#BlogTour: The Lost And Found Girl by Maisey Yates

For this blog tour, we’re looking at a remarkable tale ostensibly about how four adult sister get along with each other that becomes so much more. For this blog tour, we’re looking at The Lost And Found Girl by Maisey Yates.

Here’s what I had to say about it on Goodreads:

Slow Start That All Comes Together For A Dramatic Finish. This is a story of how four sisters – three biological + one adopted – interact as adults when the adopted sister comes back to the town that saw her as their “miracle” from the moment she was found 22 yrs ago. It features romance angles for each of the sisters, though some of the guys are more well fleshed out than others – but each has at least a moment or two to shine. In particular there is the town pariah, accused of a murder a year before the adopted sister was found but for which he has maintained his innocence all along. Can an angel and a devil coexist? What if they may be more linked than anyone – except the two people in town harboring a deep, dark secret that *no one* is aware of – may realize? And what if the town *needs* that secret to be unearthed, whether they realize it or not? Truly an utterly fascinating book, one that no matter how slow you feel the start is you absolutely need to hang in there through the finish. Very much recommended.

After the jump, an excerpt followed by the “publisher details” – book description, author bio, and social media and buy links.
Continue reading “#BlogTour: The Lost And Found Girl by Maisey Yates”

#BookReview: Things We Do In The Dark by Jennifer Hillier

I Refuse To Be My [Parent]. Yes, a version of the title line of this review is said in the book. And that was the moment the book hit particularly hard for me. Because I’ve lived it. Not directly, but as the child of a person that did. To be clear, it was not the same kind of abuse that my parent endured, but it *was* abuse and it *did* shape that parent in ways that have played out over the course of my own life. So at that moment, this book became very, very real for me and I could see that character’s actions as clear as day and understand them on levels I don’t often get to even in fiction.

The rest of the book, with a present day murder and blackmailing, a secret identity, a true crime podcast looking at a murder years ago and how it all ties together… was all excellently done. Other reviews complain about the backstory, but for me that was the actual story – because it shows everything that caused the person to utter the line I titled the review with. Overall a strong tale that survivors of domestic abuse may struggle with, but which ultimately should prove cathartic indeed even for them. Very much recommended.

This review of Things We Do In The Dark by Jennifer Hillier was originally written on July 10, 2022.

#BookReview: The Poet’s House by Jean Thompson

Imagine The Outsiders. Now Set It In A Poetry Commune. That’s largely how I wound up seeing this book. Our main character is a great fish out of water that gets sucked into this world she really has no clue about and finds herself navigating new friendships and controversies along the way, all while trying to understand the enigmatic leader of the group and uncover what this leader is hiding. There is quite a bit of meta commentary here, both generally and in the final reveal of exactly what had been happening for all these years, but even that didn’t really ascend to “preachy” levels, more just spice to the overall story. Yes, there was quite a bit of humor in this book too, but for me the humor made it more readable without taking away from the overall serious tone I was getting for some reason. But perhaps I’m just weird. (I know I am, but maybe my reactions to this book were particularly weird?) Very much recommended.

This review of The Poet’s House by Jean Thompson was originally written on July 10, 2022.

#BookReview: Little Sister by Gytha Lodge

Solid UK Police Procedural Thriller. I picked up this book because I was invited to based on my reviews of other similar books, not knowing that it was number four in the series. As such, it was readily apparent in the beginning that if this was the start of a series there would likely be prequels down the road… or this was deeper into the series (which turned out to be the case). That noted, for me it was still easy enough to follow along with where each member of our police team was in their journeys. Though for those more sensitive to any hint of a “spoiler”… eh, you’ll want to make sure to start with Book 1.

What I *did* find in this book is that for the most part, if you are a fan of this subgenre of mystery/ thriller, you’re going to like this book and (likely) this series as well. If you’ve never experienced this subgenre before, this is a pretty solid example of it with a compelling mystery, tense thriller moments, and relatable characters.

Overall a solid work, and I look forward to seeing what Lodge has in store for the team next. ๐Ÿ™‚ Very much recommended.

This review of Little Sister by Gytha Lodge was originally written on July 5, 2022.

#BookReview: The Lies I Tell by Julie Clark

You Think You Know Me. This is a con artist/ revenge tale where if you think you know either of our main characters… well, you need to read through the end of the tale. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I found it close enough to thriller territory to warrant that label, as I was constantly wanting to further uncover exactly what was going on. Despite some other reviews claiming the contrary, there actually are a few twists… though I fully admit they are more of the “no narrator is honest” type, as the text openly admits. Ultimately I had fun with this tale, and that is all I really ask of a book. Very much recommended.

This review of The Lies I Tell by Julie Clark was originally written on June 22, 2022.

Featured New Release Of The Week: Beyond The Moonlit Sea by Julianne MacLean

This week we’re looking at a book that is a master class in how to take a tale that could veer into the prosaic and at least somewhat uninteresting and elevate it into a captivating and charming tale simply by making smart decisions in exactly how to tell exactly the same story. This week we’re looking at Beyond The Moonlit Sea by Julianne Maclean.

Interesting Case of Storytelling Excellence. This is one of those books where had the author chosen to tell this very same story in a more typical fashion, with just a single narrator that we follow over several decades of her life, it wouldn’t have been near as engaging or near as engrossing as the tale becomes by telling it the way she instead chose to tell it. As a singular narrative, the story is a solid tale of a woman struggling to find herself in her twenties and thirties, both as she finishes college and a bit later in the aftermath of a tragedy, who then has to deal with the repercussions of these events throughout her life. With the particular perspectives that MacLean adds – which do add extra length to the text that wouldn’t be present without them – we get a much more fleshed out tale that actually adds extra depth both to certain characters and to the overall story, and thus the extra length is absolutely warranted in this case. Ultimately a satisfying tale in a vein somewhat reminiscent of the great Robin Williams movie Bicentennial Man, without its length in years. ๐Ÿ™‚ Very much recommended.

#BookReview: Iris In The Dark by Elissa Grossell Dickey

Solid Sophomore Effort That Doesn’t Live Up To The Author’s Debut. With this book, Dickey gives a solid story that has elements across several genres – and thus may not work for readers who are exclusive to any given genre. For readers who are more open though, this one actually works quite well. There is a mystery/ creepiness factor (combined with a tragic/ dark backstory) that almost gives mystery/ suspense vibes, but when combined with the more romance side of the tale switches to almost a romantic suspense vibe. Then there are the women’s fiction elements of a woman trying to find herself yet again when her world begins to collapse – or is it simply her mind collapsing? In the end, I would suggest that the book ultimately follows all rules I know of for the romance genre, and thus likely best fits there – though I’m not sure that this is what Dickey or her publisher (not known for romances) intended. I appreciate that Dickey tells a dramatically different story here than her debut (The Speed of Light), and I encourage all readers to go check out that book as well, no matter your own thoughts on this one. This book is ultimately the well-travelled tale of a phenomenal debut making the next work so much harder, as it has so much to live up to. Judged on its own, this story is truly a solid and intriguing one. Recommended.

This review of Iris In The Dark by Elissa Grossell Dickey was originally written on June 10, 2022.

#BookReview: Fatal Conflict by Matt Hilton

Reacher Fans, Meet Tess, Po, and Pinky. This is a somewhat standard mystery-with-badass-heroes where there is a baddy (in this case, a team of them) who does bad things (we find out, and it is pretty dang terrible – though fortunately the worst of it is off screen and in the past, relative to our current story), and the hero of the series (heroes, in this case) meet up with the baddy through some circumstance… which the baddy winds up not appreciating in the end. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Within this scope, this is Hilton’s particular blend of charm, wit, charisma, and caring. As with the entire series, you find yourself wanting to see what happens to Tess, Po, and Pinky next – which is the hallmark of any solid procedural. The *singular* reason for the single star deduction is that COVID (and masking) are mentioned heavily throughout the book, and *I DO NOT WANT TO READ ABOUT COVID*. I am on a one-man war to eliminate this topic from fiction, but the only weapon I really have is this single star deduction – and so I use it on every book I read that mentions COVID, and I mention why in every review. Still, for readers who aren’t as adamant about this position as I am or even those who may disagree, there really was nothing too objectionable about this entry in this long running series, and quite a bit of fun escapism (minus the COVID aspects). Very much recommended.

This review of Fatal Conflict by Matt Hilton was originally written on June 6, 2022.

#BlogTour: Never Coming Home by Hannah Mary McKinnon

For this blog tour we’re looking at a strong tale of possibly the perfect murder – as told by the villain. For this blog tour we’re looking at Never Coming Home by Hannah Mary McKinnon.

Here’s what I had to say about it on Goodreads:

Was It Really The Perfect Murder? This is an interesting tale in that we get the villain’s perspective – and virtually no one else’s. Throughout this tale, it is clear that our narrator has killed his wife and believes he has gotten away scott-free – and is about to achieve everything he ever set out for in life because of it. Not because he had any ill-will, you see, simply that he is a problem-solver and a survivor, and he’ll do whatever it takes to solve his problems so that he can live the life he has always deserved. Along the way we get the stories of the tragedies he has endured and the opportunistic ways he has taken advantage of situations regardless of any pesky words on paper about how wrong his actions may be. And we also see his unravelling when it becomes clear that *someone* seems to know what he did… Truly one of McKinnon’s better books.

So why did I drop it a star despite rating every other book I’ve read from her as 5*? Because this one does in fact mention COVID – a fair amount, actually – and I’m waging a one-man war to stop authors from doing that. At *least* for now, and *possibly* for ever. The single star deduction is really my only tool in this one-man war, so I employ it any time a book mentions COVID at all, no matter how strong the book was regardless of this fact.

And again, this really was one of McKinnon’s stronger tales outside of the COVID references. Very much recommended.

Below the jump, an excerpt from the book followed by the “publisher details” – book description, author bio, and social media and buy links.
Continue reading “#BlogTour: Never Coming Home by Hannah Mary McKinnon”

#BookReview: Never Go Home by Christopher Swann

Wherein My Own Reading Habits Do Me In. The story itself here was an excellent romp through mostly northern, Inside The Perimeter, Atlanta, and a great tale of a woman who has become quite good at skills few have. Maybe it got a touch bogged down in the backstory in Iraq, but before that point – when our main character is trying to really figure out what is going on – and after that point – when the tale switches gears to a cat and mouse game with someone even better at these skills than she is – this is actually a remarkably different book than its predecessor. It also *ends* with the title… which blatantly sets up at least one more book in this series.

But here’s where my reading habits did me in: I never once realized that this book was the sequel to 2020’s Never Turn Back while reading it. Because I had read 434 books between the two entries in this series. Yes, over a span of just 17 months or so. Indeed, I only realized it was the sequel when coming to Goodreads to write this review and seeing it labeled as “Faulkner Family #2, then reading both the description and my review of Never Turn Back.

So do yourself a favor: Don’t wait hundreds of books between the two in this series – and when you finish this one, you’re going to wish Swann already had Book 3 ready to put in your hands (which he may have, depending on when you read this review/ read this book). Very much recommended.

This review of Never Go Home by Christopher Swann was originally written on May 16, 2022.