Dewey’s 24 hr Readathon Wrap Up

This will be a short post because unfortunately I wasn’t feeling well last Saturday and ended up taking four naps! I also didn’t stay up to read more so I didn’t have a lot of reading time but I still managed to read two books and start one so I’m still considering it a success.

Pages Read: 577

Books Read: 2

And Then There Were None was a reread for me but I actually ended up rating it higher this time around. I gave it four stars the first time and five stars this time around. The only thing I can think of is that reading it all in one sitting made for a better reading experience. And Then They Were None is the classic locked room mystery where everyone that is stranded on an island is murdered which makes the list of suspects grow smaller and smaller over time. The movie Clue must have been heavily inspired by this book because a lot of scenes and dialogue were in this book.

If you don’t like horror then you will not enjoy The Only Good Indians especially since it contains a lot of descriptive animal horror. I don’t know what to say about this book without giving anything away but it is a very well done story. I really enjoyed the slower pace Jones had at the beginning and then he starts to ramp it up until the ending that had me on the edge of my seat. So many moments in this book took me by surprise and I actually gasped out loud more than a few times. This is a brilliant work of fiction and the added horror elements made this book one that I won’t easily forget.

I also started His & Hers by Alice Feeney but that book will get its on review next week since it is a Netgalley ARC that I am way behind on reviewing.

~Cassie

May TBR

I’m very excited about every book on this TBR and I’m hoping that I can do a better job next month of sticking to my TBR then I did this month. Especially since there are a ton of books on this list. It is getting to be that time of year where my family and I spend a lot of time at the creek or lake which is the perfect place for me to get some reading in. The second half of May is the two week PopCulture Readathon which is Degrassi themed! I will have my TBR for that up a lot closer to the start date and I will be trying to use as many of the remaining books on this TBR as possible for that one.

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.

You Let Me In delivers a stunning tale from debut author Camilla Bruce, combining the sinister domestic atmosphere of Gillian Flynn’s Sharp Objects with the otherwordly thrills of Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane.

Cassandra Tipp is dead…or is she?

After all, the notorious recluse and eccentric bestselling novelist has always been prone to flights of fancy–everyone in town remembers the shocking events leading up to Cassie’s infamous trial (she may have been acquitted, but the insanity defense only stretches so far).

Cassandra Tipp has left behind no body–just her massive fortune, and one final manuscript.

Then again, there are enough bodies in her past–her husband Tommy Tipp, whose mysterious disembowelment has never been solved, and a few years later, the shocking murder-suicide of her father and brother.

Cassandra Tipp will tell you a story–but it will come with a terrible price. What really happened, out there in the woods–and who has Cassie been protecting all along? Read on, if you dare…

On an unnamed island off an unnamed coast, objects are disappearing: first hats, then ribbons, birds, roses—until things become much more serious. Most of the island’s inhabitants are oblivious to these changes, while those few imbued with the power to recall the lost objects live in fear of the draconian Memory Police, who are committed to ensuring that what has disappeared remains forgotten.

When a young woman who is struggling to maintain her career as a novelist discovers that her editor is in danger from the Memory Police, she concocts a plan to hide him beneath her floorboards. As fear and loss close in around them, they cling to her writing as the last way of preserving the past.

A surreal, provocative fable about the power of memory and the trauma of loss, The Memory Police is a stunning new work from one of the most exciting contemporary authors writing in any language.

My husband recently got this book and he asked me to read it. Zombies plus the Titanic sounds like it should be entertaining.

Imagine being trapped aboard the doomed Titanic on an icy Atlantic. . . with the walking dead. This fast-paced thriller reimagines the historical events of the fateful Titanic voyage through the lens of zombie mayhem. Captain Edward Smith and his inner circle desperately try to contain a weaponized zombie virus smuggled on board with the 2,200 passengers sailing to New York. Faced with an exploding population of lumbering, flesh-hungry undead, Smith’s team is forced into bloody hand-to-hand combat down the narrow halls of the huge steamer. In its few short days at sea, the majestic Titanic turns into a Victorian bloodbath, steaming at top speed toward a cold, blue iceberg. A creepy, tense page-turner, Deck Z will thrill zombie fans and Titanic buffs alike.

This is May’s Literally Dead book club pick

Scarlett Clark is an exceptional English professor. But she’s even better at getting away with murder.

Every year, she searches for the worst man at Gorman University and plots his well-deserved demise. Thanks to her meticulous planning, she’s avoided drawing attention to herself—but as she’s preparing for her biggest kill yet, the school starts probing into the growing body count on campus. Determined to keep her enemies close, Scarlett insinuates herself into the investigation and charms the woman in charge, Dr. Mina Pierce. Everything’s going according to her master plan… until she loses control with her latest victim, putting her secret life at risk of exposure.

Meanwhile, Gorman student Carly Schiller is just trying to survive her freshman year. Finally free of her emotionally abusive father, all Carly wants is to focus on her studies and fade into the background. Her new roommate has other ideas. Allison Hadley is cool and confident—everything Carly wishes she could be—and the two girls quickly form an intense friendship. So when Allison is sexually assaulted at a party, Carly becomes obsessed with making the attacker pay… and turning her fantasies about revenge into a reality.

This is a Netgalley ARC that I received. This book doesn’t come out until July 27.

A young woman’s escalating obsession with a seemingly perfect man leads her down a dangerous path in this novel of suspense brimming with envy, desire, and deception. 

“I inhaled Just One Look. I was going to read one chapter, then one chapter became the whole thing. YUM.”–Caroline Kepnes, New York Times bestselling author of the You series

Eyes aren’t the windows to the soul. Emails are.

Cassie Woodson is adrift. After suffering an epic tumble down the corporate ladder, Cassie finds the only way she can pay her bills is to take a thankless temp job reviewing correspondence for a large-scale fraud suit. The daily drudgery amplifies all that her life is lacking–love, friends, stability–and leaves her with too much time on her hands, which she spends fixating on the mistakes that brought her to this point.

While sorting through a relentless deluge of emails, something catches her eye: the tender (and totally private) exchanges between a partner at the firm, Forest Watts, and his enchanting wife, Annabelle. Cassie knows she shouldn’t read them. But it’s just one look. And once that door opens, she finds she can’t look away.

Every day, twenty floors below Forest’s corner office, Cassie dissects their emails from her dingy workstation. A few clicks of her mouse and she can see every adoring word they write to each other. By peeking into their apparently perfect life, Cassie finds renewed purpose and happiness, reveling in their penchant for vintage wines, morning juice presses, and lavish dinner parties thrown in their stately Westchester home. There are no secrets from her. Or so she thinks.

Her admiration quickly escalates into all-out mimicry, because she wants this life more than anything. Maybe if she plays make-believe long enough, it will become real for her. But when Cassie orchestrates a “chance” meeting with Forest in the real world and sees something that throws the state of his marriage into question, the fantasy she’s been carefully cultivating shatters. Suddenly, she doesn’t simply admire Annabelle–she wants to take her place. And she’s armed with the tools to make that happen.

They are a dangerous duke, a fierce lord, and an infamous earl—dark, bold, brave men who know exactly what they want. And there is only one woman who can bring them to their knees…

He is first and foremost—at everything. A man who’s made his own way in the world through ruthless cunning and sheer force of will. A strong and imposing Scot who can turn on the charm but does not suffer fools. His title: Lord Chief Justice of the High Court. His name: Cassius Gerard Ramsay. His mission: To investigate the goings-on at London’s most notorious gaming hell, owned and operated by one of the most intriguing and desirable women he’s ever met.

IN THIS GAME OF LOVE, THE RULES DO NOT APPLY

Cecelia Teague was an orphan facing a rather dire future—until a secret benefactor from her mother’s scandalous past swept into her life. Sent to prestigious boarding school and later to university, Cecelia believed high society was at her fingertips…Then, from out of nowhere, she became the inheritor of a gambling establishment. Now Cecelia must live two lives: one as a proper lady who finds herself undeniably drawn to Lord Ramsay and the other as a savvy gaming hell owner trying to save her business from the very same man. He has no idea she is both women…and Cecelia would like to keep it that way. But what happens when consuming passion and escalating danger threaten to reveal the truth?

The sequel to Hilary Mantel’s international bestseller and Man Booker Prize winner Wolf Hall explores one of the most mystifying and frightening episodes in English history: the downfall of Anne Boleyn.

Though he battled for years to marry her, Henry VIII has become disenchanted with the audacious Anne Boleyn. She has failed to give him a son, and her sharp intelligence and strong will have alienated his old friends and the noble families of England.

When the discarded Katherine, Henry’s first wife, dies in exile from the court, Anne stands starkly exposed, the focus of gossip and malice, setting in motion a dramatic trial of the queen and her suitors for adultery and treason. 

At a word from Henry, Thomas Cromwell is ready to bring her down. Over a few terrifying weeks, Anne is ensnared in a web of conspiracy, while the demure Jane Seymour stands waiting her turn for the poisoned wedding ring. But Anne and her powerful family will not yield without a ferocious struggle. To defeat the Boleyns, Cromwell must ally himself with his enemies. What price will he pay for Annie’s head? 

This comes out May 18

People don’t just disappear without a trace…

Shelby Tebow is the first to go missing. Not long after, Meredith Dickey and her six-year-old daughter, Delilah, vanish just blocks away from where Shelby was last seen, striking fear into their once-peaceful community. Are these incidents connected? After an elusive search that yields more questions than answers, the case eventually goes cold.

Now, eleven years later, Delilah shockingly returns. Everyone wants to know what happened to her, but no one is prepared for what they’ll find…

In this smart and chilling thriller, master of suspense and New York Times bestselling author Mary Kubica takes domestic secrets to a whole new level, showing that some people will stop at nothing to keep the truth buried.

This is my pick for May’s buzzwordathon. A book with the word house/home in the title.

A story about a dangerously curious young undergraduate whose rebelliousness leads her to discover a shocking secret involving an exclusive circle of students . . . and the dark truth beneath her school’s promise of prestige.

You are in the house and the house is in the woods.
You are in the house and the house is in you . . .

Catherine House is a school of higher learning like no other. Hidden deep in the woods of rural Pennsylvania, this crucible of reformist liberal arts study with its experimental curriculum, wildly selective admissions policy, and formidable endowment, has produced some of the world’s best minds: prize-winning authors, artists, inventors, Supreme Court justices, presidents. For those lucky few selected, tuition, room, and board are free. But acceptance comes with a price. Students are required to give the House three years—summers included—completely removed from the outside world. Family, friends, television, music, even their clothing must be left behind. In return, the school promises its graduates a future of sublime power and prestige, and that they can become anything or anyone they desire.

Among this year’s incoming class is Ines, who expects to trade blurry nights of parties, pills, cruel friends, and dangerous men for rigorous intellectual discipline—only to discover an environment of sanctioned revelry. The school’s enigmatic director, Viktória, encourages the students to explore, to expand their minds, to find themselves and their place within the formidable black iron gates of Catherine. 

For Ines, Catherine is the closest thing to a home she’s ever had, and her serious, timid roommate, Baby, soon becomes an unlikely friend. Yet the House’s strange protocols make this refuge, with its worn velvet and weathered leather, feel increasingly like a gilded prison. And when Baby’s obsessive desire for acceptance ends in tragedy, Ines begins to suspect that the school—in all its shabby splendor, hallowed history, advanced theories, and controlled decadence—might be hiding a dangerous agenda that is connected to a secretive, tightly knit group of students selected to study its most promising and mysterious curriculum.

Moving to a space station at the edge of the galaxy was always going to be the death of Hanna’s social life. Nobody said it might actually get her killed.

The sci-fi saga that began with the breakout bestseller Illuminae continues on board the Jump Station Heimdall, where two new characters will confront the next wave of the BeiTech assault.

Hanna is the station captain’s pampered daughter; Nik the reluctant member of a notorious crime family. But while the pair are struggling with the realities of life aboard the galaxy’s most boring space station, little do they know that Kady Grant and the Hypatia are headed right toward Heimdall, carrying news of the Kerenza invasion.

When an elite BeiTech strike team invades the station, Hanna and Nik are thrown together to defend their home. But alien predators are picking off the station residents one by one, and a malfunction in the station’s wormhole means the space-time continuum might be ripped in two before dinner. Soon Hanna and Nik aren’t just fighting for their own survival; the fate of everyone on the Hypatia—and possibly the known universe—is in their hands.

But relax. They’ve totally got this. They hope.

Feyre survived Amarantha’s clutches to return to the Spring Court—but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can’t forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin’s people.

Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms—and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future—and the future of a world cleaved in two.

With more than a million copies sold of her beloved Throne of Glass series, Sarah J. Maas’s masterful storytelling brings this second book in her seductive and action-packed series to new heights.

They call me Rage. 
My real name is like a shadow, always close behind, but never quite able to catch up to me. 
I fly under the radar because no one ever suspects I’m capable of the kind of brutal violence I commit each and every day. 
You see, I’m a girl. I’m nineteen. 
And I’m a killer. 
I look like a goddamn cheerleader, but can take out a man three times my size in more than as many ways, without hesitation. 
This life is all I know. It’s all I want to know. It keeps the shit buried that I need kept buried. It allows me to live without thinking too much. 
Without dwelling on the past. 
Until him. 
It all changes when an ordinary boy becomes my next target.
And my first love. 
I have to choose. 
The only life I’ve ever known has to die, or he does. 
Either way, I’ll be the one pulling the trigger…

Stephen Graham Jones returns with Night of the Mannequins, a contemporary horror story where a teen prank goes very wrong and all hell breaks loose: is there a supernatural cause, a psychopath on the loose, or both?

~Cassie

WWW Wednesday 4.28.21

This fun 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 have only barely started The Ivies so I don’t have a real grasp of the story yet. So far the writing seems decent but I’m really not far enough into the story to say either way.

I started reading His & Hers during Dewey’s 24 hr readathon and I’m about half way through. I have been dealing with a lot of fatigue since my infusion so my reading has really slowed down but I’m hoping to finish this one soon. So far it seems like this whole book takes place during one day and I’m eager to see how it ends.

I started reading Hummingbird Salamander before the readathon started last Saturday and I haven’t gone back to it. I’m around 35% through this one and I have absolutely no idea where the story is going. I am really enjoying Vandermeer’s slippery, ominous writing and I will be picking this one back up as soon as I finish His & Hers.

What have you recently finished reading?

I actually DNF’d Confessions from the Quilting Circle by Maisey Yates because it deals heavily with the death of the characters Grandma but I did share a mini review of it yesterday as part of my blog tour post.

The Only Good Indians and And Then There Were None were books I read for Dewey’s 24 hr readathon and I will be wrapping that up on Friday.

I finished ACOTAR and gave it 2.5 stars. It was mostly boring and I didn’t feel any chemistry between Feyre and anyone let alone the person she was trying so hard to save. I’m hoping as the series progresses that I will enjoy it more.

Soulless was another book that was mostly boring but I did really enjoy the ending of this one so I gave it 3 stars. Next month I’m planning on starting the next arc in this series and this is the one I’m the most nervous for because Preppy does some very questionable things to women and I don’t know how Frazier is going to redeem him.

What do you think you’ll read next?

My buddy reading group is reading this one this week and I’m behind on reading it but it is a reread for me. I first read this back in 2016 but I never continued on with the series which I’m excited to do this time around with my group. I need to finish at least one of the books that I’m currently reading before I start this because I really don’t want the way that I’m currently feeling to turn into me carrying around even more partial read books.

~Cassie

Blog tour: Confessions from the Quilting Circle By Maisey Yates

Thank you to HQN Books for providing me with an ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review. They also kindly provided all info and graphics.

CONFESSIONS FROM THE QUILTING CIRCLE

Author: Maisey Yates

ISBN: 9781335775856

Publication Date: 5/4/2021

Publisher: HQN Books

Book Summary:

The Ashwood women don’t have much in common…except their ability to keep secrets.

When Lark Ashwood’s beloved grandmother dies, she and her sisters discover an unfinished quilt. Finishing it could be the reason Lark’s been looking for to stop running from the past, but is she ever going to be brave enough to share her biggest secret with the people she ought to be closest to?

Hannah can’t believe she’s back in Bear Creek, the tiny town she sacrificed everything to escape from. The plan? Help her sisters renovate her grandmother’s house and leave as fast as humanly possible. Until she comes face-to-face with a man from her past. But getting close to him again might mean confessing what really drove her away…

Stay-at-home mom Avery has built a perfect life, but at a cost. She’ll need all her family around her, and all her strength, to decide if the price of perfection is one she can afford to keep paying.

This summer, the Ashwood women must lean on each other like never before, if they are to stitch their family back together, one truth at a time…

Review

I got 36% of the way through this book before I DNF’d it. I knew from the synopsis that this book deals with the death of the characters’ Grandma but I did’t realize just how big of a part it was going to play and while it is getting easier for me to read books that deal with death it was bringing up a lot of emotions in me so I decided to just put this book down. Losing my Grandma four years ago was devastating to me and my Grandma was also a crafter so this book hit a little too close to home. I do have a couple of thoughts from what I read even though this won’t be a full review. This book is very heavy into the characters heads so their thoughts overtake the story and the plot felt a little rushed. I appreciate knowing what the characters are thinking and feeling but not when it starts to get repetitive. This is an adult contemporary (what some people refer to as women’s fiction but I think that’s offensive since anything could qualify as women’s fiction) so it is for a very specific audience and I wouldn’t recommend this one if you don’t enjoy them. I obviously don’t know if the crafting aspect ends up playing a bigger part in the story but this is truly a story about three sisters, their respective romances, and their mom bonding for maybe the first time ever.

Author Bio: New York Times Bestselling author Maisey Yates lives in rural Oregon with her three children and her husband, whose chiseled jaw and arresting features continue to make her swoon. She feels the epic trek she takes several times a day from her office to her coffee maker is a true example of her pioneer spirit. 

Social Links:

Author Website

Twitter: @maiseyyates

Facebook:@MaiseyYates.Author 

Instagram: @maiseyyates

Goodreads

Excerpt


1

March 4th, 1944

The dress is perfect. Candlelight satin and antique lace. I can’t wait for you to see it. I can’t wait to walk down the aisle toward you. If only we could set a date. If only we had some idea of when the war will be over.

Love, Dot

Present day—Lark

Unfinished.

The word whispered through the room like a ghost. Over the faded, floral wallpaper, down to the scarred wooden floor. And to the precariously stacked boxes and bins of fabrics, yarn skeins, canvases and other artistic miscellany.

Lark Ashwood had to wonder if her grandmother had left them this way on purpose. Unfinished business here on earth, in the form of quilts, sweaters and paintings, to keep her spirit hanging around after she was gone.

It would be like her. Adeline Dowell did everything with just a little extra.

From her glossy red hair—which stayed that color till the day she died—to her matching cherry glasses and lipstick. She always had an armful of bangles, a beer in her hand and an ashtray full of cigarettes. She never smelled like smoke. She smelled like spearmint gum, Aqua Net and Avon perfume.

She had taught Lark that it was okay to be a little bit of extra.

A smile curved Lark’s lips as she looked around the attic space again. “Oh, Gram…this is really a mess.”

She had the sense that was intentional too. In death, as in life, her grandmother wouldn’t simply fade away.

Neat attics, well-ordered affairs and pre-death estate sales designed to decrease the clutter a family would have to go through later were for other women. Quieter women who didn’t want to be a bother.

Adeline Dowell lived to be a bother. To expand to fill a space, not shrinking down to accommodate anyone.

Lark might not consistently achieve the level of excess Gram had, but she considered it a goal.

“Lark? Are you up there?”

She heard her mom’s voice carrying up the staircase. “Yes!” She shouted back down. “I’m…trying to make sense of this.”

She heard footsteps behind her and saw her mom standing there, gray hair neat, arms folded in. “You don’t have to. We can get someone to come in and sort it out.” 

“And what? Take it all to a thrift store?” Lark asked.

Her mom’s expression shifted slightly, just enough to convey about six emotions with no wasted effort. Emotional economy was Mary Ashwood’s forte. As contained and practical as Addie had been excessive. “Honey, I think most of this would be bound for the dump.”

“Mom, this is great stuff.”

“I don’t have room in my house for sentiment.”

“It’s not about sentiment. It’s usable stuff.”

“I’m not artsy, you know that. I don’t really…get all this.” The unspoken words in the air settled over Lark like a cloud.

Mary wasn’t artsy because her mother hadn’t been around to teach her to sew. To knit. To paint. To quilt.

Addie had taught her granddaughters. Not her own daughter.

She’d breezed on back into town in a candy apple Corvette when Lark’s oldest sister, Avery, was born, after spending Mary’s entire childhood off on some adventure or another, while Lark’s grandfather had done the raising of the kids.

Grandkids had settled her. And Mary had never withheld her children from Adeline. Whatever Mary thought about her mom was difficult to say. But then, Lark could never really read her mom’s emotions. When she’d been a kid, she hadn’t noticed that. Lark had gone around feeling whatever she did and assuming everyone was tracking right along with her because she’d been an innately self focused kid. Or maybe that was just kids.

Either way, back then badgering her mom into tea parties and talking her ear off without noticing Mary didn’t do much of her own talking had been easy.

It was only when she’d had big things to share with her mom that she’d realized…she couldn’t.

“It’s easy, Mom,” Lark said. “I’ll teach you. No one is asking you to make a living with art, art can be about enjoying the process.”

“I don’t enjoy doing things I’m bad at.”

“Well I don’t want Gram’s stuff going to a thrift store, okay?”

Another shift in Mary’s expression. A single crease on one side of her mouth conveying irritation, reluctance and exhaustion. But when she spoke she was measured. “If that’s what you want. This is as much yours as mine.”

It was a four-way split. The Dowell House and all its contents, and The Miner’s House, formerly her grandmother’s candy shop, to Mary Ashwood, and her three daughters. They’d discovered that at the will reading two months earlier.

It hadn’t caused any issues in the family. They just weren’t like that.

Lark’s uncle Bill had just shaken his head. “She feels guilty.”

And that had been the end of any discussion, before any had really started. They were all like their father that way. Quiet. Reserved. Opinionated and expert at conveying it without saying much.

Big loud shouting matches didn’t have a place in the Dowell family.

But Addie had been there for her boys. They were quite a bit older than Lark’s mother. She’d left when the oldest had been eighteen. The youngest boy sixteen.

Mary had been four.

Lark knew her mom felt more at home in the middle of a group of men than she did with women. She’d been raised in a house of men. With burned dinners and repressed emotions.

Lark had always felt like her mother had never really known what to make of the overwhelmingly female household she’d ended up with.

“It’s what I want. When is Hannah getting in tonight?” 

Hannah, the middle child, had moved to Boston right after college, getting a position in the Boston Symphony Orchestra. She had the summer off of concerts and had decided to come to Bear Creek to finalize the plans for their inherited properties before going back home.

Once Hannah had found out when she could get time away from the symphony, Lark had set her own plans for moving into motion. She wanted to be here the whole time Hannah was here, since for Hannah, this wouldn’t be permanent.

But Lark wasn’t going back home. If her family agreed to her plan, she was staying here.

Which was not something she’d ever imagined she’d do.

Lark had gone to college across the country, in New York, at eighteen and had spent years living everywhere but here. Finding new versions of herself in new towns, new cities, whenever the urge took her.

Unfinished.

“Sometime around five-ish? She said she’d get a car out here from the airport. I reminded her that isn’t the easiest thing to do in this part of the world. She said something about it being in apps now. I didn’t laugh at her.”

Lark laughed, though. “She can rent a car.”

Lark hadn’t lived in Bear Creek since she was eighteen, but she hadn’t been under the impression there was a surplus of ride services around the small, rural community. If you were flying to get to Bear Creek, you had to fly into Medford, which was about eighteen miles from the smaller town. Even if you could find a car, she doubted the driver would want to haul anyone out of town.

But her sister wouldn’t be told anything. Hannah made her own way, something Lark could relate to. But while she imagined herself drifting along like a tumbleweed, she imagined Hannah slicing through the water like a shark. With intent, purpose, and no small amount of sharpness.

“Maybe I should arrange something.”

“Mom. She’s a professional symphony musician who’s been living on her own for fourteen years. I’m pretty sure she can cope.”

“Isn’t the point of coming home not having to cope for a while? Shouldn’t your mom handle things?” Mary was a doer. She had never been the one to sit and chat. She’d loved for Lark to come out to the garden with her and work alongside her in the flower beds, or bake together. “You’re not in New Mexico anymore. I can make you cookies without worrying they’ll get eaten by rats in the mail.”

Lark snorted. “I don’t think there are rats in the mail.”

“It doesn’t have to be real for me to worry about it.”

And there was something Lark had inherited directly from her mother. “That’s true.”

That and her love of chocolate chip cookies, which her mom made the very best. She could remember long afternoons at home with her mom when she’d been little, and her sisters had been in school. They’d made cookies and had iced tea, just the two of them.

Cooking had been a self-taught skill her mother had always been proud of. Her recipes were hers. And after growing up eating “chicken with blood” and beanie weenies cooked by her dad, she’d been pretty determined her kids would eat better than that.

Something Lark had been grateful for.

And Mom hadn’t minded if she’d turned the music up loud and danced in some “dress up clothes”—an oversized prom dress from the ’80s and a pair of high heels that were far too big, purchased from a thrift store. Which Hannah and Avery both declared “annoying” when they were home. 

Her mom hadn’t understood her, Lark knew that. But Lark had felt close to her back then in spite of it.

The sound of the door opening and closing came from downstairs. “Homework is done, dinner is in the Crock-Pot. I think even David can manage that.”

The sound of her oldest sister Avery’s voice was clear, even from a distance. Lark owed that to Avery’s years of motherhood, coupled with the fact that she—by choice—fulfilled the role of parent liaison at her kids’ exclusive private school, and often wrangled children in large groups. Again, by choice.

Lark looked around the room one last time and walked over to the stack of crafts. There was an old journal on top of several boxes that look like they might be overflowing with fabric, along with some old Christmas tree ornaments, and a sewing kit. She grabbed hold of them all before walking to the stairs, turning the ornaments over and letting the silver stars catch the light that filtered in through the stained glass window.

Her mother was already ahead of her, halfway down the stairs by the time Lark got to the top of them. She hadn’t seen Avery yet since she’d arrived. She loved her older sister. She loved her niece and nephew. She liked her brother-in-law, who did his best not to be dismissive of the fact that she made a living drawing pictures. Okay, he kind of annoyed her. But still, he was fine. Just… A doctor. A surgeon, in fact, and bearing all of the arrogance that stereotypically implied.

One of the saddest things about living away for as long as she had was that she’d missed her niece’s and nephew’s childhoods. She saw them at least once a year, but it never felt like enough. And now they were teenagers, and a lot less cute.

And then there was Avery, who had always been somewhat untouchable. Four years older than Lark, Avery was a classic oldest child. A people pleasing perfectionist. She was organized and she was always neat and orderly.  And even though the gap between thirty-four and thirty-eight was a lot narrower than twelve and sixteen, sometimes Lark still felt like the gawky adolescent to Avery’s sweet sixteen.

But maybe if they shared in a little bit of each other’s day-to-day it would close some of that gap she felt between them.
Excerpted from Confessions From the Quilting Circle by Maisey Yates, Copyright © 2021 by Maisey Yates. Published by HQN Books.

Buy Links: 

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~Cassie

On My Radar: May 2021

It’s time for my favorite post of the month! I get so excited about all the books that are coming out and since I read from a variety of genres there are always a ton. I won’t be purchasing all of these but instead I will be keeping my eye out for them when I’m at the library or if I happen to see one of them when I’m shopping somewhere. I actually used my April On My Radar post when I went to the bookstore this month so I could refresh my brain on what I was looking for. I hope that you find something you maybe didn’t know was coming out.

*I get most of my info for these posts on Goodreads so the dates might not be completely accurate.

May 1

There is no limit to the lies, suspicion, and secrets that can poison the perfect marriage in this twisting novel of suspense by USA Today bestselling author Kaira Rouda.

Kate Nelson had it all. A flourishing company founded with her husband, John; a happy marriage; and a daughter, Ashlyn. The picture-perfect family. Until John left for another woman. Tish is half his age. Ambitious. She’s cultivated a friendship with Ashlyn. Tish believes she’s won.

She’s wrong.

Tish Nelson has it all. Youth, influence, a life of luxury, and a new husband. But the truth is, there’s a lot of baggage. Namely, his first wife—and suspicions of his infidelity. After all, that’s how she got John. Maybe it’s time for a romantic getaway, far from his vindictive ex. If Kate plans on getting John back, Tish is one step ahead of her.

She thinks.

But what happens next is something neither Kate nor Tish saw coming. As best-laid plans come undone, there’s no telling what a woman will do in the name of love—and revenge.

May 2

After the local French teacher scandalizes the fishing village of Little Cove, Newfoundland, by running off with a priest, the school looks to the mainland to fill the job quickly. They want someone who can uphold their Catholic values and keep a motley group of largely unwilling students in line. 

The position is filled by mainlander Rachel O’Brien—technically a Catholic (baptized!), technically a teacher (honors degree!)—who’s desperate to leave her current mess of a life behind. She isn’t surprised that her students don’t see the value of learning French. But she is surprised that she can barely understand their English… Is it a compliment or insult to be called a sleeveen? (Insult.) And the anonymous notes left on her car, telling her to go home, certainly don’t help to make her feel welcome. 

Still, she is quickly drawn into the island’s traditional music and culture, and into the personal lives of her crusty but softhearted landlady, Lucille, her reluctant students and her fellow teacher Doug Bishop. But when her beliefs clash with church and community, she makes a decision that throws her career into jeopardy. In trying to help a student, has she gone too far? 

May 4

Ryland Grace is the sole survivor on a desperate, last-chance mission–and if he fails, humanity and the earth itself will perish.

Except that right now, he doesn’t know that. He can’t even remember his own name, let alone the nature of his assignment or how to complete it.

All he knows is that he’s been asleep for a very, very long time. And he’s just been awakened to find himself millions of miles from home, with nothing but two corpses for company.

His crewmates dead, his memories fuzzily returning, he realizes that an impossible task now confronts him. Alone on this tiny ship that’s been cobbled together by every government and space agency on the planet and hurled into the depths of space, it’s up to him to conquer an extinction-level threat to our species.

And thanks to an unexpected ally, he just might have a chance.

Part scientific mystery, part dazzling interstellar journey, Project Hail Mary is a tale of discovery, speculation, and survival to rival The Martian–while taking us to places it never dreamed of going.

Vern – seven months pregnant and desperate to escape the strict religious compound where she was raised – flees for the shelter of the woods. There, she gives birth to twins, and plans to raise them far from the influence of the outside world.

But even in the forest, Vern is a hunted woman. Forced to fight back against the community that refuses to let her go, she unleashes incredible brutality far beyond what a person should be capable of, her body wracked by inexplicable and uncanny changes.

To understand her metamorphosis and to protect her small family, Vern has to face the past, and more troublingly, the future – outside the woods. Finding the truth will mean uncovering the secrets of the compound she fled but also the violent history in America that produced it.

I will have my review for this up tomorrow!

“Yates weaves surprises and vivid descriptions into this moving tale about strong and nurturing female family bonds.”—Booklist on Confessions from the Quilting Circle  

The Ashwood women don’t have much in common…except their ability to keep secrets.

When Lark Ashwood’s beloved grandmother dies, she and her sisters discover an unfinished quilt. Finishing it could be the reason Lark’s been looking for to stop running from the past, but is she ever going to be brave enough to share her biggest secret with the people she ought to be closest to?

Hannah can’t believe she’s back in Bear Creek, the tiny town she sacrificed everything to escape from. The plan? Help her sisters renovate her grandmother’s house and leave as fast as humanly possible. Until she comes face-to-face with a man from her past. But getting close to him again might mean confessing what really drove her away…

Stay-at-home mom Avery has built a perfect life, but at a cost. She’ll need all her family around her, and all her strength, to decide if the price of perfection is one she can afford to keep paying.

This summer, the Ashwood women must lean on each other like never before, if they are to stitch their family back together, one truth at a time…

The first book in a new culinary cozy series full of sharp humor and delectable dishes—one that might just be killer….

When Lila Macapagal moves back home to recover from a horrible breakup, her life seems to be following all the typical rom-com tropes. She’s tasked with saving her Tita Rosie’s failing restaurant, and she has to deal with a group of matchmaking aunties who shower her with love and judgment. But when a notoriously nasty food critic (who happens to be her ex-boyfriend) drops dead moments after a confrontation with Lila, her life quickly swerves from a Nora Ephron romp to an Agatha Christie case.

With the cops treating her like she’s the one and only suspect, and the shady landlord looking to finally kick the Macapagal family out and resell the storefront, Lila’s left with no choice but to conduct her own investigation. Armed with the nosy auntie network, her barista best bud, and her trusted Dachshund, Longanisa, Lila takes on this tasty, twisted case and soon finds her own neck on the chopping block…

Eve, Justin, Susie, and Ed have been friends since they were teenagers. Now in their thirties, the four are as close as ever, Thursday night bar trivia is sacred, and Eve is still secretly in love with Ed. Maybe she should have moved on by now, but she can’t stop thinking about what could have been. And she knows Ed still thinks about it, too.

But then, in an instant, their lives are changed forever.

In the aftermath, Eve’s world is upended. As stunning secrets are revealed, she begins to wonder if she really knew her friends as well as she thought. And when someone from the past comes back into her life, Eve’s future veers in a surprising new direction…

They say every love story starts with a single moment. What if it was just last night?

May 11

This was one of my book choices from Book of the Month last month but I thought I should still include it on this list.

Two best friends. Ten summer trips. One last chance to fall in love. 

Poppy and Alex. Alex and Poppy. They have nothing in common. She’s a wild child; he wears khakis. She has insatiable wanderlust; he prefers to stay home with a book. And somehow, ever since a fateful car share home from college many years ago, they are the very best of friends. For most of the year they live far apart—she’s in New York City, and he’s in their small hometown—but every summer, for a decade, they have taken one glorious week of vacation together.

Until two years ago, when they ruined everything. They haven’t spoken since.

Poppy has everything she should want, but she’s stuck in a rut. When someone asks when she was last truly happy, she knows, without a doubt, it was on that ill-fated, final trip with Alex. And so, she decides to convince her best friend to take one more vacation together—lay everything on the table, make it all right. Miraculously, he agrees.

Now she has a week to fix everything. If only she can get around the one big truth that has always stood quietly in the middle of their seemingly perfect relationship. What could possibly go wrong?

From the New York Times bestselling author of Beach Read, a sparkling new novel that will leave you with the warm, hazy afterglow usually reserved for the best vacations.

A brand-new deliciously wicked romance series from USA Today Bestselling Author Kerrigan Byrne. The Goode Girls aren’t simply good; they’re stunning.

Disfigured in fighting pits as a lad, Gabriel Sauvageau has lived his entire life without the touch of a woman. As the brains and brawn behind London’s most ferocious smuggling syndicate, he knows he doesn’t deserve shy, bespectacled Felicity Goode. But that doesn’t stop him from watching her. Guarding her. 

Wondering if her gentle touch would soothe his savage soul.

Though she wiles away hours immersed in the pages of romance novels, shy and anxious Felicity Goode has vowed never to become a bride. How can she share a life—not to mention a bed—with a man, if she can’t bring herself to share a simple conversation without trembling and stuttering? Once news of her obscene inheritance circulates through the ton, she is barraged, not only by a slew of suitors, but also several distressing threats against her life. 

What she needs is a bodyguard. 

The large, scarred ruffian she finds on her stoop is exactly what she has been looking for.

So, why does his presence make her tremble in ways that have nothing to do with fear?

A gripping debut thriller about two young mothers, one shocking murder and a court case that puts them both on trial.

When a soldier is found stabbed through the heart at a US Army base, there is no doubt that his wife, Luz, is to blame. But was it an act of self-defense? An attempt to save her infant daughter? Or the cold-blooded murder of an innocent man?

Ambitious public defender Abby is determined to win at all costs. As a new mother herself, she wants to keep Luz out of prison and with her daughter. But when the surprises stack up and shocking new evidence emerges, Abby realizes the task proves far more difficult than she suspected and will require a terrible sacrifice.

As the trial hurtles toward an outcome no one expects, Abby, Luz and a captivated jury are forced to answer the question that will decide everything–what does it mean to be a good mother?

In Anna Gerard’s third delightful Georgia B&B mystery, Nina Fleet learns that despite the satin, lace, and buttercream trappings, weddings often prove to be anything but sweet…

Nina Fleet might be new to the innkeeping business, but she’s savvy enough to know that Cymbeline’s tourists aren’t enough to keep her fledgling bed and breakfast going. And so, Nina decides to tap into the destination wedding market by taking a booth at the Veils and Vanities Bridal Expo. The twice-yearly event is sponsored by the town’s two wedding pros: Virgie Hamilton, the sixtysomething owner of Virgie’s Formals, and Roxanna Quarry, a Gen X event planner and Nina’s new friend. But everything goes wrong during the expo’s fashion show, when Roxanna comes tumbling out of an oversized prop wedding cake, strangled to death by her own scarf.

Virgie is arrested for the crime, thanks to Nina’s statement to the police about having overheard the woman accusing her partner of embezzlement. Meanwhile, the situation grows tense with her sometimes nemesis and current tenant, the dashing out-of-work actor Harry Westcott. Harry is concentrating on plugging his most recent side hustle …but he’s not too busy to break the news to Nina that her ex-husband is engaged to be married again.

Certain that Virgie’s only offense is a bad temper, Nina decides to do her own investigating. First, however, she and Harry retrieve Roxanna’s now ownerless dog, planning to foster him until a new home can be found. But local gossip soon convinces Nina that others beside Virgie might have had reason to murder Roxanna. As Nina gets close to the truth, she’s putting her own life at danger. And when Virgie vanishes after being bailed out of jail by an unknown benefactor, Nina fears that if she can’t find the dress shop owner in time, tying the knot will take on a whole new meaning for them both.

Lara’s had eyes for exactly one person throughout her three years of high school: Chase Harding. He’s tall, strong, sweet, a football star, and frankly, stupid hot. Oh, and he’s talking to her now. On purpose and everything. Maybe…flirting, even? No, wait, he’s definitely flirting, which is pretty much the sum of everything Lara’s wanted out of life.

Except she’s haunted by a memory. A memory of a confusing, romantic, strangely perfect summer spent with a girl named Jasmine. A memory that becomes a confusing, disorienting present when Jasmine herself walks through the front doors of the school to see Lara and Chase chatting it up in front of the lockers.

Lara has everything she ever wanted: a tight-knit group of friends, a job that borders on cool, and Chase, the boy of her literal dreams. But if she’s finally got the guy, why can’t she stop thinking about the girl?

Cool for the Summer is a story of self-discovery and new love. It’s about the things we want and the things we need. And it’s about the people who will let us be who we are.

May 13

Boy meets boy. Boys become friends. Boys fall in love. The bestselling LGBTQ+ graphic novel about life, love, and everything that happens in between: this is the fourth volume of HEARTSTOPPER, for fans of The Art of Being Normal, Holly Bourne and Love, Simon.

Charlie didn’t think Nick could ever like him back, but now they’re officially boyfriends. Charlie’s beginning to feel ready to say those three little words: I love you.

Nick’s been feeling the same, but he’s got a lot on his mind – not least coming out to his dad, and the fact that Charlie might have an eating disorder.

As summer turns to autumn and a new school year begins, Charlie and Nick are about to learn a lot about what love means.

Heartstopper is about love, friendship, loyalty and mental illness. It encompasses all the small stories of Nick and Charlie’s lives that together make up something larger, which speaks to all of us.

This is the fourth volume of Heartstopper, which has now been optioned for television by See-Saw Films.

May 18

Single mom Jess Davis is a data and statistics wizard, but no amount of number crunching can convince her to step back into the dating world. Raised by her grandparents–who now help raise her seven-year-old daughter, Juno–Jess has been left behind too often to feel comfortable letting anyone in. After all, her father’s never been around, her hard-partying mother disappeared when she was six, and her ex decided he wasn’t “father material” before Juno was even born. Jess holds her loved ones close, but working constantly to stay afloat is hard…and lonely.

But then Jess hears about GeneticAlly, a buzzy new DNA-based matchmaking company that’s predicted to change dating forever. Finding a soulmate through DNA? The reliability of numbers: This Jess understands. At least she thought she did, until her test shows an unheard-of 98% compatibility with another subject in the database: GeneticAlly’s founder, Dr. River Pena. This is one number she can’t wrap her head around, because she already knows Dr. Pena. The stuck-up, stubborn man is without a doubt not her soulmate. But GeneticAlly has a proposition: Get to know him and we’ll pay you. Jess–who is barely making ends meet–is in no position to turn it down, despite her skepticism about the project and her dislike for River. As the pair are dragged from one event to the next as the “Diamond” pairing that could make GeneticAlly a mint in stock prices, Jess begins to realize that there might be more to the scientist–and the science behind a soulmate–than she thought.

Funny, warm, and full of heart, The Soulmate Equation proves that the delicate balance between fate and choice can never be calculated.

People don’t just disappear without a trace…

Shelby Tebow is the first to go missing. Not long after, Meredith Dickey and her six-year-old daughter, Delilah, vanish just blocks away from where Shelby was last seen, striking fear into their once-peaceful community. Are these incidents connected? After an elusive search that yields more questions than answers, the case eventually goes cold.

Now, eleven years later, Delilah shockingly returns. Everyone wants to know what happened to her, but no one is prepared for what they’ll find…

In this smart and chilling thriller, master of suspense and New York Times bestselling author Mary Kubica takes domestic secrets to a whole new level, showing that some people will stop at nothing to keep the truth buried.

Mia has had her whole life mapped out since she was 18. She’s supposed to follow up her math PhD with a research postdoc, but her 20-year tenure plan takes a surprise deviation when she’s forced to settle for a temporary teaching job at a small-town university. 

It’s not easy adapting to rural life when you’re an inveterate city girl, but Mia tries to make the best of it until she can get the heck out of Podunk—er, Crowder, Texas. Things finally start to look up after a run-in with some terrifying local wildlife sends her careening into the arms of a sexy goat farmer/cheesemaker.

Mia finds herself unexpectedly drawn to Josh’s gruff cowboy charms, especially after she learns what lies behind the thick walls he’s built around his heart. The deeper their connection grows, the more Crowder starts to feel like home. 

But Mia can’t afford to stay. Not unless she’s willing to give up on her dream—or trade it in for a new one. 

ELEMENTARY ROMANTIC CALCULUS is a full-length standalone novel and the sixth book in the Chemistry Lessons series of contemporary romances featuring STEM heroines. Each book in the series focuses on a brand new couple with their own happily ever after and can be read in any order.

This was another one of my book choices from Book of the Month last month.

The Hunting Wives share more than target practice, martinis, and bad behavior in this novel of obsession, seduction, and murder.

Sophie O’Neill left behind an envy-inspiring career and the stressful, competitive life of big-city Chicago to settle down with her husband and young son in a small Texas town. It seems like the perfect life with a beautiful home in an idyllic rural community. But Sophie soon realizes that life is now too quiet, and she’s feeling bored and restless.

Then she meets Margot Banks, an alluring socialite who is part of an elite clique secretly known as the Hunting Wives. Sophie finds herself completely drawn to Margot and swept into her mysterious world of late-night target practice and dangerous partying. As Sophie’s curiosity gives way to full-blown obsession, she slips farther away from the safety of her family and deeper into this nest of vipers.

When the body of a teenage girl is discovered in the woods where the Hunting Wives meet, Sophie finds herself in the middle of a murder investigation and her life spiraling out of control.

Don’t you just love the smell of old books in the morning?

Madeline Moore does. Books & Moore, the musty bookstore her family has owned for generations, is where she feels most herself. Nothing is going to stop her from coming back after college to take over the store from her beloved aunt.

Nothing, that is—until a chain bookstore called Prologue opens across the street and threatens to shut them down.

Madeline sets out to demolish the competition, but Jasper, the guy who works over at Prologue, seems intent on ruining her life. Not only is he taking her customers, he has the unbelievable audacity to be… extremely cute.

But that doesn’t matter. Jasper is the enemy and he will be destroyed. After all—all’s fair in love and (book) wars.

Beach Read meets Sweetbitter in this laugh-out-loud and ultimately heartwarming debut of a good friend’s very bad decision and the summer job that stands to ruin or make her life. 

What if you could be someone else? Just for the summer…

Birdy has made a mistake. Everyone imagines running away from their life at some point. But Birdy has actually done it. And the life she’s run into is her best friend Heather’s. The only problem is, she hasn’t told Heather.

The summer job at the highland Scottish hotel that her world class wine-expert friend ditched turns out to be a lot more than Birdy bargained for. Can she survive a summer pretending to be her best friend? And can Birdy stop herself from falling for the first man she’s ever actually liked, but who thinks she’s someone else?

One good friend’s very bad decision is at the heart of this laugh-out-loud love story and unexpected tale of a woman finally finding herself in the strangest of places.

A “dazzling” (Bryan Washington, author of Memorial and Lot ) and brilliantly satirical debut novel for fans of Women Talking and Red Clocks about two best friends—a disgraced influencer and a struggling actor—who form The Atmosphere, a cult designed to reform problematic men.

Sasha Marcus was once the epitome of contemporary success: an internet sensation, social media darling, and a creator of a high profile wellness brand for women. But a confrontation with an abusive troll has taken a horrifying turn, and now she’s at rock bottom: canceled and doxxed online, fired from her waitress job and fortressed in her apartment while men’s rights protestors rage outside. All that once glittered now condemns.

Sasha confides in her oldest childhood friend, Dyson—a failed actor with a history of body issues—who hatches a plan for Sasha to restore her reputation by becoming the face of his new business venture, The Atmosphere: a rehabilitation community for men. Based in an abandoned summer camp and billed as a workshop for job training, it is actually a rigorous program designed to rid men of their toxic masculinity and heal them physically, emotionally, and socially. Sasha has little choice but to accept. But what horrors await her as the resident female leader of a crew of washed up, desperate men? And what exactly does Dyson want?

Explosive and wickedly funny, this “Fight Club for the millennial generation” (Mat Johnson, author of Pym) peers straight into the dark heart of wellness and woke-ness, self-mythology and self-awareness, by asking what happens when we become addicted to the performance of ourselves.

May 20

*No synopsis

May 25

Forget the truth.

Remember the lies.

He wakes up on a deserted beach in Maryland with a gash on his head and wearing only swim trunks. He can’t remember who he is. Everything–his identity, his life, his loved ones–has been replaced by a dizzying fog of uncertainty. But returning to his Maine hometown in search of the truth uncovers more questions than answers.

Lily Reid thinks she knows her boyfriend, Jack. Until he goes missing one night, and her frantic search reveals that he’s been lying to her since they met, desperate to escape a dark past he’d purposely left behind.

Maya Scott has been trying to find her estranged stepbrother, Asher, since he disappeared without a trace. Having him back, missing memory and all, feels like a miracle. But with a mutual history full of devastating secrets, how far will Maya go to ensure she alone takes them to the grave?

Shared fates intertwine in a twisty, explosive novel of suspense, where unearthing the past might just mean being buried beneath it.

New York Times and USA Today bestseller Alyssa Cole’s second Runaway Royalsnovel is a queer Anastasia retelling, featuring a long-lost princess who finds love with the female investigator tasked with tracking her down.

Makeda Hicks has lost her job and her girlfriend in one fell swoop. The last thing she’s in the mood for is to rehash the story of her grandmother’s infamous summer fling with a runaway prince from Ibarania, or the investigator from the World Federation of Monarchies tasked with searching for Ibarania’s missing heir.

Yet when Beznaria Chetchevaliere crashes into her life, the sleek and sexy investigator exudes exactly the kind of chaos that organized and efficient Makeda finds irresistible, even if Bez is determined to drag her into a world of royal duty Makeda wants nothing to do with.

When a threat to her grandmother’s livelihood pushes Makeda to agree to return to Ibarania, Bez takes her on a transatlantic adventure with a crew of lovable weirdos, a fake marriage, and one-bed hijinks on the high seas. When they finally make it to Ibarania, they realize there’s more at stake than just cash and crown, and Makeda must learn what it means to fight for what she desires and not what she feels bound to by duty.

I’m currently reading this right now and will have my review up close to the release date.

Everyone knows the Ivies: the most coveted universities in the United States. Far more important are the Ivies. The Ivies at Claflin Academy, that is. Five girls with the same mission: to get into the Ivy League by any means necessary. I would know. I’m one of them. We disrupt class ranks, club leaderships, and academic competitions…among other things. We improve our own odds by decreasing the fortunes of others. Because hyper-elite competitive college admissions is serious business. And in some cases, it’s deadly.

Alexa Donne delivers a nail-biting and timely thriller about teens who will stop at nothing to get into the college of their dreams. Too bad no one told them murder isn’t an extracurricular.

This originally came out in 1987 but a new edition is releasing May 25.

Students from a university mystery club decide to visit an island which was the site of a grisly multiple murder the year before. Predictably, they get picked off one by one by an unseen murderer. Is there a madman on the loose? What connection is there to the earlier murders? The answer is a bombshell revelation which few readers will see coming.

The Decagon House Murders is a milestone in the history of detective fiction. Published in 1987, it is credited with launching the shinhonkaku movement which restored Golden Age style plotting and fair-play clues to the Japanese mystery scene, which had been dominated by the social school of mystery for several decades. It is also said to have influenced the development of the wildly popular anime movement.

This, the first English edition, contains a lengthy introduction by the maestro of Japanese mystery fiction, Soji Shimada.

Locked Room International discovers and publishes impossible crime masterpieces from all over the world

A YA debut about a girl caught in a web of betrayal and revenge.

Phoenix and mom Nina have spent years on the road, using their charm and wits to swindle and steal to get by. Now they’ve made it to their ultimate destination, Mom’s hometown of Jasper Hollow. The plan: bring down Ellis Bowman, the man who ruined Nina’s life.

After Phoenix gets caught spying, she spins a convincing story that inadvertently gives her full access to the Bowman family. As she digs deeper into their secrets, she finds herself entrenched in the tale of a death and a disappearance that doesn’t entirely line up with what Mom has told her. Who, if anyone, is telling the whole truth?

Inspiration can come from the most unlikely—and inconvenient—sources.

Kara Sullivan’s life is full of love—albeit fictional. As a bestselling romance novelist and influential bookstagrammer, she’s fine with getting her happily-ever-after fix between the covers of a book.

But right now? Not only is Kara’s best friend getting married next week—which means big wedding stress—but the deadline for her next novel is looming, and she hasn’t written a single word. The last thing she needs is for her infuriating first love, Ryan Thompson, to suddenly appear in the wedding party. But Ryan’s unexpected arrival sparks a creative awakening in Kara that inspires the steamy historical romance she desperately needs to deliver.

With her wedding duties intensifying, her deadline getting closer by the second and her bills not paying themselves, Kara knows there’s only one way for her to finish her book and to give her characters the ever-after they deserve. But can she embrace the unlikely, ruggedly handsome muse—who pushes every one of her buttons—to save the wedding, her career and, just maybe, write her own happy ending?

“A fun and sexy romp, with chemistry that gave me all the feels!” —Jennifer Probst, New York Times bestselling author of Our Italian Summer

“Add this book to your TBR list immediately!” —Sarah Smith, author of Faker

A Host of Trouble… 

In this witty and engaging novel, Dana Barry, the Shopping Channel’s star host, stops by the company’s rooftop party to pitch the new CEO her brilliant idea that just might save the flagging business, her job and possibly her love life.

As she chats with the smarmy executive, he backs her into a dark corner. For Dana, it’s a quid pro oh-hell-no. She escapes his lecherous grasp and grabs her drink on her way to the dance floor. Woozy, she blacks out.

When she comes to, the CEO is dead, fallen from the roof. Or was he pushed? And if so, by whom? It’s hard to know, but one thing is certain: Dana was close enough to be suspect.

Sure, she loathed how the creep moved in on her, but she’s no killer. Or is she? Truth is, Dana can’t remember much about those minutes. Now she has to use all her skills to prove her innocence to everyone, including her police detective boyfriend—and herself.

Meister’s latest is fun and breezy, a compelling, suspenseful read that entertains and keeps you guessing.

April Weekly Kindle Haul #4

I can’t believe that we are already at the end of April! This month has flown by. I’m back today with some more great books to share with an emphasis on some free romances.

Kaely Quinn’s talents as an FBI behavior analyst are impossible to ignore, no matter how unorthodox her methods. But when a reporter outs her as the daughter of an infamous serial killer, she’s demoted to field agent and transferred to St. Louis.

When the same reporter who ruined her career claims to have received an anonymous poem predicting a string of murders, ending with Kaely’s, the reporter’s ulterior motives bring his claim into question. But when a body is found that fits the poem’s predictions, the threat is undeniable, and the FBI sends Special Agent Noah Hunter to St. Louis.

Initially resentful of the assignment, Noah is surprised at how quickly his respect for Kaely grows, despite her oddities. But with a brazen serial killer who breaks all the normal patterns on the loose, Noah and Kaely are tested to their limits to catch the murderer before anyone else–including Kaely herself–is killed.

The road to happily ever after has never been more hilarious… or complicated…

Grace Montgomery has a very simple plan. Fly to her younger brother’s wedding, stop the wedding, go home, make partner at her law firm. Almost getting arrested by air marshal Nick O’Connor? Not part of the plan. Neither was puking on him. (Don’t ask.) Finding out he’s her soon-to-be brother-in-law… also a minor setback to her plan. And don’t even get her started on her untimely attraction to the tall, dark, and dead-sexy jerk. 

If Nick had a plan, it wouldn’t include getting involved with a woman as complicated as Grace. It especially wouldn’t include road tripping with her to attend a week of pre-wedding family events. But as it turns out, traveling—and sparring — with the lovely, sharp-witted Grace is the most fun Nick’s had since, well, ever. And their sexual chemistry? Off. The. Charts.

It doesn’t take long for Grace to realize there’s a lot more to her air marshal than a pretty face and a big, um, gun. If she’s not careful, she just might lose her highly prized control — not to mention her heart — to Nick. But before Grace and Nick can set foot on the road to happily ever after, they’ll have to deal with Grace’s meddling ex, a slew of dysfunctional family members, and a contaminated pumpkin bisque (long story)… and that’s all before the end of day two. 

It’s gonna be a long, complicated week…

You Complicate Me is book 1 in the You Complicate Me duet, but both books can be read as a standalones. Book 2, You Wrecked Me, is also now available. This duet is not intended for anyone who doesn’t like characters who cuss, snarky banter, tons of nerdy pop culture references, and all manner of familial silliness. For the rest of you, happy reading!

After a traumatic few years, Leah picks up and moves to the small lake town of Cedarville Ohio. Ready to finally find herself – possibly for the first time – she joins her friends and together they open a new business in town. She never expected to love Cedarville so much nor did she expect her heart to fall for the HOT AS SIN police chief, Brandon. But when someone from her past starts causing problems for her in her new home, she has no choice but to put her trust, and her heart, in Brandon’s hands to keep her and her friends safe. 

Within these pages Mary Oliver collects twenty-six of her poems about the birds that have been such an important part of her life-hawks, hummingbirds, and herons; kingfishers, catbirds, and crows; swans, swallows, and, of course, the snowy owl; among a dozen others-including ten poems original to this volume. She adds two beautifully crafted essays, “Owls,” selected for the Best American Essays series, and “Bird,” one that will surely take its place among the classics of the genre.

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

Aspiring chef Sarah Thomas isn’t a very good liar, but when the opportunity to compete in a prestigious culinary contest presents itself, she jumps at the chance. Too bad the opportunity involves a whopper of a lie. She has to pretend to be engaged to playboy restauranteur Raffe Washburn. 

Raffe Washburn is sick of everyone chalking his success up to his father’s money. He’s desperate to prove he can achieve something on his own. So when his best friend suggests he borrow his culinary student assistant for the couples-only contest he’s all for it. 

It should be easy, right? Pretend to be engaged, cook some meals, and take the prize. 

But things get complicated fast, and they soon find themselves battling a backstabbing competitor, dodging an old enemy bent on seeing them lose, and trying to avoid their own feelings, which are suddenly spiraling out of control. 

Raffe discovers some things are more important than proving himself to his father and he can walk away with something worth a lot more than a trophy… if he can just stand the heat.

From the winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, her most personal book yet “What good company Mary Oliver is!” the Los Angeles Times has remarked. And never more so than in this extraordinary and engaging gathering of nine essays, accompanied by a brief selection of new prose poems and poems. (One of the essays has been chosen as among the best of the year by THE BEST AMERICAN ESSAYS 1998, another by The Anchor Essay Annual.) With the grace and precision that have won her legions of admirers, Oliver talks here of turtle eggs and housebuilding, of her surprise at an unexpected whistling she hears, of the “thousand unbreakable links between each of us and everything else.” She talks of her own poems and of some of her favorite poets: Poe, writing of “our inescapable destiny,” Frost and his ability to convey at once that “everything is all right, and everything is not all right,” the “unmistakably joyful” Hopkins, and Whitman, seeking through his poetry “the replication of a miracle.” And Oliver offers us a glimpse as well of her “private and natural self—something that must in the future be taken into consideration by any who would claim to know me.”

The mage-marked granddaughter of a ruler of Vaskandar, Ryx was destined for power and prestige at the top of Vaskandran society. But her magic is broken; all she can do is uncontrollably drain the life from everything she touches, and Vaskandar has no place for a mage with unusable powers.

Then, one night, two terrible accidents befall her: Ryx accidentally kills a visiting dignitary in self-defense, activating a mysterious magical artifact sealed in an ancient tower in the heart of her family’s castle.

Ryx flees, seeking a solution to her deadly magic. She falls in with a group of unlikely magical experts investigating the disturbance in Vaskandar—and Ryx realizes that her family is in danger and her domain is at stake. She and her new colleagues must return to the family stronghold to take control of the artifact that everyone wants to claim—before it destroys the world.

Straight out of college, five friends with a dream joined forces to build success. Ten years later, their exclusive fitness club, Flatiron Five Fitness, is the hottest destination in Manhattan. People flock to F5F to get fit, to get lucky, and even, to fall in love. The founding partners have been immune to F5F’s romantic spell—at least, so far…

Tyler McKay has a plan…
And it doesn’t include a serious relationship anytime soon. Between his day job and being a partner at Flatiron 5 Fitness, he’s busy investing in the future. But Ty knows that going stag to his sister’s wedding will encourage the family matchmakers: he needs a fake date, fast, in self-defense. When the one woman who hates him walks into F5F, Ty knows he’s found the perfect candidate—that Shannyn doesn’t play by anyone’s rules just leaves Ty wanting more…

Shannyn Hawke is done with plans and dreams…
She had her whole life mapped out, but it all went wrong. Now, she’s taking care of number one and living in the moment, with no concern for the future. If her college crush wants to trade a fake wedding date for physical satisfaction, Shannyn is in. But just one night proves that Tyler is everything she believes a guy should be, plus he takes it as a challenge to change her mind about him. Shannyn never wants to have her heart broken again, but she’s falling hard and fast. Can she remember that it’s just for show? Or will Tyler convince Shannyn to take a chance on forever again?

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.

A lot has changed in the years since Ambrosia Wellington graduated from college, and she’s worked hard to create a new life for herself. But then an invitation to her ten-year reunion arrives in the mail, along with an anonymous note that reads “We need to talk about what we did that night.” 

It seems that the secrets of Ambrosia’s past—and the people she thought she’d left there—aren’t as buried as she’d believed. Amb can’t stop fixating on what she did or who she did it with: larger-than-life Sloane “Sully” Sullivan, Amb’s former best friend, who could make anyone do anything. 

At the reunion, Amb and Sully receive increasingly menacing messages, and it becomes clear that they’re being pursued by someone who wants more than just the truth of what happened that first semester. This person wants revenge for what they did and the damage they caused—the extent of which Amb is only now fully understanding. And it was all because of the game they played to get a boy who belonged to someone else, and the girl who paid the price. 

Alternating between the reunion and Amb’s freshman year, The Girls Are All So Nice Here is a shocking novel about the brutal lengths girls can go to get what they think they’re owed, and what happens when the games we play in college become matters of life and death.

In a flat near Reykjavik city centre, a young man lies dead in a pool of blood although there are no signs of a break-in or any struggle. A woman’s purple shawl, found under the bed, gives off a strong and unusual aroma. A vial of narcotics found in the victim’s pocket among other clues soon lead Erlendur’s colleagues down a trail of hidden violence and psychological brutality, and of wrongs that will never be fully righted.

Desperate men do desperate things. 
When Decker Gabrielli hits rock bottom, he accepts a job as a hired companion at Infidelity. 
Surrendering a year of his life to a woman he’s never met might be the worst idea ever. But money, prestige, and sex are powerful incentives. That is, until the job becomes more than a contractual agreement. 
Hard limits are breached, panties are shredded, and rules are broken. 
In the end, his secret to getting ahead is… her.

Friendship turns into young love, a nasty breakup, and maybe a second chance. Can this billionaire make his great life perfect?

Blake Murphy wants redemption. More than that, he wants a second chance. He’d been avoiding his home town since the day he left for college. Trista Kennedy would be there and he had no idea how he’d face her after the way he’d treated her. But now he’d find out. His high school reunion was coming up and he’d see her then. 

Trista had moved on from Blake. Until she saw him when he came home for their high school reunion. He was handsome, rich, and easy going. He’d only been boyishly good looking in high school. So much had happened in a decade. 

Blake’s old flame – the one who’d come after he’d broken Trista’s heart – was ready to scoop him up again. Trista couldn’t even think about competing with her. She’d never outshine the former cheerleader and constant social butterfly. But she felt something. Yearning. What might have been. Regret. She thought he felt it, too. 

Is there a chance to mend broken relationships in the heat of a small Arizona town after a decade apart? 

My name is Matt Connover. I am a Litigation God. Other lawyers quake before me. Women crawl on their knees just to spend the night in my bed and when I’m finished with them, I walk away without a backward glance. I am well satisfied with my life and there isn’t a damn thing I’d change about it.

That is, until McKayla Dawson came along.

She was meant to be for one night only. But she got under my skin, and now I want her back underneath my body.

It’s torture working with her in my law firm… day in and day out. But I have to think maybe the Fates have intervened to throw us together because she is unlike anyone I’ve ever known, and thus I need to pay careful attention to these Legal Affairs.

****
Confessions of a Litigation God is a stand alone, full length novel. It follows the affair of Matt Connover and McKayla Dawson as told in Legal Affairs. This book is told strictly from Matt’s point of view and has many additional scenes as well as an extended epilogue. You do not need to have read Legal Affairs to enjoy this novel.

Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Mary Oliver presents a personal selection of her best work in this definitive collection spanning more than five decades of her esteemed literary career.

Throughout her celebrated career, Mary Oliver has touched countless readers with her brilliantly crafted verse, expounding on her love for the physical world and the powerful bonds between all living things. Identified as “far and away, this country’s best selling poet” by Dwight Garner, she now returns with a stunning and definitive collection of her writing from the last fifty years. 

Carefully curated, these 200 plus poems feature Oliver’s work from her very first book of poetry, No Voyage and Other Poems, published in 1963 at the age of 28, through her most recent collection, Felicity, published in 2015. This timeless volume, arranged by Oliver herself, showcases the beloved poet at her edifying best. Within these pages, she provides us with an extraordinary and invaluable collection of her passionate, perceptive, and much-treasured observations of the natural world.

A mysterious mansion, a suspicious death, and a cat too smart for its own good…

When Laura Lee took the summer job as a housekeeper at the old Thornberry Estate, she knew it was a creepy place, but she had no idea how creepy. Mrs. Fitzwater warned her to keep her mind on her work and her nose in her own business, but one thing after another leads her astray, between the mansion giving up its puzzles as she goes about her work, fun secrets to share with the clever ladies in her book club who are always up for a mystery, and a cat that seems to know more than she does.

The death of a chauffeur just outside the estate gates changes everything and suddenly creepy turns to deadly as Laura Lee finds herself in the middle of a murder investigation. When the police seem unable to solve the crime, can Laura Lee and her intrepid club find the killer before the killer finds Laura Lee?

After five years of wasting my Journalism Degree writing an advice column, my editor offers me my first real assignment.

Too bad I’ll have to work alongside a Private Investigator from out of town.

Enter Grayson Cole.

The broody and secretive bad boy who took my V-Card eight summers ago then broke my heart.

After years of hating Grayson for leaving without saying goodbye, now I’m the only person who can pose as his girlfriend.

Between the long hours working together and the public displays of affection, it’s getting harder to tell what’s real.

I need to walk away before history repeats itself.

But when Grayson shows up at my door in the middle of the night and tells me why he really came back…

What started out as fake, becomes dangerously real…

An all-new STANDALONE from New York Times bestselling author Julia Kent

It all started with the wrong Help Wanted ad. Of course it did.

I’m a professional fluffer. It’s NOT what you think. I stage homes for a living. Real estate agents love me, and my work stands on its own merits.

Sigh. Get your mind out of the gutter. Go ahead. Laugh. I’ll wait.

See? That’s the problem. My career has used the term “fluffer” for decades. I didn’t even know there was a more… lascivious definition of the term.

Until it was too late. 

The ad for a “professional fluffer” on Craigslist seemed like divine intervention. My last unemployment check was in the bank. I was desperate. Rent was due. The ad said cash paid at the end of the day. The perfect job! 

Staging homes means showing your best angle. The same principle applies in making a certain kind of movie. Turns out a “fluffer” doesn’t arrange decorative pillows on a couch.

They arrange other soft, round-ish objects.

The job isn’t hard. Er, I mean, it is — it’s about being hard. Or, well… helping other people to be hard.

Oh, man…

And that’s the other problem. A man. No, not one of the stars on the movie set. Will Lotham – my high school crush. The owner of the house where we’re filming. Illegally. In a vacation rental.

By the time the cops show up, what I thought was just a great house staging gig turned into a nightmare involving pictures of me with an undressed star, Will rescuing me from an arrest, and a humiliating lesson in my own naivete.

My job turned out to be so much harder than I expected. But you know what’s easier than I ever imagined?

Having all my dreams come true.

Calliope Thorne is a good girl. A straight-A student, a rule follower, and an aspiring ballerina. 

But most of all, she’s a good sister to her four older brothers. 

Brothers whom she loves and adores to pieces. Brothers who love and adore her to pieces in return. 

And who hate just one and one thing only–Reed Jackson. 

Rich, arrogant, and the most popular guy at Bardstown High, Reed is Callie’s brothers’ enemy and she has sworn to stay away from him. 

Until one night when she wanders into the woods and finds herself in his clutches. A villain with pretty gray eyes and a seductive smirk.

Until he asks her to dance for him with a look in those eyes that makes her forget why falling for her brothers’ enemy is a bad idea.

NOTE: This is a 40,000-word prequel novella for A GORGEOUS VILLAIN. The story concludes in A GORGEOUS VILLAIN.

When American resort tycoon Martin Walker travels to England in hopes of acquiring a lonely island off the northeastern coast, he brings his family along for the trip. Only then does he learn the island’s long-abandoned keep carries with it a legacy of terror.

Some say the ghosts of Viking raiders, clad in wolf-skins and drunk on slaughter, still haunt its twisted architecture. Some say the island itself is cursed. An ancient, hateful force slumbers within the windswept rock—and the Walker family has awakened it.

Can anyone escape THE BLACK LAND?

An acclaimed bestseller and international sensation, Patrick Suskind’s classic novel provokes a terrifying examination of what happens when one man’s indulgence in his greatest passion—his sense of smell—leads to murder.

In the slums of eighteenth-century France, the infant Jean-Baptiste Grenouille is born with one sublime gift—an absolute sense of smell. As a boy, he lives to decipher the odors of Paris, and apprentices himself to a prominent perfumer who teaches him the ancient art of mixing precious oils and herbs. But Grenouille’s genius is such that he is not satisfied to stop there, and he becomes obsessed with capturing the smells of objects such as brass doorknobs and fresh-cut wood. Then one day he catches a hint of a scent that will drive him on an ever-more-terrifying quest to create the “ultimate perfume”—the scent of a beautiful young virgin. Told with dazzling narrative brilliance, Perfume is a hauntingly powerful tale of murder and sensual depravity.

Using unprecedented, dramatically compelling sleuthing techniques, legendary statistician and baseball writer Bill James applies his analytical acumen to crack an unsolved century-old mystery surrounding one of the deadliest serial killers in American history.

Between 1898 and 1912, families across the country were bludgeoned in their sleep with the blunt side of an axe. Jewelry and valuables were left in plain sight, bodies were piled together, faces covered with cloth. Some of these cases, like the infamous Villasca, Iowa, murders, received national attention. But few people believed the crimes were related. And fewer still would realize that all of these families lived within walking distance to a train station.

When celebrated baseball statistician and true crime expert Bill James first learned about these horrors, he began to investigate others that might fit the same pattern. Applying the same know-how he brings to his legendary baseball analysis, he empirically determined which crimes were committed by the same person. Then after sifting through thousands of local newspapers, court transcripts, and public records, he and his daughter Rachel made an astonishing discovery: they learned the true identity of this monstrous criminal. In turn, they uncovered one of the deadliest serial killers in America.

Riveting and immersive, with writing as sharp as the cold side of an axe, The Man from the Train paints a vivid, psychologically perceptive portrait of America at the dawn of the twentieth century, when crime was regarded as a local problem, and opportunistic private detectives exploited a dysfunctional judicial system. James shows how these cultural factors enabled such an unspeakable series of crimes to occur, and his groundbreaking approach to true crime will convince skeptics, amaze aficionados, and change the way we view criminal history.

The day of my best friend’s wedding, I’m the one rocking the strapless red taffeta and chef’s apron ensemble, running on zero sleep. Being both the event caterer and a bridesmaid is crazy, I know. But, I’m a pro. This is my seventh wedding after all—as bridesmaid, that is. Pretty sure that’s some kind of town record.

Still, no amount of my trademark meticulous planning could’ve possibly prepared me to see him again. The prodigal Doctor Dreamy himself, Mason Stewart. My first (and only) love who disappeared without a word literally the day after proposing to me.

What the heck is he doing back in Bliss River? And how is it at all fair that he looks this good? Also, holy crap, why is he coming this way?

* * * * *

There she is. Somehow even more beautiful than I remember. This overdue apology is one I’ve rehearsed since the day I left, pulverized by my own family, positive I’d never be good enough for the only girl I’ve ever loved. Took a lot of both time and therapy, but I finally managed to fix what they broke. And now I’m here to repair what I broke.

I know Lark. She’ll see this second chance I’m hoping for as a no-strings fling so we can each get closure and move on. Right. Like it’s just that easy. You don’t move on from a woman like Lark. And I’m pretty sure a clothing-optional arrangement will make that feat infinitely more impossible.

Still, it’s a start—a way for Lark to see the man I’ve become. A man who isn’t looking for a fling, but rather, matching rings, kids, the whole nine yards.

Librarian and aspiring PI Mira James has discovered one corpse a month for each of the eleven months she’s lived in Battle Lake, Minnesota. She’d give her left foot to break that streak this April.

But when she stumbles across a disturbing note, and a Battle Lake girl vanishes, she has no choice except to get involved.

She follows the note’s trail and is horrified to discover that it leads to her father, who died 13 years earlier. It’s a race against the clock to crack the secret he carried to his grave in time to save the girl. Meanwhile, chiseled police chief Gary Wohnt is scrutinizing her every move, aching to finally put her behind bars, and Johnny, her sexy boyfriend, is planning a surprise for her. Problem is, she doesn’t know if it’s a marriage proposal or an intervention.

As Mrs. Berns and Mira take on their final case together, Mira discovers it’s more personal than she could have imagined, and that she holds not only the life of the vanished girl but the fate of all Battle Lake in her hands.

April Fools is the twelfth in an ongoing series featuring Mira James, an urban woman with rural Minnesota roots. The books can be read in any order; each novel stands alone.

NYT Bestselling Carrie Ann Ryan continues her Montgomery Ink series with a forbidden romance worth the risk.

Decker Kendrick has kept away from her for years, but now his best friend’s little sister is stepping up the game. No matter how hard he’s tried to stay away from Miranda, once she sets her sights on him, there’s no backing down.

Miranda Montgomery has loved her brother’s best friend for as long as she can remember and won’t walk away until he knows how she feels and what they could have together.

Only once they give in to their temptations, not all is at it seems. Decker’s father is out of jail, and someone from Miranda’s past refuses to stay away. And if he isn’t careful, Decker will lose her before they even have a chance.

In a sprint, every millisecond counts.  
When you’re waiting for love, those milliseconds can feel like eons.  

High school senior Lucas Preston has it all: star of the track team, a scholarship waiting for him, an apartment to himself and a revolving door of girlfriends. He also has an older sister, five younger brothers and a father who relies on him to make sure those brothers don’t kill each other.  
His saving grace? Lois “Laney” Sanders, a girl he started to fall in like with when he was just eleven. 
A girl who became his best friend, his confidant, his courage.  

It took only sixteen clicks and eight seconds for Lucas to realize that his like for Laney had turned into love.   
Eight life-changing seconds.  
It’s also the exact length of time it took to lose her.

Welcome to Three Pines, where the cruelest month is about to deliver on its threat.

It’s spring in the tiny, forgotten village; buds are on the trees and the first flowers are struggling through the newly thawed earth. But not everything is meant to return to life. . . 

When some villagers decide to celebrate Easter with a séance at the Old Hadley House, they are hoping to rid the town of its evil—until one of their party dies of fright. Was this a natural death, or was the victim somehow helped along?

Brilliant, compassionate Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Sûreté du Québec is called to investigate, in a case that will force him to face his own ghosts as well as those of a seemingly idyllic town where relationships are far more dangerous than they seem.

The Stranger appears out of nowhere, perhaps in a bar, or a parking lot, or at the grocery store. His identity is unknown. His motives are unclear. His information is undeniable. Then he whispers a few words in your ear and disappears, leaving you picking up the pieces of your shattered world.

Adam Price has a lot to lose: a comfortable marriage to a beautiful woman, two wonderful sons, and all the trappings of the American Dream: a big house, a good job, a seemingly perfect life.

Then he runs into the Stranger. When he learns a devastating secret about his wife, Corinne, he confronts her, and the mirage of perfection disappears as if it never existed at all. Soon Adam finds himself tangled in something far darker than even Corinne’s deception, and realizes that if he doesn’t make exactly the right moves, the conspiracy he’s stumbled into will not only ruin lives—it will end them.

Jackson Brodie, ex-military police, ex-Cambridge Constabulary, currently working as a private investigator, makes a highly anticipated return, nine years after the last Brodie, Started Early, Took My Dog.

Jackson Brodie has relocated to a quiet seaside village, in the occasional company of his recalcitrant teenage son and an aging Labrador, both at the discretion of his ex-partner Julia. It’s picturesque, but there’s something darker lurking behind the scenes.

Jackson’s current job, gathering proof of an unfaithful husband for his suspicious wife, is fairly standard-issue, but a chance encounter with a desperate man on a crumbling cliff leads him into a sinister network—and back across the path of his old friend Reggie. Old secrets and new lies intersect in this breathtaking novel by one of the most dazzling and surprising writers at work today.

Now from the mind of a true master of suspense comes the next chapter in Bird Box. This time, Malorie is front and center, and she will confront the dangers of her world head-on.

Twelve years after Malorie and her children rowed up the river to safety, a blindfold is still the only thing that stands between sanity and madness. One glimpse of the creatures that stalk the world will drive a person to unspeakable violence. There remains no explanation. No solution.

All Malorie can do is survive.
But then comes what feels like impossible news. And with it, the first time Malorie has allowed herself to hope. Someone very dear to her, someone she believed dead, may be alive.

Malorie has a harrowing choice to make: to live by the rules of survival that have served her so well, or to venture into the darkness and reach for hope once more.

~Cassie

Stitching Saturday 4.24.21

Sorry to be posting this so late but I had a busy last few days and I am feeling it today. I’m also slightly disappointed that I can’t show off my Pajama cardigan that I fully finished last night! It isn’t perfect but I’m really pleased that I can wear something that I made. The weather has been so beautiful where I live but today is the start of a multi day storm so there was no sun to take pictures. So, I’m going to have to wait until next Saturday to show it off. Which maybe works out better since I plan on wearing on Monday to my infusion so I will have a better idea of how comfortable it is. I will also review the pattern next week because I do have some critiques. For today I thought I would share what I plan on starting next month.

Cross Stitch

I have been talking about Stitch Maynia for so long and it is finally almost here! I ended up creating a separate wheel on my Tiny Decisions app where I put the cross stitch pieces I want to start into categories. Like Christmas stitching, ornaments, Stitching with the Housewives, Etsy charts and a couple of other categories. For the month of May I will also be sharing what I start each Saturday (unless it’s a gift) since I won’t be going back to the them again until Maynia is over.

Knitting

My 9 year old son, Hunter, asked me to make him something and he is big into stuffed animals so this is what he picked. It is a free pattern that can be found on Ravelry (if you click on the picture it will take you to the page). It is called Henry’s rabbit by Sara Elizabeth Kellner but I’m obviously going to rename it Hunter’s rabbit. I’ve been getting more comfortable with DPN’s (double pointed needles) and I just stitched my Pajama cardigan together so I feel fairly confident that I can make something that will at least somewhat resemble a rabbit.

Diamond Painting

I bought this 3 pack of chalkboard inspired diamond painting on Amazon and I’m excited to work on them even though I haven’t worked on diamond painting in about six weeks since it never comes up on my wheel. This might be the last diamond painting that I add to my wheel since I’m about to add 31 cross stitch patterns to it so the chances of diamond painting coming up are even slimmer.

One thing I haven’t figured out is how I’m going to incorporate extra knitting and diamond painting into my schedule next month. I will still be doing my morning knitting so I need to work out which pocket of time I will try to work on extra crafting. I feel like I want to work on Maynia throughout the day but I also don’t want to burn myself out so I guess I will just play it by ear and if I need a break I can work on something else.

~Cassie

Wolf Hall (Thomas Cromwell #1) By Hilary Mantel

Publication Date: April 30, 2009

Publisher: Picador USA

Pages: 604

Genre: Historical Fiction

Rating: 5/5

I have wanted to read this book since I first heard about it because I used to be somewhat obsessed with Tudor history and I’m still very interested in it. It is such a fascinating and rich history that Mantel does an impeccable job of transporting the reader to. Most of my focus on Tudor history has been on the women so I only knew Thomas Cromwell from the periphery of those stories. And what I did read of him he always played a villainous figure. There are times in this book where he undoubtedly is, (and I’m interested in how he fares in the second book) but Mantel really humanizes him and fleshes him out to be a wonderfully complex character.

This first book in the Thomas Cromwell trilogy follows along with Cromwell in the turbulent early 1500’s as King Henry Vlll is trying to divorce his wife, Queen Katherine, of twenty years to marry his mistress, Anne Boleyn. This upheaval dramatically shapes the future of England and this book is a riveting look at what life was like during that time.

I loved everything about this book but one of my favorite things about Mantel’s writing is how she so easily transports the reader to the 1500’s. There were many times during this book that I felt that I was really there and could see the scenes so vividly in my head. It was almost impossible to put this book down because I was so captivated by the writing and all the incredible detail that Mantel seamlessly weaves into the story. I also really admire how everything that is brought up in the story serves a purpose and will eventually be brought back up again in an unexpected way or time.

The formatting of the story was also creatively and impressively done. It doesn’t follow a linear path, which some readers may not like, but I think the way Mantel moves through time helps to tell a stronger story. It would be helpful, especially in the beginning, to have some knowledge of the events of Cromwell’s life because we are only seeing things through Cromwell’s point of view so the full picture of some historical events isn’t shown. But I don’t think it is necessary to enjoying the story other then maybe making it a little easier to ease into reading it. The latter half of the book the events slow down which makes the book even more enthralling than it already was. There are also a lot of different characters to keep track of which can be more challenging if you don’t already have some knowledge of some of them. I will say that if you just keep reading that the more the characters pop up the easier it will be to distinguish them.

I am really looking forward to picking up the second book in the Thomas Cromwell trilogy, Bringing Up the Bodies, since that one deals with the fall of Queen Anne and the rise of Jane Seymour. In my opinion, Anne Boleyn is one of the most fascinating historical figures and I am really intrigued to see how Mantel deals with the end of her story. I also find the relationship between Cromwell and Anne (well, her whole family, really) to be interesting. If you love historical fiction and haven’t yet picked up this book then I implore you to give it a look. Mantel is a true master of her craft and very deserving of all the praise that she receives. I would also highly recommend this book if you are looking for a phenomenally written piece of literature. The story of Thomas Cromwell has all the things needed for a good story. Romance, humor, death, political intrigue, murder, love, family and it is, mostly, all true.

~Cassie

*Note: I am adding this at the bottom of my review because it seems disingenuous to add it after the fact since it never occurred to me while writing it to bring up the way Mantel uses (or overuses) the word “he”. And that is because I never even noticed that she does it. Which I don’t know what that says about me since it seems like almost every review on Goodreads mentions it! But I was never confused about who was speaking or who each person was speaking to. But I also thought maybe I should mention it here since it seems like everyone but me noticed it.

Dewey’s 24 Hr Readathon TBR

This Saturday, April 24, is the next round of Dewey’s 24 hour readathon and I have decided to participate for the first time ever. My 11 year old is planning on joining me since he says he has a lot of books that he needs to catch up on. I don’t know where he gets that from 😉 The whole family will be supporting us by joining in with some reading and lots of snacking but Connor and I are both aiming to read as much as possible on Saturday. I’m even thinking of letting him stay up and we can do the first hour from midnight to one before getting some sleep and going hard when we wake up. I will link to Dewey’s Goodreads group here where you can find all the info and a link to the Bingo board that they created. I have curated my TBR based on the board and I will be sharing all the book prompts here today. There are some other fun prompts involving food and what you wear. There are some reading prompts that I’m not even attempting because my goal is to read a lot of graphic novels and shorter reads which wouldn’t work for some of them. Like the oldest book on my TBR is a classic and that would take up a lot of the readathon just for that one read. Although you only need to read 50 pages for a book to count towards a prompt but I also want to be careful that I’m not starting things I can’t finish since I have been working on cutting down on my started books list. As always with my TBR’s I have come up with a book for each prompt and then I will just pick and choose on Saturday what I read and then for my wrap up I will come up with my (hopeful) different bingos.

Read a book that has won an award

This has won a few different awards including Goodreads 2018 choice awards graphic novels & comics

Helloooo, Internet Land. Bitty here!

Y’all… I might not be ready for this. I may be a former junior figure skating champion, vlogger extraordinaire, and very talented amateur pâtissier, but being a freshman on the Samwell University hockey team is a whole new challenge. It’s nothing like co-ed club hockey back in Georgia! First of all? There’s checking. And then, there is Jack—our very attractive but moody captain.

A collection of the first half of the megapopular webcomic series of the same name, Check, Please!: #Hockey is the first book of a hilarious and stirring two-volume coming-of-age story about hockey, bros, and trying to find yourself during the best four years of your life.

Read a book with no supernatural elements

Death comes to dine… 

When an elegant dinner party with friends ends in the sudden death of a beautiful young socialite, Alice Beckingham finds herself a witness to murder. Intrigued by a cryptic note in which the victim predicts her own demise, Alice enlists the aid of the cunning but slippery Sherborne Sharp to investigate.

Alice has more than one killer to contend with, however, as her family continues to be plagued by unanswered questions surrounding an older unsolved mystery.

Working together, the lady detective and her jewel thief partner set out to trap a killer. But will the looming shadows of the past leave Alice blind to the dangers of the present?

Read a book with an unique cover

I’m reading this with my buddy reading group and I’m pretty sure I am supposed to read more than 50 pages on Saturday.

A thrilling, seductive new series from New York Times bestselling author Sarah J. Maas, blending Beauty and the Beast with faerie lore.

When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she’s been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.

Perfect for fans of Kristin Cashore and George R. R. Martin, this first book in a sexy and action-packed new series is impossible to put down!

Read a humorous book

I received an ARC of this book and I have been dying to get to it. It comes out May 18.

Single mom Jess Davis is a data and statistics wizard, but no amount of number crunching can convince her to step back into the dating world. Raised by her grandparents–who now help raise her seven-year-old daughter, Juno–Jess has been left behind too often to feel comfortable letting anyone in. After all, her father’s never been around, her hard-partying mother disappeared when she was six, and her ex decided he wasn’t “father material” before Juno was even born. Jess holds her loved ones close, but working constantly to stay afloat is hard…and lonely.

But then Jess hears about GeneticAlly, a buzzy new DNA-based matchmaking company that’s predicted to change dating forever. Finding a soulmate through DNA? The reliability of numbers: This Jess understands. At least she thought she did, until her test shows an unheard-of 98% compatibility with another subject in the database: GeneticAlly’s founder, Dr. River Pena. This is one number she can’t wrap her head around, because she already knows Dr. Pena. The stuck-up, stubborn man is without a doubt not her soulmate. But GeneticAlly has a proposition: Get to know him and we’ll pay you. Jess–who is barely making ends meet–is in no position to turn it down, despite her skepticism about the project and her dislike for River. As the pair are dragged from one event to the next as the “Diamond” pairing that could make GeneticAlly a mint in stock prices, Jess begins to realize that there might be more to the scientist–and the science behind a soulmate–than she thought.

Funny, warm, and full of heart, The Soulmate Equation proves that the delicate balance between fate and choice can never be calculated.

Read a book with a one word title

Introducing… Cheryl Blossom! The fiery red-head takes center stage as Archie and Veronica’s worlds are torn apart as the two are living thousands of miles away from each other. What will happen to the rest of Archie’s friends in Riverdale? And just what kind of havoc will Cheryl Blossom wreak? All the answers and more in the third volume of the SMASH HIT Archie series! Collects Archie issues 13 – 17.

Read a standalone

Tempest Clarke has something to celebrate. She has signed the biggest contract of her career and books a private chef for a celebratory dinner with her best friend. She goes through with the dinner after her best friend unexpectedly cancels. The private chef, Russ Bradley, is nothing like Tempest expected and she definitely isn’t prepared for the chemistry that smolders between them like the hottest flame. It doesn’t take long before Tempest decides that the dinner Russ cooks up won’t be the only thing to get ATE.

Reread a favorite

Through the story of an ordinary man unwittingly drawn into a senseless murder on an Algerian beach, Camus explored what he termed “the nakedness of man faced with the absurd.” First published in English in 1946; now in a new translation by Matthew Ward.

A book set in spring or summer

A new love, a secret sister, and a summer she’ll never forget. 

When Abby signs up for a DNA service, it’s mainly to give her friend and secret love interest, Leo, a nudge. After all, she knows who she is already: Avid photographer. Injury-prone tree climber. Best friend to Leo and Connie … although ever since the B.E.I. (Big Embarrassing Incident) with Leo, things have been awkward on that front.

But she didn’t know she’s a younger sister.

When the DNA service reveals Abby has a secret sister, shimmery-haired Instagram star Savannah Tully, it’s hard to believe they’re from the same planet, never mind the same parents—especially considering Savannah, queen of green smoothies, is only a year and a half older than Abby herself.

The logical course of action? Meet up at summer camp (obviously) and figure out why Abby’s parents gave Savvy up for adoption. But there are complications: Savvy is a rigid rule-follower and total narc. Leo is the camp’s co-chef, putting Abby’s growing feelings for him on blast. And her parents have a secret that threatens to unravel everything.

But part of life is showing up, leaning in, and learning to fit all your awkward pieces together. Because sometimes, the hardest things can also be the best ones.

Read a book with a character that shares similar characteristics to you

As autumn washes over coastal Sea Harbor, Massachusetts, the Seaside Knitters anticipate a relaxing off-season. But when murder shatters the peace, the craftiest bunch in town must unravel a killer’s deadly scheme . . .

After retrieving fresh lobster nets from a local Laundromat, Cass Halloran rushes to attend a last-minute gathering with her knitting circle. But Cass can’t stop worrying about the lonely boy seen hanging around the dryers, and the school uniform he left behind in a hurry. When the ladies return the lost clothing the next day, they find the child and his younger sister alone, seemingly abandoned by their mother . . .

The knitters intend to facilitate a family reunion, not investigate a crime. But the death of Dolores Cardozo, a recluse from the edge of town, throws the group for a loop. Especially when the missing mother and one of their own become tied to the victim’s hidden fortune—and her murder . . .

Before scandalous secrets break bonds and rumors tear Sea Harbor apart, the Seaside Knitters need to string together the truth about Dolores—while preventing a greedy murderer from making another move!

* Includes a knitting pattern *

Read a book with an animal on the cover

A tale of revenge, cultural identity, and the cost of breaking from tradition.

The Only Good Indians follows four American Indian men after a disturbing event from their youth puts them in a desperate struggle for their lives. Tracked by an entity bent on revenge, these childhood friends are helpless as the culture and traditions they left behind catch up to them in a violent, vengeful way.

Read a book recommended or gifted to you

There are two sides to every story: yours and mine, ours and theirs, His & Hers. Which means someone is always lying. 

When a woman is murdered in Blackdown, a quintessentially British village, newsreader Anna Andrews is reluctant to cover the case. Detective Jack Harper is suspicious of her involvement, until he becomes a suspect in his own murder investigation. Someone isn’t telling the truth, and some secrets are worth killing to keep. 

His & Hers is a twisty, smart, psychological thriller. A gripping tale of suspense, told by expertly-drawn narrators that will keep readers guessing until the very end.

~Cassie

WWW Wednesday 4.21.21

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’m finally reading ACOTAR for the first time! I knew going into it that I probably wouldn’t enjoy it as much as Crescent City and that is proving to be true. I actually think this book is pretty boring and repetitive. I have read through Chapter 19 and I can count on one hand the amount of things that have happened. Which would be fine but I also don’t really care for any of the characters. Nothing they do makes sense and everything feels so forced between everyone. With that being said I’m not hating reading it and I actually find it impressive how much Maas’s writing has improved since this book. I do expect once I pass the half way point that things will pick up but for right now I’m just enjoying reading a few chapters a day this week.

I’m about a quarter of the way through Soulless and it is so far different than the other books in the series. This one has been a lot of telling and not a lot of anything significant happening. What I enjoy about this series is that I never know where Frazier is going to take the story which keeps me wanting to read them.

What have you recently finished reading?

Tell No Lies by Allison Brennan

I finished and absolutely loved Wolf Hall. My review for this will be up on Friday. I’m looking forward to picking up the second book in this trilogy next month.

I did try to to read The Fiddler by Beverly Lewis and I ended up DNF’ing it pretty quickly. I don’t know what it is but something about the writing was rubbing me the wrong way. I might try another Beverly Lewis book in the future but I don’t want to put myself into a slump by reading something I’m just not enjoying.

What do you think you’ll read next?

I own quite a few Jeff Vandermeer books because I hear such amazing things about them but this will be the first one that I read. I was lucky enough to get an ARC from Netgalley (although this book already came out earlier this month) and I want to make sure that I get to it this month.

~Cassie