The Last Guest by Tess Little ~ 3⭐

Genre: Phycological Literary Fiction ~ Release date: October 5, 2021

REVIEW: The Last Guest was a debut novel for writer Tess Little. I liked the premise of the novel but for me, it was just ok. I do think it was a decent debut for this author.

The first thing I noticed that was different is the book was set up as a prologue, three acts and an epilogue. Sort of like a play but it didn’t read anything like that. 

A majority of the book was the memories and thoughts of the main character’s ex-wife whose name was Elspeth. I read every thought she had. Every feeling she felt. I didn’t like Elspeth and I really didn’t care. I don’t think I liked anyone in the book. I didn’t feel a connection with the characters. I felt like I was watching from the outside and I really just wanted to go home. 

Richard was the main character who died on his 50th birthday. There were only a few friends at the party. They all were drunk, passed out and found Richard dead the next morning. All eight Guest were considered suspects

This book was very dark. I kept finding myself doing other things instead of reading. I couldn’t read for very long at one time. I will say this, maybe this book was so artistic it was over my head. If you like dark, mysterious books, this one will be for you. It’s only problem was it’s not my kind of book. Somebody is going to LOVE this book! I will even predict it may be a best seller. 

I received a complimentary copy of this book from #Netgalley and #RandomHousePublishing-Ballentine. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.  

SYNOPSIS: When Elspeth Bell attends the fiftieth birthday party of her ex-husband, Richard Bryant, the Hollywood director who launched her acting career, all she wants is to pass unnoticed through the glamorous crowd in his sprawling Los Angeles mansion. Instead, there are only seven other guests—and Richard’s pet octopus, Persephone, watching over them from her tank as the intimate party grows more surreal (and rowdy) by the hour. Come morning, Richard is dead—and all of the guests are suspects.

In the weeks that follow, each guest comes under suspicion: the school friend, the studio producer, the actress, the actor, the new partner, the manager, the cinematographer, and even Elspeth herself. What starts out as a locked-room mystery soon reveals itself to be much more complicated, as dark stories from Richard’s past surface, colliding with memories of their marriage that Elspeth vowed never to revisit. She begins to wonder not just who killed Richard, but why these eight guests were invited—and what sort of man would desire to possess a creature as mysterious and unsettling as Persephone.

The Last Guest is a stylish exploration of power—the power of memory, the power of perception, the power of one person over another.

Three Sisters by Heather Morris ~ 5⭐

Genres: Jewish Literature & Historical Fiction ~ Release date: October 5, 2021

REVIEW: Heather Morris brought us The Tattooist of Auschwitz, Cilka’s Journey and Stories of Hope and she now brings us Three Sisters. 

Ms. Morris has a talent and heart for bringing us special stories of World War II Jewish prisoners of war rounded up by the Nazis. The Nazis killed 6,000,000 Jews and children numbering 1,500,000. This book is a tribute to Three Sisters who made a promise to their father to always stay together and take care of one another. A promise that made them survivors. 

I read these books while my heart broke and my eyes cried. They are both heart-wrenching and heartwarming. I love that these sisters honored their promise and had a love that enabled them to have a close relationship. The days spent in the prison camp were hard to read about. Although they were hard, it is something we need to know and remember. We need to be vigilant that something like this never happens again. 

Ms. Morris puts a lot of research into her books. She has met the people she writes about giving us honest and raw stories. I have learned so much reading her books. I have great admiration for the survivors and great sorrow for those that were killed because of age, illness or disability. 

I’m honored to have read these books. They are well worth the time. They are worth the thoughts, tears and heartbreak I experienced. 

I received a complimentary copy of this book from #StMartinsPress, #Netgalley and #HeatherMorris. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. 

SYNOPSIS: From Heather Morris, the New York Times bestselling author of the multi-million copy bestseller The Tattooist of Auschwitz and Cilka’s Journey: a story of family, courage, and resilience, inspired by a true story.

Against all odds, three Slovakian sisters have survived years of imprisonment in the most notorious death camp in Nazi Germany: Auschwitz. Livia, Magda, and Cibi have clung together, nearly died from starvation and overwork, and the brutal whims of the guards in this place of horror. But now, the allies are closing in and the sisters have one last hurdle to face: the death march from Auschwitz, as the Nazis try to erase any evidence of the prisoners held there. Due to a last minute stroke of luck, the three of them are able to escape formation and hide in the woods for days before being rescued.

And this is where the story begins. From there, the three sisters travel to Israel, to their new home, but the battle for freedom takes on new forms. Livia, Magda, and Cibi must face the ghosts of their past–and some secrets that they have kept from each other–to find true peace and happiness.

Inspired by a true story, and with events that overlap with those of Lale, Gita, and Cilka, The Three Sisters will hold a place in readers’ hearts and minds as they experience what true courage really is.

Sunsets, Scripts and Murder by A. M. Ialacci ~ 5⭐

Genre: Mystery ~ Release Date: September 28, 2021

REVIEW: If you’ve been reading with A Crystal Coast Case series by A. M. Ialacci, you’ll want to read the next installment called Sunsets, Scripts and Murder. I loved it! 

I have enjoyed them all so far and if you haven’t read them, I highly recommend the whole series. You could start with this latest book. I think they all do well as stand alone books but, the relationships develop along the way and you might miss out on that. 

The main character is Allie and she has developed a career as a Private Investigator. It fits her well. She is the guardian of her autistic brother, has boyfriend and other friends you will enjoy. She also has a reputation for finding dead bodies! Oh my.

I love a good mystery and seeing that mystery solved. These books are fast reads because I simply can’t put them down. This series is right up my alley. If you’re like me, give this series a try. I think you will agree with me. 

SYNOPSIS: A dead actress. A big secret. And Allie Fox is on the case.

Tired of couch-surfing with friends, PI Allie Fox heads to the beach on an overcast, off-season day to do some house hunting.

But when she stumbles onto a dead body in an empty rental, she’s plunged straight into another case of foul play.

Up and coming actor Aisha Carter’s stay in Emerald Isle had been a secret, and only a select few knew she was here. When her agent hires Allie to investigate, she finds the actor was keeping everyone in the dark, and hiding much more than her whereabouts.

As she digs deeper into Aisha’s past, nothing seems to add up. Then Allie uncovers a shocking clue that puts everyone she loves on the killer’s list.

Sunsets, Scripts, and Murder continues the story of the Crystal Coast Case series. If you like Melinda Leigh, Lisa Gray, or Claire McGowan, you’ll love A. M. Ialacci’s gripping story of bright lights, big secrets, and murder.

The Santa Suit by Mary Kay Andrews ~ 5⭐

Genre: Holiday Fiction ~ Releases: September 28, 2021

REVIEW: The Santa Suit by Mary Kay Andrews is everything I would want in a Christmas story! It was heartwarming, nostalgic with a small town atmosphere. I loved every minute of this book. I never reread books. I feel like there are too many good books out there to spend time rereading one. I have to tell you, I might pull this one out and give it a spin again next year. 

The characters had background but, were caring people. I loved the nostalgia of the old house that was a character in itself. I have always loved a small town atmosphere. Everyone knows each other and their business. You always know who to call when you need help. Of course, the warmth of the people came shining through during the Christmas preparations and the gathering in the town square. 

There is nothing I didn’t like about this book other than I could have lived with it a lot longer. I would have read many more pages. I was sad to see it end. I would love to see a sequel but, that is probably a pipe dream. 

If you love a feel good story at Christmas time, I highly recommend this book to you. I think it would make a great gift or stocking stuffer. I’d be happy to see it in my stocking! 

I received a complimentary copy of this book from #StMartinsPress and #Netgalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.  

SYNOPSIS: From Mary Kay Andrews, the New York Times bestselling author of Hello, Summer, comes a novella celebrating the magic of Christmas and second chances in The Santa Suit.

When newly-divorced Ivy Perkins buys an old farmhouse sight unseen, she is definitely looking for a change in her life. The Four Roses, as the farmhouse is called, is a labor of love—but Ivy didn’t bargain on just how much labor. The previous family left so much furniture and so much junk, that it’s a full-time job sorting through all of it.

At the top of a closet, Ivy finds an old Santa suit—beautifully made and decades old. In the pocket of a suit she finds a note written in a childish hand: it’s from a little girl who has one Christmas wish, and that is for her father to return home from the war. This discovery sets Ivy off on a mission. Who wrote the note? Did the man ever come home? What mysteries did the Rose family hold?

Ivy’s quest brings her into the community, at a time when all she wanted to do was be left alone and nurse her wounds. But the magic of Christmas makes miracles happen, and Ivy just might find more than she ever thought possible: a welcoming town, a family reunited, a mystery solved, and a second chance at love.

Chancing Fate by Lauren Lee ~ 5⭐

Genre: Crime Thriller ~ Released: September 21, 2021

REVIEW: HOLY MACKEREL! I just finished the new book in the Detective Dahlia Series! It is the fourth book named Chancing Fate by Lauren Lee. I enjoyed the first three books and I loved the this latest addition to the series. If you’re keeping up with this series, you’re going to want to read this one too. They get better and better with each book. I can’t wait for book five. 

Lauren Lee always gets my heart pounding. I know my blood pressure is going up when I pick up one of the Detective Dahlia series. I get so involved, I can’t put the book down for long. I have to get back to it. I read this one in less than a day. It’s the intrigue that gets me. The danger. The love story. The crime! It’s all rolled into one fantastic book. 

If you like detective stories with a little love and a little angst, you will love this series. If you already love this series, you’re gonna love this installment! 

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.  

SYNOPSIS: When the stakes are high, will she fold or go all in?

One of the wealthiest and most notorious men in Ashford is found dead inside the Plutus Casino with lipstick on his collar and a wedding band on his finger.

Detective Dahlia investigates the case and uncovers a less than sympathetic wife, a mysterious mistress, and proof the victim curated dozens of enemies over the years. The question then becomes, “Who didn’t have a motive to kill him?” While Dahlia struggles to find answers, a colleague disappears without a trace leaving her confused, anxious, and desperate for the truth.Striking and gripping, Chancing Fate steers Dahlia toward a tortuous puzzle of whodunnit and why? Does Dahlia have what it takes to chance fate or will she walk away from the table?

Widow Falls by Kiersten Modglin ~ 5⭐

Genre: Phycological Suspense ~ Releases: September 21, 2021

REVIEW: Do you love going to fairs and riding the Rollercoaster but, you can’t because of Covid?  You really miss it. Right? Well, hop on the Kiersten Modglin train because you’re in for the ride of your life! Widow Falls is the next stop. 

Widow Falls is one more in a line of great stories from this author. Do you have an author when you see they have a new book coming out, you don’t even have to read the synopsis to know you’re going to read it one way or another? Kiersten is that author for me. The Dream Job was the hook that pulled me in and I’ve been caught up ever since. One of these days, I’ll quit reviewing and get caught up on all the back books I haven’t had time to read yet! 

Widow Falls is about a rafting company in the mountains of Tennessee. The employees have to sign a contract for two seasons. Once you sign the contract, you can’t leave.  Sloane is taking another girls place who left in the middle of the night during her first season. Did she leave or is she missing? That is the question! Believe me, there are so many questions. 

If you love good Psychological Suspense, this book is for you. They don’t come any better than Kiersten Modglin. She is the queen of twists and turns and ups and downs. Yup, sounds like a Rollercoaster to me! This book releases September 21. You can pre-order now. 

SYNOPSIS: The last girl went missing…
Someone doesn’t want her to be found.

When Sloane takes a job at the infamous whitewater rafting camp, Widow Falls, she quickly learns that the camp has a reputation for more than just summer fun.

People go missing at Widow Falls.

The guide she’s replacing was just one of many. As Sloane settles into her new home—a one-room apartment she’ll be sharing with the five other guides—she can’t help asking questions and digging into the disappearances she’s heard about. Her new roommates tell her stories of dark legends and dangerous folklore surrounding the secluded camp but assure her there’s nothing to worry about. It’s all just superstition.

When Sloane stumbles upon a clue and a secret message hidden beneath the floorboards of their loft, she begins to realize there may be more to the myths than she’s been told.

The message gets her attention: Don’t trust anyone at Widow Falls.

As she follows clues to better understand the missing guide she replaced, Sloane can’t help noticing the similarities between the two of them.

What happened to the other girl?
Why won’t the others help her search?
Are they all in danger?

Whatever’s happening at Widow Falls, it’s clear someone doesn’t want her digging into it. As the seams of her reality are torn apart, making her question everything she sees, feels, and believes, Sloane will have to uncover the truth about the camp—and its occupants—before someone else goes missing.

Because this time…it might be her.

Cop An Attitude by Hilary Grossman ~ 5⭐ from the Anthology Hate Me Like You Mean It

Genre: Romance Anthologies ~ Releases: September 21, 2021

REVIEW: Cop An Attitude by Hilary Grossman is included in an anthology called Hate Me Like You Mean It. I haven’t read the rest of the novellas yet but, I wanted to encourage you to read Hilary’s story. 

Cop An Attitude is the introduction to a new series that is a spin off of the Forest River PTA Moms Series. If you enjoyed that series you’re really going to enjoy the new one. It has a different flavor to it. One I think you will like! 

Hilary’s writing is superb. It is different in this book. I’m not sure if it is the tone of the new series or something else. I loved her characters. I think maybe you’re not supposed to like the cop but, I found a soft spot in my heart for him. Waverly Ensworth is the main character. You don’t have to worry about her. She is a spunky firecracker and I’m pretty sure she’ll see herself out of any situation. 

I’m telling you right now…I can’t wait to read this new series. It’s going to be fun and full of crazy situations while pulling at your heartstrings. 

Best of all… the proceeds from this anthology will go to the Animal Welfare Institute! How great is that? This is for a limited time only so hurry and get your copy pre-ordered now! Don’t miss out on this opportunity.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.  

SYNOPSIS: Hate (or is it love?) is in the air in this enemies-to-lovers romantic comedy anthology. Find your happily ever after with six smart and sexy, feel-good romcoms. Stories range from sweet to medium steam level.

Available for a limited time only.
100% of proceeds from preorders will be donated to the Animal Welfare Institute.

This anthology includes never before published standalone titles:
Tracy Krimmer: Barking Up The Wrong Tree
Hilary Grossman: Cop An Attitude
Holly Kerr: Bite Me
Allie Boniface: Dare Me
Liz Alden: The Rival In South Africa
Sarah Peis: Booby Trap

Other People’s Things by Kerry Anne King ~ 5⭐

Genre: Women’s Literary Fiction ~ Releases: September 21, 2021

REVIEW: Intriguing, Fascinating and Suspenseful are what comes to mind when I think of my experience with Kerry Anne King’s New novel Other People’s Things. I enjoyed my time with these characters. 

I found the premise of this book Intriguing. Nicole has a calling and a behavior she calls the Object Relocation Program. Most people thinks she steals things but the things call out to her to be moved. She moves them where they want to be. Her family and friends don’t understand. Heck, she doesn’t understand! It is beyond her control. Good and bad comes from her gift. 

The gift was fascinating to me and kept me reading. I wanted more! Then came the Suspense. The best part of the book. What is up with the soon to be ex-husband? Why doesn’t her family see what’s going on? What about the crazy boss lady? Oh and what about her psychologist? Then what happens with Hawk? Umm…you’re going to have to read the book to get those answers. 

I hope I’ve peaked your interest. This was a fun book that also kept me on edge. You must think about picking up a copy for yourself. I think you will be intrigued and fascinated like I was.

I received a complimentary copy of this book #OtherPeople’sThings from #Netgalley and #LakeUnionPublishing. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. 

SYNOPSIS: From the Amazon Charts bestselling author of Whisper Me This comes a witty, magical story about improbable connections, difficult gifts, and the unexpected events that heal us and bring us together.

Jailbird. Klepto. Spectacular failure to launch. Nicole Wood’s sticky fingers have earned her many names, but it’s not that she’s stealing—some objects just need to be moved elsewhere, and the universe has chosen her to do it. Still, being a relocator of objects isn’t easy. With her marriage on the rocks, no real-world skills, and the threat of prison hanging over her head, Nicole is determined to change her ways.

Things seem to be looking up, thanks to a godsent job with her sister’s housecleaning business—until she encounters a seemingly harmless paperback that insists on moving from one client’s home to another’s. Nicole hopes no one will notice, but the action stirs up long-hidden secrets and triggers a series of fateful events that threatens to destroy the life she’s creating and hurt those closest to her. She’ll need to embrace her unwieldy gift and take a chance on love in order to unravel the mystery and fix what’s gone wrong.

Harlem Shuffle by Colson Whitehead ~ 3⭐

Genre: Black & African American Literary Fiction ~ Releases: September 14, 2021

REVIEW: Harlem Shuffle by Colson Whitehead was my first novel by this author. He is a Pulitzer Prize winner two times in a row. When I got the chance to read Harlem Shuffle for review, there wasn’t a doubt in my mind I wanted to read it. However, I was disappointed. 

This novel was one crime after another. The story didn’t have any cohesiveness. It all seemed pretty random to me. The main character was Ray Carney. His life style was handed down and learned from his father. Ray had two sides. The good side was a family man and a furniture store owner. I would have liked to know more about his wife and family but, they were mostly in the background. Sadly, I think that is how he liked it. 

I wish I could say the writing was beautiful but, I was often confused with all of the slang and talk of Harlem. This just adds one more to the pile of books I don’t care for by male authors.

He was very good at setting the atmosphere of the book. I’m sure many people will love this book. It was just not my cup of tea. Those that love hard crime novels will most likely love this book. 

I received a complimentary copy of this book from #Netgalley and #DoubledayBooks. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. 

SYNOPSIS: From the two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Underground Railroad and The Nickel Boys, a gloriously entertaining novel of heists, shakedowns, and rip-offs set in Harlem in the 1960s.

“Ray Carney was only slightly bent when it came to being crooked…” To his customers and neighbors on 125th street, Carney is an upstanding salesman of reasonably priced furniture, making a decent life for himself and his family. He and his wife Elizabeth are expecting their second child, and if her parents on Striver’s Row don’t approve of him or their cramped apartment across from the subway tracks, it’s still home. 

Few people know he descends from a line of uptown hoods and crooks, and that his façade of normalcy has more than a few cracks in it. Cracks that are getting bigger all the time. 

Cash is tight, especially with all those installment-plan sofas, so if his cousin Freddie occasionally drops off the odd ring or necklace, Ray doesn’t ask where it comes from. He knows a discreet jeweler downtown who doesn’t ask questions, either. 

Then Freddie falls in with a crew who plan to rob the Hotel Theresa—the “Waldorf of Harlem”—and volunteers Ray’s services as the fence. The heist doesn’t go as planned; they rarely do. Now Ray has a new clientele, one made up of shady cops, vicious local gangsters, two-bit pornographers, and other assorted Harlem lowlifes. 

Thus begins the internal tussle between Ray the striver and Ray the crook. As Ray navigates this double life, he begins to see who actually pulls the strings in Harlem. Can Ray avoid getting killed, save his cousin, and grab his share of the big score, all while maintaining his reputation as the go-to source for all your quality home furniture needs? 

Harlem Shuffle’s ingenious story plays out in a beautifully recreated New York City of the early 1960s. It’s a family saga masquerading as a crime novel, a hilarious morality play, a social novel about race and power, and ultimately a love letter to Harlem. 

But mostly, it’s a joy to read, another dazzling novel from the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award-winning Colson Whitehead.

Take My Hand by Dolen Perkins-Valdez ~5⭐

Genre: Black &African Historical Fiction ~ Releases: April 12, 2022

REVIEW: Take My Hand by Dolen Perkins-Valdez was a profound, enlightening and heartbreaking book. I will never be the same after reading this book. 

We have learned that many things in our history as a nation are unforgivable but yet they happened. We cannot forget these things otherwise, they may be repeated. Back in the early 70’s it came out that our government run agencies for women were distributing birth control for women of color and poor families. In many instances women were sterilized without proper informed consent. In this book two young girls ages 11 and 13 were sterilized because they were poor and black even though they were not sexually active. There were more than 70,000 women who were victims of this abuse. I’m heartbroken that there are people who felt they knew what was best for the future of these women. 

I was a young adult back then and for the life of me I can’t remember this happening or the trial that took place. We can’t forget these things. This broke the summer after we learned of the Tuskegee experiments. How could this happen in our great nation? This is a book I will never forget. It has changed me for the better. 

I would highly recommend this book. Although, it is Fiction, it is based on a trial and a sad part of our American history. I hope you take some time to look up Relf v. Weinberger and another trial Buck v. Bell. You will be astounded.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from #BookBrowse #Netgalley and #BerkleyPublishingGroup. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. 

SYNOPSIS: Inspired by true events that rocked the nation, a profoundly moving novel about a Black nurse in post-segregation Alabama who blows the whistle on a terrible wrong done to her patients, from the New York Times bestselling author of Wench.

Montgomery, Alabama, 1973. Fresh out of nursing school, Civil Townsend has big plans to make a difference, especially in her African American community. At the Montgomery Family Planning Clinic, she intends to help women make their own choices for their lives and bodies.

But when her first week on the job takes her down a dusty country road to a worn-down one-room cabin, she’s shocked to learn that her new patients, Erica and India, are children—just eleven and thirteen years old. Neither of the Williams sisters has even kissed a boy, but they are poor and Black, and for those handling the family’s welfare benefits, that’s reason enough to have the girls on birth control. As Civil grapples with her role, she takes India, Erica, and their family into her heart. Until one day she arrives at the door to learn the unthinkable has happened, and nothing will ever be the same for any of them.

Decades later, with her daughter grown and a long career in her wake, Dr. Civil Townsend is ready to retire, to find her peace, and to leave the past behind. But there are people and stories that refuse to be forgotten. That must not be forgotten.

Because history repeats what we don’t remember.