Blog Tour: Cry Wolf by Hans Rosenfeldt

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

CRY WOLF

Author: Hans Rosenfeldt

ISBN: 9781335425713

Publication Date: December 28, 2021

Publisher: Hanover Square Press

Book Summary:

The first standalone Swedish crime novel by Hans Rosenfeldt, creator of the TV series The Bridge as well as Netflix’s Emmy-winning Marcella.

A dead wolf. A drug deal gone wrong. A female assassin of rarely seen skill. Hannah Wester, a policewoman in the remote northern town of Haparanda, finds herself on the precipice of chaos.

When human remains are found in the stomach of a dead wolf, Hannah knows that this summer won’t be like any other. The remains are linked to a bloody drug deal across the border in Finland. But how did the victim end up in the woods outside of Haparanda? And where have the drugs and money gone?

Hannah and her colleagues leave no stone unturned. But time is scarce and they aren’t the only ones looking. When the secretive and deadly Katja shows up, unexpected and brutal events start to pile up. In just a few days, life in Haparanda is turned upside down. Not least for Hannah, who is finally forced to confront her own past.

Author Bio: 

Hans Rosenfeldt is a Swedish screenwriter, radio presenter, novelist and actor. He created the Scandinavian series The Bridge, which is broadcast in more than 170 countries, as well as the ITV/Netflix series Marcella

Social Links:

Author Website – none

Instagram: @hansrosenfeldtofficial

Facebook: @hjorthrosenfeldt

Goodreads

Excerpt

Everything had gone according to plan.

First their arrival.

Be the first in place, park the jeep and black Mercedes be-side each other on a rutted clearing in the middle of the forest, used by lumber trucks and harvesters for loading and U-turns, then position the coolers to face the narrow forest road they’d just come down. The ruts beneath them, the nocturnal birdsong around them, the only thing besides absolute silence until the sound of engines announced the arrival of the Finns.

A Volvo XC90, also black, drove up. Vadim watched as Artjom and Michail took their weapons and left the Mercedes, while he and Ljuba climbed out of their jeep. He liked Ljuba, thought she liked him, too. They’d gone out for a beer together a few times, and when they asked her who she wanted to drive with, she’d chosen him. For a moment he considered telling her to wait in the car, take cover, say he had a premonition this might go wrong. But if he did that, what would they do afterwards?

Run away together? Live happily ever after?

That would be impossible once she knew what had happened. She’d never betray Valerij; she didn’t like him that much, he was sure of it. So he said nothing.

The Volvo stopped a few meters in front of them, the engine switched off, the doors opened and four men stepped out. All of them armed. Looked around suspiciously as they fanned out.

Everything was still.

The calm before the storm.

The Finnish leader, a large man with a buzz cut and a tribal tattoo wrapped around one eye, nodded to the smallest of the four Finns, who holstered his gun, walked behind the Volvo and opened the trunk. Vadim also backed up a few steps to un-lock his jeep’s trunk.

So far everything was going according to their plan.

Time for his plan.

A bullet from a rifle with a silencer on it entered just beneath the eye of the large Finn closest to the car. The sudden explosion of bone, blood, and brain matter as the projectile made its way through the back of his head made the others react instinctively.

Everyone started shooting at the same time.

Everyone except Vadim, who threw himself behind the shelter of the jeep.

The man with the tattoo on his face roared loudly, hugged his trigger, and immediately took down Michail with four or five shots to the chest. Artyom answered with gunfire. The tattooed man was hit by two bullets, staggered back, but re-gained his balance and turned his weapon on Artyom, who threw himself behind the cover of the Mercedes, but it was too late. Several bullets hit his legs from the hip down. Shrieking in pain, he landed on dry gravel. The tattooed man continued bleeding, roaring, and shooting as he moved toward the Volvo, determined to make it out of here alive. But a second later he fell to his knees gurgling, let go of his weapon and pressed his hands to what was left of his neck.

Somewhere more shots were fired, more screams could be heard.

Artjom slid up into a sitting position, while trying to stop the blood that gushed from his thigh in the same rhythm as his racing heartbeat. Then another series of shots, and he went still, his gaze turning from desperation to emptiness, his lips forming some soundless word before his head slumped onto his chest.

The third Finn had thrown himself into the cover of a shallow ditch with a good view beneath the parked cars. A round of concentrated fire from his semi-automatic had hit Artjom in the back. Vadim realized that he, too, must be visible and flung himself around the jeep to hide behind one of its large wheels. When he got to the side of the car, he saw the smallest of the four Finns lying dead on the ground.

Ljuba wasn’t visible.

Another round of shots sounded from the ditch at the forest edge and bullets hit the metal on the back of the wheel, puncturing the tire. One went through the rubber and hit him in the side, just above his butt. The pain was a white-hot flash through his body. He closed his eyes, swallowed a scream, leaned his forehead against his knees and made himself as small as he could. As he slowly let the air in his lungs out again, he realized the gunfire had ceased.

It was silent. Completely silent.

No movement, no voices, no roar of pain or betrayal, no bird-song, nothing. As if the very place itself were holding its breath.

He peeked out carefully from behind the jeep.

Still silent. And still.

Slowly, slowly he raised his head for a better view. The sun hung below the trees, but still above the horizon; the scene in front of him was bathed in that particular soft, warm light of the midnight sun.

He rose cautiously to his feet. A bullet was still lodged in his muscle and tissue, but it didn’t seem to have damaged any vital organs. He pressed his hand to the wound. Blood, but no more than he could stop with a compress.

“Ljuba?”

Ljuba was leaning against the rear bumper of the Finn’s car, breathing shallowly, the front of her gray T-shirt beneath her jacket soaked in blood, the gun still in her right hand. Vadim assessed the damage. The blood was running out at a steady rate, so it hadn’t nicked an artery. No air bubbles, so her lungs were probably intact. She might very well survive.

“Who shot us?” she asked, out of breath, grabbing Vadim’s jacket with a bloody hand. “Who the fuck started shooting?”

“He’s with us.”

“What? What do you mean with us? Who is he?”

“Come on.”

He gently took the gun away from her, pushed it into his pocket before standing up, leaned forward and helped her to her feet. She grimaced from the pain of exertion but managed to stand. With his arm around her waist and her arm around his shoulders, they walked out into the open area between the cars. When they reached the rise where the tattooed Finn had fallen, Vadim stopped, gently removed Ljuba’s arm, released his supportive grip from around her waist, and backed away with two large steps.

“I’m sorry…”

Ljuba’s gaze was uncomprehending at first, but she soon realized what was happening, why he’d brought her here. Seconds later a bullet pierced her temple and she was thrown to the ground.

Vadim pressed his hand to the wound on his lower back and stretched, let out a deep sigh.

In the end, everything had gone according to plan.

Excerpted from Cry Wolf by Hans Rosenfeldt, Copyright © 2022 by Hans Rosenfeldt. Published by arrangement with Harlequin Books S.A.

Buy Links: 

BookShop.org

Harlequin 

Barnes & Noble

Amazon

Books-A-Million

Powell’s

~Cassie

January TBR: PopCulture Readathon (Part 3)

Happy last day of 2021! I hope that 2022 is full of nothing but good things for all of us!! I’m going to wrap up my long, three part January TBR by sharing the last PopCulture Readathon bingo board for their month long, Buffy the Vampire Slayer themed readathon. Could I possibly read all of the books that I shared these past three days… yes. Do I think that’s likely, no. But I do hope to read a great many of them. I just really love finding books that fit prompts so I couldn’t help myself. After I share the last bingo board, I will also share a couple of extra books that I would love to get to but couldn’t fit on the boards.

The Mayor

This is another one I wasn’t planning on reading this month but I always love a good Hercule Poirot story.

Among the towering red cliffs of Petra, like some monstrous swollen Buddha, sat the corpse of Mrs Boynton. A tiny puncture mark on her wrist was the only sign of the fatal injection that had killed her.

With only 24 hours available to solve the mystery, Hercule Poirot recalled a chance remark he’d overheard back in Jerusalem: ‘You see, don’t you, that she’s got to be killed?’ Mrs Boynton was, indeed, the most detestable woman he’d ever met.

Drusilla

This prompt worked out perfectly because I am a part of Jodie’s (Vanilla Moon on Youtube) Patreon and this is the January buddy read.

Their Union Is His Revenge.

Isolde de Lara considers her wedding day her death day. To end a years-long war, she is to marry vampire king, Adrian Aleksandr Vasiliev, and kill him. ⠀

But her assassination attempt is thwarted and Adrian threatens that if Isolde tries kill him again, he will raise her as the undead. Faced with the possibility of becoming the thing she hates most, Isolde seeks other ways to defy him and survive the brutal vampire court. ⠀

Except it isn’t the court she fears most—it’s Adrain. Despite their undeniable chemistry, she wonders why the king——fierce, savage, merciless—chose her as consort. ⠀

The answer will shatter her world.

Spike

I’m rereading this in anticipation of the second book coming out in February.

Bound by blood.
Tempted by desire.
Unleashed by destiny.

Bryce Quinlan had the perfect life—working hard all day and partying all night—until a demon murdered her closest friends, leaving her bereft, wounded, and alone. When the accused is behind bars but the crimes start up again, Bryce finds herself at the heart of the investigation. She’ll do whatever it takes to avenge their deaths.

Hunt Athalar is a notorious Fallen angel, now enslaved to the Archangels he once attempted to overthrow. His brutal skills and incredible strength have been set to one purpose—to assassinate his boss’s enemies, no questions asked. But with a demon wreaking havoc in the city, he’s offered an irresistible deal: help Bryce find the murderer, and his freedom will be within reach.

As Bryce and Hunt dig deep into Crescent City’s underbelly, they discover a dark power that threatens everything and everyone they hold dear, and they find, in each other, a blazing passion—one that could set them both free, if they’d only let it.

With unforgettable characters, sizzling romance, and page-turning suspense, this richly inventive new fantasy series by #1 New York Times bestselling author Sarah J. Maas delves into the heartache of loss, the price of freedom—and the power of love.

Dark Willow

This is an ARC I have. It comes out February 1.

Two women. A history of witchcraft. And a deep-rooted female power that sings across the centuries. 

Once there was a young woman from a well-to-do New England family who never quite fit with the drawing rooms and parlors of her kin.

Called instead to the tangled woods and wild cliffs surrounding her family’s estate, Margaret Harlowe grew both stranger and more beautiful as she cultivated her uncanny power. Soon, whispers of “witch” dogged her footsteps, and Margaret’s power began to wind itself with the tendrils of something darker.

One hundred and fifty years later, Augusta Podos takes a dream job at Harlowe House, the historic home of a wealthy New England family that has been turned into a small museum in Tynemouth, Massachusetts. When Augusta stumbles across an oblique reference to a daughter of the Harlowes who has nearly been expunged from the historical record, the mystery is too intriguing to ignore.

But as she digs deeper, something sinister unfurls from its sleep, a dark power that binds one woman to the other across lines of blood and time. If Augusta can’t resist its allure, everything she knows and loves—including her very life—could be lost forever.

The Hellmouth

Shy Ken Kaneki is thrilled to go on a date with the beautiful Rize. But it turns out that she’s only interested in his body—eating it, that is. When a morally questionable rescue transforms him into the first half-human half-Ghoul hybrid, Ken is drawn into the dark and violent world of Ghouls, which exists alongside our own.

Glory

Experience the propulsive love story of two Greek gods—Hades and Persephone—brought to life with lavish artwork and an irresistible contemporary voice.

Scandalous gossip, wild parties, and forbidden love—witness what the gods do after dark in this stylish and contemporary reimagining of one of mythology’s most well-known stories from creator Rachel Smythe. Featuring a brand-new, exclusive short story, Smythe’s original Eisner-nominated web-comic Lore Olympus brings the Greek Pantheon into the modern age with this sharply perceptive and romantic graphic novel.

This volume collects episodes 1-25 of the #1 WEBTOON comic, Lore Olympus.

Principal Synder

Nick and Charlie are best friends. Nick knows Charlie’s gay, and Charlie is sure that Nick isn’t. 

But love works in surprising ways, and Nick is discovering all kinds of things about his friends, his family … and himself.

She-Mantis

This is another one that’s a bit of a stretch but I need to read it next month.

His job is to protect his best friend’s sister…not seduce her! Don’t miss the conclusion of the Men of Maddox Hill series by New York Times bestselling author Shannon McKenna.

When it comes to his best friend’s sister

he’s tempted to be much more than her protector… 

Assigned to keep an eye on social media darling Ava Maddox, security expert Zack Austin is more than up to the task. After all, she’s like family. But dealing with the dynamic beauty requires every ounce of patience…and sexual control. They’ve been denying their forbidden feelings for way too long and soon professionalism gives way to passion. Zack’s willing to face her overprotective family’s wrath, but is Ava’s talent for finding trouble about to explode in his face?

From Harlequin Desire: A luxurious world of bold encounters and sizzling chemistry.

Angelus

A woman receives an unexpected visitor during a deadly snowstorm in this chilling thriller from New York Times bestselling author Heather Gudenkauf

She thought she was alone

True crime writer Wylie Lark doesn’t mind being snowed in at the isolated farmhouse where she’s retreated to write her new book. A cozy fire, complete silence. It would be perfect, if not for the fact that decades earlier, at this very house, two people were murdered in cold blood and a girl disappeared without a trace.

As the storm worsens, Wylie finds herself trapped inside the house, haunted by the secrets contained within its walls—haunted by secrets of her own. Then she discovers a small child in the snow just outside. After bringing the child inside for warmth and safety, she begins to search for answers. But soon it becomes clear that the farmhouse isn’t as isolated as she thought, and someone is willing to do anything to find them.

Extra

I was watching different TBR videos a couple of days ago and Heather’s Happily Ever Afters was recommended to me. She mentioned in her video that she started a book club that no one has joined yet and she is going to be reading Once Upon a Broken Heart. I decided that I would join her in reading it next month since I had just purchased this book for half off and it seemed to work out perfectly.

How far would you go for happily ever after?

For as long as she can remember, Evangeline Fox has believed in true love and happy endings…until she learns that the love of her life will marry another.

Desperate to stop the wedding and to heal her wounded heart, Evangeline strikes a deal with the charismatic but wicked Prince of Hearts. In exchange for his help, he asks for three kisses, to be given at the time and place of his choosing. 

But after Evangeline’s first promised kiss, she learns that bargaining with an immortal is a dangerous game—and that the Prince of Hearts wants far more from her than she’d pledged. He has plans for Evangeline, plans that will either end in the greatest happily ever after or the most exquisite tragedy….

I decided to just throw this on last minute because I own a review copy of this book but I just bought it with my Book of the Month order. I want to get better at reading my Book of the Month books this year so I added it on in the hopes of getting to it.

From the New York Times bestselling author of Red, White & Royal Blue comes a new romantic comedy that will stop readers in their tracks…

For cynical twenty-three-year-old August, moving to New York City is supposed to prove her right: that things like magic and cinematic love stories don’t exist, and the only smart way to go through life is alone. She can’t imagine how waiting tables at a 24-hour pancake diner and moving in with too many weird roommates could possibly change that. And there’s certainly no chance of her subway commute being anything more than a daily trudge through boredom and electrical failures.

But then, there’s this gorgeous girl on the train.

Jane. Dazzling, charming, mysterious, impossible Jane. Jane with her rough edges and swoopy hair and soft smile, showing up in a leather jacket to save August’s day when she needed it most. August’s subway crush becomes the best part of her day, but pretty soon, she discovers there’s one big problem: Jane doesn’t just look like an old school punk rocker. She’s literally displaced in time from the 1970s, and August is going to have to use everything she tried to leave in her own past to help her. Maybe it’s time to start believing in some things, after all.

Casey McQuiston’s One Last Stop is a magical, sexy, big-hearted romance where the impossible becomes possible as August does everything in her power to save the girl lost in time.

~Cassie

Blog Tour: New Year Kiss with His Cinderella by Annie O’Neil

Thank you to Harlequin for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest opinion. They also provided all info and graphics for this post.

NEW YEAR KISS WITH HIS CINDERELLA by Annie O’Neil (on-sale Dec.28, Harlequin Medical Romance): From a midnight kiss…to a reunion in the ER! When Dr. Carter shares a New Year’s kiss with a captivating stranger, he doesn’t expect a reunion. Then he walks into Saint Dolores’s ER the very next day…and discovers she’s his new colleague! Awkwardly, their smoking-hot attraction hasn’t gone away! But for Carter, life has meant staying mobile, and he can’t simply lay down roots. Yet there’s something about Nurse Avery and Nashville that’s starting to really feel like home.

Review

This is a spicy romance with a lot of heart. Carter and Avery have instant chemistry that leaps from the page and it is perfectly balanced with the emotional side of their relationship. Both of them have heartbreaking pasts and sisters who have greatly impacted their lives. The emotional connection was the most swoon worthy part of the story and I enjoyed seeing them make it work. I believe this is also my first Medical Romance and I wasn’t expecting to like that aspect of the story as much as I did. It reminded me a lot of an episode of Chicago Med so if you enjoy that show then you might want to pick this book up. The first chapter takes place on New Year’s Eve so it’s also the perfect book to pick up tomorrow for a quick and steamy read.

About ANNIE O’NEIL: Annie spent most of her childhood with a leg draped over the family rocking chair and a book in her hand. Novels, baking and writing too much teenage angst poetry ate up most of her youth. Now, Annie splits her time between corralling her husband into helping her with their cows, listening to audio books whilst weeding and spending some very happy hours at her computer writing.  

Excerpt

Excerpt, NEW YEAR KISS WITH HIS CINDERELLA

“You’re that confident, are you?” she asked, her tongue dipping out for a quick swipe along her lips.

She was warming to him. Good.

The guy who’d climbed on the bull after her had been thrown off and someone else was climbing on. Carter would glue himself to the bull if that’s what it took to stay on the longest. But it wouldn’t take that. Back in Texas, he’d called his riding paying the bills. His sister had called it sheer stupidity. They’d both been right.

“Never met a bull who didn’t take to my winning personality.” He tipped the brim of his hat to her.

Her eyes didn’t leave his. “If you win my money, I’m not taking it.”

“And I’m not letting you walk away empty-handed.”

She frowned. “I guess you’d better come up with something else, then. I don’t steal prizes that aren’t mine.”

He held his hands out, then ran them alongside his body. “Apart from my guitar, this is the only other thing I’ve got on offer.”

He wasn’t actually broke. He wasn’t a thief, either. That role in the family was already taken.

A loud roar from the crowd filled the air as another contender climbed aboard the longhorn.

She tilted her head to the side, and he took the few moments she was assessing him to do the same. Skin that looked so soft there probably wasn’t a thread count high enough for it. A body that rocked the hell out of her double-denim getup. A pair of cowboy boots that definitely weren’t just for show. Goddamn she was sexy.

“Well, then,” she said. “I guess you’d better get on up there and show me what you got.” When she met his gaze, he was pretty sure he wasn’t only seeing neon lights flaring in her eyes.

She put out her mittened hand. They were going to shake on it, apparently.

Carter smiled. Progress. She liked him, too. Enough to want to see him show his stuff atop a mechanical bull anyway. Maybe she merely wanted a good laugh. Either way, he could work with that. Not that he’d be seeing her again, but…it was New Year’s Eve. The bit of him that believed in destiny, that hoped that fate wasn’t something only poets spoke of, wanted her appearance in his life to signify something more than a chance meeting. Yet another moment in time that would slip through his fingers when reality reared its head and cut things short. Again.

It surprised him how much he wanted her to be a sign of good things to come. Needed it, even. Perhaps if he won that kiss…

He put his thumb and index finger on the tip of her thumb. “May I?”

She didn’t say anything, but she didn’t refuse. Just watched, mesmerized, as he tugged off her mitten, slowly, so that when their hands finally met, it would be flesh on flesh.

The atmosphere changed. The sounds of the crowd dulled and somehow, the way the world can sometimes, everything stilled so that it seemed like it was just the two of them out here in the middle of Nashville with nothing but a few flakes of snow between them.

Amazon: https://www.amazon.ca/Year-Kiss-Cinderella-Nashville-Book-ebook/dp/B09715F19Q/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=NEW+YEAR+KISS+WITH+HIS+CINDERELLA+by+Annie+O%27Neil&qid=1637072953&sr=8-1 

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/new-year-kiss-with-his-cinderella-annie-oneil/1139663410?ean=9780369712417 

Harlequin:  https://www.harlequin.com/shop/books/9781335408990_new-year-kiss-with-his-cinderella.html 

~Cassie

January TBR: PopCulture Readathon (Part Two)

Here is the second part of my January TBR. If you saw my last TBR post than you already know that I couldn’t help myself and ended up coming up with a book for all three of the PopCulture Readathon’s bingo boards. The theme next month is Buffy the Vampire Slayer and I think they did a great job coming up with prompts for this round of their readathon. I also have a couple of extras to share with you in addition to the Scooby Gang bingo board. I go into more detail about all the different books I tried to fit into my January TBR but I don’t expect to read all these books even though I would absolutely love to.

Xander Harris

Recovering her missing memories

could be the key to solving a murder

Searching for her best friend’s remains could help forensic anthropologist Melanie Hutton regain her memories of when they were both kidnapped—unless the killer gets to Melanie first. For her safety, Melanie must rely on Detective Jason Cooper, who still blames her for his sister’s death. Can Jason set the past aside to solve the cold-case murder…and shield Melanie from the same fate?

Cordelia Chase

Yaichi is a work-at-home suburban dad in contemporary Tokyo; formerly married to Natsuki, father to their young daughter, Kana. Their lives suddenly change with the arrival at their doorstep of a hulking, affable Canadian named Mike Flanagan, who declares himself the widower of Yaichi’s estranged gay twin, Ryoji. Mike is on a quest to explore Ryoji’s past, and the family reluctantly but dutifully takes him in. What follows is an unprecedented and heartbreaking look at the state of a largely still-closeted Japanese gay culture: how it’s been affected by the West, and how the next generation can change the preconceptions about it and prejudices against it.

Riley Finn

It’s never too late to put your best foot forward

From the outside, Reagan “Rae” Doucet has it all: a coveted career in Washington, DC, a tight circle of friends and a shoe closet to die for. When one of her crew falls ill, however, Rae is done playing it safe. The talented but unfulfilled writer makes a “risk list” to revamp her life. But forgiving her ex, Jake Saunders, might be one risk too many…

From Harlequin Special Edition: Believe in love. Overcome obstacles. Find happiness.

Joyce Summers

This one might be a stretch but I need to read it for a blog tour next month and it kind of matches the prompt… in a not really kind of way.

Nothing matters more to her

when a child’s life is at stake.   

Special agent Thea Lamb returns to her hometown to search for a child whose disappearance echoes a twenty-eight-year-old cold case—her twin sister’s abduction. Working with her former partner, Jake Stillwell, Thea must overcome the pain, doubt and guilt that have tormented her for years and denied her a meaningful relationship. For both Thea and Jake, the job always came first…until now.  

From Harlequin Intrigue: Seek thrills. Solve crimes. Justice served.

The Scooby Gang

This is my buzzwordathon pick: who, what, where, when, or how

Nancy Luo is shocked when her former best friend, Jamie Ruan, top ranked junior at Sinclair Prep, goes missing, and then is found dead. Nancy is even more shocked when word starts to spread that she and her friends–Krystal, Akil, and Alexander–are the prime suspects, thanks to “The Proctor,” someone anonymously incriminating them via the school’s social media app.

They all used to be Jamie’s closest friends, and she knew each of their deepest, darkest secrets. Now, somehow The Proctor knows them, too. The four must uncover the true killer before The Proctor exposes more than they can bear and costs them more than they can afford, like Nancy’s full scholarship. Soon, Nancy suspects that her friends may be keeping secrets from her, too.

Students at an elite prep school are forced to confront their secrets when their ex-best friend turns up dead.

Dawn Summers

This isn’t a key but a KEYhole… which I think works well for the idea behind the prompt

Molly Gray is not like everyone else. She struggles with social skills and misreads the intentions of others. Her gran used to interpret the world for her, codifying it into simple rules that Molly could live by.

Since Gran died a few months ago, twenty-five-year-old Molly has been navigating life’s complexities all by herself. No matter—she throws herself with gusto into her work as a hotel maid. Her unique character, along with her obsessive love of cleaning and proper etiquette, make her an ideal fit for the job. She delights in donning her crisp uniform each morning, stocking her cart with miniature soaps and bottles, and returning guest rooms at the Regency Grand Hotel to a state of perfection.

But Molly’s orderly life is upended the day she enters the suite of the infamous and wealthy Charles Black, only to find it in a state of disarray and Mr. Black himself dead in his bed. Before she knows what’s happening, Molly’s unusual demeanor has the police targeting her as their lead suspect. She quickly finds herself caught in a web of deception, one she has no idea how to untangle. Fortunately for Molly, friends she never knew she had unite with her in a search for clues to what really happened to Mr. Black—but will they be able to find the real killer before it’s too late?

A Clue-like, locked-room mystery and a heartwarming journey of the spirit, The Maid explores what it means to be the same as everyone else and yet entirely different—and reveals that all mysteries can be solved through connection to the human heart.

Anya Jenkins

I’m assuming from the synopsis that revenge might play a factor in this story.

Bestselling author of DEAR WIFE and THE MARRIAGE LIE, Kimberly Belle returns with her most heart-pounding thriler to date, as a masked home invader reveals the cracks in a marriage.

Everyone is about to know what her husband isn’t telling her…

Jade and Cam Lasky are by all accounts a happily married couple with two adorable kids, a spacious home and a rapidly growing restaurant business. But their world is tipped upside down when Jade is confronted by a masked home invader. As Cam scrambles to gather the ransom money, Jade starts to wonder if they’re as financially secure as their lifestyle suggests, and what other secrets her husband is keeping from her.

Cam may be a good father, a celebrity chef and a darling husband, but there’s another side he’s kept hidden from Jade that has put their family in danger. Unbeknownst to Cam and Jade, the home invader has been watching them and is about to turn their family secrets into a public scandal.

With riveting twists and a breakneck pace, My Darling Husband is an utterly compelling thriller that once again showcases Kimberly Belle’s exceptional talent for domestic suspense.

Willow & Tara

An incendiary and utterly compelling thriller with a shocking twist that delves deep into the heart of institutionalized racism, from an exceptional new YA voice. 

Welcome to Niveus Private Academy, where money paves the hallways, and the students are never less than perfect. Until now. Because anonymous texter, Aces, is bringing two students’ dark secrets to light. 

Talented musician Devon buries himself in rehearsals, but he can’t escape the spotlight when his private photos go public. Head girl Chiamaka isn’t afraid to get what she wants, but soon everyone will know the price she has paid for power. 

Someone is out to get them both. Someone who holds all the aces. And they’re planning much more than a high-school game…

Daniel “Oz” Osbourne

Ox was twelve when his daddy taught him a very valuable lesson. He said that Ox wasn’t worth anything and people would never understand him. Then he left.

Ox was sixteen when he met the boy on the road, the boy who talked and talked and talked. Ox found out later the boy hadn’t spoken in almost two years before that day, and that the boy belonged to a family who had moved into the house at the end of the lane.

Ox was seventeen when he found out the boy’s secret, and it painted the world around him in colors of red and orange and violet, of Alpha and Beta and Omega.

Ox was twenty-three when murder came to town and tore a hole in his head and heart. The boy chased after the monster with revenge in his bloodred eyes, leaving Ox behind to pick up the pieces.

It’s been three years since that fateful day—and the boy is back. Except now he’s a man, and Ox can no longer ignore the song that howls between them.

Extras

*Both of these are books that I need to review in January.

Their daytime partnership sets the night on fire…
Who said they can’t have it all?

Lyric Smith didn’t become the nation’s most successful lifestyle guru by losing focus. Yet Josiah Manning, daytime television’s hottest—and sexiest—young Black producer makes her do just that. Publicly, Josiah wants Lyric to star in a new talk show. Privately, he’s headlining her sexiest fantasies. But when their explosive chemistry leads to complications instead of contracts, will Lyric find the ultimate partner to help her crush her rivals…or exit stage left alone?

A popular sorority girl. An unsolved murder. A campus podcast with chilling repercussions.

Lucas Vega is obsessed with the death of Candace Swain, who left a sorority party one night and never came back. Her body was found after two weeks, but the case has grown cold. Three years later while interning at the medical examiner’s, Lucas discovers new information, but the police are not interested.

Lucas knows he has several credible pieces of the puzzle. He just isn’t sure how they fit together. So he creates a podcast to revisit Candace’s last hours. Then he encourages listeners to crowdsource what they remember and invites guest lecturer Regan Merritt, a former US marshal, to come on and share her expertise.

New tips come in that convince Lucas and Regan they are onto something. Then shockingly one of the podcast callers turns up dead. Another hints at Candace’s secret life, a much darker picture than Lucas imagined—and one that implicates other sorority sisters. Regan uses her own resources to bolster their theory and learns that Lucas is hiding his own secret. The pressure is on to solve the murder, but first Lucas must come clean about his real motives in pursuing this podcast—before the killer silences him forever.

~Cassie

January TBR: PopCulture Readathon (Part One)

Welcome to the first of three TBR posts for what I plan/want to read in January. My favorite readathon to participate in is the PopCulture Readathon and next month the theme is Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I’m going to be honest that I’ve never watched the show (which I might start watching next month in honor of the readathon) but I loved the 90’s movie. The wonderful hosts of the readathon came up with three bingo boards and I love how unique some of the prompts are that I ended up finding a book for every prompt. Each board has 9 prompts so there is a total of 18 books plus some extras that I couldn’t get on them. I have a fair amount of books I need to review next month plus library books, buzzwordathon, book of the month books, my 22 to read in 2022 books, previously started books, a reread, a book from an old haul, and a book that I’m reading for a book club of sorts. So there is a lot. I would love to read all of the books but I will just have fun picking and choosing books off the three lists I made. In each post I will share a PopCulture readathon bingo board and also a couple of extras that I couldn’t fit on the boards.

Hey, I’ve died twice

I stopped reading this series in 2017 after I gave the book before this one 2 stars but I own all of them so I do want to read them. I hauled this book in the first haul I ever did on my blog so it’s about time I got to it.

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.

Angel

When a bull-riding champion is left holding his friend’s baby, could it be time to put down roots in Gold Valley?

Midwife Mallory Chance is ready for a fresh start in Gold Valley. And when she locks eyes with a handsome cowboy across the saloon, it feels like fate. After too many years wasted on her cheating ex, good girl Mallory is read to cut loose and prioritize herself. But when the dust settles on their hot night together, it turns out that her mysterious one-night cowboy is none other than her new landlord—and someone she’ll be seeing very regularly around Gold Valley.

Bull rider Colt Daniels has a wild reputation, but after losing his friend on the rodeo circuit, he’s left it all behind. If only he could walk away from his guilt as easily…or the temptation of Mallory. He can’t offer her the future she deserves—what does a cowboy with a heart as damaged as his know about forever? Then his friend’s tiny daughter ends up in Colt’s care. Colt has never wanted to rely on anyone, but he needs Mallory’s help taking care of the baby he’s beginning to love as his own. But is it all still temporary, or is it their chance at a forever family?

Buffy Summers

This is one of my 22 to read in 2022 books

Ariadne, Princess of Crete, grows up greeting the dawn from her beautiful dancing floor and listening to her nursemaid’s stories of gods and heroes. But beneath her golden palace echo the ever-present hoofbeats of her brother, the Minotaur, a monster who demands blood sacrifice.

When Theseus, the Prince of Athens, arrives to vanquish the beast, Ariadne sees in his green eyes not a threat but an escape. Defying the gods, betraying her family and country, and risking everything for love, Ariadne helps Theseus kill the Minotaur. But will Ariadne’s decision ensure her happy ending? And what of Phaedra, the beloved younger sister she leaves behind?

Hypnotic, propulsive, and utterly transporting, Jennifer Saint’s Ariadne forges a new epic, one that puts the forgotten women of Greek mythology back at the heart of the story, as they strive for a better world.

Kendra Young

I started reading this last year and I’m exactly a quarter of the way through it. I still vividly remember the almost 200 pages that I read so I feel pretty confident that I can get back into this easily.

On December 3, 1976, just before the Jamaican general election and two days before Bob Marley was to play the Smile Jamaica Concert, gunmen stormed his house, machine guns blazing. The attack nearly killed the Reggae superstar, his wife, and his manager, and injured several others. Marley would go on to perform at the free concert on December 5, but he left the country the next day, not to return for two years.

Deftly spanning decades and continents and peopled with a wide range of characters—assassins, journalists, drug dealers, and even ghosts—A Brief History of Seven Killings is the fictional exploration of that dangerous and unstable time and its bloody aftermath, from the streets and slums of Kingston in the 70s, to the crack wars in 80s New York, to a radically altered Jamaica in the 90s. Brilliantly inventive and stunningly ambitious, this novel is a revealing modern epic that will secure Marlon James’ place among the great literary talents of his generation.

In every generation, there’s a chosen one

I started reading this one in November, I believe, and got 68 pages in before I put it down.

Best-selling author Rick Riordan presents CITY OF THE PLAGUE GOD, an adventure based on ancient Mesopotamian mythology written by Sarwat Chadda, author of the Ash Mistry series. Characters from the Epic of Gilgamesh populate this high-stakes contemporary adventure in which all of Manhattan is threatened by the ancient god of plagues.

Thirteen-year-old Sik wants a simple life going to school and helping at his parents’ deli in the evenings. But all that is blown to smithereens when Nergal comes looking for him, thinking that Sik holds the secret to eternal life.Turns out Sik is immortal but doesn’t know it, and that’s about to get him and the entire city into deep, deep trouble. 

Sik’s not in this alone. He’s got Belet, the adopted daughter of Ishtar, the goddess of love and war, on his side, and a former hero named Gilgamesh, who has taken up gardening in Central Park. Now all they have to do is retrieve the Flower of Immortality to save Manhattan from being wiped out by disease. To succeed, they’ll have to conquer sly demons, treacherous gods, and their own darkest nightmares.

Faith Lehane

This comes out January 18 and I have a blog tour coming up for it.

From international bestselling author Karen Hamilton comes another pulse-pounding domestic thriller set against a lush, tropical backdrop as a woman fleeing her past as a con artist finds herself trapped aboard a cruise ship with someone who not only knows about that past, but will stop at nothing to get revenge.

It’s an offer she can’t refuse…and might not survive.

Charlotte has an unsavory past, but she’s on the straight and narrow these days. She was so young then—she married the wrong man, falling for Sam’s sweet-talking charm and charisma, and got caught up in his con artist games.

If only she’d left him before things went too far.

Now Sam is missing. But before he disappeared, he left urgent, cryptic messages about someone threatening him—someone who has been threatening Charlotte, too.
So Charlotte takes a job as a personal assistant for an engagement party aboard a private luxury cruise ship, the Cleobella, to get far away from anyone who means her harm.

But as the Cleobella sails through its glittering destinations, increasingly sinister events haunt the guests, and the turquoise waves and sun-drenched beaches give way to something darker. Someone knows what Charlotte did. Is it the blushing bride? The seemingly placid mother-in-law? Or the mysterious heiress?

Someone knows, and someone wants revenge—before the ship reaches its final port.

Rupert Giles

I wasn’t planning on reading this anytime soon but I couldn’t figure out any other book for this prompt.

It is 1939 Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath.
Death has never been busier, and will become busier still.

By her brother’s graveside, Liesel Meminger’s life is changed when she picks up a single object, partially hidden in the snow. It is The Grave Digger’s Handbook, left there by accident, and it is her first act of book thievery. So begins a love affair with books and words, as Liesel, with the help of her accordion-playing foster father, learns to read. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor’s wife’s library, wherever there are books to be found.

But these are dangerous times. When Liesel’s foster family hides a Jew in their basement, Liesel’s world is both opened up and closed down.

In superbly crafted writing that burns with intensity, award-winning author Markus Zusak has given us one of the most enduring stories of our time.

Movie Buffy

This is another book from my 22 to read in 2022 list.

The second book in a YA trilogy based on the board game CLUE! 

In the aftermath of Headmaster Boddy’s murder, Blackbrook Academy has been thrown into complete disarray. Half the student body hasn’t bothered to return to campus—but those who have include Orchid, Vaughn, Scarlett, Peacock, Plum, and Mustard, now warily referred to by the other students as the Murder Crew. When another staff member is found dead and an anonymous threat begins to target the group, each of the teens’ opportunistic reasons for sticking around come to light. Orchid’s identity comes under question while Vaughn’s family life takes a turn; Finn and Mustard grow closer; and Scarlett and Beth struggle to turn over new leaves. All of this comes to a dramatic head at Tudor House with a cliff-hanger…

If the apocalypse comes

This is another one that I wasn’t planning on reading anytime soon but it fits this prompt perfectly.

Extras

This was my January pick from Book of the Month and I want to get better at reading the books that I get from them.

The first openly nonbinary contestant on America’s favorite cooking show falls for their clumsy competitor in this delicious romantic comedy debut “that is both fantastically fun and crack your heart wide open vulnerable.” (Rosie Danan, author of The Roommate)

Recently divorced and on the verge of bankruptcy, Dahlia Woodson is ready to reinvent herself on the popular reality competition show Chef’s Special. Too bad the first memorable move she makes is falling flat on her face, sending fish tacos flying—not quite the fresh start she was hoping for. Still, she’s focused on winning, until she meets someone she might want a future with more than she needs the prize money. 

After announcing their pronouns on national television, London Parker has enough on their mind without worrying about the klutzy competitor stationed in front of them. They’re there to prove the trolls—including a fellow contestant and their dad—wrong, and falling in love was never part of the plan.

As London and Dahlia get closer, reality starts to fall away. Goodbye, guilt about divorce, anxiety about uncertain futures, and stress from transphobia. Hello, hilarious shenanigans on set, wedding crashing, and spontaneous dips into the Pacific. But as the finale draws near, Dahlia and London’s steamy relationship starts to feel the heat both in and outside the kitchen—and they must figure out if they have the right ingredients for a happily ever after.

This comes out January 25 but I was lucky enough to get an ARC.

A breakneck procedural that is beautifully written and masterfully crafted, Erin Young’s The Fields is a dynamite debut—crime fiction at its very finest.

Some things don’t stay buried. 

It starts with a body—a young woman found dead in an Iowa cornfield, on one of the few family farms still managing to compete with the giants of Big Agriculture.

When Sergeant Riley Fisher, newly promoted to head of investigations for the Black Hawk County Sheriff’s Office, arrives on the scene, an already horrific crime becomes personal when she discovers the victim was a childhood friend, connected to a dark past she thought she’d left behind.

The investigation grows complicated as more victims are found. Drawn deeper in, Riley soon discovers implications far beyond her Midwest town.

~Cassie

On My Radar: January 2021

I can’t believe there are only a few days left in 2020. It’s always thrilling to have a fresh year of reading and I’m so excited for all the new books we will be getting. This post is all the books that are coming out in January that I have either preordered, will be buying, have ARC’s for, will be trying to get from my library, or will be keeping my eye out for when shopping.

January 4

Welcome to the Whitethorn Institute. The first step is always admitting you need help, and you’ve already taken that step by requesting a transfer into our company.

There is another school for children who fall through doors and fall back out again.
It isn’t as friendly as Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children.
And it isn’t as safe.

When Eleanor West decided to open her school, her sanctuary, her Home for Wayward Children, she knew from the beginning that there would be children she couldn’t save; when Cora decides she needs a different direction, a different fate, a different prophecy, Miss West reluctantly agrees to transfer her to the other school, where things are run very differently by Whitethorn, the Headmaster.

She will soon discover that not all doors are welcoming…

The disappearance of a young woman leaves her closest friend reeling and an NYPD homicide detective digging into her own past in this thrilling mystery full of twists from the New York Timesbestselling author of The Better Sister and The Wife.

Some pasts won’t stay forgotten . . . 

She calls herself Hope Miller, but she has no idea who she actually is. Fifteen years ago, she was found in a small New Jersey town thrown from an overturned vehicle, with no clue to her identity. Doctors assumed her amnesia was a temporary side effect of her injuries, but she never regained her memory. Hope eventually started a new life with a new name in a new town that welcomed her, yet always wondered what she may have left behind—or been running from. Now, fifteen years later, she’s leaving New Jersey to start over once again.

Manhattan defense lawyer Lindsay Kelly, Hope’s best friend and the one who found her after the accident, understands why Hope wants a new beginning. But she worries how her friend will fare in her new East Hampton home, far away from everything familiar. Lindsay’s worst fears are confirmed when she discovers Hope has vanished without a trace—the only lead a drop of blood found where she was last seen. Even more ominously, the blood matches a DNA sample with a connection to a notorious Kansas murderer.

With nowhere else to turn, Lindsay calls NYPD homicide detective Ellie Hatcher, the daughter of the cop who dedicated his life to hunting the Kansas killer.  Ellie has always believed there was more to the story of her father’s death twenty years earlier—and she now fears that Hope’s recent disappearance could be related.

In pursuit of answers, three women search for the truth beneath long-buried secrets. And when their searches converge, what they find will upend everything they’ve ever known. 

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Wife Upstairs comes a deliciously wicked gothic suspense, set on an isolated Pacific island with a dark history, for fans of Lucy Foley and Ruth Ware.

When Lux McAllister and her boyfriend, Nico, are hired to sail two women to a remote island in the South Pacific, it seems like the opportunity of a lifetime. Stuck in a dead-end job in Hawaii, and longing to travel the world after a family tragedy, Lux is eager to climb on board The Susannah and set out on an adventure. She’s also quick to bond with their passengers, college best friends Brittany and Amma. The two women say they want to travel off the beaten path. But like Lux, they may have other reasons to be seeking an escape.

Shimmering on the horizon after days at sea, Meroe Island is every bit the paradise the foursome expects, despite a mysterious history of shipwrecks, cannibalism, and even rumors of murder. But what they don’t expect is to discover another boat already anchored off Meroe’s sandy beaches. The owners of the Azure Sky, Jake and Eliza, are a true golden couple: gorgeous, laidback, and if their sleek catamaran and well-stocked bar are any indication, rich. Now a party of six, the new friends settle in to experience life on an exotic island, and the serenity of being completely off the grid. Lux hasn’t felt like she truly belonged anywhere in years, yet here on Meroe, with these fellow free spirits, she finally has a sense of peace.

But with the arrival of a skeevy stranger sailing alone in pursuit of a darker kind of good time, the balance of the group is disrupted. Soon, cracks begin to emerge: it seems that Brittany and Amma haven’t been completely honest with Lux about their pasts––and perhaps not even with each other. And though Jake and Eliza seem like the perfect pair, the rocky history of their relationship begins to resurface, and their reasons for sailing to Meroe might not be as innocent as they first appeared.

When it becomes clear that the group is even more cut off from civilization than they initially thought, it starts to feel like the island itself is closing in on them. And when one person goes missing, and another turns up dead, Lux begins to wonder if any of them are going to make it off the island alive.

Molly Gray is not like everyone else. She struggles with social skills and misreads the intentions of others. Her gran used to interpret the world for her, codifying it into simple rules that Molly could live by.

Since Gran died a few months ago, twenty-five-year-old Molly has been navigating life’s complexities all by herself. No matter—she throws herself with gusto into her work as a hotel maid. Her unique character, along with her obsessive love of cleaning and proper etiquette, make her an ideal fit for the job. She delights in donning her crisp uniform each morning, stocking her cart with miniature soaps and bottles, and returning guest rooms at the Regency Grand Hotel to a state of perfection.

But Molly’s orderly life is upended the day she enters the suite of the infamous and wealthy Charles Black, only to find it in a state of disarray and Mr. Black himself dead in his bed. Before she knows what’s happening, Molly’s unusual demeanor has the police targeting her as their lead suspect. She quickly finds herself caught in a web of deception, one she has no idea how to untangle. Fortunately for Molly, friends she never knew she had unite with her in a search for clues to what really happened to Mr. Black—but will they be able to find the real killer before it’s too late?

A Clue-like, locked-room mystery and a heartwarming journey of the spirit, The Maid explores what it means to be the same as everyone else and yet entirely different—and reveals that all mysteries can be solved through connection to the human heart.

From the Queen of Mystery—this all-new collection of stories about love gone horribly wrong will get your heart racing.

Love can propel us to our greatest heights . . . and darkest depths. In this new collection of Agatha Christie short stories, witness the dark side of love—crimes of passion, games of the heart, and deadly affairs. This pulse-pounding compendium features beloved detectives Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple, master of charades Parker Pyne, the enigmatic Harley Quin, and the adventurous Tommy and Tuppence, all on the ready to solve a tantalizing mystery.

In “The Face of Helen,” a night at the Royal Opera could reach a deadly crescendo for a woman caught in a dicey love triangle; “Finessing the King” delivers a curious ad in the personals that could mask sinister intentions; who’s in danger of getting stung in “Wasp’s Nest” depends on rounding up suspects and solving a murder—before it even happens; and more tales that make for essential reading that Christie fans old and new will simply love to death.

In this taut and explosive debut novel, one lapse in judgement lands a young mother in a government reform program where custody of her child hangs in the balance.

Frida Liu is struggling. She doesn’t have a career worthy of her Chinese immigrant parents’ sacrifices. What’s worse is she can’t persuade her husband, Gust, to give up his wellness-obsessed younger mistress. Only with their angelic daughter Harriet does Frida finally feel she’s attained the perfection expected of her. Harriet may be all she has, but she’s just enough.

Until Frida has a horrible day.

The state has its eyes on mothers like Frida — ones who check their phones while their kids are on the playground; who let their children walk home alone; in other words, mothers who only have one lapse of judgement. Now, a host of government officials will determine if Frida is a candidate for a Big Brother-like institution that measures the success or failure of a mother’s devotion. Faced with the possibility of losing Harriet, Frida must prove that she can live up to the standards set for mothers — that she can learn to be good.

This propulsive, witty page-turner explores the perils of “perfect” upper-middle-class parenting, the violence enacted upon women by the state and each other, and the boundless love a mother has for her daughter.

January 11

The New York Times bestselling author of A Simple Favor brings her “sly, satirical, subversive” (L.S. Hilton, author of Ultima) prose to a pitch-perfect psychological suspense novel about a young couple whose disintegrating marriage and remote new home in rural, upstate New York make for a terrifying descent into the darker side of human nature.

When Emma’s husband, Ben, falls in love with a large Victorian mansion for sale in upstate New York, he swears to her the fixer-upper will be worth the risk. With a baby on the way, Emma would like to live in a charming, safe community, after all—and in a space larger than a one-bedroom New York City apartment. On impulse, she agrees to Ben’s plan and they put in an offer on the house.

Sure, the mansion has a somewhat creepy backstory and is a bit dilapidated, but Emma and Ben are in this together, aren’t they? When strange things start happening, Emma begins to experience a little buyer’s remorse. What’s the real history of this house? Is its dark history repeating itself? Why does her husband suddenly seem so distant? Is she in danger? Is her baby?

Combining the domestic anxiety of Liane Moriarty and the haunting twists and turns of Shirley Jackson, All I Want is an intensely absorbing novel that will change the way you look at your neighbors.

From debut author Stacy Willingham comes a masterfully done, lyrical thriller, certain to be the launch of an amazing career. A Flicker in the Dark is eerily compelling to the very last page.

When Chloe Davis was twelve, six teenage girls went missing in her small Louisiana town. By the end of the summer, Chloe’s father had been arrested as a serial killer and promptly put in prison. Chloe and the rest of her family were left to grapple with the truth and try to move forward while dealing with the aftermath.

Now 20 years later, Chloe is a psychologist in private practice in Baton Rouge and getting ready for her wedding. She finally has a fragile grasp on the happiness she’s worked so hard to get. Sometimes, though, she feels as out of control of her own life as the troubled teens who are her patients. And then a local teenage girl goes missing, and then another, and that terrifying summer comes crashing back. Is she paranoid, and seeing parallels that aren’t really there, or for the second time in her life, is she about to unmask a killer?

In a debut novel that has already been optioned for a limited series by actress Emma Stone and sold to a dozen countries around the world, Stacy Willingham has created an unforgettable character in a spellbinding thriller that will appeal equally to fans of Gillian Flynn and Karin Slaughter.

From the author of the classic A Little Life, a bold, brilliant novel spanning three centuries and three different versions of the American experiment, about lovers, family, loss and the elusive promise of utopia.

In an alternate version of 1893 America, New York is part of the Free States, where people may live and love whomever they please (or so it seems). The fragile young scion of a distinguished family resists betrothal to a worthy suitor, drawn to a charming music teacher of no means. In a 1993 Manhattan besieged by the AIDS epidemic, a young Hawaiian man lives with his much older, wealthier partner, hiding his troubled childhood and the fate of his father. And in 2093, in a world riven by plagues and governed by totalitarian rule, a powerful scientist’s damaged granddaughter tries to navigate life without him—and solve the mystery of her husband’s disappearances.

These three sections are joined in an enthralling and ingenious symphony, as recurring notes and themes deepen and enrich one another: A townhouse in Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village; illness, and treatments that come at a terrible cost; wealth and squalor; the weak and the strong; race; the definition of family, and of nationhood; the dangerous righteousness of the powerful, and of revolutionaries; the longing to find a place in an earthly paradise, and the gradual realization that it can’t exist. What unites not just the characters, but these Americas, are their reckonings with the qualities that make us human: Fear. Love. Shame. Need. Loneliness.

To Paradise is a fin de siècle novel of marvellous literary effect, but above all it is a work of emotional genius. The great power of this remarkable novel is driven by Yanagihara’s understanding of the aching desire to protect those we love – partners, lovers, children, friends, family and even our fellow citizens – and the pain that ensues when we cannot.

From bestselling author Diane Chamberlain comes an irresistible new novel that perfectly interweaves history, mystery, and social justice.

When Kayla Carter’s husband dies in an accident while building their dream house, she knows she has to stay strong for their four-year-old daughter. But the trophy home in Shadow Ridge Estates, a new development in sleepy Round Hill, North Carolina, will always hold tragic memories. But when she is confronted by an odd, older woman telling her not to move in, she almost agrees. It’s clear this woman has some kind of connection to the area…and a connection to Kayla herself. Kayla’s elderly new neighbor, Ellie Hockley, is more welcoming, but it’s clear she, too, has secrets that stretch back almost fifty years. Is Ellie on a quest to right the wrongs of the past? And does the house at the end of the street hold the key? Told in dual time periods, The Last House on the Street is a novel of shocking prejudice and violence, forbidden love, the search for justice, and the tangled vines of two families.

Wisconsin veterinarian Ally Winter must solve a well-heeled young woman’s a-paw-ling murder in USA Today bestselling author Laura Scott’s second Furry Friends mystery.

Thirty-something veterinarian Ally Winter has found a new “leash” on life since she moved back to her hometown of Willow Bluff, Wisconsin. But when she takes Domino, the black standard poodle she’s boarding for the weekend, for a sunny September stroll along the shore of Lake Michigan, the diminutive dog dashes off, only to return with a single, polka-dotted, high-heeled shoe. Retracing Domino’s paw prints back to a weeping willow tree, they find the other shoe. It’s still on the foot of 20-year-old Pricilla Green–lying dead beneath the willow, with a silk scarf knotted tightly around her neck.

Willow Bluff’s finest–and handsomest–detective, Noah Jorgenson, is soon on the tail of the killer. But he has another worry on his mind when Ally’s grandfather, a lifelong true-crime buff, starts to suspect that the recent burglary of a local big-box store may have some connection to Pricilla’s murder. Noah cautions Ally to keep Gramps well away from the homicide investigation, but the old dog is drawn to danger like a puppy is to a squeaky ball.

The fur flies as Ally, Noah, Gramps, and Domino race the clock to fetch the felon. It will take all of their canine canniness to comb out the twists and curls in this wild and woolly case. And if they fail, they won’t live to go walkies again.

Gemma Doyle is back on the case in bestselling author Vicki Delany’s seventh Sherlock Holmes Bookshop mystery when a poisoned dart ends in demise.

It’s a crisp, early October weekend, and business is slowing down as fall descends at the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop and Emporium and adjacent Mrs. Hudson’s Tea Room. Wealthy philanthropist and prominent Sherlockian David Masterson has rented Suffolk Gardens House, where he plans to entertain his friends in a traditional English country house weekend.

As the chosen caterers, Jayne Watson and Gemma Doyle get to work preparing lavish meals and setting up Sherlockian books and props for entertainment. Meanwhile, police detective Ryan Ashburton has taken time away from his duties to assist in the kitchen. It quickly becomes apparent that David’s guests don’t like each other–or their host. Plus, some of them aren’t even acquainted with the adventures of the Great Detective.

Before Gemma can ponder their relationships a poisoned dart sails through the window of the library, presenting Gemma Doyle with a three-book problem.

January 18

A troubled young mother yearns for a shot at redemption in this heartbreaking yet hopeful story from #1 New York Times bestselling author Colleen Hoover.

After serving five years in prison for a tragic mistake, Kenna Rowan returns to the town where it all went wrong, hoping to reunite with her four-year-old daughter. But the bridges Kenna burned are proving impossible to rebuild. Everyone in her daughter’s life is determined to shut Kenna out, no matter how hard she works to prove herself.

The only person who hasn’t closed the door on her completely is Ledger Ward, a local bar owner and one of the few remaining links to Kenna’s daughter. But if anyone were to discover how Ledger is slowly becoming an important part of Kenna’s life, both would risk losing the trust of everyone important to them.

The two form a connection despite the pressure surrounding them, but as their romance grows, so does the risk. Kenna must find a way to absolve the mistakes of her past in order to build a future out of hope and healing.

He was the most beautiful man alive.
And if I wasn’t careful, he was going to be my death.

*A scorchingly hot modern retelling of Psyche and Eros that’s as sinful as it is sweet.*

In the ultra-modern city of Olympus, there’s always a price to pay. Psyche knew she’d have to face Aphrodite’s ire eventually, but she never expected her literal heart to be at stake…or for Aphrodite’s gorgeous son to be the one ordered to strike the killing blow.

Eros has no problem shedding blood. But when it comes time to take out his latest target, he can’t do it. Confused by his reaction to Psyche, he does the only thing he can think of to keep her safe: he marries her. Psyche vows to make Eros’s life a living hell until they find a way out of this mess. But as lines blur and loyalties shift, she realizes he might take her heart after all…and she’s not sure she can survive the loss.

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Lisa Gardner, a thrilling new novel that sends Frankie Elkin into the woods in search of a lost man–and the shocking truth about why he went missing in the first place.

Frankie Elkin, who readers first met in Before She Disappeared, learns of a young man who has gone missing in a national forest. Law enforcement has abandoned the search, but a crew of people led by the young man’s father are still looking. Sensing a father’s desperation, Frankie agrees to help–but soon sees that a missing person isn’t all that’s wrong here. And when more people start to vanish, Frankie realizes she’s up against something very dark–and she’s running out of time.

From international bestselling author Karen Hamilton comes another pulse-pounding domestic thriller set against a lush, tropical backdrop as a woman fleeing her past as a con artist finds herself trapped aboard a cruise ship with someone who not only knows about that past, but will stop at nothing to get revenge.

It’s an offer she can’t refuse…and might not survive.

Charlotte has an unsavory past, but she’s on the straight and narrow these days. She was so young then—she married the wrong man, falling for Sam’s sweet-talking charm and charisma, and got caught up in his con artist games.

If only she’d left him before things went too far.

Now Sam is missing. But before he disappeared, he left urgent, cryptic messages about someone threatening him—someone who has been threatening Charlotte, too.
So Charlotte takes a job as a personal assistant for an engagement party aboard a private luxury cruise ship, the Cleobella, to get far away from anyone who means her harm.

But as the Cleobella sails through its glittering destinations, increasingly sinister events haunt the guests, and the turquoise waves and sun-drenched beaches give way to something darker. Someone knows what Charlotte did. Is it the blushing bride? The seemingly placid mother-in-law? Or the mysterious heiress?

Someone knows, and someone wants revenge—before the ship reaches its final port.

A quiet neighborhood. A lovely home. A promising new beginning. In a heartbeat everything can change in this propulsive novel of suspense by USA Today bestselling author Kaira Rouda.

Julie Jones has left her suffocating marriage. With her teenage daughter, Jess, she’s starting over. Their new house in Oceanside is the first step toward a new life. Even if it does come with the unexpected. The previous owners, a pastor and his wife, have left something—or rather someone—behind…

Tom Dean has a bitter hatred for the father who considers him a lost cause, and for the woman who’s moved into their family’s house. The only home he’s ever known. He’s never going to leave. She thinks he’ll be gone in three days, but Tom has the perfect plan.

For a newly single mother and her daughter, a fresh start is the beginning of a nightmare. Before the weekend is over, somebody is going to get exactly what they deserve.

A gothic tale full of mystery and romance about a willful female surgeon, a resurrection man who sells bodies for a living, and the buried secrets they must uncover together.

Edinburgh, 1817. 

Hazel Sinnett is a lady who wants to be a surgeon more than she wants to marry. 

Jack Currer is a resurrection man who’s just trying to survive in a city where it’s too easy to die. 

When the two of them have a chance encounter outside the Edinburgh Anatomist’s Society, Hazel thinks nothing of it at first. But after she gets kicked out of renowned surgeon Dr. Beecham’s lectures for being the wrong gender, she realizes that her new acquaintance might be more helpful than she first thought. Because Hazel has made a deal with Dr. Beecham: if she can pass the medical examination on her own, the university will allow her to enroll. Without official lessons, though, Hazel will need more than just her books – she’ll need bodies to study, corpses to dissect. 

Lucky that she’s made the acquaintance of someone who digs them up for a living, then. 

But Jack has his own problems: strange men have been seen skulking around cemeteries, his friends are disappearing off the streets. Hazel and Jack work together to uncover the secrets buried not just in unmarked graves, but in the very heart of Edinburgh society.

January 25

A woman receives an unexpected visitor during a deadly snowstorm in this chilling thriller from New York Times bestselling author Heather Gudenkauf

She thought she was alone

True crime writer Wylie Lark doesn’t mind being snowed in at the isolated farmhouse where she’s retreated to write her new book. A cozy fire, complete silence. It would be perfect, if not for the fact that decades earlier, at this very house, two people were murdered in cold blood and a girl disappeared without a trace.

As the storm worsens, Wylie finds herself trapped inside the house, haunted by the secrets contained within its walls—haunted by secrets of her own. Then she discovers a small child in the snow just outside. After bringing the child inside for warmth and safety, she begins to search for answers. But soon it becomes clear that the farmhouse isn’t as isolated as she thought, and someone is willing to do anything to find them.

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of This Is Where It Ends comes another heartbreaking, emotional and timely page-turner that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

The Hope Juvenile Treatment Center is ironically named. No one has hope for the delinquent teenagers who have been exiled there; the world barely acknowledges that they exist.

Then the guards at Hope start acting strange. And one day…they don’t show up. But when the teens band together to make a break from the facility, they encounter soldiers outside the gates. There’s a rapidly spreading infectious disease outside, and no one can leave their houses or travel without a permit. Which means that they’re stuck at Hope. And this time, no one is watching out for them at all.

As supplies quickly dwindle and a deadly plague tears through their ranks, the group has to decide whom among them they can trust and figure out how they can survive in a world that has never wanted them in the first place.

From the internationally bestselling author of The Simple Wild comes the story of a woman at a crossroads in her life, struggling between the safe route and the one that will only lead to more heartbreak.

Veterinarian Marie Lehr knows unrequited love all too well after pining for her best friend, only to watch him marry another woman. It’s a mistake she will never make again, especially not when she can practically hear the clock ticking on her childbearing years.

The trouble is, she can’t seem to find anyone who appeals to her even a fraction as much as that burly bush pilot did. Competitive musher Tyler Brady certainly doesn’t, especially not after the heated altercation with the handsome but arrogant, spiteful man.

Or so she thinks.

While volunteering at the Iditarod Sled Dog Race, Marie discovers that first impressions may have been false, and her attraction to Tyler is very real. But his heart belongs to someone else, leaving him with nothing to offer but friendship. Marie’s been down this road before and knows how that ends. Yet, no matter how hard she works to keep from falling for Tyler, it seems she’s doomed to follow her own trail once again.

To enter the palace means to walk a path stained in blood…

Joseon (Korea), 1758. There are few options available to illegitimate daughters in the capital city, but through hard work and study, eighteen-year-old Hyeon has earned a position as a palace nurse. All she wants is to keep her head down, do a good job, and perhaps finally win her estranged father’s approval.

But Hyeon is suddenly thrust into the dark and dangerous world of court politics when someone murders four women in a single night, and the prime suspect is Hyeon’s closest friend and mentor. Determined to prove her beloved teacher’s innocence, Hyeon launches her own secret investigation.

In her hunt for the truth, she encounters Eojin, a young police inspector also searching for the killer. When evidence begins to point to the Crown Prince himself as the murderer, Hyeon and Eojin must work together to search the darkest corners of the palace to uncover the deadly secrets behind the bloodshed.

It’s never too late to put your best foot forward

From the outside, Reagan “Rae” Doucet has it all: a coveted career in Washington, DC, a tight circle of friends and a shoe closet to die for. When one of her crew falls ill, however, Rae is done playing it safe. The talented but unfulfilled writer makes a “risk list” to revamp her life. But forgiving her ex, Jake Saunders, might be one risk too many…

From Harlequin Special Edition: Believe in love. Overcome obstacles. Find happiness.

A breakneck procedural that is beautifully written and masterfully crafted, Erin Young’s The Fields is a dynamite debut—crime fiction at its very finest.

Some things don’t stay buried. 

It starts with a body—a young woman found dead in an Iowa cornfield, on one of the few family farms still managing to compete with the giants of Big Agriculture.

When Sergeant Riley Fisher, newly promoted to head of investigations for the Black Hawk County Sheriff’s Office, arrives on the scene, an already horrific crime becomes personal when she discovers the victim was a childhood friend, connected to a dark past she thought she’d left behind.

The investigation grows complicated as more victims are found. Drawn deeper in, Riley soon discovers implications far beyond her Midwest town.

~Cassie

2021 Reading Survey

We are in the last week of of 2021 so I thought I would wrap up my year in reading. I have a couple of review books that I will be reading this week but I don’t think either of those books will impact my answers for this survey. Besides how many total books read. I’m pretty thrilled with my reading this year since I found a new lifelong favorite and did a great job of quickly putting down books that I wasn’t feeling.

2019 reading survey

2020 reading survey

Total Books Read: 143

Fave Book

This is a very character driven fantasy that I fell completely in love with this year. I will be reading the new version of this story when it comes out in March and I hope I love it just as much.

Worst Book

This isn’t necessarily terrible but since I dnf so many books early on I had slim pickings for what could be the worst book of the year. I don’t feel comfortable picking a book I haven’t read because I don’t really know anything about it beyond the little bit that I did read.

Overhyped

This isn’t a bad book but it is not what I was expecting. This is more of a collection of short stories and is one of the most simplistic sci fi’s that I have read. Again, it’s not a bad book but I thought I was getting more from this story than I did.

Disappointing

This started off so strongly but the last fourth of this book just completely derailed. This was the author’s debut novel so I do have my hopes up that the next book will be better.

Most read genre: Mystery/Thriller

Most Surprising

I wasn’t sure what I was getting into with this book but this is one of the most creative and well written books I have ever read. This is another life long favorite book that I can’t wait to reread. Danielewski is an actual literary genius and I am blown away by his incredible mind.

Longest book

This was my first Sarah J. Maas book and I flew through this tome in less than a week. I will be rereading this book in either January or February in anticipation of the sequel coming out.

Shortest book

This is a ten page story that I listened to and it was only around 15 minutes long. It was a nice snippet of the author’s work and I would love for her to expand it to a complete novel.

Biggest accomplishment

I usually try to have a different answer for every question but this book me on a month’s long journey. It took me 3 or so months to make it just over 100 pages and then I got into the groove of the multiple storylines and I couldn’t put this book down. I read the remaining 400 pages in days.

Favorite characters

The Atlas Six would be a great answer to this question but I also really enjoyed the characters in Jade City. We follow different members of the same family and I love all of them. I read this book toward the beginning of last year and I still can vividly remember the characters and plot. Reading the entire (published) Green Bone Saga is in my 2022 plans.

Book that made you cry

This was easily the most emotionally hard hitting book that I read this year. It is balanced well with the Christmas aspect but it had tears rolling down my face more than once.

Book that made you laugh

This was hilarious, sweet, sexy, and heartwarming. All the things that make the perfect cozy romance.

Favorite author

Olivie Blake, Mark Z. Danielewski, and Fonda Lee would be great choices for this but I read four Agatha Christie’s this year and I immensely enjoyed them all.

~Cassie

December weekly kindle haul # 4

Happy Sunday! I hope you are all enjoying your day. My husband and I are currently taking a break from putting our house back together after the craziness of the past few days. I was so busy I didn’t have a chance most days to even look at my email but I still did manage to buy a few books. I think I’m up to 15 books bought which isn’t too bad. I still have a few more days to get some more though!

COLD CASE CHRONICLES tells the stories of victims –– some missing, some murdered and some with changed identities. All are true, and each are mysterious in their own ways. The cases in this nonfiction narrative date from 1910 through the 1950s and include evolutions in forensics, as well as historical context in order to view the men, women and children through the lens of time.

Included are recent theories on the cases of Judge Joseph Crater (missing from New York City in 1930) and film director William Desmond Taylor (shot in Hollywood in 1922). Other chapters help to unravel the mystique of individuals with changed identities. Included, too, is a case of aerial sabotage, the “Boy in the Box,” and unusual disappearances of young women, along with child abductions and four missing adventurers –– Everett Ruess, Joseph Halpern, and Glen and Bessie Hyde. Readers are encouraged to draw their own conclusions, consider how detectives would handle these and other cases today, and learn how genetic genealogy brings new hope for the future.

He was supposed to be a myth. But from the moment I crossed the River Styx and fell under his dark spell… he was, quite simply, mine.

Society darling Persephone Dimitriou plans to flee the ultra-modern city of Olympus and start over far from the backstabbing politics of the Thirteen Houses. But all that’s ripped away when her mother ambushes her with an engagement to Zeus, the dangerous power behind their glittering city’s dark facade.

With no options left, Persephone flees to the forbidden undercity and makes a devil’s bargain with a man she once believed a myth… a man who awakens her to a world she never knew existed.

Hades has spent his life in the shadows, and he has no intention of stepping into the light. But when he finds that Persephone can offer a little slice of the revenge he’s spent years craving, it’s all the excuse he needs to help her—for a price. Yet every breathless night spent tangled together has given Hades a taste for Persephone, and he’ll go to war with Olympus itself to keep her close…

A modern retelling of Hades and Persephone that’s as sinful as it is sweet.

FREE

She’s his enemy, his downfall—and his one last chance at love.

After Adam Danvers lost his wife in a tragic accident, he stopped believing in love. Instead, Adam has focused solely on running his family’s struggling vineyard in the small town of Heron’s Landing.

When Joy McGuire, a beautiful and clever journalist, moves to the sleepy town, suddenly Adam can’t control his intense attraction to her. She’s witty; she pushes his buttons. He wants to shake her as much as he wants to kiss her.

But Joy is a journalist, and Adam hates them all on principle. He saw firsthand how a journalist’s lies destroyed his late wife. Yet as Joy proves that she’s nothing like the writers he’s known, Adam can’t help but give in to exquisite temptation.

Soon a conflagration ignites between Adam and Joy. Yet as secrets unfold, Adam must trust in love or lose the woman who’s awakened his slumbering heart.

This title was previously published as Seduce Me Sweetly. It’s been rereleased with a brand-new look and with lightly edited content.

Hades, God of the Underworld, is known for his inflexible rule, luxurious night clubs, and impossible bargains. Use to control, he is not prepared to discover the Fates have chosen his future wife and Queen—Persephone, Goddess of Spring.

Despite her attraction to the god, Persephone, an ambitious journalism student, is determined to expose Hades for his cruel and ruthless ways.

Hades finds himself faced with the impossible—proving his future bride wrong. Despite his efforts, there are forces who wish to keep the two apart and Hades comes to realize he will do anything for his forbidden love, even defy Fate.

$2.99

The epic true crime story of the most successful bootlegger in American history and the murder that shocked the nation, from the New York Times bestselling author of Sin in the Second City and Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy

In the early days of Prohibition, long before Al Capone became a household name, a German immigrant named George Remus quits practicing law and starts trafficking whiskey. Within two years he’s a multi-millionaire. The press calls him “King of the Bootleggers,” writing breathless stories about the Gatsby-esque events he and his glamorous second wife, Imogene, host at their Cincinnati mansion, with party favors ranging from diamond jewelry for the men to brand-new cars for the women. By the summer of 1921, Remus owns 35 percent of all the liquor in the United States.

Pioneering prosecutor Mabel Walker Willebrandt is determined to bring him down. Willebrandt’s bosses at the Justice Department hired her right out of law school, assuming she’d pose no real threat to the cozy relationship they maintain with Remus. Eager to prove them wrong, she dispatches her best investigator, Franklin Dodge, to look into his empire. It’s a decision with deadly consequences. With the fledgling FBI on the case, Remus is quickly imprisoned for violating the Volstead Act. Her husband behind bars, Imogene begins an affair with Dodge. Together, they plot to ruin Remus, sparking a bitter feud that soon reaches the highest levels of government–and that can only end in murder.

Combining deep historical research with novelistic flair, The Ghosts of Eden Park is the unforgettable, stranger-than-fiction story of a rags-to-riches entrepreneur and a long-forgotten heroine, of the excesses and absurdities of the Jazz Age, and of the infinite human capacity to deceive.

FREE

I’m glad I found you this Christmas – an uplifting sweet romance set against the magical backdrop of Christmas. 

Maggie Coates is frustrated. Her longterm boyfriend, Dirk, recently moved to London to take a job she fears puts him out of her league. Despite the assurances of her best friend Renee, Maggie is convinced Dirk is slowly drifting away. All Maggie wants is to get married and settle down, but maybe Dirk has other ideas. 

Convinced by Renee to make one last throw of the dice, Maggie books a romantic holiday for two in the quaint Scottish village of Hollydell. But will Dirk show up? 

And if he doesn’t, what if there is a perfect man waiting for her among the Christmas magic of Hollydell’s snow-laden streets? What if Henry, the humble reindeer farmer with the kind smile, turns out to be the man of Maggie’s dreams? 

I’m glad I found you this Christmas is a glowing sweet romance which will leave you feeling warm inside and buzzing with Christmas spirit.

FREE

A fake relationship gone awry.

Maggie’s made a big mistake… 
With her brother Justin’s help, sweet, innocent Maggie Grant left the city and moved to Mountain Valley to work on her romance novel in peace. Her parents, very much against the decision, have decided to pay her a visit and drag her back home. In a moment of panic, Maggie tells them she won’t leave because she’s met the perfect man and they’re now living together. The only problem? He doesn’t exist.

Liam was just minding his own business… 
Chef Liam Grayson can’t figure out what he’s doing in Justin Grant’s restaurant. Sure, he owes him for letting him steal away his prized sous-chef, but never in a million years did he imagine the favour he’d have to perform in return. Turns out Justin’s kid sister needs a fake boyfriend for a week, and hot, bad-boy Liam is the only one who can do the job.

A fauxmance neither of them wanted… 
Neither Maggie nor Liam are thrilled with the arrangement…until they actually meet. But playboy Liam can’t figure prudish Maggie out—he’s never encountered a woman so closed off before. And a romance writer to boot! He knows if he can just get her to let her guard down a little… but they’re both wholly unprepared for what comes next.

Get ready for a hot romance you won’t soon forget.

A Dash of Romance is the third novel in a series of stand-alone steamy contemporary romance stories based in Mountain Valley.

$1.99

When foster carer, Cathy Glass, is asked to foster Darcy-May, a two-day old baby, she is very concerned.

The baby is coming to her straight from hospital and will have no contact with her teenage mother, Haylea. Even more worrying, she will be brought to Cathy with a police escort as it’s vital her extended family don’t know where she is.

Abandoned at birth, Cathy and her family quickly bond with little Darcy-May although they have to accept she will eventually leave them to be adopted. But fostering is rarely straight forward, and when Haylea asks to see her baby a different story begins to emerge. It’s so alarming that even Cathy, a highly experienced foster carer, struggles.

FREE

Book 1 of the Prairie Crocus Cozy Mystery Series.
Clean, wholesome fun (& murder) for all ages!

When Claudia Porter inherits a rundown farmhouse in a quaint prairie town, she hopes it will provide her with the fresh start she so desperately needs. Except then she discovers a body. Before she knows it, she’s the prime suspect in a mysterious murder. She’s desperate to restore the old fixer upper – and her reputation. All she has to do is try to get along with her notoriously grouchy handyman… and solve a murder. Easy, right?

A fun, casual read with a thirty-something amateur sleuth. Set in a charming rural town on the Canadian prairies, this series has quirky characters, no profanity, and plenty of cats. Each book is a full-length, standalone novel.

FREE

Slow, Southern second chances never burned so hot…

Nothing wrecks Hunter Cross’s composure.
Not working his family’s farm from sunup to sundown.
Not busting up his shoulder on the job.
Not even coming face-to-face with the high school sweetheart
who abandoned their small town—and him—twelve years ago.
Despite the fact that she’s as gorgeous and guarded as ever,
he’ll let Emerson patch him up, good as new,
so he can get back to business. 
Nice and easy.

Emerson Montgomery has secrets. 
No way is she going to tell anyone why she left
her job as a hotshot physical therapist for a pro football team
to come back to Millhaven.
Especially not sexy, steady, still-pissed Hunter.
Except then she spends time with him.
Starts to trust him. 
Definitely remembers why she fell for him. 

But will her recent diagnosis of MS 
keep her world upside down?
Or will she discover that second chances
really are sweeter…

~Cassie

Stitching Saturday 12.25.21 (2022 plans)

Merry Christmas to everyone who celebrates! And if you don’t, then I hope you are having a relaxed and wonderful Saturday! I’m posting in the car on the way to Christmas dinner so it will be short and sweet. I just want to briefly go over my stitchy plans for next year.

Goals

1. I want to cross stitch something that requires beads next year.

2. I want to complete multiple pairs of socks.

3. I also want to knit a few sweaters. I always choose cardigans to knit and I want to have some sweaters I can wear.

4. When it comes to threads and yarn I always want to fall back to the cheapest options and I would like to branch out to some hand dyed yarns and yarns sourced from other countries. I would also like to try cross stitching with some silks when the right project comes a long.

Rotation

1. Without getting too confusing, I plan on always having at least one full coverage cross stitch in my rotation that will be chosen by the Full Coverage Fanatics Facebook group “bike across Germany” challenge. I will share more as we go but basically for every kilometer between cities in Germany you have to stitch one stitch. And I will share exactly how many stitches that is and which project I’ll be using for each city as we come across them.

2. Going along with the full coverage theme my biggest cross stitch goal is to finish my small Golden Kite “children by a stream”.

I’m sorry this is such a blurry photo.

3. Every Sunday I will be working on my temperature butterflies.

4. I will be choosing five projects each week to work on from my tiny decisions wheel. One will be a full coverage. And one of the five will be my morning focus stitch that I will work on every day to get some extra progress on it.

~Cassie

22 Books To Read in 2022

I may have completely failed at my 12 books I wanted to read last year but I am determined to complete this list in 2022. I am going to try to pull at least two books from this list every month… and hopefully read them! All these books are ones I own physically and are the ones that called to me the most. I have a whole bookshelf for my adult mystery/thrillers that I didn’t even look at for this challenge since that is my most read genre and I don’t need the extra push to get to those.

I want to binge read this whole series.

The case is closed. Five years ago, schoolgirl Andie Bell was murdered by Sal Singh. The police know he did it. Everyone in town knows he did it.

But having grown up in the same small town that was consumed by the murder, Pippa Fitz-Amobi isn’t so sure. When she chooses the case as the topic for her final year project, she starts to uncover secrets that someone in town desperately wants to stay hidden. And if the real killer is still out there, how far will they go to keep Pip from the truth?

Ariadne, Princess of Crete, grows up greeting the dawn from her beautiful dancing floor and listening to her nursemaid’s stories of gods and heroes. But beneath her golden palace echo the ever-present hoofbeats of her brother, the Minotaur, a monster who demands blood sacrifice.

When Theseus, the Prince of Athens, arrives to vanquish the beast, Ariadne sees in his green eyes not a threat but an escape. Defying the gods, betraying her family and country, and risking everything for love, Ariadne helps Theseus kill the Minotaur. But will Ariadne’s decision ensure her happy ending? And what of Phaedra, the beloved younger sister she leaves behind?

Hypnotic, propulsive, and utterly transporting, Jennifer Saint’s Ariadne forges a new epic, one that puts the forgotten women of Greek mythology back at the heart of the story, as they strive for a better world.

The second book in a YA trilogy based on the board game CLUE! 

In the aftermath of Headmaster Boddy’s murder, Blackbrook Academy has been thrown into complete disarray. Half the student body hasn’t bothered to return to campus—but those who have include Orchid, Vaughn, Scarlett, Peacock, Plum, and Mustard, now warily referred to by the other students as the Murder Crew. When another staff member is found dead and an anonymous threat begins to target the group, each of the teens’ opportunistic reasons for sticking around come to light. Orchid’s identity comes under question while Vaughn’s family life takes a turn; Finn and Mustard grow closer; and Scarlett and Beth struggle to turn over new leaves. All of this comes to a dramatic head at Tudor House with a cliff-hanger…

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?

Milly, Aubrey, and Jonah Story are cousins, but they barely know each other, and they’ve never even met their grandmother. Rich and reclusive, she disinherited their parents before they were born. So when they each receive a letter inviting them to work at her island resort for the summer, they’re surprised… and curious.

Their parents are all clear on one point—not going is not an option. This could be the opportunity to get back into Grandmother’s good graces. But when the cousins arrive on the island, it’s immediately clear that she has different plans for them. And the longer they stay, the more they realize how mysterious—and dark—their family’s past is.

The entire Story family has secrets. Whatever pulled them apart years ago isn’t over—and this summer, the cousins will learn everything.

Prosecuting attorney in the Manson trial, Vincent Bugliosi held a unique insider’s position in one of the most baffling and horrifying cases of the twentieth century: the cold-blooded Tate-LaBianca murders carried out by Charles Manson and four of his followers. What motivated Manson in his seemingly mindless selection of victims, and what was his hold over the young women who obeyed his orders? Here is the gripping story of this famous and haunting crime. 50 pages of b/w photographs.

Orphaned as a child, Jane has felt an outcast her whole young life. Her courage is tested once again when she arrives at Thornfield Hall, where she has been hired by the brooding, proud Edward Rochester to care for his ward Adèle. Jane finds herself drawn to his troubled yet kind spirit. She falls in love. Hard.

But there is a terrifying secret inside the gloomy, forbidding Thornfield Hall. Is Rochester hiding from Jane? Will Jane be left heartbroken and exiled once again?

A riveting, lucid memoir of a young woman’s struggle to regain her sense of self after trauma, and the efforts by a powerful New England boarding school to silence her–at any cost

When the elite St. Paul’s School recently came under state investigation after extensive reports of sexual abuse on campus, Lacy Crawford thought she’d put behind her the assault she’d suffered at St. Paul’s decades before, when she was fifteen. Still, when detectives asked for victims to come forward, she sent a note.

Her criminal case file reopened, she saw for the first time evidence that corroborated her memories. Here were depictions of the naïve, hard-working girl she’d been, a chorister and debater, the daughter of a priest; of the two senior athletes who assaulted her and were allowed to graduate with awards; and of the faculty, doctors, and priests who had known about Crawford’s assault and gone to great lengths to bury it.

Now a wife, mother, and writer living on the other side of the country, Crawford learned that police had uncovered astonishing proof of an institutional silencing years before, and that unnamed powers were still trying to block her case. The slander, innuendo, and lack of adult concern that Crawford had experienced as a student hadn’t been imagined as the effects of trauma, after all: these were the actions of a school that prized its reputation above anything, even a child.

This revelation launched Crawford on an extraordinary inquiry into the ways gender, privilege, and power shaped her experience as a girl at the gates of America’s elite. Her investigation looks beyond the sprawling playing fields and soaring chapel towers of crucibles of power like St. Paul’s, whose reckoning is still to come. And it runs deep into the channels of shame and guilt, witness and silencing, that dictate who can speak and who is heard in American society.

An insightful, mature, beautifully written memoir, Notes on a Silencing is an arresting coming-of-age story that wrestles with an essential question for our time: what telling of a survivor’s story will finally force a remedy?

Dorian Gray is a beautiful yet corrupt man. When he wishes that a perfect portrait of himself would bear the signs of ageing in his place, the picture becomes his hideous secret, as it follows Dorian’s own downward spiral into cruelty and depravity.

Enthralled by his own exquisite portrait, Dorian Gray exchanges his soul for eternal youth and beauty. Influenced by his friend Lord Henry Wotton, he is drawn into a corrupt double life; indulging his desires in secret while remaining a gentleman in the eyes of polite society. Only his portrait bears the traces of his decadence.

Discover the classic, behind-the-scenes chronicle of John E. Douglas’ twenty-five-year career in the FBI Investigative Support Unit, where he used psychological profiling to delve into the minds of the country’s most notorious serial killers and criminals—the basis for the upcoming Netflix original series.

In chilling detail, the legendary Mindhunter takes us behind the scenes of some of his most gruesome, fascinating, and challenging cases—and into the darkest recesses of our worst nightmares.

During his twenty-five year career with the Investigative Support Unit, Special Agent John Douglas became a legendary figure in law enforcement, pursuing some of the most notorious and sadistic serial killers of our time: the man who hunted prostitutes for sport in the woods of Alaska, the Atlanta child murderer, and Seattle’s Green River killer, the case that nearly cost Douglas his life.

As the model for Jack Crawford in The Silence of the Lambs, Douglas has confronted, interviewed, and studied scores of serial killers and assassins, including Charles Manson, Ted Bundy, and Ed Gein, who dressed himself in his victims’ peeled skin. Using his uncanny ability to become both predator and prey, Douglas examines each crime scene, reliving both the killer’s and the victim’s actions in his mind, creating their profiles, describing their habits, and predicting their next moves.

‘When you looked down into the stone, you looked into a yellow deep that drew your eyes into it so that they saw nothing else’

The Moonstone, a yellow diamond looted from an Indian temple and believed to bring bad luck to its owner, is bequeathed to Rachel Verinder on her eighteenth birthday. That very night the priceless stone is stolen again and when Sergeant Cuff is brought in to investigate the crime, he soon realizes that no one in Rachel’s household is above suspicion. Hailed by T. S. Eliot as ‘the first, the longest, and the best of modern English detective novels’, The Moonstone is a marvellously taut and intricate tale of mystery, in which facts and memory can prove treacherous and not everyone is as they first appear.

Sandra Kemp’s introduction examines The Moonstone as a work of Victorian sensation fiction and an early example of the detective genre, and discusses the technique of multiple narrators, the role of opium, and Collins’s sources and autobiographical references.

Every marriage has two hearts, one light and one dark…

Lisey Landon shared a profound and sometimes frightening intimacy with her husband, Scott, a celebrated bestselling novelist–and a man with many secrets. One was the place where his gifts of imagination came from, a place that could heal or destroy him. Now, two years after his death, it’s Lisey’s turn to face Scott’s demons on a nearly fatal journey into the darkness he inhabited…

In bestselling author T L Swan’s second hot installment to the Miles High Club series, he’s sexy, rich, and her mortal enemy. Hate never felt so good. 

I first met Tristan Miles at a meeting where he was trying to take over my late husband’s company. 

He was powerful, arrogant, and infuriatingly gorgeous, and I hated him with every cell in my body. In the shock of the century, he called me three days later and asked me on a date. 

I would rather die than date a man like him—though I do have to admit it was good for the ego. Turning him down was the highlight of my year. 

Six months later, he was the guest speaker at a conference I attended in France. 

Still arrogant and infuriating—but this time, surprisingly charming and witty. 

When he looked at me, I got butterflies. 

But I can’t go there. 

He’s just a player in a hot suit, and I’m just a widow with three unruly sons. 

I just need this conference to be over. 

Because everybody knows that Tristan Miles always gets what he wants…and what he wants is me.

Stephen King returns to the characters and territory of one of his most popular novels ever, The Shining, in this instantly riveting novel about the now middle-aged Dan Torrance (the boy protagonist of The Shining) and the very special 12-year-old girl he must save from a tribe of murderous paranormals.

On highways across America, a tribe of people called The True Knot travel in search of sustenance. They look harmless – mostly old, lots of polyester, and married to their RVs. But as Dan Torrance knows, and spunky 12-year-old Abra Stone learns, The True Knot are quasi-immortal, living off the “steam” that children with the “shining” produce when they are slowly tortured to death.

Haunted by the inhabitants of the Overlook Hotel where he spent one horrific childhood year, Dan has been drifting for decades, desperate to shed his father’s legacy of despair, alcoholism, and violence. Finally, he settles in a New Hampshire town, an AA community that sustains him, and a job at a nursing home where his remnant “shining” power provides the crucial final comfort to the dying. Aided by a prescient cat, he becomes “Doctor Sleep.”

Then Dan meets the evanescent Abra Stone, and it is her spectacular gift, the brightest shining ever seen, that reignites Dan’s own demons and summons him to a battle for Abra’s soul and survival. This is an epic war between good and evil, a gory, glorious story that will thrill the millions of hyper-devoted fans of The Shining and wildly satisfy anyone new to the territory of this icon in the King canon.

The first rule of book club: You don’t talk about book club.

Nashville Legends second baseman Gavin Scott’s marriage is in major league trouble. He’s recently discovered a humiliating secret: his wife Thea has always faked the Big O. When he loses his cool at the revelation, it’s the final straw on their already strained relationship. Thea asks for a divorce, and Gavin realizes he’s let his pride and fear get the better of him. 

Welcome to the Bromance Book Club.

Distraught and desperate, Gavin finds help from an unlikely source: a secret romance book club made up of Nashville’s top alpha men. With the help of their current read, a steamy Regency titled Courting the Countess, the guys coach Gavin on saving his marriage. But it’ll take a lot more than flowery words and grand gestures for this hapless Romeo to find his inner hero and win back the trust of his wife.

A chilling anthology featuring nineteen pieces of short fiction from the multiple award-winning author of the national bestseller The Cabin at the End of the World and A Head Full of Ghosts..

In The Teacher, a Bram Stoker Award nominee for best short story, a student is forced to watch a disturbing video that will haunt and torment her and her classmates’ lives.

Four men rob a pawn shop at gunpoint only to vanish, one-by-one, as they speed away from the crime scene in The Getaway.

In Swim Wants to Know If It’s as Bad as Swim Thinks, a meth addict kidnaps her daughter from her estranged mother as their town is terrorized by a giant monster . . . or not.

Joining these haunting works are stories linked to Tremblay’s previous novels. The tour de force metafictional novella Notes from the Dog Walkers deconstructs horror and publishing, possibly bringing in a character from A Head Full of Ghosts, all while serving as a prequel to Disappearance at Devil’s Rock. “The Thirteenth Temple” follows another character from A Head Full of Ghosts—Merry, who has published a tell-all memoir written years after the events of the novel. And the title story, Growing Things, a shivery tale loosely shared between the sisters in A Head Full of Ghosts, is told here in full.

In this heart-wrenching tale of love and loss, a young Marine and his best friend’s sister plunge into a forbidden love affair while he’s home on leave.

When a Marine Chaplain knocks on her door, Jessa’s heart breaks—someone she loves is dead. Killed in action, but is it Riley or Kit? Her brother or her boyfriend…

Three months earlier, Marine Kit Ryan finds himself back home on leave and dangerously drawn to his best friend Riley’s sister, Jessa—the one girl he can’t have. Exhausted from fighting his feelings, Kit finally gives in, and Jessa isn’t strong enough to resist diving headfirst into a passionate relationship.

But what was just supposed to be a summer romance develops into something far greater than either of them expected. Jessa’s finally found the man of her dreams and Kit’s finally discovered there’s someone he’d sacrifice everything for.

When it’s time for Kit to redeploy, neither one is ready to say goodbye. Jessa vows to wait for him and Kit promises to come home to her. No matter what.

But as Jessa stands waiting for the Marine Chaplain to break her heart, she can’t help but feel that Kit has broken his promise…

Riley or Kit? Kit or Riley? Her brother or her boyfriend? Who’s coming home to her?

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.

A stunning “portrait of the enduring grace of friendship” (NPR) about the families we are born into, and those that we make for ourselves. A masterful depiction of love in the twenty-first century.

A NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST • A MAN BOOKER PRIZE FINALIST • WINNER OF THE KIRKUS PRIZE

When four classmates from a small Massachusetts college move to New York to make their way, they’re broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition. There is kind, handsome Willem, an aspiring actor; JB, a quick-witted, sometimes cruel Brooklyn-born painter seeking entry to the art world; Malcolm, a frustrated architect at a prominent firm; and withdrawn, brilliant, enigmatic Jude, who serves as their center of gravity. 

Over the decades, their relationships deepen and darken, tinged by addiction, success, and pride. Yet their greatest challenge, each comes to realize, is Jude himself, by midlife a terrifyingly talented litigator yet an increasingly broken man, his mind and body scarred by an unspeakable childhood, and haunted by what he fears is a degree of trauma that he’ll not only be unable to overcome—but that will define his life forever.

The story of a mentally disabled man whose experimental quest for intelligence mirrors that of Algernon, an extraordinary lab mouse. In diary entries, Charlie tells how a brain operation increases his IQ and changes his life. As the experimental procedure takes effect, Charlie’s intelligence expands until it surpasses that of the doctors who engineered his metamorphosis. The experiment seems to be a scientific breakthrough of paramount importance until Algernon begins his sudden, unexpected deterioration. Will the same happen to Charlie?

New York Times Notable Book (2020)
Best Book of 2020: GuardianFinancial TimesLiterary Hub, and NPR

Drawing on Maggie O’Farrell’s long-term fascination with the little-known story behind Shakespeare’s most enigmatic play, HAMNET is a luminous portrait of a marriage, at its heart the loss of a beloved child. 

Warwickshire in the 1580s. Agnes is a woman as feared as she is sought after for her unusual gifts. She settles with her husband in Henley street, Stratford, and has three children: a daughter, Susanna, and then twins, Hamnet and Judith. The boy, Hamnet, dies in 1596, aged eleven. Four years or so later, the husband writes a play called Hamlet. 

Award-winning author Maggie O’Farrell’s new novel breathes full-blooded life into the story of a loss usually consigned to literary footnotes, and provides an unforgettable vindication of Agnes, a woman intriguingly absent from history.

LATTICING one cherry pie after another, an Ohio housewife tries to bridge the gaps between reality and the torrent of meaningless info that is the United States of America. She worries about her children, her dead parents, African elephants, the bedroom rituals of “happy couples”, Weapons of Mass Destruction, and how to hatch an abandoned wood pigeon egg. Is there some trick to surviving survivalists? School shootings? Medical debts? Franks ’n’ beans?

A scorching indictment of America’s barbarity, past and present, and a lament for the way we are sleepwalking into environmental disaster, Ducks, Newburyport is a heresy, a wonder—and a revolution in the novel.

It’s also very, very funny.

~Cassie