I read the first book last week and then this new 3rd installment by Charlaine Harris. I know I know I know- I missed the 2nd book, A Longer Fall. However, Harris writes in a way that it was pretty easy to pick up from where it left off. I have always loved the Sookie Stackhouse books – so I wanted to love this new series. It starts off with Gunnie Rose (Lisbeth) receiving a mysterious, cryptic letter from her sister Felicia from the Holy Russian Empire (based in San Diego). This is an alternative history novel where the US is taken over by Russians in the west coast, Mexico in the southwest, Canada in the north, and Britannia in the east with Dixie in the former American South. Her love, Prince Eli, is imprisoned without any cause and no one is allowed to visit. Lisbeth immediately rushes to San Diego to save him and finds herself teaming up with Felix and Peter, using royal politics and deception (instead of just guns) to rescue Eli.
As much as I wanted to love this, I thought it was just ok. I enjoyed the first book a bit more – this one fell flat for me only because the plot to save Eli was a bit lackluster. I was never into their chemistry and felt it was a bit forced. Also Lisbeth’s development in this story is also lacking – she seemed one dimensional, we get it, she is a tomboy, doesn’t wear dresses ever, loves her guns, total badass at shooting and protecting herself, awkward in social settings/relationships…I found some parts of the book that were just mundane and went too long. If you enjoyed the previous book in the series, then you will probably like this, but this one is definitely not for me.
Thank you to Gallery Books / Saga Press and Netgalley for the advanced copy in exchange for my honest review !
As a big fan of the Sookie Stackhouse books, I was so excited to start reading Charlaine Harris’s newer series as the sequel comes out next week. An Easy Death is the first book in the series following the story of tough gunslinger Gunnie Rose (Lisbeth) in an alternative history USA where all the lands are split into New America, Dixie (modern day American south), Holy Russian Empire, larger Canada, and Texoma (where Gunnie is). After a job doing a run across the border goes badly and her crew are all killed, she is in dire need of a job – which is why she accepts the task of helping two Russian wizards find the missing low level wizard, Oleg Karkarov. First off, Gunnie is very weary of these “Grigori”/Wizards – but she has a reputation of getting the job done no matter what so she loyally sticks to her word. They go from town to town on their search, trying to also evade those that want to stop them from finding Oleg.
Charlaine never fails in creating a badass lead female character – and Gunnie does not disappoint. She is just… so cool! And amongst all the seedy male characters in this book, she shines so brightly. However, that pretty much is it. There is definitely tons of potential for the story to grow and expand on the other characters, but no one yet has sparked my interest to learn more about. Gunnie and Eli have almost no chemistry especially when compared to Sookie/Erik’s from True Blood – even Sookie/Bill had more chemistry. Also, most of the book kept repeating itself – they would go to a new town, someone tries to kill them, and Gunnie saves the day or gets gravely injured. Then she takes a bath. So much repetition for such a short book – I will definitely read the sequel to see where she takes this character, but so far, not my favorite Harris book.
This book is Stepford Wives meets Westworld with a touch of Big Little Lies. At first reading it, I was not sure if I was into it, but once you get into it, you can’t put it down. Evelyn Caldwell is a successful, brilliant scientist specializing in human cloning. Her husband Nathan had betrayed her by using her research to create his own “perfect” clone of his wife named Martine – a soft spoken, gentle, woman who aimed to please and wanted children. Basically Martine is the opposite of Evelyn – and it hurts to know you can be replaced by someone you love. Until she gets a call from Martine that Nathan is dead after a heated altercation. Evelyn and Martine must work together, to make sure Nathan’s death is covered up or else Evelyn’s years of research would be compromised.
It was intriguing to see how Martine is a bit more “humane” even though she is the clone whilst Evelyn is a bit more icy and reserved. The characters’ relationship/friendship really is what the book is about essentially – and what Evelyn sees in herself as flaws when she gets irritated by anything Martine does. This was incredibly well written and I can’t stop thinking about it. One of the great sci-fi books I have read lately. Definitely recommended if you enjoyed Westworld!
Thank you to Tor Books and Netgalley for the e-copy in exchange for my honest review!
As a big fan of Lisa Jewell’s other books (The Family Upstairs, Invisible Girl), I was ecstatic to get an e-copy of another of her older books. It is a mystery novel following the story of Melody Browne who has no recollection of her life before she was nine years after her family home burned down, including all photographs, toys, and clothing. She left her parents home at 15 after getting pregnant with her son, Eddie, and raised him all alone in a council flat in Covent Garden. Now in her early 30s, she is content with her life, being a lunch lady at her son’s school, raising a decent man, and now finally going on her first date in years with Ben. The date turned out to be a hypnotist show – after the performer snaps his fingers, Melody immediately faints and after waking up, her memories from her childhood starts to trickle back slowly. Her sudden memory of the seaside town of Broadstairs results in her going there to see if anything else triggers her memory to her mysterious past and the possible people that knew her as a child.
This book had me guessing the entire time – of who her parents were and what other traumas that could have caused her to forget. Poor Melody – what a heartbreaking story of a very depressing childhood, but she is so strong and resilient at such a young age. I was wrong about some of the characters, and I am so glad I was. You definitely want to believe in the good in people and this story reminds you of that. I highly recommend it if you enjoyed Lisa Jewell’s other books, but this one I actually loved even more.
Thank you to Atria Books, Pocket books, and Netgalley for the e-copy in exchange for my honest review!
This is the 2nd installment to the Underwater Investigations Unit series by Andrew Mayne and as a fan of the investigative police/crime shows & books, I was excited to start this one. Even though I did not read the first book, the author did a great job catching you up. It follows the story of Sloan McPherson, a police diver (who is also studying for her PHD in archaeology) who discovers an abandoned van underwater in Pond 65 in south Florida (where giant alligators are the norm). There are 4 bodies inside of teens who went missing thirty years ago after a rock concert. The police want to pass this off as a crazy drug induced night gone wrong. Sloane has a feeling in her gut there is something more to this – possibly a 5th person involved, maybe even a serial killer. As Sloan and her team keep investigating, more bodies keep turning up in the Everglades. This killer seems to have decades of experience hiding in plain sight as Sloane has to think of trickier ways to lure them out.
If you are a fan of police procedural thrillers, then definitely check this out. I really enjoyed the underwater parts of Sloan and Hughes digging and trying to keep away from sharks/alligators/crocodiles. It was very interesting to learn about how this team does their work. My only complaint might just be with Sloan and her really annoying inner dialogue – she is equally brilliant in her investigative hunches, but also incredibly oblivious when talking to other people.
Thank you to Thomas & Mercer and Netgalley for the advanced copy in exchange for my honest review!
I used to read mostly thrillers and true crime – but took a bit of a break in 2020 to focus more on fun books in the fantasy and romance genre. The premise alone for this new book by CJ Tudor drew me back. I am freaked out by anything having to do with religious exorcisms especially in movies, so starting this book already creeped me out. This book takes place in Chapel Croft, a small village, where Protestant martyrs, including 2 young girls were tortured and burned at the stake under Queen Mary’s rule. To this day, the villagers burn little wicker dolls in honor of the martyrs. An unconventional vicar, Reverend Jack Brooks moves to the village to replace Reverend Fletcher, who died from mysterious circumstances. Upon arrival, Jack discovers someone has gifted them an old exorcism kit and finds those creepy wicker dolls all around their cottage. Jack’s daughter starts seeing the burning girls and a mysterious stranger lurking outside in the graveyard 🪦. The longer they stay in the village, the more they sense that the locals are hiding secrets and would do anything to keep them hidden.
This had all the foundations of being a perfect thriller, it’s fast paced, creepy, and nail-biting suspense. However, there is a LOT going on and the major twist ending was a bit lackluster as you kind of figure out what’s going on from the not so subtle hints. The characters were also kind of bland – you don’t really feel much for them. If you love a fast paced psychological thriller, then definitely give this a read, but didn’t love it.
Thank you to Ballantine Books and Netgalley for the advanced copy in exchange for my honest review!
This book has been on my kindle library for almost a year – and now it’s finally released today! Happy Pub Day!
This duo timeline historical fiction follows the story of two women, Odile Souchet during WWII in Paris and Lily, a young teenager in Montana in 1983. Odile has the bibliophile’s dream job working at the American Library in Paris, helping to keep the doors open while also worrying about the Nazi occuppation and the lives/safety of her friends and family. Lily, on the other hand, is fascinated by her elderly next door neighbor from France, who no one really knows anything about. She befriends Odile and learns more about her past and how Odile has ended up in Montana. There is a betrayal that shifts Odile’s life for the rest of her life and Lily is curious as to what it is. .Their growing friendship is heart-warming and wonderful to read, especially Lily’s growing fondness for the French language. They soon become each other’s life line, despite their age difference. There are parts that are very slow, but the story overall was such a delight. You can tell everything was meticulously researched, and it is based on the true story of the librarians at the American Library.
Thank you to Atria Books and Netgalley for the advanced copy in exchange for my honest review!
One of my favorite cover arts of 2021 – I love all these colors! This contemporary romance tells the story of Daisy Patel, a senior software engineer, in San Francisco who has always lived a life surrounded by spreadsheets and rules. Her family wants to find her a husband and won’t let her off the hook – until she runs into her brother’s former best friend, Liam Murphy, at a tech conference. The same Liam that ditched her on prom night leaving her heartbroken 10 years ago. He is a venture capitalist in search of a woman he trusts to marry quickly (and stay married for at least a year) to inherit his grandfather’s distillery- and Daisy was perfect for the job. In return, Daisy would get her relatives off her case about getting married and hopefully also save her fledgling company. For all this to be believable to her family, they create a dating plan over a course of two months including dates, dinners, and family get-togethers to look the part. Naturally, their natural attraction and chemistry make it difficult to stick to the rules.
This book was just so cute – and I loved all her family members especially her dad. Their dialogue cracked me up. Also the chemistry between Daisy and Liam was 🔥. If you need a feel-good, quick romance read – then definitely read this!
I have wanted to read this FOREVER but my TBR list was just out of control. Now I am really disappointed it took me so long to read this. This tells the story of Poppy – a “Maiden” in the Kingdom of Solis, who has to remain isolated and “pure” until the Ascension. No one is allowed to speak to her or look upon her face without a veil other than her closest personal guards, lady’s maid, and the Duke/Duchess. Though she knows of her expectations, deep down she knows she wants more than she is allowed to do – she wants freedom. She meets Hawke, a new addition to her personal guard, who angers her, teases her, and causes her to feel longing for the first time in her life – even though the thought is forbidden and would deem her unworthy. In the meantime, another kingdom is slowly rising from the ashes, inspiring descenters to question everything. Poppy and Hawke blur the lines of what the rules are – and their chemistry starts from the first time they meet. It took about a ¼ of the way in before I started to really sink into the story – I had SO many questions! However, once I got to read more, I fell in love with both the characters!
I read the over 600 pages in 2 days – which is pretty fast when you are in a reading slump. I am waiting impatiently for the sequel to arrive! If you love the whole ACOTAR world, then you definitely read this!
This new contemporary romance novel follows the story of Annika Dev, CEO and Founder of Make Up – an app that helps couples communicate in failing relationships. Her archnemesis and ex one-night stand , Hudson Craft, also has an app called Break Up – that aids people cut ties with their significant others. To make matters worse, his company moves to the same building as Make Up – and now they are vying for the same EPIC Investment Pitch in San Francisco. Annika NEEDS this money – her business is not making money yet and she will lose the lease to her office space. Annika and Hudson clash and flirt – finding their chemistry undeniable.
Romance novels are such a hit or miss for me and I really wanted to like this one so much more. Annika was just so unlikeable, blaming everyone else for her problems and being so tough on Hudson. She seemed completely unable to function on her own, much less run a brand new company. And Hudson is pretty one dimensional – the ending also very unrealistic and felt a bit rushed for dramatic effect. My favorite character is probably Annika’s dad – probably the most reasonable of the bunch. Although there were parts I did enjoy, this one was not my favorite.
Thank you to St. Martins Press Griffin and Netgalley for the advanced copy in exchange for my honest review!