Sunday, June 30, 2024

Elle Cosimano: Finlay Donovan Rolls the Dice

So this is the third book in the series, so you will need to read the first three to grasped the concept, relations and overarcing story of the series, so do not start here, start with the first book Finlay Donovan is Killing it

Elle Cosimano is back for the fourth book in her Finlay Donovan series and Atlantic City is calling:

Finlay and Vero need a cover story and a girls weekend is in Atlantic City is an easy sell to everyone. So easy in fact that some how, Finlay’s mom, the Kids and Steven end up joining them on their “Girl’s Trip”. The real plan is to see if they negotiate out of the money Vero owes to a loan shark, find her childhood crush Javi, find the stolen Ashton Martin and oh stay alive in the process. Easy Right?

I was not sure where Cosimano was going to take this fourth book after the thrid one as I personally was not the biggest fan of that book. I am glad that Cosimano decided to have the whole gang (children included) take a trip to Atlantic City. The change of setting was what needed to bring this book and series back up. I liked that everyone there was out of their comfort zone and needed to think outside of the box in order to not only stay alive but hide what they are doing from the family and the detectives that show up

This book is much more like the first two books and I am happy that I continued on in this series after the third one. There were a lot  more laugh out loud moments in this one and a bit far fetched at time but hey I read in order to escape. There were some times too when I felt a bit whiplashed from plot point to subplot to plot point to new evidence that is was hard to keep it straight at times but it did not take me out of enjoying this book.

Kevin Bacon, loved it, and the jokes that occurred because of the name, cheesy but I was here for it.

I’m really  Glad that Finlay doesn’t fall for Steven's shit and puts him in his place a few times. It was also humbling seeing Steven try to care for the kids by himself and even makes a few comments about Finlay leaving it all to him and her just looking at him and basically saying you did that to me all the time. I love that Finlay has found some inner strength and her needs to come first from time to time. And Nick, well how can you not love Nick, I just wonder with all the lies how it can last.

Where does Cosimano take it here from here and i love that this story has wrapped up a bit? I mean a lot of loose ends are tied up in this book. I would read more about Finlay and Vero to see where Cosimano takes the story, but this book totally redeemed itself from the third book.

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Monday, June 24, 2024

Jenna Levine: My Roommate is a Vampire

In her debut novel, Jenna Levine shows what happens when the rents seems too good to be true:

Cassie loves being an artist, but her form of art is not something that everyone understand and is not as commercial as a lot of artist out there and making a living as an artist is tough enough. When she is no longer able to pay her rent, she is out of options, she needs to find a cheaper place to live and when she finds an ad for a place, the price tag must mean there is something wrong with it. But it is what she can afford. Her new roommate keeps a very late night schedule and they will rarely see each other, and when he starts leaving Cassie notes as wat of communication she cant help but sigh for a bit. His words shows he cares and is interested in her, but when Cassie discovers bags of blood in the fridge she knows not all is what it should be. 

Well this book falls into the category of Super cute with vampires that have some powers, some strange ones at that and they are for sure the sparkle vampires from the early 2000. There is nothing in this book that remotely presents them as scary being so if that is what you are looking for, then just skip this one.

I feel like this book is an ode to the love letter and honestly this was probably my favourite part of the book. People don’t take the time to write each other notes, hell even emails anymore that I loved that Levine used notes on the kitchen counter between the two as the way that Cassie and Freddie got to know each other.

I think that this book needed more from Freddie's POV from this book, it was very much dominated by Cassie's and it felt like they only got the same amount of book time in regards to than the letters that they share from each other. With Cassie's POV and her struggles that she is constantly going through in order make her way in the world. Cassie struggles with confidence both in her personal life and in her passion of Art. I enjoyed going through Cassie finding her confidence in this book and I think lots of people can relate what she has gone through but for the relationship between Cassie and Freddie's it just fell a bit flat at times and struggled to get past the love letters. I did find Freddie's fish out of water antics pretty funny with him trying to adjust to the modern world from what wi-fi is to social media.

 This book was pretty anticlimactic in the end, I didn’t feel the suspense when I feel like Levine wanted me too. I think if Levine was going to have the events that occurred in this book she needed to do more for the reader to feel like there is actually that there is concern and that things are not going to work out. I feel like it came out of nowhere and was a complete plot change from what the book was before.

So this was a cute book that was good. I think you can tell it was a debut especially when Levine kind of switch up the plot when nearing the end. I think lots will enjoy this cute, sweet and little spicy book.


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Monday, June 17, 2024

Kate Alice Marshall: No One Can Know

Kate Alice Marshall show what happens when three sisters return to the scene of their parents' murder:

Emma has always tried to hide her past. She has made a point to keep it secret and has made sure she has adapted to the person her husband wants, but when her husband looses and finds out she is pregnant, she makes the decision to move back home to help relieve some of the financial pressure. This would be okay, if her home was not where both her parents were murdered and Emma has always been the prime suspect. She is estranged from her two sisters, but feels compelled to let them know she is going there. The strange thing is Emma and her sisters have never talked about that night and with Emma returning home the other two come as well and maybe this time they will find out what actually happened that night.

This is the second book that I have read by Marshall and I really enjoyed that this was completely different from her other novel, no repeat of her work here. This is a really good twisty turny domestic suspense book, that had quite a few of the aspects that I like in these books; memory gaps from the main characters, returning to where the crime happened, links from present to past and secrets upon secrets. I think that Marshall does a good job with pacing and when/how Marshall reveals the evidence from both the past and present.

I personally love that each sister got a POV, though I felt like Emma had the most compared to the other sister. This is probably due to the fact that she was (and still is) the main suspect for her parents' murders all those years ago. Plus we do not hear from the other sisters until a little later in the story once they realize that Emma is returning to the house. The multiple POV also shows the dysfunctional relationship that the sisters and how this has shaped the relationships that they have as adult. 

I also loved that there are two time lines and that the past one shows what each sister was experiencing not only that night, but what their life was like with their parents and how each handled them, which was very different between the three. How they interacted with and how they were treated also shaped who they are as adults and each has changed a lot. Although all three are different they very much have each other's back, no matter what.

While I think that Marshall was good at keeping the twists coming but I was able to figure out before the end of the book (quite a bit before). I also wish that it was a bit darker at times. Marshall is able to achieve this a bit with Daphine but i wish other things pushed it a bit more.

I think if you like Domestic suspense books you will enjoy this one, as it is engaging throughout. I look forward to reading more by Marshall.


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Monday, June 10, 2024

Hannah Bonam-Young: Next of Kin

In Next of Kin, Hannah Bonam-Young has a new form of blended family:

When Chloe receives an unexpected call that her birth mother has had another baby, she does not hesitate to become a Next of Kin guardian. The problem is that Chloe is fresh out of school and just starting her career so her finances are not that great. She is faced with a choice, either allow her baby sister to be place in foster care or become part of a new CPS program Teamup, which pairs next of Kin people to help them qualify to watch their siblings. Enter Warren a mechanic apprentice with a chip on his should who makes it very clear this is just a temporary situation for him and his brother and they need to stay out of each other's way. But as more of their lives intertwine, they both realize they are more similar than they imagined and maybe just maybe they have found a new family.

This is the second book I have read by Bonam-Young and while I will say I did not enjoy this one as much as Out on a Limb, this book was still extremely cute and heartwarming and perfect if you are looking for a book that will feel like a warm blanket by the end of it.

I was sold on the premise of this book from the very beginning and I loved the idea behind the adoption by the Next of Kin. Would the whole living together arrangement work in real life, I don’t know, you are basically asking strangers to move in together but for this book works.

I dont think you cannot like Chloe as a character, she goes above and beyond for everyone in her life, and really never asks for anything in return but at the same time is not afraid to ask for help when she needs it. What Chloe really wants to have that sense of family and love that she missed from her childhood, with both her birth mother and her adoptive parents. Warren is a guy that is trying to be the best parent to his teenage brother and uses a grumpy front to help shut other people out. He really has some anger issues that the story does not shy away from, but that is what makes him feel more real as well as the relationship between them. Neither is perfect nor pretends to be.

I wish there was a little bit longer time between Chloe and Warren where they cannot stand each other, but i will say that them not really liking or knowing each other at the beginning really makes the relationship that they have feel real.

No third act… love that the two books I have read by Hannah have not had this, not all relationships need to have a break up, sometimes there is a breaking point by people can talk things out and figure things out without calling it quits. 

If you like the Romance troupes like grumpy sunshine, forced proximity and found family.

This is the second book that I have read by Bonam-Young and I know it will not be the last. Her ability to write such cute and heartwarming stories will get me every time I need a break from the darker books I read.


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Tuesday, June 4, 2024

Kelley Armstrong: Disturbing the Dead

This is the third book in the Rip Through Time series, and I personally do not think that it can be read as a standalone book, you need to start with A Rip Through Time, this sets up not only how Mallory ends up in the past but also the relationships. I do not think you will appreciate this book without reading the previous two.

Kelley Armstrong is back with the next book in her Rip Through Time series and this time the victim comes all the way from Egypt:

Mallory is starting to adjust to Victorian Scotland, though inhabiting someone else's body is still extremely unsettling at times. Mallory and Dr. Gray have settled into a companionship of working together and as they deal in Death, it does not surprise Mallory that they are invited to a Mummy unwrapping Party. What they do not expect is when their host, Sir Alastair Christie, goes missing that Gray would be asked to perform the unwrapping. As Gray and Mallory unwrap the body, they make a gruesome discovering beneath.

This book is a fun ride from start to finish, and I think you will want to read this in one sitting as you sift through the evidence along with Gray and Mallory. For me this is the best book so far in the series. I loved the introduction of the Egyptian side of things, that Armstrong kept the body count low and the overall creativity that Armstrong has with this book. 

Mallory is a highlight in this book, as well as the others, but in this one it seems like she got some time away from Gray and the ability to have some alone detective work. It also shows how far Gray has come in trusting her to be able to handle herself in Victorian Scotland.

You can tell that Armstrong did research for this book, not only about Egyptian culture, but also how this culture would have been perceived in the Victorian times. You can tell with the fascination of the mummy unwrapping party, that people want to know about it, but just going about it in a way that is not culturally sensitive. Though to be honest I think during the Victorian times they would use any excuse to have a party. I like the children in this book, with their vast knowledge of Egyptian culture, but I felt they were a little underutilized.

Lots of twists and turns along the way and Armstrong took the story in places that I did not expect her to go. I also feel like a learned a few things along the way, which is never a bad thing. I know that I did not guess who the killer was as Armstrong did a great job of not only having suspects but eliminating them as well.

I really appreciated that Armstrong answered some of the questions that I have had since really the beginning of the series, as to what has happened to Catriona.

This is a great series and I hope that Armstrong continues on in with it. While there are some questions answered in this book, I feel like we have so much more to see where Mallory and Gray go. Highly recommended series, especially if you like investigative novels.


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