Friday, September 8, 2023

Good Bad Girl by Alice Feeney


Title: Good Bad Girl
Author: Alice Feeney
Narrators: Katherine Press; Stephanie Racine
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Release Date: August 29, 2023

Sometimes bad things happen to good people, so good people have to do bad things. Alice Feeney, returns with another thrilling mystery filled with drama and her trademark surprises.

Twenty years after a baby is stolen from a stroller, a woman is murdered in a care home. The two crimes are somehow linked, and a good bad girl may be the key to discovering the truth.

Edith may have been tricked into a nursing home, but at eighty-years-young, she’s planning her escape. Patience works there, cleaning messes and bonding with Edith, a kindred spirit. But Patience is lying to Edith about almost everything.

Edith’s own daughter, Clio, won’t speak to her. And someone new is about to knock on Clio’s door…and their intentions aren’t good.

With every reason to distrust each other, the women must solve a mystery with three suspects, two murders, and one victim. If they do, they might just find out what happened to the baby who disappeared, the mother who lost her, and the connections that bind them.

In the style of Daisy Darker and Rock Paper Scissors, Good Bad Girl is a thriller in which nobody can be trusted and the twists come fast and furious.

Shocking twists!

The story revolves around several women.

There is Edith who used to be a store detective. She is now in her eighties and was tricked into signing a power of attorney, placed in a care home and her dog was taken away from her and sent to a rescue.

Edith's daughter is Clio. She is a therapist who likes to help people but is unable to help herself. She lives in her pink house alone with the memories of happier times.

Frankie is the prison librarian. She has a secret. Frankie did a bad thing but for a good reason. Frankie suffers from anxiety and the only thing that helps her is counting.

Patience works at the senior care center where she does housekeeping. She befriends Edith and saves her dog. However, she is hiding who she really is.

Then a murder happens.

"Three suspects, two murders, and one victim."

DCI Chapman is called in to process the scene. She believes Clio, Patience, or Frankie are involved and all she has to do now is prove it.

The novel has several POVs and past and present chapters. The story flows and the characters are all very original and interesting. The last few twists were freaking amazing and the narration by Katherine Press and Stephanie Racine was superb! A sure winner for me.

I wouldn't mind seeing DCI Chapman in another novel and please keep the strand of pink hair!

Cliffhanger: No

4.5/5 Fangs

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

After That Night by Karin Slaughter
Will Trent#11


Title: After That Night
Series: Will Trent
Author: Karin Slaughter
Publisher: William Morrow
Release Date: August 22, 2023

After that night, nothing was ever the same again

Fifteen years ago, Sara Linton's life changed forever when a celebratory night out ended in a violent attack that tore her world apart. Since then, Sara has remade her life. A successful doctor, engaged to a man she loves, she has finally managed to leave the past behind her.

Until one evening, on call in the ER, everything changes. Sara battles to save a broken young woman who's been brutally attacked. But as the investigation progresses, led by GBI Special Agent Will Trent, it becomes clear that Dani Cooper's assault is uncannily linked to Sara's.

And it seems the past isn't going to stay buried forever.

A new Will Trent book is always a treat for me.

I have made no secret that Will is one of my favorite male characters with his 6'3" height, lean body, three-piece suits, dyslexia, and as the proud owner of Betty (his Chihuahua dog).

What is not to like?

Now back to what the novel is about....

After That Night brings more heartache for Sara Linton. If you follow this series, you know that Sara is currently Will's fiancee and that about 15 years ago, she was raped at Grady's while she was a resident. This event changed her future. Instead of becoming a pediatric cardiothoracic surgeon, she moved back home and joined the local pediatrician.

A few years back, she moved back to Atlanta after another shocking event in her life, and during one of her ER shifts, she tried to save the life of a young woman, Dani Cooper, who had been brutally attacked. Before dying, Dani whispered that she was raped. Only Sara heard her. At present, Sara is testifying about the case fulfilling the promise she made to Dani and herself that she was going to do anything to make the man who attacked her pay.

To her surprise, the attacker's mother tells Sara that her rape and the attack on Dani are all linked!

"Don't you remember the mixer?"

This statement will shock her to her core and will make Will and his partner Faith Mitchell, start their own investigation into the matter before presenting the case to Amanda, their boss.

A lot of intrigue in this one as well as women's violence although not as graphic as other books I read by her.

I liked how solid Will and Sara have become as a couple. Also, how Will has learned how to engage with Faith. He knows when she needs time or when he needs to press for her to open up.

Was I shocked by the ending? Nope, not at all. The clues were all there.

I can't wait for the next book. Probably a murder during Sara and Will's wedding. One can only hope...

Cliffhanger: No

4/5 Fangs

Gone Tonight by Sarah Pekkanen


Title: Gone Tonight
Author: Sarah Pekkanen
Narrator: Kate Mara
Publisher: St. Martin's Press | Macmillan audio
Release Date: August 1, 2023

Catherine Sterling thinks she knows her mother. Ruth Sterling is quiet, hardworking, and lives for her daughter. All her life, it's been just the two of them against the world. But now, Catherine is ready to spread her wings, move from home, and begin a new career. And Ruth Sterling will do anything to prevent that from happening.

Ruth Sterling thinks she knows her daughter. Catherine would never rebel, would never question anything about her mother's past or background. But when Ruth's desperate quest to keep her daughter by her side begins to reveal cracks in Ruth's carefully-constructed world, both mother and daughter begin a dance of deception.

Great suspense!

Catherine Sterling is a nurse. She has been working in a memory unit in a facility but now she is ready to move to Baltimore and start working at John Hopkins. Then, she starts noticing that her mother, Ruth Sterling is starting to have some memory issues. Shockingly she learned her grandmother had early-onset Alzheimer's. In the blink of an eye, her plans dissipate like smoke. She can't leave her mom this way, she has to stay and take care of her. As far as she can remember, Ruth has been there for her. They have been each other's support system.

Catherine is ready to give up her future when some incongruences start making her doubt what her mother has told her since she was a kid. Her mother is hiding things and Catherine must find out what is true and why is Ruth lying to her.

I liked how the story unfolded. The dual POV and the past and present timelines enriched the experience instead of making it difficult to follow. I liked both characters and I was scared of the outcome that was being foreshadowed.

The narrator, Kate Mara did a good job with both characters.

Cliffhanger: No

4/5 Fangs

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

Dark of the Moon by John Sandford
Virgil Flowers #1


Title: Dark of the Moon
Series: Virgil Flowers #1
Author: John Sandford
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons
Release Date: October 2, 2007

Virgil Flowers — tall, lean, late thirties, three times divorced, hair way too long for a cop — had kicked around a while before joining the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. Lucas Davenport at the BCA promised him, "We'll only give you the hard stuff." Flowers has been doing the hard stuff for three years now — but never anything like this.

In the small town of Bluestem, a house way up on a ridge explodes into flames, its owner, a man named Judd, trapped inside. There is a lot of reason to hate him, Flowers discovers. Years ago, Judd had perpetrated a scam that'd driven a lot of local farmers out of business, even to suicide. There are also rumors of some very dicey activities with other men's wives, of involvement with some nutcase religious guy, and of an out-of-wedlock daughter. In fact, you'd probably have to dig around to find a person who didn't despise him.

That wasn't even the reason Flowers had come to Bluestem. Three weeks before, there'd been another murder — two, in fact. There hadn't been a murder in Bluestem in years — and now suddenly three? But just how personal is something even he doesn't realize, and may not find out until too late. Because the next victim... may be himself.

Librarian's note: as of 2021, there are 13 volumes in the author's Virgil Flowers series. The last was published in April 2021. It is in the "Prey" series but Lucas Davenport and Virgil Flowers share the billing, "Ocean Prey."

As a huge fan of the Lucas Davenport series, I could not in good conscience skip Virgil Flowers. I had to give him a try. Happy I did.

Virgil is smart, patient, and not afraid to set a trap for the bad guy/or girl. He is not your typical cop. He looks more like a surfer. Blonde, tall and lean. He likes to wear music band T-shirts instead of suits. He also has 3 ex-wives but the failed marriages have not made him bitter. Furthermore, he likes the ladies, and the ladies like him back.

I was pleased with Dark of the Moon as the first installment and I enjoyed how Virgil handled himself. I'm sure he is only going to get better. I didn't like Lucas in book 1 so Virgil is already ahead.

Cliffhanger: No

4/5 Fangs

The Love Wager by Lynn Painter
Mr. Wrong Number #2


Title: The Love Wager
Series: Mr. Wrong Number #2
Author: Lynn Painter
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: March 14, 2023

Hallie Piper is turning over a new leaf. After belly-crawling out of a hotel room (hello, rock bottom), she decides it’s time to become a full-on adult.

She gets a new apartment, a new haircut, and a new wardrobe, but when she logs into the dating app that she has determined will find her new love, she sees none other than Jack, the guy whose room she’d snuck out of.

Through the app, and after the joint agreement that they are absolutely not interested in each other, Jack and Hallie become partners in their respective searches for The One. They text each other about their dates, often scheduling them at the same restaurant so that if things don’t go well, the two of them can get tacos afterward.

Spoiler: they get a lot of tacos together.

Discouraged by the lack of prospects, Jack and Hallie make a wager to see who can find true love first, but when they agree to be fake dates for a weekend wedding, all bets are off.

As they pretend to be a couple, lines become blurred and they each struggle to remember why the other was a bad idea to begin with.

Loved it!!

I loved Mr. Wrong Number and now I can say that I loved The Love Wager too.

This book is about Hallie and Jack.

The first time they meet, Hallie is working as the bartender for Jack's sister's wedding. It's also the time when Jack's almost fiancee decides to be nasty and attack Hallie. This leads to Jack breaking up with her and instead spending the rest of the time with Hallie. One thing leads to another or should I say, one drink leads to another, and Jack and Hallie will spend a one-night stand together. Yet, this is not the end for this pair. They will meet again while using an app known for finding true love and meeting "The One". At first, their interactions are messages, then texts, and then phone calls. Their conversations are about everything including sharing their bad dates from the app and deciding to meet after those dates to discuss what went wrong while eating tacos together.

You can guess what happens next. Hallie and Jack both start developing feelings for each other but what is the best course of action? Ruin the friendship they have and enjoyed or try to become a couple and wish for the best.

Love both characters, their banter, and their very real friendship. Also, I loved how perfect they were for each other.

I can't wait to read a new book in this series. Will it be about Hallie's roommate? She seems like an awesome character.

Cliffhanger: No

4.5/5 Fangs

Her Perfect Twin by Sarah Bonner

Title: Her Perfect Twin
Author: Sarah Bonner
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Release Date: September 27, 2022


With echoes of Gone Girl and My Lovely Wife, Sarah Bonner's debut novel introduces an exciting new voice in twisty thrillers.


When Megan discovers photographs of her estranged identical twin sister on her husband’s phone, she wants answers.

Leah already has everything Megan ever wanted. Fame, fortune, freedom to do what she wants. And when Megan confronts Leah, an argument turns to murder.

The only way Megan can get away with killing her twin is to become her.

But then lockdown hits. How can she continue living two lives? And what happens if someone else knows her secret?

Great attention grabber!

Megan is a married woman in her twenties. Her husband is abusive. She is estranged from her sister who is her twin. Her sister Leah has taken everything from her for as long as Megan can remember.

Then Megan discovers Leah's latest betrayal and she loses it. Taking Leah's place may not be the easiest thing, especially during a pandemic lockdown, and if someone knows what she did!

From the very beginning, I was engrossed with this novel. I am one of those readers who enjoys thrillers where twins are the main characters. This one didn't disappoint me. There were multiple times I was shocked by the twists although, I guessed the last one. Several narrators brought to life these interesting characters of a solid debut novel.

Cliffhanger: No

4/5 Fangs

The Wishing Game by Meg Shaffer


Title: The Wishing Game
Author: Meg Shaffer
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Release Date: May 30, 2023

Years ago, a reclusive mega-bestselling children’s author quit writing under mysterious circumstances. Suddenly he resurfaces with a brand-new book and a one-of-a-kind competition, offering a prize that will change the winner’s life in this absorbing and whimsical novel.

Make a wish. . . .

Lucy Hart knows better than anyone what it’s like to grow up without parents who loved her. In a childhood marked by neglect and loneliness, Lucy found her solace in books, namely the Clock Island series by Jack Masterson. Now a twenty-six-year-old teacher’s aide, she is able to share her love of reading with bright, young students, especially seven-year-old Christopher Lamb, who was left orphaned after the tragic death of his parents. Lucy would give anything to adopt Christopher, but even the idea of becoming a family seems like an impossible dream without proper funds and stability.

But be careful what you wish for. . . .

Just when Lucy is about to give up, Jack Masterson announces he’s finally written a new book. Even better, he’s holding a contest at his home on the real Clock Island, and Lucy is one of the four lucky contestants chosen to compete to win the one and only copy.

For Lucy, the chance of winning the most sought-after book in the world means everything to her and Christopher. But first she must contend with ruthless book collectors, wily opponents, and the distractingly handsome (and grumpy) Hugo Reese, the illustrator of the Clock Island books. Meanwhile, Jack “the Mastermind” Masterson is plotting the ultimate twist ending that could change all their lives forever.

. . . You might just get it.

The Wishing Game touched all my heartstrings!

The Wishing Game stars Lucy Hart. She is a woman in her twenties, working as a teacher's aide. She loves her job but she mostly loves her time with one student, Christopher Lamb. He is a seven-year-old boy who has lost his parents and is in foster care. Lucy dreams of becoming Christopher's foster mother and then adopting him. Yet, her economic and living situation makes the dream impossible.

When Lucy was a kid, she ran away from home. She went to Clock Island for the sole purpose of becoming Jack Masterson's sidekick. Jack Masterson is the famous author of the children's series called Clock Island. While on the island, Lucy also met Jack's young book illustrator, Hugo Reese.

In the present, Jack has not written a new book in the last few years but Lucy introduced the Clock Island books to Christopher after the loss of his parents. To their shock, an announcement is made and Jack has written a new book and has started a contest and one of four lucky contestants will have the chance to win the new novel. Furthermore, Lucy is one of the four contestants. She and Christopher are ecstatic. This gives hope to Lucy. If she wins, she can use the book to get money to help her become Christopher's mom.

The Wishing Game was adorable. It was easy to fall for all the main characters. Lucy, Christopher, Hugo, and Jack all had an important part to play. As a huge book lover, the idea of books helping through difficult times is relevant and truthful.

Cliffhanger: No

4/5 Fangs

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

Mercy by David Baldacci
Atlee Pine #4


Title: Mercy
Series: Atlee Pine #4
Author: David Baldacci
Release Date: November 16, 2021

FBI Agent Atlee Pine’s harrowing search for her long-lost sister Mercy reaches a boiling point in this breakneck thriller from #1 New York Times bestselling author David Baldacci.

For her entire life, FBI agent Atlee Pine has been searching for her twin sister, Mercy, who was abducted at the age of six and never seen again. Mercy’s disappearance left behind a damaged family that later shattered beyond repair when Atlee’s parents inexplicably abandoned her.

Now, after a perilous investigation that nearly proved fatal, Atlee has finally discovered not only the reason behind her parents’ abandonment and Mercy’s kidnapping, but also the most promising breakthrough yet: proof that Mercy survived her abduction and then escaped her captors many years ago.

Though Atlee is tantalizingly close to her family at last, the final leg of her long road to Mercy will be the most treacherous yet. Mercy left at least one dead body behind before fleeing her captors years before. Atlee has no idea if her sister is still alive, and if so, how she has been surviving all this time. When the truth is finally revealed, Atlee Pine will face the greatest danger yet, and it may well cost her everything

This is the conclusion to the Atlee Pine series.

If you have read the first 3 books, you know Atlee is an FBI agent. She is also a great fighter and an even better weightlifter. At the age of six, someone came into her room and kidnapped her twin sister Mercy and hurt Atlee badly enough that she ended up in the hospital for a while.

Clues discovered during the prior books have led Atlee and her friend Carol Blum to believe that Mercy might be alive and that she was able to escape her captors.

Atlee knows she needs to find out the truth and she hopes her sister is alive and she can get to her before it's too late.

Mercy was a great way to end the series. Baldacci has created great female characters in this last installment. The novel was action-filled and the suspense continued to increase all the way to the end.

I'm sad this is the end of the road for Atlee. I wouldn't mind reading more books about her solving cases.

Cliffhanger: No

4/5 Fangs