On My Radar: August 2021

It is that wonderful time of the month again where we look forward to what next month has in store for us book wise. July seemed to be the month of all the mystery/thrillers and August has a lot more of a variety to it. I enjoy reading all different genres so I still accumulated quite the list this month. As always some of these I will be buying, others I will be trying to grab for the library and others I will just have my eye out for when out shopping in the future.

August 3

Jayci Lee, author of A Sweet Mess, returns with The Dating Dare—her next witty, chemistry-filled romantic comedy.

Tara Park doesn’t do serious relationships. Neither does she hop into bed with virtual strangers. Especially when that particular stranger is her best friend’s new brother-in-law. It isn’t an easy decision, though. Seth Kim is temptation personified. His unreasonably handsome looks and charming personality makes him easy on the eyes and good for her ego.

When a friendly game of Truth or Dare leads to an uncomplicated four-date arrangement with Seth, Tara can’t say she minds. But their dates, while sweet and sexy, have a tendency to hit roadblocks. Thankfully, their non-dates and chance meetings get frequent and heated.

Seth is leaving for a new job in Paris in a month and a no-strings attached fling seemed like a nice little distraction for both… But soon Seth realizes that Tara Park doesn’t come in a “nice & little” package–she’s funny and bold, sweet and sexy, and everything he ever wanted and never expected to find. Neither of them are ready for something serious and both have past relationship baggage they’ve been ignoring, but with a shot at forever on the line will they follow their hearts and take a chance on happily-ever-after?

A gripping new psychological thriller from the author of Little Creeping Things—can a grieving girl discover the twisted truth behind her sister’s hiking accident?

Piper Sullivan never should have been at Suicide Point the day she fell. Her older sister, Savannah, knows this with all her heart—just as she knows that Piper’s “accident” was entirely her fault. Savannah did something awful, something she can barely stand to think about, and now Piper is in a coma.

But just as Savannah’s guilt threatens to swallow her whole, she finds something strange in Piper’s locker: a note inviting Piper to a meeting of their school’s wilderness club…at the very place and on the very day she fell. Which means that there’s a chance Piper wasn’t alone.

Maybe it isn’t Savannah’s fault, after all. Someone in the club might know what really happened. Someone might have done something. But why? If Savannah wants to find out the truth about that tragic day, she’ll have to join the club on their weekend long camping trip…on the very same mountain where her sister fell. And with everyone in the club a suspect, she’ll need to be careful or she might follow her sister into the dark.

For fans of Wilder Girls and Ninth House comes a dark, twisty, atmospheric thriller about a boarding school haunted by its history of witchcraft and two girls dangerously close to digging up the past.

Felicity Morrow is back at Dalloway School.

Perched in the Catskill mountains, the centuries-old, ivy-covered campus was home until the tragic death of her girlfriend. Now, after a year away, she’s returned to graduate. She even has her old room in Godwin House, the exclusive dormitory rumored to be haunted by the spirits of five Dalloway students—girls some say were witches. The Dalloway Five all died mysteriously, one after another, right on Godwin grounds.

Witchcraft is woven into Dalloway’s history. The school doesn’t talk about it, but the students do. In secret rooms and shadowy corners, girls convene. And before her girlfriend died, Felicity was drawn to the dark. She’s determined to leave that behind her now; all Felicity wants is to focus on her senior thesis and graduate. But it’s hard when Dalloway’s occult history is everywhere. And when the new girl won’t let her forget.

It’s Ellis Haley’s first year at Dalloway, and she’s already amassed a loyal following. A prodigy novelist at seventeen, Ellis is a so-called “method writer.” She’s eccentric and brilliant, and Felicity can’t shake the pull she feels to her. So when Ellis asks Felicity for help researching the Dalloway Five for her second book, Felicity can’t say no. Given her history with the arcane, Felicity is the perfect resource.

And when history begins to repeat itself, Felicity will have to face the darkness in Dalloway–and in herself.

Courtney Gould’s thrilling debut The Dead and the Dark is about the things that lurk in dark corners, the parts of you that can’t remain hidden, and about finding home in places―and people―you didn’t expect.

The Dark has been waiting for far too long, and it won’t stay hidden any longer. 

Something is wrong in Snakebite, Oregon. Teenagers are disappearing, some turning up dead, the weather isn’t normal, and all fingers seem to point to TV’s most popular ghost hunters who have just returned to town. Logan Ortiz-Woodley, daughter of TV’s ParaSpectors, has never been to Snakebite before, but the moment she and her dads arrive, she starts to get the feeling that there’s more secrets buried here than they originally let on.

Ashley Barton’s boyfriend was the first teen to go missing, and she’s felt his presence ever since. But now that the Ortiz-Woodleys are in town, his ghost is following her and the only person Ashley can trust is the mysterious Logan. When Ashley and Logan team up to figure out who—or what—is haunting Snakebite, their investigation reveals truths about the town, their families, and themselves that neither of them are ready for. As the danger intensifies, they realize that their growing feelings for each other could be a light in the darkness.

The acclaimed and beloved author of Still Missing is back with her most breathtaking thriller yet.

The Cold Creek Highway stretches close to five hundred miles through British Columbia’s rugged wilderness to the west coast. Isolated and vast, it has become a prime hunting ground for predators. For decades, young women traveling the road have gone missing. Motorists and hitchhikers, those passing through or living in one of the small towns scattered along the region, have fallen prey time and again. And no killer or abductor who has stalked the highway has ever been brought to justice.

Hailey McBride calls Cold Creek home. Her father taught her to respect nature, how to live and survive off the land, and to never travel the highway alone. Now he’s gone, leaving her a teenage orphan in the care of her aunt whose police officer husband uses his badge as a means to bully and control Hailey. Overwhelmed by grief and forbidden to work, socialize, or date, Hailey vanishes into the mountainous terrain, hoping everyone will believe she’s left town. Rumors spread that she was taken by the highway killer—who’s claimed another victim over the summer. 

One year later, Beth Chevalier arrives in Cold Creek, where her sister Amber lived—and where she was murdered. Estranged from her parents and seeking closure, Beth takes a waitressing job at the local diner, just as Amber did, desperate to understand what happened to her and why. But Beth’s search for answers puts a target on her back—and threatens to reveal the truth behind Hailey’s disappearance…

From the critically acclaimed author of Bunny, a darkly funny novel about a theater professor suffering chronic pain, who in the process of staging a troubled production of Shakespeare’s most maligned play, suddenly and miraculously recovers.

Miranda Fitch’s life is a waking nightmare. The accident that ended her burgeoning acting career left her with excruciating, chronic back pain, a failed marriage, and a deepening dependence on painkillers. And now she’s on the verge of losing her job as a college theater director. Determined to put on Shakespeare’s All’s Well That Ends Well, the play that promised, and cost, her everything, she faces a mutinous cast hellbent on staging Macbeth instead. Miranda sees her chance at redemption slip through her fingers.

That’s when she meets three strange benefactors who have an eerie knowledge of Miranda’s past and a tantalizing promise for her future: one where the show goes on, her rebellious students get what’s coming to them, and the invisible, doubted pain that’s kept her from the spotlight is made known.

With prose Margaret Atwood has described as “no punches pulled, no hilarities dodged…genius,” Mona Awad has concocted her most potent, subversive novel yet. All’s Well is the story of a woman at her breaking point and a formidable, piercingly funny indictment of our collective refusal to witness and believe female pain.

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

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.

Bestselling and award-winning author Megan Abbott’s revelatory, mesmerizing, and game-changing new novel set against the hothouse of a family-run ballet studio, and an interloper who arrives to bring down the carefully crafted Eden-like facade.

Ballet flows through their veins. Dara and Marie Durant were dancers since birth, with their long necks and matching buns and pink tights, homeschooled and trained by their mother. Decades later the Durant School of Dance is theirs. The two sisters, together with Charlie, Dara’s husband and once their mother’s prize student, inherited the school after their parents died in a tragic accident nearly a dozen years ago. Marie, warm and soft, teaches the younger students; Dara, with her precision, trains the older ones; and Charlie, back broken after years of injuries, rules over the back office. Circling around each other, the three have perfected a dance, six days a week, that keeps the studio thriving. But when a suspicious accident occurs, just at the onset of the school’s annual performance of The Nutcracker, a season of competition, anxiety, and exhilaration, an interloper arrives and threatens the delicate balance of everything they’ve worked for.

Taut and unnerving, The Turnout is Megan Abbott at the height of her game. With uncanny insight and hypnotic writing, it is a sharp and strange dissection of family ties and sexuality, femininity and power, and a tale that is both alarming and irresistible.

The Arthur C. Clarke award-winning author of Children of Time brings us an extraordinary new space opera about humanity on the brink of extinction, and how one man’s discovery will save or destroy us all.

The war is over. Its heroes forgotten. Until one chance discovery . . .

Idris has neither aged nor slept since they remade him in the war. And one of humanity’s heroes now scrapes by on a freelance salvage vessel, to avoid the attention of greater powers.

After earth was destroyed, mankind created a fighting elite to save their species, enhanced humans such as Idris. In the silence of space they could communicate, mind-to-mind, with the enemy. Then their alien aggressors, the Architects, simply disappeared – and Idris and his kind became obsolete.

Now, fifty years later, Idris and his crew have discovered something strange abandoned in space. It’s clearly the work of the Architects – but are they returning? And if so, why? Hunted by gangsters, cults and governments, Idris and his crew race across the galaxy hunting for answers. For they now possess something of incalculable value, that many would kill to obtain.

August 5

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

August 10

The bestselling author of the The Swap explores what happens when a seemingly perfect family is pushed to the edge… and beyond in this “propulsive, constantly surprising” (Laurie Elizabeth Flynn, author of The Girls Are All So Nice Here) thriller.

Thomas and Viv Adler are the envy of their neighbors: attractive, successful, with well-mannered children and a beautifully restored home. 

Until one morning, when they wake up to find their porch has been pelted with eggs. It’s a prank, Thomas insists; the work of a few out-of-control kids. But when a smoke bomb is tossed on their front lawn, and their car’s tires are punctured, the family begins to worry. Surveillance cameras show nothing but grainy images of shadowy figures in hoodies. And the police dismiss the attacks, insisting they’re just the work of bored teenagers. Unable to identify the perpetrators, the Adlers are helpless as the assaults escalate into violence, and worse. And each new violation brings with it a growing fear. Because everyone in the Adler family is keeping a secret—not just from the outside world, but from each other. And secrets can be very dangerous….

This twisty, addictively page-turning suspense novel about a perfect family’s perfect façade will keep you turning pages until its explosive ending.

Betrayal was just the beginning…

Melanie Hale is a devoted mother to her two children, a diligent caregiver to her ailing mother-in-law and a trusted neighbor in their wealthy Louisiana community. Above all, she’s a loving partner to her wonderful husband, Collin.

Then there are the parts of herself that Mel keeps hidden. She’s exhausted, worried and unfulfilled. So much so that one night, after a writers’ group meeting, Mel begins an affair with a successful local author named Luke. Suddenly she’s transformed into a role she doesn’t recognize—a woman who deceives with unseemly ease. A woman who might be capable of just about anything.

When Mel finds Luke’s dead body in his lavish rented house, she realizes just how high the stakes have become. Not only does she have to keep her affair a secret in order to preserve her marriage, but she desperately needs to avoid being implicated in Luke’s death. But who would want to kill him? Who else in her life is keeping secrets? And most terrifying of all, how far will they—and she—go to keep those secrets hidden?

Bookstore owner Erin Coleridge seeks the scoundrel who silenced a conference’s keynote speaker in Elizabeth Blake’s second charming Jane Austen Society mystery.

When the quaint English town of York hosts a Jane Austen Society conference, bookseller Erin Coleridge is glad to get out of Kirkbymoorside for a while–until featured speaker Barry Wolf suddenly perishes from what appears to be a heart attack.

Erin is suspicious, since Barry had no history of heart disease. But who did him in? Was it the decedent’s assistant, Stephen, who was observed chatting to Barry’s young wife Luca earlier that night? Might it have been Barry’s ex-wife Judith, who was seen arguing with her erstwhile betrothed at the bar? Meanwhile, conference co-chairs Hetty and Prudence have been at one another’s throat since the conference. Is one of them the culprit?  

Matters of the heart are putting Erin off her guard. Both Detective Inspector Peter Hemming and schoolteacher Jonathan Alder have made gestures of romantic interest, but Erin isn’t sure who is her Willoughby and who is her Colonel Brandon. DI Hemming tries to persuade Erin that her entanglement in the murder investigation is far from sensible, but his entreaties come to naught. Dauntlessly, Erin joins forces with Kirkbymoorside’s cat lady, Farnsworth, to ferret out the guilty party.

A murderer’s out to spoil Hayley’s honeymoon in national bestselling author Lucy Burdette’s eleventh Key West Food Critic Mystery. 

Key Zest food critic Hayley Snow and her groom, police detective Nathan Bransford, thought Scotland was the ideal destination for two newlyweds. That was before they learned they’d be sharing their trip with Nathan’s crotchety mother, his sister, and his brother in law, who seem to have conspired to keep the couple apart. Worse, the trip takes a deadly Tartan turn when Hayley watches a man falls to his death from the famous Falkirk Wheel.

No one in Vera’s party claims to know the victim, Joseph Booth–but Hayley suspects otherwise. She is troubled to add to the suspect list her mother-in-law’s elderly pal, Gloria, who insisted she’d been poisoned when she doubled over with pain after the salad course at the previous night’s dinner. The next day, she felt well enough to join her colleagues and Hayley for a boat ride on the Wheel, high above the Forth and Clyde canals.

To clear Miss Gloria’s name, Hayley visits the dead man’s home, hunting for clues while enjoying Booth’s mother’s prize-winning cinnamon scones. What she finds troubles her more than ever–the killer may be someone very close to her heart.

Can Hayley, her mother-in-law, and Miss Gloria solve the mystery, or will the killer get away Scot free?

Molly Pink and the Tarzana Hookers must unwind a fiendish skein in national bestselling author Betty Hechtman’s fourteenth Crochet mystery. 

These are the dog days of August, but you won’t catch the Tarzana Hookers crochet club napping. While Molly Pink knits together an idea for a new project, Miami Wilson busily converts a house she inherited into a rental property. But Miami is left shorthanded when Sloan Renner, the woman helping her clean out the house ends up dead under a pile of smelly seafood.
A large drone had flown over the property discarding mollusk shells all over the backyard. Was it an accident? An ill-fated prank by neighbors up in arms about a rental house in their cul-de-sac? Witnesses clam up when Molly’s ex, homicide detective Barry Greenberg, tries to get information, but he thinks Molly may be able to get them to open up to her.
When Molly learns about Sloan’s seafood allergy, she suspects that the woman’s death was no accident. Can she bait the hook to catch the culprit, or will the killer keep raising shell?

August 17

The hotly anticipated sequel to the instant New York Times bestselling YA fantasy about Tarisai’s quest to change her fate.

*I’m not sharing the full synopsis since it spoils the first book.

From the New York Times bestselling author of Mexican Gothic comes a “delicious, twisted treat for lovers of noir” about a daydreaming secretary, a lonesome enforcer, and the mystery of a missing woman they’re both desperate to find.

1970s, Mexico City. Maite is a secretary who lives for one thing: the latest issue of Secret Romance. While student protests and political unrest consume the city, Maite escapes into stories of passion and danger.

Her next-door neighbor, Leonora, a beautiful art student, seems to live a life of intrigue and romance that Maite envies. When Leonora disappears under suspicious circumstances, Maite finds herself searching for the missing woman—and journeying deeper into Leonora’s secret life of student radicals and dissidents.

Meanwhile, someone else is also looking for Leonora at the behest of his boss, a shadowy figure who commands goon squads dedicated to squashing political activists. Elvis is an eccentric criminal who longs to escape his own life: He loathes violence and loves old movies and rock ’n’ roll. But as Elvis searches for the missing woman, he comes to observe Maite from a distance—and grows more and more obsessed with this woman who shares his love of music and the unspoken loneliness of his heart.

Now as Maite and Elvis come closer to discovering the truth behind Leonora’s disappearance, they can no longer escape the danger that threatens to consume their lives, with hitmen, government agents, and Russian spies all aiming to protect Leonora’s secrets—at gunpoint.

Velvet Was the Night is an edgy, simmering historical novel for lovers of smoky noirs and anti-heroes.

No one knew they’d moved in together. Now one of them is dead. Could this be the perfect murder?

56 DAYS AGO
Ciara and Oliver meet in a supermarket queue in Dublin the same week Covid-19 reaches Irish shores.

35 DAYS AGO
When lockdown threatens to keep them apart, Oliver suggests that Ciara move in with him. She sees a unique opportunity for a new relationship to flourish without the pressure of scrutiny of family and friends. He sees it as an opportunity to hide who – and what – he really is.

TODAY
Detectives arrive at Oliver’s apartment to discover a decomposing body inside.

Will they be able to determine what really happened, or has lockdown provided someone with the opportunity to commit the perfect crime?

When a family obsessed with true crime gathers to bury their patriarch, horrifying secrets are exposed upon the discovery of another body in his grave in this chilling novel from the author of Behind the Red Door and The Winter Sister .

At twenty-six, Dahlia Lighthouse has a lot to learn when it comes to the real world. Raised in a secluded island mansion deep in the woods and kept isolated by her true crime-obsessed parents, she has spent the last several years living on her own, but unable to move beyond her past—especially the disappearance of her twin brother Andy when they were sixteen.

With her father’s death, Dahlia returns to the house she has avoided for years. But as the rest of the Lighthouse family arrives for the memorial, a gruesome discovery is made: buried in the reserved plot is another body—Andy’s, his skull split open with an ax.

Each member of the family handles the revelation in unusual ways. Her brother Charlie pours his energy into creating a family memorial museum, highlighting their research into the lives of famous murder victims; her sister Tate forges ahead with her popular dioramas portraying crime scenes; and their mother affects a cheerfully domestic façade, becoming unrecognizable as the woman who performed murder reenactments for her children. As Dahlia grapples with her own grief and horror, she realizes that her eccentric family, and the mansion itself, may hold the answers to what happened to her twin.

Beloved author Lucy Parker pens a delicious new romantic comedy that is a battle of whisks and wits.

Ready…

Four years ago, Sylvie Fairchild charmed the world as a contestant on the hit baking show, Operation Cake. Her ingenious, colorful creations captivated viewers and intrigued all but one of the judges, Dominic De Vere, the hottest pastry chef in London. When her glittery unicorn cake went spectacularly sideways, Dominic was quick to vote her off the show. Since then, Sylvie has managed to use her fame to help fulfill her dream of opening a bakery, Sugar Fair. The toast of Instagram, Sugar Fair has captured the attention of the Operation Cake producers…and a princess.

Set…

Dominic is His Majesty the King’s favorite baker, the go-to for sweet-toothed A-List celebrities, and a veritable British institution. He’s brilliant, talented, hard-working. And an icy, starchy grouch. Learning that the irksome Sylvie will be joining him on the Operation Cake judging panel is enough to make the famously dour baker even more grim. Her fantastical baking is only slightly more troublesome than the fact that he can’t stop thinking about her pink-streaked hair and irrepressible dimple.

Match…

When Dominic and Sylvie learn they will be fighting for the once in a lifetime opportunity to bake a cake for the upcoming wedding of Princess Rose, the flour begins to fly as they’re both determined to come out on top.

The bride adores Sylvie’s quirky style. The palace wants Dominic’s classic perfection.

In this royal battle, can there be room for two?

A cinematic and terrifying new novel from “the master of the psychological thriller” and the bestselling author of Baby Teeth and Wonderland, about three friends who hike into the wilds of the Grand Canyon—only to find it’s not so easy to leave the world behind (Entertainment Weekly).

It was supposed to be the perfect week away . . . 

Imogen and Beck, two sisters who couldn’t be more different, have been friends with Tilda since high school. Once inseparable, over two decades the women have grown apart. But after Imogen survives a traumatic attack, Beck suggests they all reunite to hike deep into the Grand Canyon’s backcountry. A week away, secluded in nature . . . surely it’s just what they need.

When a personal trainer agrees to fake date her client, all rules are out the window in this delightful romantic comedy from the USA Today bestselling author of The Boyfriend Project!

When it comes to personal training, Taylor Powell kicks serious butt. Unfortunately, her bills are piling up, rent is due, and the money situation is dire. Taylor needs more than the support of her new best friends, Samiah and London. She needs a miracle.

And Jamar Dixon might just be it. The oh-so-fine former footballer wants back into the NFL, and he wants Taylor to train him. There’s just one catch — no one can know what they’re doing. But when they’re accidentally outed as a couple, Taylor’s game plan is turned completely upside down. Is Jamar just playing to win . . . or is he playing for keeps?

In the vein of The Other Woman, Sandie Jones’s explosive new novel The Guilt Trip will have readers gripped to the very last page.

Six friends.

Rachel and Noah have been friends since they met at university. While they once thought that they might be something more, now, twenty years later, they are each happily married to other people, Jack and Paige respectively. Jack’s brother Will is getting married, to the dazzling, impulsive Ali, and the group of six travel to Portugal for their destination weekend.

Three couples.

As they arrive at a gorgeous villa perched on a cliff-edge, overlooking towering waves that crash on the famous surfing beaches below at Nazaré, they try to settle into a weekend of fun. While Rachel is looking forward to getting to know her future sister-in-law Ali better, Ali can’t help but rub many of the group up the wrong way: Rachel’s best friend Paige thinks Ali is attention-seeking and childish, and while Jack is trying to support his brother Will’s choice of wife, he is also finding plenty to disagree with Noah about.

One fatal misunderstanding . . .

But when Rachel discovers something about Ali that she can hardly believe, everything changes. As the wedding weekend unfolds, the secrets each of them hold begin to spill, and friendships and marriages threaten to unravel. Soon, jumping to conclusions becomes the difference between life and death.

Retired detective Konrad returns to a haunting cold case in The Darkness Knows by Arnaldur Indridason, the “undisputed King of the Icelandic thriller.” —The Guardian (UK)

A frozen body is discovered in the icy depths of Langjökull glacier, apparently that of a businessman who disappeared thirty years before. At the time, an extensive search and police investigation yielded no results—one of the missing man’s business associates was briefly held in custody, but there wasn’t enough evidence to charge him.

Now the associate is arrested again and Konrad, the retired policeman who originally investigated the disappearance, is called back to reopen the case that has weighed on his mind for decades.
When a woman approaches him with new information that she obtained from her deceased brother, progress can finally be made in solving this long-cold case.

In The Darkness Knows, the master of Icelandic crime writing reunites readers with Konrad, the unforgettable retired detective from The Shadow District. This is a powerful and haunting story about the poisonous secrets and cruel truths that time eventually uncovers.

August 19

Think you know the person you married? Think again…

Things have been wrong with Mr and Mrs Wright for a long time. When Adam and Amelia win a weekend away to Scotland, it might be just what their marriage needs. Self-confessed workaholic and screenwriter Adam Wright has lived with face blindness his whole life. He can’t recognize friends or family, or even his own wife. 
Every anniversary the couple exchange traditional gifts – paper, cotton, pottery, tin – and each year Adam’s wife writes him a letter that she never lets him read. Until now. They both know this weekend will make or break their marriage, but they didn’t randomly win this trip. One of them is lying, and someone doesn’t want them to live happily ever after.

Ten years of marriage. Ten years of secrets. And an anniversary they will never forget.

Rock Paper Scissors is the latest exciting domestic thriller from the queen of the killer twist, New York Times bestselling author Alice Feeney.

August 24

From its creepy town mascot to the story of its cursed waterfall, Burden Falls is a small town dripping with superstition. Ava Thorn knows this well – since the horrific accident she witnessed a year ago, she’s been plagued by nightmares.

But when someone close to her is brutally murdered and Ava is the primary suspect, she starts to wonder if the legends surrounding the town are more fact than fiction.

Whatever secrets Burden Falls is hiding, there’s a killer on the loose, and they have a vendetta against the Thorns…

Following her bestselling, critically acclaimed The Silence of the Girls, Pat Barker continues her extraordinary retelling of one of our greatest myths.

Troy has fallen. The Greeks have won their bitter war. They can return home victors, loaded with their spoils: their stolen gold, stolen weapons, stolen women. All they need is a good wind to lift their sails.

But the wind does not come. The gods have been offended – the body of Priam lies desecrated, unburied – and so the victors remain in limbo, camped in the shadow of the city they destroyed, pacing at the edge of an unobliging sea. And, in these empty, restless days, the hierarchies that held them together begin to fray, old feuds resurface and new suspicions fester.

Largely unnoticed by her squabbling captors, Briseis remains in the Greek encampment. She forges alliances where she can – with young, dangerously naïve Amina, with defiant, aged Hecuba, with Calchus, the disgraced priest – and begins to see the path to a kind of revenge. Briseis has survived the Trojan War, but peacetime may turn out to be even more dangerous…

From the author of When I Was You comes a spine-tingling new thriller about a mother’s worst nightmare come true, when her teenage daughter goes to a sleepover and doesn’t come back.

Whitney had some misgivings when she dropped her increasingly moody teenage daughter, Amelia, off at Lauren’s house. She’d never met the parents, and usually she’d go in, but Amelia clearly wasn’t going to let something so humiliating happen, so instead Whitney waved to her daughter before pulling away from the little house with the roses in front.

But when she goes back the next day, an elderly couple answers the door—Amelia and Lauren aren’t there, and this couple swears they never were, that she’s at the wrong house. As Whitney searches for Amelia, she uncovers a trail of lies her daughter has told her—from the Finsta account to rumors of a secret relationship. Does she really even know this girl she’s raised? And Amelia’s not the only one with secrets. Could Whitney’s own demons have something to do with her daughter’s disappearance, and can Whitney find her before it’s too late?

August 31

A woman struggling with burnout learns to embrace the unexpected—and the man she enlists to help her—in this heartfelt new romance by USA Today bestselling author Helen Hoang.

When violinist Anna Sun accidentally achieves career success with a viral YouTube video, she finds herself incapacitated and burned out from her attempts to replicate that moment. And when her longtime boyfriend announces he wants an open relationship before making a final commitment, a hurt and angry Anna decides that if he wants an open relationship, then she does, too. Translation: She’s going to embark on a string of one-night stands. The more unacceptable the men, the better.

That’s where tattooed, motorcycle-riding Quan Diep comes in. Their first attempt at a one-night stand fails, as does their second, and their third, because being with Quan is more than sex—he accepts Anna on an unconditional level that she has just started to understand herself. However, when tragedy strikes Anna’s family she takes on a role that she is ill-suited for, until the burden of expectations threatens to destroy her. Anna and Quan have to fight for their chance at love, but to do that, they also have to fight for themselves.

The scorching new thriller from the number-one ‘New York Times’ best-selling author of ‘The Girl on the Train’.

When a young man is found gruesomely murdered in a London houseboat, it triggers questions about three women who knew him. Laura is the troubled one-night-stand last seen in the victim’s home. Carla is his grief-stricken aunt, already mourning the recent death of yet another family member. And Miriam is the nosy neighbor clearly keeping secrets from the police. Three women with separate connections to the victim. Three women who are – for different reasons – simmering with resentment. Who are, whether they know it or not, burning to right the wrongs done to them. When it comes to revenge, even good people might be capable of terrible deeds. How far might any one of them go to find peace? How long can secrets smolder before they explode into flame?

Look what you started.

In her quickly gentrifying rural lake town Jade sees recent events only her encyclopedic knowledge of horror films could have prepared her for in this latest novel from the Jordan Peele of horror literature, New York Times bestselling author Stephen Graham Jones.

“Some girls just don’t know how to die…”

Shirley Jackson meets Friday the 13th in My Heart Is a Chainsaw, written by the author of The Only Good Indians Stephen Graham Jones, called “a literary master” by National Book Award winner Tananarive Due and “one of our most talented living writers” by Tommy Orange.

Alma Katsu calls My Heart Is a Chainsaw “a homage to slasher films that also manages to defy and transcend genre.” On the surface is a story of murder in small-town America. But beneath is its beating heart: a biting critique of American colonialism, Indigenous displacement, and gentrification, and a heartbreaking portrait of a broken young girl who uses horror movies to cope with the horror of her own life.

Jade Daniels is an angry, half-Indian outcast with an abusive father, an absent mother, and an entire town that wants nothing to do with her. She lives in her own world, a world in which protection comes from an unusual source: horror movies…especially the ones where a masked killer seeks revenge on a world that wronged them. And Jade narrates the quirky history of Proofrock as if it is one of those movies. But when blood actually starts to spill into the waters of Indian Lake, she pulls us into her dizzying, encyclopedic mind of blood and masked murderers, and predicts exactly how the plot will unfold.

Yet, even as Jade drags us into her dark fever dream, a surprising and intimate portrait emerges…a portrait of the scared and traumatized little girl beneath the Jason Voorhees mask: angry, yes, but also a girl who easily cries, fiercely loves, and desperately wants a home. A girl whose feelings are too big for her body. My Heart Is a Chainsaw is her story, her homage to horror and revenge and triumph.

New from bestselling author Stephanie Perkins, and the perfect companion to her New York Timesbestseller There’s Someone Inside Your House, soon to be a Netflix feature.

Bears aren’t the only predators in these woods.

Best friends Neena and Josie spent high school as outsiders, but at least they had each other. Now, with college and a two-thousand-mile separation looming on the horizon, they have one last chance to be together—a three-day hike deep into the woods of the Pisgah National Forest.

Simmering tensions lead to a detour off the trail and straight into a waking nightmare … and then into something far worse. Something that will test them in horrifying ways.

Stephanie Perkins, the bestselling author of There’s Someone Inside Your House, returns with a heart-stopping, gut-wrenching novel about friendship, survival, and navigating unmarked paths even as evil watches from the shadows.

~Cassie

Recent Kindle Haul Part 4

Happy Sunday. I’m back today to share some more of the Kindle books that I bought recently. So far in July I haven’t purchased that many but I’m still trying to get caught up on June purchases so we should hopefully be caught up in one or two more posts. Although I’m still not feeling the best today so this will be on the shorter side.

Mercy Alston knows the best thing to do with pesky feelings like “love” and “hope”: avoid them at all cost. Serving as a maid to Eliza Hamilton, and an assistant in the woman’s stubborn desire to preserve her late husband’s legacy, has driven that point home for Mercy—as have her own previous heartbreaks. 

When Andromeda Stiel shows up at Hamilton Grange for an interview in her grandfather’s stead, Mercy’s resolution to live a quiet, pain-free life is tested by the beautiful, flirtatious, and entirely overwhelming dressmaker. 

Andromeda has staid Mercy reconsidering her worldview, but neither is prepared for love—or for what happens when it’s not enough. 

This is an angsty but fluffy F/F novella with a happy ending for both of our intrepid heroines.

You can look, but you definitely cannot touch…

I’m Pippa Welch, and there are three things you should know about me.

One, I’ve been the steadfast and loyal best friend of His Royal Highness Lars Løve VII, the second in line to the throne of Denmark, since we met in middle school. I’m also quite possibly the only woman in the country who’s never fallen into bed with him.

Two, I would fall into bed with Lars in a heartbeat, and he has no idea.

And three, I’m not really Pippa Welch.

Everything is fine until the night he comes to me, gets on one knee, pops open a ring box, and…

…asks if I’ll fake an engagement with him.

Lars has been there for me my whole life, so I jump at the chance to help him before I can think better of it. Take some official photos and show my face at some fancy events?

Anything for my bestie, the man for whom I’ve held a torch for a decade.

Only I’m not expecting him to slide his arm around my waist, pull me closer, and kiss me so deeply I can’t think straight. He’s not supposed to whisper I want to taste you in my ear during a royal ball, or to slip me the tongue during the New Years’ parade.

And I really, really wasn’t expecting him to keep up the charade in private.

Lars is slowly breaking down every barrier I’ve put up to keep him out of my heart, and more than anything, I want to let him make this engagement real… but I can’t let him find out my secret.

See, if I let my mask slip, I’m not the only one whose life would be shattered. And if I’m not careful, I’ll lose the man I love and my best friend in the entire world in one fell swoop…

The emperor’s reign has lasted for decades, his mastery of bone shard magic powering the animal-like constructs that maintain law and order. But now his rule is failing, and revolution is sweeping across the Empire’s many islands.

Lin is the emperor’s daughter and spends her days trapped in a palace of locked doors and dark secrets. When her father refuses to recognise her as heir to the throne, she vows to prove her worth by mastering the forbidden art of bone shard magic.

Yet such power carries a great cost, and when the revolution reaches the gates of the palace, Lin must decide how far she is willing to go to claim her birthright – and save her people.

Fans call me the king of the water. I’m focused, driven, and most importantly, I win.

Life as a professional swimmer comes with sacrifices, but they’ve never worried me. I’m used to life with little room for anything but training, eating, and sleeping.

Nothing more, nothing less. 

When a son I knew nothing about lands on my doorstep—and a crazy but very beautiful nanny shortly after—my life is turned upside down. Allowing any change into my life could put my goals and dreams in jeopardy, and I’ve worked too hard and too long for them. 

When I’m tempted to look beyond lap times and medals to bedtime stories and the possibility of love, I face one of the hardest questions of my life: is it worth the risk?

The town bad boy with hidden pain…

Champion bull-rider Chase Summers is everybody’s friend, but his affable personality hides a troubled childhood. The only thing that saved him from isolation was his foster dad and life on Redemption Ranch. Now he spends his time on the rodeo circuit, sending home his winnings to help the ranch succeed, and his nights with buckle bunnies, making sure no one gets too close.

The town sweetheart who saw the good in everyone…

When accountant Hailey Spencer is hired by Redemption Ranch to implement their new ideas, she and Chase are thrown together. It’s not long before he is introduced to the son that she had with his best friend. The best friend who would’ve followed Chase anywhere…even the bull riding circuit with it’s deadly potential. The two try to fight their age-old attraction – in vain. Chase knows Hailey deserves more than a broken-down cowboy for her son and her heart. 

Can Chase resist the call of the rodeo and man up for a woman he’s loved for years?

Enemies …After years away, Miranda Sweet returns to Salvation, Virginia to save her family’s brewery, but her fate is in the hands of her lover-turned-enemy, Logan. What’s a girl to do when the only person who can help her is the man who betrayed her?

Lovers …Logan Martin can’t believe his luck when the woman who smashed his heart to smithereens walks into his bank asking for his help. What she doesn’t know is that he needs the land her brewery is on–and he’ll do whatever it takes to get it.

An Irresistible Combination …Their wager becomes a battle between their attraction and their determination to win. But it’s in each other’s arms that they realize there might be more at stake now than their bet. With the town against the Sweet Salvation Brewery’s success, Logan has to choose between what’s expected of him and what he really wants…

Wanted: Personal Buffer

Often snarly, workaholic executive seeks “buffer” from annoying outside distractions AKA people. Free spirits with personal boundary issues, excessive quirks, or general squeamishness need not apply. Salary negotiable. Confidentiality required.

Workaholic billionaire Sawyer Carlyle may have joked he needed a “buffer” from their marriage-obsessed mom, but he didn’t need a waiting room filled with “candidates” to further distract him. (Thanks, bro.) But when a sexy job applicant shooes his mom and the socialite in tow out of his office, Sawyer sees the genius of the plan. And the woman. In fact, Miss Clover Lee might just get the fastest promotion in history, from buffer to fake fiancé…

This “free-spirit” might look like hot sunshine and lickable rainbows, but she negotiates like a pitbull. Before Sawyer knows what hit him, he’s agreed to give up Friday nights for reality tv, his Saturdays for flea markets (why buy junk still baffles him), his Tuesdays and Thursdays for “date nights” (aka panty-losing opportunities if he plays his cards right). And now she wants lavender bath salts and tulips delivered every Monday? 

Yup, she’s just screwing with him. Good thing she’s got this non-negotiatable six-weeks-and-she’s-gone rule or Sawyer may have just met his match…

A national bestseller when it first appeared in 1963, The Fire Next Time galvanized the nation and gave passionate voice to the emerging civil rights movement. At once a powerful evocation of James Baldwin’s early life in Harlem and a disturbing examination of the consequences of racial injustice, the book is an intensely personal and provocative document. It consists of two “letters,” written on the occasion of the centennial of the Emancipation Proclamation, that exhort Americans, both black and white, to attack the terrible legacy of racism. Described by The New York Times Book Review as “sermon, ultimatum, confession, deposition, testament, and chronicle…all presented in searing, brilliant prose,” The Fire Next Time stands as a classic of our literature.

The inside story of WeWork and its CEO, Adam Neumann, which tells the remarkable saga of one of the most audacious, and improbable, rises and falls in American business history.

In its earliest days, WeWork promised the impossible: to make the American work place cool. Adam Neumann, an immigrant determined to make his fortune in the United States, landed on the idea of repurposing surplus New York office space for the burgeoning freelance class. Over the course of ten years, WeWork attracted billions of dollars from some of the most sought-after investors in the world, while spending it to build a global real estate empire that he insisted was much more than that: an organization that aspired to nothing less than “elevating the world’s consciousness.”

Moving between New York real estate, Silicon Valley venture capital, and the very specific force field of spirituality and ambition erected by Adam Neumann himself, Billion Dollar Loser lays bare the internal drama inside WeWork. Based on more than two hundred interviews, this book chronicles the breakneck speed at which WeWork’s CEO built and grew his company along with Neumann’s relationship to a world of investors, including Masayoshi Son of Softbank, who fueled its chaotic expansion into everything from apartment buildings to elementary schools.

Culminating in a day-by-day account of the five weeks leading up to WeWork’s botched IPO and Neumann’s dramatic ouster, Wiedeman exposes the story of the company’s desperate attempt to secure the funding it needed in the final moments of a decade defined by excess. Billion Dollar Loser is the first book to indelibly capture the highly leveraged, all-blue-sky world of American business in President Trump’s first term, and also offers a sober reckoning with its fallout as a new era begins.

A smoking hot stuntman. A fiery horse breeder. And a 220-acre ranch too small for both of them. 

She’s avoided Hollywood for years… 

When an arrogant Hollywood stuntman struts into Samantha McNeill’s breeding barn, sparks fly. She doesn’t care how mouthwateringly gorgeous he is, not when he assumes Pacific Vista Ranch’s resident horse breeding manager must be a man. Not to mention his job threatens to pull her family back into the paparazzi filled world they escaped from over a decade ago. 

Now it’s at her door––wearing faded jeans and a wicked grin. 

Holt Ericsson can tell the beautiful redhead hates him on sight and the feeling is becoming mutual. But he will call in a favor and convince Sam’s legendary director father that Pacific Vista Ranch is the only suitable place left in California to film an epic Western. Holt’s invested all his savings in the movie and his entire career is riding on it. No way will he allow one irritating, sexy woman to stand in his way. 

Sam intends to fight him at every turn…if only her heart didn’t race when they’re together. Holt does his best to steer clear of her…except all he wants to do is hold her close. The sizzling attraction between them is either going to burn up the sheets or burn down the ranch… 

A fear-induced split-second decision goes terribly wrong, altering the fate of three strangers.

It’s New Year’s Eve. Shae Wilmont, the adored celebrity host of IShop—a popular shopping site—is ready to reclaim her life. Her stalker has been caught. But en route to a party, a harrowing encounter lands her in the wrong place at the wrong time. She panics. And trusts her gut. It’s a devastating mistake.

Only one person knows where she ends up. It’s where no one can find her.
Shae’s stunned fans quickly galvanize to track her down. Yet the charismatic Shae they know, who delivers digital intimacy to viewers who’ll buy anything she sells, off camera is an enigma—private and strangely insecure—unable to let anyone get close. When startling personal secrets are exposed during the investigation, the paradox of Shae begins to unravel.

In this dark psychological suspense, the lives of three strangers collide irreversibly. Honey, a displaced Southern girl with a painful past, is fiercely protective of her friends at the expense of her own safety, derailing her new life in California. Creepy Lawrence, a Detective Bureau fast-tracker with a penchant for latex gloves and a perverse obsession with Shae. And Shae, with millions of fake friends but hardly a real one. All three are hiding something, but only two of them are lying. 

This suspenseful page-turner bares our assumptions of strangers. Who we believe without judgment and who we judge without believing. A story about privilege, family, identity, the need for belonging and the destruction caused by secrets. 

How can you trust your instincts when they turn out to be wrong?

A heart-stopping murder mystery that will have you burning through the pages.

Investigative reporter Samantha Bell’s job has never been so dangerous. When TV actress, April Wright, falls to her death in what appears to be an accident, a video emerges from a credible source that suggests April’s death might actually be murder of the first degree.

Samantha Bell chases a terrifying criminal mastermind who is determined to remain anonymous and unseen, no matter the cost.

Stalked by someone she cannot see, Samantha has social media influencer, Vincent Verdi, in her crosshairs. But when the chief of police blocks her pursuit of the truth at every turn, Samantha has no choice but to play dirty in order to save the man she loves.

The stakes are higher than ever with twists and turns that will keep you guessing until the very end.

Just when things couldn’t get worse, Samantha’s partner in crime, Erin Tate, is framed for a murder she didn’t commit. Now it’s up to Samantha and her four crime-solving friends to do whatever it takes to not be outsmarted by a criminal mastermind determined to remain one step ahead while leaving a trail of blood in his wake.

Lawyer Steve Conroy has one last chance to overcome the past that has haunted him for twenty-five years. But he’ll learn that the present can be darker than any nightmare he’s ever had.

At the age of five, Steve Conroy saw his seven-year-old brother kidnapped from the bedroom they shared. His brother was never found. And the guilt of his silence that night has all but destroyed Steve’s life.

Now thirty years old with a failing law practice, Steve agrees to represent a convicted criminal, Johnny LaSalle, who has ties to a notorious family—and some information that threatens to blow Steve’s world apart. 

Desperate for his final shot at professional success, Steve will do anything to find the truth. But Johnny knows far more than he’s telling, and the secrets he keeps have deadly consequences. Now Steve must depend on an inexperienced law student whose faith seems to be his last chance at redemption from a corrupt world where one wrong move may be his last. 

How will you die? 

Dr. Atwell knows. He knows how everyone will die, even the ones he won’t kill himself.   

He also knows about all your clones. You didn’t really think you were the original, did you? 

He’s even traveled back in time to bring his daughter back from the dead. 

SHADOW ON THE STAIRS is a collection of short thriller, horror, mystery, and suspense stories. Each bite-sized page turner is a quick, exciting read, made more so by Dr. Atwell’s elaborate narrative subtly woven between the stories.

Supernatural and paranormal encounters. Deranged murders and master assassins. Mad experiments and profane rites… Delve into these mysteries and join the hunt to discover the truth.   

The new girl doesn’t belong here.
So why can’t I stop thinking about her?

The daughter of the headmaster wants to ruin my school year before it’s even begun. Iris Briggs gets under my skin. With her demure skirts and braided hair, she flits around the periphery until she runs right into me, hot coffee soaking me as she looks up with wide, innocent eyes.

We start off scalding.
In the library, we reach lava levels.
And then in the city? She burns me to the ground.

I’m Keaton Constantine. My duty is to my family. At least, it was until I started unbraiding the good girl and realizing there’s more to life than duty.

Perfect for lovers of Agatha Christie and The Secret HistoryThe Truants is a seductive, unsettling, and beautifully written debut novel of literary suspense–a thrilling exploration of deceit, first love, and the depths to which obsession can drive us.

“Deftly plotted and with vivid, compelling characters.” –Jojo Moyes
“A fresh, smart, exciting voice.” –Elin Hilderbrand
“One of the best thriller debuts in recent years.” —Kirkus Reviews

People disappear when they most want to be seen.

Jess Walker has come to a concrete campus under the flat gray skies of East Anglia for one reason: to be taught by the mesmerizing and rebellious Dr. Lorna Clay, whose seminars soon transform Jess’s thinking on life, love, and Agatha Christie. Swept up in Lorna’s thrall, Jess falls in with a tightly knit group of rule-breakers–Alec, a courageous South African journalist with a nihilistic streak; Georgie, a seductive, pill-popping aristocrat; and Nick, a handsome geologist with layers of his own.

But the dynamic between the friends begins to darken, until a tragedy shatters their friendships and love affairs, and reveals a terrible secret. Soon Jess must face the question she fears most: what is the true cost of an extraordinary life?

A stunning and honest debut poetry collection about the beauty and hardships in being a mother, a wife, and a woman. 

“When life throws you a bag of sorrow, hold out your hands/Little by little, mountains are climbed.” So ends Kate Baer’s remarkable poem “Things My Girlfriends Teach Me.” In “Nothing Tastes as Good as Skinny Feels” she challenges her reader to consider their grandmother’s cake, the taste of the sea, the cool swill of freedom. In her poem “Deliverance” about her daughter’s birth she writes “What is the word for when the light leaves the body?/What is the word for when it/at last, returns?”

Through poems that are as unforgettably beautiful as they are accessible, Kate proves herself to truly be an exemplary voice in modern poetry. As easy to post on Instagram as they are to print out and frame, Kate’s words make women feel seen in their own bodies, in their own marriages, and in their own lives. Her poems are those you share with your mother, your daughter, your sister, and your friends.

Settling down and starting a family is something Diesel has considered, regardless of his one-night stand reputation. However, he just might be single forever since who he wants is off-limits—his best friend’s little sister.

He’s been in love with her for years, but betraying his friendship could ruin everything.

Rowan Bishop is over men, especially after finding out her boyfriend cheated and left her heartbroken. After graduating from college, she’s back home and has to face the one guy who purposely gets under her skin—her older brother’s best friend.

She hates that she’s attracted to him, but she’s willing to fight for who she wants.

Spending time together is a bad idea, but neither can deny the chemistry sizzling between them. Late night talks turn into spontaneous adventures and just when Rowan’s willing to admit how she truly feels, Diesel’s past catches up with him and ruins their picture perfect romance.

One secret turns into another and before either can grasp their new reality, more truths unravel—threatening to expose their forbidden relationship.

**Catching the Cowboy is a complete standalone and can be read without reading any of the other books or series, but if you prefer to read in order, start with Hitching the Cowboy as the characters and families do interconnect. Suggested for mature readers only.**

~Cassie

Recent Kindle Haul Part 3

I’m still working on getting caught up on these posts but we are getting closer. And I’m actually posting this on a Sunday which is a step in the right direction. We are still on books that I bought in June but I hope that by the end of this month we will be all caught up for August.

Liam wasn’t supposed to be my happily ever after.
He wasn’t even on my radar.
He was my husband’s best friend—forbidden.

But my husband is dead and I’m alone. I ache for him and I reach for Liam.

One night with Liam changed everything. Now I have to decide if I truly love him or if he’s just the consolation prize.

Living in the country comes with temperamental goats, an ornery next-door neighbor, and a mysterious murder…

Cassie Alberta is loving her new life in Little Leaf Creek. She is getting over the sudden death of her husband, appreciating what small town life has to offer and is enjoying getting to know the locals and their secrets. She is slowly learning how to live next to two cheeky goats and has fallen in love with her neighbor’s endearing dog. But life becomes a whole lot more complicated when she finds the dead body of an orchard owner.

Cassie partners with her antisocial ex-cop neighbor to help solve the murder. Her hands are full, as Thanksgiving is right around the corner and she is determined to try and bring her friends together for a feast, but they would prefer to remain alone. Not to mention the fact that two hunky locals have caught her attention. Cassie peels back layers of clues and suspects to try and get to the core of the murder and uncover the murderer.

Will the murderer be caught in time so that Cassie can have the Thanksgiving she longs for?

Recipe included: Lattice Apple Pie

Conflict in Little Leaf Creek is the fast-paced third book in the Little Leaf Creek Cozy Mystery Series. If you like unexpected twists and turns, lively personalities, lovable animals and a never-ending list of suspicious characters, then you’ll love Cindy Bell’s heartwarming whodunnit.

Buy Conflict in Little Leaf Creek to start solving the murder today!

Bad breakup? That’s our specialty. Trust us, post-breakup dating requires the Big O—a strong offense—usually of the extra dirty variety. Best handled by an expert.

Name’s Sebastian. And I make good business out of bad exes, specializing in giving broken-hearted women the sweet, hot revenge they deserve. Those whispered rumors about me and my methods? All true. I’m the chief executive mastermind of the only consulting firm that can guarantee your ex will beg you for another chance.

Now, whether you end up taking the douchebag back is up to you. Frankly, I think you ladies can do better, deserve more. But either way, I aim to please.

That is…until my latest client ends up being my sweet, smart, painfully-unaware-of-her-appeal assistant.

Am I going to help her? Of course. Am I going to be able to let her go when the time comes?

Hell no.

Note: Hot Revenge For Hire is a super sexy romantic comedy entirely from the hero’s point of view. Lots of dirty talk. Ridiculously fun chemistry. Banter that really qualifies as foreplay. And a swoony HEA. Enjoy!

Former marketing whiz Kennedy Lowell knows bartending isn’t her destiny. After derailing her life to epic proportions in one fell swoop, though, she’s content with the easy refuge of pouring drinks and keeping to herself. But the arrival of her sexy new boss and two wannabe friends who won’t take no for an answer throws Kennedy into a tailspin. Add the temptation of a homey new bakery desperately in need of a marketing genius and Kennedy begins to wonder if easy is all it’s cracked up to be. 

Easy is Hunter Clayborne’s middle name. Uncomplicated is what he expects when he moves home to Nashville to take over the family business. What he finds, though, is the polar opposite of easy—a bar losing money, a family entrenched in doing things the old-fashioned way, and an irresistible redheaded bartender who keeps him at a cool distance in spite of their sizzling mutual attraction. 

There’s nothing simple about the chemistry between Kennedy and Hunter. But sometimes, if you can work your way out of your comfort zone, that’s when you just might find your sweet spot. 

They are the Fallen.
A brotherhood of murderers whose nature compels them to kill. But guided by their leader, Gabriel, the Fallen have learned to use their urges to rid the world of those it is better off without.

Control. Diel has spent his entire life under it. His childhood years were spent in the sadistic captivity of the Brethren. Now the Fallen are free, but the monster that lives inside Diel is not—can not be. The darkness within is curbed by an electric collar, the only thing that stops Diel from killing everyone in his path.
Diel’s monster yearns for freedom—the freedom to tear apart Brethren priests, as many as possible, one after the other in a frenzied, liberating spree. When Diel is granted a taste of that freedom, he expects bloodlust, violence, death.
He didn’t expect to find her.
The Fallen are not the only ones chasing the destruction of the Brethren. They were not the only ones to suffer at the priests’ hands. This Diel discovers when he stumbles upon Noa, second in command of the Coven, a group of women who are intent on bringing the Brethren down.
From the second they collide, Noa seems to understand Diel in a way that no one ever has before. She is unafraid of his rage, the bloodthirsty monster that dwells within him.
Because there is a darkness inside Noa too, and it recognises the one in Diel as if it is the missing half of her soul. For years she has tried to suppress it, but as she is inescapably drawn to the fury-filled man in the collar, she starts to wonder if she can keep up the fight.
She starts to wonder if she even should…

Dark contemporary romance. Contains sexual situations, violence, sensitive and taboo subjects, offensive language, and topics some may find triggering. Recommended for age 18 years and up.

When young women begin mysteriously disappearing in Oregon, Police Lieutenant James Stovall leads a relentless search for a killer. With little evidence available, and the public screaming for answers, he must find a remorseless, brutal killer whose identity will shock them all . . .

In the powerful, stunning dramatic work that won August Wilson his first Pulitzer Prize, Troy Maxson has gone through life in a country where to be proud and black was to face pressures that could crush a man, body and soul. But the 1950s are yielding to the new spirit of liberation in the 1960s. It’s a spirit that is making him a stranger, angry and afraid, in a world he never knew and to a wife and son he understands less and less.

William Kent Krueger joined the ranks of today’s best suspense novelists with this thrilling, universally acclaimed debut. Conjuring “a sense of place he’s plainly honed firsthand in below-zero prairie” (Kirkus Reviews), Krueger brilliantly evokes northern Minnesota’s lake country — and reveals the dark side of its snow-covered landscape.

Part Irish, part Anishinaabe Indian, Corcoran “Cork” O’Connor is the former sheriff of Aurora, Minnesota. Embittered by his “former” status, and the marital meltdown that has separated him from his children, Cork gets by on heavy doses of caffeine, nicotine, and guilt. Once a cop on Chicago’s South Side, there’s not much that can shock him. But when the town’s judge is brutally murdered, and a young Eagle Scout is reported missing, Cork takes on a mind-jolting case of conspiracy, corruption, and scandal. 

As a lakeside blizzard buries Aurora, Cork must dig out the truth among town officials who seem dead-set on stopping his investigation in its tracks. But even Cork freezes up when faced with the harshest enemy of all: a small-town secret that hits painfully close to home.

Hannah’s a witch, but not the kind you’re thinking of. She’s the real deal, an Elemental with the power to control fire, earth, water, and air. But even though she lives in Salem, Massachusetts, her magic is a secret she has to keep to herself. If she’s ever caught using it in front of a Reg (read: non-witch), she could lose it. For good. So, Hannah spends most of her time avoiding her ex-girlfriend (and fellow Elemental Witch) Veronica, hanging out with her best friend, and working at the Fly by Night Cauldron selling candles and crystals to tourists, goths, and local Wiccans. 

But dealing with her ex is the least of Hannah’s concerns when a terrifying blood ritual interrupts the end-of-school-year bonfire. Evidence of dark magic begins to appear all over Salem, and Hannah’s sure it’s the work of a deadly Blood Witch. The issue is, her coven is less than convinced, forcing Hannah to team up with the last person she wants to see: Veronica.

While the pair attempt to smoke out the Blood Witch at a house party, Hannah meets Morgan, a cute new ballerina in town. But trying to date amid a supernatural crisis is easier said than done, and Hannah will have to test the limits of her power if she’s going to save her coven and get the girl, especially when the attacks on Salem’s witches become deadlier by the day.

Debut author Tobly McSmith delivers a coming-of-age teen love story about a transgender boy who’s going stealth at his new Texas high school and a cisgender girl who is drawn to him, even as she’s counting down the days until graduation. Perfect for fans of David Levithan, Becky Albertalli, and Jenny Han.

Pony just wants to fly under the radar during senior year. Tired from all the attention he got at his old school after coming out as transgender, he’s looking for a fresh start at Hillcrest High. But it’s hard to live your best life when the threat of exposure lurks down every hallway and in every bathroom.

Georgia is beginning to think there’s more to life than cheerleading. She plans on keeping a low profile until graduation…which is why she promised herself that dating was officially a no-go this year.

Then, on the very first day of school, the new guy and the cheerleader lock eyes. How is Pony supposed to stay stealth when he wants to get close to a girl like Georgia? How is Georgia supposed to keep her promise when sparks start flying with a boy like Pony?

Funny and poignant, clear-eyed and hopeful, Stay Gold is a story about finding love—and finding yourself.

Raised to rule, bred to lead and weaned on a diet of ruthless ambition. In a world of haves and have nots, my family has it all, and I want nothing to do with it.

My path takes me far from home and paints me as the black sheep. At odds with my father, I’m determined to build my own empire. I have rules, but Lennix Hunter is the exception to every one of them. From the moment we meet, something sparks between us. But my family stole from hers and my father is the man she hates most. I lied to have her, and would do anything to keep her. Though she tries to hate me, too, the inexorable pull between us will not be denied.

And neither will I.

New York Times bestselling author Karin Slaughter brings back Will Trent and Sara Linton in this superb and timely thriller full of devious twists, disturbing secrets, and shocking surprises you won’t see coming

A mysterious kidnapping

On a hot summer night, a scientist from the Centers for Disease Control is grabbed by unknown assailants in a shopping center parking lot. Vanished into thin air, the authorities are desperate to save the doctor. 

A devastating explosion

One month later, the serenity of a sunny Sunday afternoon is shattered by the boom of a ground-shaking blast—followed by another seconds later. One of Atlanta’s busiest and most important neighborhood’s has been bombed—the location of Emory University, two major hospitals, the FBI headquarters, and the CDC.

A diabolical enemy

Medical examiner Sara Linton and her partner Will Trent, an investigator with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, rush to the scene—and into the heart of a deadly conspiracy that threatens to destroy thousands of innocent lives. When the assailants abduct Sara, Will goes undercover to save her and prevent a massacre—putting his own life on the line for the woman and the country he loves.

From a New York Times best-selling author, psychotherapist, and national advice columnist, a hilarious, thought-provoking, and surprising new book that takes us behind the scenes of a therapist’s world — where her patients are looking for answers (and so is she).

One day, Lori Gottlieb is a therapist who helps patients in her Los Angeles practice. The next, a crisis causes her world to come crashing down. Enter Wendell, the quirky but seasoned therapist in whose office she suddenly lands. With his balding head, cardigan, and khakis, he seems to have come straight from Therapist Central Casting. Yet he will turn out to be anything but.

As Gottlieb explores the inner chambers of her patients’ lives — a self-absorbed Hollywood producer, a young newlywed diagnosed with a terminal illness, a senior citizen threatening to end her life on her birthday if nothing gets better, and a twenty-something who can’t stop hooking up with the wrong guys — she finds that the questions they are struggling with are the very ones she is now bringing to Wendell.

With startling wisdom and humor, Gottlieb invites us into her world as both clinician and patient, examining the truths and fictions we tell ourselves and others as we teeter on the tightrope between love and desire, meaning and mortality, guilt and redemption, terror and courage, hope and change.

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone is revolutionary in its candor, offering a deeply personal yet universal tour of our hearts and minds and providing the rarest of gifts: a boldly revealing portrait of what it means to be human, and a disarmingly funny and illuminating account of our own mysterious lives and our power to transform them.

Fall in love with Beachwood Bay — the USA Today bestselling series by Melody Grace!

He’ll teach her a pleasure beyond her wildest dreams…

Alicia Wright isn’t the kind of girl to make out with a stranger in a dark alley. She’s spent years playing it safe, pining after the perfect man – who’s about to marry someone else. She doesn’t know how to move on, until a sexy stranger turns her world upside down with a wickedly tempting proposition…

She’ll rescue him from the edge of oblivion…

Rock star Dex Callahan swore his days of fame and debauchery were behind him, but the spotlight keeps calling his name. Determined not to fall into his old life, he goes looking for distraction — and finds an intoxicating red-head with a mouth made for sin. One kiss could never be enough, so Dex offers her a deal: spend one week with him, and she’ll forget her old flame ever existed.

Together, they’ll ignite a passion that will change them forever…

No rules. No limits. As the whirlwind week of pleasure unfolds, Alicia discovers a desire she never knew existed – and the tortured heart Dex hides behind his charming smile. But can old loves so easily be replaced? And when the week is over, will their bond be strong enough to weather the storm?

Melody Grace returns with her sexiest book yet!

*This book contains adult situations and explicit content. 17+*

Mysterious attacks. Mischievous nieces. Can a clueless uncle catch a tech-savvy killer … and be home before bedtime?

When a freak accident hospitalizes Marty Golden’s sister and condemns him to babysitter duty, he thinks it’s just another case of hardwired bad luck in Silicon Valley. Until a suspicious murder suggests the mishap was no mere coincidence. Something must be done. 

Too bad this quirky, fashion-backward uncle isn’t exactly hero material.

Convinced his sister is in mortal danger, this amateur sleuth follows clues to an oddball array of suspects. Armed with nothing but an eye for detail and powers of self-delusion, Marty tangles with gangsters, a cantankerous school secretary, and a perplexing woman he can’t help but fall for. Glitches in his investigation seem like a piece of cake compared to dinner-prep and bedtime stories with his two precocious, pre-teen nieces.

Can Marty catch the culprit, save his sister, and get his life back in order before he gets unplugged?

A must-read psychological thriller for anyone who’s fascinated by serial killers. 

A 60-year old handyman goes on a murder-spree, abducting and torturing people with hand-tools.

After he’s caught, the media wants to hear his story. What made this old man snap? Why did he do the horrible things he did? What really happened down there in his basement? The public fascination in The Handyman swells.

But he’ll only tell his gruesome story to one person – his estranged son.

Full of dark twists and turns, In My Father’s Basement is a father-son story like no other.

The body of a young man fished out of the Thames is of little interest to Londoners caught up in the excitement of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations. 

Yet to Inspector Sam Blackstone, the case is as puzzling as any he has ever come across. 

Why should a corpse dressed the in rags of a commoner have the face of a gentleman? 

And if this man does belong to noble stock, why has no one come forward to claim the body? 

As his investigation proceeds, Blackstone finds himself entering the world of the aristocracy—in which the presence of an ordinary policeman is far from welcome—and tramping the dangerous streets of London’s Little Russia—where English law and order are not welcome. 

Death seems to stalk him, and as each new clue leads to nothing more than a new murder, Blackstone comes to realize that he is caught up in what may turn out to be the most horrendous crime of the century… 

Blackstone and the Rendezvous with Death is an expertly plotted Victorian mystery that will keep readers guessing to the last page. 

A MAN WHO WOULD BE KING : The Duke of Buckingham and Richard III 

November 2 1483. As Henry Stafford, Duke of Buckingam stands on the scaffold of Salisbury Market Square, accused of high treason, he reflects on his life during the turbulent era of the Wars of the Roses. 
After the death of his grandfather, the old Duke, Henry (known as Harry) is sent to the court of the new King Edward IV and placed into the household of his Queen, Elizabeth Woodville. Harry, coming from a rich and noble line, is considered a a “prize catch” for the Woodvilles, and soon he is forced, aged ten, to marry one of the many Woodville girls, causing a burning resentment that lasts a lifetime. 
Throughout Harry’s youth at court, he sporadically comes into contact with the King’s younger brother, Richard of Gloucester. Upon Edward’s death, they form an alliance, which sees the two Dukes secure the young Edward V, uncrowned king, and thwart the Woodvilles, who do not wish for Richard to become Lord Protector of England. 
But when Bishop Stillington reveals a dark secret and Edward IV’s children are declared bastards,Harry has other ideas for himself and Richard. Henry Stafford takes upon himself the role of Kingmaker. 
Richard of Gloucester is crowned as King Richard III, but despite receiving wealth and lands and offices, Harry is not content. The thought of a crown for himself begins to haunt his waking dreams. 
How far will a man go to win a crown? Betrayal, rebellion…murder? 

The story of the man Richard III called ‘the most untrue creature living…’ 

Told entirely from Buckingham’s own first person viewpoint, this new novel is set within the wider landscape of the author’s highly praised, I Richard Plantagenet series.

It was only supposed to be a weekend fling…but what will she do when he demands forever? 

After a broken heart, Hannah Mills vowed never to offer more than her body to any Dom, but when she volunteers to be the prize at a slave auction benefitting charity, mysterious philanthropist and notorious playboy Mason Sullivan tests her resolve. The moment he sees Hannah, he’s captivated and determined to have her—at least for a weekend. 

For Hannah, being claimed by Master Mason is both a dream and a nightmare. He’s devastatingly sexy, far more complicated than she imagined—and relentless when it comes to scaling the walls around her heart. No matter how she resists, layer by layer, he manages to peel her open. 

When their time together draws to a close, Hannah must choose between saving her soul or risking her heart.

The New York Times bestselling author of Slow Burn turns up the heat when a sexy bet turns into so much more…

Hawkin Play, the bad boy rock star with a good guy heart, has lived a lifetime of cleaning up after his twin brother’s mistakes. Hunter’s most recent screw-up could land Hawke in jail and risk the band’s future. Hawke agrees to guest lecture at a local college to stay in the judge’s good graces—and a bet with his bandmate to seduce his sexy teaching assistant is icing on the cake.

Quinlan Westin is harder to bed than Hawke imagined. She knows his type and is determined to avoid the rocker at all costs—even if their attraction runs deeper than simple lust.

Just as Hawke might finally be winning over the girl, his brother has other plans. When Hunter realizes his twin finally has a weakness, he’ll stop at nothing to take advantage…

A hot and hilarious romantic comedy, perfect for fans of Sophie Kinsella, Jasmine Guillory, and Christina Lauren! 

What happens when you wake up in a hotel suite next to a gorgeous naked man with absolutely no memory of the past twelve hours?

I guess it’s true what they say: what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.

Or at least I hope it stays here. The Romantic Style Book convention was meant to be a weekend of raucous fun with friends, sun, and enough poolside margaritas to forget about my ex. But now, instead of meeting my fans and signing books, I’m stuck with cocky divorce lawyer Nate Wexler. He’s arrogant, infuriating, and I can’t keep my hands off of him. Judging by the state of our hotel room, last night was wild. I just wish I could remember it.

A pair of matching tattoos. A half empty box of glow-in-the-dark condoms. And a… wedding veil?

What the hell just happened?

Discover the hot and hilarious world of the LUCKY IN LOVE series from Lila Monroe!

From award-winning, bestselling author Ibi Zoboi and prison reform activist Yusef Salaam of the Exonerated Five comes a powerful YA novel in verse about a boy who is wrongfully incarcerated. Perfect for fans of Jason Reynolds, Walter Dean Myers, and Elizabeth Acevedo. 

The story that I thought

was my life

didn’t start on the day

I was born 

Amal Shahid has always been an artist and a poet. But even in a diverse art school, he’s seen as disruptive and unmotivated by a biased system. Then one fateful night, an altercation in a gentrifying neighborhood escalates into tragedy. “Boys just being boys” turns out to be true only when those boys are white. 

The story that I think

will be my life 

starts today

Suddenly, at just sixteen years old, Amal’s bright future is upended: he is convicted of a crime he didn’t commit and sent to prison. Despair and rage almost sink him until he turns to the refuge of his words, his art. This never should have been his story. But can he change it? 

With spellbinding lyricism, award-winning author Ibi Zoboi and prison reform activist Yusef Salaam tell a moving and deeply profound story about how one boy is able to maintain his humanity and fight for the truth, in a system designed to strip him of both.

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

Elijah

When I step inside the courtroom, things happen. Opposing counsel cringes and the judges take in a deep breath because they know what they’re in for. They have held me in contempt more times than I can count, and I’ve never lost a case. They don’t call me the “Wolfe” for nothing. I’m decisive, aggressive and strong, both in the courtroom and in the bedroom. I like order and control, and everyone knows it. Everyone except for Aspen Michaelson, the new associate my mother hired to work at our firm. Her interview wasn’t the first time I laid eyes on her and her sexy body. We shared one magical night together in Hawaii. We were two strangers who only knew each other’s first names. She left in the middle of the night without a word. I never forgave her for that. I was the one who always left, not the other way around. Now that she worked for me, I would do everything in my power to make her pay for that night, to show her I was the boss both in the office and in the bedroom. But I found myself losing all control being around her and her quirky ways and I didn’t know how to stop it. 

Aspen

After my father passed away, I moved from Connecticut to New York City where my sister and her husband lived. Working at a prestigious law firm in New York had always been a dream of mine. Caitlin Wolfe made that dream come true when she hired me to work at her top law firm. Little did I know, Elijah Wolfe, the man I had one amazing night with in Hawaii, was her son, senior partner, and future CEO of Wolfe & Associates. He looked just as sexy in New York as he did in Hawaii, but he was different. He was cold and calculating. Not the man who seduced me and brought me back to his suite. He was my boss, and he was setting me up to fail. The one thing he didn’t know about me was that I played the game just as good as he did, if not better. I needed to stay in control of both my body and my mind, but he made it very difficult with his tailored designer suits and the cologne he wore that sent my pheromones into overdrive. 

Let the games begin.. 

18+

The romance your little heart’s been waiting for!

When an out-of-luck art teacher’s life collides with a dark and handsome businessman, the romance begins. 

This rom-com had me laughing and swooning with each turn of the page!

-Words We Love and Blog ★★★★★

 

Natalie Callahan is out of luck. The family screw-up.

All thanks to the Kiss Keeper’s curse.

Yep, she’s cursed!

Honestly, it should come as no surprise that she’s been sacked from her job and dumped by her boyfriend on the way to a week-long family celebration.

But she’s done—so done with being poor Nat, the family train wreck!

There’s a solution! It’s crazy, but it could work! 

She’ll do anything to prove she’s more than just a hot mess — so when her path crosses with a dark and handsome businessman Jake Teller, she enlists him to play the role of adoring boyfriend. 

Will a week of romantic charades lead to something more? That all depends on the Kiss Keeper.

♥The Kiss Keeper is a stand-alone summer romance set on the coast of Maine.

Go Tell It On The Mountain, first published in 1953, is Baldwin’s first major work, a semi-autobiographical novel that has established itself as an American classic. With lyrical precision, psychological directness, resonating symbolic power, and a rage that is at once unrelenting and compassionate, Baldwin chronicles a fourteen-year-old boy’s discovery of the terms of his identity as the stepson of the minister of a storefront Pentecostal church in Harlem one Saturday in March of 1935. Baldwin’s rendering of his protagonist’s spiritual, sexual, and moral struggle of self-invention opened new possibilities in the American language and in the way Americans understand themselves.

It’s the 1930s and a mysterious illness is spreading over Scotland. But the noble and ancient family of Inverkillen, residents of Loch Down Abbey, are much more concerned with dwindling toilet roll supplies and who will look after the children now that Nanny has regretfully (and most inconveniently) departed this life.

Then Lord Inverkillen, Earl and head of the family, is found dead in mysterious circumstances. The inspector declares it an accident but Mrs MacBain, the head housekeeper, isn’t so convinced. As no one is allowed in or out because of the illness, the residents of the house – both upstairs and downstairs – are the only suspects. With the Earl’s own family too busy doing what can only be described as nothing, she decides to do some digging – in between chores, of course – and in doing so uncovers a whole host of long-hidden secrets, lies and betrayals that will alter the dynamics of the household for ever.

~Cassie

Blog Tour: Lady Sunshine by Amy Mason Doan

Thank you to Harlequin Trade Publishing for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review. They also provided all info and graphics.

Lady Sunshine

Amy Mason Doan

On Sale Date: June 29, 2021

9781525804670, 1525804677

Trade Paperback

$16.99 USD, $21.99 CAD

Fiction / Women/ Coming of Age

368 pages

About the Book:

ONE ICONIC FAMILY. ONE SUMMER OF SECRETS. THE DAZZLING SPIRIT OF 1970S CALIFORNIA.
For Jackie Pierce, everything changed the summer of 1979, when she spent three months of infinite freedom at her bohemian uncle’s sprawling estate on the California coast. As musicians, artists, and free spirits gathered at The Sandcastle for the season in pursuit of inspiration and communal living, Jackie and her cousin Willa fell into a fast friendship, testing their limits along the rocky beach and in the wild woods… until the summer abruptly ended in tragedy, and Willa silently slipped away into the night.
Twenty years later, Jackie unexpectedly inherits The Sandcastle and returns to the iconic estate for a short visit to ready it for sale. But she reluctantly extends her stay when she learns that, before her death, her estranged aunt had promised an up-and-coming producer he could record a tribute album to her late uncle at the property’s studio. As her musical guests bring the place to life again with their sun-drenched beach days and late-night bonfires, Jackie begins to notice startling parallels to that summer long ago. And when a piece of the past resurfaces and sparks new questions about Willa’s disappearance, Jackie must discover if the dark secret she’s kept ever since is even the truth at all.

Review

I really enjoyed immersing myself in this book. I usually start my reviews out gushing over how quickly I sped through a book which I could have easily done with this story but something about it had me ingesting it at a much slower pace. The setting was dreamy and perfect. The characters all felt vivid and authentic. The story is told in dual timelines and I appreciated how well both sides of the story played off each other. I couldn’t help but love the steady unraveling of what happened in the summer of ’79 just a little bit more since there was an air of expectation over the whole thing. We know very early on that something devastating happened at the end of the summer which is reinforced by the present day storyline.

There are so many aspects of this story that I loved. The compound setting was a high point for me because I love the idea of people coming together and working together to build/make something. I was also a big fan with how much music plays into this story. Something about adding music to a story just makes it come alive to me and Doan did a fabulous job of integrating music into pretty much every aspect of this story. Jackie was a stunning main character and I fell in love with how flawed and broken yet strong and genuine she is. The way her character develops over each of the two storylines made my connection to her stronger as we navigate through her many ups and downs. I found Doan’s writing to be lyrical and enchanting which added to my love of this story.

I don’t know if it is because I grew up in the Bay Area and so a few of the places mentioned I was familiar with and evoked home for me but this story will undoubtedly stay with me for a long time. Two years ago Daisy Jones and the Six was my favorite book of the year and so it is no surprise how much I loved this one. If you love historical fiction stories involving music then this is one that demands you pick it up. Doan has created a slow and intimate story that is worthy of being on many best of lists.

Headshots by Sash Photography http://sashphotography.com

About the Author:

AMY MASON DOAN is the author of The Summer List and Summer Hours. She earned a BA in English from UC Berkeley and an MA in journalism from Stanford University, and has written for The Oregonian, San Francisco Chronicle, and Forbes, among other publications. She grew up in Danville, California, and now lives in Portland, Oregon, with her husband and daughter.

Social Links:

Website: https://amymasondoan.com/ 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/amymasondoanauthor 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AmyLDoan 

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/amymasondoan 

Pintrest: https://www.pinterest.com/amydoanla/ 

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16722065.Amy_Mason_Doan 

Mailing List: https://amymasondoan.com/contact/ 

Excerpt


1

A Girl, Her Cousin, and a Waterfall

1999

I rattle the padlock on the gate, strum my fingers along the cold chain-link fence.

I own this place.

Maybe if I repeat it often enough I’ll believe it.

All along the base of the fence are tributes: shells, notes, sketches, bunches of flowers. Some still fresh, some so old the petals are crisp as parchment. I follow the fence uphill, along the coast side, and stop at a wooden, waist-high sign marking the path up to the waterfall. It wasn’t here the summer I visited.

The sign is covered in words and drawings, so tattooed-over by fan messages that you can barely read the official one. I run my fingertips over the engravings: initials, peace symbols, Thank you’s, I Love You’s. Fragments of favorite lyrics. After coming so far to visit the legendary estate, people need to do something, leave their mark, if only with a rock on fog-softened wood.

Song titles from my uncle’s final album, Three, are carved everywhere. “Heart, Home, Hope.”

“Leaf, Shell, Raindrop.”

“Angel, Lion, Willow.” Someone has etched that last one in symbols instead of words. The angel refers to Angela, my aunt. The lion is my uncle Graham.

And the willow tree. Willa, my cousin.

I have a pointy metal travel nail file in my suitcase; I could add my message to the rest, my own tribute to this place, to the Kingstons. To try to explain what happened the summer I spent here. I could tell it like one of the campfire tales I used to spin for Willa.

This is the story of a girl, her cousin, and a waterfall…

But there’s no time for that, not with only seven days to clear the house for sale. Back at the gate, where Toby’s asleep in his cat carrier in the shade, I dig in my overnight bag for the keys. They came in a FedEx with a fat stack of documents I must’ve read on the plane from Boston a dozen times—thousands of words, all dressed up in legal jargon. When it’s so simple, really. Everything inside that fence is mine now, whether I want it or not.

I unlock the gate, lift the metal shackle, and walk uphill to the highest point, where the gravel widens into a parking lot, then fades away into grass. The field opens out below me just like I remember. We called it “the bowl,” because of the way the edges curve up all around it. A golden bowl scooped into the hills, rimmed on three sides by dark green woods. The house, a quarter mile ahead of me at the top of the far slope, is a pale smudge in the fir trees.

I stop to take it in, this piece of land I now own. The Sandcastle, everyone called it.

Without the neighbors’ goats and Graham’s guests to keep the grass down, the field has grown wild, many of the yellow weeds high as my belly button.

Willa stood here with me once and showed me how from this angle the estate resembled a sun. The kind a child would draw, with a happy face inside. Once I saw it, it was impossible to un-see:

The round, straw-colored field, trails squiggling off to the woods in every direction, like rays. The left eye—the campfire circle. The right eye—the blue aboveground pool. The nose was the vertical line of picnic benches in the middle of the circle that served as our communal outdoor dining table. The smile was the curving line of parked cars and motorcycles and campers.

All that’s gone now, save for the pool, which is squinting, collapsed, moldy green instead of its old bright blue.

I should go back for my bag and Toby but I can’t resist—I move on, down to the center of the field. Far to my right in the woods, the brown roofline of the biggest A-frame cabin, Kingfisher, pokes through the firs. But no other cabins are visible, the foliage is so thick now. Good. Each alteration from the place of my memories gives me confidence. I can handle this for a week. One peaceful, private week to box things up and send them away.

“Sure you don’t want me to come help?” Paul had asked when he dropped me at the airport this morning. “We could squeeze in a romantic weekend somewhere. I’ve always wanted to go to San Francisco.”

“You have summer school classes, remember? Anyway, it’ll be totally boring, believe me.”

I’d told him—earnest, sweet Paul, who all the sixth-graders at the elementary school where we work hope they get as their teacher and who wants to marry me—that the trip was no big deal. That I’d be away for a week because my aunt in California passed away. That I barely knew her and just had to help pack up her old place to get it ready for sale.

He believed me.

I didn’t tell him that the “old place” is a stunning, sprawling property perched over the Pacific, studded with cabins and outbuildings and a legendary basement recording studio. That the land bubbles with natural hot springs and creeks and waterfalls.

Or that I’ve inherited it. All of it. The fields, the woods, the house, the studio. And my uncle’s music catalog.

I didn’t tell him that I visited here once as a teenager, or that for a little while, a long time ago, I was sure I’d stay forever.

Excerpted from Lady Sunshine @ 2021 by Amy Mason Doan, used with permission by Graydon House.

Buy Links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Lady-Sunshine-Amy-Mason-Doan/dp/1525804677 

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/lady-sunshine-amy-mason-doan/1137570752?ean=9781525804670 

Bookshop: https://bookshop.org/books/lady-sunshine-9781525804670/9781525804670 

Powell’s: https://www.powells.com/book/lady-sunshine-9781525804670 

Broadway Books: https://www.broadwaybooks.net/book/9781525811548 

Libro.fm: https://libro.fm/audiobooks/9781488211324-lady-sunshine 

Books-A-Million: https://www.booksamillion.com/p/Lady-Sunshine/Amy-Mason-Doan/9781525804670?id=8228253181468 

Target: https://www.target.com/p/lady-sunshine-by-amy-mason-doan-paperback/-/A-81262153#lnk=sametab 

Walmart: https://www.walmart.com/ip/Lady-Sunshine-Original-Ed-Hardcover-9781525811548/118720350 

Indigo: https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/lady-sunshine-a-novel/9781525804670-item.html?ikwid=amy+mason+doan&ikwsec=Home&ikwidx=0#algoliaQueryId=0bd161f9a9366fb59095bf4f608b9f53 

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/lady-sunshine-2 

AppleBooks: https://books.apple.com/us/book/lady-sunshine/id1527559208 

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Amy_Mason_Doan_Lady_Sunshine?id=-ET3DwAAQBAJ 

~Cassie

Weekend Reading Plans- “Last” edition

It occurred to me about a week ago that I never picked a July book to read for the ongoing buzzwordathon Goodreads group and I was surprised when I saw the word for July is “last” and how many books I own that have it in the title. I instantly knew that I was going to have a hard time choosing one so I decided I would take this upcoming weekend (starting on a Friday so really three days which is sort of cheating but its summer so I’m going to allow it) and try to read as many books that have last in the title as I can. In typical fashion I made a list of the books I most want to read off my Goodreads want to read search and I will use a random number generator to pick which of these that I will actually read. Why yes this is getting quite convoluted so lets just jump into the list of 10 books that I have chosen. Hopefully, I will get to at least three of these and anything else would just be amazing.

A woman being held captive is willing to risk everything to save herself, her unborn child, and her captor’s latest victim in this claustrophobic thriller in the tradition of Misery and Room

On an isolated farm in the United Kingdom, a woman is trapped by the monster who kidnapped her seven years ago. When she discovers she is pregnant, she resolves to protect her child no matter the cost, and starts to meticulously plan her escape. But when another woman is brought into the fold on the farm, her plans go awry. Can she save herself, her child, and this innocent woman at the same time? Or is she doomed to spend the remainder of her life captive on this farm?

Intense, dark, and utterly gripping The Last Thing to Burn is a breathtaking thriller from an author to watch.

Life in a slasher film is easy. You just have to know when to die.

Aerial View: A suburban town in Texas. Everyone’s got an automatic garage door opener. All the kids jump off a perilous cliff into a shallow river as a rite of passage. The sheriff is a local celebrity. You know this town. You’re from this town.

Zoom In: Homecoming princess, Lindsay. She’s just barely escaped death at the hands of a brutal, sadistic murderer in a Michael Jackson mask. Up on the cliff, she was rescued by a horse and bravely defeated the killer, alone, bra-less. Her story is already a legend. She’s this town’s heroic final girl, their virgin angel.

Monster Vision: Halloween masks floating down that same river the kids jump into. But just as one slaughter is not enough for Billie Jean, our masked killer, one victory is not enough for Lindsay. Her high school is full of final girls, and she’s not the only one who knows the rules of the game.

When Lindsay chooses a host of virgins, misfits, and former final girls to replace the slaughtered members of her original homecoming court, it’s not just a fight for survival-it’s a fight to become The Last Final Girl.

This is the story of a serial killer. A stolen child. Revenge. Death. And an ordinary house at the end of an ordinary street.

All these things are true. And yet they are all lies…

You think you know what’s inside the last house on Needless Street. You think you’ve read this story before. That’s where you’re wrong.

In the dark forest at the end of Needless Street, lies something buried. But it’s not what you think…

“They found the bodies on a Tuesday.”

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

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

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

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

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

From the bestselling author of One Small Sacrifice comes a suspenseful thriller about a dead woman who predicted her own murder—and the sister who won’t let the truth be buried.

When her beloved sister Caroline dies suddenly, Deirdre is heartbroken. However, her sorrow turns to bone-chilling confusion when she receives a message Caroline sent days earlier warning that her death would be no accident. Long used to being a pariah to her family, Deirdre covers her tattoos and heads to Manhattan for her sister’s funeral.

The message claimed Caroline’s husband, Theo, killed his first wife and got away with it. Reeling from the news, Deirdre confronts Theo on the way to the cemetery, and he reveals both his temper and his suspicion that Deirdre’s “perfect” sister was having an affair.

Paranoid and armed with just enough information to make her dangerous, Deirdre digs into the disturbing secrets buried with Caroline. But as she gets closer to the truth, she realizes that her own life may be at risk…and that there may be more than one killer in the family.

At a university in Reykjavík, the body of a young German student is discovered, his eyes cut out and strange symbols carved into his chest. Police waste no time in making an arrest, but the victim’s family isn’t convinced that the right man is in custody. They ask Thóra Guðmundsdóttir, an attorney and single mother of two, to investigate. It isn’t long before Thóra and her associate, Matthew Reich, uncover the deceased student’s obsession with Iceland’s grisly history of torture, execution, and witch hunts. But there are very contemporary horrors hidden in the long, cold shadow of dark traditions. And for two suddenly endangered investigators, nothing is quite what it seems … and no one can be trusted.

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.

Welcome to the neighborhood. Watch your husband, watch your friends, and watch your back.

Cat Winthorpe has worked hard to get what she has: a gorgeous home; social standing; and William, her successful, handsome husband. Then a friendly new couple moves into the estate next door. While cautious, a good neighbor like Cat greets them with open arms and warm hospitality.

Neena Ryder isn’t a fellow lady of leisure. A life coach with off-the-rack dresses, personal issues, and a husband who hasn’t delivered, she’s anxious to move up in the world. This beautiful new town is a step in the right direction. It’s also making Neena aware of what she doesn’t have. Namely, William. When Neena’s infatuation escalates into obsession, it’s just a matter of eliminating a few obstacles to get the life she wants. The life next door.

As Neena’s secret fixation grows, so does her friendship with Cat. But beneath their cordial interactions is a wealth of temptations, secrets, and toxic jealousy. For both women, the desire for a perfect life can turn perfectly dangerous.

You come to the retreat to be healed. You don’t expect to die.

Two years ago, Fran’s sister Jenna disappeared on a wellness retreat in Gozo that went terribly wrong.

Tom Wade, the now infamous man behind Soul Shrink Retreats, has just been released from prison after serving his sentence for the deaths of two people. But he has never let on what happened to the third victim: Jenna.

Determined to find out the truth, Fran books herself onto his upcoming retreat – the first since his release – and finds herself face to face with the man who might hold the key to her sister’s disappearance. The only question is, will she escape the retreat alive? Or does someone out there want Jenna’s secrets to stay hidden?

The master of suspense is back. Prepare yourself for the latest heart-in-mouth rollercoaster ride from the Sunday Times bestseller.

We all have stories we never tell.
Before Owen Michaels disappears, he manages to smuggle a note to his beloved wife of one year: Protect her.

Despite her confusion and fear, Hannah Hall knows exactly to whom the note refers: Owen’s sixteen-year-old daughter, Bailey. Bailey, who lost her mother tragically as a child. Bailey, who wants absolutely nothing to do with her new stepmother.

As Hannah’s increasingly desperate calls to Owen go unanswered; as the FBI arrests Owen’s boss; as a US Marshal and FBI agents arrive at her Sausalito home unannounced, Hannah quickly realizes her husband isn’t who he said he was. And that Bailey just may hold the key to figuring out Owen’s true identity—and why he really disappeared.

Hannah and Bailey set out to discover the truth, together. But as they start putting together the pieces of Owen’s past, they soon realize they are also building a new future. One neither Hannah nor Bailey could have anticipated.

~Cassie

Recent Kindle Purchases Part 2

Toward the end of last month I shared a few of the Kindle books that I have recently bought and I’m back today to share even more. I really need to get back into the routine of sharing them every Sunday because it is so much more manageable that way. Even though I haven’t been purchasing as much it does start to add up! This month I have been the most active I have been since I got sick which is a great thing but it is also painful to use my body more so I’ve been having to rest more. Which also isn’t necessarily a bad thing since I have almost completed the TBR I set for myself at the beginning of the month. Which is wild since I never complete TBR’s and I’m about to do it half way through the month! But today we are for my Kindle haul so let’s get into it.

After years of working toward other people’s dreams, Maggie has no idea what she wants. 

Magnolia Parker loves botany, but became a professor mostly to make her parents happy. When she’s passed up for tenure, Maggie decides it’s time to make a change. Escaping the city, she finds herself in the idyllic town of Plumb Creek staring at a For Sale sign in a flower shop that shares her name. It must be destiny. Maggie goes all in. 

Being a florist should be easy for a professor of botany. Right? Boy, is she wrong. 

Before she even opens shop, she’s angered half the town. After her first customer leaves in a huff, she realizes a botany degree isn’t going to cut it. 

Enter Grant Sommers, hot local entrepreneur who has the town in his back pocket. He’s willing to help turn the shop around, if Maggie will listen. As much as she wants this to work, she fears she’ll never be able to loosen the town’s tight-knit roots enough to be accepted.

It’s time for Maggie to pick her own path, even if it means disappointing everyone else.

Widely acclaimed as “the greatest writer ever produced in Latin America” (Susan Sontag), as well as “another Kafka” (Allen Ginsberg), Machado de Assis (1839–1908) was famous in his time for his psychologically probing tales of fin-de-siecle Rio de Janeiro—a world populated with dissolute plutocrats, grasping parvenus, and struggling spinsters. In this original paperback, Margaret Jull Costa and Robin Patterson, “the accomplished duo” (Wall Street Journal) behind the “landmark . . . heroically translated” volume (The New Yorker) of the Collected Stories of Machado de Assis, include twenty-six chronologically ordered stories from the seven story collections published during Machado’s life—featuring all-time favorites such as the celebrated novella “The Alienist”; the tragicomic “parable of bureaucracy, madness, and power” (Los Angeles Review of Books), “Midnight Mass”; “The Cane”; and “Father Against Mother.” Ultimately, Machado de Assis: 26 Stories affirms Machado’s status as a literary giant who must finally be fully integrated into the world literary canon.

When a mysterious woman washes up in Cape Corral, a wild horse sanctuary off North Carolina’s coast, law enforcement officer Levi Sutherland is determined to figure out if she’s connected with the crimes recently plaguing the island. The problem is, she can’t remember anything . . .

A repackaged edition of the revered author’s moving theological work in which he considers the most poetic portions from Scripture and what they tell us about God, the Bible, and faith.

In this wise and enlightening book, C. S. Lewis—the great British writer, scholar, lay theologian, broadcaster, Christian apologist, and bestselling author of Mere Christianity, The Screwtape Letters, The Great Divorce, The Chronicles of Narnia, and many other beloved classics—examines the Psalms. As Lewis divines the meaning behind these timeless poetic verses, he makes clear their significance in our daily lives, and reminds us of their power to illuminate moments of grace.

An electrifying debut thriller for fans of Anatomy of a Scandal, Apple Tree Yard, and Gone Girl.

Alison has it all. A doting husband, adorable daughter, and a career on the rise – she’s just been given her first murder case to defend. But all is never as it seems…

Just one more night. Then I’ll end it. 

Alison drinks too much. She’s neglecting her family. And she’s having an affair with a colleague whose taste for pushing boundaries may be more than she can handle.

I did it. I killed him. I should be locked up. 

Alison’s client doesn’t deny that she stabbed her husband – she wants to plead guilty. And yet something about her story is deeply amiss. Saving this woman may be the first step to Alison saving herself.

I’m watching you. I know what you’re doing. 

But someone knows Alison’s secrets. Someone who wants to make her pay for what she’s done, and who won’t stop until she’s lost everything….

A disturbing, toxic and compelling novel that explores the power of fear and desire, jealousy and betrayal, love and hate, BLOOD ORANGE introduces a stunning new voice in psychological suspense.

Something happened to Anne Mitchell when she was 11 years old that erased every childhood memory, left the first decade of her life a hollow, empty void.
Finally, 25 years later, she has come home to re-claim her past.
Oh, she gets it. She understands that something profoundly evil lurks in the swirling purple haze of her amnesia. 
For a quarter of a century, she was enslaved by what she called the “Boogie Man”– images from her lost childhood that appeared in the shadows behind her reflection in mirrors and wine glasses, haunted her dreams and attacked her in screaming night terrors. 
Fear of facing that secret held her hostage. Like a schoolyard bully, it twisted her arm behind her back and forced her to accept that her life began at age 11 in the dirt beside the ditch where the family station wagon burned like hell had opened up a crack in the world right there in the back seat. 
Then the Boogie Man destroyed her career. 
And Anne saw him in her dying mother’s eyes. With her last breath, Susan Mitchell begged for her daughter’s forgiveness. She didn’t mean for it to happen, she gasped, but she’ll burn in hell for what she did all the same. 
What did her mother do? Anne has to know. 
So she has come home to a small Texas prairie town to live with her crazy grandmother in the rambling old house where she grew up, determined to take a stand there against the Boogie Man.
But Anne isn’t really prepared for how expensive remembering might be. The cost of her memories might be her sanity. 
Each new revelation loosens Anne’s grip on reality. 
Surely her crazy grandmother didn’t do THAT to Anne’s beloved parakeet! Yes, the old woman DID! No … actually, she didn’t. 
The horror that attacks her in the garage–it can’t possibly be real…can it? 
And most important: what happened to the little Indian girl with a face like a china doll whose name was Laughs in the Wind? 
The Boogie Man knows. 
He also knows Anne’s here. He knows it’s showtime. And he knows what she doesn’t–that Anne might very well have to pay for her past with her future, that the cost of remembering could be her life.

Twelve years ago, college freshman Sarah Schmidt disappeared during a hike… Could she still be alive? Former Chicago cold case detective Emily Tizzano will finally untangle the truth in this thrilling first book in a series.

She has every reason to hate her ex … it doesn’t mean she wants him dead. 

Every day on her way home from work, Dove Damiani drives past her ex-house, where her ex-husband lives with her ex-dog and her ex-yoga instructor, next to her ex-neighbors and the ex-life she once affectionately described as “frighteningly perfect.” 

To outsiders, Dove is bitter and resentful. The divorce left her alone, with nothing but a set of car keys and 50% of a paltry savings account. 

So when the lifeless body of her former husband is discovered in the birch grove outside Dove’s apartment on what would have been their fifth wedding anniversary, investigators waste no time making Dove a person of interest. 

She swears she didn’t do it. She’s never so much as killed a spider in her thirty-four years. 

But as evidence mounts against her, Dove finds herself questioning her memory, her sanity, and finally—her innocence.

An emotional friends to lovers romance full of risky secrets and late-night lessons in seduction.

Dylan is my best friend, and the only person in my life who understands me. He doesn’t mind my social awkwardness or my weird history. The only glitch? He doesn’t know that I’ve been hopelessly, desperately in love with him since the first day we picked apples together in his family’s orchard.
But I know better than to confess.
Now that we’re both in college together, I’m seeing a new side of him. College Dylan drinks and has a lot of sex. None of it with me.
Until the night I foolishly ask him to tutor me in more than algebra…and he actually says yes.
But the cool morning light shows me how badly I’ve endangered our friendship. And I don’t know if anything will be the same again.

With a compassionate realism and narrative sweep that recall the work of Charles Dickens, this magnificent novel captures all the cruelty and corruption, dignity and heroism, of India. 

The time is 1975. The place is an unnamed city by the sea. The government has just declared a State of Emergency, in whose upheavals four strangers–a spirited widow, a young student uprooted from his idyllic hill station, and two tailors who have fled the caste violence of their native village–will be thrust together, forced to share one cramped apartment and an uncertain future. 

As the characters move from distrust to friendship and from friendship to love, A Fine Balance creates an enduring panorama of the human spirit in an inhuman state.

After a public meltdown over her breakup from her cheating musician boyfriend, Cherisse swore off guys in the music industry, and dating in general for a while, preferring to focus on growing her pastry chef business.

When Cherisse’s younger sister reveals she’s getting married in a few months, Cherisse hopes that will distract her mother enough to quit harassing her about finding a guy, settling down and having kids. But her mother’s matchmaking keeps intensifying.

Cherisse tries to humour her mother, hoping if she feigns interest in the eligible bachelors she keeps tossing her way, she’ll be off the hook, but things don’t quite go as planned. Turns out for the first time in ages, she and Keiran King, the most annoying man ever, are on the island at the same time. Avoiding him is impossible, especially when Keiran’s close friend is the one marrying her sister, and he’s the best man to her maid of honour.

Keiran doesn’t know what to make of Cherisse now. They’ve always butted heads. To him she’s always been a stuck-up brat who seeks attention, even while he secretly harbored a crush on her. Now with Cherisse’s sister marrying one of his good friends he can’t escape her as the wedding activities keep throwing them together.

When things turn heated after a rainy night of bedroom fun, they both have to figure out if they can survive the countdown to wedding day, without this turning into a recipe for disaster.

“I’m planning on doing 4 days in the jungle. . . . It should be difficult to get lost forever”: These were the haunting last words legendary adventurer Roman Dial received from his son, before the 27-year old disappeared into the jungles of Costa Rica. This is Dial’s intensely gripping and deeply moving account of his two-year quest to unravel the mystery of his son’s fate.

In the predawn hours of July 10, 2014, twenty-seven-year-old Cody Roman Dial, the son of preeminent Alaskan scientist and National Geographic Explorer Roman Dial, walked alone into Corcovado National Park, an untracked rainforest along Costa Rica’s remote Pacific Coast that shelters miners, poachers, and drug smugglers. He carried a light backpack and machete. Before he left, he emailed his father: “I am not sure how long it will take me, but I’m planning on doing 4 days in the jungle and a day to walk out. I’ll be bounded by a trail to the west and the coast everywhere else, so it should be difficult to get lost forever.”

They were the last words Dial received from his son.

The Adventurer’s Son recreates the author’s two-year quest to learn the truth about his child’s disappearance. Immediately after Cody Roman’s planned departure date passed without a word from him, Dial set off for Costa Rica. As he trekked through the dense jungle, interviewing locals and searching for clues—the authorities suspected murder—the desperate father was forced to confront the deepest questions about his own life. Roman had raised his son to be fearless, to seek out adventure amid earth’s wildest places. Was he ultimately responsible for his son’s fate?

A harrowing story of drama, adventure, and a father’s love for his son, set in the most beautiful and dangerous reaches of the planet, The Adventurer’s Son is a mystery, the memoir of a father and his son, and an unforgettable story of love and profound loss.

The Adventurer’s Son includes 25 color photographs.

In Evicted, Princeton sociologist and MacArthur “Genius” Matthew Desmond follows eight families in Milwaukee as they struggle to keep a roof over their heads. Evicted transforms our understanding of poverty and economic exploitation while providing fresh ideas for solving one of 21st-century America’s most devastating problems. Its unforgettable scenes of hope and loss remind us of the centrality of home, without which nothing else is possible.

~Cassie

Such A Quiet Place By Megan Miranda

Thank you to Netgalley and Simon and Schuster for providing with an ARC in exchange for my honest review.

Publication Date: July 13, 2021

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Pages: 352

Genre: Mystery

Rating: 4.5/5

This is a slow paced mystery that builds to a a very clever ending. The story starts off with Ruby, who just got out of prison due to her conviction being overturned, coming back to the neighborhood where she was accused of killing the couple next door. Our protagonist of this story is Harper, Ruby’s former roommate, and she is shocked when Ruby shows up at her house suddenly after being released. Harper actually testified on Ruby’s behalf during her trial but despite that and the overturned conviction she isn’t sure if Ruby is guilty or innocent. Alongside Ruby’s return Harper starts to receive menacing notes and realizes she needs to figure out exactly what happened that night a year ago.

The strongest part of this story for me was the characters and the locked room vibe of the story. The crime took place in a small community neighborhood where half the people also work at the same place. All the characters have something going on and since we only view them from Harper’s perspective we are never quite sure who we can or can’t trust. I also appreciated the fact that while the environment is seemingly wide open the actual plot kept it very contained. The neighborhood is just a regular one but because of the message board and the choices Miranda made the actual number of people who could have been involved is quite small. For that reason, I do think that you will not enjoy this book as much as I did if you don’t really care for character driven stories. The mystery was untangling before us but it happened at such a slow pace at times that if you need action for a story to matter to you then I would think twice about picking this particular mystery up. To me, the ending more then made up for whatever bits slowed the book down. It was a brilliant way to end the story while also remaining true to the message of the story. Which is how well do we really know our neighbors?

This is the third Megan Miranda book that I have read and I really enjoy her writing. She has such a methodical and mesmerizing way of unraveling a mystery. This would make a great beach/pool day read and I highly recommend to all my fellow mystery lovers. Or anyone in the market for a remarkable summer read.

~Cassie

Blog Tour: Marine’s Mission By Deb Kastner

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

The Marine’s Mission by Deb Kastner is available on June 29.

Book Description

This marine doesn’t want anyone’s help

…until an unlikely match changes his life.

Wounded ex-marine Aaron Jamison always follows orders—and the assignment to take on a service dog is just that. Still, trainer Ruby Winslow is definitely barking up the wrong tree when she insists a beauty-parlor poodle is his perfect match. But Ruby and her clever canine are determined to melt the heart of this battle-hardened marine. And they’ll teach him an unforgettable new trick—love.

Add The Marine’s Mission to your Goodreads!

Review

This is a very sweet and clean romance. Because of my health issues I connected easily with Aaron and the whole idea of service dogs. I did have some issues with Aaron and his old fashioned way of thinking about masculinity which in turn made him not that likable to me. I don’t think adding those things into the story were needed and instead we could have focused more on how losing his marine career affected him. I did really enjoy Ruby’s character and how much she loved all the dogs she trains and her passion for service dogs. The relationship between Ruby and Aaron was really more of a friendship for a large majority of the story since Ruby really had to break down Aaron’s walls. However, this book really skips around for the four weeks that they are working together so it felt like we got more scenes of them in their heads than together. That being said, while I wasn’t a fan of how rushed everything was at the end, I did enjoy when Ruby and Aaron were together. They had an obvious connection and it is always rewarding to see a grumpy hero open himself up. If you love stories involving dogs then this will be one that you will adore.

About the Author 

~Love Courageously~

Award-winning author Deb Kastner writes stories of faith, family and community in a small-town western setting.  Deb’s books contain sigh-worthy heroes and strong heroines facing obstacles that draw them closer to each other and the Lord. She lives in Colorado with her husband. She is blessed with three grown daughters and two grandchildren. She enjoys spoiling her grandkids, movies, music, reading, musical theater and exploring Colorado on horseback.

Connect with the Author

Website: https://www.debkastnerbooks.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/debkastnerbooks

Twitter: https://twitter.com/debkastner

Excerpt

The Marine’s Mission – Excerpt

Deb Kastner

“You should probably know I don’t want to be here.”

Those were the first words United States Marine Corps Sergeant Aaron Jamison blurted out to the ginger-haired woman who’d just approached him, welcoming him with a pretty smile and an enormous, dorky-looking black standard poodle standing at her side, both with curious gazes. As far as Aaron was concerned, her choice in froufrou dogs obviously said a lot about her, kind of like the movie stars who carried tiny pups around in their purses to show off to everyone.

This was the breed of dog she’d chosen to own, and she was supposed to be an expert? She was going to be his service-dog trainer, put him through the program, and his first impression was she was probably as fluff brained as her dog, not someone he wanted to be in charge of him. He’d been told to meet up with Ruby Winslow, his new contact at A New Leash on Love, and since she was standing out here in front of the building, waiting for him, he assumed this was she.

In general, he didn’t say much, and yet this time the moment he had stepped out of his truck, he’d put his foot in his mouth.

Two feet, even.

He’d blabbed exactly what had crossed his mind, and it wasn’t the greatest beginning for either of them.

Neither did it bode well for him when she immediately stopped in her tracks fast enough to make the dust cloud around her cowboy boots, sparks snapping in her light blue eyes as her gaze narrowed on him and her smile wavered. The black poodle stopped with her and stared up at her, curious as to her sudden halt.

He’d rented a truck from Denver International Airport to drive into the Rocky Mountains up to the small town of Whispering Pines, where Winslow’s Woodlands and the military service-dog program were located. The whole time he’d been thinking about how much he was going to hate the next four weeks and how he would rather be anywhere but here.

Every second was bound to be painful, both physically and mentally.

But in hindsight, he probably shouldn’t have said as much aloud, at least not until after they’d been formally introduced.

Ruby looked as if she were about to reply to his rude comment, but then she pinched her lips together, took a deep breath and apparently thought better of it.

“I just thought you should know,” Aaron continued, attempting to wind his way out of the knot he’d just firmly tied around his neck, “that although I have been given orders to show up and complete this program, I’m not exactly a willing participant here.”

He was a straight shooter, both literally as a sniper in Afghanistan and figuratively in the way he lived his life in and out of the marine corps. He didn’t say much, but when he did, he meant whatever words crossed his lips.

That said, he didn’t want to start a war with Ruby this early on in his new mission, even if what he spoke was the truth. He wasn’t here because he wanted to be. He didn’t even really want a service dog, although he wasn’t completely opposed to a tough-looking canine companion—a German shepherd, maybe, or a Belgian Malinois.

Not that what he wanted had ever once played into the situation. It didn’t. Not from the beginning. But that didn’t stop him from feeling angry and frustrated just thinking about having to endure the Veterans Administration’s direct orders. Of all the veterans they could have selected for the program…

Buy The Marine’s Mission by Deb Kastner

Harlequin.com: https://www.harlequin.com/shop/books/9780369715043_the-marines-mission.html

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Marines-Mission-Rocky-Mountain-Family-ebook/dp/B08T1L75G5

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-marines-mission-deb-kastner/1138619588

Apple Books: https://books.apple.com/us/book/the-marines-mission/id1548937028

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Deb_Kastner_The_Marine_s_Mission?id=Dw8UEAAAQBAJ

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/the-marine-s-mission

~Cassie

July TBR- Pop Culture Readathon Edition

I completely failed my June TBR but I have good feelings about July since it is another round of my favorite readathon. I absolutely love every theme that the lovely creatures of the PopCulture Readathon come up and they always have multiple bingo boards so you can really cater this readathon to what you love. The theme for this round is movies from the 2000’s which is beyond perfect for me since those are the movies from my teenage years into adulthood so I know them all really well. I, of course, picked the Thrill Seekers bingo board and I am so excited about all the books that I picked that I am aiming for a blackout. Although, I have been thinking of also trying to read some books that fit The Adult Agenda board but I haven’t fully decided on that yet. I also think it would fun to watch the movies that each book prompt is for since I haven’t watched a lot of these since the 2000’s!

Ginger Snaps (feat. a shifter)

Atlanta would be a nice place to live, if it weren’t for the magic…

When the magic is up, rogue mages cast their spells and monsters appear, while guns refuse to fire and cars fail to start. But then technology returns, and the magic recedes as unpredictably as it arose, leaving all kinds of paranormal problems in its wake.

Kate Daniels is a down-on-her-luck mercenary who makes her living cleaning up these magical problems. But when Kate’s guardian is murdered, her quest for justice draws her into a power struggle between two strong factions within Atlanta’s magic circles.

The Masters of the Dead, necromancers who can control vampires, and the Pack, a paramilitary clan of shapechangers, blame each other for a series of bizarre killings—and the death of Kate’s guardian may be part of the same mystery. Pressured by both sides to find the killer, Kate realizes she’s way out of her league—but she wouldn’t have it any other way…

Zodiac (published during your birth month)

It’s November 1991. George H. W. Bush is in the White House, Nirvana’s in the tape deck, and movie-obsessed college student Charlie Jordan is in a car with a man who might be a serial killer.

Josh Baxter, the man behind the wheel, is a virtual stranger to Charlie. They met at the campus ride board, each looking to share the long drive home to Ohio. Both have good reasons for wanting to get away. For Charlie, it’s guilt and grief over the murder of her best friend, who became the third victim of the man known as the Campus Killer. For Josh, it’s to help care for his sick father. Or so he says. Like the Hitchcock heroine she’s named after, Charlie has her doubts. There’s something suspicious about Josh, from the holes in his story about his father to how he doesn’t seem to want Charlie to see inside the car’s trunk. As they travel an empty highway in the dead of night, an increasingly worried Charlie begins to think she’s sharing a car with the Campus Killer. Is Josh truly dangerous? Or is Charlie’s suspicion merely a figment of her movie-fueled imagination?

What follows is a game of cat and mouse played out on night-shrouded roads and in neon-lit parking lots, during an age when the only call for help can be made on a pay phone and in a place where there’s nowhere to run. In order to win, Charlie must do one thing—survive the night. 

Cabin Fever (feat. woods or forest)

What if your best friend and roommate killed a teacher at your prep school? Or what if he didn’t do it, but he’s being framed, and you’re the only person who can save him?

Luke Chase didn’t mean to get caught up solving the mystery of Mrs. Heckler’s murder. He just wanted to spend alone time with the new British girl at their boarding school.

But little did he know someone would end up dead right next to their rendezvous spot in the woods, and his best friend and roommate Oscar Weymouth would be the one to take the blame. With suspects aplenty and a past that’s anything but innocent, Luke Chase reluctantly calls on his famous survival skills to solve the mystery and find the true killer.

Donnie Darko (YA Horror)

Quinn Maybrook just wants to make it until graduation. She might not make it to morning.

Quinn and her father moved to tiny, boring Kettle Springs to find a fresh start. But ever since the Baypen Corn Syrup Factory shut down, Kettle Springs has cracked in half. On one side are the adults, who are desperate to make Kettle Springs great again, and on the other are the kids, who want to have fun, make prank videos, and get out of Kettle Springs as quick as they can.

Kettle Springs is caught in a battle between old and new, tradition and progress. It’s a fight that looks like it will destroy the town. Until Frendo, the Baypen mascot, a creepy clown in a pork-pie hat, goes homicidal and decides that the only way for Kettle Springs to grow back is to cull the rotten crop of kids who live there now.

Jennifer’s Body (Femme Fatale Character)

A spine-tingling novel of revenge, betrayal, and sisterhood from the internationally celebrated author of The Golden Cage.She’s had to fight for it every step of the way, but Faye finally has the life she believes she deserves: she is rich, the business she built has become a global brand, and she has carefully hidden away her small family in Italy where Jack, her ex-husband, can no longer harm them. She even has the wherewithal to occasionally turn a business trip to Rome into a steamy tryst. But when several major investors–women Faye had trusted implicitly–suddenly sell off their shares in the company, and the police officer who helped search for her daughter discovers the dark secret of Faye’s childhood, and she learns that Jack is no longer locked behind bars, Faye has no choice but to return to Stockholm. Not only does she have to fight again to keep her family safe, but now, at long last, she is forced to face the truth about her past. In this bold, mesmerizing story of seduction, deceit, and female power, a woman’s secret cannot stay buried forever.

Cursed (feat. curse that needs to be broken)

His powers—Inhuman…

His passion—Beyond immortal…
 

All her life, Ashlyn Darrow has been tormented by voices from the past. To end the nightmare, she has come to Budapest seeking help from men rumored to have supernatural abilities, not knowing she’ll be swept into the arms of Maddox, their most dangerous member—a man trapped in a hell of his own.

Neither can resist the instant hunger than calms their torments… and ignites an irresistible passion. But every heated touch and burning kiss will edge them closer to destruction—and a soul-shattering test of love…

Though they carry an eternal curse, the Lords of the Underworld are irresistibly seductive—and unimaginably powerful…

Don’t miss this incredible new paranormal series from Gena Showalter! 

Paranormal Activity (ghost story)

One postwar summer in his home of rural Warwickshire, Dr. Faraday, the son of a maid who has built a life of quiet respectability as a country physician, is called to a patient at lonely Hundreds Hall. Home to the Ayres family for over two centuries, the Georgian house, once impressive and handsome, is now in decline, its masonry crumbling, its gardens choked with weeds, the clock in its stable yard permanently fixed at twenty to nine. Its owners – mother, son, and daughter – are struggling to keep pace with a changing society, as well as with conflicts of their own. But are the Ayreses haunted by something more sinister than a dying way of life? Little does Dr. Faraday know how closely, and how terrifyingly, their story is about to become intimately entwined with his.

Eight Legged Freaks (deals w/ phobias)

Hot on the heels of The Twin, the undisputed queen of YA thrillers is back with a scary and suspenseful read about a summer camp filled with dark secrets.Esme and Kayla once were campers at Camp Pine Lake. They’re excited to be back this year as CITs (counselors in training). Esme loves the little girls in her cabin and thinks it’s funny how scared they are of everything–spiders, the surly head counselor, the dark, boys . . . even swimming in the lake It reminds her a little of how she and Kayla used to be, once. Before . . . it happened. Because Esme and Kayla did something bad when they were campers. Afterwards, the girls agreed to keep it secret. They’ve moved on–or so they say–and this summer is going to be great. Two months of sun, s’mores, and flirting with the cute boy counselors. But then they get a note. THE LAKE NEVER FORGETS. And the secret they’ve kept buried for so many years is about to resurface.

The Ring (7 words in the title)

A grand treasure for fans of the grande dame of mystery, this collection brings together nine rare and brilliant Christie tales of murder and detection that span nearly half a century of storytelling genius.

The Edge
The Actress
While the Light Lasts
The House of Dreams
The Lonely God
Manx Gold
Within a Wall
The Mystery of the Spanish Chest
The Harlequin Tea Set

“Twinkies!” (food on cover)

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

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

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

Men in Black II (a sequel)

A drowned young woman is discovered on an abandoned pleasure boat drifting by the Stockholm archipelago—strangely, her clothes are dry. The next day in Stockholm, a man turns up dead, hanging from a lamp hook inside his completely bare apartment—but how could he have hung himself with no furniture to climb upon? As Detective Inspector Joona Linna begins to piece together the two mysteries, he discovers that they are a mere prelude to a dizzying and dangerous course of events.

The Skeleton Key (bones in title or cover)

This is an ARC I received via Netgalley. It comes out September 28, 2021.

Andrew and Eddie did everything together, best friends bonded more deeply than brothers, until Eddie left Andrew behind to start his graduate program at Vanderbilt. Six month later, only days before Andrew was to join him in Nashville, Eddie dies of an apparent suicide. He leaves Andrew a horrible inheritance: a roommate he doesn’t know, friends he never asked for, and a gruesome phantom with bleeding wrists that mutters of revenge.

As Andrew searches for the truth of Eddie’s death, he uncovers the lies and secrets left behind by the person he trusted most, discovering a family history soaked in blood and death. Whirling between the backstabbing academic world where Eddie spent his days and the circle of hot boys, fast cars, and hard drugs that ruled Eddie’s nights, the walls Andrew has built against the world begin to crumble, letting in the phantom that hungers for him.

~Cassie

Blog Tour: Awakened by the CEO’s Kiss By Therese Beharrie

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

Awakened by the CEO’s Kiss by Therese Beharrie is available on July 27.

Book Description

Friendship is all she can offer…

…but he makes her want so much more!

The incredibly attractive man on Brooke Jansen’s doorstep is definitely not the new housekeeper she’s expecting. CEO Tyler Murphy is filling in temporarily, yet within days he’s turned Brooke’s carefully curated life upside down! Suddenly she’s living—and feeling—again. But her connection with Tyler is dangerous, exciting and strangely familiar… After losing everything once already, can Brooke risk her damaged heart again?

Add Awakened by the CEO’s Kiss to your Goodreads!

Review

The synopsis of this book sounds so sweet and intriguing but for me this book was pretty flat. The fact that Tyler is a CEO is barely mentioned and in fact he doesn’t even seem to even work for his company other than owning the rights to it. Which isn’t really a problem except for the fact that this book has the word CEO in the title and is even mentioned in the synopsis. I honestly thought the CEO the book was referring to was Brooke and I was baffled when it turned out to be Tyler. The romance had the potential to be so much more and I thought we were leading to a big emotional conflict but that never truly materialized. The biggest problem with this romance is that there were very few moments between Brooke and Tyler where we got to see them falling for each other. Instead we were in both characters heads so much that we ended up being constantly told how they were feeling which in turn led me to not having that strong of an emotional connection to the characters. This book did have moments of brilliance and the cameos by their dogs were always a high point. Unfortunately, the great moments were surpassed by the unremarkable moments and so for me this was just an average romance. Which doesn’t have to be a negative since I’m sure this book will be a great one for many people. If you enjoy clean romances that take place mainly in the heroine/heroes heads then you might want to consider picking this one up.

About the Author 

Being an author has always been Therese’s dream. It was only when the corporate world loomed during her final year at university that she realised how soon she wanted that dream to become a reality. She got serious about her writing, and now writes books she wants to see in the world featuring people who look like her. When she’s not writing, she’s spending time with her husband and dogs in Cape Town, South Africa. She admits this is a perfect life, and is grateful for it.

Connect with the Author

Website: http://theresebeharrie.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/theresebeharrie/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ThereseBeharrie/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/theresebeharrie/ 

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15524274.Therese_Beharrie

Excerpt

Awakened by the CEO’s Kiss – Excerpt

Therese Beharrie

For the second time in his life Tyler Murphy was staring at the most beautiful woman he had ever seen.

The first time had been five years ago, at a coffee shop around the corner from the hospital. He had been visiting his sister, who’d just given birth to his nephew, and he had been dealing with some…stuff. Mainly the fact that his mother, who had passed away months before that, wouldn’t get to meet her first grandchild. The woman who had prized family so much wouldn’t get to see hers expand.

He’d needed some space from the hospital. And there had been Brooke. Standing at the counter, staring at the menu with a dazed look on her face.

He thought about that day a lot. The days after, too—that week they’d spent together. The sadness that had lurked in her eyes even when she was smiling. How often she would trail off when she spoke, as if she had forgotten what she was saying. She would always beam at him after, especially if he prompted her, and he’d put it down as one of her quirks.

Those memories were all he had of her. Her first name—only her first name—and his memories. It hadn’t mattered then. He had known she was the type of person who picked up litter when she saw it on the street. Who allowed elderly people ahead of her in a queue. She hoped for a world where people were kinder, less self-centred. She didn’t like intolerance, and she had told him about the times she’d stepped in when she’d witnessed it.

But her name and his memories hadn’t been enough for him to find her. He’d discovered that at the end of the week when she’d disappeared. They hadn’t shared any information about where they lived, who their families were. They hadn’t even exchanged contact details. It was as if they’d purposely avoided it. As if she had purposely avoided it.

He might have thought it dramatic if he hadn’t been staring at her now, waiting for her to recognise him.

He got nothing.

‘You’re not Tia Murphy,’ she said, her voice a frustratingly adorable lilt of confusion.

‘No, I’m Tyler Murphy.’ Which you already know. But I guess if we’re playing this game… ‘I’ll be helping you out for the next—’ 

He didn’t get the chance to continue. Brooke let out a cry as her body bumped against the door. Seconds later, the door opened wider. He didn’t catch what flew past them, but he knew it was some kind of animal.

‘No!’ she shouted. ‘Mochi, you come back here right now!’

She ran down the three steps that led to the front lawn, before bolting towards what Tyler could now see was a dog. He didn’t think she’d expected to chase after a dog. Or maybe she had; he wasn’t proficient in what kind of clothes people who required housekeepers wore.

Sure, technically, he could be one of those people, but his mother would have killed him. If he’d got a housekeeper now, she’d probably become undead for the sole purpose of killing him.

And, since he wasn’t ‘one of those people,’ for all he knew Brooke’s silky nightgown and flip-flops were standard attire.

Watching her running after a dog in that outfit lightened some of the tension he felt, but it couldn’t eradicate it completely. In fact, it complicated things. In the days they’d spent together, he hadn’t once seen this much of her. Now he could add the strength of her arms, the width of her thighs, to what he’d been missing.

Get it together, Murphy.

About the Author 

Being an author has always been Therese’s dream. It was only when the corporate world loomed during her final year at university that she realised how soon she wanted that dream to become a reality. She got serious about her writing, and now writes books she wants to see in the world featuring people who look like her. When she’s not writing, she’s spending time with her husband and dogs in Cape Town, South Africa. She admits this is a perfect life, and is grateful for it.

Connect with the Author

Website: http://theresebeharrie.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/theresebeharrie/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ThereseBeharrie/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/theresebeharrie/ 

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15524274.Therese_Beharrie

~Cassie