Thursday, November 24, 2022

Meredith, Alone by Claire Alexander


Title: Meredith, Alone
Author: Claire Alexander
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Release Date: June 9, 2022

She has a full-time remote job and her rescue cat Fred. Her best friend Sadie visits with her two children. There's her online support group, her jigsaw puzzles and favorite recipes, her beloved Emily Dickinson, the internet, the grocery delivery man. Also keeping her company are treacherous memories of an unstable childhood, the estrangement from her sister, and a traumatic event that had sent her reeling.

But something's about to change. Whether Meredith likes it or not, the world is coming to her door. Does she have the courage to overcome what's been keeping her inside all this time?

Meredith, Alone was a moving story!

Meredith Maggs is almost 40, she lives in Glasgow but what is shocking is that she has stayed home for almost 3.5 years! 

Meredith works from home, gets her food delivered, exercises by running up and down her stairs and she entertains herself by doing jigsaw puzzles. For company,  she talks to her therapist online. Her best friend Sadie stops by frequently, alone or with her kids, and of course, she has her house cat, Fred, who is always there for her. 

Meredith didn't use to be this way. She used to work outside and go out to bars but something happened that changed her life. 

Meredith didn't have a nice childhood. Her mother was abusive. However, she was very close to her sister Fiona. Yet, in the present Fiona is absent. As the story unfolds we learned what happened between the siblings.

Despite her agoraphobia and self-isolation, new people come into her life. There is Tom McDermott from Holding hands, Celeste from a support group website, and Jacob, a kid next door. These new connections will bring change into Meredith's life.

In a way, this is a story of hope, with interesting and well-developed characters and with a realistic ending that had me rooting for Meredith. 

Cliffhanger: No

4/5 Fangs

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

Redemption by David Baldacci
Amos Decker #5

Title: Redemption
Series: Amos Decker #5
Author: David Baldacci
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Detective Amos Decker discovers that a mistake he made as a rookie detective may have led to deadly consequences in the latest Memory Man thriller in David Baldacci's #1 New York Times bestselling series.

Amos Decker and his FBI partner Alex Jamison are visiting his hometown of Burlington, Ohio, when he's approached by an unfamiliar man. But he instantly recognizes the man's name: Meryl Hawkins. He's the first person Decker ever arrested for murder back when he was a young detective. Though a dozen years in prison have left Hawkins unrecognizably aged and terminally ill, one thing hasn't changed: He maintains he never committed the murders. Could it be possible that Decker made a mistake all those years ago? As he starts digging into the old case, Decker finds a startling connection to a new crime that he may be able to prevent, if only he can put the pieces together quickly enough...

Amos Decker, the man with a perfect recall memory, is back in his hometown. But the visit is not a happy one. He is back in Burlington, Ohio to visit the gravesite of his daughter who would have been fourteen. 

While at the cemetery with his FBI partner, Alex Jamison, Meryl Hawkins shows up. Meryl is the first man Decker and his police partner Mary Lancaster ever put behind prison bars years ago when he was just a rookie. Meryl is there to tell him that he was innocent. He says that he didn't kill those men and the children. He asks Amos to find out the true murderers. The next day, Hawkins is found murdered. Amos knows he needs to investigate even if this means he could lose his consulting position with the FBI. His boss is not happy with him and neither are some of the cops he used to deal with.

A great addition to the Amos Decker series. Many dead bodies and a sense that Amos was always two steps behind the real killers, kept the story moving and interesting to this reader.

I still have two more books to catch up but Lucas Davenport had kept me busy for a long time. 

Cliffhanger: No

4/5 Fangs

Sign Here by Claudia Lux


Title: Sign Here
Author: Claudia Lux
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: October 25, 2022

A darkly humorous, surprisingly poignant, and utterly gripping debut novel about a guy who works in Hell (literally) and is on the cusp of a big promotion if only he can get one more member of the wealthy Harrison family to sell their soul.

Peyote Trip has a pretty good gig in the deals department on the fifth floor of Hell. Sure, none of the pens work, the coffee machine has been out of order for a century, and the only drink on offer is J├Ągermeister, but Pey has a plan—and all he needs is one last member of the Harrison family to sell their soul.

When the Harrisons retreat to the family lake house for the summer, with their daughter Mickey’s precocious new friend, Ruth, in tow, the opportunity Pey has waited a millennium for might finally be in his grasp. And with the help of his charismatic coworker Calamity, he sets a plan in motion.

But things aren’t always as they seem, on Earth or in Hell. And as old secrets and new dangers scrape away at the Harrisons’ shiny surface, revealing the darkness beneath, everyone must face the consequences of their choices.

A story with a different type of Hell.

There are two main storylines on Sigh Here.

In one, we meet Peyote Trip. He works on the fifth floor of Hell. Meaning he has survived the worst. Now, he is one of those guys that offered you an out when things are bad as long as you sign your soul on the dotted line. He enjoys his trips to earth to get his marks. Pey has in his sights a big target: the Harrison family. Peyote needs a fifth-generation member to sign the contract and he knows he is close to achieving it when a new employee lands on fifth with him. Her name is Calamity and despite him knowing better, he can't seem to stop from wanting to help her. 

The second storyline involves the Harrisons. There is Silas who is a teacher and who tries to be a good father. His wife Lily is having an affair. His son Sean seems to be a recluse always watching video games and then there is his young daughter, Mickey who is being bullied at school until popular and beautiful Rose decides to friend her. Next thing you know, Rose is being invited to their summer home in New Hampshire for their yearly vacation. This is the property where almost two decades ago Silas' brother, Phil killed Sarah, a seventeen-year-old girl.

I liked both timelines. I wanted Peyote to get his fifth generation for sure. None of the Harrisons were very likable yet I started to care for them. Well maybe not all of them, since Silas was kind of creepy around Ruth.  

Cliffhanger: No

3/5 Fangs

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

Holiday Romance by Catherine Walsh


Title: Holiday Romance
Author: Catherine Walsh
Publisher: Bookouture
Release Date: October 4,2022

She’s meant to be catching flights, not catching feelings…

Molly and Andrew are just trying to get home to Ireland for the holidays when a freak snowstorm grounds their flight.

Nothing romantic has ever happened between them: they’re friends and that’s all. But once a year, for the last ten years, Molly has spent seven hours and fifteen minutes sitting next to Andrew on the last flight before Christmas from Chicago to Dublin, drinking terrible airplane wine and catching up on each other’s lives. In spite of all the ways the two friends are different, it’s the holiday tradition neither of them has ever wanted to give up.

Molly isn’t that bothered by Christmas, but—in yet another way they’re total opposites—Andrew is a full-on fanatic for the festive season and she knows how much getting back to Ireland means to him. So, instead of doing the same thing and just celebrating the holidays together in America, she does the stupid thing. The irrational thing. She vows to get him home. And in time for his mam’s famous Christmas dinner.

The clock is ticking. But Molly always has a plan. And—as long as the highly-specific combination of taxis, planes, boats, and trains all run on time—it can’t possibly go wrong.

What she doesn’t know is that, as the snow falls over the city and over the heads of two friends who are sure they’re not meant to be together, the universe might just have a plan of its own…

A totally gorgeous and escapist friends-to-lovers festive romance with a swoon-worthy hero. Perfect for fans of Sophie Kinsella, Mhairi Macfarlane, and Christina Lauren.

This romance was perfection!!

I love everything about it. This is one of the best friend-to-lovers books I have read. And that is saying a lot!

Would I change anything from the storyline?

NOPE, nothing, nada, zilch.

So what is this fabulous romance about?

Molly and Andrew meet on a plane flying home back to Ireland but they already know each other.
Lucas is dating Molly's friend and he is excited to have her as his next seat passenger. Molly is mortified because she knows her best friend wants to break up with him. She is avoiding talking to him about her when her friend texts him and breaks up with Andrew. An awkward situation can't even begin to explain it! Then, the year after, they meet again on the flight before Christmas. Soon after, it becomes their yearly ritual to fly back to Ireland together.

A decade has passed and on their tenth flight, the chocolate and the first-class tickets are ready when a storm cancels their trip. Mollie knows how important is for Andrew to spend Christmas with his family. Molly will do anything to get him back home and to see her twin pregnant sister before she delivers.

I loved this book so much!! Both characters felt real to me, the same with their ordeal. Who's flight has not been canceled around the holidays due to a storm? I'm raising my hand real high here.

I also fell in love with Andrew's family and Molly's twin sister. I wish they could get their own books. It will be so worth it.

Cliffhanger: No

5/5 Fangs

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

Daisy Darker by Alice Feeney

Title: Daisy Darker
Author: Alice Feeney
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Release Date: August 30, 2022

After years of avoiding each other, Daisy Darker’s entire family is assembling for Nana’s 80th birthday party in Nana’s crumbling gothic house on a tiny tidal island. Finally, back together one last time, when the tide comes in, they will be cut off from the rest of the world for eight hours.

The family arrives, each of them harboring secrets. Then at the stroke of midnight, as a storm rages, Nana is found dead. And an hour later, the next family member follows…

Trapped on an island where someone is killing them one by one, the Darkers must reckon with their present mystery as well as their past secrets, before the tide comes in and all is revealed.

With a wicked wink to Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None, Daisy Darker’s unforgettable twists will leave readers reeling.

You gotta love a book in homage to Agatha Christie's And Then There Was One.

Daisy Darker died and was resuscitated several times before she reaches the age of thirteen. She was found to have a heart condition as a child and spent her life growing up being treated differently for it.

Some of her best times, she spent with her grandmother at Seaglass. A home you can reach easily during low tide, but quite a different story when the tide is high.

Daisy is going back to Seaglass for her Nana's 80th birthday. Nana is an eccentric woman who has written many children's books. Her most-known novel is Daisy Darker's Little Secret. She has a wall full of clocks for every year she has lived. She dresses only in pink and purple and she loves Daisy very much. This birthday is special because many years ago, she was told by a fortune teller that she wouldn't live past eighty.

The story is told in the past and present. Daisy narrates both timelines.

In the past, we learned how Daisy was treated by her family. In the present when the clock strikes midnight, a scream is heard and Nana is found dead. A poem on the wall tells them that each of them will die before morning and the family can't leave because of the high tide. Discovering who is behind the attack before they are all dead is their number one priority.

I guessed the main twist at the very beginning. However, I still enjoyed it greatly and I was able to navigate through the plot with my eyes fully opened. My favorite character was Daisy and I was rooting for her.

Cliffhanger: No

4/5 Fangs

Other Birds by Sarah Addison Allen

Title: Other Birds
Author: Sarah Addison Allen
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Release Date: August 30, 2022

An enchanting tale filled with magical realism and moments of pure love that won’t let you go.

Between the real and the imaginary, there are stories that take flight in the most extraordinary ways.

Right off the coast of South Carolina, on Mallow Island, The Dellawisp sits—a stunning old cobblestone building shaped like a horseshoe, and named after the tiny turquoise birds who, alongside its human tenants, inhabit an air of magical secrecy.

When Zoey comes to claim her deceased mother’s apartment on an island outside of Charleston she meets her quirky and secretive neighbors, including a girl on the run, two estranged middle-aged sisters, a lonely chef, a legendary writer, and three ghosts. Each with their own story. Each with their own longings. Each whose ending isn’t yet written.

Other Birds was precious! Magical realism at its best!

Zoey Hennessey finds herself moving from Tulsa to Mallow Island in South Carolina. She'll be there until she starts college. The condo was left to her by her mother, Paloma who died when she was young. 

Paloma used to love going to Mallow Island and Zoey is hoping to find out more about her mother at the Dellawisps.  The building's name comes from the small turquoise birds that inhabit the courtyard. On her arrival, the apartment manager, Frasier takes her to her condo and Zoey realizes there is nothing left behind by her mother.  Yet, her disappointment is not long-lasting.

Zoey will get to know the other owners of the condos including Charlotte (henna artist), Mac (chef), Lizbeth (eccentric, hoarder), Lucy (Lizbeth's sister and a recluse), Frasier, and Lizbeth's son. The readers will also meet the ghosts too. 

It was a sweet story despite the painful background of each character. I love Zoey's innocence and the way she is able to connect with all the other characters. In a way, she helps them heal and move forward, with some of them finding romance too.

Cliffhanger: No

4/5 Fangs

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

Sunday, October 23, 2022

Lovelight Farms by B.K. Borison
Lovelight #1

Title: Lovelight Farms
Series: Lovelight #1
Author: B.K. Borison
Publisher: Dreamscape Media
Release Date: September 20th 2022

A pasture of dead trees, a hostile takeover of the Santa barn by a family of raccoons, and shipments that have mysteriously gone missing—Lovelight Farms is not the magical winter wonderland of Stella Bloom’s dreams.

In an effort to save the Christmas tree farm she’s loved since she was a kid, she enters a contest with instafamous influencer Evelyn St. James. With the added publicity and the $100,000 cash prize, she might just be able to save the farm from its financial woes. There’s just one problem. To make the farm seem like a romantic destination for the holidays, she lied on the application and said she owns Lovelight Farms with her boyfriend. Only there is no boyfriend.

Enter her best friend Luka Peters. He just came home for some hot chocolate, and somehow got a farm and a serious girlfriend in the process.

Lovelight Farms is a romantic comedy featuring a handsome freckled data analyst, a messy, optimistic Christmas-tree-farm owner, and a small town with the best hazelnut lattes on the east coast.

This sweet and steamy romance is a holiday happily ever after and the first book in a series of interconnected standalones following the three Lovelight owners.

The farm was sweet and charming!

We all know the story of best friends who fake being a couple, right?  The question is does it work for Lovelight Farms? 

The answer is a Yes!!

The story is sweet and perfect for the holidays!

Luca and Stella have been friends for a decade. Stella is in love with Luca but she doesn’t want to lose what she has with him in case he doesn't feel like she does. The loss of her mother almost destroyed her and she can't count on her father. She only sees him once a year for a Thanksgiving dinner that is done way before the date just so he doesn't have to explain a child he had outside his marriage to anyone else.

Stella doesn’t want to lose what she has with Luca but in order to keep the farm afloat, she enters herself into a contest with an influencer. In the contest paperwork, she said she owned the farm with her boyfriend and now she is in desperate need of a fake boyfriend. Who better than Luca to fill the place! To her shock, Luca is more than agreeable to be it.

Can Stella keep her heart in check or is her heart going to be broken by the end of the influencer's visit?

Adorable characters. I Love Luca and his mom. Lovelight Farms had a small-town feel with all the positives. Stella’s friends were both great. The kittens ­čÉł‍⬛ were so cute!!!

Pippa Jayne did a great job narrating this book.

I can’t wait to read the next book.

Cliffhanger: No

4/5 Fangs

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

Suburban Hell by Maureen Kilmer

Title: Suburban Hell
Author: Maureen Kilmer
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons
Release Date: August 30th 2022

A Chicago cul-de-sac is about to get a new neighbor...of the demonic kind.

Amy Foster considers herself lucky. After she left the city and moved to the suburbs, she found her place quickly with neighbors Liz, Jess, and Melissa, snarking together from the outskirts of the PTA crowd. One night during their monthly wine get-together, the crew concoct a plan for a clubhouse She Shed in Liz's backyard--a space for just them, no spouses or kids allowed.

But the night after they christen the She Shed, things start to feel . . . off. They didn't expect Liz's little home-improvement project to release a demonic force that turns their quiet enclave into something out of a nightmare. And that's before the homeowners' association gets wind of it.

Even the calmest moms can't justify the strange burn marks, self-moving dolls, and horrible smells surrounding their possessed friend, Liz. Together, Amy, Jess, and Melissa must fight the evil spirit to save Liz and the neighborhood . . . before the suburbs go completely to hell.

A story of friendship and evil. 

Four neighbors, Melissa, Jess, Liz, and Amy have become friends for the last few years. They meet monthly to hang out, watch a movie and have some drinks. Liz is excited about starting the construction of her She-Shed. A place where all of them can enjoy some alone time, away from their kids and husbands. 

Unfortunately, it seems that more than dirt is unearthed when the building commences. Suddenly, Liz's personality changes. Looming darkness begins to surround their neighborhood. Accidents happened. The friends all can feel the danger they are in but how can they help Liz?

Suburban Hell was a good tale for this month of October. It was fun and entertaining.  I liked that their friendship was the driving force to help Liz. Those were good friends!!

Cliffhanger: No

3.5/5 Fangs

A complimentary copy was provided by G.P. Putnam's Sons via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Saturday, October 8, 2022

The Key to My Heart by Lia Louis

Title: The Key to My Heart 
Author: Lia Louis
Publisher: Atria Books, Emily Bestler Books
Release Date: December 6, 2022

A heartwarming novel about hope after loss as a young widow receives mysterious messages of love from the “must-buy author” (Jodi Picoult) of Eight Perfect Hours.

Sparkly and charming Natalie Fincher has it all—a handsome new husband, a fixer-upper cottage of her dreams, and the opportunity to tour with the musical she’s spent years writing. But when her husband suddenly dies, all her hopes and dreams instantly disappear.

Two and a half years later, Natalie is still lost. She works, sleeps (well, as much as the sexually frustrated village foxes will allow), and sees friends just often enough to allay their worries, but her life is empty. And she can only bring herself to play music at a London train station’s public piano where she can be anonymous. She’s lost motivation, faith in love, in happiness…in everything.

But when someone begins to mysteriously leave the sheet music for her husband’s favorite songs at the station’s piano, Natalie begins to feel a sense of hope and excitement for the first time. As she investigates just who could be doing this, Natalie finds herself on an unexpected journey toward newfound love for herself, for life, and maybe, for a special someone.

A story of grief and love.

Natalie Fincher is heartbroken. Her husband passed away two and half years ago and she was left with feelings of guilt and unable to move forward. She used to write music and play the piano but now her only time spent playing the piano happens when she uses the public piano at the London train station. 

Her family and friends are worried about her. Her girlfriends are trying to stir her into dating again but she doesn't feel ready. Yet, she still goes out with them although she would prefer to be home. During one of these outings is when she meets a guy named Tom. Is not too long before Tom and Natalie start a friendship. She confides in him about playing the piano at the train station and someone leaving behind music sheets of songs she use to play to her husband while he was in the hospital. 

The mystery surrounding the papers left for her is what propels her to start interacting with more people including the owner of the coffee shop, Shauna and Notebook Guy.

The Key to My Heart was engaging, with a plot that moves forward with a natural flow. My favorite part was the last reveal which was pretty great in my opinion. 

This is the 3rd book I have read by Lia Louis and I'm a fan. 

I want to thank Melissa and Jayme to read it with me. Buddy-reads are the best!

Cliffhanger: No

4/5 Fangs

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

Thursday, September 29, 2022

Yours Truly by Abby Jimenez


Title: Yours Truly
Author: Abby Jimenez
Publisher: Forever
Release Date: April 11, 2023

A novel of terrible first impressions, hilarious second chances, and the joy in finding your perfect match from "a true talent" (Emily Henry, #1 New York Times bestselling author).

Dr. Briana Ortiz’s life is seriously flatlining. Her divorce is just about finalized, her brother’s running out of time to find a kidney donor, and that promotion she wants? Oh, that’s probably going to the new man-doctor who’s already registering eighty-friggin’-seven on Briana’s “pain in my ass” scale. But just when all systems are set to hate, Dr. Jacob Maddox completely flips the game . . . by sending Briana a letter.

And it’s a really good letter. Like the kind that proves that Jacob isn’t actually Satan. Worse, he might be this fantastically funny and subversively likable guy who’s terrible at first impressions. Because suddenly he and Bri are exchanging letters, sharing lunch dates in her “sob closet,” and discussing the merits of freakishly tiny horses. But when Jacob decides to give Briana the best gift imaginable—a kidney for her brother—she wonders just how she can resist this quietly sexy new doctor . . . especially when he calls in a favor she can’t refuse.

“Abby Jimenez’s words…sprinkle humor and warmth all over my life.” –Ali Hazelwood, New York Times bestselling author of The Love Hypothesis

Totally a 5!

Love shows up and that is it!!

Ok, maybe you want to know more about Yours Truly. If you do read below.

We met our heroine in the last book. Her name is Briana Ortiz and she is an ER physician. She is soon to be divorced and hoping to get a promotion if her boss ever retires. She was married for ten years when she discovered her ex was cheating on her good friend. And if that was not enough to deal with, her younger brother has end-stage renal disease. He is on dialysis and waiting on a match for a transplant has been hard.

Our hero, Dr. Jacob Maddox is also an ER physician. He recently transferred to the same hospital where Briana works. He also comes from a broken relationship. His brother is now engaged to his ex-girlfriend, Amy. Jacob was with her for two and a half years. Jacob also suffers from terrible social anxiety.  He prefers the quiet of his home and his dog, lieutenant Dan, to a night at the bar.

Talk about both being a mess, right?

Yours Truly works! I adore both characters. I thought Abby Jimenez fleshed them out perfectly. The social anxiety Jacob experienced felt real to me. I also understood Briana's fears after what she went through. There were so many details I loved: The letters, the getting-to-know questions, LT Dan, and both main characters' families. Jacob was one of the good guys and Briana needed to finally find someone who deserved her.

Thank you Abby Jimenez for distracting me from Hurricane Ian while it was causing havoc in my backyard. I knew I needed something like this to get me through this storm without power. 

Cliffhanger: No

5/5 Fangs

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