November TBR

I can’t believe that we are so close to the end of the year! It is such a cliche to say but this year really has flown by. The past couple of months have been busy and I think that trend is going to continue throughout the rest of the year. I am extremely behind in reviews and blog posts in general. Right now I am in the midst of my 6hr infusion for my MOGAD and so I’m taking advantage of this time to get some posts done. For November I have put together a list of books that I want to read but I also will be trying to mood read so I’m not sure how many of these I will get too. I pulled books from my 12 to read in 2021 list since I am woefully behind on those. It is also Netgalley November and Nonfiction November so I have a couple of books for those as well. I also have some review books that I need to read by the end of the month but those are holiday romances and I can usually read those in a sitting or two. I would also like to participate in Believeathon but I haven’t made a TBR for that and will just randomly pick prompts throughout the month.

Solving cold cases from the comfort of your living room…

The Skeleton Crew provides an entree into the gritty and tumultuous world of Sherlock Holmes – wannabes who race to beat out law enforcement – and one another – at matching missing persons with unidentified remains.

In America today, upwards of forty thousand people are dead and unaccounted for. These murder, suicide, and accident victims, separated from their names, are being adopted by the bizarre online world of amateur sleuths.

It’s DIY CSI.

The web sleuths pore over facial reconstructions (a sort of Facebook for the dead), and other online clues as they vie to solve cold cases, and tally up personal scorecards of dead bodies. The Skeleton Crew delves into the macabre underside of the Internet, the fleeting nature of identity, and how even the most ordinary citizen with a laptop, and a knack for puzzles, can reinvent herself as a web sleuth.

I read 39 pages of this last month and I’m carrying it over because the buzzword for November is “lost”.

The Blair Witch Project meets Midsommar in this brilliantly disturbing thriller from Camilla Sten, an electrifying new voice in suspense.

Documentary filmmaker Alice Lindstedt has been obsessed with the vanishing residents of the old mining town, dubbed “The Lost Village,” since she was a little girl. In 1959, her grandmother’s entire family disappeared in this mysterious tragedy, and ever since, the unanswered questions surrounding the only two people who were left—a woman stoned to death in the town center and an abandoned newborn—have plagued her. She’s gathered a small crew of friends in the remote village to make a film about what really happened.

But there will be no turning back.

Not long after they’ve set up camp, mysterious things begin to happen. Equipment is destroyed. People go missing. As doubt breeds fear and their very minds begin to crack, one thing becomes startlingly clear to Alice:

They are not alone.

They’re looking for the truth…
But what if it finds them first?

From the bestselling author of The House Guest comes a chilling story set deep in the woods…

With his marriage over and his career in freefall, journalist Tom decides to reconnect with his fourteen-year-old daughter, Frankie. Desperate to spend precious time together now that they live an ocean apart, he brings her to Hollow Falls, a cabin resort deep in the woods of Maine.

From the outset there’s something a little eerie about the place—strange whispers in the trees, windchimes echoing through the forest—but when Tom meets true-crime podcasters David and Connie, he receives a chilling warning. Hollow Falls has a gruesome history: twenty years ago this week, a double slaying shut down the resort. The crime was never solved, and now the woods are overrun with murder-obsessed tourists looking to mark the grim anniversary.

It’s clear that there’s something deeply disturbing going on at Hollow Falls. And as Tom’s dream trip turns into a nightmare, he and Frankie are faced with a choice: uncover the truth, or get out while they still can.

On November 15, 1959, in the small town of Holcomb, Kansas, four members of the Clutter family were savagely murdered by blasts from a shotgun held a few inches from their faces. There was no apparent motive for the crime, and there were almost no clues. 

As Truman Capote reconstructs the murder and the investigation that led to the capture, trial, and execution of the killers, he generates both mesmerizing suspense and astonishing empathy. In Cold Blood is a work that transcends its moment, yielding poignant insights into the nature of American violence.

The Vignes twin sisters will always be identical. But after growing up together in a small, southern black community and running away at age sixteen, it’s not just the shape of their daily lives that is different as adults, it’s everything: their families, their communities, their racial identities. Many years later, one sister lives with her black daughter in the same southern town she once tried to escape. The other passes for white, and her white husband knows nothing of her past. Still, even separated by so many miles and just as many lies, the fates of the twins remain intertwined. What will happen to the next generation, when their own daughters’ storylines intersect?

Weaving together multiple strands and generations of this family, from the Deep South to California, from the 1950s to the 1990s, Brit Bennett produces a story that is at once a riveting, emotional family story and a brilliant exploration of the American history of passing. Looking well beyond issues of race, The Vanishing Half considers the lasting influence of the past as it shapes a person’s decisions, desires, and expectations, and explores some of the multiple reasons and realms in which people sometimes feel pulled to live as something other than their origins.

Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. Life is hell for all the slaves, but especially bad for Cora; an outcast even among her fellow Africans, she is coming into womanhood—where even greater pain awaits. When Caesar, a recent arrival from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they decide to take a terrifying risk and escape. Matters do not go as planned—Cora kills a young white boy who tries to capture her. Though they manage to find a station and head north, they are being hunted.

In Whitehead’s ingenious conception, the Underground Railroad is no mere metaphor—engineers and conductors operate a secret network of tracks and tunnels beneath the Southern soil. Cora and Caesar’s first stop is South Carolina, in a city that initially seems like a haven. But the city’s placid surface masks an insidious scheme designed for its black denizens. And even worse: Ridgeway, the relentless slave catcher, is close on their heels. Forced to flee again, Cora embarks on a harrowing flight, state by state, seeking true freedom.

Like the protagonist of Gulliver’s Travels, Cora encounters different worlds at each stage of her journey—hers is an odyssey through time as well as space. As Whitehead brilliantly re-creates the unique terrors for black people in the pre–Civil War era, his narrative seamlessly weaves the saga of America from the brutal importation of Africans to the unfulfilled promises of the present day. The Underground Railroad is at once a kinetic adventure tale of one woman’s ferocious will to escape the horrors of bondage and a shattering, powerful meditation on the history we all share.

In this compulsively readable novel of domestic suspense, a young woman takes comfort in reconnecting with her childhood nanny after her father’s death, until she starts to uncover secrets the nanny has been holding for twenty years.

Sue Keller is lost. When her father dies suddenly, she’s orphaned in her mid-twenties, her mother already long gone. Then Sue meets Annie. It’s been twenty years, but Annie could never forget that face. She was Sue’s live-in nanny at their big house upstate, and she loved Sue like she was her own.

Craving connection and mothering, Sue is only too eager to welcome Annie back into her life; but as they become inseparable once again, Sue starts to uncover the truth about Annie’s unsettling time in the Keller house all those years ago, particularly the manner of her departure—or dismissal. At the same time, she begins to grow increasingly alarmed for the safety of the two new charges currently in Annie’s care.

Told in alternating points of views—Annie in the mid-’90s and Sue in the present day—this taut novel of suspense will keep readers turning the pages right up to the shocking end.

An unconventional vicar moves to a remote corner of the English countryside, only to discover a community haunted by death and disappearances both past and present–and intent on keeping its dark secrets–in this explosive, unsettling thriller from acclaimed author C. J. Tudor.

Welcome to Chapel Croft. Five hundred years ago, eight protestant martyrs were burned at the stake here. Thirty years ago, two teenage girls disappeared without a trace. And two months ago, the vicar of the local parish killed himself.

Reverend Jack Brooks, a single parent with a fourteen-year-old daughter and a heavy conscience, arrives in the village hoping to make a fresh start and find some peace. Instead, Jack finds a town mired in secrecy and a strange welcome package: an old exorcism kit and a note quoting scripture. “But there is nothing covered up that will not be revealed and hidden that will not be known.”

The more Jack and her daughter Flo get acquainted with the town and its strange denizens, the deeper they are drawn into their rifts, mysteries, and suspicions. And when Flo is troubled by strange sightings in the old chapel, it becomes apparent that there are ghosts here that refuse to be laid to rest.

But uncovering the truth can be deadly in a village where everyone has something to protect, everyone has links with the village’s bloody past, and no one trusts an outsider.

Ann Rule‘s shocking and powerful account of the destructive forces that drove Diane Downs, a beautiful young mother, to shoot her three young children in cold blood.

November’s Literally Dead book club pick

Practical, unassuming Jane Shoringfield has done the calculations, and decided that the most secure path forward is this: a husband, in a marriage of convenience, who will allow her to remain independent and occupied with meaningful work. Her first choice, the dashing but reclusive doctor Augustine Lawrence, agrees to her proposal with only one condition: that she must never visit Lindridge Hall, his crumbling family manor outside of town. Yet on their wedding night, an accident strands her at his door in a pitch-black rainstorm, and she finds him changed. Gone is the bold, courageous surgeon, and in his place is a terrified, paranoid man—one who cannot tell reality from nightmare, and fears Jane is an apparition, come to haunt him.

By morning, Augustine is himself again, but Jane knows something is deeply wrong at Lindridge Hall, and with the man she has so hastily bound her safety to. Set in a dark-mirror version of post-war England, Starling crafts a new kind of gothic horror from the bones of the beloved canon. This Crimson Peak-inspired story assembles, then upends, every expectation set in place by Shirley Jackson and Rebecca, and will leave readers shaken, desperate to begin again as soon as they are finished.

Review Books

My blog tour stop is November 22

Oy! to the world

Rachel Rubenstein-Goldblatt is a nice Jewish girl with a shameful secret: she loves Christmas. For a decade she’s hidden her career as a Christmas romance novelist from her family. Her talent has made her a bestseller even as her chronic illness has always kept the kind of love she writes about out of reach.

But when her diversity-conscious publisher insists she write a Hanukkah romance, her well of inspiration suddenly runs dry. Hanukkah’s not magical. It’s not merry. It’s not Christmas. Desperate not to lose her contract, Rachel’s determined to find her muse at the Matzah Ball, a Jewish music celebration on the last night of Hanukkah, even if it means working with her summer camp archenemy—Jacob Greenberg.

Though Rachel and Jacob haven’t seen each other since they were kids, their grudge still glows brighter than a menorah. But as they spend more time together, Rachel finds herself drawn to Hanukkah—and Jacob—in a way she never expected. Maybe this holiday of lights will be the spark she needed to set her heart ablaze.

My blog tour post is November 29

An unexpected inheritance rekindles a red-hot romance just in time for Christmas…

Janessa Parkman spent one long-ago summer in Last Ride, Texas, trying to bond with her estranged father, Abe. Turns out that was plenty of time to fall hard—and crash badly—for Brody Harrell, who managed Abe’s ranch. Everyone believed Brody would inherit Colts Creek one day, but now, fifteen years on, Abe’s will reveals the shocking truth—Janessa gets everything, and she must agree to stay in town for three months…through Christmas.

Brody’s attraction to Janessa burns hotter than ever. Though he refuses Janessa’s offer to give him the ranch, refusing her is impossible. Misunderstanding drove them apart once before, and secrets and betrayals run through both families. But what starts as a temporary Christmas fling might turn into a love strong enough to last every holiday season yet to come.

My blog tour post is December 2

Fans of Josie Silver’s One Day in December and Christina Lauren’s In a Holidaze will adore watching Victoria and Oliver’s pretend engagement dissolve as their very real chemistry threatens to upend all their carefully laid-out secrets. Set against the most charming London backdrop, Meet Me in Londonis an irrisistable seasonal treat!

What do you do when your fake engagement starts to feel too real… 

Aspiring clothes designer Victoria Scott spends her days working in a bar in Chelsea and her evenings designing vintage clothes, dreaming of one day opening her own boutique. But these aspirations are under threat from the new department store opening at the end of her road. She needs a Christmas miracle, but one is not forthcoming.

Oliver Russell’s Christmas is not looking very festive right now. His family’s new London department store opening is behind schedule, and on top of that his interfering, if well-meaning, mother is pressing him to introduce his girlfriend to her over the holidays—a girlfriend who does not exist. He needs a diversion…something to keep his mother from meddling while he focuses on the business.

When Oliver meets Victoria, he offers a proposition: pretend to be his girlfriend at the opening of his store and he will provide an opportunity for Victoria to showcase her designs. But what starts as a business arrangement soon becomes something more tempting as the fake relationship starts to feel very real. But when secrets in Victoria’s past are exposed, will Oliver walk away, or will they both follow their hearts and find what neither knew they were looking for…?

My blog tour post is December 9

It’s Christmas in Catalina Cove, a time full of promise and second chances. Don’t miss One Christmas Wish, the all-new book in New York Times bestselling author Brenda Jackson’s beloved Catalina Cove series.

Once a Wall Street rising star, Vaughn Miller had his career abruptly ended by a wrongful conviction and two years in prison. He’s returned to his hometown to pick up the pieces of his shattered life and find a way forward. 

Sierra Crane escaped a disastrous marriage—just barely. She’s come back to the only place where she and her five-year-old daughter can feel safe. Now a newly independent, divorced single mom, Sierra opens a soup café and settles in to get busy with moving on. 

When you’re starting over, love is the last thing you’re wishing for…

Past haul

I’m sure you have probably seen the videos on Youtube where someone reacts to an old haul of theirs and then reads a certain amount of books from that haul. It is something that I have thought about incorporating into my TBR’s next year but then I thought why wait. Especially since I want to read every book from a haul before I move onto the next one. Which will take me quite a long time but I also want to make an emphasis on reading books that I have bought. I first started blogging in July 2017, although I didn’t post regularly until a couple of years later. So my first haul is from that month and it is pretty small. I think I also mention that I don’t buy books that often and I don’t know who that girl is but she is not me anymore! Out of the short stack that I shared I still have three to read. Which doesn’t bode well if this is how we are starting this series out. This month I am going to to try to read the next book in the Pretty Little Liars series, Killer.. I also should let you know that I unhauled Sara Shepard’s Lying Game books. So all I have left to read is Doctor Sleep and A Little Life. Which are two tomes so it will be interesting to see which one I pick to read next month.

I stopped reading this series because I really didn’t like the book before this one. Hopefully this one is better.

In picture-perfect Rosewood, Pennsylvania, ash-blond highlights gleam in the winter sun and frozen lakes sparkle like Swarovski crystals. But pictures often lie— and so do Rosewood’s four prettiest girls. 
Hanna, Aria, Spencer, and Emily have been lying ever since they became friends with beautiful Alison DiLaurentis. Ali made them do terrible things—things they had to keep secret for years. And even though Ali was killed at the end of seventh grade, their bad-girl ways didn’t die with her. 
Hanna’s on a mission to corrupt Rosewood’s youth, starting with a very attractive sophomore. Aria’s snooping into her boyfriend’s past. Spencer’s stealing— from her family. And pure little Emily’s abstaining from abstinence. 
The girls should be careful, though. They thought they were safe when Ali’s killer was arrested and A’s true identity was finally revealed. But now there’s a new A in town turning up the heat. And this time Rosewood is going to burn.

~Cassie

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