Saturday, August 27, 2022

Girl, Forgotten by Karin Slaughter
Andrea Oliver #2

Title: Girl, Forgotten
Series: Andrea Oliver #2
Author: Karin Slaughter
Publisher: William Morrow & Company
Release Date: August 23, 2022

A small town hides a big secret…

Who killed Emily Vaughn?

Prom Night. Longbill Beach, 1982. Emily Vaughn dresses carefully for what's supposed to be the highlight of any high school career. But Emily has a secret. And by the end of the night, because of that secret, she will be dead.

Nearly forty years later, Andrea Oliver, newly qualified as a US Marshal, receives her first assignment: to go to Longbill Beach to protect a judge receiving death threats. But Andrea's real focus isn't the judge – it's Emily Vaughn. Ever since she first heard Emily's name a year ago, she's been haunted by her brutal death. Nobody was ever convicted – her friends closed ranks, her family shut themselves off in their grief, the town moved on – so the killer is still out there. But now Andrea has a chance to find out what really happened…

Glad we got more Andrea!

I read Pieces of Her in 2019 and I remember thinking reading more books with Andrea and Mike in it was something I was down with.

Thankfully, Karin Slaughter felt the same way.

Andrea drove me crazy in Pieces of Her. She was so lost and I was annoyed by her actions. By the end of it, she grew on me and in Girl, Forgotten, she has matured.

The novel begins with Andrea's graduation as a US Marshall. Of course, her mother is not happy about it, and let's just say that I would never want to upset Laura Oliver.

For her first assignment, Andrea is sent to Longbill Beach to protect a judge who has received death threats. She gets a new partner, "Catfish" Bible. Yet, Andrea has another assignment and it is to find out the killer of the judge's daughter, Emily Vaughn.

Emily was a teenager who was murdered in 1982 on prom night. Emily was part of a group nicknamed the clique. The other girl in the group was Ricky. Her twin Blake, Nardo, and Clay Morrow complete the ensemble. Andrea has a connection to Clay, one that she wishes didn't exist.

When Emily was murdered, she was pregnant. Her child survived the attack but she didn't. Forty years later, it is up to Andrea to find out the truth. There were so many candidates for the attack. Any member of the clique, Jack Stilton (police chief's son) or Dean Wexler, their teacher.

Karin Slaughter's books are not easy to read. There is violence against children and women in most of her books. The scene in this book with the doctor had me fuming, to say the least. So many abusers in different skins. So be aware before you decide to jump in.

I love Bible as Andrea's partner. He was funny and supportive and I love his relationship with his boss and his wife too. Furthermore, as mentioned earlier, I liked how Andrea has matured. The two years in between books have really helped her. I do root for her and Mike's relationship to be successful.

I can't end my review without saying how much I enjoyed Kathleen Early's narration. She is one of my favorite narrators.

Cliffhanger: No

4/5 Fangs

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

Thank You for Listening by Julia Whelan

Title: Thank You for Listening
Author: Julia Whelan
Publisher: Avon Books
Release Date: August 2, 2022

For Sewanee Chester, being an audiobook narrator is a long way from her old dreams, but the days of being a star on film sets are long behind her. She’s found success and satisfaction from the inside of a sound booth and it allows her to care for her beloved, ailing grandmother. When she arrives in Las Vegas last-minute for a book convention, Sewanee unexpectedly spends a whirlwind night with a charming stranger.

On her return home, Sewanee discovers one of the world’s most beloved romance novelists wanted her to perform her last book—with Brock McNight, the industry’s hottest, most secretive voice. Sewanee doesn’t buy what romance novels are selling—not after her own dreams were tragically cut short—and she stopped narrating them years ago. But her admiration of the late author, and the opportunity to get her grandmother more help, makes her decision for her.

As Sewanee begins work on the book, resurrecting her old romance pseudonym, she and Brock forge a real connection, hidden behind the comfort of anonymity. Soon, she is dreaming again, but secrets are revealed, and the realities of life come crashing down around her once more.

If she can learn to risk everything for desires she has long buried, she will discover a world of intimacy and acceptance she never believed would be hers.

From the author of My Oxford Year, Julia Whelan’s uplifting novel tells the story of a former actress turned successful audiobook narrator—who has lost sight of her dreams after a tragic accident—and her journey of self-discovery, love, and acceptance when she agrees to narrate one last romance novel.

When one of my favorite narrators has a new book, I'm more than invested in listening to it. I loved My Oxford Year and I was more than ready to read something else by Julia Whelan.

Sewanee Chester doesn't believe in love. Her dreams of becoming a famous actress disappear after a tragic accident. Now, she sustains herself with her job as an audiobook narrator. Sewanee loves her job and the people who work close to her.

During a book convention in Las Vegas, she has an unforgettable night with a stranger. Regrettably, She didn't tell him her real name and she didn't ask for his phone number either.

When she returns to LA, she has a new book to narrate if she agrees to do it. It is the last novel written by famous romance author, June French. If she accepts, she will be narrating it in conjunction with the "it" voice in the romance world, Brock McNight. At first, they shared emails but soon texting becomes their new way of communicating. Sewanee starts believing that maybe falling for someone is possible until they decide to meet....

I loved this one. It was so much fun listening to it. I love the couple's banter, and I thought Julia Whelan did an excellent job at fleshing out this book's characters. The same thing goes for the secondary characters. Adaku, Blah, Mark, and her mother were all wonderful additions to the novel.

I can see either book by Julia Whelan becoming a movie. I wonder who she has in mind for the characters.

Cliffhanger: No

4/5 Fangs

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

Signal Moon by Kate Quinn


Title: Signal Moon
Author: Kate Quinn
Publisher: Amazon Original Stories
Release Date: August 01, 2022

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Diamond Eye comes a riveting short story about an impossible connection across two centuries that could make the difference between peace or war.

Yorkshire, 1943. Lily Baines, a bright young debutante increasingly ground down by an endless war, has traded in her white gloves for a set of headphones. It’s her job to intercept enemy naval communications and send them to Bletchley Park for decryption.

One night, she picks up a transmission that isn’t code at all—it’s a cry for help.

An American ship is taking heavy fire in the North Atlantic—but no one else has reported an attack, and the information relayed by the young US officer, Matt Jackson, seems all wrong. The contact that Lily has made on the other end of the radio channel says it’s…2023.

Across an eighty-year gap, Lily and Matt must find a way to help each other: Matt to convince her that the war she’s fighting can still be won, and Lily to help him stave off the war to come. As their connection grows stronger, they both know there’s no telling when time will run out on their inexplicable link.

I loved The Rose Code so when I saw my audible telling me this was available, I purchased it but I didn't have time to listen until today.

I didn't read the blurb so I didn't know it had time travel in it. Did I enjoy it? Absolutely, I just hoped for a different ending.

In Yorkshire, the year is 1943 and Lily Baines is working intercepting naval communications during WW2. She doesn't decode the messages. Those documents go to Bletchley Park to be decrypted. One day while at her job, she intercepts a communication from a man named Matt Jackson. The next 43 minutes are all shocking to Lily. She can't believe what she heard. She doesn't think anyone will believe her. Matt Jackson mentioned the year being 2023.

How can this be possible and how does she help him?

A short story that is crammed with all sorts of goodies. I liked it from beginning to end. Both characters despite their different timelines were likable and interesting.

Highly recommended for Kate Quinn's fans.

Cliffhanger: No

4/5 Fangs

Overkill by Sandra Brown


Title: Overkill
Author: Sandra Brown
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing/Hachete Audio
Release Date: August 16, 2022

#1 New York Times bestselling author Sandra Brown delivers a riveting thriller in which a conflict of conscience for a former football star and an ambitious state prosecutor swiftly intensifies into a fight for their lives.

Former Super Bowl MVP quarterback Zach Bridger hasn’t seen his ex-wife, Rebecca Pratt, for some time—not since their volatile marriage imploded—so he’s shocked to receive a life-altering call about her. Rebecca has been placed on life support after a violent assault, and he—despite their divorce—has medical power-of-attorney. Zach is asked to make an impossible choice: keep her on life support or take her off of it. Buckling under the weight of the responsibility and the glare of public scrutiny, Zach ultimately walks away, letting Rebecca's parents have the final say.

Four years later, Rebecca's attacker, Eban—the scion of a wealthy family in Atlanta—gets an early release from prison. The ludicrous miscarriage of justice reeks of favoritism, and Kate Lennon, a brilliant state prosecutor, is determined to put him back behind bars. Rebecca’s parents have kept her alive all these years, but if her condition were to change—if she were to die—Eban could be retried on a new charge: murder.

It isn’t lost on Zach that in order for Eban to be charged with Rebecca’s murder, Zach must actually be the one to kill her. He rejects Kate’s legal standpoint but can’t resist their ill-timed attraction to each other. Eban, having realized the jeopardy he’s in, plots to make certain that neither Zach nor Kate lives to see the death of Rebecca—and the end of his freedom.

I have read many books by Sandra Brown and I've enjoyed them.

I was so happy when I got approved for the Hachette Audio version of Overkill. Lately, audiobooks are easier to do because of my commute to work. I will say that the narration by Kyf Brewer was spot on. His performance had the right tone to keep me invested.

The book begins with a party and a woman deciding to go to a bedroom with three men. The next day, everyone is talking about her, Rebecca Pratt, and her ex-husband, famous pro football player Zach Bridger. But not because of what she did but because Rebecca ends up in the hospital brain dead and Zach is the one responsible to make the choice for her care as her power of attorney.

Fast forward four years and prosecutor Kate Lennon comes looking for Zach. The man responsible for hurting Rebecca is being released and it's once again up to Zach to do something about it.

Sandra Brown does great romantic suspense. You get invested with her characters and you root for the couple to end up together. Also, the evil ones are always very evil which makes it easy to hate them.

Although I liked both Kate and Zach, their romance fell a little flat. Don't get me wrong there was quite a bit of steam but I felt their characters could have been developed a bit more.

Overall, I liked it and will read her next book without thinking it twice.

Cliffhanger: No

3.5/5 Fangs

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

When We Were Bright and Beautiful
by Jillian Medoff


Title: When We Were Bright and Beautiful 
Author: Jillian Medoff
Publisher: Harper
Release Date: August 2, 202

The acclaimed, bestselling author of This Could Hurt returns with her biggest, boldest novel yet--an electrifying, twisty, and deeply emotional family drama, set on Manhattan's glittering Upper East Side, that explores the dark side of love, the limits of loyalty, and the high cost of truth.

You can have everything, and still not have enough.

Cassie Quinn may only be twenty-three, but she knows a few things. One: money can't buy happiness, but it's certainly better to have it. Two: family matters most. Three: her younger brother Billy is not a rapist.

When Billy, a junior at Princeton, is arrested for assaulting his ex-girlfriend, Cassie races home to Manhattan to join forces with her big brother Nate and their parents, Lawrence and Eleanor. The Quinns scramble to hire the best legal minds money can buy, but Billy fits the all-too-familiar sex-offender profile--white, athletic, and privileged--that makes headlines and sways juries.

Meanwhile, Cassie struggles to understand why Billy's ex Diana would go this far, even if the breakup was painful. And she knows how the end of first love can destroy someone: Her own years-long affair with a powerful, charismatic man left her shattered, and she's only recently regained her footing.

As reporters converge outside their Upper East Side landmark building, the Quinns gird themselves for a media-saturated trial, and Cassie vows she'll do whatever it takes to save Billy. But what if that means exposing her own darkest secrets to the world?

Unpopular opinion ahead.

I was disappointed with this one. Not in the writing style but with the outcome of the plot.

I would say the pace at the beginning of the book was slow and as I got to know the characters, it was hard for me to like any of them.

The book begins with Cassie. She is in New Haven when she gets a call from her brother Nate. Their younger sibling, Billy has been accused of raping his ex-girlfriend. Her parents Lawrence and Eleanor are doing damage control. Lawrence is trying to find a lawyer and Eleanor is controlling the press. It doesn't help that Billy is a jock, white and privileged. The Quinns are worth over 700 million so when the press gets a whiff of the accusation against Billy, their lives are going to become a circus.

As the book progresses we learn more about them and the secrets they are keeping.

This courtroom drama didn't do it for me. There were some things that disgusted me which is probably why I didn't like the characters. The main twist, I was able to guess so even the shock value was missing for me. I know a lot of my friends have loved it so check out their reviews too.

I do want to mention that Marin Ireland did an amazing job with the audio narration.

Cliffhanger: No

3/5 Fangs

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

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

Title: Where the Crawdads Sing 
Author: Delia Owens
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Son
Release Date: August 14, 2018

For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet fishing village. Kya Clark is barefoot and wild; unfit for polite society. So in late 1969, when the popular Chase Andrews is found dead, locals immediately suspect her.

But Kya is not what they say. A born naturalist with just one day of school, she takes life's lessons from the land, learning the real ways of the world from the dishonest signals of fireflies. But while she has the skills to live in solitude forever, the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. Drawn to two young men from town, who are each intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new and startling world–until the unthinkable happens.

In Where the Crawdads Sing, Owens juxtaposes an exquisite ode to the natural world against a profound coming of age story and haunting mystery. Thought-provoking, wise, and deeply moving, Owens’s debut novel reminds us that we are forever shaped by the child within us, while also subject to the beautiful and violent secrets that nature keeps.

The story asks how isolation influences the behavior of a young woman, who like all of us, has the genetic propensity to belong to a group. The clues to the mystery are brushed into the lush habitat and natural histories of its wild creatures.

True story. I tried to listen to the audio of this book 3 years ago. After the first couple of chapters, I didn't like it at that time and I left it for other novels.

Recently, I decided that I needed to give it another try since I want to watch the movie and I prefer to read the book first before I see it on the screen.

I don't know if I can add anything in regard to the plot. I'm sure so many people know what this book is about but if you have been living on a deserted island without working wifi for the last few years, then my review is for you.

Kya Clark is a small child when she is abandoned by her mother, then her siblings, and lastly, her father who leaves one day to never come back. His father was abusive and this is why her mother and siblings left the Marsh.

Kya gets nicknamed the Marsh Girl and she learns to survive on her own thanks to nature and her own desire to make it.

In 1969, Kya is a young woman when the body of Chase Andrews is found and the townspeople point a finger at Kya as the main suspect. After all, rumor has it that Chase visited her all the time.

Where the Crawdads Sing brought out so many emotions from sadness to anger to disappointment to happiness.

Delia Owens makes the Marsh a character on its own. She did a wonderful job at bringing it to life. The way Kya learns from it was amazing!

The isolation that Kya suffers because of where she was from was heartbreaking to read. A young kid left behind by everyone and no one really cared to help her except for Tate and Jumpin'. She was misunderstood and cast away, worse than an animal. Then there was the mystery of who killed Chase and why. If I'm being honest, I figured it out early on. However, I still like the way the story developed.

Time to watch the movie. 

Cliffhanger: No

4/5 Fangs

Masked Prey by John Sandford
Lucas Davenport #30

Title: Masked Prey
Series: Lucas Davenport #30
Author: John Sandford
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons
Release Date: April 14, 2020

Lucas Davenport investigates a vitriolic blog that seems to be targeting the children of U.S. politicians in the latest thriller by #1 New York Times-bestselling author John Sandford.

The daughter of a U.S. Senator is monitoring her social media presence when she finds a picture of herself on a strange blog. And there are other pictures . . . of the children of other influential Washington politicians, walking or standing outside their schools, each identified by name. Surrounding the photos are texts of vicious political rants from a motley variety of radical groups.

It's obviously alarming--is there an unstable extremist tracking the loved ones of powerful politicians with deadly intent? But when the FBI is called in, there isn't much the feds can do. The anonymous photographer can't be pinned down to one location or IP address, and more importantly, at least to the paper-processing bureaucrats, no crime has actually been committed. With nowhere else to turn, influential Senators decide to call in someone who can operate outside the FBI's constraints: Lucas Davenport.

Lucas Davenport gets called to fix major problems. This time, he is called when a website on the dark web is found by the daughter of a senator. The website has her picture and other kids' pictures and the common denominator is that they are all children of politicians. The fear is that someone is tracking these children for nefarious purposes.

Lucas with the help of US Marshalls, Rae and Bob, and FBI agent Jane Chase start tracking the leads before any children are hurt. The clock is ticking and Lucas might not be able to stop it.

I love this series but with Mask Prey, it was hard to keep my interest. It was way too political for my taste. What I do love is the writing per se and Ferrone is a wonderful narrator. I wouldn't listen to anyone else playing Lucas than him. In addition, I love reading the interactions between Lucas with his fellow Marshalls and Jane. The dark humor, the funny side, and the sense of desperation when the leads are not forthcoming are some of the things that made this series such a good one.

I'm finally close to catching up. Ocean Prey is next...

Cliffhanger: No

3/5 Fangs

Monday, August 1, 2022

The Cabin in the Woods by Sarah Alderson


Title: The Cabin in the Woods
Author: Sarah Alderson
Publisher: Avon
Release Date: July 7, 2022

The unmissable new thriller from the bestselling author and screenwriter of Netflix movie, The Weekend Away.

In a cabin in a wood,
A woman by the window stood.

Glancing out, she thought she heard
Footsteps, whistling, something stirred.

Hiding here, she fears the night,
For what’s done in the dark will come to light.

She must run fast to escape her lie

Or she’ll be the next to die…

‘Why’d they always pick me?’


I loved this one.

The Cabin in the Woods starts with Rose Reid, a woman, who had a hard childhood. She marries Ryan who is a lawyer. They meet in New York City but they move to Westchester after the wedding. She goes from being a waitress to becoming a socialite. Yet, in the present, Rose lives in a cabin in the woods without electricity.

What happened to Rose? Why is she hiding in a cabin? Who is she running from?

The Cabin in the Woods was a page-turner with a likable character and a good narrative. I was happy to follow both timelines, learning more about Rose, her sister Daisy, and why Rose was alone in the present.

I need to go back and add to my TBR any other books Sarah Alderson has written. Now that I know I enjoyed her writing, I can't wait to read/listen to her other books.

Cliffhanger: No

5/5 Fangs

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

Stay Awake by Megan Goldin


Title: Stay Awake
Author: Megan Goldin
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Release Date: August 9, 2022

Liv Reese wakes up in the back of a taxi with no idea where she is or how she got there. When she’s dropped off at the door of her brownstone, a stranger answers—a stranger who now lives in her apartment and forces her out in the cold. She reaches for her phone to call for help, only to discover it’s missing, and in its place is a bloodstained knife. That’s when she sees that her hands are covered in black pen, scribbled messages like graffiti on her skin: STAY AWAKE.

Two years ago, Liv was living with her best friend, dating a new man, and thriving as a successful writer for a trendy magazine. Now, she’s lost and disoriented in a New York City that looks nothing like what she remembers. Catching a glimpse of the local news, she’s horrified to see reports of a crime scene where the victim’s blood has been used to scrawl a message across a window, the same message that’s inked on her hands. What did she do last night? And why does she remember nothing from the past two years? Liv finds herself on the run for a crime she doesn’t remember committing as she tries to piece together the fragments of her life. But there’s someone who does know exactly what she did, and they’ll do anything to make her forget—permanently.

A complex thriller that unfolds at a breakneck speed, Stay Awake will keep you up all night.

Stay Awake was unputabledown!

I can already imagine the movie or a limited Netflix series.

Liv Reese was living a normal life. She had a good job as a writer for a magazine, a good roommate/best friend, Amy and she was falling in love with the man she was dating, Marco.

Then everything changes when she wakes up in a taxi and arrives at her apartment early morning. The people who answered her apartment door are strangers. Her best friend Amy is not there, her things are gone and her cat is missing. Nothing makes sense. Worse, she finds writings all over her hands and arms, and on her knuckles, the words STAY AWAKE are spelled.

Of course, she starts to freak out and while looking for her cellphone, she finds a knife with blood in her pocket.

What is going on? What did she do?

And this is all I'm going to say about the plot. I believe it's best to go in blind.

I will mention that besides Liv's POV, we also get the POV of the detectives following a crime. Darcy Halliday and Jack Lavelle. Their timeline is in the present while Liv's is both past and present.

I'm not sure why this book reminded me so much of Memento since they are not at all alike. Maybe it was because of the sense of urgency I felt while I was listening to it. I knew time was running out for Liv. The audiobook narrated by Imogen Church and January LaVoy did a great job at wanting me to keep on going and finding out the truth.

Did I guess the ending? Nope. Looking back it was so easy to know. One more reason to make me like this one a lot.

As for the characters, I liked Liv and felt horrible for her. I also like Darcy a lot. I do hope we can get to see her character in another book. She was smart, resilient, and resourceful.

This is the second book I read by Megan Goldin (Night Swim was my first) and I'm now a confirmed fan. 

Sign me up for her next novel!

Cliffhanger: No

4.5/5 Fangs

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

Things We Do in the Dark by Jennifer Hillier


Title: Things We Do in the Dark
Author: Jennifer Hillier
Publisher: Minotaur Books 
Release Date: July 19, 2022

A brilliant new thriller from Jennifer Hillier, the award-winning author of the breakout novels Little Secrets and Jar of Hearts. Paris Peralta is suspected of killing her celebrity husband, and her long-hidden past now threatens to destroy her future.

When Paris Peralta is arrested in her own bathroom – covered in blood, holding a straight razor, her celebrity husband dead in the bathtub behind her – she knows she'll be charged with murder. But as bad as this looks, it's not what worries her the most. With the unwanted media attention now surrounding her, it's only a matter of time before someone from her long hidden past recognizes her and destroys the new life she's worked so hard to build, along with any chance of a future.

Twenty-five years earlier, Ruby Reyes, known as the Ice Queen, was convicted of a similar murder in a trial that riveted Canada in the early nineties. Reyes knows who Paris really is, and when she's unexpectedly released from prison, she threatens to expose all of Paris's secrets. Left with no other choice, Paris must finally confront the dark past she escaped, once and for all.

Because the only thing worse than a murder charge are two murder charges.

Things we do in the dark kept my interest from the first scene to the end.

The main character is Paris Peralta. She is found by the cops in the bathroom with her husband’s dead body in the tub and she is holding the murder weapon in her hands.

Looks bad, right?

Worse, her husband Jimmy Peralta is 30 years older than she is. Jimmy is also famous. He was part of a show that everyone remembers and recently he has come back from retirement to do a couple of comedy specials.

Paris knows the situation is dire. Yet, it can be worse if they find out the truth of who she really is. Although, someone already knows and is blackmailing her.

Ruby Reyes, the Ice Queen, is in prison in Canada. She is about to be released back into society after murdering a man. She knows who Paris is and wants money in exchange for silence.

Drew is an investigative reporter in Toronto. His next true-crime podcast is about Ruby Reyes and her daughter. He wants the world to know what an awful person Ruby really is. Drew feels guilty. He made mistakes and he is relieving the time when he let his friend down.

Joey Reyes is the daughter of Ruby Reyes. She suffered in the hands of Ruby's verbal and physical abuse.

Things we do in the dark has three POVs. Paris, Drew, and Joey. We get to know Joey and what she went through from early childhood. It was quite heartbreaking.

I found the audiobook to be perfect for this novel. It kept the timelines straight for me. I enjoyed all 3 POVs and despite guessing the twists, I found that I liked the overall picture.

Cliffhanger: No

4/5 Fangs

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