Sunday, June 30, 2019

Group Post E-Reader or Physical Book

We’re working our way through the alphabet with the A to Z Bookish Survey as created by “The Perpetual Pageturner.”  This week’s question is: E for E-Reader or Physical Book. 

Rebecca: Both! Ereader is fantastic for travel or on the go (or at night to read without a light on), but I still want physical copies of many books (and they're easier to get signed by authors :D)

Alan: Still prefer flipping pages, but I drive so much for work that I'm hooked on Audible now.

Jess P: Book, I still like flipping pages.

Rachel: Also both! I love reading graphic novels on an e-reader.

Eileen:  Both πŸ™‚ I read a lot on my kindle app at work. And home is mostly paper or audio.

Jenn: I prefer a physical book. Like Jess, I enjoy flipping pages but I love the concevience my e-reader provides me by letting me access library books and NetGalley ARCs without leaving my house. 

NaomiRuth:  I definitely prefer the physical book. I am a kinesthetic learner so being able to touch the pages makes a big difference. Especially with non-fiction, as I tend to highlight/under-line/notate as I go. Usually the only ebooks I can get through are short or easy fiction reads.

What about you? What’s your preference? Share with us in the comments below. 

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Camp Fear by Carol Ellis

Welcome to the fifth installment of Summer of Fear,  a weekly series of posts where I will review/revisit a classic YA Horror/Thriller from the 70s-90s.  This week I read Camp Fear by Carol Ellis originally published by Scholastic in 1993. It’s currently out of print but I hunted down a copy on eBay for under $5. 

This book opens with a classic horror movie premise; a tragic event years prior results in deadly consequences several years later. Rachael is the new girl and one of only two of the seven teenage counselors who didn’t attend Camp Silverlake as a camper in their youth. Rachael soon discovers that the other five are all harboring a secret about a tragic deadly incident seven years prior.  As each of them face their deepest fears, Rachael becomes more and more determined to figure out just what happened all those years ago and who is threatening them now. Despite the opening, this is more of a thriller than horror and Ellis does a fantastic job of setting the scene showcasing the beauties of camp, the camaraderie of the counselors but also the cloud a dread that shadows the camp. 

Definitely look for this little gem at your favorite used bookseller or eBay seller like I did.


Thursday, June 27, 2019

I Know a Secret by Tess Gerritsen

Welcome to a TBT Throwback Thursday Review.  I am working on reviving this blog and catching up on some long overdue book reviews.

I Know a Secret by Tess Gerritsen is the 12th installment in the Rizzoli & Isles series. It was originally published in August 2017.

Two separate homicides, at different locations, with unrelated victims, have more in common than just being investigated by Boston PD detective Jane Rizzoli and medical examiner Maura Isles. In both cases, the bodies bear startling wounds—yet the actual cause of death is unknown. It’s a doubly challenging case for the cop and the coroner to be taking on, at a fraught time for both of them. As Jane struggles to save her mother from the crumbling marriage that threatens to bury her, Maura grapples with the imminent death of her own mother—infamous serial killer Amalthea Lank.

While Jane tends to her mother, there’s nothing Maura can do for Amalthea, except endure one final battle of wills with the woman whose shadow has haunted her all her life. Though succumbing to cancer, Amalthea hasn’t lost her taste for manipulating her estranged daughter—this time by dangling a cryptic clue about the two bizarre murders Maura and Jane are desperately trying to solve.

But whatever the dying convict knows is only a piece of the puzzle. Soon the investigation leads to a secretive young woman who survived a shocking abuse scandal, an independent horror film that may be rooted in reality, and a slew of martyred saints who died cruel and unusual deaths. And just when Rizzoli and Isles think they’ve cornered a devilish predator, the long-buried past rears its head—and threatens to engulf more innocent lives, including their own.

This is my favorite (so-far) of all the Rizzoli & Isles novels. It’s revealed early on that the first murder victim, Cassandra was working on a horror movie at the time of her death. I loved the backdrop of horror filmmaking. There is also an intriguing religious angle at play. To say more would spoil the mystery. There are a lot of twists and turns in this caper.

Gerritsen is not one to shy from grizzly descriptions of the crime scenes so if you’re more of a cozy mystery fan, this may not be the book/series for you. However it’s not all procedural. There is also a lot of drama here with Rizzoli, Isles and their respective personal lives. Isles’ romantic entanglements always have me shaking my head. If you’re a Rizzoli & Isles fan and haven’t picked this one up yet, definitely do! Newcomers to the series and thriller fans can be assured that this installment could be read alone but the series is strongest when read consecutively.


Special Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher, Ballantine books for the e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

The Secret Language of Stones by M.J. Rose

Welcome to another Totally Overdue Tuesday book review.  I am working on reviving this blog and catching up on some long overdue book reviews.

The Secret Language of Stones by M.J. Rose was originally published in July 2016.

As World War I rages and the Romanov dynasty reaches its sudden, brutal end, a young jewelry maker discovers love, passion, and her own healing powers in this rich and romantic ghost story.

Nestled within Paris's historic Palais Royal is a jewelry store unlike any other. La Fantasie Russie is owned by Pavel Orloff, protΓ©gΓ© to the famous Faberge, and is known by the city's fashion elite as the place to find the rarest of gemstones and the most unique designs. But war has transformed Paris from a city of style and romance to a place of fear and mourning. In the summer of 1918, places where lovers used to walk, widows now wander alone.

So it is from La Fantasie Russie's workshop that young, ambitious Opaline Duplessi now spends her time making trench watches for soldiers at the front, as well as mourning jewelry for the mothers, wives, and lovers of those who have fallen — jewlery that is very special.

Opaline has a rare gift: a form of lithomancy that allows her to translate the energy emanating from stones. Certain gemstones, combined with a personal item, such as a lock of hair, enable her to receive messages from beyond the grave. In her mind, she is no mystic, but merely a messenger, giving voice to soldiers who died before they were able to properly express themselves to loved ones. Until one day, one of these fallen soldiers communicates a message... directly to her.

So begins a dangerous journey that will take Opaline into the darkest corners of wartime Paris and across the English Channel, where the exiled Romanov dowager empress is waiting to discover the fate of her family. Full of romance, seduction, and a love so powerful it reaches beyond the grave...-

They say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover but this beautiful glorious cover matches the lyrically stunning words inside. The Secret Language of Stones is the second novel in the Daughters of La Lune series and builds on the world created in The Witch of Painted Sorrows. However both titles can stand-alone and be read separately.  While not a romance, there are certainly romantic elements present along with a blend of supernatural and history to create a delightful, unique novel. I’ve also always been a bit of a nerd about minerals, gems and crystals. I used to carry around a little pouch of my favorites: rose quartz, tigers eye, lapis, snowflake get the gist, LOL. So I loved that Opaline’s gift involved stones.


I can’t wait to read the follow-up novel, The Library of Light and Shadow. Look for all M.J. Rose’s novels at your local bookstore or click the link under the synopsis to visit her website.  Special thanks to NetGalley and the publisher, Atria Books, for a free e-ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review. 

Monday, June 24, 2019

Meme Crush Monday

Forget about “Man Crush Monday’s,” here #MCM means Meme Crush Monday! For those who don’t have access or don’t wish to use Instagram, I’ll share a bookish meme right here weekly on the blog.

This Week’s #MCM Meme Crush Monday:

Not all film adaptations are bad. Share your favorite “best” or “worst” book to film adaptations in the comments below.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Group Post: Drink of Choice When Reading

Awhile back, we were working on completing "The A to Z Bookish Survey" that was originally created by Blogger "The Perpetual Pageturner."  For some reason, we didn't follow through after letter “C.” Now, we're back and continuing on with "D" for Drink of Choice When Reading.

Melanie and Jess P. chose coffee.

Naomi loves tea as does Rachel who takes hers with a little cream and sugar.  Eileen also favors tea or flavored seltzers if it's hot out.

Alan:  Okay, coffee's great. Tea's great. Whiskey's great. But those are all limited to one planet. If you're going to talk about drinks of choice, then there is no reason to go any further, anywhere in the galaxy, whether you're reading, writing, queueing up, or stealing a spaceship, than a GIN AND TONIC. It is a phonetic anomaly that transcends both space and time. As Douglas Adams explains in "The Restaurant at the End of the Universe;"
"It is a curious fact, and one to which no-one knows quite how much importance to attach, that something like 85 percent of all known worlds in the Galaxy, be they primitive or highly advanced, have invented a drink called jynnan tonyx, or gee-N'N-T'N-ix, or jinond-o-nicks, or any one of a thousand variations on this phonetic theme.
The drinks themselves are not the same, and vary between the Sivolvian ‘chinanto/mnigs’ which is ordinary water served just above room temperature, and the Gagrakackan 'tzjin-anthony-ks’ which kills cows at a hundred paces; and in fact the only one common factor between all of them, beyond the fact that their names sound the same, is that they were all invented and named BEFORE THE WORLDS CONCERNED MADE CONTACT WITH ANY OTHER WORLDS."

Rebecca doesn't like tea or coffee and joked that she fails as a librarian as a result.  She prefers a flavored seltzer.

As for me (Jenn) I don't have on particular drink I gravitate towards when I'm reading.  It depends on my mood if I'll choose coffee or a glass of wine. I do love to try every beer mentioned by Harry Bosch of Michael Connelly's best-selling series.  The Anchor Steam he mentioned is terrific.

What about you?  What do you like to drink when reading?  Share with us in the comments below!

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Funhouse by Diane Hoh

If it weren’t for the Boardwalk, the small town of Santa Luisa might disappear altogether. The amusement park employs half the town’s workers, pulls in tourists, and gives teenagers like Tess Landers someplace to hang out on the weekends. Tess is eating a hot dog when the Boardwalk’s roller coaster—the Devil’s Elbow—jumps the track, hangs for a moment in the air, and then plummets to the ground. One of Tess’s classmates is dead on impact, two are forever maimed, and over twenty others are taken to the hospital. It’s the worst tragedy Santa Luisa has ever seen, but it’s only the beginning. As people rush to help, Tess spies a black-suited figure running away from the crowd. The crash was no accident. Five more teens will suffer before the killer is through, and Tess may be about to put herself on the list of victims.

Funhouse was the first “retro read” I’ve done that was truly scary: as it seemed like something that could sadly happen in real life.   I remember always liking Diane Hoh’s work as it contained realistic sounding dialogue and relatable teens. However, the cops in this book didn’t take Tess’ claims of someone tampering with the ride and someone sending her threatening letters seriously. In reality, I believe and hope that a  more thorough investigation would’ve ensued but if this happened, "the kids" wouldn't get to save the day.  I did predict "whodunnit" about 3/4 of the way through but Funhouse was a fun, trilling quick read.  ****/5

Funhouse was originally published in 1990 by Point Horror/Scholastic.  It has recently been re-released as an e-book along with many other Point Horror classics.  This e-book edition included a nice biography of the author with photos.  Look for a print copy at your local used book store or visit the publisher's site for the e-book or access it through Kindle Unlimited. 

Friday, June 21, 2019

I'll Never Tell by Catherine McKenzie

What happened to Amanda Holmes?
Twenty years ago, she was found bludgeoned in a rowboat at the MacAllister family’s Camp Macaw. No one was ever charged with the crime.
Now, after their parents’ sudden deaths, the MacAllister siblings return to camp to read the will and decide what to do with the prime real estate the camp occupies. Ryan needs to sell. Margaux hasn’t made up her mind. Mary believes in leaving well enough alone. Kate and Liddie—the twins—have opposing views. And Sean Booth, the groundskeeper, just hopes he still has a home when all is said and done.
But it’s more complicated than a simple vote. The will stipulates that until they unravel the mystery of what happened to Amanda, they can’t settle the estate. Any one of them could have done it, and each one is holding a piece of the puzzle. Will they work together to finally discover the truth, or will their secrets finally tear the family apart?

This review is going (or went) live at 11:54AM the official start of Summer for those in New York and  in the Eastern Time Zone. When I was working at Borders we were inundated weekly during the summer with busloads of campers on a rainy day or counselors on their nights off. My knowledge of summer camp comes from a five day stint at a cheerleading camp and the vast amount of movies/TV shows/books about summer camp. I’m an indoor cat so I believe going to camp vicariously through fiction is the only way I could truly enjoy it.

Camp Macaw is both an idyllic camp with lots of recreational activities for the kids but it’s also a place of tragedy. Not only was Amanda Holmes bludgeoned there and the mystery never solved; everyone in the MacAllister family was hiding something from each other when they should’ve been coming together. Told from the various points of view of the now adult MacAllister children and former camper Sean and Amanda’s spirit, I’ll Never Tell is both an absorbing look at family dynamics and a complex mystery. Sometimes when an author uses multiple POVs, it can get confusing but that's not the case here as every character's voice is unique, multi-faceted and fully developed.  Everyone is a believable suspect at one point or another in this book. The numerous twists and turns kept me guessing until the very end.

Definitely add I’ll Never Tell by Catherine McKenzie to your Summer Reading list.  I got my copy through my Kindle Unlimited subscription.  You can find it there or at your favorite local or online bookseller.


Thursday, June 20, 2019

One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Welcome to a TBT Throwback Thursday Review.  I am working on reviving this blog and catching up on some long overdue book reviews.

Taylor Jenkins Reid’s career is currently on fire with her latest and awesome best selling novel, Daisy Jones and the Six. Ones True Loves was published in June of 2016.

In her twenties, Emma Blair marries her high school sweetheart, Jesse. They build a life for themselves, far away from the expectations of their parents and the people of their hometown in Massachusetts. They travel the world together, living life to the fullest and seizing every opportunity for adventure.
On their first wedding anniversary, Jesse is on a helicopter over the Pacific when it goes missing. Just like that, Jesse is gone forever.
Emma quits her job and moves home in an effort to put her life back together. Years later, now in her thirties, Emma runs into an old friend, Sam, and finds herself falling in love again. When Emma and Sam get engaged, it feels like Emma’s second chance at happiness.
That is, until Jesse is found. He’s alive, and he’s been trying all these years to come home to her. With a husband and a fiancΓ©, Emma has to now figure out who she is and what she wants, while trying to protect the ones she loves.
Who is her one true love? What does it mean to love truly?
Emma knows she has to listen to her heart. She’s just not sure what it’s saying.

Taylor made the soap opera cliche of a lover returning from the dead into a realistic heartbreaking read. (Dallas’ Bobby Ewing, I’m looking at you.) You really feel for Emma as her life seemingly falls apart again just when it came back together. Despite his ordeal, I found Jesse to be a tad selfish for thinking he’d just swoop in and resume life as normal. At its core though, One True Loves is a thoughtfully sweet tale about growing up, changing your mind and discovering who you want to be and whether a former version of yourself is your true self.  I also especially loved Emma’s family and their family run bookstore. It evoked string memories of all the years I worked at Waldenbooks/Borders.

Definitely look for One True Loves at your local bookseller.


Special Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the e-ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Buns by Alice Clayton

Welcome to a Totally Overdue For Review Tuesday post. I am working on reviving this blog and catching up on some long overdue book reviews.

Buns, originally published May 2017, is the third novel in Alice’s “Hudson Valley” series. I’m fortunate to live in the Hudson Valley but I’ve never been to the Mohonk Mountain House which is the inspiration for the Bryant Mountain House. However if the Mohonk Mountain House it’s even half as charming as the Bryant Mountain House, I definitely need to visit.

Clara Morgan is living the dream, if you can call rebranding hotels that are desperate for a new life and running any kind of marathon a dream. Which she does. But the career she loves and the endurance races that keep her adrenaline pumping have kept her too busy to put down any roots. Growing up in foster care, she’s never been able to establish traditions of her own, which may be why she’s fascinated by the rituals that generations-old family resorts are known for. She’s especially interested in the Bryant Mountain House, and not just for their secret recipe for the yummy, gooey, can’t-get-enough-of Hot Cross Buns….
Archie Bryant, the man with the Buns, is fifth generation and one-day-owner of the charming yet run-down Bryant Mountain House in Bailey Falls, New York. He’s determined to save his family’s legacy from the wrecking ball the old-fashioned way—by gritting his teeth and doing what needs to be done. There’s no way Archie will be influenced by the new hotel branding expert his father brought in to turn one hundred and fifty years of tradition on its head just to attract a faster, younger, slicker crowd. But when some of Clara’s ideas start bringing in new, paying customers, Archie can’t deny that she may have just given him a shot at keeping his resort open.
It’s sticky, it’s messy, it’s sweet, it’s Buns.

I was a fan of Alice’s “Redhead” series delightful rom-com’s featuring a struggling redheaded actress. Buns features all the best qualities of that series: relatable characters, delightful banter and romantic scenes that are  sweet like those buns but also a little spicy. I highly recommend Buns if you’re looking for a light-hearted romance. Now I’m off to find a cinnamon bun as all this bun talk has made me hungry.  Ask your favorite bookseller for Buns or visit the author's website listed in the synopsis above for purchasing info.


Special thanks to Netgalley and the publisher Gallery Books/Pocket Books for the e-ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Meme Crush Monday

Forget about “Man Crush Monday’s,” here #MCM means Meme Crush Monday! For those who don’t have access or don’t wish to use Instagram, I’ll share a bookish meme right here weekly on the blog.

This Week’s #MCM Meme Crush Monday:

Rebecca and Naomi took home some impressive book hauls that they shared on Instagram this weekend. 

Tell us about your recent book hauls in the comments below! 

Saturday, June 15, 2019

The Lifeguard by Richie Tankersley Cusick

Whom do you trust with your life?
Kelsey’s summer vacation will be perfect—a holiday on Beverly Island, where she’ll get to know her mom’s new boyfriend, Eric, and enjoy the perks of a sun-drenched beach and gorgeous lifeguards.
But Kelsey’s dream holiday quickly turns into a nightmare when Eric’s daughter, Beth, goes missing. When Kelsey finds a mysterious note from Beth, she doesn’t know whom to believe. Also terrifying is the number of suspicious drownings and the creepy fisherman . . . at least she has the lifeguards around to protect her, right? But what Kelsey doesn’t know is that these lifeguards don’t come to the rescue—they have other plans. ~

This was a perfect summer thriller. Right from the opening we know something isn’t right on Beverly Island. Not only is Beth missing but there’s a creepy “Crazy Ralph” type living in the rundown lighthouse.  In addition to the pre-internet communication lags, Kelsey’s mom and her mother’s boyfriend are oddly not very concerned in their children’s crises. Throughout the book, there are POVs of the titular evil lifeguard and plenty of red herrings. 🌟🌟🌟.5/5

The Lifeguard was originally published in 1988 as part of the “Point Horror” series. All Point Horror YA novels were recently re-released in an e-book format. This edition included a great biography on the author including photos of her throughout her life. Presently all Point Horror novels are included as part of “Kindle Unlimited” so you can binge to hearts content or visit the publisher’s site for more ordering options.

Have you read The Lifeguard or any other Point Horror novels? Share with us in the comments below.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Tempting Fate by Jane Green

When Gabby first met Elliott she knew he was the man for her. In twenty years of marriage she has never doubted her love for him—even when he refused to give her the one thing she still wants most of all. But now their two daughters are growing up Gabby feels that time and her youth are slipping away. For the first time in her life she is restless. And then she meets Matt…
Intoxicated by the way this young, handsome and successful man makes her feel, Gabby is momentarily blind to what she stands to lose on this dangerous path. And in one reckless moment she destroys all that she holds dear.
Consumed by regret, Gabby does everything she can to repair the home she has broken. But are some betrayals too great to forgive?  -

I picked up Tempting Fate as I learned it was adapted into a Lifetime Movie as part of Lifetime’s “Book to Screen” series of Summer films. Tempting Fate premieres this Saturday at 8PM EST and stars Alyssa Milano as Gabby. To Have and to Hold, and Family Pictures also by Jane Green debut on the subsequent June Saturday’s followed by five films covering V.C. Andrews’ Heaven series.

Green did a great job of showing how one mistake can have a ripple effect and affect not just your life but all those around you. I found Gabby to be both very selfish but also sympathetic. She resents that her husband had a vasectomy after they had their two daughters as she always wanted a third child. She so angry that her wants weren’t met and she didn’t seem to care what his were. Eliot seems nowhere the neglectful spouse she describes him to be. She complains about financial issues despite being married to a MD and not fully pursuing her furniture crafting business or trying to contribute financially to the household. However despite all the annoying things she did, I felt really bad for her as her dalliance with Matt seemingly wrecked her life as she felt true remorse and finally started seeming more mature than her teen daughters.

Tempting Fate was a quick read with soapy twists and heart.


You can meet Jane Green on tour with her latest novel, The Friends We Keep.

What Jane Green books have you read? Are you excited about the film adaptations? Share with us in the comments.

Special Thanks to the Ramapo Catskill Library System for the e-book.  If you're not already checking out e-books from your library - what are you waiting for?  It's easy and free!! Support your local libraries.  Also many thanks go out to my favorite library employee who helped me renew my card recently! 

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Exposed & Feared by Lisa Scottoline

Welcome to a TBT Throwback Thursday Review.  I am working on reviving this blog and catching up on some long overdue book reviews. Exposed and Feared by Lisa Scottoline are the most recent titles in her Rosato & DiNunzio series and were published in August 2017 and August 2018 respectively.

Mary DiNunzio wants to represent her old friend Simon Pensiera, a sales rep who was wrongly fired by his company, but her partner Bennie Rosato represents the parent company. When she confronts Mary, explaining this is a conflict of interest, an epic battle of wills and legal strategy between the two ensues ripping the law firm apart, forcing everyone to take sides and turning friend against friend.

When three men announce that they are suing the Rosato & DiNunzio law firm for reverse sex discrimination—claiming that they were not hired because they were men—Mary DiNunzio and Bennie Rosato are outraged. To make matters worse, their one male employee, John Foxman, intends to resign, claiming that there is some truth to this case.
The plaintiffs’ lawyer is Nick Machiavelli, who has already lost to Mary once and is now back with a vengeance —determined not to not only win, but destroy the firm. It soon becomes clear that Machiavelli will do anything in his power to achieve this…even after the case turns deadly. The stakes have never been higher for Mary and her associates as they try to keep Machiavelli at bay, solve a murder, and save the law firm they love…or they could lose everything they’ve worked for. Told with Scottoline’s trademark gift for twists, turns, heart, and humanity, this latest thriller asks the question: is it better to be loved, or feared…​ -
I love all the Rosato & DiNunzio novels and the prior related series Rosato & Associates.  Exposed and Feared were no exception.  Although Feared was my favorite of the two and one of my favorite of the stories about the "all female law firm" precisely for the fact that the book centered on the possible discrimination issues arising from that very conceit.

Exposed was great in that it really showed some character growth for Mary who has always struggled with asserting herself outside the courtroom and this is further built upon in Feared.  Scottoline always does a fantastic job of balancing the personal dramas of the characters we loved throughout the series as well as providing a thought provoking legal dilemma.

While this series does not need to be read in order, I highly recommend it so that you can develop a relationship with Mary, Bennie and everyone working at the Rosato & DiNunzio firm.  I don't know if a follow-up to Feared is planned but it's still my hope that we get a new book soon featuring attorney Anne Murphy who hasn't carried a book on her own since Courting Trouble.

Final Verdict:  3.5/5 Stars for Exposed;  4/5 Stars for Feared

Special Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for the digital ARC in exchange for a honest review.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Thin Air by Lisa Gray

Private investigator Jessica Shaw is used to getting anonymous tips. But after receiving a photo of a three-year-old kidnapped from Los Angeles twenty-five years ago, Jessica is stunned to recognize the little girl as herself.

Eager for answers, Jessica heads to LA’s dark underbelly. When she learns that her biological mother was killed the night she was abducted, Jessica’s determined to solve a case the police have forgotten.
Meanwhile, veteran LAPD detective Jason Pryce is in the midst of a gruesome investigation into a murdered college student moonlighting as a prostitute.
A chance encounter leads to them crossing paths, but Jessica soon realizes that Pryce is hiding something about her father’s checkered history and her mother’s death.
To solve her mother’s murder and her own disappearance, Jessica must dig into the past and find the secrets buried there.
But the air gets thinner as she crawls closer to the truth, and it’s getting harder and harder to breathe.

Thin Air was like a mash-up of some of my favorite things.  The initial premise of a young woman who discovers she may have been a kidnapping victim as a toddler is the same initial premise of one of my favorite books, Caroline B. Cooney's The Face on the Milk Carton. In The Face on the Milk Carton, Cooney did a fantastic job of detailing the conflicting emotions one would likely feel in this situation.  For me, Jessica's reaction in Thin Air was very undeveloped.  She didn't really seem that shocked to discover that her late father had lied to her about her mother and her background. Perhaps, she was just repressing a lot of emotion as she was still recovering from her father's unexpected death but I would've liked to have seen that explored more. 

Thin Air is told from various points of view at alternating timelines some from the mid-90s when Jessica was first abducted and in the present as Jessica works to solve the mystery of her past and Detective Pryce works a mystery in the present.  The flashbacks and alternating points of view wove together nicely and reminded me of one of my favorite shows, Cold Case.  While Pryce and Jessica cross paths on a personal level, I really thought Pryce's case would've been best told separately in another novel all about him or perhaps he and Jessica will team up in subsequent novels and work together. 

When we meet Jessica, she is living a nomadic life doing PI work throughout the United States.  She reminded me a little of Lee Child's Jack Reacher except Jess travels with a lot more clothes and toiletries.

This was a sharp little thriller and it will keep you guessing but I hope subsequent installments in this series delve deeper into Jessica's emotional state, her connection with Pryce and I hope we see her "friend" Jack Holliday again.

3.5/5 Stars

For more information on Thin Air and information on where to purchase, check out Lisa Gray's website.

Special Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher Thomas & Mercer for providing a free digital ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Meme Crush Monday

Forget about “Man Crush Monday’s,” here #MCM means Meme Crush Monday! For those who don’t have access or don’t wish to use Instagram, I’ll share a bookish meme right here weekly on the blog.

This Week’s #MCM Meme Crush Monday:

I am guilty of often using the phrase “impossible to put down” in a review for a book I loved. What was the last book you read that was “impossible to put down”? Share with us in the comments!   

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Fear Street: Lights Out by R.L. Stine

Welcome to the second installment of Summer of Fear,  a weekly series of posts where I will review/revisit a classic YA Horror/Thriller from the 70s-90s.  This week I re-read Lights Out, part of the Fear Street series by R.L. Stine.

Lights Out was the second Fear Street I ever got in the mid-90s. My first was The Knife. This was before the "Goosebumps" phenomenon. I was searching for something a little different than my favorite standbys The Baby-Sitters Club and Sweet Valley High. The cover intrigued me and a love of Fear Street soon developed.  My mom even paid for me to be in a “Fear Street Book Club" where I received two backlist titles a month. It even came with this rad magnet I still have today.  At the time I was adverse to horror movies, finding them too scary, but somehow I felt myself drawn to these books. In retrospect I see that they were horror “lite” and primed me for my current love of horror movies.

Lights Out has a lot of “jump scares” and a one very dark really good scare.  I loved the protagonist Holly. She was strong and resourceful in trying to solve the mystery and save her uncle’s camp. Early on one of the counselors references the Friday the 13th movies and one character is even described as resembling Kevin Bacon who started in the first Friday the 13th film. Light Out definitely had some subtle homages to my favorite 80s slasher film. This was a fun reread and I highly recommend seeking it out at your favorite used bookseller or secondhand online retailer. 3.5/5 Stars

I have had the pleasure of meeting R.L. Stine at Book Expo a few years ago.  His friendliness and humor in real life makes his books that much more enjoyable.

This year, R.L. released Return to Fear Street novels. My favorite of the new novels is You May Now Kill the Bride.  You can find more information about those here.

In my mid-90s copy of Lights Out, R.L. Stine has his author bio in the back pages. His son Matt referenced in the bio is now a music producer for Bettlejuice on Broadway. Clearly artistic talents for creepy fun run in the family. Good luck to the cast and crew of  Beetlejuice at this year’s Tony’s and check out Matt's production work on the recently released Beetlejuice Broadway Cast Album. You can find more information on that here.

Have you read Lights Out?  What is your favorite Fear Street book?

Thursday, June 6, 2019

The Red by Tiffany Reisz

Welcome to a TBT Throwback Thursday Review.  I am working on reviving this blog and catching up on some long overdue book reviews. The Red by Tiffany Reisz was released in July 2017. 

Mona Lisa St. James made a deathbed promise that she would do anything to save her mother's art gallery. Unfortunately, not only is The Red painted red, but it's in the red.
Just as she realizes she has no choice but to sell it, a mysterious man comes in after closing time and makes her an offer: He will save The Red if she agrees to submit to him for the period of one year.
The man is handsome, English, and terribly tempting...but surely her mother didn't mean for Mona to sell herself to a stranger. Then again, she did promise to do anything to save The Red...

If you're looking for a red hot scorching read, look no further than The Red by Tiffany Reisz.  This book is full-fledged erotica and not for the timid.  It's also quite kinky and strays very far from anything resembling shades of dismal hues.  Mona's passion extends way beyond her passion for art and her late mother's gallery.   What makes The Red really shine is the development of the relationship between Mona and "the stranger" who intends to save the galley.  Plus the descriptions of all the paintings will have you running to your nearest art museum and fantasizing over the paintings mentioned in the book and letting your imagination run wild over those that catch your eye.  5/5 Stars

While The Red is considered a stand-alone novel, Tiffany has recently released a companion novel, The Rose and you can find both at your favorite local bookseller or by visiting the author's website, for more information.