Sunday, May 26, 2024

The Truth about the Devlins by Lisa Scottoline


Title: The Truth about the Devlins
Author: Lisa Scottoline
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons
Release Date: March 26, 2024

TJ Devlin is the charming disappointment in the prominent Devlin family, all of whom are lawyers at their highly successful firm—except him. After a stint in prison and rehab for alcoholism, TJ can’t get hired anywhere except at the firm, in a make-work job with the title of investigator.

But one night, TJ’s world turns upside down after his older brother John confesses that he murdered one of their clients, an accountant he’d confronted with proof of embezzlement. It seems impossible coming from John, the firstborn son and Most Valuable Devlin.

TJ plunges into the investigation, seizing the chance to prove his worth and save his brother. But in no time, TJ and John find themselves entangled in a lethal web of deception and murder. TJ will fight to save his family, but what he learns might break them first.

This was a success!

TJ Devlon is on parole. He is working for his family firm as an investigator. Hard to find a job after serving time and never finishing college.

His family has a well-known law firm in Philadelphia. Both his parents and siblings are lawyers. Easy to feel like a disappointment with so much success surrounding you.

TJ's oldest brother John is the one who will inherit the big cases when his father retires. His sister Gaby handles pro-bono cases. Without any other choices and still on parole, keeping his job with the family business is a priority.

Everything changes when John tells him that he might have killed someone. TJ won't hesitate to help his brother although this will create chaos in his life which can lead to him losing his sobriety and his freedom.

So many things to love about TJ. His struggles felt all too real making me root for him from the very beginning. His sobriety was well portrayed. Adopting Mango, the diabetic cat only increased my liking of him.

I would love to read a sequel following TJ and another case. I'm crossing my fingers 🤞🏼.

Cliffhanger: No

4/5 Fangs

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

Savor It by Tarah Dewitt

Title: Savor It 
Author: Tarah Dewitt
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Release Date:  May 21, 2024

Summer won't last forever.

Sage Byrd has lived in the coastal town of Spunes, Oregon (not to be confused with Forks, Washington) her entire life. She's learned to love her small world, with the misfit animals on her hobby farm, and her friendships with the town’s inhabitants. But when her 5-year relationship ends and her ex, town-golden-boy Ian, suddenly gets engaged, Sage needs a win―something that will convince everyone to stop pitying her all the time, and to put Ian in his place. The Festival of Spunes, the town’s annual summer competition, would be the perfect opportunity. She just needs a partner.

Fisher Lange was a hotshot chef in New York City until the loss of his sister left him numb, grieving, and responsible for his teenage niece Indy. When Fisher loses his Michelin star along with his love of cooking, his boss sends him and Indy to Spunes on a much-needed summer sabbatical to consult on a restaurant opening. But when clashes with the townspeople threaten his last chance to redeem himself and a kiss with his new neighbor Sage leads to dating rumors, a strategic alliance might just be the best way to turn things around.

A deal is struck. Sage will improve Fisher’s image in the eyes of the town and remove the roadblocks he is facing with the restaurant, and Fisher will be Sage’s partner for the competition. But as their pact quickly turns into steamy rendezvous, emotional wounds begin to heal, and the pair tries to savor every moment, they start to realize that summer is racing by much faster than they would like...

Filled with spicy summer fun, small-town charm, and Big Feelings, this highly anticipated romcom is Tarah DeWitt’s best yet.

This small-town romance was appealing for sure!

Sage Byrd is a teacher who is off during the summer. She owns a farm where she keeps the animals she has rescued. She enjoys gardening and loves her town life. She doesn't see herself leaving the town of Spunes, Oregon anytime soon. Even though, her ex-boyfriend of five years is already engaged to another local.

Fisher Lange lost his sister and the desire to work as a Chef. He was given custody of his niece Indy but they are not getting along well. He is mourning his sister and the loss of his career after his restaurant lost a Michelin star. He is in Spunes to oversee the construction of his boss's new restaurant and to create a menu for it.

Sparks ignite when Fisher rents the farm next to Sage and they meet. Can they enjoy a summer romance while knowing that their time is limited? Sage knows Fisher has to return to NYC where he and Indy have a life together.

I enjoyed Savor It. Both characters were likable especially Sage with all her animals. She was smart and sweet. I love how well they communicated without misunderstandings or acting childish. Also, I wish I could have tasted all the wonderful things Fisher cooked or thought about cooking. They all sounded great.

Cliffhanger: No

4/5 Fangs

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

Shock Wave by John Sandford
Virgil Flowers #5


Title: Shock Wave 
Series: irgil Flowers #5
Author: John Sandford
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons

A thrilling Virgil Flowers novel from the #1 New York Times bestselling author, John Sandford.
Talk about risky business.

A superstore chain, PyeMart, has its sights set on a Minnesota river town, but two very angry groups want to stop it: the local merchants fearing for their businesses, and the environmentalists predicting ecological disaster. The protests don't seem to be slowing the project down though, until someone decides to take matters into his own hands.

The first bomb goes off on the top floor of PyeMart's headquarters in Michigan. The second one explodes at the construction site itself. The blasts are meant to inflict maximum damage - and they do. Who's behind the bombs and how far will they go? It's Virgil Flowers's job to find out . . . before more people get killed.

Shock Wave brings Virgil Flowers to the small town of Butternut Falls in Minnesota.

Virgil is called in by Lucas Davenport his boss at the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension after a couple of bombs go off.

The focus of the bombing is the PyeMarts. Someone is trying to prevent PyeMart from moving in. The first bomb goes off at the PyeMart headquarters in Michigan. The second one explodes at the new PyeMart's construction site. Two people are dead and Virgil needs to stop the bomber before the next one detonates. The problem is that so many are unhappy with a big corporation coming in and affecting the local business and the ecosystem. How can Virgil find the one from so many?

This one was interesting and John Sanford had us guessing for the bomber for a long while. Usually, he gives us the identity of the killer from the very beginning but not in this case.

With every book, I like Virgil more.

Cliffhanger: No

4/5 Fangs

Kill for Me, Kill for You by Steve Cavanagh

Title: ill for Me, Kill for You
Author: Steve Cavanagh
Publisher: Atria Books
Release Date: March 19, 2024

For fans of The Silent Patient and Gone Girl, a razor-sharp and Hitchcock-inspired psychological thriller about two ordinary women who make a dangerous pact to take revenge for each other after being pushed to the brink.

One dark evening on New York City’s Upper West Side, two strangers meet by chance. Over drinks, Amanda and Wendy realize they have much in common, especially loneliness and an intense desire for revenge against the men who destroyed their families. As they talk into the night, they come up with the perfect if you kill for me, I’ll kill for you.

In another part of the city, Ruth is home alone when the beautiful brownstone she shares with her husband, Scott, is invaded. She’s attacked by a man with piercing blue eyes, who disappears into the night. Will she ever be able to feel safe again while the blue-eyed stranger is out there?

Intricate, heart-racing, and from an author who “is the real deal” (Lee Child, #1 New York Times bestselling author), Kill for Me, Kill for You will keep you breathless until the final page.

I love Strangers on a Train so I knew this was one, I couldn't pass up.

Amanda is angry. She wants revenge. She lost her family and the man who is responsible is walking free while hers are all gone. The police can't do anything about it. The man is powerful and careful. A bad decision places her in a court-ordered therapy group.

Wendy lost her daughter to a predator. She stalks him and wants nothing more than to make the man disappear.

These two women meet in group therapy and they strike up a conversation and share drinks at a bar. They both wish the men who destroyed their lives to cease to exist. This is where an idea develops. What if Amanda kills Wendy's guy and Wendy kills Amanda's? Could they do it?

In between these chapters, we also learn about Ruth, a woman who was attacked at her home. The man who attacked her had intense blue eyes that she won't ever forget. How is Ruth intercepting Wendy and Amanda's lives?

A great thriller from the opening scene! I was riveted to the chapters and I couldn't wait to reach the ending. Did I guess the main twist? Oh yeah, and very early on. However, it didn't take away any of the enjoyment.

I do wish the author would decide to bring Detective Farrow again. He was so interesting!

Cliffhanger: No

4/5 Fangs

Bless Your Heart by Lindy Ryan
Bless Your Heart #1


Title: Bless Your Heart 
Series: Bless Your Heart 
Author: Lindy Ryan
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Release Date: April 9, 2024

It’s 1999 in Southeast Texas and the Evans women, owners of the only funeral parlor in town, are keeping steady with…normal business. The dead die, you bury them. End of story. That’s how Ducey Evans has done it for the last eighty years, and her progeny―Lenore the experimenter and Grace, Lenore’s soft-hearted daughter, have run Evans Funeral Parlor for the last fifteen years without drama. Ever since That Godawful Mess that left two bodies in the ground and Grace raising her infant daughter Luna, alone.

But when town gossip Mina Jean Murphy’s body is brought in for a regular burial and she rises from the dead instead, it’s clear that the Strigoi―the original vampire―are back. And the Evans women are the ones who need to fight back to protect their town.

As more folks in town turn up dead and Deputy Roger Taylor begins asking way too many questions, Ducey, Lenore, Grace, and now Luna, must take up their blades and figure out who is behind the Strigoi’s return. As the saying goes, what rises up, must go back down. But as unspoken secrets and revelations spill from the past into the present, the Evans family must face that sometimes, the dead aren’t the only things you want to keep buried.

A crackling mystery-horror novel with big-hearted characters and Southern charm with a bite, Bless Your Heart is a gasp-worthy delight from start to finish.

A family job!

The Evans women have kept the town safe from Strigoi for decades as the owners of the Evans Funeral Parlor where they can dispose of the spreading evil around town.

Ducey Evans is in her eighties, Lenore is her daughter, and Grace is Lenore's daughter. Last, there is Luna. She is Grace's daughter. A teenager who doesn't know what her family's job really is.

When several bodies start rising, Ducey, Lenore, and Grace know what they have to do.

Bless Your Heart was a light horror novel. At times, the pace was slow and for me, the "Strigoi" felt more like ghouls than vampires.

Cliffhanger: No

3/5 Fangs

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

Sunday, May 19, 2024

A Marriage of Lies by Amanda McKinney


Title: A Marriage of Lies
Author: Amanda McKinney
Publisher: Storm Publishing
Release Date: March 29, 2024

Beneath the surface of every marriage there are secrets. This one is deadly.

My husband is lying. The minute he came home with alcohol on his breath and unable to look me in the eyes I knew it.

We used to be in love – the intense ‘I can’t be without you for a second’ kind. Where it hurts deep to be apart.

But now, we’re the couple that keep secrets from each other.

We hide the truth.

He thought I wouldn’t find out. I’m a detective – it’s literally my job to uncover clues and solve mysteries. I know what he did.

And now I’m sitting here, in a police interview, being asked the question ‘did you kill her?’ to which I utter one life-shattering ‘yes.’


From the opening scene, I knew this one was a keeper.

They always say no one knows what is happening in a marriage and this story proves it.

A woman has been murdered and a detective is trying to find out who did it.

Rowan Velky, a local detective, and her partner, Kellan Palmer are the first detectives to enter a gruesome crime.

Who is behind the killing? Why?

Nothing else should be said about this one. The less you know the more entertained you will be.

Did I guess the big reveal, yep from the get-go but I don't feel like it took away any of my enjoyment.

The end was great!

Amanda McKinney is now on my radar.

Cliffhanger: No

5/5 Fangs

Look on the Bright Side by Kristan Higgins

Title: Look on the Bright Side
Author: Kristan Higgins
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: May 28, 2024

Lark Smith has always had a plan for her life: find a fantastic guy, create a marriage as blissful as her parents’, pop out a couple of kids and build a rewarding career as an oncologist.
Things aren’t going so well.

For one, the guy didn’t work out. Theoretically, she’d love to find someone else, but it hasn’t happened. Two, she’s just been transferred out of oncology for being too emotional. (Is it her fault she’s a weeper?) Three, her parents just split up.

Deviating from the plan was…well, not in the plan. A potential solution comes from the foul-tempered and renowned surgeon Lorenzo Santini (aka Dr. Satan). He needs a date this summer for his sister’s wedding. His ancient Noni wants to see him settled. In exchange, he could make a few introductions and maybe get Lark back into the field of her choice.

As a sucker for old people and fake relationships, Lark agrees. Teeny problem—she instantly falls for his big, warm family. Especially his estranged brother.

Meanwhile, Lark’s mom has moved in with Lark’s flamboyant landlady, Joy, and an unlikely friendship blossoms. The three women have a long summer and a big beautiful house on the ocean to figure out what’s next…and quite possibly learn that the best things in life aren’t planned at all.

Look on the Bright Side had me tearing up by the end!

Lark Smith is rotating through oncology when she's told she will be sent to rotate through the ER instead because she gets too emotional with her patients. Yet, the only thing she wants is to become an oncologist, so when Dr. Lorenzo "Satan" Santini offers her an exchange she decides to accept it. Dr. Satan needs a date for the next three months to convince his dying grandmother that he is not alone. If Lark says yes, he will call his connections to get her closer to an oncology position. The last thing Lark was expecting was to fall for his family and for his brother, Dante.

Chapter by chapter, we start discovering what happened to Lark and why she has an obsession with oncology. At the same time, we also get two more POVs. One is Lark's mother Ellie. The other one is Joy, Lark's landlady.

The summer will be a summer of growth for all three.

Look on the Bright Side is a woman's fiction novel with a side of romance. It is also about loss, healing, and self-discovery.

As always, Kristan Higgins writes an emotional ride that I can't help but enjoy.

Cliffhanger: No

4/5 Fangs

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

The Truth about the Accident by Nicole Trope


Title: The Truth about the Accident
Author: Nicole Trope
Publisher: Bookouture
Release Date: June 30, 2023

I gaze at my husband’s once handsome face, so still and pale in the hospital bed. The doctors say I should keep talking. He might be able to hear me even after the terrible accident that left him fighting for his life. But all I have to whisper to my husband is I know what you did.

Every day I wave my husband Damon off with a kiss and a smile, drive our precious children to school, and make sure our house is pristine before preparing a delicious meal. I pretend I’m not filled with fury that he once nearly destroyed our perfect life. It’s important to carry on as normal.

That is, until the accident.

My husband was hit by a car. It was pouring with rain. Nobody saw what happened. But the police are asking questions…

Do they know about the terrible argument we had that day?

Do they know about the text message I sent, telling someone to Delete everything ?

And do they know that no one is happier that my husband is in a hospital bed, than me?

Revenge with a side of intrigue!

Damon, a charming handsome man, has been hit by a car. The driver didn't stop to help. 999 has been called and the witnesses are all unsure who hit him or the color of the car that did it. The rain made everything more difficult for the cops investigating the hit-and-run. Now, Damon is in a coma and he might not survive.

Marla is Damon's wife. She has been fighting time with any cosmetic procedure available to keep herself young and pretty. Her children are almost adults. She is day drinking wondering what it's going to happen to her marriage.

Sonya has a soon-to-be teenage son. She is a therapist and she is upset her 1 o'clock is a no-show. She is thinking of what's going to happen when her son doesn't want to spend time with her any longer.

Athena is at her first ultrasound to check on her pregnancy. Her boyfriend is a no-show to the appointment. Is this her future?

The Truth About the Accident was a quick read. The alternating chapters by the three women plus a mystery woman were captivating. There is also a dual timeline that guides the reader until the time of the accident giving us multiple twists.

Cliffhanger: No

4/5 Fangs

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

Finlay Donovan Rolls the Dice by Elle Cosimano
Finlay Donovan #4


Title: Finlay Donovan Rolls the Dice
Series: Finlay Donovan #4
Author: Elle Cosimano
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Release Date: March 5, 2024

From New York Times bestseller Elle Cosimano comes Finlay Donovan Rolls the Dice―the fiercely anticipated next installment in the beloved Finlay Donovan series.

Finlay Donovan and her nanny/partner-in-crime Vero are in sore need of a girls’ weekend away. They plan a trip to Atlantic City, but odds are―seeing as it’s actually a cover story to negotiate a deal with a dangerous loan shark, save Vero’s childhood crush Javi, and hunt down a stolen car―it won’t be all fun and games. When Finlay’s ex-husband Steven and her mother insist on tagging along too, Finlay and Vero suddenly have a few too many meddlesome passengers along for the ride.

Within hours of arriving in their seedy casino hotel, it becomes clear their rescue mission is going to be a bust. Javi’s kidnapper, Marco, refuses to negotiate, demanding payment in full in exchange for Javi’s life. But that’s not all―he insists on knowing the whereabouts of his missing nephew, Ike, who mysteriously disappeared. Unable to confess what really happened to Ike, Finlay and Vero are forced to come up with a new plan: sleuth out the location of Javi and the Aston Martin, then steal them both back.

But when they sneak into the loan shark’s suite to search for clues, they find more than they bargained for―Marco's already dead. They don’t have a clue who murdered him, only that they themselves have a very convincing motive. Then four members of the police department unexpectedly show up in town, also looking for Ike―and after Finlay's night with hot cop Nick at the police academy, he’s a little too eager to keep her close to his side.

If Finlay can juggle a jealous ex-husband, two precocious kids, her mother’s marital issues, a decomposing loan shark, and find Vero’s missing boyfriend, she might get out of Atlantic City in one piece. But will she fold under the pressure and come clean about the things she’s done, or be forced to double down?

I swear this series is much funnier if you listen to the audiobooks!

I didn't think I was going to enjoy this one as much as the first Finlay book but surprisingly, I did. I  had so much fun with it. 

I recommend reading this series in order. By the end of Finlay Donovan Rolls the Dice. It felt like an arc had ended. So I'm excited about next Finlay's adventure. 

This novel begins with Finlay and Vero planning to travel to Atlantic City to find Javi and the Aston Martin but their girls' weekend becomes complicated when they can't leave alone. Finlay's ex-husband Steven, her children, and her mother are all coming with them.  

Their trip became even more complicated when the cops showed up. 

I loved the emerging Finlay. The character continues to evolve and is becoming more assertive. I also love her friendship with Vero.  They are a great duo. 

I look forward to reading the next one. 

Cliffhanger: No

4.5/5 Fangs

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

Lovers at the Museum by Isabel Allende


Title: Lovers at the Museum
Author: Isabel Allende
Publisher: mazon Original Stories
Release Date: April 1, 2024

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Wind Knows My Name comes a mesmerizing tale of two passionate souls who share one magical night that defies all rational explanation.

Love, be it wild or tender, often defies logic. In fact, at times, the only rationale behind the instant connection of two souls is plain magic.

Bibiña Aranda, runaway bride, wakes up in the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao still wearing her wedding dress, draped in the loving arms of a naked man whose name she doesn’t know. She and the man with no clothes, Indar Zubieta, attempt to explain to the authorities how they got there. It’s a story of love at first sight and experience beyond compare, one that involves a dreamlike journey through the museum.

But the lovers’ transcendent night bears no resemblance to the crude one Detective Larramendi attempts to reconstruct. And no amount of fantastical descriptions can convince the irritated inspector of the truth.

Allende’s dreamy short story has the power to transport readers in any language, leaving them to ponder the wonders of love long after the story’s over.

This was an Amazon First Reads.

Bibiña Aranda, a runaway bride, is found still wearing her wedding dress, and next to her is a naked man, Indar Zubieta. They are found one morning in the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao after a night of passion.

A detective is called to investigate the break-in. 

Everyone is stupefied. 

How did the couple get into the museum? How did they evade the security guards? 
They didn't even know each other or their names!!

Was there magic involved?

A short story by a great author! A super easy and fast read. 

Cliffhanger: No

3.5/5 Fangs