Blog Tour/Review: Joyous Lies

Maelle is a shy botanist who prefers plants to people. She was orphaned as a child when her mother died in what she was told was an accident and raised in a hippie commune society by her grandmother and aunt. When Maelle’s becomes interested in psychiatrist Zach Kane, she learns that her mother and his father knew each other and her mother’s death may not have been an accident. On top of that, a filmmaker wants to do a documentary on the commune and her grandfathers siblings want to sell the land that they are all living on. With Maelles investigation into her mother’s death and the filmmakers documentary, what kind of commune secrets will be revealed? 

This story has so many layers to it. It’s as much about families and the secrets they keep as it is solving the mystery behind the death of Maelle’s mother. Family dynamics and dysfunction, lies, secrets, and the things we ignore for love. Told mainly between the viewpoint of Maelle and her grandmother, we see how decades of life at the commune and the secrets they keep affect generations. Spense does a wonderful job of making you feel like you are there and fleshing out the characters, even ones you may not like very much. There are some difficult topics in regards to animal activism and animal cruelty but it’s easy to skim over these brief descriptions. I found myself engrossed in the story and wanting to know what happened. 

At 3.75 of 5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ stars I recommend this book and thank Suzy’s Approved Book Tours and author Margaret Ann Spense for the review copy of this book. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Blog Tour/Review: Death at Rainbow Cottage

Death at Rainbow Cottage (DCI Satterthwaite, #4)Death at Rainbow Cottage by Jo Allen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

DCI Jude Satterthwaite is assigned to investigate a seemingly motiveless murder outside the home of activist Claud Blawell. When a second murder occurs outside of Claud’s office, Jude starts to wonder what Claud’s involvement in these cases is, victim or perpetrator? On top of all this, Jude is dealing with a new relationship, a hostile ex, family drama with his brother and father, and a new boss who is very hostile, making solving these crimes more difficult.

This is book four in the series, while I was able to read this out of order (this is my first by the author), I think it would have given me much better insight into the backstory of the characters to have read the others, so I advise that any new readers start with book one. Jude is a very complex and flawed character and we see this in his relationships with others. For those who aren’t partial to graphic violence, this is one you can enjoy. It was a decently paced story although there is heavy focus on ongoing character development, which is another reason I suggest starting at the beginning as I plan on going back and doing. The detective aspect of the story (trying to guess the subject and motive) weren’t blatantly obvious which is nice also, I want to be working the crime out with the detective over being told upfront the who and why and waiting for them to catch up.

This was an enjoyable police procedural (although I will give a content warning for homophobia) and I give it 3.75 of 5 stars. Thank you to Rachel’s Random Resources and Jo Allen for the review copy of this book. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Blog Tour/Review:Deep Level

Deep LevelDeep Level by Richard E. Rock
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Rich wants to be an urban explorer, not husband and father, so when he convinces his three friends, Fiona, Rosalind, and Syeeda to find a secret underground train tunnel where he opens to find something never seen before (so he can become rich and divorce his wife), none of them know the danger they will be in when they reach the deep level and realize they aren’t alone.

The first part of this book (Book One) was a little slower as we get to know some of the characters and their dynamics together. (Rich is really a jerk, why are these women friends with him?) When they make an alarming discovery in Book Two and decide to turn back, the real action begins. Something is down here with them. Chasing them. And there’s SPIDERS so many SPIDERS (UGH, spiders are one of my big nope right out of here fears). Will any of them make it out?

This was a very fast read at under 200 pages. I enjoyed this book but it did feel somewhat disjointed at times. It was good and entertaining but not great and I rate it a solid 3 stars ⭐️ ⭐️⭐️. For a hardcore horror fan I would consider this more creepy and “horror lite”.

Thank you to Rachel’s Random Resources and Richard E. Rock for the review copy of this book. My thoughts and opinions are my own

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Blog Tour/Review: Amelia Unabridged

Amelia UnabridgedAmelia Unabridged by Ashley Schumacher
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Amelia and Jenna have been best friends since the day they met. They are inseparable and pretty much family even being from two different worlds. They grow up bonding over the Orman Chronicles, which Amelia uses to escape her hardships in life.After graduation they go to a convention to meet the Orman Chronicles author N. E. Endsley. When Jenna gets the opportunity and Amelia doesn’t, its the first real fight. They have and its a doozy. When they halfhartedly make up and tragedy strikes, Amelia receives an unexpected delivery that sends her to a Michigan bookstore. There she meets Norman, who may be the key to finding her true self.

Yes, this is a YA book, Yes there is romance, yes it happens quickly. But this is not a romance book. This is not an easy book. This is a book about depression and loss and grief and anxiety and finding your real place in the world. It’s about a girl who loses her parents (metaphorically), finds a best friend, loses her and has to try and find who she is without them. This book will tug at you and boy will you have all the feels. It’s about what you do when all the plans you think you have in life are now gone. It’s sad and oh so lyrical in its writing. And its beautiful. I highly recommend it.
While we are early in 2021, this is in my top books of the year so far. 4.5/5 stars What an amazing debut book.

Thank you to St.MartinsPress/Wednesday Books and Netgalley for the review copy of this book. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Blog Tour/Review: The Scarlet Dress

The Scarlet Dress by Louise Douglas
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Twenty-Five years ago Alice Lang disappeared, presumed drowned, during a stay in Severn Sands. The only thing they found was her favorite scarlett dress. No one ever knew what happened to her including Marnie, the daughter of the park’s caretaker whom she had befriended, and Will, who’s mother runs the local bar and has been in love with Alice since they met. Years later, with the town dying, the owners of the holiday park she stayed in have passed and their son is selling it to a developer. When the land is being cleared, bones are found that unfortunately turn out to be Alice’s. What happened the day she disappeared?

This is another very slow burn mystery (there seem to be a lot of those lately, although that’s not a bad thing). We learn about Alice mainly through the characters and their memories of her and what happened back in 1995. Several of these characters start as unlikeable. We do get a greater understanding for Alice and her personality through the memories and the secrets that come out.All of the characters are flawed and damaged in some way. There are many lies, secrets and guilty feelings that come up during the course of the story. So many secrets. I think Marnie was my favorite in the story and I absolutely loved her passion for animals. All in all this was a good story and one I for those who don’t need a fast paced edge of your seat story but one that will still keep you reading nonetheless. I give this 3.5 of 5 stars and thank Rachel’s Random Resources, Boldwood Books, and Netgalley for the review copy of this book. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Blog Tour/Review: What’s Not Said

What’s not Said

Valerie Taylor

Let me start by saying this isn’t an easy book. Kassie and Mike aren’t likeable characters and adultery isn’t something I condone. That being said this is an emotional story about hard choices. Kassie feels stuck in a loveless marriage to a husband who is emotionally abusive and very manipulative, as we find out through the story. On the day she finally builds up the courage to tell him she is leaving he ends up in the hospital with what we find out is chronic kidney disease. We also find out that he has known about this and hid this, along with his affairs, for years. Now Kassie is no saint herself. Years ago on a solo trip to Venice, she met a younger man, Chris, and has been having a long distance affair with him ever since. 

Now here is where the choices come in. Does she stay and help her husband through his illness and search for a kidney or does she still leave and continue her new life with Chris. Add to this more complications and secrets that come out as the story progresses and you can see how this choice, while it may seem easy, isn’t as easy as it seems. 

While this wasn’t fast paced, it was engaging and even as mad as I was getting at some of the past and present choices made by both characters and their families, I could not put this book down until I saw how it ended. One thing I found out at the end is that there is a Spotify playlist by the author for the book! Put it on while you are reading! 

This will make a great book club book and the print edition has some wonderful discussion questions if you were to make this a group choice. I give this 4 of 5 stars and look forward to the next book in the series What’s Not True! 

Thank you to Suzy’s Approved Book Tours and author Valerie Taylor for the review copy of this book! My thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Blog Tour/Review: Bad Blood

When siblings Tim, Rose, Will & Belle receive a wedding invitation to their estranged fathers wedding they are all shocked. It’s been approximately sixteen years since the siblings have been together- since the death of their mother. With some reluctance they all decide to go to the wedding,receiving a cold reception from their future step mother. and on the day of the event, their father is found dead. What happened and is the family farm a motive or was this a tragic accident?

Told in alternating chapters, mainly from the viewpoint of the siblings, this is a mystery of what happened but mostly a story of family dysfunction. All of the siblings have secrets or problems they are trying to overcome and not all are very likeable people. This is a slow burn showing how a broken family tries to come together after a tragedy.

I enjoyed this story and plan on checking out others by this author. Thank you to Rachel’s Random Resources and author Lily Hayden for the review copy of this book. 3.75 of 5

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Blog Tour/Review: The Wife Stalker

The Wife StalkerThe Wife Stalker by Liv Constantine
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

If you have read The Last Mrs. Parrish you already know about Liv Constantine. This amazing sister duo has again come up with another domestic thriller. The chapters alternate between two very unreliable narrators, Piper who has relocate to CT from the West Coast to “start over” and we know has changed her name and seemingly has a shady past, and Joanna who lives in CT with Leo and their two children.

Leo meets Piper while doing some research for a case (he’s a lawyer) and at the encouragement of Joanna, goes to the retreat to try and get over a depression he has been in lately. But, to Joanna’s dismay, he ends up falling for Piper and they marry leaving Joanna to go live with her very toxic mother.

She complains to everyone, worries Piper is going to harm the children, no one, not even her therapist believes her. Now don’t get me wrong, Piper and Joanna are BOTH very broken women.

This book is is a slower burn that will really surprise you and you will have to stick it it for the mind blowing ending. Holy plot twist! I did not see that coming! The only issue I had was the unanswered questions (which you’ll understand – no spoilers). I can see how some readers were frustrated, but if you know that this isn’t going to be this fast paced story, you’ll appreciate this a lot more. This reminded me of Tarryn Fisher The Wives, which I also enjoyed for it’s slower burn and mind messing twist.

Now I have read some of the reviews that say “there’s no way this could happen” etc, to that I say, did you read the whole book?

Thank you to Suzy’s Approved Book Tours and Harper Publishing for the Review copy of this book. My thoughts and opinions are my own. 4 out of 5

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Blog Tour/Review: Little Sister

Little Sister: A Memoir by Patricia Walsh Chadwick

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Taking place in 1950s-1960s Massachusetts, this is the story of Patricia and her childhood, growing up in the Orthodox Catholic Sect (truly a cult) Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Isolated from the outside work with no access to any kind of media (tv, radio, newspapers), and taken away from her parents by the sect leaders at a young age, she is raised in this small society. When at 17 she is banished from the Center and forced to live on her own with no knowledge of the outside world, we see her inner strength really come through.

While this is a very quick, engrossing read it isn’t an easy one. Even with Ms. Chadwick’s amazing ability to tell this story with no real bitterness, its hard to read the circumstances of her childhood. Her parents and the other parents meant the best for their families, they just fell under the spell of some very fanatical people. Seeing her story after she is forced to leave and working her way up the ranks of the finance/investment world is truly inspiring. It would have been very easy to be bitter or to just give up. I highly recommend this book even if you were not raised in the Catholic faith. It’s an interesting look at what people will go through for their faith and what children can overcome.

I give this 5/5 stars and thank Suzy’s Approved Book Tours and author Patricia Walsh Chadwick for the review copy of this book. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Blog Tour/Review: Beneath The Fear

**This should have posted yesterday**

When Samantha Copeland decides to take some time and go to the Cornish coast to recover from her husbands murder, she’s hoping for rest and relaxation. She meets her neighbor, Tony Walker, and handyman Nathan Scott, but are either men truly what they seem to be?

This was a very fast paced mystery/thriller even as we watch Samantha try and both deal with the grief of her husband’s death and trying to remember anything that can help catch his killer. Rawlings did a good job both conveying Samantha’s grief and keeping the reader engaged with enough action and mystery to make this a quick page turning read. There were enough clues on multiple parties that I wasn’t 100% sure who was the actual bad guy until the very end.

I give this 4 of 5 stars and thank Rachel’s Random Resources and author Sheila Rawlings for the review copy of this book. My thoughts and opinions are my own.