good reads

Books #34

I’ve read a few books lately that did not make the cut for me but I wanted to share a few of them anyways because they are apparently popular! The first was “The Party” by Robyn Harding. The characters were all so horrible I had a hard time liking the book. “Something in the Water” by Catherine Steadman was another one with unlikable characters. It was a story of things going horribly wrong because of one small decision. It kind of reminded me of that AWFUL movie “Very Bad Things.” And finally, “Sometimes I Lie” by Alice Feeney. Another popular book right now and I just didn’t get it. It was confusing and convoluted.

Anyways, let’s get to some of the GOOD books I’ve read lately…


1 ) Burning Ridge (Timber Creek K-9 Mystery #4) by Margaret Mizushima

Another good book in the series! In the latest installment, Mattie and her K-9 dog, Robo, are on a case when a charred foot in a boot is found in the forest. Robo leads them to uncover a horrific grave–a burned body. And that lead to more graves up in the forest being uncovered. Who are the bodies?

This case uncovers a lot of secrets and shocking things in Mattie’s own past that she didn’t know. It also brings her closer to Cole, the local veterinarian she’s been seeing.

The story is fast-paced and I always love reading about Robo and how he tracks bad guys. I also love the relationship she has with her dog partner. Great read!


2 ) The Wanted (Elvis Cole #17) by Robert Crais

“It seemed like a simple case before the bodies started piling up…”

Elvis Cole, private detective, is back. He’s contacted by a single mother who found suspicious items in her teen son’s bedroom–a rolex that costs at least $60k and thousands of dollars in cash. She hires Elvis to investigate and find out what is going on with her son. Except Elvis starts to unravel a complicated case involving a burglary ring and witnesses are being murdered. Who is also investigating these crimes and eliminating people?

The story is quick and fun to read. Elvis Cole and his partner Joe Pike are two of my favorite characters ever written in a book, so it was nice having them back. The characters are all well-developed and felt real, even the hitmen.


3 ) Tear Me Apart by JT Ellison

What a weird, crazy book!

Mindy is 17 years old and already a world-class skier with her eye on the Olympics. A tragic crash at a meet leads to a broken leg and a surprise diagnosis of leukemia. The cancer is not responding to treatment and she needs a stem cell transplant. Except when they test her parents she discovers that they aren’t related.

There were so many levels to the lies. Mindy’s aunt, Juliet, works for CBI doing blood analysis and tracks down her birth father and the lies and half-truths start unfolding even more. This was a pretty intense book and you really liked (most) of the characters. I guessed pretty early on what was going on but I didn’t guess the entire ending. There was clearly something a little off about Mindy’s mom, Lauren, but the ending was quite a creepy tale.


4 ) The Promise (Elvis Cole #16) by Robert Crais

Not sure how I read these out of order…! But This book was outstanding! So good! I could not put it down. The book was an exciting rollercoaster ride and all I wanted to do was sit in a comfy chair and read the book from start to finish.

Elvis was hired by a friend of Amy Breslyn’s. Amy is missing. Her friend Meryl is worried something horrible has happened. Amy’s son was recently killed in the middle east by a suicide bomber and she’s grief-stricken and possibly obsessed with what happened to her son. But as Elvis digs deeper, he uncovers lies by both Amy and Meryl and the real story comes out.

In addition to Joe Pike, super awesome side-kick, there is a K-9 office, Scott,  and his dog, Maggie, who are part of the story and a joyful addition. Love Maggie!

I did not guess the ending of this book at all. Fast-paced, well-written, easy to follow but lots of twists and turns.

5 ) Little Mercies by Heather Gudenkauf

This was a really good read. I will be giving some spoilers, though, so be prepared and maybe skip it if you don’t want spoilers. The reason I’m giving spoilers is because the subject matter was brutal and there were several parts of the book where I quit and wasn’t going to read it anymore but I kept going back. I’m glad I did.

Ellen is a social worker. She’s spent 20 years of her career taking children away from unfit parents. So that is a difficult subject matter for a reader. The author doesn’t go into explicit detail about child abuse, but it’s a theme in the book, so it might be hard for some people.

One summer morning Ellen is rushing to work, late and frantic, while her husband takes their two older kids to soccer and as Ellen is rushing, she gets a phone call from one of the kids of her clients calls her. The mom’s boyfriend is abusing their mom and the two girls have locked themselves in the bathroom. They are terrified their mother is dead. Ellen jumps into action and turns the car around to go to their house. The police come, Ellen is trying to explain the situation to the cops, a crowd of neighbors gather outside and as the police go inside and rescue the two girls, there’s a commotion behind her. Ellen turns to find that her infant daughter, Avery was in the car seat in her van and she hadn’t known.

This the spoiler because as soon as this happened, I quit the book for a bit. AVERY SURVIVES. I seriously could not deal with an infant dying in a hot car. But thankfully, by the end of the book, she’s ok.

Except Ellen gets arrested for child neglect and investigated for child abuse. There’s a protective order that says she can’t go near Avery while she’s in the hospital. It’s an absolutely horrific situation and you just feel awful for Ellen.

Despite the rough subject matter, it was a well-crafted story with very real characters. I think every parents has that fear that one mistake could lead to something life-changing. So this is very relatable.

Happy reading!

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Books #28

So we went camping over the weekend and I FORGOT MY KINDLE AT HOME. How does that even happen? It’s one of the first things I always pack for trips! I was really bummed. So I had a few days break from reading. (Boo.)

Here are the latest reads:

1 ) Every Last Lie by Mary Kubica

This was a really interesting book. Clara has a 4 year old daughter and a new baby, just 4 days old, when her husband is killed in a car accident. Her daughter was in the car, too, but ok. Clara is told it was an accident–Nick was driving too fast. But then her daughter starts having night terrors and bad dreams about a “bad man in a black car chasing” them.

The book is told in alternating chapters of current day with Clara dealing with the grief, disbelief and then suspicion and then chapters told from her husband’s point of view,  the months leading up to Nick’s death. This one really did have me guessing until the very end.

It was suspenseful and there was a twist, it was well-written but could have used a little bit of editing down in places…other than that, great read!


2 ) The Echo Killing (Harper McClain #1) by Christi Daugherty

Excellent book! I’m excited to read book #2!

Harper is a 20-something crime reporter who works nights and is kind of an adrenaline junkie. She lives in Savannah, Georgia. When she was 12 years old, she discovered the brutally murdered body of her mother–a crime that was never solved. She was definitely traumatized as a kid, but she’s a strong female character that you like a lot. She’s not the typical cliched “alcoholic female protagonist that has problems”.

I liked that she had such a good relationship with the local cops. It seemed that they had all kind of taken her under their wing when she was a kid. There was a love interest in the story that definitely had some palpable chemistry (I rarely feel like “love” stories in mystery books have chemistry but this was done well).

15 years ago her mother was murdered and now, there’s a new murder that is remarkably similar to that one. Harper is writing the story for the newspaper and sees the similarities, and of course goes off the books to do her own investigation.

It was a riveting, fast, fun read and I really loved all the characters!

3 ) The Good Goodbye by Carla Buckley

Rory and Arden are cousins, only a few months apart. They grew up more like sisters and look a lot alike. Of course, there are family secrets and issues that make this story a powerful read.

Rory’s dad and Arden’s mom are co-owners and chefs of their own restaurant, which we find out is failing. As a result, Rory and Arden do not get to go to the colleges of their choice (Harvard and art school in California). Instead they end up going to a local university and share a dorm together. Conflicts arise between Rory and Arden and between Vince and Natalie.

The story is told from the point of view of Natalie, Rory and Arden, and you don’t find out what really happen to cause the horrific fire that landed both girls in the hospital unconscious. The ending was an interesting twist. Very compelling and suspenseful read.


4 ) The Last Child (Johnny Merrimon #1) by John Hart

I almost gave up on this book a few times. It was pretty slow to start. The first half of the book felt like it dragged, but all of a sudden the story took off and it never slowed down.

Johnny is 13 years old and his twin sister, Alyssa went missing a year ago. His father was supposed to pick Alyssa up from the library and forgot and that tore the family apart. Now Johnny’s mom is a drunk, depressed woman in an abusive relationship with a local rich guy who is keeping her on pills. Johnny spends every waking moment he has searching for his sister. He knows she’s still alive.

Detective Hunt has also been searching for Alyssa for the last year and his obsession with finding her broke up his own marriage.

This is a story about faith and loyalty, lies, family, obsession and crime. If you can stick with it, the last half of the book is stellar!

5 ) The One by John Marrs

What a creepy book! I don’t want to give too much away because it was a really unique book. But the short description: it takes place in England and there is a groundbreaking dating service that pairs couples based on their DNA matches. It’s 99% accurate. The problem? It broke up a lot of marriages when people “for fun” checked their DNA matches and found out they had another match somewhere else in the world.

This book tells a few different stories of couples that get matched. The ending was such a shocker, that I don’t want to spoil it. But let me tell you, this book was creative, unique, SUPER creepy and a great read!


6 ) Savage Season (Hap and Leonard #1) by Joe R. Landsdale

How did I not know about this author? He’s such a good writer! The book immediately hooks you because the characters jump off the page and feel so real and the writing style is beautiful. It’s classified as “mystery noir” and it definitely has that feel to it.

Hap was a hippy, anti-war guy who went to Leavenworth because he refused to go to Vietnam. Leonard is a black Vietnam Vet who also happens to be gay and is Hap’s best friend. Trudy is Hap’s ex-wife who apparently has a hold on every man she’s ever slept with. They all pair up to find some money that someone else stole and hid.

It’s a fast-paced read with lots of quirky humor, interesting character development and ahead-of-its-time progressive attitude about race, gays, and war.


Happy Reading!

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