Sunday, January 8, 2023

All the Dangerous Things by Stacy Willingham

Title: All the Dangerous Things
Author: Stacy Willingham
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Release Date: January 10, 2023

One year ago, Isabelle Drake's life changed forever: her toddler son, Mason, was taken out of his crib in the middle of the night while she and her husband were asleep in the next room. With little evidence and few leads for the police to chase, the case quickly went cold. However, Isabelle cannot rest until Mason is returned to her—literally.

Except for the occasional catnap or small blackout where she loses track of time, she hasn’t slept in a year.

Isabelle's entire existence now revolves around finding him, but she knows she can’t go on this way forever. In hopes of jarring loose a new witness or buried clue, she agrees to be interviewed by a true-crime podcaster—but his interest in Isabelle's past makes her nervous. His incessant questioning paired with her severe insomnia has brought up uncomfortable memories from her own childhood, making Isabelle start to doubt her recollection of the night of Mason’s disappearance, as well as second-guess who she can trust... including herself. But she is determined to figure out the truth no matter where it leads.

A great story!

Isabelle Drake has not had a good night's sleep in almost a year. Her insomnia started after her two-year-old son, Mason was taken from his bedroom while she and Ben, her husband were sleeping in the room next door.

Ben left Isabelle about six months after Mason disappeared. He is ready to move on with another younger version of Isabelle. Isabelle can't understand how Ben is already ready to give up while she is the complete opposite. Her son is on her mind 24/7 and she even travels to true crime conventions to speak about what happened to her in hope that someone can help her find him.  At the end of the latest convention, she meets a podcaster by the name of Waylon. He wants to interview her about her son's abduction. At first, she doesn't want to but then she agrees.  As she meets with him, she starts remembering things from her past that scare her. Could she have hurt her child?

This audio narrator, Karissa Vacker was fantastic. The development of the story had me on the edge of my seat. I was able to guess a couple of twists but not all of them. This was great! I can't wait to read another book by Stacy Willingham.

Cliffhanger: No

4/5 Fangs

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

A Hard Day for a Hangover by Darynda Jones
Sunshine Vicram #3


Title: A Hard Day for a Hangover
Series: Sunshine Vicram #3
Author: Darynda Jones
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Release Date: December 6, 2022 

Some people greet the day with open arms. Sheriff Sunshine Vicram would rather give it a hearty shove and get back into bed, because there’s just too much going on right now. There’s a series of women going missing, and Sunny feels powerless to stop it. There’s her persistent and awesomely-rebellious daughter Auri, who’s out to singlehandedly become Del Sol’s youngest and fiercest investigator. And then there’s drama with Levi Ravinder—the guy she’s loved and lusted after for years. The guy who might just be her one and only. The guy who comes from a family of disingenuous vipers looking to oust him—and Sunshine—for good.

I do love this series! Throughout it, I either cracked a smile or laugh out loud!

I will suggest reading this series in order to appreciate the storylines.

A Hard Day for a Hangover begins as its name says. Sherriff Sunshine Vicram is experiencing a hangover after drinking too much the night before. The morning also brings a Jane Doe who has been left for dead and found on a side of a mountain. When she starts digging, it looks like more women have gone missing in the years prior.

Sunshine's daughter Auri, is also interested in the case. She can't help herself from learning more about the case and doing a little bit of digging on her own. Auri's boyfriend is still recuperating from the events of book 2, but he is still very much present.

Of course, Levi is also accounted for. Yes, someone might be trying to get rid of him but he is around to help both Sunshine and Auri.

I'm quite invested in this series and I can't wait to read the next one. I hope the humor, the silliness, and the mysteries keep on coming. 

Cliffhanger: No

4/5 Fangs

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

What Lies in the Woods by Kate Alice Marshall


Title: What Lies in the Woods
Author: Kate Alice Marshall
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Release Date: January 17, 2023

They were eleven when they sent a killer to prison . . .They were heroes . . . but they were liars.

Naomi Shaw used to believe in magic. Twenty-two years ago, she and her two best friends, Cassidy and Olivia, spent the summer roaming the woods, imagining a world of ceremony and wonder. They called it the Goddess Game. The summer ended suddenly when Naomi was attacked. Miraculously, she survived her seventeen stab wounds and lived to identify the man who had hurt her. The girls’ testimony put away a serial killer, wanted for murdering six women. They were heroes.

And they were liars.

For decades, the friends have kept a secret worth killing for. But now Olivia wants to tell, and Naomi sets out to find out what really happened in the woods—no matter how dangerous the truth turns out to be.

The narrator of this audio, Karissa Vacker, did a fantastic job!

What Lies in the Woods starts slow but picks up just at the right time.

Three friends share a common past. At eleven, Cassidy, Olivia, and Naomi were best friends. They were always together despite coming from different upbringings. 

Naomi's home life was not easy. Her father an alcoholic and hoarder didn't help her situation. In order to escape, she was more than willing to follow the games her friend, Cassidy created. This time the game is called The Goddess game where they all thought of themselves as goddesses and had to do different rituals in the woods. This is where they find a secret that they keep for twenty-five years.

While in the woods one day and only with one ritual left, Naomi is attacked and stabbed seventeen times. Her two friends run for help just in time and Naomi survives. They testify against a man, presumed to be a serial killer and Naomi's testimony sent him to jail. However, 25 years later, Naomi still has doubts about the identity of her stabber. When she gets a call that he has died in prison, she decides to go back home to see her two friends. Liv is ready to share the secret they have kept for so long. The other two are not sure this is the right time especially when a podcaster is lurking around trying to get their story. 

What Lies in the Woods was quite enjoyable. I had a few theories and a couple turn out to be right which didn't deter my entertainment. I like Naomi and she felt reliable (quite surprisingly in this genre).  The secrets and the whodunit kept my interest all the way through while the narration made it more real for me.

Cliffhanger: No

4/5 Fangs

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

The Man I Never Met by Elle Cook


Title: The Man I Never Met
Author: Elle Cook
                        Publisher: Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine, Dell
Release Date: November 22, 2022

Is it possible to love someone you've never met? A young woman finds out in this sweeping will-they-or-won't-they love story that begins with a chance wrong number dial. . . .

When Hannah picks up a call from an unknown number, she thinks nothing of it--it's just an easygoing American named Davey who misdialed her while calling into a job interview. And when Hannah wishes him luck after clearing up the confusion, she never actually expects to hear from him again.

Then she gets a text saying he got the job and he'll be moving to London, and she can't help but smile. Soon their texts become phone calls that turn into video calls, and their friendship becomes a relationship they can't wait to start in earnest once Davey lands in London in a month's time.

But when Hannah goes to meet him at the airport, Davey isn't there--and the reason why changes both of their lives in an instant. With their future together suddenly so uncertain, they don't know what to do but try to move on from each other.

Though their chance at love seems lost forever, neither is never far from the other's thoughts. Will fate intervene once more to bring the two together, or will Davey always be the man that Hannah never met?

So many feelings!

A wrong phone call places two strangers in each other's orbit.

Hannah is single and living in London. She is a young woman who is happy with her life, she spends time with her best friend and her friend's husband.

Davey is British but he has been living in the USA since he was a child.

When Davey calls Hannah by mistake, their paths will intersect. The same night Davey send a text telling her that he got the job. He is going to be moving to London. More texts followed over the next few days. They graduate then to phone calls and lastly to video calls over the next few months. A friendship begins until new feelings start developing on both sides.

As Davey's move becomes imminent, the two can stop thinking about it and be excited to finally be together. Hannah decides to pick him up at the airport but Davey never shows and the reason behind it is a big one.

Thoroughly enjoyed this love story of serendipity mixed with hope! I liked both characters and I was rooting for a happy ending. The secondary characters were also quite interesting and good friends all around.

Cliffhanger: No

4/5 Fangs

A complimentary copy was provided by Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine, Dell via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Lies I Tell by Julie Clark


Title: The Lies I Tell 
Author: Julie Clark
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Release Date: June 21, 2022 

From the author of the New York Times bestseller The Last Flight comes a twisted con-woman thriller about two women out for revenge―or is it justice?

Two women. Many aliases.

Meg Williams. Maggie Littleton. Melody Wilde. Different names for the same person, depending on the town, depending on the job. She's a con artist who erases herself to become whoever you need her to be―a college student. A life coach. A real estate agent. Nothing about her is real. She slides alongside you and tells you exactly what you need to hear, and by the time she's done, you've likely lost everything.

Kat Roberts has been waiting ten years for the woman who upended her life to return. And now that she has, Kat is determined to be the one to expose her. But as the two women grow closer, Kat's long-held assumptions begin to crumble, leaving Kat to wonder who Meg's true target is.

The Lies I Tell is a twisted domestic thriller that dives deep into the psyches and motivations of two women and their unwavering quest to seek justice for the past and rewrite the future.

Quite an interesting book!

Meg Williams is a con artist. She is back in town to con a politician.  She has been gone for a decade. 

Kat Roberts is a reporter.  She lives with her fiancee and writes for a magazine. 

In theory, these women don't have anything in common but Kat has been waiting for ten years to bring Meg down and for people to learn what a criminal she really is.  Kat wants revenge.

So how can Kat learn what Meg is really doing back? She befriends her of course.  But the closer she gets to Meg, a different woman begins to emerge from what she thought she knew. Is this the true Meg or is she getting lied to?

I was hooked from the first chapter and I was very pleased with its development. From the first moment, I started to root for Meg to get away with whatever plan she had. It took me longer to like Kat. 

I can wait for Julie Clark's next book.

Cliffhanger: No

4/5 Fangs

Walk the Wire by David Baldacci
Amos Decker, #6


Title: Walk the Wire
Series: Amos Decker, #6
Author: David Baldacci
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Release Date: April 21, 2020

Amos Decker -- the FBI consultant with a perfect memory -- returns to solve a gruesome murder in a booming North Dakota oil town in the newest thriller in David Baldacci's #1 New York Times bestselling Memory Man series.

When Amos Decker and his FBI colleague Alex Jamison are called to London, North Dakota, they instantly sense that the thriving fracking town is ripe for trouble. The promise of a second gold rush has attracted an onslaught of newcomers all hoping for a windfall, and the community is growing faster than houses can be built. The sudden boom has also brought a slew of problems with it, including drugs, property crimes, prostitution -- and now murder.

Decker and Jamison are ordered to investigate the death of a young woman named Irene Cramer, whose body was expertly autopsied and then dumped in the open -- which is only the beginning of the oddities surrounding the case. As Decker and Jamison dig into Irene's life, they are shocked to discover that the woman who walked the streets by night as a prostitute was a teacher for a local religious sect by day -- a sect operating on land once owned by a mysterious government facility that looms over the entire community.

London is a town replete with ruthless business owners, shady government officials, and religious outsiders, all determined to keep their secrets from coming out. When other murders occur, Decker will need all of his extraordinary memory and detective skills, and the assistance of a surprising ally, to root out a killer and the forces behind Cramer's death. . . before the boom town explodes.

Quite a page-turner!

Amos Decker is back with his partner Alex Jamison. For those who don't follow this series, Amos has perfect recall memory after an injury while playing football in the NFL. He used to be a cop and now he works as a consultant for the FBI.

Their next case takes them to London, North Dakota where the fracking business is flourishing. A crime has been committed. A teacher by the name of Irene Cramer was found dead by a hunter. The murder plus the way her body was already autopsied is what makes the FBI start investigating.

As the story progresses, it feels like Amos and Alex are ten steps behind whoever committed the crime. Luckily, they get help from a couple of special operatives that are watching their backs as the murder count continues to increase.

I like the story and I like that Amos is starting to show more feelings and learning some social cues too. He makes a good team with Alex. I'm starting the next one right away.

Cliffhanger: No

4/5 Fangs

Righteous Prey by John Sandford
Lucas Davenport #32


Title: Righteous Prey
Series: Lucas Davenport #32
Author: John Sandford
Publisher: Penguin Group Putnam, G.P. Putnam's Sons
Release Date: October 4, 2022

Lucas Davenport and Virgil Flowers are up against a powerful vigilante group with an eye on vengeance in this stunning new novel from the #1 New York Times bestselling author.
“We’re going to murder people who need to be murdered.”

So begins a press release from a mysterious group known only as “The Five,” shortly after a vicious predator is murdered in San Francisco. The Five is made up of vigilante killers who are very bored…and very rich. They target the worst of society—rapists, murderers, and thieves—and then use their unlimited resources to offset the damage done by those who they’ve killed, donating untraceable Bitcoin to charities and victims via the dark net. The Five soon become popular figures in the media …though their motives may not be entirely pure.

After The Five strike again in the Twin Cities, Virgil Flowers and Lucas Davenport are sent in to investigate. And they soon have their hands full--the killings are smart and carefully choreographed, and with no apparent direct connection to the victims, the killers are virtually untraceable. But if anyone can destroy this group, it will be the dynamic team of Davenport and Flowers. 

I'm all caught up with this series. Unfortunately, I can't say the same about my reviews since I need to catch up.

Anyway, I was so happy with being able to read/listen to Righteous Prey.

In this installment, Lucas deals with bitcoin billionaires who have created a group called the Five. This group is targeting individuals to kill them and later on they brag about it.

Thankfully, Lucas is not alone, he has Virgil Flowers with him. I haven't read Virgil's series but he has been in enough of the Prey series, that I already know I like him. 

As always there is a sense of urgency to stop them before one more dead body is found while still delivering good humor and an interesting resolution. 

If I have one complaint it will be politics getting more pages in this book than priors. As a rule, I don't like politics in my fiction. There is already enough of it on the news, social media, etc. 

Cliffhanger: No

4/5 Fangs

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