The Hiding Place by C. J. Tudor
Fiction / May 30, 2019

I wish I liked The Hiding Place more. True, the main character, Joe, is somewhat interesting to follow along with, but the plot doesn’t come together for me. Gambling debts, childhood secrets, and what seems to be a “Pit” with mystical powers spin around in the book, not fully fleshed out in my opinion.  It was a quick read, but I don’t think I will remember it in a week.

Darcul, by Dacre Stoker and J. B. Barker
Fiction / April 28, 2019

Holy Cow, this book blew my mind! Dracula is one of my all time favorites so when I saw this I decided to give it a try. It is a combination of fact and fiction, woven into a prequel of sorts to Dracula. In it we meet Bram Stoker, who is inserted into the story as if he is a fictional character.  We meet his family too, and a slightly odd nanny named Ellen. This nanny is the source of the creepy, well written, old fashion horror story. It weaves realty with fantasy and horror as it skips back and forth between current time and Bram’s recollection of growing up.  I wanted to read it again immediately, just to scan over the detailed, rich, story that is Dracul.

Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage
Fiction / February 13, 2019

Whoa, just whoa. This book isn’t just fiction, it’s horror. Old fashion “The Omen” or “Carrie” horror.  Written as a domestic suspense novel, Baby Teeth is the story of Hannah, a terror of a child and her parents who are bewildered as they try to raise her. Hannah is intelligent, manipulative, and down right evil. A nightmare. My only criticism about this book is that I thought it wrapped up a bit fast. Perhaps leaving room for a sequel? Yikes!

The Rose by Tiffany Reisz
Advance Reading Copy , Erotica , Fiction / February 13, 2019

If you are a fan of Tiffany Reisz you might as well skip this review and go purchase The Rose.  I say this because I think this is one of the author’s best offerings. It is explicit, actually sometimes just a touch beyond explicit, if that’s even possible. Still, it is written as a combination of erotic fantasy and Greek mythology which is a perfect match.  The story begins with the characters of Lia and August “sparring” around a Greek cup called the Rose Kylix.  Lia has it, August wants it. And much sexiness follows. There is a bit of an “ick factor” in the plot, between Lia and her mother. Although this ick factor makes sense in the frame of Greek mythology, I would deduct one star in any rating … because…. ick!!!  I have to say that I think the author is full of talent for story telling and it amuses me to think that she decided to aim her ability in the direction of mythology, probably just because she could.

Once Upon A River, by Diane Setterfield
Fiction , Mystery , Women's Fiction / January 14, 2019

This book is fascinating. The type of book that you want to read a second time. Like a river there are so many bends and runs, so many facets. This is a “story of stories” with family love at the center of three distinct families and their potential relationship with a mute girl who turns up in a small town. The characters of the novel are somewhat simple people. Some more or less educated than others. They have challenges and victories and their combined story is so interesting!! Some readers might be a bit impatient with the beginning. Like the headwaters of some rivers, the book starts small and somewhat quiet. Also like a river it is beautiful one minute, cruel the next, and always mysterious. This story will stay with me for a long time. I have no doubt I will reach for it again and enjoy it the second time as much, if not more, than the first.

The Boy by Tami Hoag
Advance Reading Copy , Fiction / January 12, 2019

The Boy is Tami Hoag’s latest crime novel. In it a little boy has been brutally stabbed to death and it’s up to Louisiana dectectives Nick and Annie to find the killer. It has been awhile since I have read anything by Hoag, but when I saw this on NetGalley I decided to request it. (Many thanks to Hoag, Dutton, and NetGalley for the ARC.) Some crime novels are hard to follow but Hoag’s writing and plot movement are excellent.  I found myself trying to guess the killer with each new chapter and once I formed a theory I usually changed it a few minutes later. Put this on your TBR for 2019.

Christmas at Strand House, by Linda Mitchelmore
Advance Reading Copy , Fiction , Romance / December 11, 2018

Lissy has inherited Strand House and plans to spend Christmas there.  A few friends will join her. So begins a sweet story that revolves around each person’s unique situation in life.  Nothing too gripping, but really a story of how we move forward in our imperfect lives. I received a copy from NetGalley. Thanks to author Linda Mitchelmore.

City of Second Chances by Jane Lacey-Crane
Advance Reading Copy , Fiction , Women's Fiction / November 28, 2018

It was the book’s cover art that grabbed my attention. Snowflakes are falling, New York City gleams in the distance. The blurb “Funny and heartwarming, the perfect winter read” sealed the deal as I requested an ARC of City of Second Chances from NetGalley. (Thank you Author Jane Lacey-Crane and NetGalley ) For this reader the novel itself didn’t come together as well as the cover art.  I liked both the concept of a widow looking to change and the characters of Evie and Rachael and Evie’s sister Kate, but for me, one especially sad subplot (one of many) driving the first part of the book derailed my enjoyment. It turned the novel away from funny and heartwarming. True, this mirrors life. Not everything is neat and tidy. Some may like this realism, but for this reader it felt like the book was trying to do too much.

Unraveling Oliver by Liz Nugent
Fiction / August 30, 2018

I couldn’t stop reading Unraveling Oliver. This book grabbed my attention with exceptionally vivid characters and a fast twisting plot. We start with Oliver, who has just beaten his wife Alice into a coma. Yes, that is the start of the story!! The format of the novel goes from past to present and into multiple points of view, but I had no problem following along. We live and learn about the characters as they fall in love, come out of the closet, struggle with a mentally challenged family member.  But mostly as readers we keep wondering: Why? Why would Oliver do this?  If you liked The Woman in Cabin 10 or The Girl on the Train you’ll like Unraveling Oliver.

Broken River by J. Robert Lennon
Fiction , Mystery / May 1, 2018

I just finished Broken River by J. Robert Lennon. The author uses a “POV” called the Observer throughout the novel. Some readers may have a problem with this as the Observer is not human, but instead it is a presence; a watching, moving, learning presence.  Otherwise the book is basically a fast moving, short, well-written crime novel. I liked the insights into human nature and relationships, while not always liking the characters. If you like to be taken aback just a bit by your books then Broken River is for you.