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ARCs

I joined Netgalley many moons ago, and have had the joy, privilege, and pleasure of reviewing some of the best books out there. I hate leaving a negative review, and rarely do. Even if it is not my favorite, I will leave something somewhat positive since someone else might love it! I will just about always recommend the books that I select because, well… I chose to read that particular book, and it is in the genre that I love. Most are mysteries and thrillers, and then there are the contemporary fiction thrown into the mix.

Right now is an exciting time in the life me. I have several books to preview, and two are from my favorite authors and book series. The first is Down a Dark Road by Linda Castillo. This is the latest in the Kate Burkholder series, and is a personal favorite. If you have not had the opportunity to read the books set in Painters Mill, an Amish community, with Chief Burkholder (who is a former Amish woman), you are missing out. This may be a peaceful Amish country in Ohio, but it is not without its own gritty, grisly crime. I remember reading the first book, Pray for Silence, and being amazed. I recommended the book to everyone I knew and bought it on kindle, hardback, audio, every way I could get my hands on it. Now, others did not always agree with me. They thought it was too graphic, so if you do not like that sort of thing, this may not be for you, but if you do… hang in there with me.

I am not going to write a review for the previous books, maybe another time, but soon I will be writing a review for the newest in the series. I have already started the intro, and I can just tell it is going to be amazing. When you are working and all you can think about is reading… you know you have a terrific book, and maybe a slight reading problem.

I also have the joy of reading the newest Rizzoli and Isles book, I Know a Secret by Tess Gerritsen. She has become one of my favorite authors. Not one of my favorite Female authors… No, she is one of my favorite authors. I think it is great when some of your top authors contain many women. Karin Slaughter, Tess Gerritsen, Linda Castillo, Val McDermid. The list could really go on and on. What is amazing is that these women are not writing frilly “chick” books. They are writing graphic crime novels that can make even the most un-squeamish people squirm.

I know a Secret is the latest installment from the Rizzoli and Isles series, as I said before. This book series has been made into a powerful TV show that showed intelligent women being strong in a male dominated world. As an Detective and ME, Rizzoli and Isles show that women can do anything a man can do, and maybe do it better.

I am so excited that I have the chance to read each of these books. I will post a blurb of each one with the description coming directly from Goodreads.

Down a Dark Road
by Linda Castillo

Hardcover, 320 pages
Expected publication: July 11th 2017 by Minotaur Books

In this electrifying new thriller in the New York Times bestselling series, a convicted murderer is on the run and Chief of Police Kate Burkholder must catch him before he strikes again.

Eight years ago Joseph King was convicted of murdering his wife and sentenced to life in prison. He was a “fallen” Amish man and, according to local law enforcement, a known drug user with a violent temper. Now King has escaped, and he’s headed for Painters Mill.

News of a murderer on the loose travels like wildfire and putting Chief of Police Kate Burkholder and her team of officers on edge. A nightmare scenario becomes reality when King shows up with a gun and kidnaps his five children from their Amish uncle’s house. He’s armed and desperate with nothing left to lose.

Fearing for the safety of the children, Kate leaps into action, but her frantic search for a killer leads her into an ambush. When King releases her unharmed, asking her to prove his innocence, she begins to wonder whether the police are hiding something, and she embarks on her own investigation to discover the truth. ~ Goodreads

I know a Secret
by Tess Gerritsen

Hardcover, 336 pages
Expected publication: August 22nd 2017 by Ballantine Books

In the twelfth gripping novel featuring Jane Rizzoli and Maura Isles, the crime-solving duo—featured in the smash-hit TNT series Rizzoli & Isles—are faced with the gruesomely staged murder of a horror film producer.

The crime scene is unlike any that Detective Rizzoli and medical examiner Maura Isles have ever before encountered. The woman lies in apparently peaceful repose on her bed, and Maura finds no apparent cause of death, but there is no doubt the woman is indeed dead. The victim’s eyes have been removed and placed in the palm of her hand, a gesture that echoes the terrifying films she produces. Is a crazed movie fan reenacting scenes from those disturbing films?

When another victim is found, again with no apparent cause of death, again with a grotesquely staged crime scene, Jane and Maura realize the killer has widened his circle of targets. He’s chosen one particular woman for his next victim, and she knows he’s coming for her next. She’s the only one who can help Jane and Maura catch the killer.

But she knows a secret. And it’s a secret she’ll never tell. ~ Goodreads

As you can tell, these promise to be reads that will sizzle this summer and only get hotter as the publication date draws near. I will keep you posted as I read!

 

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Back Track, Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

I first read this book way back in the spring of 2015. This was a book that stayed with me for a long time, and I feel that says something when you can create a work that makes you think long after reading. I am going to share when I first read the book. I may have even listened on audio, adding to the magic.

I found myself connecting to this book on several levels for various reasons that I do not care to go into. Did rumors go around about me that I did “bad things?” No, I was actually a “goody-goody.” But life happens and just because you may not have experienced troubling things in your teens, that does not mean that life does not happen. It keeps moving, and emotions keep evolving as well. Jay Asher did a wonderful job of taking a serious subject like suicide and give it a new little twist. What better way to get to know someone and what led to their decision than from their own mouths after the fact? This YA novel is full of surprises, tragic coincidences, and issues that one person should not have to face on their own. This was a sad tale, but in the end there manages to be a glimmer of hope. Where one life ended way too soon, there may be a chance for one to be rescued. I give this YA novel 4 gold stars.

I am posting this review after reading many moons ago due to the long awaited series on Netflix. Right now, I can hardly keep my eyes open, but I want to keep watching. I noticed that it lists the series as “Season 1.” After the original storyline, if it is a success will they continue? What would season 2 consist of? Where do we go from here? Will it follow the aftermath? Will Asher create a new piece that explores more of this world, or will it revolve around a different situation? I am intrigued. While I want to keep watching and learn more, I think I will have to give in and got to sleep. It has been a very long day, and I am so tired.

Watch book fans if you have Netflix. Let me know what you think about the series! Oh! And the author, Jay Asher will be at The Alabama Book Festival! It will be in Montgomery, AL. Come and join us!

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Girl Walks into a Bar . . .: Comedy Calamities, Dating Disasters, and a Midlife Miracle by Rachel Dratch

So, I have not had good luck with comedienne memoirs. They were too serious, left me feeling sad, literally made me cry (in a bad way), just all around not the best. To be fair, I had read Bossypants, and that was hard to live up to already.  I had heard that Rachel Dratch’s book was really funny, so I decided to give it a go. Boy, am I glad I did! Oh, my! I cannot wait to discuss this book. Girl Walks into a Bar . . .: Comedy Calamities, Dating Disasters, and a Midlife Miracle, was exactly the book I needed. It was funny, had heart, had a character you could relate to, and even made you cry in the best way possible. For joy.

Rachel Dratch is a funny woman. She is someone who is often typecast (in her own words) as the best friend lesbian or overweight friend. That is unfair to such a beautiful, talented person. I do not know if I realized how funny she was until I read this book. I felt like so many times I was saying, I feel you, girl.

Dratch discusses growing up in her family, her stint as SNL, life after SNL, the struggles of acting, and life and dating after what everyone thinks is your prime. All of this is done with the best humor. If you can get the audio book, do yourself the favor and get it. She has actual clips from SNL and they are not to be missed. I love her part of Debbie Downer and how she broke character. I was laughing until I had tears.

Dratch was very open with her struggles with dating, and I appreciated that. Her crazy stories of odd characters she attracted made me feel better about my own life. Haha. The tales she shares make her relatable and feel like you are are having a good chat with an old friend.

This book was one of my favorite humorous memoirs. I only cried when it was a happy and sweet moment, not something that was depressing. I could read this over and over again, and I just might! I give this five shiny gold stars, and I highly recommend this book to everyone! Get the audio, she is a true gem as the narrator.

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Jenn McKinlay – The Cupcake Bakery Mysteries

I was on the audible website checking out a 2 for 1 sale, and I had found a book that I knew I would enjoy, but needed a second one to complete the deal. It was then that I stumbled upon a new series that I would come to love. The book was Sprinkle With Murder by Jenn McKinlay, and was a new cozy mystery series. This one is also based on food, cupcakes being the main theme. Mel(anie) and her friend Angie operate a cupcake shop, backed by their friend Nate. The three have remained friends from school age, through college, and as adults. They love to quote movies at random times, similar to my sister and myself, and guess what movie the quote came from. It makes for a fun read. The books are more like Stephanie Plum than Hannah Swensen. While it is a cozy mystery, there are still a couple of curse words, and more actual romance than a sweet kiss in this set of books. Sprinkle with Murder is just book the first in several by this author. She has a few different series, including one library series that I got and hope to read soon. Since this post I have read four of the five, or listened rather, available on audible. There are at least three more I am waiting to become available, and one that is coming out soon. This series is a lot of fun and while sometimes you know who the killer is before the ending, it is not halfway through like some cozy mysteries. I have actually been surprised a time or two with things that occur. I give this series five shiny gold stars. While some are better than others, and some of the stories do not make the most sense, it is still a great ride. One of my main questions was how they made money if it seemed they were never at the shop. Some of that gets explained, but not as much to my liking. If you are searching for a little change of pace, something to relax with while sitting outside on your porch swing, taking a nice trip, or want a light “beach read,” I suggest you check this series out. You will be glad you did.

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The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan

My most recent read was a nice little fluff book that is perfect for a beach read. The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan has it all.It has romance, a little betrayal, the most adorable way to show love, beautiful settings, and above all… someone who loves books as much as I do.

For Nina, losing her job at the library was the best bad thing that could have happened to her. Without it, she would not have been able to realize her dream of opening her own bookshop. This is no ordinary shop. This is a van that travels to new locales each day, and she is able to find the perfect book for each customer that comes her way.

When Nina finds love in an unexpected place, the train tracks, she is immediately rushed into a whirlwind romance. This is looked down upon by her farmer landlord who has rented her a perfect little barn, which is more like a cottage. He seems skeptical of the train engineer and his motives. While he is hard to read and seems bitter, Nina is intrigued by him all the same.

This is a book that you will find a pleasure to read. I would give more detail, but if I did, I would give the whole book away! If you like books set in the UK, romance, books, and a chuckle or two, pick this one up soon!

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So many books… where should I start?

I have read several books since Amy Schumer’s book, The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo, but have not had the time to create a blog post. I will try and catch up on the books that I have read recently and find a way to post a review of them soon.

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The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer

What can I say about this book? I read along with the book while also listening on audio. I had read in a review that the beginning was the weakest part, and then it got better and better. I am sad to say I thought the opposite. I would have read this entire book in one day, but I was exhausted after being up 24 hours, and had to go to bed early. But, I was up at 3:00 am the morning after it came out and did not stop until I finished. After the first 25% of the book I was texting and literally calling anyone who was up and awake, and some who sadly were not, and telling them how amazing this book was. “It is so funny!” I would say. I called it “amazing” to my friends and convinced them to all go out and get a copy. Then as it got towards the middle it seemed like the pace slowed down. I categorized it just now as steady, but I mean that in a slow, steady pace. By the time we got to gun control, I just could not handle it anymore. I wanted a funny, upbeat, sassy, and at times raunchy book. This had a few raunchy moments, but nothing like her comedy acts. This was more thoughtful and serious. I enjoyed the book, and I am glad I read it, but I will not be listening over and over again. This is no Bossypants. I feel I need to also clarify, I am one of her biggest fans, and I am glad she tackles big and important issues, but that was not what I signed up for when I bought this book. I still love you though, Amy!!

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Die Again by Tess Gerritsen

I think it was on the blog that I was saying that I tried to decide what to read next after I finished Last to Die. I do not know why I considered something different other than Die Again. This is the final book in the Rizzoli and Isles series up until this point. Part of me did not want the series to end, but I also wanted to know how it ended, for now.

In Die Again, we open up the book with a safari in Africa. This is not exactly my “thing” so I was not really interested or could figure out how it tied in to the story. We meet a group of travelers, two couples (one married, one not), two blonde young women who are friends, a young twenty something guy, and their two guides. The group have broken down in their jeep and are trying to survive life in the brush until help arrives. They soon find themselves not only trying to survive the elements, but also possibly from one another.

Back in Boston, Detective Jane Rizzoli has been called in on a case. A locate renowned taxidermist, and hunter himself, has been brutally murdered. The prizes on his wall are various big game that are intriguing and upsetting for some. Mara arrives and determines that the bucket containing parts of the deceased also includes the organs of something else. Why? This is just one of many questions that investigators have, and there will be more questions later. Several other bodies begin to be discovered. One has been dead for quite some time. How does this relate to the case, and why does it even relate to the case?

Rizzoli and Isles are taken on a journey that will lead them to zoos, around Boston, and even to Africa itself. This is one that starts out with a huh? And ends with an OH! This ride will not let you down and will keep you guessing until the very end. For someone who always knows whodunit, this was such a welcomed surprise. I highly recommend this selection to anyone who loves a good thriller. NOTE:  This can be very graphic and grisly. If that is not your thing, you may want to pass this up.

I give this story 5 shiny gold stars! While safaris is not exactly my idea of a good time, the story is amazing.

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Die Again by Tess Gerritsen

After I finished Last to Die by Tess Gerritsen I thought, what should I read next? I had gotten The Silent Girl, Last to Die, and Die Again as part of a collection on audible and all three books came together. I read the first, then read the second, and I have no I idea why I questioned not to read the third. So, I finally came to the conclusion, read the third! This is the final installment, at this time, of the Rizzoli and Isles series. I am sure, and I hope, that Tess Gerritsen has more books planned out, and I for one cannot wait to get my hands on them. I did read her stand-alone novel, Playing with Fire, and I thought that was an excellent book! I will have to check and see if I posted a review for that on this site. I know I read it as part of an ARC that I was fortunate enough to be part of. If you have not picked up that book, and you are a fan of a good thriller/mystery, you really should. You will not be at all disappointed. I want to talk about that book right now, but I should probably stop chasing rabbits and stay on topic.

Die again opens up with a safari scene. It is interesting, but I do not particularly care for it. I do not know why, I just do not find it all that interesting. Once we got to the Rizzoli and Isles part, then I was interested! Rizzoli is called to the scene of a homicide. A local taxidermist has met a grisly end. I am not going to go into details because that would ruin it for you, but it is pretty graphic. Needless to say, it is bad when even Rizzoli is not wanting to attend the autopsy. It will also make you think even more about living alone with pets and what happens when you die. I am just saying. I have thought about it many times myself, and this… well, it made me press my mother to make sure she calls everyday to make sure I am alive even more. I love my cats, but while I think Jax would hold off for a few days, I feel like Edward would go straight for my face, no questions asked.

I am only about 20% into this book, but I can already tell that this is not my favorite. It has just not grabbed me like the others in the series. We will see as the story progresses!

Happy Reading, Everyone!

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Last to Die by Tess Gerritsen

I just finished a great book by Tess Gerritsen in the Rizzoli and Isles series – Last to Die. Other than the book Body Double, this is my favorite book in the series. Up until around 87% I did not really know what was going on, and even then, I was not completely sure until the end. Very clever of Tess Gerritsen.

In book #10 of the Rizzoli and Isles series, we are greeted with the near-death experience of two young kids. Luckily they are saved by a guardian angel, and relocated to someplace safe. Why such serious precautions? They lost their families in a massacre a year ago a week apart, and then the death of their foster families next. When a third child is found in the same situation, Mara Isles makes the connection while visiting Rat at Evensong. Soon Jane is traveling through different states to determine what these three students could possibly have in common with the deaths happening not only in different states, but even over in London.

This was a great book by an author that I love. I give this book 5 golden stars! If you love a good thriller, this is the book for you. There is some gore and violence, but nowhere near the amount as in her other books. Pick this thriller up, and sit back and enjoy the ride!

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