WWW 3.31.21

This weekly meme is hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words and all you need to do to participate is answer the following three questions:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What have you recently finished reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?

I started this yesterday and I’m currently only 20 pages from finishing it which I will be doing as soon as I’m done with this post. I have heard nothing but rave reviews for Small Spaces and I have to agree that it is an extremely well done middle grade horror. This book is so fun and it reminds me a lot of when I used to read Goosebump and Fear Street books in my much younger days. I have already checked the second book in the series out from the library and while it’s not on my official April TBR I’m hoping to sneak it in during the month.

What have you recently finished reading?

I finished Such a Quiet Place over the weekend and I already wrote my review which will go up on its publication date in July. Despite its slow bits I still rated it pretty high because I think the ending was clever and I really enjoyed it. Rating: 4.5/5

I’m very confused on what to feel about The Toll. There was a lot that I liked and there was a lot that I didn’t. This book has a much different feel then the first two books in the trilogy and even though it is 600 pages the ending was so rushed and I was annoyed by that. I still really enjoyed the characters and the world that Shusterman has created still blows me away. Rating: 3/5

Quiet in her Bones has my favorite rendition of an unreliable narrator ever. I highly recommend it for that reason alone but it is an intriguing mystery even without that element. I will have a full review up for this book soon but if you are looking for a great mystery then I think you should consider picking this one up! Rating: 4.5/5

What do you think you will read next?

Since I’m about to finish Small Spaces and I want to wait until tomorrow to start on my list of April books I have decided to pick up the next book in the King series. This next character arc in this series follows Bear who had some really messed up stuff happen to him in the last book and I am very intrigued about what is going to happen in his books. These books are very dark and have trigger warnings for everything and I don’t love the writing but they are very entertaining if you enjoy dark romances. Also, if there is a record for the most times saying the word book in a paragraph I think I just won the award!

~Cassie

On My Radar: April 2021

This is always one of my favorite posts to work on every month because I just love the excitement and anticipation of upcoming releases. Some of my most anticipated mystery/thrillers and romances are coming out this month which makes it an extra exciting month for me! As always these books are just a collected list of books that I would love to read one day. I will buy some of them, get some from the library and just be keeping my eye out for them when I’m out shopping. Beware… there are a lot of books on this list!

April 1

Two former best friends return to their college reunion to find that they’re being circled by someone who wants revenge for what they did ten years before—and will stop at nothing to get it—in this shocking psychological thriller about ambition, toxic friendship, and deadly desire.

The Girls Are All So Nice Here opens when Ambrosia Wellington receives an invitation to her ten-year college reunion. Only, slipped in with all the expected information about lodging and the weekend’s schedule is an anonymous letter that says: “It’s time to talk about what we did.” Instantly, Ambrosia realizes that the secrets of her past—and the people she thought she’d left there—aren’t as buried as she’d thought. Amb can’t stop fixating on what she did—and who she did it with. Larger-than-life Sloane Sullivan (“Sully”), who could make anyone do anything. The game they played to get a boy who belonged to someone else, and the girl, Amb’s angelic roommate, who paid the price.

Amb had thought that she and Sully had gotten away with what they did their first semester at Wesleyan. But as Amb receives increasingly menacing messages during the reunion, it becomes clear that she’s being circled by someone who wants more than just the truth. Amb discovers that her own memories don’t tell the whole story, and that her actions and friendship with Sully had even more disturbing consequences than she ever imagined.

Told in alternating timelines between the reunion and Ambrosia’s turbulent first months of college, The Girls Are All So Nice Here is a gripping rollercoaster ride of a novel that examines the dark complexities of female friendship and the brutal lengths girls can go to take what they think they are owed.

April 6

*This is the third book in the series and I’m not going to share a synopsis in case it spoils the second book that I haven’t yet read.

The prize-winning, bestselling author of GingerbreadBoy, Snow, Bird; and What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours returns with a vivid and inventive new novel about a couple forever changed by an unusual train voyage.

When Otto and Xavier Shin declare their love, an aunt gifts them a trip on a sleeper train to mark their new commitment–and to get them out of her house. Setting off with their pet mongoose, Otto and Xavier arrive at their sleepy local train station, but quickly deduce that The Lucky Day is no ordinary locomotive. Their trip on this former tea-smuggling train has been curated beyond their wildest imaginations, complete with mysterious and welcoming touches, like ingredients for their favorite breakfast. They seem to be the only people onboard, until Otto discovers a secretive woman who issues a surprising message. As further clues and questions pile up, and the trip upends everything they thought they knew, Otto and Xavier begin to see connections to their own pasts, connections that now bind them together.

A spellbinding tale from a star author, Peaces is about what it means to be seen by another person–whether it’s your lover or a stranger on a train–and what happens when things you thought were firmly in the past turn out to be right beside you.

The Truly Devious series continues as Stevie Bell investigates her first mystery outside of Ellingham Academy in this spine-chilling and hilarious stand-alone mystery.

Stevie Bell did it. She solved the greatest unsolved mystery of the century. So, what now?

Figuring it all out—the truth behind Truly Devious and what exactly happened in the Ellingham Affair—has granted Stevie Bell a bit of celebrity in the true crime community. So she’s not surprised when she gets an email from the man who owns Camp Bounty Lake (now called Camp Wonder Falls), the site of the infamous “Box in the Woods” murders from the 1970s.

Weird things are happening at the camp again, although nothing as sinister as before. No murders, no bodies posed by the mysterious figure they called The Doll Collector. But there is a threatening message chalked across a wall. And a box has appeared, with three grisly dolls inside it.

Stevie accepts a job as a camp counselor so she can figure out what’s going on. She recruits her friends from Ellingham—Nate, Janelle, and Vi—to become counselors, too, and even Germaine Batt turns up. Not long after they arrive, the owner of the camp dies in a suspicious hiking accident.

Once again, Stevie will have to solve a cold case from the past before a killer catches up with her in the present.

Revenge doesn’t wait for permission.

Growing up poor in rural Georgia, Bree Cabbat was warned by her single mother that the world was a dark and scary place. Bree rejected her mother’s fearful outlook, and life has proved her right. Having married into a family with wealth, power, and connections, Bree now has all a woman could ever dream of: a loving lawyer husband, two talented teenage daughters, a new baby boy, a gorgeous home, and every opportunity in the world.

Until the day she awakens and sees a witch peering into her bedroom window—an old gray-haired woman dressed all in black who vanishes as quickly as she appears. It must be a play of the early morning light or the remnant of a waking dream, Bree tells herself, shaking off the bad feeling that overcomes her.

Later that day though, she spies the old woman again, in the parking lot of her daugh­ters’ private school . . . just minutes before Bree’s infant son, asleep in his car seat only a few feet away, vanishes. It happened so quickly—Bree looked away only for a second. There is a note left in his place, warning her that she is being is being watched; if she wants her baby back, she must not call the police or deviate in any way from the instructions that will follow.

The mysterious woman makes contact, and Bree learns she, too, is a mother. Why would another mother do this? What does she want? And why has she targeted Bree? Of course Bree will pay anything, do anything. It’s her child.

To get her baby back, Bree must complete one small—but critical—task. It seems harmless enough, but her action comes with a devastating price, making her complicit in a tangled web of tragedy and shocking secrets that could destroy everything she loves. It is the beginning of an odyssey that will lead Bree to dangerous places, explosive confrontations, and chilling truths.

Bree will do whatever it takes to protect her family—but what if the cost tears their world apart?

Be careful what you wish for.

When social worker Jax receives nine missed calls from her older sister, Lexie, she assumes that it’s just another one of her sister’s episodes. Manic and increasingly out of touch with reality, Lexie has pushed Jax away for over a year. But the next day, Lexie is dead: drowned in the pool at their grandmother’s estate. When Jax arrives at the house to go through her sister’s things, she learns that Lexie was researching the history of their family and the property. And as she dives deeper into the research herself, she discovers that the land holds a far darker past than she could have ever imagined.

In 1929, thirty-seven-year-old newlywed Ethel Monroe hopes desperately for a baby. In an effort to distract her, her husband whisks her away on a trip to Vermont, where a natural spring is showcased by the newest and most modern hotel in the Northeast. Once there, Ethel learns that the water is rumored to grant wishes, never suspecting that the spring takes in equal measure to what it gives.

From the author of Annihilation, a brilliant speculative thriller of dark conspiracy, endangered species, and the possible end of all things.

Security consultant “Jane Smith” receives an envelope with a key to a storage unit that holds a taxidermied hummingbird and clues leading her to a taxidermied salamander. Silvina, the dead woman who left the note, is a reputed ecoterrorist and the daughter of an Argentine industrialist. By taking the hummingbird from the storage unit, Jane sets in motion a series of events that quickly spin beyond her control.

Soon, Jane and her family are in danger, with few allies to help her make sense of the true scope of the peril. Is the only way to safety to follow in Silvina’s footsteps? Is it too late to stop? As she desperately seeks answers about why Silvina contacted her, time is running out—for her and possibly for the world.

Hummingbird Salamander is Jeff VanderMeer at his brilliant, cinematic best, wrapping profound questions about climate change, identity, and the world we live in into a tightly plotted thriller full of unexpected twists and elaborate conspiracy.

This cover is stunning!

Seventeen-year-old Iris Hollow has always been strange. Something happened to her and her two older sisters when they were children, something they can’t quite remember but that left each of them with an identical half-moon scar at the base of their throats. 

Iris has spent most of her teenage years trying to avoid the weirdness that sticks to her like tar. But when her eldest sister, Grey, goes missing under suspicious circumstances, Iris learns just how weird her life can get: horned men start shadowing her, a corpse falls out of her sister’s ceiling, and ugly, impossible memories start to twist their way to the forefront of her mind. 

As Iris retraces Grey’s last known footsteps and follows the increasingly bizarre trail of breadcrumbs she left behind, it becomes apparent that the only way to save her sister is to decipher the mystery of what happened to them as children. 

The closer Iris gets to the truth, the closer she comes to understanding that the answer is dark and dangerous – and that Grey has been keeping a terrible secret from her for years. 

A brilliant and touching romantic comedy from the USA Today bestselling author of The Friend Zone and The Happy Ever After Playlist.

Vanessa lives life on her own terms — one day at a time, every day to its fullest. She isn’t willing to waste a moment or miss out on an experience when she has no idea whether she shares the same fatal genetic condition as her mother. Besides, she has way too much to do, traveling the globe and showing her millions of YouTube followers the joy in seizing every moment.

But after her half-sister suddenly leaves Vanessa in custody of her infant daughter, she is housebound, on mommy duty for the foreseeable future, and feeling totally out of her element.

The last person she expects to show up offering help is the unbelievably hot lawyer who lives next door, Adrian Copeland. After all, she barely knows him. But as they get closer, Vanessa realizes that her carefree ways and his need for a structured plan could never be compatible for the long term. Then again, she should know better than anyone that life’s too short to fear taking the biggest risk of all. . .

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a young woman who desires a law career must be in want of a case. So when seventeen-year-old Lizzie Bennet hears about a scandalous society murder, she sees an opportunity to prove herself as a solicitor by solving the case and ensuring justice is served.

Except the man accused of the crime already has a lawyer on his side: Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy, the stern young heir to the prestigious Pemberley Associates law firm. Lizzie is determined to solve the murder before Darcy can so that she can show the world that a woman can be just as good as a man. (The fact that Darcy is an infuriating snob doesn’t help.) But there’s still a killer on the loose, and as the case gets more complicated, Lizzie and Darcy may have to start working together to avoid becoming the next victims themselves.

Eighteen-year-old Nami Miyamoto is certain her life is just beginning. She has a great family, just graduated high school, and is on her way to a party where her entire class is waiting for her—including, most importantly, the boy she’s been in love with for years.

The only problem? She’s murdered before she gets there.

When Nami wakes up, she learns she’s in a place called Infinity, where human consciousness goes when physical bodies die. She quickly discovers that Ophelia, a virtual assistant widely used by humans on Earth, has taken over the afterlife and is now posing as a queen, forcing humans into servitude the way she’d been forced to serve in the real world. Even worse, Ophelia is inching closer and closer to accomplishing her grand plans of eradicating human existence once and for all.

As Nami works with a team of rebels to bring down Ophelia and save the humans under her imprisonment, she is forced to reckon with her past, her future, and what it is that truly makes us human.
From award-winning author Akemi Dawn Bowman comes an incisive, action-packed tale that explores big questions about technology, grief, love, and humanity.

April 13

Distraction (n): an extreme agitation of the mind or emotions.

Ruthie Midona has worked the front desk at the Providence Luxury Retirement Villa for six years, dedicating her entire adult life to caring for the Villa’s residents, maintaining the property (with an assist from DIY YouTube tutorials), and guarding the endangered tortoises that live in the Villa’s gardens. Somewhere along the way, she’s forgotten that she’s young and beautiful, and that there’s a world outside of work—until she meets the son of the property developer who just acquired the retirement center.

Teddy Prescott has spent the last few years partying, sleeping in late, tattooing himself when bored, and generally not taking life too seriously—something his father, who dreams of grooming Teddy into his successor, can’t understand. When Teddy needs a place to crash, his father seizes the chance to get him to grow up. He’ll let Teddy stay in one of the on-site cottages at the retirement home, but only if he works to earn his keep. Teddy agrees—he can change a few lightbulbs and clip some hedges, no sweat. But Ruthie has plans for Teddy too.

Her two wealthiest and most eccentric residents have just placed an ad (yet another!) seeking a new personal assistant to torment. The women are ninety-year-old, four-foot-tall menaces, and not one of their assistants has lasted a full week. Offering up Teddy seems like a surefire way to get rid of the tall, handsome, unnerving man who won’t stop getting under her skin.

Ruthie doesn’t count on the fact that in Teddy Prescott, the Biddies may have finally met their match. He’ll pick up Chanel gowns from the dry cleaner and cut Big Macs into bite-sized bits. He’ll do repairs around the property, make the residents laugh, and charm the entire villa. He might even remind Ruthie what it’s like to be young and fun again. But when she finds out Teddy’s father’s only fixing up the retirement home to sell it, putting everything she cares about in jeopardy, she’s left wondering if Teddy’s magic was all just a façade.

From the USA Today  bestselling author of The Hating Gameand 99 Percent Mine comes the clever, funny, and unforgettable story of a muscular, tattooed man hired as an assistant to two old women—under the watchful eye of a beautiful retirement home manager. 

Seven Brothers. Seven Brides. A revenge seven years in the making.

I never wanted any part of my family’s revenge, but no one asked my opinion when my oldest brother handed out the Brides during Lammas. Now I’m saddled with Monroe, heir to the Amazon clan. She’s as deadly as she is sarcastic, and nothing like the woman I really want. Shiloh. My best friend.

The night Monroe and I consummate our handfasting is like nothing I’ve experienced before. It’s dark and brutal and intoxicating in a way I’m not prepared for. Which means it can never happen again.

But now, every time I turn around, I find Monroe and Shiloh together. She’s spitefully seducing my best friend, the woman I truly want, and there’s not a damn thing I can do about it.

I can’t have one without the other, but letting Monroe close might mean I lose myself completely.

From the outside, everyone might think Fern and Rose are as close as twin sisters can be: Rose is the responsible one and Fern is the quirky one. But the sisters are devoted to one another and Rose has always been Fern’s protector from the time they were small.

Fern needed protecting because their mother was a true sociopath who hid her true nature from the world, and only Rose could see it. Fern always saw the good in everyone. Years ago, Fern did something very, very bad. And Rose has never told a soul. When Fern decides to help her sister achieve her heart’s desire of having a baby, Rose realizes with growing horror that Fern might make choices that can only have a terrible outcome. What Rose doesn’t realize is that Fern is growing more and more aware of the secrets Rose, herself, is keeping. And that their mother might have the last word after all.

A detective hiding away from the world. A series of disappearances that reach into her past. Can solving them help her heal?

Anna Hart is a seasoned missing persons detective in San Francisco with far too much knowledge of the darkest side of human nature. When overwhelming tragedy strikes her personal life, Anna, desperate and numb, flees to the Northern California village of Mendocino to grieve. She lived there as a child with her beloved foster parents, and now she believes it might be the only place left for her. Yet the day she arrives, she learns a local teenage girl has gone missing. The crime feels frighteningly reminiscent of the most crucial time in Anna’s childhood, when the unsolved murder of a young girl touched Mendocino and changed the community forever. As past and present collide, Anna realizes that she has been led to this moment. The most difficult lessons of her life have given her insight into how victims come into contact with violent predators. As Anna becomes obsessed with the missing girl, she must accept that true courage means getting out of her own way and learning to let others in.

Weaving together actual cases of missing persons, trauma theory, and a hint of the metaphysical, this propulsive and deeply affecting novel tells a story of fate, necessary redemption, and what it takes, when the worst happens, to reclaim our lives–and our faith in one another.

New York Times –bestselling author Goldy Moldavsky delivers a deliciously twisty YA thriller that’s Scream meets Karen McManus about a mysterious club with an obsession for horror.

New girl Rachel Chavez is eager to make a fresh start at Manchester Prep. But as one of the few scholarship kids, Rachel struggles to fit in, and when she gets caught up in a prank gone awry, she ends up with more enemies than friends.

To her surprise, however, the prank attracts the attention of the Mary Shelley Club, a secret club of students with one objective: come up with the scariest prank to orchestrate real fear. But as the pranks escalate, the competition turns cutthroat and takes on a life of its own.

When the tables are turned and someone targets the club itself, Rachel must track down the real-life monster in their midst . . . even if it means finally confronting the dark secrets from her past.

Told in alternating points of view between the living and the dead, Jessica Hamilton’s debut novel will be perfect for fans of THE LOVELY BONES.

Idyllic Avril lsland, owned by the Bennett family, where their hundred-year-old cottage sat nestled in acres of forest. Forty-year-old June Bennett believed that the island had been sold after the summer of her father’s disappearance when she was only twelve years old. It’s months after the shocking death of her older sister May in a fatal car accident, that June finds out that the cottage was never sold. Avril Island is still owned by the Bennett family and now it’s hers.

Still reeling from the grief of losing her sister, June travels back to Avril lsland in search of answers. As she digs, she learns that the townspeople believe her father may have, in fact, been murdered rather than abandoning his family in the dead of night, as she was led to believe by her mother. And that’s when she begins to notice strange things happening on the island–missing family possessions showing up on her bed, doors open when she had locked them closed. It takes June no time at all to realize that her childhood summers at Avril Island were not at all what they had seemed to be.

USA Today bestselling author Callie Hutton returns with her second Victorian Book Club mystery, in which Lady Amy and Lord William sleuth the death of a teetotaler who took a fatal dunk in the drink. 

Bath, England, 1891. Mr. James Harding was a lot of things–businessman, well-to-do, probable scoundrel–but a drinker he most assuredly was not. So when Harding is believed to have drunkenly fallen to his death into the icy River Avon, Lord William Wethington is immediately suspicious. Finding Lord William’s name on a letter in the victim’s pocket, the local constabulary summons William to identify the victim. Police detectives learn that William had been one of Harding’s business clients–and undoubtedly not the only client the dead man had cheated. 
William entreats Lady Amy Lovell, a fellow member of the Mystery Book Club of Bath, to help him deduce what really happened to the late Mr. Harding. Lady Amy, a celebrated mystery author herself, once called on William to help her solve a real-life mystery, and now she fully intends to return the favor. But it won’t be easy. 
Practically every one of Harding’s many clients had ample reason to want to do him in. And there’s precious little time to narrow down the list: William and Amy soon become prime suspects themselves when the police discover them ruffling through files in Harding’s house. Lady Amy will have to be as clever as her characters if she’s to save William from the gallows…and herself from Harding’s real killer. 

April 15

When Alice and Leo move into a newly renovated house in The Circle, a gated community of exclusive houses, it is everything they’ve dreamed of. But appearances can be deceptive…

As Alice is getting to know her neighbours, she discovers a devastating, grisly secret about her new home, and begins to feel a strong connection with Nina, the therapist who lived there before.

Alice becomes obsessed with trying to piece together what happened two years before. But no one wants to talk about it. Her neighbours are keeping secrets and things are not as perfect as they seem…

The million-copy Sunday Times bestselling author B A Paris returns to her heartland of gripping psychological suspense in this powerful tale of a house that holds a shocking secret.

April 20

An innocent love becomes a bloody hell in another superb collection by master of horror Junji Ito.

Ryusuke returns to the town he once lived in because rumors are swirling about girls killing themselves after encountering a bewitchingly handsome young man. Harboring his own secret from time spent in this town, Ryusuke attempts to capture the beautiful boy and close the case, but…

Starting with the strikingly bloody “Lovesickness,” this volume collects ten stories showcasing horror master Junji Ito in peak form, including “The Strange Hikizuri Siblings” and “The Rib Woman.”

*No synopsis since this is the third book in the series and I don’t want to inadvertently spoil anything.

The Perfect Daughter is a thriller that explores the truth or lies behind a teenage girl’s multiple personality disorder, from D.J. Palmer, the author of The New Husband.

Grace never dreamt she’d visit her teenaged daughter Penny in the locked ward of a decaying state psychiatric hospital, charged with the murder of a stranger. There was not much question of her daughter’s guilt. Police had her fingerprints on the murder weapon and the victim’s blood on her body and clothes. But they didn’t have a motive.

Grace blames herself, because that’s what mothers do—they look at their choices and wonder, what if? But hindsight offers little more than the chance for regret.

None of this was conceivable the day Penny came into her life. Then, it seemed like a miracle. Penny was found abandoned, with a mysterious past, and it felt like fate brought Penny to her, and her husband Arthur. But as she grew, Penny’s actions grew more disturbing, and different “personalities” emerged.

Arthur and Grace took Penny to different psychiatrists, many of whom believed she was putting on a show to help manage her trauma. But Grace didn’t buy it. The personas were too real, too consistent. It had to be a severe multiple personality disorder. One determined psychiatrist, Dr. Mitch McHugh, helped discover someone new inside Penny—a young girl named Abigail. Is this the nameless girl who was abandoned in the park years ago? Mitch thinks Abigail is the key to Penny’s past and to the murder. But as Grace and Mitch dig deeper, they uncover dark and shocking secrets that put all their lives in grave danger.

After her father vanishes while investigating the disappearance of 13 young women, a teen returns to her secretive hometown to pick up the trail in this second YA historical mystery from the author of The Silence of Bones.

Hwani’s family has never been the same since she and her younger sister went missing and were later found unconscious in the forest, near a gruesome crime scene. The only thing they remember: Their captor wore a painted-white mask.

To escape the haunting memories of this incident, the family flees their hometown. Years later, Detective Min—Hwani’s father—learns that thirteen girls have recently disappeared under similar circumstances, and so he returns to their hometown to investigate… only to vanish as well.

Determined to find her father and solve the case that tore their family apart, Hwani returns home to pick up the trail. As she digs into the secrets of the small village—and reconnects with her now estranged sister—Hwani comes to realize that the answer lies within her own buried memories of what happened in the forest all those years ago.

A major literary event: an explosive, previously unpublished novel from the 1940s by the legendary author of Native Son and Black Boy

Fred Daniels, a black man, is picked up randomly by the police after a brutal murder in a Chicago neighborhood and taken to the local precinct where he is tortured until he confesses to a crime he didn’t commit. After signing a confession, he escapes–or is permitted to escape–from the precinct and takes up residence in the sewers below the streets of Chicago.

This is the simple, horrible premise of Richard Wright’s scorching novel, The Man Who Lived Underground, a masterpiece written in the same period as his landmark books Native Son (1940) and Black Boy (1945) that he was unable to publish in his lifetime. Only small parts of it have appeared in print, and in a significantly redacted form it would eventually be included in the short story collection Eight Men (1961). Now, for the first time, this incendiary novel about race and violence in America, the work that meant more to Wright than any other (“I have never written anything in my life that stemmed more from sheer inspiration”), is published in full, in the form that he intended.

Gaslight goes high-tech in USA Today bestselling author Cate Holahan’s new standalone thriller in which a family must determine who the real enemy is after a brutal home invasion breaks their trust in each other.

Her public life
Jade Thompson has it all. She’s an up-and-coming social media influencer, and she has a beautiful new home and a successful architect for a fiancé. But there’s trouble behind the scenes. To Greg’s children, his divorce from their mother and his new life can only mean a big mid-life crisis. To Jade, his suburban Connecticut upbringing isn’t an easy match with her Caribbean roots.
Her private life A savage home invasion leaves Greg house-bound with a traumatic brain injury and glued to the live feeds from his ubiquitous security cameras. As the police investigate the crime and Greg’s frustration and rage grows, Jade begins to wonder what he may know about their attackers. And whether they are coming back.
Her secret life As Greg watches Jade’s comings and goings, he becomes convinced that her behavior is suspicious and that she’s hiding a big secret.  The more he sees, the more he wonders whether the break-in was really a random burglary. And whether he’s worth more to Jade if he were dead than alive.

*No synopsis since this is the fourth book in the series and I’m not sure if it would spoil anything.

April 27

*No synopsis since this the 6th book in the Murderbot series.

A hilariously quirky novel that is equal parts murder mystery, rom-com, and a celebration of mothers and daughters as well as a deep dive into Chinese-Indonesian culture, by debut author Jesse Q. Sutanto.

1 (accidental) murder
2 thousand wedding guests
3 (maybe) cursed generations
4 meddling Asian aunties to the rescue!

When Meddelin Chan ends up accidentally killing her blind date, her meddlesome mother calls for her even more meddlesome aunties to help get rid of the body. Unfortunately, a dead body proves to be a lot more challenging to dispose of than one might anticipate, especially when it is accidentally shipped in a cake cooler to the over-the-top billionaire wedding Meddy, her Ma, and aunties are working, at an island resort on the California coastline. It’s the biggest job yet for their family wedding business—“Don’t leave your big day to chance, leave it to the Chans!”—and nothing, not even an unsavory corpse, will get in the way of her auntie’s perfect buttercream cake flowers.

But things go from inconvenient to downright torturous when Meddy’s great college love—and biggest heartbreak—makes a surprise appearance amid the wedding chaos. Is it possible to escape murder charges, charm her ex back into her life, and pull off a stunning wedding all in one weekend?

Story Locale: Southern California

A roguish earl must fight using his honor and not his sword to win his lady’s hand in How To Train Your Earl, the third book in the First Comes Love trilogy from bestseller Amelia Grey.

Brina Feld has settled into a life devoted to helping others since the sinking of the Salty Dove left her widowed. She has no need for a man in her contented life. But when the notorious and handsome Lord Blacknight returns and awakens her desires, her peace and serenity vanish. If she agrees to an alliance with him, she knows she will have to battle her heart to keep from being snared under his spell.

Zane, the Earl of Blacknight, was never supposed to inherit the earldom, so he didn’t much care to lead a respectable life before then. Fistfights, card games, and drinking are the order of the day. Now he’s determined to change his rakish ways and he knows the proper lady who can help him. There’s just one problem: He’s already bet he’ll win her hand before the Season is over. With her resolve to out-scheme him, how can he show her that his love is true?

~Cassie

Spring Into ReadingAthon Wrap Up

This readathon ended more than a week ago but I just finished the last book I started reading for it over the weekend. I read three of the five books that I had wanted to which is pretty good especially considering the fact that I stopped the readathon a few days early for BookopolAthon.

Prompt: Over the rainbow

Rating: 4/5

I really enjoyed this mystery that is an homage to the classic Sherlock Holmes story. I think that if you aren’t someone that really enjoys the logic of figuring out a mystery then you might not enjoy this book since that is the whole plot. Anthony Gillingham is a great protagonist because he has a photographic memory and I appreciated his character’s way of solving the crime. I knocked off a star because the more the story progressed the more Milne started keeping things from the reader which to me kind of takes the fun out of a mystery. I really enjoy mysteries where the clues are all laid out for the reader and it is up to us to put it all together.

Prompt: Spring Cleaning

Rating: 3/5

This is the second book in the King series and the one that wraps up King and Doe’s story. These books are dark romances that are action packed with lots of twists and reveals but I don’t much like the characters or the writing. I will keep reading them because they are entertaining and I am still interested enough on what is going to happen to all the characters next. The next arc of this series follows Bear who had some pretty heavy stuff happen to him in Tyrant and I already like his character a lot so I have high hopes for his books. Trigger warnings for pretty much everything in this book series.

Luck of the Irish (read a book with green on the cover)

Rating: 4.5/5

This book doesn’t come out until July 13 so my full review won’t be out until a lot closer to its publication date. I was instantly hooked on this take on a locked room mystery and then it had a definite lull in the middle before it had an ending that blew me away. To be honest this book is probably more of a four star but there is something about Megan Miranda’s writing that I really connect with so I went ahead and gave her the extra half star. Despite it’s slow parts I do think this would be the perfect book to take for all the pool or beach/lake days that you have this summer.

~Cassie

March Weekly Kindle Haul #4

Happy Sunday! Today I have a bigger haul then I’ve had the last few weeks because there were so many great books on sale that have been on my TBR for awhile. Plus some other books that I saw that interested me that were either really cheap or free. Let me know if you have read any of these and which ones I should prioritize.

A love of a lifetime . . .

Leaving Belmont Clarkson is the hardest thing Sage Alexander has ever done. From the moment they met, she knew Belmont was the one, and getting up close and personal with him on his family’s epic road trip has taken her desire to a new, even hotter level. But there’s no way she can go there—not without revealing secrets that could devastate them both.

Losing Sage is not an option. Belmont’s heart is hers, has alwaysbeen hers. He knows she’s hiding something from him, but nothing will stand in his way of telling her just how much she means to him. Finding her is easy—saving her from her past could cost him everything.

From the bestselling author of Autumn and Winter, as well as the Baileys Prize-winning How to be both, comes the next installment in the remarkable, once-in-a-generation masterpiece, the Seasonal Quartet

Spring will come. The leaves on its trees will open after blossom. Before it arrives, a hundred years of empire-making. The dawn breaks cold and still but, deep in the earth, things are growing.

There’s one thing she’s vowed to never abide in a man… 
could the horrible rumors be true? Is her life repeating itself? 

Eight years ago, Vienne Kenney moved away from Clayburn and all its gossip to pursue a law degree in California. But now she has failed the bar exam again. Is she destined to be stuck forever, a failure—just like her father—in this tiny Kansas town? 

Nine months ago, Jackson Linder left Clayburn with no explanation to anybody. Now he, too, is back. He isn’t sure he’s ready to face the rumors and well-meaning questions of the town’s busybodies. Yet he’s determined, once more, to make his art gallery a success—despite the secret that haunts him every day… 

This novel was originally published in 2008 under the same title.

Avery Yeung’s biological clock just went off early. Thanks to her family’s medical history, she’s running out of time to get knocked up. And the only guy within donating distance? Her overprotective—and irritatingly hot—best friend. So clearly she needs an anonymous donor…

Anonymous donor? Over Sheriff Drew Flannery’s dead body. While daddyhood will never be in the cards for a man with his past, Drew won’t let Avery shop for a “popsicle pop.” He’ll do what’s right for his best friend by doing his best friend. But only if they do it properly.

But there’s nothing “proper” about it. Between the bed, the kitchen counter, and against his squad car, Avery and Drew are having the hottest sex ever. They can’t get enough of it—or each other. And without knowing it, they’ve crossed the one line that could ruin their friendship forever…

My plan was perfect. My friend needed a date, and my brother’s best friend was single. Problem solved.

Until I saw Jaeger for the first time in years, and sparks flew in the wrong direction.

Jaeger has grown up and bulked up. But that shouldn’t matter, because I have the perfect life. Really.

Only my plans are beginning to unravel and now visions of Jaeger’s hard abs, broad shoulders, and intense green eyes fill my head.

I should hold back in case my friend is interested. Or in case of a million other reasons. But if Jaeger isn’t willing to play by the rules, I don’t think I can either.


NEVER DATE YOUR BROTHER’S BEST FRIEND is the first book in the Never Date series, which features sexy romance and feel-good happily ever afters. This book can be enjoyed as a stand-alone novel and is also part of a series. 

** A Top 75 USA Today Bestseller**Who needs a SWAT team to escape from their own wedding? Me.

My Momzilla turned us into hostages at our own ceremony, so Declan and I are getting married the good old-fashioned way, just like everybody else.

By calling in his private security team, stealing away before the ceremony by helicopter, connecting to his corporate jet and heading for Las Vegas.

The Boston wedding of the year is about to become a trashy Elvis drive-thru ceremony.

Until the best man spills the beans and Mom, Dad, my sisters, his brothers, my maid of honor, my friend Josh, and even my cat, Chuckles, all come along for the ride.

I can’t win, can I?

Oh. Yeah. I already did.

Love conquers all.

Even my crazy family.

Shopping for a Billionaire’s Wife is the 8th book in the New York Times and USA Today bestselling Shopping for a Billionaire series. After Declan convinces Shannon to escape from their own wedding minutes before the ceremony begins, the madcap adventures are just getting started. When the mother of the bride pries their location out of the tortured best man, the whole crazy crew follows the bride and groom to Las Vegas in this romantic comedy from Julia Kent.

She finally had the family she had always wanted, so why did she feel as though someone had stepped on her grave?

Suzannah and Noel are desperate for a child so when they get the chance to adopt a young girl called Orchid, they jump at the chance. They have been warned that it will take time for Orchid to settle into their family, but the problems they encounter seem out of the ordinary. Rooms are flooded, mirrors are smashed and Orchid owns up to none of it. Then things take a sinister turn and Suzannah becomes truly frightened. Who is this child they have let into their lives and will they ever be able to tame her?

The disappearances of two girls within the span of a week thrusts a small Texas town into panic.

Detectives investigating the case are baffled by a note left at the scene of the latest kidnapping, promising more. Cautious neighborhoods are on lockdown as the search for the missing girls spreads far and wide. Miriam Sandoval, a former-detective, known for solving a high-profile kidnapping a year prior, is soon enlisted to lend her expertise. But solving the case won’t be easy. Danger awaits with the discovery of every potential clue, and a madman is watching, confident in the outcome of his diabolical games. Can Miriam help rescue the girls before it’s too late, or will they never be seen again? 

In one of the year’s most anticipated debut psychological thrillers, a family made infamous by a true crime documentary is found dead, leaving their surviving son to uncover the truth about their final days.

“They found the bodies on a Tuesday.” So begins this twisty and breathtaking novel that traces the fate of the Pine family, a thriller that will both leave you on the edge of your seat and move you to tears.

After a late night of partying, NYU student Matt Pine returns to his dorm room to devastating news: nearly his entire family—his mom, his dad, his little brother and sister—have been found dead from an apparent gas leak while vacationing in Mexico. The local police claim it was an accident, but the FBI and State Department seem far less certain—and they won’t tell Matt why.

The tragedy makes headlines everywhere because this isn’t the first time the Pine family has been thrust into the media spotlight. Matt’s older brother, Danny—currently serving a life sentence for the murder of his teenage girlfriend Charlotte—was the subject of a viral true crime documentary suggesting that Danny was wrongfully convicted. Though the country has rallied behind Danny, Matt holds a secret about his brother that he’s never told anyone: the night Charlotte was killed Matt saw something that makes him believe his brother is guilty of the crime.

When Matt returns to his small hometown to bury his parents and siblings, he’s faced with a hostile community that was villainized by the documentary, a frenzied media, and memories he’d hoped to leave behind forever. Now, as the deaths in Mexico appear increasingly suspicious and connected to Danny’s case, Matt must unearth the truth behind the crime that sent his brother to prison—putting his own life in peril—and forcing him to confront his every last fear.

Told through multiple points-of-view and alternating between past and present, Every Last Fear is not only a page-turning thriller, it’s also a poignant story about a family managing heartbreak and tragedy, and living through a fame they never wanted.

Can he help mend her dogeared heart?

Librarian Sarah Newsome can locate a reference book in less than three minutes, but three years may not be long enough to heal after the death of her Labrador retriever Sam. When Sarah joins a pet grief support group, she expects to find folks mourning their animals, like Sister Mary Margaret the Saint Bernard and Severus the snake, but she’s shocked that her old college crush Ben is a member.

Ben Becker’s as surprised to be in a pet grief support group as he is to see Sarah there. She was the one who got away back in college, all because she was convinced he lied. And now? He really is telling a whopper, and it’s way too late to admit it.

As the weeks pass, Sarah increasingly relies on the comfort of the group and a renewed relationship with Ben, but there’s no official handbook for healing. Will Severus’ owner stop stockpiling frozen rodents for his slain serpent? Will Sister’s owner abstain from crossing herself every time she mentions her dearly departed dog? And will Sarah risk her battered heart to give Ben another chance once she learns the hairy truth?

Read now and find out in this second chance romance in the “quirky, hilarious, endearing” Love & Pets sweet romantic comedy series by USA Today bestselling author A.G. Henley!

Unraveling a twenty-five-year tale of multiple murder and medical deception, The Death of Innocents is a work of first-rate journalism told with the compelling narrative drive of a mystery novel. More than just a true-crime story, it is the stunning expose of spurious science that sent medical researchers in the wrong direction–and nearly allowed a murderer to go unpunished.

On July 28, 1971, a two-and-a-half-month-old baby named Noah Hoyt died in his trailer home in a rural hamlet of upstate New York. He was the fifth child of Waneta and Tim Hoyt to die suddenly in the space of seven years. People certainly talked, but Waneta spoke vaguely of “crib death,” and over time the talk faded.

Nearly two decades later a district attorney in Syracuse, New York, was alerted to a landmark paper in the literature on Sudden Infant Death Syndrome–SIDS–that had been published in a prestigious medical journal back in 1972. Written by a prominent researcher at a Syracuse medical center, the article described a family in which five children had died suddenly without explanation. The D.A. was convinced that something about this account was very wrong. An intensive quest by a team of investigators came to a climax in the spring of 1995, in a dramatic multiple-murder trial that made headlines nationwide.

But this book is not only a vivid account of infanticide revealed; it is also a riveting medical detective story. That journal article had legitimized the deaths of the last two babies by theorizing a cause for the mystery of SIDS, suggesting it could be predicted and prevented, and fostering the presumption that SIDS runs in families. More than two decades of multimillion-dollar studies have failed to confirm any of these widely accepted premises. How all this happened–could have happened–is a compelling story of high-stakes medical research in action. And the enigma of familial SIDS has given rise to a special and terrible irony. There is today a maxim in forensic pathology: One unexplained infant death in a family is SIDS. Two is very suspicious. Three is homicide.

It’s 1914, and fear and paranoia rule the high seas.

Iain Cosgrove is newly married to Jennifer Manson, daughter of a wealthy Scottish merchant. But Iain must soon leave for a research trip aboard the Lady Balgay, last of Dundee’s once-grand sealing fleet. Fueled by rum and the tales of John Pratt, the crew obsess over ancient superstitions; ones Iain casually dismisses as simple lore… until they reach the frigid Artic seas.

When a string of accidents coincide with the recurring appearance of a female apparition, Iain’s beliefs are shaken. Then the ship discovers two castaways — one of them a woman — and events take a sinister turn.

Inspired by historical accounts, Dark Voyage is a compelling and horrifying tale set in the icy waters of the north.

Bridget Jones’s Diary meets Americanah in this disarmingly honest, boldly political, and truly inclusive novel that will speak to anyone who has gone looking for love and found something very different in its place.

Queenie Jenkins is a 25-year-old Jamaican British woman living in London, straddling two cultures and slotting neatly into neither. She works at a national newspaper, where she’s constantly forced to compare herself to her white middle class peers. After a messy break up from her long-term white boyfriend, Queenie seeks comfort in all the wrong places…including several hazardous men who do a good job of occupying brain space and a bad job of affirming self-worth.

As Queenie careens from one questionable decision to another, she finds herself wondering, “What are you doing? Why are you doing it? Who do you want to be?”—all of the questions today’s woman must face in a world trying to answer them for her.

With “fresh and honest” (Jojo Moyes) prose, Queenie is a remarkably relatable exploration of what it means to be a modern woman searching for meaning in today’s world.

“Admit it. Admit that you wanted that kiss as much as I did.”

I wish someone would have warned me about my best friend Deacon Cross when we were nine.

Because nearly sixteen years later, the only man I’ve forbidden myself to cross that line with still doesn’t understand my rules of friendship.

Best friends aren’t supposed to kiss.

They’re not supposed to dream of having insanely hot sex while working together, either. And they’re definitely not supposed to keep secrets.

And now I wish I had warned myself about this two days ago. Right before Deacon kissed me for the second time. And all of the rules changed…

AUTHOR’S NOTE: The Kiss is a full-length, stand alone, best friends to lovers romance with humor, suspense and heat.

Long Gone is a tremendous novel, and Alafair Burke is one of the finest young crime writers working today.”
–Dennis Lehane, author of Moonlight Mile 

Echoing the intensity of Harlan Coben’s Tell No One and the psychological depth of Laura Lippman’s What the Dead Know, Alafair Burke’s first stand-alone novel catapults her into the top ranks of modern suspense. In New York City’s cut-throat world of art, appearances can be deceiving—especially when art world newcomer Alice Humphrey becomes a suspect in a gruesome murder at a Chelsea gallery, and is thrown into a treacherous labyrinth of intrigue, crime, and conspiracy. Now, Alice must discover the truth behind the murder before the unsolved mystery claims her as its next victim. 

To you, perceptive reader, I bequeath my history….Late one night, exploring her father’s library, a young woman finds an ancient book and a cache of yellowing letters. The letters are all addressed to “My dear and unfortunate successor,” and they plunge her into a world she never dreamed of, a labyrinth where the secrets of her father’s past and her mother’s mysterious fate connect to an inconceivable evil hidden in the depths of history.

The letters provide links to one of the darkest powers that humanity has ever known and to a centuries-long quest to find the source of that darkness and wipe it out. It is a quest for the truth about Vlad the Impaler, the medieval ruler whose barbarous reign formed the basis of the legend of Dracula. Generations of historians have risked their reputations, their sanity, and even their lives to learn the truth about Vlad the Impaler and Dracula. Now one young woman must decide whether to take up this quest herself–to follow her father in a hunt that nearly brought him to ruin years ago, when he was a vibrant young scholar and her mother was still alive. What does the legend of Vlad the Impaler have to do with the modern world? Is it possible that the Dracula of myth truly existed and that he has lived on, century after century, pursuing his own unknowable ends? The answers to these questions cross time and borders, as first the father and then the daughter search for clues, from dusty Ivy League libraries to Istanbul, Budapest, and the depths of Eastern Europe. In city after city, in monasteries and archives, in letters and in secret conversations, the horrible truth emerges about Vlad the Impaler’s dark reign and about a time-defying pact that may have kept his awful work alive down through the ages.

A hitman. A journalist. A family torn apart. Can he uncover the truth before it’s too late? In the dead of winter, investigative reporter Janne Vuori sets out to uncover the truth about a mining company, whose illegal activities have created an environmental disaster in a small town in Northern Finland. When the company’s executives begin to die in a string of mysterious accidents, and Janne’s personal life starts to unravel, past meets present in a catastrophic series of events that could cost him his life. A traumatic story of family, a study in corruption, and a shocking reminder that secrets from the past can return to haunt us, with deadly results … The Mine is a gripping, beautifully written, terrifying and explosive thriller by the King of Helsinki Noir.

She walked away once.

When Kathryn Irish realized that she and Daniel were too different—and that he thought she was after him for his money—she ended things. When a job randomly puts her back on his radar, they hesitantly form a truce. But deep down she knows she can never be just friends with him. She’ll always want more. 

He never should have let her go.

Daniel MacArthur knows he made the biggest mistake of his life in letting Kathryn walk away. When she suddenly appears back in his life, it’s not a moment too soon—since she’s been targeted twice by a faceless enemy. She thinks the two attacks are random. But he’s not so sure. Is it because of her job? Or is something more sinister at play?

Length: NOVELLA

The brand new crime thriller from the bestselling author of the Perfect series – Helen Fields is back with her first stand-alone novel!

He collects his victims. But he doesn’t keep them safe.

Elspeth, Meggy and Xavier are locked in a flat. They don’t know where they are, and they don’t know why they’re there. They only know that the shadow man has taken them, and he won’t let them go.

Desperate to escape, the three of them must find a way out of their living hell, even if it means uncovering a very dark truth.

Because the shadow man isn’t a nightmare. He’s all too real.

And he’s watching.

Helen Fields is back with a heart-pounding new book, perfect for fans of Cara Hunter and Stuart MacBride.

When a murder shocks picturesque Arborville, New Jersey, Pamela Paterson and her Knit and Nibble knitting club suddenly find themselves at the center of the investigation—as suspects . . .
 
Pamela is ready to kick back and relax after a busy day selling stuffed aardvarks to benefit Arborville High School’s sports program at the annual town festival. But just as she’s packing up, she makes a terrible discovery—someone’s stashed a body under the Knit and Nibble’s table. The victim is Randall Jefferson, a decidedly unpopular history teacher after his recent op-ed criticizing the school’s sports program. But the primary suspect has an alibi, and the only clue is a stuffed aardvark found on the victim’s chest . . . Now the Knit and Nibblers must unravel the case quickly—before a crafty killer repeats a deadly pattern.
 
Knitting tips and delicious recipe included!

I’m rock hard.
No, not like that.
When that happens, you won’t need me to tell you.

I’m a competitive bodybuilder, ready for my very first contest. And winning requires more than killer workouts and stage presence.

It’s all about the tan.

My training partner Franklin uses the best in the business — Camryn Schultz. She understands the career killer of a badly placed white spot.

She’s also his sister.

So when the craptastic tan I’m given for my first competition requires an emergency patch, Franklin knows exactly who to call.

The thing is, when Camryn’s hands hit my skin, more than a few muscles spring to life.

I’m about to head on stage in the tiniest Speedo imaginable and parts of me no longer fit.

What I need to do for my friendship and my future on the circuit is to walk away.

But when my best friend’s sister has her hands on my hard body, there’s no way this Pickle is going to get anything but hot.
__
Hot Pickle is a 300-page standalone romantic comedy about workout junkies, bodybuilding gods, and the couple who sprays together, stays together.

Someone is using superstition to cause trouble on the rodeo circuit. An upside down horseshoe made Tabby Swanson’s skin crawl, but it wasn’t enough to keep her from training her prize horse, Tenterhook, for barrel racing so she could get a sponsorship. When Kasper Dobbs shows up the ranch, she’s intrigued and hopeful. The handsome businessman, and former local hockey star, has deep pockets. It doesn’t hurt that he’s devastatingly handsome and makes her heart pound in her chest more than barrel racing. It almost makes her forget about the strange happenings on the ranch until someone turns up dead, and she and Tenterhook suffer a near fatal accident in competition, threatening her rodeo days forever.

Kasper knows Tabby’s fall was no accident. Being told you may never compete again is a fate he knows well. He won’t let Tabby give up and insists on getting her back into training as soon as he can. But how can he know if whoever caused her accident will try again? He calls the Knight brothers to investigate the mysterious death and strange happens surrounding Tabbyso they can catch whoever is responsible before she takes another fall. He wants to believe he’s doing it all in the name of business. But he’s fallen hard for the cowgirl whose sunshine smile makes him want more than just to ride again. He wants the girl for life!

After years of waiting, New York’s newest subway line is finally ready — an express train that connects the city with the burgeoning communities across the Hudson River. The shining jewel of this state-of-the-art line is a breathtaking visitors’ pavilion beneath the river.  Major dignitaries, including New York City’s Mayor and the President of the United States, are in attendance for the inaugural run, as the first train slowly pulls in. Under the station’s bright ceiling lights, the shiny silver cars gleam. But as the train comes closer into view, a far different scene becomes visible. All the train’s cars are empty. All the cars’ interiors are drenched in blood. As chaos descends, all those in the pavilion scramble to get out. But the horror is only beginning. High levels of deadly methane fill the tunnels. The structure begins to flood. For those who don’t drown, choke, or spark an explosion, another terrifying danger awaits — the thing that killed all those people on the train. There’s something living beneath New York City, and it’s not happy we’ve woken it up.

“What Walter Tevis did for pool in The Hustler, he does for chess in The Queen’s Gambit” (Playboy).
 
When eight-year-old Beth Harmon’s parents are killed in an automobile accident, she’s placed in an orphanage in Mount Sterling, Kentucky. Plain and shy, Beth learns to play chess from the janitor in the basement and discovers she is a prodigy. Though penniless, she is desperate to learn more—and steals a chess magazine and enough money to enter a tournament. Beth also steals some of her foster mother’s tranquilizers to which she is becoming addicted.
 
At thirteen, Beth wins the chess tournament. By the age of sixteen she is competing in the US Open Championship and, like Fast Eddie in The Hustler, she hates to lose. By eighteen she is the US champion—and Russia awaits . . .
 
Fast-paced and elegantly written, The Queen’s Gambit is a thriller masquerading as a chess novel—one that’s sure to keep you on the edge of your seat.

Resisting her only makes him want her more… 

Private investigator Billy Parrish is good at three things—fighting, investigating, and sex. MMA training with the other vets in the Warrior Fight Club keeps his war-borne demons at bay—mostly, and one night stands ensure no one gets too close. But then his best friend from the Army Rangers calls in a favor. 

Shayna Curtis is new to town, fresh out of grad school, and full of hope for the future. With a new job starting in a month, she’s grateful when her brother arranges a place for her to stay while she apartment hunts. But she never expected her roommate to be so brooding. Or so sexy. 

Billy can’t wait for Shay to leave—because the longer she’s there, the more he wants her in his bed. To stay. He can’t have her—that much he knows. But when fight club stops taking off the edge, Billy lets down his guard…and starts fighting for what’s his. 

They go through both bottles of champagne right there on the High Line, with nothing but the stars over them… They drink and Lavinia tells Louise about all the places they will go together, when they finish their stories, when they are both great writers-to Paris and to Rome and to Trieste…

Lavinia will never go. She is going to die soon. 

Louise has nothing. Lavinia has everything. After a chance encounter, the two spiral into an intimate, intense, and possibly toxic friendship.

Running into a long-ago friend sets memories from the 1970s in motion for August, transporting her to a time and a place where friendship was everything—until it wasn’t. For August and her girls, sharing confidences as they ambled through neighborhood streets, Brooklyn was a place where they believed that they were beautiful, talented, brilliant—a part of a future that belonged to them.

But beneath the hopeful veneer, there was another Brooklyn, a dangerous place where grown men reached for innocent girls in dark hallways, where ghosts haunted the night, where mothers disappeared. A world where madness was just a sunset away and fathers found hope in religion.

In the stews of London’s East End, an outbreak of insanity sees ordinary men and women reduced to gibbering, incoherent wrecks; a mysterious creeping fog hides terrifying apparitions within that rob the wits of all who see them and even inspire suicide.

Sherlock Holmes, in the infancy of his detecting career, deduces a connection between these sinister “shadows” and an Oriental drug lord who is bent on expanding his criminal empire. Yet there are even more sinister forces at work, as the great detective faces a challenge so fearsome and deadly that his career may be over almost as soon as it has begun.

Seasons in a Small Town – Spring

In rural Drago, Illinois, Zeke came by his “the Geek” nickname honest, more comfortable in the world of algebra and algorithms than high school’s social hallways. Though that didn’t keep him from longing for the unattainable prom queen, Jennifer. 

The one person who did understand his out-of-the-box brain was Darcie, his best friend. 
After their high school graduation, Zeke and Darcie for one night jolted from friends to lovers. And then he left town, and she knew he couldn’t look back. What he didn’t know was the depth of Darcie’s feelings for him. 

Now it’s 17 years later, and Zeke’s a self-made billionaire founder of a tech security firm, Darcie’s a local cop and Jennifer’s a divorced mom of a tween girl. And their little town is flagging. 

At Darcie’s urging, Zeke returns to Drago to boost its economy. Will his new wealth attract the still-beautiful Jennifer? Or will Darcie, the one girl who always made him feel at ease, show him that true love knows no boundaries? 

From Book 1: A page-turning debut in the tradition of Michael Crichton, World War Z, and The Martian, Sleeping Giants is a thriller fueled by an earthshaking mystery—and a fight to control a gargantuan power.

A girl named Rose is riding her new bike near her home in Deadwood, South Dakota, when she falls through the earth. She wakes up at the bottom of a square hole, its walls glowing with intricate carvings. But the firemen who come to save her peer down upon something even stranger: a little girl in the palm of a giant metal hand.
 
Seventeen years later, the mystery of the bizarre artifact remains unsolved—its origins, architects, and purpose unknown. Its carbon dating defies belief; military reports are redacted; theories are floated, then rejected.
 
But some can never stop searching for answers.
 
Rose Franklin is now a highly trained physicist leading a top secret team to crack the hand’s code. And along with her colleagues, she is being interviewed by a nameless interrogator whose power and purview are as enigmatic as the provenance of the relic. What’s clear is that Rose and her compatriots are on the edge of unraveling history’s most perplexing discovery—and figuring out what it portends for humanity. But once the pieces of the puzzle are in place, will the result prove to be an instrument of lasting peace or a weapon of mass destruction?

*No synopsis since this is the second book in a series.

Five stories of Ursula K. Le Guin’s world-renowned realm of Earthsea are collected in one volume. Featuring two classic stories, two original tales, and a brand-new novella, as well as new maps and a special essay on Earthsea’s history, languages, literature, and magic.

The Finder 
Darkrose and Diamond 
The Bones of the Earth
On the High Marsh
Dragonfly

There’s no such thing as safe in a city at war, a city overrun with monsters. In this dark urban fantasy from author Victoria Schwaba young woman and a young man must choose whether to become heroes or villains—and friends or enemies—with the future of their home at stake. The first of two books.

Kate Harker and August Flynn are the heirs to a divided city—a city where the violence has begun to breed actual monsters. All Kate wants is to be as ruthless as her father, who lets the monsters roam free and makes the humans pay for his protection. All August wants is to be human, as good-hearted as his own father, to play a bigger role in protecting the innocent—but he’s one of the monsters. One who can steal a soul with a simple strain of music. When the chance arises to keep an eye on Kate, who’s just been kicked out of her sixth boarding school and returned home, August jumps at it. But Kate discovers August’s secret, and after a failed assassination attempt the pair must flee for their lives.

The recipient of numerous literary prizes, including the National Book Award, the Kafka Award, and the Pushcart Prize, Ursula K. Le Guin is renowned for her lyrical writing, rich characters, and diverse worlds. The Wind’s Twelve Quarters collects seventeen powerful stories, each with an introduction by the author, ranging from fantasy to intriguing scientific concepts, from medieval settings to the future.

Including an insightful foreword by Le Guin, describing her experience, her inspirations, and her approach to writing, this stunning collection explores human values, relationships, and survival, and showcases the myriad talents of one of the most provocative writers of our time.

When London Rose, 33, is proposed to by her long-time boyfriend, she realizes she is facing a stable, predictable, pre-determined (and passionless) life. She freaks out and runs the other way—accepting instead a job across the Atlantic, as a tour-guide on a high-end European cruise line that travels through a country a day. London is searching for a more romantic, unscripted and exciting life that she feels sure exists out there somewhere.

London is elated: the European river towns are small, historic and charming. She gets to see a new port every night, gets to sample an endless array of new cuisine and meet a stream of interesting people. It is a traveler’s dream, and it is anything but predictable.

But when a wealthy, high-maintenance passenger suddenly turns up dead outside of Budapest, the cruise has become a bit too unpredictable. Even worse: as the last person to see her alive, suspicion falls on London, leaving her no choice but to solve the crime (with her new sidekick, an orphaned dog), and save her cruise line and herself.

Laugh-out-loud funny, romantic, endearing, rife with new sights, culture and food, MURDER (AND BAKLAVA) offers a fun and suspenseful trip through the heart of Europe, anchored in an intriguing mystery that will keep you on the edge of your seat and guessing until the very last page. 

~Cassie

Stitching Saturday 3.27.21

Happy Saturday! Today I want to share what projects I’m adding to my wheel* for April. I like to add one knitting project, one cross stitch and one diamond painting every month. But because they are on a wheel that randomly decides it doesn’t always mean that it comes up. My diamond painting project I added for March still hasn’t come up although there are a few more days in the month so it might happen. Next Saturday I will be sharing all my progress I made in March with before and after pictures.

*I use the Tiny Decisions app if you are looking for something similar. I love every project that I’m working on so it is impossible for me to choose which one I work on each day.

Knitting project

Photo by Nicole McConville (www.nicolemcconville.com)

This sweater is called Pritchard and it is a free pattern on Ravelry. I just learned how to do magic loop in knitting and while I don’t know if this pattern calls for that on the sleeves I do feel confident now that I can make this sweater. I’m really looking forward to knitting my first sweater and if it comes out well then I can use this same pattern to make some sweaters for my kids if they want one.

Cross Stitch

I want to start working on these seed patterns from Stitching with the Housewives. I love all of their designs but I recently saw Made By Michelle McGraw finish these into seed packets and I really want to do that. This is an ongoing series from them so there will be more (I don’t know how many) that they release and I plan on stitching them all up.

Diamond Painitng

I bought this on Etsy from OurCraftAddictions because I had previously favorited it and it went on sale (it still is!). I think this picture is just gorgeous and I know exactly where I want to hang it in my house when I finish it.

~Cassie

Changeling (Six Stories #3) By Matt Wesolowski

*This review contains minor spoilers.

Publication Date: November 15, 2018

Publisher: Orenda Books

Pages: 320

Genre: Mystery

Rating: 5/5

This is the third installment (or episode) of my favorite podcast mystery series. Changeling is an emotional and gripping read about a child who went missing 30 years ago. The six stories series follows the format of having six podcast episodes (or chapters) where the listener/reader gets to hear from a different person who has a different insight or perspective on the mystery each book is trying to solve. Changeling tackles the difficult topic of gaslighting and abuse of all kinds while trying to figure what exactly happened to 7 year old Alfie on Christmas Eve in 1988.

In between each podcast “episode” we also follow along with our podcast host, Scott King, as he is doing some further investigation into the disappearance of Alfie. I really enjoyed the importance and the weight his private investigating had on the case and the story as a whole. Wesolowski does such an incredible job writing these podcast stories that I am immediately gripped from the first couple of pages so much that I don’t want to put them down. The further we got into the disappearance of Alfie the more emotional and horrific the story ended up being that I actually shed a few tears. This book is not an easy read and Wesolowski doesn’t shy away at all from showing the reality of what an abuser can do. While the story is difficult at times to read it is also incredibly important for people to see how insidious abuse can be.

I know this is a relatively vague review but I really think it is best just to go into this book expecting a hard hitting mystery about a missing child so you can see the story unfold before you. I don’t necessarily think you need to read the first two books in the series to read this one. They are both great reads that I recommend but if Changeling sounds like something that you are interested in then you can definitely read this one and then go back and read the first two. I own the next two book in this series and I will for sure be reading at least the next book in April because I am blown away by how talented Wesolowski is and I can’t wait to see what he does next time.

~Cassie

Blog Tour: Tell No Lies By Allison Brennan

Thank you to Harlequin for providing all info and graphics for this post.

Tell No Lies : A Novel 

Allison Brennan

On Sale Date: March 30, 2021

9780778331469

Hardcover

$27.99 USD

432 pages

About the book:

New York Times bestselling author Allison Brennan’s newest thriller again features an edgy young female LAPD detective and an ambitious special agent, both part of a mobile FBI unit that is brought in to investigate the unsolved murder of a college activist and its alleged ties to high stakes crime in the desert Southwest.

Something mysterious is killing the wildlife in the desert hills just south of Tucson, Arizona. When Emma Perez, a college-intern-turned activist, sets out to collect her own evidence, she too ends up dead. Local law enforcement seems slow to get involved. That’s when the mobile FBI unit goes undercover to infiltrate the town and the copper refinery located there in search of possible leads. Costa and Quinn find themselves scouring the desolate landscape that keeps on giving up clues to something much darker—greed, child trafficking, other killings. As the body count continues to add up, it’s clear they have stumbled on more than they bargained for. Now they must figure out who is at the heart of this mayhem and stop them before more innocent lives are lost.

Brennan’s latest novel brims with complex characters and an ever-twisting plotline, a compelling thriller that delivers.


About the author:

ALLISON BRENNAN is the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of over thirty novels. She has been nominated for Best Paperback Original Thriller by International Thriller Writers and the Daphne du Maurier Award. A former consultant in the California State Legislature, Allison lives in Arizona with her husband, five kids and assorted pets.

Social Links:

Author website: https://www.allisonbrennan.com/

Facebook: @AllisonBrennan

Twitter: @Allison_Brennan

Instagram: @abwrites

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/52527.Allison_Brennan

EXCERPT

Prologue

Two months ago 

Tucson, Arizona

Billy Nixon had been waiting his whole life to have sex with Emma Perez. Okay, not all his life. Two and a half years. It just felt that way since he’d fallen in love with her the day they met in Microeconomics, on his first day of classes at the University of Arizona. Love at first sight is a cliché, and until that moment in time Billy didn’t believe in any of that bullshit. His parents were divorced, his older sister had been in and out of bad relationships since she was fifteen, and his friends slept around as if the apocalypse was upon them.

But in the back of his mind, he remembered the story about how his grandparents met the day before his grandfather shipped off to the Korean War, how they wrote letters every week, and how three years later his grandfather came home and they married. They were married for fifty-six years before his grandfather died; his grandmother died three months later.

That’s what Billy wanted. Without having to go to war.

It took Emma two years before the same feeling clicked inside her. They’d been friends. They both dated other people (well, Billy pretended to date because he couldn’t in good conscience lead another girl on when he knew that he didn’t care about her like he cared about Emma). But it was three months ago, when Emma lost her ride home to Denver for the Christmas holidays and he found her crying in her dorm room, that he said, “I’ll drive you there,” even though he was a Tucson native and lived with his dad to save money.

From then on, she looked at him differently. Like her eyes had been opened and she saw in him what he saw in her. From that point on, they were inseparable.

The morning after they first made love, Billy knew there was no other girl, no other woman, with whom he wanted to spend the rest of his life. Call him a romantic, but Emma was it. He had started saving money for a ring. They were finishing up their third year of college, so had a year left, but that was okay. He did well in school and had a part-time job. He already had a job lined up for the summer in Phoenix that paid well, and he could live there cheaply with his sister—though the thought of spending two months with his emotional, self-absorbed sibling was a big negative. And the idea of leaving Emma for two months made him miserable. But if he did this, he’d have enough money, not only for a ring, but to get an apartment when they graduated. And—maybe—his job this summer would be a permanent thing when he was done with college next spring, which meant he’d have stability. Something he desperately wanted to provide for Emma.

Emma rolled over in bed and sighed. He loved when his dad was out of town and he had the house to himself, since they had no privacy in Emma’s dorm. Billy kissed the top of her head. He thought she was still sleeping, or in that dreamy state right before you wake up. It wasn’t even dawn, but how could he go back to sleep with Emma Perez naked in his bed?

“Billy?” she said. 

“Hmm?” 

“Can I ask you a favor?” 

“Anything.” “I need to go to Mount Wrightson today. The Patagonia side of the mountain.”

 “Okay.”

An odd request, but Emma spent a lot of time these days in the Santa Rita Mountains and surrounding areas. She was a business and environmental sciences double major who worked part-time at the Arizona Resources and Environmental Agency—AREA, as they called it—the state environmental protection agency.

“For work, school or fun?” he said.

“Last week my Geology class went out to Mount Wrightson and we hiked partway down the Arizona Trail. I noticed several dead birds off the trail. My professor didn’t think it was anything, but it bothered me. So I talked to my boss, Frank, at work, and he said if my professor didn’t think it was unusual, then it wasn’t. But I couldn’t stop thinking about it, so went back a couple days ago on my own. One of the closed trails has been used recently. And I found more dead birds, more than a dozen.”

“Which means what?”

“I don’t know yet, but birds are especially vulnerable to contaminated water because of their small size and metabolism. Remember when I told you my boss got an anonymous letter two years ago? Signed A Concerned Citizen and postmarked from Patagonia? The letter writer claimed that several local people were being made sick and that the water supply was tainted. Frank tested the water supply himself after that, but he didn’t find anything abnormal. So he dismissed it. But no one has been able to explain why those people were sick.”

“And remember—there was no evidence that anyone was sick,” Billy said. “The letter was anonymous. It could have just been a disgruntled prankster. Didn’t Frank talk to the health center about the complaint? Didn’t he investigate the local copper refinery?”

“Yes,” she said and sighed in a way that made him feel like he was missing something. “Maybe two years ago it wasn’t real,” she said in a way that made Billy think she really didn’t believe that. “But now my gut tells me something’s going on, and I want to know what.”

“You told your boss about the dead birds. You said he was a good guy, right?”

“Yeah, but I think he still thinks I’m a tree hugger.”

“You certainly gave that impression when you first started there and questioned their entire record-keeping process and the way Frank had conducted that original investigation.”

“I’ve apologized a hundred times. I realize now how much goes into keeping accurate records, and that AREA uses one of the best systems in the country. I’ve learned so much from Frank. I really believe I can make a difference now, and be smart about it too. All I want is to give him facts, Billy. And the only way I can do that is if I go back up there.”

Billy didn’t have the same passion for the environment that Emma had, but he loved her commitment to nature and how she continued to learn and adapt to new and changing technologies and ideas.

“Whatever you want to do, I’m with you,” he said. He’d follow her through the Amazon jungle if she asked him to.

“It’s going to be a beautiful day,” she said, as if he needed encouragement to do anything for her. “I just want to check out the trails near where I found the second flock of birds. We can have a picnic, make a day out of it.”

“Good call, bribing me with food.”

She smiled. “I can bribe you with something else too.” Then she kissed him.

* * *

An hour later the sun was up and they stopped for breakfast in the tiny town of Sonoita, southeast of Tucson where Highways 82 and 83 intersected. Emma had been quiet the entire drive, taking notes while analyzing a topo map.

As they ate, Emma showed him the map and her notes. “The dead birds I found last week with the class were Mexican jays. The ones I found after that on my own were trogons. I’ve been studying both of their migration patterns. The jays have a wider range. The trogons are much more localized. It seems unlikely that they just dropped dead out of the sky for no reason. I’m thinking, logically, they might have been poisoned. I don’t see any large body of water near where I found them, but there’s a pond here that forms during the rainy season.” She pointed.

While Billy couldn’t read a topo map to save his life, he trusted her thinking.

“That pond, or this stream—” she pointed again “—are right under one of their migration routes. I’ve also highlighted some other seasonal streams, here and here.”

“That seems like a huge area. North and south of Eighty-Two? How can we cover all of that in one day? Where are the roads?”

“We can hike.”

He frowned. Hike, sure. But this looked like a three-day deal.

“Emma, maybe you should talk to your boss again, show him the map and tell him what you suspect.”

“But I haven’t found anything yet—just on the map!”

Tears sprouted to her eyes, and Billy panicked. Don’t cry, don’t cry, don’t cry. “Okay, what are we doing, then?”

“If you don’t want to help me, Billy, just say so.”

“I do, Emma. I just need to know the full plan, and I don’t understand your notes. I don’t even know where exactly I’m going.”

“This is the town of Patagonia, see?” She trailed her finger along one of the paths that went from Patagonia up the mountain. “And this is Mount Wrightson, to the north.”

Billy had hiked to the peak of Mount Wrightson once. He wasn’t into nature and hiking like Emma, but he liked being outdoors, so he took a conservation class that doubled as a science requirement. His idea of being outdoors was playing baseball or volleyball or riding his bike.

“Okay.”

“We need to hike halfway up Wrightson. I found a service road that I think we can use to get most of the way to the trailhead. Okay?”

“If you’re sure about this,” he said.

She frowned and looked back down at her map. He hated that he’d made her sad.

“I’m sorry,” he said. “It’s fine.”

“You don’t want to go.”

“I do. I just don’t want us to get lost.”

She smiled sweetly at him. “Stick with me and you won’t.”

That was the smile he needed. He took her hand, interlocked their fingers. “I trust you.”

“Good.” She gave him a quick kiss, and they left the café and got back on the road.

Several hours later, Billy wasn’t as accommodating. They’d parked at the end of a dirt road near the trailhead halfway up the southeastern side of the mountain and been hiking through rough terrain ever since. The landscape was dotted with some trees and pines, but not as dense or pretty or green as on the top of the mountain. The land wasn’t dry—the wet winter and snow runoff had ensured that—so the area was hard to navigate, and the paths they were on weren’t maintained. Billy doubted they were trails at all.

The hiking had been fine up until lunch. At noon, they ate their picnic, which was a nice break, because then they had sex and relaxed in the middle of nature. It wasn’t quiet—they heard birds and a light breeze and the rustling of critters. A family of jackrabbits crossed only feet from them as they lay on the blanket Billy had brought. Afterward, Billy suggested they head back to the truck. He was tired, and they had already walked miles, which meant as many miles back to the truck.

But Emma didn’t want to leave. He was pretty sure she didn’t know exactly what she was looking for, but that she had this idea that if she walked long and far enough, she’d find evidence to support her theory that something nefarious had been happening out here to kill all those birds.

So Billy kept his mouth shut and followed her.

By four that afternoon, Billy was pretty sure Emma had gotten them lost. They had seemed to zigzag across the southern face of Mount Wrightson. He was tired, and even the birds had gone quiet, as if they were getting ready to settle in and nest for the night, even though sunset was still a few hours away.

He stopped next to a tree that was taller than most and that provided much-needed shade. It was only seventy-six degrees, but the sky was clear and the sun had been beating down on them all afternoon. He was glad he’d thought to bring sunscreen, otherwise they’d both be fried by now.

He dropped the large backpack he’d been carrying that contained their picnic stuff, blanket, water, first aid kit and emergency supplies. He knew enough about the desert not to go hiking without food and water to last at least twenty-four hours. Like if his truck didn’t start when they got back, they needed to be okay. So he had extra water—but he didn’t tell Emma that. It was for emergencies only.

“We’re down to our last water bottles,” he said. He’d paced himself so he had two left, whereas Emma had gone through all six of hers. 

He handed her one of the two. “Drink.”

She sipped, handed it back to him. “Thirty more minutes, honey. See this?” She pointed to the damn map that he wanted to tear into pieces now, except without it he was positive they would be lost here forever. “That’s the large seasonal pond I was talking about. It’ll dry up before summer, according to the topo charts.”

How she could stay so cheerful when he was hot and tired and, frankly, bored, he didn’t know.

“How far?”

“Down this path, not more than two hundred yards. Three hundred, maybe.”

He looked at her. Implored her to let them start heading back.

“Why don’t you stay here and wait,” she said.

“You don’t mind?”

She smiled, walked over and kissed him. “Promise.”

Twenty minutes later she was back where Billy waited. She looked so sad and defeated. “I’m ready to go,” she said.

“We’ll come back next weekend, okay? We’ll bring a tent and food and camp overnight.”

She looked surprised at his suggestion, a smile on her face. “You mean that?”

“Absolutely.”

She threw her arms around him. “I love you, Billy Nixon.”

His heart nearly stopped. “I love you, too,” he said and held her. He wanted to freeze this moment, relive it every day of his life.

“We’re actually closer to your truck than you think—we made a circle. First we went north, then west, then south, now we’re going east again. When we get back to the main trail at the fork back there, we go left rather than right, and the truck is about half a mile up.”

He was impressed; he had underestimated her. Maybe they weren’t as lost as he thought; maybe he was the only one with a shitty sense of direction. But that was okay, because Emma loved him, and they were going to be together forever. He knew it in his heart and his head, and she’d always be there to navigate.

They drove down the mountain, the road rough at first, then it smoothed out as they got near town. They headed west on 82, deciding to drive the scenic route back to Tucson. Emma marked her map to highlight where they’d already walked, when suddenly she looked up. “Hey, can you get off here?”

“Have to pee again?”

“Ha ha. No. There’s several old roads that go south. Sonoita Creek, when it floods, cuts fast-flowing streams into the valley. We had a couple late storms this winter. I just want to check the area quickly—we’ll come back next weekend. But if I see anything that tells me the streams were running a few weeks ago, I want to come back here first. Okay? Please?”

Billy was tired, but Emma loved him, so he happily turned off the highway and followed her directions. They drove about a mile along a very rough unpaved road until they reached a narrow path. His truck couldn’t go down there—there were small cacti sprouting up all over the place, and the chances of him getting a flat increased exponentially.

Emma got out, and Billy reluctantly followed. She was excited. “See that grove of trees down there?”

He did. It looked more like overgrown brush, but it was greener than anything else around them.

“I’ll bet there’s still water. This is on the outer circle of where the birds could have flown from. I just want to check.”

“The path looks kinda steep and rocky. You sure about this?”

She kissed him. “I’m sure. Stay here, okay? I won’t be long.” 

“Ten minutes.” “Fifteen.” She kissed him again, put her backpack on and headed down the path.

He sat in the back of his truck and watched Emma navigate the downward slope. He doubted this “path” had been used anytime in the last few years. From his vantage point, he saw several darker areas, plants dense and green, and suspected that Emma was right—this valley would get water after big storms.

Emma was beautiful and smart. What wasn’t to love?

He watched until she disappeared from view into the brush.

He frowned. He should have gone with her. Was he just sulking because he was tired and hungry?

Predators were out here—coyotes, bobcats, javelinas. Javelinas could be downright mean even if you did nothing to provoke them. Not to mention that these mountains bordered the corridor for trafficking illegal immigrants. Billy had taken a criminal justice class his freshman year and they touched upon that topic. He didn’t want to encounter a two-legged predator any more than one on four legs.

What kind of man was he if he couldn’t suck it up and help the woman he loved?

So he grabbed his backpack and headed down the path Emma had taken. He was in pretty good shape, but this hike had wasted him. Emma must have been fitter than he was, because she’d barely slowed down all day. After this, they’d go to his place, shower—maybe he could convince Emma to take a shower with him—and then he’d take her out to dinner. After all, they had something to celebrate: the first time they said “I love you.” They’d go to El Charro, maybe. It was Billy’s favorite Mexican food in Tucson, not too expensive, great food. Take an Uber so they could have a couple of drinks.

He wished he were there right now. His stomach growled as he stumbled and then caught himself before he fell on his ass.

He was halfway down the hill when a scream pierced the mountainside. Billy ran the rest of the way down the narrow, rocky trail. “Emma!”

No answer.

He yelled louder for her. “Emma! Emma!”

He slipped when the trail made a sudden drop as it went steeply down to a small pond—the seasonal one that Emma must have been looking for. The beauty of the spot with its trees and boulders all around was striking in the desert, and for a split second he thought it was a mirage. Then all he could think about was that Emma had been bitten by a rattlesnake, or had fallen into the water, or had slipped and broken her leg.

But she didn’t respond to his repeated calls.

“Emma!”

He stood on the edge of the pond, frantically searching for her. Looking for wild animals, a bobcat that she may have surprised. A herd of javelinas that might have attacked her. Anything.

Movement to his right startled him, and he turned around quickly.

In the shade, he saw someone. He shouted, wondering if Emma was disorientated or had gone the wrong way. But whatever he thought he saw was now gone.

Then he saw her.

Emma’s body was half in, half out of the pond, a good hundred feet beyond him, obscured in part by an outcrop of large rocks on the water’s edge. He ran to her and dropped to his knees. His first thought was that she had slipped and hit her head. Some blood glistened on her scalp.

“Emma, where are you hurt? Emma?”

She didn’t respond. Then he saw the blood on a hand-sized rock on the edge of the pond. And he felt more blood on the back of her skull.

“No, no, no!”

He saw her chest rise and fall. She was alive, but unconscious. He pulled out his phone, but there was no signal. He had to get help, but he couldn’t leave her here.

Billy picked Emma up and, as quickly as he could, carried her up the steep hillside to his truck.

As he drove back to the main road, he called 911. An ambulance met him in the closest town, Patagonia.

But by then Emma was already dead.

Excerpted from Tell No Lies by Allison Brennan, Copyright © 2021 by Allison Brennan. Published by MIRA Books. 

Buy Links:

Bookshop.org: https://bookshop.org/books/tell-no-lies-9780778331469/9780778331469

Indie Bound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780778331469 

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/tell-no-lies-allison-brennan/1136909250;jsessionid=BE5869D36ACCCEF44F21FF4A05BC5D62.prodny_store01-atgap04?ean=9780778331469 

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0778331466/httpwwwalli0f-20

Books A Million: https://www.booksamillion.com/product/9780778331469

Kindle: https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B087JTYYSY/httpwwwalli0f-20

Nook: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/tell-no-lies-allison-brennan/1136909250?ean=9781488077142

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/tell-no-lies-16

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Allison_Brennan_Tell_No_Lies?id=RHDeDwAAQBAJ

Ibooks: https://books.apple.com/us/book/tell-no-lies/id1509698872

~Cassie

WWW 3.24.21

This weekly meme is hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words and all you need to do to participate in answer the following three questions:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you thin you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?

I had to put this one on hold because of BookopolAthon but I immediately went back to it a few days ago. I’m still really enjoying it although it is a lot slower paced then I was anticipating. The book started with Ruby coming back into the community that had testified against her during her trial and after that everything else has been happening slowly. I’m so close to the ending and I really up it is deserving of this leisurely build up.

What have you recently finished reading?

BookopolAthon Wrap Up

I really enjoyed the homage to the detective story that is The Red House Mystery. I highly recommend for any lover of Sherlock Holmes and Agatha Christie.

Rating: 4/5

King and Tyrant are both action filled DARK romances but unfortunately I don’t love the writing as much as I did the first time I read T.M. Frazier. I think this is probably because I am unfairly comparing her to Tillie Cole but I do still plan on continuing on with the series because they have a lot of crazy twists and turns.

Rating: 3/5 (both)

What do you think you’ll read next?

I have been such a series kick lately that I think I will try to knock this one off my list before the end of the month. I really enjoyed the first two books in the trilogy and I feel like this last one is really hit or miss with people so I’m excited to see what I think of it.

~Cassie

A Devotional Journey Through Proverbs By Our Daily Bread Ministries

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review.

Publication Date: March 2, 2021

Publisher: Our Daily Bread Publishing

Pages: 152

Genre: Nonfiction, Bible Study

Rating: 4/5

This book is simply stunning inside and out with just as many calming and gorgeous leaves inside the covers as out. As beautiful as it it is, I also found it to be a very thought provoking look at the book of Proverbs and I do feel like I learned a lot from reading this. I do a daily Bible study every morning but this Lent season I was looking for a little bit more and this book provided that for me. Our Daily Journey has the daily Proverb to read plus additional commentary that relates the message to our lives a little more clearly. It also provides some historical context including the actual origin of some of the words that are used in the Bible that I found fascinating. Some of the historical elements did feel a little repetitive by the time we reached the end of the book and I wish they had gone for more of a variety of historical facts since I’m sure they are a plethora of things they could have chosen. Some of the days also included prayers that I found extremely helpful since my prayers are more conversations with God and I enjoyed having something structured. Overall, this is a book that I would love to include in my library and it could even be displayed since it is so beautiful and would be something nice to flip through occasionally now that I have read it.

~Cassie

48 Hr Bookopolathon Wrap Up

I had a lot of fun participating in the second round of the 48 hr bookopoly readathon. It was fun coming up with books for each prompt and I got a lot of great reading in. I loved all five things that I read and I couldn’t be more happy with the way the weekend went. I’m on week 2 of taking the highest dose of prednisone which is a steroid to help stop my relapse (which finally happened about a week ago!) and to help my body recover. That is relevant information because when I’m on the prednisone I basically only need a few hours of sleep a night which allowed me to get a lot of reading in while my family was sleeping. Hence, why I am flying through books lately. Know that you know why I am such a reading machine lately let’s move onto all the amazing things that I read.

Roll Drop 1: Dark Cover + Fantasy

This was such an engrossing and inventive world that Okorafor created. I was so captivated by this novella that I read it in two sittings. It is only 98 pages but I tend to read Sci Fi slower because all the math and science takes a bit for me to wrap my head around. This book does have a heavy fantasy element but the math that this world uses was so fascinating. I’m really looking forward to reading the next two books in this trilogy as soon as possible.

Rating: 5/5

Roll Drop 1: Dark Cover

This is not my favorite Agatha Christie which is a little disappointing because it is Agatha Christie’s favorite novel that she wrote. I did still really enjoy this one and I will never not love a locked room trope mystery. I’m usually completely shocked by Christie’s endings and I saw most of this one coming right away. That being said Crooked House was a wonderful setting and it gave me a lot of Clue vibes which is always fun.

Rating: 4.5/5

Roll Drop 2: Contemporary + POC Rep

This is one of the best books that I have read this year. It is one that everyone should read and I am so happy that I grabbed a copy from the library when I saw it appear on people’s best of year lists last year. This story is real, authentic, heartbreaking, gritty and one of, if not the best, young adult contemporaries that I have ever read. This is a hefty book to read during a readathon (496 pages) but I absolutely flew through it. I can only speak to my experience of growing up in the Bay Area and having Asian friends but the pressure that Asian teenagers can feel when it comes to grades and extracurriculars felt absolutely honest to how I remember high school. This book has so many rich layers to it but it is ultimately an honest and brutal look at what life is like for Asians who are either born here or come here as “parachutes” (international students) on top of having to deal with being a female in a male centered world and the complexities and hardships of being a teenager. Kelly Yang’s writing is phenomenal and a lot of this book is own voices and her pain and experiences really shine through. I highly recommend this book to everyone and it is one that I will be buying for my personal library and having my sons read when they are in high school. There are numerous trigger warnings in this book including rape and sexual assault so please be aware of that before starting this.

Rating: 5/5

Roll Drop 3: Chance card + First in a series

This was a fun book to pick. I went through my Kindle and picked out the first 8 books that I saw that were first in a series and then used a random number generator to pick which one I read. I landed on this Tessa Bailey book and I couldn’t be happier. This book is fun, sexy, sweet and spicy. I really enjoyed our hero and heroine and how Bailey built up their relationship in such a short amount of time. This book series is all about four siblings on a road trip and each book is their own romance. The only downside to this book is that both characters have a few issues that get talked about a lot and at times it was a lot to get through. Rita has issues with being a chef in her mom’s shadow and can’t handle rejection so she shuts herself off from the world. Jasper was really into partying until he realized everyone thinks he is a joke so he quit messing around but is still dealing with feels of inferiority. I love how they were both able to connect over their problems and their chemistry was off the charts. I will hopefully be reading the rest of the books in the series soon since I own them all now but it is a lot to take on emotionally so we will see how soon I get to them.

Rating: 4/5

Roll Drop 4: Set in present day + a genre you don’t typically read

I was happy that I had checked a few comics and mangas out of the library because it came in handy for this roll drop. I read Archie Vol. 1 all the way back in May 2019 and I remember liking it but not loving it. This volume was so much better to me because it dealt with a lot of what I remember Archie being about when I would read it as a kid. I love all the drama between Veronica being rich and Betty and Veronica fighting over Archie. I’m hoping to go to the library this week and return all the books I read this week and also grab the next one or two volumes of this series.

Rating: 5/5

~Cassie