up the Moon by Kristan Higgins


Title: Pack Up the Moon
Author: Kristan Higgins
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: June 8, 2021 

Every month, a letter. That's what Lauren decides to leave her husband when she finds out she's dying. Each month, she gives Josh a letter containing a task to help him face this first year without her, leading him on a heartrending, beautiful, often humorous journey to find happiness again in this new novel from the New York Times bestselling author Kristan Higgins.

Joshua and Lauren are the perfect couple. Newly married, they're wildly in love, each on a successful and rewarding career path. Then Lauren is diagnosed with a terminal illness.

As Lauren's disease progresses, Joshua struggles to make the most of the time he has left with his wife and to come to terms with his future--a future without the only woman he's ever loved. He's so consumed with finding a way to avoid the inevitable ending that he never imagines his life after Lauren.

But Lauren has a plan to keep her husband moving forward. A plan hidden in the letters she leaves him. In those letters, one for every month in the year after her death, Lauren leads Joshua on a journey through pain, anger, and denial. It's a journey that will take Joshua from his attempt at a dinner party for family and friends to getting rid of their bed...from a visit with a psychic medium to a kiss with a woman who isn't Lauren. As his grief makes room for laughter and new relationships, Joshua learns Lauren's most valuable lesson: The path to happiness doesn't follow a straight line.

Sometimes heartbreaking, often funny, and always uplifting, this novel from New York Times bestselling author Kristan Higgins illuminates how life's greatest joys are often hiding in plain sight.

I'm so used to reading books by Kristan Higgins that leave me with a smile on my face. Yes, some can elicit tears but they are always hopeful. So I was a little shocked to read the blurb of this one. We are told the main character dies!! 

Was I going to read it? Yes, absolutely. 

Was it going to break my heart? Probably, but I wouldn't pass up the opportunity. 

This is the story of Lauren and Josh. A young couple who is happily married. They are lucky, they get along in a fantastic way. Then, Lauren's asthma keeps on making her feel tired and short of breath. She has multiple ER visits and hospital admissions for pneumonia. Then she is sent to the pulmonologist and finally, an accurate diagnosis is made. Lauren has IPF, a terminal disease. 

Joshua's world collapses. Despite him being a prodigy in his career, he can't help Lauren. He is completely useless and powerless and losing her, he does. Yet, Lauren is helping him deal with her loss from the GB (great beyond). She left behind a letter for each month of the first year she's gone to help Joshua move on. The tasks are not easy for him to do but in a way they make him move forward despite the pain.

There is no doubt that Kristan Higgins is my favorite author for a reason. Pack Up the Moon is a well-written novel that deals with grief in an honest way. I couldn't feel sadder for Joshua and his heartbreak. Lauren was a little too good for her own good but I will let that go. I did love the secondary characters, Lauren's letters to her dad, the humorous parts of the story, and I thought the epilogue was just what the novel needed.

Thank you KH for making sure my tear ducts are in working order!

Cliffhanger: No

5/5 Fangs

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