Sunday, June 4, 2023



My thoughts

This is the fifth book in Kay Bratt's HART'S RIDGE series. 
Each book is heartwarming and a story that will make you stop and think. This family has many problems but they are there for each other. Always.

My favorite line in this book:
There is more to the paragraph, but this line did me in.

Taylor is a good cop and great big sister. She's kept her sisters together and done what she had to to keep them alive. This family has had their share of ups and downs and things happening that will keep you turning the pages. Each sister has a story and they all depend on each other to help carry them through.

When Faire Tinsley lets a young man move in to rent a couple of rooms from her little does she know that her world is about to take a drastic turn. Things may never be the same for her. In some ways that is good. She's a bit magical. But what she goes through is nothing short of horrid. She's a good person and does not deserve what this jerk is doing. When Taylor and Della Ray come to the aide of this sweet and kind woman Brian will think it's much safer for him to move along. Maybe. You'll love Faire. She's just such a gentle soul. Alone and pretty much a recluse for a long time but she is about to spread her wings and learn how to take charge again.

Jo and her son Levi are at the center of this installment too. Levi is up for the lead in a summer play and Jo encourages him to do his best. There are a couple of people back in her life this time and one I loved. Eldon and Corbin who Jo knows from their high school days are back in town. Each doing what they do best. I love Eldon. He's just the type to make a person laugh when they are down. I think Jo's life is about to take a happy turn.

This book really does give you lots to think about. A few gasps along the way and a big hurrah once things are settled. I was so happy when Taylor finally talked to Sam again. I did not want them to end at all. They just belong together. This is the kind of family drama you can read and know there is hope for them. It might take a bit but eventually it will happen. I love this series. 

I can't wait for the next book: NOBODY TOLD ME.. It will be wonderful.


In Instant Karma, the fifth book of the Hart's Ridge small-town mystery series by Kay Bratt, Deputy Taylor Gray is hoping for a break after the recent crime wave that hit her town. But when a stranger shows up unexpectedly, she realizes that danger never takes a holiday.

Meanwhile, Cate Gray is cautiously optimistic in her hope for a solid future, and when karma finally seems to be on her side, she dares to dream of her own happily ever after.

But in Hart's Ridge, nothing is ever as it seems. As secrets are uncovered and tensions rise, readers will be on the edge of their seats, unable to put down this suspenseful tale.

If you're a fan of small-town mysteries with well-drawn characters and an engrossing plot, then you won't want to miss Instant Karma, the latest book in the Hart's Ridge series.

Instant Karma is book five of the new Hart's Ridge small-town mystery series, written by Kay Bratt, million-copy best-selling author of Wish Me Home and True to Me.

Thursday, June 1, 2023

THE PARIS DAUGHTER by Kristin Harmel


My thoughts

This is another wonderful and very emotional book by Kristin Harmel. The author of The Forest of Vanishing Stars and The Winemaker's Wife. Both of which I read and loved. I highly recommend all three books.

Two women. Two pregnancies. A friendship that runs as deep as sisterhood. 

Elise and Juliette meet in a park and become fast friends. Juliette was concerned when she saw Elise seemed to be experienced pain and was pregnant. Juliette was always one to help anyone or anything that was hurt. These two women became the best of friends. As close as sisters. 

Elise is married to Olivier who is an artist. Elise is also an artist but Olivier talked her into trying wood carving. Elise seemed to excel at this. Soon they were expecting their first baby and both were over the moon with happiness.

Juliette was married to Paul who was the love of her life. They had a love that only comes once in a lifetime. They have a bookstore that everyone loves to visit and the children all love being a part of. They also had two children. Two little boys. Juliette was pregnant with their fourth child also. They had lost a baby girl shortly after it was born. Juliette blamed herself though the doctor told her there was nothing she could have done to stop it. 

Elise and Juliette will take you through so much. Through a lot of ups and downs. Through a friendship that you will root for. There friendship is tested when the war breaks out. Elise's husband is arrested for speaking against the Nazis. She soon learns that he is dead and she has to go into hiding. Without her daughter Mathilde. It would be to dangerous to keep her three year old with her. She asks Juliette and Paul to take care of Mathilde until she can return and they readily agree. Juliette treats her as her own in many ways. She never expects Elise to return.

Then the unthinkable happens. A bomb is accidentally dropped in the neighborhood and hits the library. Juliette's life will never be the same. No ones life will be.

This book takes you from France to the US where you get a new look at Juliette, Elise, and Ruth's  lives after the war. You get to know Ruth a Jewish woman who had to send her two children away and go into hiding. She was found and sent to a camp where her life was horrific. Treated less then human. Left to die. Ruth lets Juliette know that Elise is alive and wants to know what happened to her child Mathilde.

Things take a dramatic turn when Elise comes to the US and finds quite a few things that should not be the way they are. These women's lives again take a big turn. Some for the better and some not so great. 

This book is full of such emotion. From love, happiness, family, and deep sadness. So much loss. It will have you weeping for one mother and possibly mad at the other. Though she did the best she could under the circumstances. It's just a very emotional look at what WW2 did to three families. What it was like living in that time and in Paris during the war. Two American women, Elise and Juliette, experienced it first hand. Ruth lived it.

Be sure and read the Author's Notes at the end. It's full of info that helps.

Thank you #NetGalley, #KristinHarmel, #GalleryBooks for this ARC. This is my own true thoughts about this book.

FIVE huge stars and the highest recommendation possible. Have lots of tissues. You'll need them.


From the bestselling author of the “heart-stopping tale of survival and heroism” ( People ) The Book of Lost Names comes a gripping historical novel about two mothers who must make unthinkable choices in the face of the Nazi occupation.

Paris, 1939: Young mothers Elise and Juliette become fast friends the day they meet in the beautiful Bois de Boulogne. Though there is a shadow of war creeping across Europe, neither woman suspects that their lives are about to irrevocably change.

When Elise becomes a target of the German occupation, she entrusts Juliette with the most precious thing in her life—her young daughter, playmate to Juliette’s own little girl. But nowhere is safe in war, not even a quiet little bookshop like Juliette’s Librairie des RĂªves, and, when a bomb falls on their neighborhood, Juliette’s world is destroyed along with it.

More than a year later, with the war finally ending, Elise returns to reunite with her daughter, only to find her friend’s bookstore reduced to rubble—and Juliette nowhere to be found. What happened to her daughter in those last, terrible moments? Juliette has seemingly vanished without a trace, taking all the answers with her. Elise’s desperate search leads her to New York—and to Juliette—one final, fateful time.

An “exquisite and gut-wrenching novel” (Lisa Barr, New York Times bestselling author) you won’t soon forget, The Paris Daughter is also a sweeping celebration of resilience, motherhood, and love.

Monday, May 29, 2023

Mailbox Monday

Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week.

Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles, and humongous wish lists!!
Mailbox Monday, created by Marcia @ A Girl and Her Books, has a permanent home now at Mailbox Monday.
Here’s a shout out to the administrators:
Emma @ Words And peace
                THANKS to everyone for keeping Mailbox Monday alive.

Decisions I've made this week:

As much as I love reading and getting tons of books lately it’s felt more like a job then a pleasure. I’ve always loved reading. I’ve even stepped out of my comfort zone and tried genres that I would not read before. I’ve overwhelmed myself with too many, or possibly too many, review books. Somewhere along the way I have lost sight of the beauty and pleasure of just sitting back and reading a book. Just immersing myself in the pages and getting lost in a while other world. Instead of feeling that almost euphoric feeling it’s been more of a challenge. Not for all the books but the ones I feel I absolutely have to finish by a certain date and get the review posted. The books that authors give me to read I take because I have no doubt that I’m going to love them. They are more like dear friends and I’ve read most or all of their books already. Those I will continue to enjoy. I do not have any doubts about that.

The thing is I need a change. A reading change. Starting the first of the year I will not be requesting near as many NetGalley books. I will some and I will continue to do the blog and instagram tours for authors. I’m going to start reading some of the many many books I have. Some of the books that I’ve received as gifts. Some of the ones I’ve bought. I can get almost any book from the library also so that will start happening instead of asking certain authors and publishers for copies to review. A few ignore you anyway. I have several authors that I will read anything they write and that’s a great gift there. Some authors I’ve discovered from other readers and enjoyed their books. I need so bad to get back to pleasure reading. I want to enjoy books again. To savor them. To just read and relax again.
I have way too many to read before the end of this year and a few for early next year. I will stop doing that. It’s ridiculous really. But it happens and people who love reading like I do will understand what I’m saying. I want to inhale books again. Really truly honestly enjoy them. So I’m going to get back control of my book list. I’m going to only request ones that I absolutely truly want. Ones that I do not doubt I’ll love. I’ll spend more time on authors outside of NetGalley too. Those are the ones that have truly made me happy. The ones that actually appreciate that you read and reviewed their book. I love the authors. They put their whole self into each book and they deserve to be treated with the utmost respect. I always try to do that. Reading is the best and I’m bringing back my true love for reading the only way I know how.

So I won't be posting as many NetGalley books as I'm not going to be requesting as many. That is the plan. I'll keep on reading and reviewing though.

Received this week

1: THE CURSE OF PENRYTH HALL by Jess Armstrong
Courtesy of Publisher via NetGalley

An atmospheric gothic mystery that beautifully brings the ancient Cornish countryside to life, Armstrong introduces heroine Ruby Vaughn in her Minotaur Books & Mystery Writers of America First Crime Novel Award-winning debut, The Curse of Penryth Hall.

BOOKMAIL this week

LITTLE MONSTERS by Adrienne Brodeur
From the author of the bestselling memoir Wild Game comes a riveting novel about Cape Cod, complicated families, and long-buried secrets—for fans of the New York Times bestsellers The Paper Palace and Ask Again, Yes .

Ken and Abby Gardner lost their mother when they were small and they have been haunted by her absence ever since. Their father, Adam, a brilliant oceanographer, raised them mostly on his own in his remote home on Cape Cod, where the attachment between Ken and Abby deepened into something complicated—and as adults their relationship is strained. Now, years later, the siblings’ lives are still deeply entwined. Ken is a successful businessman with political ambitions and a picture-perfect family and Abby is a talented visual artist who depends on her brother’s goodwill, in part because he owns the studio where she lives and works.

As the novel opens, Adam is approaching his seventieth birthday, staring down his mortality and fading relevance. He has always managed his bipolar disorder with medication, but he’s determined to make one last scientific breakthrough and so he has secretly stopped taking his pills, which he knows will infuriate his children. Meanwhile, Abby and Ken are both harboring secrets of their own, and there is a new person on the periphery of the family—Steph, who doesn’t make her connection known. As Adam grows more attuned to the frequencies of the deep sea and less so to the people around him, Ken and Abby each plan the elaborate gifts they will present to their father on his birthday, jostling for primacy in this small family unit.

Set in the fraught summer of 2016, and drawing on the biblical tale of Cain and Abel, Little Monsters is an absorbing, sharply observed family story by a writer who knows Cape Cod inside and out—its Edenic lushness and its snakes.


From the author of the New York Times bestseller and #1 Netflix movie Luckiest Girl Alive comes an extraordinary novel inspired by the real-life sorority targeted by America's first celebrity serial killer in his final murderous spree.

January 1978. A serial killer has terrorized women across the Pacific Northwest, but his existence couldn’t be further from the minds of the vibrant young women at the top sorority on Florida State University’s campus in Tallahassee. Tonight is a night of promise, excitement, and desire, but Pamela Schumacher, president of the sorority, makes the unpopular decision to stay home—a decision that unwittingly saves her life. Startled awake at 3 a.m. by a strange sound, she makes the fateful decision to investigate. What she finds behind the door is a scene of implausible violence—two of her sisters dead; two others, maimed. Over the next few days, Pamela is thrust into a terrifying mystery inspired by the crime that’s captivated public interest for more than four decades.

On the other side of the country, Tina Cannon has found peace in Seattle after years of hardship. A chance encounter brings twenty-five-year-old Ruth Wachowsky into her life, a young woman with painful secrets of her own, and the two form an instant connection. When Ruth goes missing from Lake Sammamish State Park in broad daylight, surrounded by thousands of beachgoers on a beautiful summer day, Tina devotes herself to finding out what happened to her. When she hears about the tragedy in Tallahassee, she knows it’s the man the papers refer to as the All-American Sex Killer. Determined to make him answer for what he did to Ruth, she travels to Florida on a collision course with Pamela—and one last impending tragedy.

Bright Young Women is the story about two women from opposite sides of the country who become sisters in their fervent pursuit of the truth. It proposes a new narrative inspired by evidence that’s been glossed over for decades in favor of more salable headlines—that the so-called brilliant and charismatic serial killer from Seattle was far more average than the countless books, movies, and primetime specials have led us to believe, and that it was the women whose lives he cut short who were the exceptional ones.

Sunday, May 28, 2023

THE REVENGE LIST by Hannah Mary McKinnon



My thoughts

I've read and enjoyed so many of this author's books. They are always so well written and make me hold my breath or keep me on the edge all the way through. I had such high hopes for this one too. I was very excited to receive this book. Alas I was a bit disappointed though...

While it pulls you right in at the start with a woman screaming because she is being taken for a ride off a cliff, it quickly became somewhat unrealistic for me. 

I'm not saying the book isn't good because it is. In places. For the first half of the book I read all about Frankie and her anger issues. Maybe she had a right to some anger because life dealt her a bad hand but does that give her the right to treat people like they are less then human. To be somewhat of a bully? I did not like Frankie. I did not connect to her on any level. She just kept on doing the same things without listening to what anyone else had to say. We all for the most part have things in our past that can cause us to be angry but we don't go around being so mean to others. Or at least I don't. Frankie does have a lot going on and maybe she should have been put somewhere for all this angry she harbors for every person she meets. I found her to be a bit on the selfish side. Then when I did kind of start feeling for her and thought she was going in a different direction she disappoints me again. But she was persistent for sure. Things she did I found very hard to believe in parts. I mean breaking and entering in a place that should have had fairly good security. That was a bit odd but she was determined. 

Frankie is the main character and very unlikable. That does not make the book unlikable though. It's just her. She is a bit selfless in my opinion. Even when people are nice to her she explodes. And as much as she seems to hate the human race she's not at all observant to her surroundings. She just hops into a car assuming it's her Uber. She's thirty two not twenty. She should know better. But all of the crazy things she does and all the selfish acts she is involved in come to a crashing halt when the climax of the story finally ensues. When she finds the one person she is looking for and without caution approaches this person. She's pretty bad about following people or showing up on their doorstep not knowing if they will hurt her or not. She's very resilient for sure. Not too bright though. Even her own family seems to be on edge around her. They don't seem to have much faith in her. 

This was a fun book to read after I passed the halfway mark. It picked up speed and really took off. Though I had it figured out as soon as a certain person was brought to light it was interesting how it played out. Again Frankie stepped in it and without thinking took off after someone she didn't really know at all. Maybe she is lead by her heart. Or could it be her anger. Who knows. I think the ending was ok except she seemed to turn around awfully fast. You just can't get over some of her issues that fast. I think it being family maybe they can forgive her faster than others can but she is still lying and still has some issues. It's very apparent when she opens the door and you see there could possibly be a sequel to this book. I honestly hope there is. I want to know. I want to see what happens next. I want to know more. 

While this book drove me crazy in parts, in other parts it was quite good. It finally hit that edge of your seat factor that I love in this author's work. Even though I had no doubts who was doing the dastardly deeds it was fairly good. I still have questions as to how this person would have know some of the characters. Or how they could really get away with some of the things they did. But that is the joy of fiction. 

Well done Hannah Mary McKinnon. I look forward to your next book.

Thank you #NetGalley, #HannahMaryMcKinnon, #Harlequintradepublishers, #MIRA for this ARC. This is my true thoughts about his book.

Four stars from me.

The Revenge List : A Novel 

Hannah Mary McKinnon

On Sale Date: May 23, 2023


Trade Paperback

$18.99 USD

368 pages


As a therapy exercise, a woman writes a list of people she wants to forgive, and thinks nothing of it when she loses it in an Uber…until one by one the people on the list become victims of freak accidents. Set in Portland, Maine, Hannah Mary McKinnon’s breakout suspense novel THE REVENGE LIST will appeal to fans of Lisa Unger, Joshilyn Jackson, and Tarryn Fisher.

Following an epic run-in with a client who threatened to pull out of a contract at her father’s company if she doesn’t suffer some consequences, Frankie Morgan agrees to go to anger management. With the business struggling with cash-flow and her brother needing help with the medical bills for his sick daughter, she can’t risk harming the business further. But that doesn’t mean she’ll be happy about attending.

During the first session, the group is asked to spend some quiet time exploring their pasts and sitting with the emotions that generates, before making a start on a Forgiveness List—a list of people with whom they’re angry and might work on forgiving. She begrudgingly goes along with it and doesn’t worry too much when she forgets the list in an Uber on her way home. It shouldn’t matter—it was just a therapy exercise—except a few days later the first person on that list is injured in a freak accident. When the second person gets hurt, she hopes it’s coincidence. After the third is targeted, she knows it’s a pattern. And she’s in trouble. Because the next name on that list is…hers.

Author bio:

Hannah Mary McKinnon was born in the UK, grew up in Switzerland and moved to Canada in 2010. After a successful career in recruitment, she quit the corporate world in favor of writing. She now lives in Oakville, Ontario, with her husband and three sons, and is delighted by her twenty-second commute. Connect with her on Facebook, on Twitter @HannahMMcKinnon, and on Instagram @HannahMaryMcKinnon. For more, visit her website,




The sharp sound of a high-pitched scream filled the air. A noise so unrecognizable, at first I didn’t register it had come from deep within me, traveling up my throat in stealth mode before bursting from my mouth.

The remnants of the yell reverberated around the car, forcing their way into my ears and penetrating my skull, urging me to do something. Survival instincts kicked in, and I fumbled with the seatbelt, my other hand grasping for the door handle. The need for the relative safety that solid, stationary ground would bring was so intense it made my stomach heave. A loud click of the central locking system meant my captor had outsmarted me again, obliterating my immediate plan to throw myself from the moving vehicle.

When I looked out the windshield, I knew there was no time to find an alternate escape. The end of the road—the edge of the cliff—announced by signs and broken red-and-white-striped wooden barricades, had been far enough away seconds ago but now gleamed in the car’s headlights, a looming warning yards ahead. I couldn’t comprehend what was about to happen, couldn’t do anything as the vehicle kept going, splintering planks and racing out the other side with nothing but air below. I let out another scream, far louder than my first, the absolute terror exploding from my lungs.

For the briefest of moments, we were suspended, as if this was a magic trick or an elaborate roller coaster. Perhaps, if I were really lucky, this was all a dream. Except I already knew there were no smoke and mirrors, no swirling track leading us through loop-the-loops and to safety. It wasn’t a nightmare I’d wake from with bedsheets wrapped around my sweaty body. This was happening. It was all terrifyingly real.

As the car continued its trajectory, it tipped forward. The only thing to stop our momentum was whatever we were rushing toward, obscured by the cloudy night skies. Pushing my heels into the floor, I tried to flatten my shoulders against the seat. My hands scrambled for the ceiling to brace myself, but I flopped like a rag doll, my loosened seatbelt tearing into my shoulder.

They say your life flashes before you when you’re close to death. That didn’t happen to me. Instead, it was all my regrets. Choices I’d made. Not made. Things I’d said and done. Not said. Not done. It was far too late to make amends. There would be no opportunity to beg anyone for forgiveness. No possibility of offering some.

As the finality of the situation hit me full on, I turned my head. The features of the driver next to me were illuminated in a blueish glint from the dashboard lights. His face had set in a stony grimace; his jaw clenched so tight he had to have shattered teeth. But what frightened me the most were his eyes, filled with what could only be described as maniacal delight.

He’d said we were both going to die. As the car hurtled to the bottom of the cliff, I closed my eyes and accepted he was right.


Excerpted from The Revenge List by Hannah Mary McKinnon, Copyright © 2023 by Hannah McKinnon. Published by MIRA Books.Socials


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First Chapter Fun 

Saturday, May 27, 2023




Lauren North really wrote an edge of your seat thriller. It was hard to put down. Several twists and turns to keep you guessing. There are a few things that completely surprise you. Good book. Great thriller.

You'll meet Celia, Lucy, Sam, Henry, and Martin in this book. Each has their own troubles. Each has their own secrets. One, possibly more, will end up dead. Who did it? Was there more than one? What caused this or these deaths?

Celia hasn't seen Lucy in thirteen years. Lucy was a child at the time. Celia only wanted to help her. She invited Lucy into her home. She introduced Lucy to her child Henry. Henry was only five years old. Celia wanted to be there for Lucy as no one else seemed to care about her. Lucy is only thirteen and needs guidance in her life. Celia also wants her gone before Martin gets home. Every single time.

What can be going on in Celia's life that she doesn't want this young girl to meet her husband? And why does Celia really care so much for Lucy? It seems like it is more than just someone to watch young Henry occasionally. More than helping her decide what she wants to be when she grows up. But something does happen. Something that scares Lucy. She meets Martin.

Thirteen years later after Martin has been gone all these years and Celia has not heard from Lucy, she get a phone call. A call for help from Lucy. Celia takes off to help her and is carjacked. Things take off and you are in for a wild ride. The interactions between Celia and Sam begin and you won't know exactly what is going on. What is it that Sam is so earnestly wanting to get too in Leeds. What could possibly be so important he is threatening a woman's life. Will he kill her once they get there? 

Sam is not a good guy but he is also not as bad as Celia thinks. He says he's not going to hurt her but she doesn't believe him. She just wants to get to Lucy and find out what is happening to her then get back home to her son Henry. Over the course of the next few hours things are going to spin out of control. Some things will happen and someone will end up in jail. You won't know who to believe. It's definitely one that will keep you turning the pages. 

I wasn't really a fan of Celia's but she could have been worse. I understood why she did some of the things she did. I understood why she wanted so bad to protect Henry. I understood she had her way of doing things but boy was she ever OCD. Down to the clothes they wore and the meals they ate. Every single thing. But still.... I really love Lucy. She was a hard working young lady and certainly deserved help. And a life of her own. I thought Martin was a jerk and abusive. Sam I felt kind of sorry for after getting to know him. Henry was a complete mix of both parents and I never really connected with him either. Still a part of me liked him. At least the young him. 

This book is in three parts. Each told from Celia and Lucy's words. The second part has you getting to know Sam and his POV. Told from Celia and Sam's POV. Then in the third part you really get a big surprise. Not only the whodunnit but the who it was really. Who was all of these people? You get to know each one. Pretty much all about each one.

This is a true edge of your seat thriller that keeps you turning the pages until the wild ending that you may not see coming. I have to admit this one had me totally surprised. I didn't figure out a few of the twists. 

Thank you #NetGalley, #LaurenNorth, #Bookouture for this ARC. This is my true thoughts about this book.

Five big stars and a high recommendation. It's really good.


My Word Against His: A totally unputdownable psychological thriller packed with jaw-dropping twists 


My future hangs in the balance. They’re questioning both of us and every word I say matters. I need to be careful – it’s my word against his, and I can’t afford to lose…

Thirteen years ago. Teenager Lucie babysits our little son Henry. She’s like the daughter I never had. And she believes we’re the perfect family – just me, my husband and Henry.

But Lucie doesn’t really know what’s happening behind closed doors. Until one night, she sees something so awful she leaves. And my family is never the same again…

Now, Lucie has reached out, desperate for my help. It’s been thirteen years of silence, but I would recognise her voice anywhere. She’s back: and so are the secrets she took with her.

What did she see that night? And does she know my side of the story, or only his?

I hope she knows what she’s doing. Because there is no line I won’t cross to protect the ones I love – or the secrets I’ve worked so hard to hide…

An absolutely gripping psychological thriller where no one is who they seem, that will make your heart pound and your jaw drop! Perfect for fans of addictive page-turners like The HousemaidThe Family Across the Street and The Family Upstairs.

Buy link:

About the author:

Lauren writes psychological suspense novels that delve into the darker side of relationships and families. She has a lifelong passion for writing, reading, and all things books. Lauren’s love of psychological suspense has grown since childhood and her dark imagination of always wondering what’s the worst thing that could happen in every situation.

Lauren studied psychology before moving to London where she lived and worked for many years. She now lives with her family in the Suffolk countryside. Readers can follow Lauren on Twitter @Lauren_C_North, Instagram @Lauren_C_North and Facebook @LaurenNorthAuthor



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  My thoughts This is the fifth book in Kay Bratt's HART'S RIDGE series.  Each book is heartwarming and a story that will make you s...