Sunday, May 22, 2022

The Hotel Nantucket by Elin Hilderbrand

Title: The Hotel Nantucket
Author: Elin Hilderbrand
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Release Date: June 14, 2022

After a tragic fire in 1922 that killed 19-year-old chambermaid, Grace Hadley, The Hotel Nantucket descended from a gilded age gem to a mediocre budget-friendly lodge to inevitably an abandoned eyesore — until it's purchased and renovated top to bottom by London billionaire, Xavier Darling. Xavier hires Nantucket sweetheart Lizbet Keaton as his general manager, and Lizbet, in turn, pulls together a charismatic, if inexperienced, staff who share the vision of turning the fate of the hotel around. They face challenges in getting along with one another (and with the guests), in overcoming the hotel's bad reputation, and in surviving the (mostly) harmless shenanigans of Grace Hadley herself — who won't stop haunting the hotel until her murder is acknowledged.

Filled with the emotional tension and multiple points of view that characterize Elin's books (The Blue Bistro, Golden Girl) as well as an added touch of historical reality, Hotel Nantucket offers something for everyone in this summer drama for the ages.

Is it summer? It must be because Elin's new Nantucket book is almost out.

Every year, I wait (in)patiently for her new story. I have enjoyed so many of her other books and she always amazes me with how she is able to transport me to Nantucket, a place I have never been (but I want to go).

So what did Elin have in mind for this novel? Well, I would say that she centers the storyline on the people working at the Hotel Nantucket. The hotel was an eyesore until British billionaire, Xavier Darling decides to buy it and renovate it in the most luxurious way. He hires Lizbet Keaton as his general manager. He tells her that he bought the hotel to impress two women. One of them is a mysterious blogger who rates hotels as Keys. No hotel has been able to get the 5 Keys. Darling wants the Hotel Nantucket to be the first. He doesn't tell Lizbet who the other woman is. 

Lizbet decides to apply for the job after she discovered her boyfriend and chef of their restaurant sexting with another woman. No one on the island would have thought that they would break up after so many years. Liz knows she needs a change and demonstrating to the world that she can make the hotel a success becomes her next goal. She hires quite a few people and she is happy with her choices although she doesn't know the secrets they are keeping. Thankfully, the readers will get to discover all of them one by one including the person responsible for the death of a chambermaid killed in 1922 who has been haunting the hotel since her death. 

My new favorite Elin Hilderbrand's audiobook!! Erin Bennet's masterful narration does a wonderful job of bringing these characters and Nantucket to life.

I liked all the characters but I guess my favorites were Lizbet, Longshot, and the kids. I also loved how Elin incorporated some of her past characters from other books into this one. I always like to know how those characters are doing. In this case, Fast Eddie made a few appearances. 

In addition to writing a fun and entertaining story, Elin gives us at the end of the book a list of places to visit in Nantucket. I know I will need it when I go. I just don't know if I want to go in the summer or for Christmas.

Cliffhanger: No

5/5 Fangs

A complimentary copy was provided by Hachette Audio, Little, Brown & Company via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Ways the World Could End by Kim Hooper


Title: Ways the World Could End
Author: Kim Hooper
Publisher: Keylight Books -Dreamscape Media
Release Date: May 10, 2022

Dave is a Dad with Asperger's.

He sees the world differently than most, and he feels like he has no idea what he’s doing when it comes to raising his 15-year-old daughter, Cleo. She also feels like he has no idea what he’s doing, especially now that her mom is gone.

They were both better off when Jana was around—Dave's wife, Cleo's mother. But now she's not, and they are left to figure out life on their own. Dave dedicates his attention to his newfound hobby of doomsday prepping, researching the various ways the world could end. Cleo feels like her world already has.

Everything changes when neighbors move in, threatening their isolation in the hills of San Juan Capistrano. Cleo is intrigued by the new girl, Edie, and soon finds out the intrigue is mutual. Dave, not at all intrigued, is forced to come to terms with everything he cannot control.

As they struggle to live in the present, both Dave and Cleo must dare to revisit the tragic past they share. What happened to Jana? Who was she, really? Who are they without her?

Ways the World Could End is a story of grief, friendship, and love—the love between parents and children, between spouses, between teenagers, and between strangers. It is a story that requires us to consider the bounds of forgiveness, what we’re willing and not willing to forgive, and reminds us that often the hardest thing to forgive is ourselves.

Quite an interesting YA novel.

Ways the World Could End is about a father and a daughter and their grief after losing Jana (wife/mom). It is also about Aspergers, coming of age, love, and forgiveness.

The audiobook is narrated by Stephanie Willing and Pete Cross. Both did a wonderful job in giving life to these wonderful characters.

Each chapter that begins with Dave starts with him narrating the many ways the world could end. This is the reason why he has a bunker stocked with everything he might need to keep himself and his daughter, Cleo alive. 

You see Dave has Asperger's and dealing with people is a problem. After Jana died, he moved himself and Cleo to a remote area in the hills of San Juan Capistrano where he can have more control. He knows that he has to let Cleo live her life but he doesn't need to like it. So when Cleo strikes a friendship with Edie, a new girl recently transferred from another school, Dave has to tolerate her.

Cleo is almost sixteen. She misses her mother terribly. Jana was not only her mom but her friend. She was able to tell her mother everything including her new feelings towards girls. Cleo knows of her father's Aspergers and she knows how to help him thanks to Jana. She is a very smart and thoughtful teenager. She seems mature for her age but life might have something to do with it. Meeting Edie has been the one positive she wasn't expecting. 

I truly enjoyed Ways the World Could End. I liked that in the end, forgiveness was a big statement. I would say that the one thing that I wasn't too happy with was the way sometimes Dave came across. In some instances, he sounded selfish and robotic. Thankfully most of the time, he sounded like a worried dad grieving the loss of his wife.

Cliffhanger: No

4/5 Fangs

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

One of Us Is Dead by Jeneva Rose

Title: One of Us Is Dead
Author: Jeneva Rose 
Publisher: Blackstone Publishing
Release Date: April 26th 2022

The highly anticipated new thriller from the bestselling author of The Perfect Marriage.
Opulence. Sex. Betrayal … Sometimes friendship can be deadly.

Meet the women of Buckhead—a place of expensive cars, huge houses, and competitive friendships.

Shannon was once the queen bee of Buckhead. But she’s been unceremoniously dumped by Bryce, her politician husband. When Bryce replaces her with a much younger woman, Shannon sets out to take revenge …

Crystal has stepped into Shannon’s old shoes. A young, innocent Texan girl, she simply has no idea what she’s up against …

Olivia has waited years to take Shannon’s crown as the unofficial queen of Buckhead. Finally, her moment has come. But to take her rightful place, she will need to use every backstabbing, manipulative, underhand trick in the book …

Jenny owns Glow, the most exclusive salon in town. Jenny knows all her clients’ secrets and darkest desires. But will she ever tell?

Who amongst these women will be clever enough to survive Buckhead—and who will wind up dead? They say that friendships can be complex, but no one said it could ever be this deadly.

Meet Buckhead, the town where housewives behave at their worst and murder is the special of the day.

The group of women included:

Olivia: she is egocentric and will do anything to be on top. She has waited years to help destroyed Shannon now that she is down on her luck.

Shannon: once the most powerful woman in town, married to Bryce, the rich politician until her marriage falls apart and he leaves her for a younger woman whom he marries.

Crystal: a young woman from Texas and now the wife of Bryce.

Karen: a very successful real state agent. She is married to a successful plastic surgeon and has a small child.

Jenny: the owner of Glow. The IT beauty salon. The place where these women backstab each other, drink champagne and tell their secrets intend it or not.

I had so much fun listening/reading this one. The women were catty, spoiled, and plastic but entertaining nonetheless.  The audio narrators Andi Arndt, Hillary Huber, Elizabeth Evans, Brittany Pressley, and Cassandra Campbell did a wonderful job at fleshing out these women for me. I will say Jenny was my favorite since she was the most down-to-earth person in the group. I did root for almost all of them through the book.

After finishing listening to this guilty pleasure, I know I will read Jeneva Rose's next book. 

Cliffhanger: No

4/5 Fangs

A complimentary audio and digital copy were provided by Blackstone Publishing via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

No One Goes Alone by Erik Larson


Title: No One Goes Alone
Author: Erik Larson
Narrator: Julian Rhind-Tutt 
Publisher: Random House Audio Publishing Group
Release Date: September 28, 2021

From New York Times bestselling author Erik Larson comes his first venture into fiction, an otherworldly tale of intrigue and the impossible that marshals his trademark approach to nonfiction to create something new: a ghost story thoroughly grounded in history.

Pioneering psychologist William James leads an expedition to a remote isle in search of answers after a family inexplicably vanishes. Was the cause rooted in the physical world . . . or were there forces more paranormal and sinister at work? Available only on audio, because as Larson says, ghost stories are best told aloud.

A group of researchers sets sail for the Isle of Dorn in the North Atlantic in 1905 to explore the cause of several mysterious disappearances, most notably a family of four who vanished without a trace after a week-long holiday on the island. Led by Professor James, a prominent member of the Society for Psychical Research, they begin to explore the island’s sole cottage and surrounding landscape in search of a logical explanation.

The idyllic setting belies an undercurrent of danger and treachery, with raging storms and unnerving discoveries adding to the sense of menace. As increasingly unexplainable events unfold, the now-stranded investigators are unsure whether they can trust their own eyes, their instincts, one another—or even themselves.

Erik Larson has written a terrifying tale of suspense, underpinned with actual people and events. Created specifically to entertain audio listeners, this eerie blend of the ghostly and the real will keep listeners captivated till the blood-chilling end.

Featuring Erik Larson reading his Notes for a Narrator.

Erik Larson does an only audio format of a locked-in island ghost story. 


Because he believes ghost stories should be told out loud and I agree with that statement. 

What is No One Goes Alone about?

A historical fiction novel set in the 1900s where the psychologist William James invites a group of people to the isle of Dorn to investigate the disappearance of a family. The group goes there to prove or disprove the possibility of the mystical.

To mention a few, the group included William James, a psychologist as mentioned earlier. Adam Winter is an illusionist who is ready to debunk it all. Katherine is a woman who is there because she had seen a ghost as a child. Madeline works as a forensic pathologist while Beatrice is there as a records keeper. Josie Frost is the narrator of the story. Frost is the youngest in the group. He is an electrician who has knowledge of the newest technology of the time, the telegraph. 

This group must decide if what happened to the family who disappeared was an accident vs murder or was there something more nefarious at play? 

I would say that the story was ok for me. I was able to follow the characters well thanks to the narrator Julian Rhind-Tutt. 

The weird rodents, the cove, the cellar, the cliffs, and the surrounding water helped set the eerie and atmospheric setting. The ending felt rushed to me. I also felt like there was a missed opportunity between two characters and the epilogue was too gloomy.

Cliffhanger: No

3/5 Fangs

A complimentary copy was provided by Random House AudioBook via in exchange for an honest review.

Part of Your World by Abby Jimenez


Title: Part of Your World
Author: Abby Jimenez 
Narrator: Julia Whelan, Zachary Webber 
Publisher: Forever
Release Date: April 19, 2022

After a wild bet, gourmet grilled-cheese sandwich, and cuddle with a baby goat, Alexis Montgomery has had her world turned upside down. The cause: Daniel Grant, a ridiculously hot carpenter who’s ten years younger than her and as casual as they come—the complete opposite of sophisticated city-girl Alexis. And yet their chemistry is undeniable.

While her ultra-wealthy parents want her to carry on the family legacy of world-renowned surgeons, Alexis doesn’t need glory or fame. She’s fine with being a “mere” ER doctor. And every minute she spends with Daniel and the tight-knit town where he lives, she’s discovering just what’s really important. Yet letting their relationship become anything more than a short-term fling would mean turning her back on her family and giving up the opportunity to help thousands of people.

Bringing Daniel into her world is impossible, and yet she can’t just give up the joy she’s found with him either. With so many differences between them, how can Alexis possibly choose between her world and his?

The New York Times bestselling author of Life's Too Short delivers a refreshingly modern fairy tale perfect for fans of Casey McQuiston and Emily Henry.

Abby Jimenez is a must-read romance author for me. I've enjoyed all of her books and Part of Your World is my new favorite.

We meet our heroine Alexis Montgomery when she is coming back from a funeral. Her car lands in a ditch when she swerves to avoid hitting a raccoon. She is waiting for a tow truck and is talking on her phone with her best friend Bri when a car stops and a guy comes over to check on her and helps her pull her car out. The guy, Daniel, is efficient and soon, her Mercedes is out. They meet again at the small-town bar where everyone seems to know each other. Daniel warns her that their friends have a wager to see who will take her home. In turn, Alexis asked Daniel to walk her out, so he can win the bet and she can leave. Daniel always a gentleman offers to cook her a grilled cheese before she leaves and she agrees to go home with him. What happens next, you can guess. What is different is the obstacles they have to surpass in order to be together.

Alexis is in her late thirties. She is an ER physician who comes from a rich family. Her parents and her brother Derek are renowned surgeons and being a Montgomery is almost a synonym for royalty. There is a huge expectation for her to be better now that her brother decided to stay in Cambodia after marrying in secret. Alexis is not crazy about the responsibility of being a Montgomery. She never wanted to be the one who carried the torch but with Derek leaving, she has no choice. To make matter worse, her parents would prefer for her to go back with Neil, her ex, who is the chief of Surgery. Alexis left him because he was emotionally abusive and he cheated on her. Her parents don't care, they think the world of Neil.

Daniel Grant also has his own family legacy. His family has lived in Wakan and has helped the town for over 125 years. Daniel wears multiple hats. He runs his grandparents' home as a B&B, he is the town mayor and he is a carpenter. He is also a great cook, a good friend, and overall just a good person. He has a dog and is taking care of a baby goat who wears adorable pajamas (at least in my mind they were adorable). Daniel has tattoos, wears denim and flannel, drives a truck, and is also ten years younger than Alexis.

How can they be together? Their world is completely opposite and incompatible but their chemistry is not.

I love everything about this book. I love Wakan, the dog, the pig (Kevin Bacon), the baby goat, the magic, Daniel, Bri, and the narrators. Any book read by Julia Whelan becomes an instant favorite of mine. Zachary Webber does an amazing job in bringing Daniel to life. I thought both of them complemented each other well.

Kudos to Abby Jiminez for writing a romance novel that works!!

Cliffhanger: No

5/5 Fangs

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

The No-Show by Beth O'Leary

Title: The No-Show 
Author: Beth O'Leary
Publisher: Berkley Books
Release Date: April 26, 2022

Three women who seemingly have nothing in common find that they're involved with the same man in this smart new rom-com by Beth O'Leary, bestselling author of The Flatshare.

Siobhan is a quick-tempered life coach with way too much on her plate. Miranda is a tree surgeon used to being treated as just one of the guys on the job. Jane is a soft-spoken volunteer for the local charity shop with zero sense of self-worth.

These three women are strangers who have only one thing in common: They've all been stood up on the same day, the very worst day to be stood up--Valentine's Day. And, unbeknownst to them, they've all been stood up by the same man.

Once they've each forgiven him for standing them up, they let him back into their lives and are in serious danger of falling in love with a man who seems to have not just one or two but three women on the go....

Is there more to him than meets the eye? And will they each untangle the truth before they all get their hearts broken?

Three women dating the same guy. A nightmare, right? Not so much.


Yes, I'm screaming and so will you ( I think). What a bastard, right. Or is it?

Anyway, let's talk about the 3 ladies.

Siobhan: she is a life coach. She has two very supportive girlfriends. She has some issues in moving forward from a past relationship and admitting that she is in love.

Miranda: A tree surgeon who loves her job. Her twin sisters have moved in with her and she is dating Carter although AJ (from work) can't stop flirting with her.

Jane: A quiet wounded soul. She is working at a store as a volunteer. She is not saying where she got the money to rent a place or what happened when she was living in London.

Now Joseph Carter: A handsome guy in a nerdy way. He is everything these 3 women want. He can be sweet and supportive, and overall, he appears to be a good guy. A big example is Carter moved in with his mother to take care of her because she has dementia. Yet, he is not perfect. He is never on time, and the reason why he stood them up on Valentine's day is still a mystery. 

Quite a few feelings with The No-Show. I got angry, I cried, and I felt sad but in the end, I felt hopeful which was truly a good thing. 

So did I like Joseph Carter? The truth is a resounding yes!!

I loved The Flatshare and the Switch but I wasn't sure about the Road Trip, so I was a little leery about reading this one. Thankfully, I had nothing to fear. Beath O'Leary is back in top form once again. 

Cliffhanger: No

4/5 Fangs

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

The Next Thing You Know by Jessica Strawser


Title:  The Next Thing You Know
Author: Jessica Strawser
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Release Date: March 22, 2022

A musician facing the untimely end of his career. An end-of-life doula with everything, and nothing, to lose. A Star Is Born meets Me Before You in this powerful novel by the author of A Million Reasons Why.

As an end-of-life doula, Nova Huston’s job—her calling, her purpose, her life—is to help terminally ill people make peace with their impending death. Unlike her business partner, who swears by her system of checklists, free-spirited Nova doesn’t shy away from difficult clients: the ones who are heartbreakingly young, or prickly, or desperate for a caregiver or companion.

When Mason Shaylor shows up at her door, Nova doesn’t recognize him as the indie-favorite singer-songwriter who recently vanished from the public eye. She knows only what he’s told her: That life as he knows it is over. His deteriorating condition makes playing his guitar physically impossible—as far as Mason is concerned, he might as well be dead already.

Except he doesn’t know how to say goodbye.

Helping him is Nova’s biggest challenge yet. She knows she should keep clients at arm’s length. But she and Mason have more in common than anyone could guess… and meeting him might turn out to be the hardest, best thing that’s ever happened to them both.

The Next Thing You Know is an emotional, resonant story about the power of human connection, love when you least expect it, hope against the odds, and what it really takes to live life with no regrets.

I have liked Jessica Strawser's other work so you could understand how excited I was to dive into The Next Thing You Know.

Nova Huston is an end-of-life doula. She works for Kelly Monroe at Partying Your Way. Kelly is also a doula and she and her daughter Willow have formed a friendship and a bond with Nova.

End-of-life doulas can be their client's support system, the go in-between with family. They can guide their clients with their legal issues and end-of-life care. End-of-life doulas are also there to help with the mental, emotional, and spiritual parts of their journey. Kelly's way of working is more by the book. She's responsible and loves to follow protocol. On the other hand, Nova just goes more with her gut feeling. Nova also takes the cases Kelly doesn't like to do, for example, a young person their age dying. So when Mason Shaylor comes knocking, Kelly immediately passes him to Nova. 

Mason tells Nova he has a deteriorating condition and there is nothing left to be done to help him. After a rocky start, Nova takes him as her new client and she's hopeful she can help him with his transition. 

Then we switched to the present where Nova is in trouble and Kelly's business might be in danger of closing. Mason's mother has made an accusation against Nova. First to the police and then to the media. Nova's world is imploding while she mourns her loss too. 

The Next Thing You Know was thought-provoking and also quite informative. I knew all about Hospice and end-of-life care but not about doulas and the extra help they could bring to a patient in the right setting. Most of the time is quite hard for patients and families to accept hospice coming in and helping. I believe the last time I saw a statistic, hospice was underused. Most people are only in hospice for a median average of 24 days so not enough time to actually use all its benefits.

Death for most people is not an easy topic to discuss. Patients and family members tend to avoid talking about advance directives. Yet, the one constant is that we are all going to die so it would be nice if we can get the help we need during the end of our life. A support system, helping with pain, acceptance of the inevitable, seeking forgiveness, dealing with unresolved feelings and regrets. I can see the use of end-of-life doulas in this regard.

Even though I liked this book, I didn't like the ending quite that much. I thought the explanation was just too out there for my liking. Other than that, I have no qualms about recommending it.

Cliffhanger: No

4/5 Fangs

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