THROWBACK THURSDAY PICK OF THE WEEK

throwbackthursday

I began this Throwback Thursday meme as a way to share some of my old favorites as well as sharing books that I want to read that were published over a year ago. You know, the ones waiting patiently on my TBR list while I continue to pile more titles on top of them:)! I like that these older books are usually much easier than new releases to get a hold of at libraries and elsewhere. If you have your own Throwback Thursday recommendation feel free to jump on board, you’re welcome to use my pic as well. If you’d just link back to me I’d so appreciate it.

My PICK this week is:

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Published 2011 by Arcade Publishing 

My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars 

Narrator of Favorite Sons Hutch Van Buren is fifteen years old, playing sports and searching for arrowheads in a small industrial town in Ohio with his three closest friends when an altercation between the comrades and a troubled seventeen- year-old, leads to an accidental death. Together, Hutch and his friends become ensnared in a web of secrets and moral dilemmas. Each boy shoulders the burden of truth in his own way as each attempts to leave the past behind.

Thirty-three years later, in 2004, Van Buren is the prosecuting attorney in Summit County, Ohio, and a candidate for state attorney general when he learns that he and his boyhood friends weren’t the only ones keeping a secret about the death.  Van Buren must decide between his political career and the duty of the office he has sworn to uphold. 

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I have to say I’m on a roll lately with these older reads that I’m managing to squeeze in between new release reads. Favorite Sons is another fantastic read by Robin Yocum, an author I hadn’t heard of a year ago, yet I now consider an auto buy!  Over the last few months I’ve read (and loved) A Brilliant Death ( review here) and A Welcome Murder (review here) and Favorite Sons, although published before both of those, was just as good. This story again takes place in a small, southeast Ohio river town and Yocum really nails the setting because I literally felt like I was there watching the events unfold. I’m an Ohioan so I really love the fact that he sets his books in my home state.

The story begins in 1974 when four teenage boys who’ve been friends since they were young kids find themselves involved in a death and make a spur of the moment decision that will alter the course of all their lives. Yocum has created the ultimate moral dilemma  and I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough to find out what consequences would befall the boys. Because you just know there’s going to be consequences at some point in time, right? Especially since someone else, an “innocent” someone, ends up paying the price for the death. How all this plays out as well as how each boy’s life changes is the basis for the rest of the story which about the halfway mark moves to present day 2004 and we get to see how each boy’s life has faired after that fateful summer day and that one split second decision.

This is a compelling coming-of-age story filled with mystery, drama, and complicated moral/ethical questions that beg the reader to think about ‘what would I do’ in that situation. I think it would be a perfect pick for book clubs as there’s so much to discuss and I have a feeling opinions would vary greatly in terms of the moral questions.  If you like well-plotted mysteries with a small town, coming-of-age backdrop and you haven’t yet read Robin Yocum, I hope I’ve encouraged you to pick up one of his books, I think you’ll be happy you did!

HAPPY READING!

More Throwback Thursday Picks Around the Blogosphere 

Jill at Jill’s Book Cafe

Deanna at DeesRadReads and Reviews

Amanda at Literary Weaponry

Susan at Susan Loves Books

Stephanie at Stephanie’s Novel Fiction

Abby at Crime By the Book

Cathy at Between the Lines

Delphine at Delphines Publications

 

REVIEW: THE LAST PLACE YOU LOOK BY Kristen Lepionka

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Published June 13, 2017 by Minotaur Books

Sarah Cook, a beautiful blonde teenager disappeared fifteen years ago, the same night her parents were brutally murdered in their suburban Ohio home. Her boyfriend Brad Stockton – black and from the wrong side of the tracks – was convicted of the murders and sits on death row, though he always maintained his innocence. With his execution only weeks away, his devoted sister, insisting she has spotted Sarah at a local gas station, hires PI Roxane Weary to look again at the case.

Reeling from the recent death of her cop father, Roxane finds herself drawn to the story of Sarah’s vanishing act, especially when she thinks she’s linked Sarah’s disappearance to one of her father’s unsolved murder cases involving another teen girl. Despite her self-destructive tendencies, Roxane starts to hope that maybe she can save Brad’s life and her own.

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I’ve come to terms with the fact that I’m a sucker for books, podcasts, movies, etc where someone in prison, especially death row, is claiming their innocence. For me, that’s the perfect ‘what if’ set up, so I couldn’t wait to dive into this read. An added bonus is the setting…I knew so many of the streets and locations where this book takes place! From  the get go I liked Roxane. She came across as competent and determined to do a good job despite being her own worst enemy in terms of drinking and relationship drama with both a man and a woman. The author did a fantastic job of weaving Roxane’s personal life into the narrative by having her dig into her dad’s old case files. This enabled us to get to know her brothers as well as her mom and really brought an extra dynamic to the story, especially as all the characters were very well developed.

I have to say, the mysteries had me completely stumped and I’m extremely happy about that. On the one hand, Brad seemed to be hiding something but nothing you could quite put your finger on and then there was the other missing girl who was found murdered from the past…could they be connected and if so, does that mean the killer is still out there? So many unanswered questions and suspects equals a wonderful read for us mystery lovers! That’s not to say I didn’t have a couple minor issues with the story. For me, I sometimes felt that Roxane’s drinking binges became a little repetitive. I understood she had a drinking problem and didn’t necessarily need so many repetitive scenes of binging and blacking out; sometimes, in my opinion, less is more for readers. I also felt that Roxane’s continued jumping back and forth between 2 separate relationships detracted a little from the storyline. As I said, minor issues. As for the ending, I didn’t have it figured out which is always a bonus. I look forward to seeing what the author has in store for Roxane in the future.

Thanks to Minotaur Books via Netgalley for my copy, I’m happy to provide an honest review

REVIEW: THE MARSH KING’S DAUGHTER BY Karen Dionne

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Published June 13, 2017 By G.P. Putnam’s Sons

When notorious child abductor – known as the Marsh King – escapes from a maximum security prison, Helena immediately suspects that she and her two young daughters are in danger.

No one, not even her husband, knows the truth about Helena’s past: they don’t know that she was born into captivity, that she had no contact with the outside world before the age of twelve – or that her father raised her to be a killer.

And they don’t know that the Marsh King can survive and hunt in the wilderness better than anyone… except, perhaps his own daughter.

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I was very intrigued by the premise of this book. I’m usually always on board for a good game of cat & mouse and this seemed like the ultimate game…daughter verses father. We are first introduced to Helena when she’s grown and the married mom to two little girls. When she hears on the news that the identity of a local prison escapee is her father, her carefully crafted life with her new identity and family explodes. Very quickly she decides she’s the only one who is cunning enough to track down and take on her father; after all, he taught her everything she knows about hunting and killing prey.

The narrative alternates between the present game of cat & mouse and Helena’s childhood , starting when she was born to a mother who was herself a young teenager. Her mother had been kidnapped by Helena’s father, who’s known as The Marsh King. There are very long, detailed descriptions of Helena’s growing up years in the wilderness with her father being the person she spent the most time with. Very long. Very detailed. While I appreciate the exceptional literary skills of the author in these sections, I found that my mind wandered and many times I found myself skimming through to get back to the present. Another reason I skimmed these past sections, and something I wish I would’ve known going in was the very graphic and for me disturbing scenes of hunting and killing many wilderness animals. I know many people hunt but for me, I just don’t have a desire to read scenes like that and that caused me to skip large portions of the text.  In the end, the back and forth of time frames led to a lack of the much needed suspense I was looking for in a book billed as a thriller. I’m very much in the minority in terms of this book not being for me so I’d urge you to try it for yourself and decide.

Thanks to G.P. Putnam’s Sons via Netgalley for my copy, I’m happy to provide an honest review

 

THROWBACK THURSDAY PICK OF THE WEEK

throwbackthursday

I began this Throwback Thursday meme as a way to share some of my old favorites as well as sharing books that I want to read that were published over a year ago. You know, the ones waiting patiently on my TBR list while I continue to pile more titles on top of them:)! I like that these older books are usually much easier than new releases to get a hold of at libraries and elsewhere. If you have your own Throwback Thursday recommendation feel free to jump on board, you’re welcome to use my pic as well. If you’d just link back to me I’d so appreciate it.

My PICK this week is:

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Published 2011 by Scribner

My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars 

Life can turn on a dime—or stumble into the extraordinary, as it does for Jake Epping, a high school English teacher in Lisbon Falls, Maine. While grading essays by his GED students, Jake reads a gruesome, enthralling piece penned by janitor Harry Dunning: fifty years ago, Harry somehow survived his father’s sledgehammer slaughter of his entire family. Jake is blown away…but an even more bizarre secret comes to light when Jake’s friend Al, owner of the local diner, enlists Jake to take over the mission that has become his obsession—to prevent the Kennedy assassination. How? By stepping through a portal in the diner’s storeroom, and into the era of Ike and Elvis, of big American cars, sock hops, and cigarette smoke… Finding himself in warmhearted Jodie, Texas, Jake begins a new life. But all turns in the road lead to a troubled loner named Lee Harvey Oswald. The course of history is about to be rewritten…and become heart-stoppingly suspenseful.

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I can’t believe I haven’t featured what might be my very favorite Stephen King read! Whether you’re looking for your next summer read or want to put this on your fall tbr,  this would be THE PERFECT read for anyone looking to be swept away by amazing storytelling but don’t want the traditional horror that is associated with Stephen King. In my opinion, no one tells a story better than King and what makes this one so fantastic is there’s literally a little bit of everything….time-travel, suspense, thrills, and yes a love story! Of course, nothing in this story is as simple as I just made it seem and really isn’t that what we’re all hoping to find when we pick up a book? To be transported to another time and/or place, to be entertained and maybe to just contemplate the ‘what if’ of a significant part of history? You’ll get all that and more with 11/22/63, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!!

HAPPY READING! 

More Throwback Thursday Picks Around the Blogosphere 

Jill at Jill’s Book Cafe

Deanna at DeesRadReads and Reviews

Amanda at Literary Weaponry

Susan at Susan Loves Books

Julie at Novel Thrills and Chills

Nicki at The Secret Library

Stephanie at Stephanie’s Novel Fiction

 

REVIEW: THE BRIGHT HOUR By Nina Riggs

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Published June 6th by Simon & Schuster

An exquisite memoir about how to live—and love—every day with “death in the room,” from poet Nina Riggs, mother of two young sons and the direct descendant of Ralph Waldo Emerson, in the tradition of When Breath Becomes Air.


“We are breathless, but we love the days. They are promises. They are the only way to walk from one night to the other.”

Nina Riggs was just thirty-seven years old when initially diagnosed with breast cancer—one small spot. Within a year, the mother of two sons, ages seven and nine, and married sixteen years to her best friend, received the devastating news that her cancer was terminal.

How does one live each day, “unattached to outcome”? How does one approach the moments, big and small, with both love and honesty?

Exploring motherhood, marriage, friendship, and memory, even as she wrestles with the legacy of her great-great-great grandfather, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nina Riggs’s breathtaking memoir continues the urgent conversation that Paul Kalanithi began in his gorgeous When Breath Becomes Air. She asks, what makes a meaningful life when one has limited time?

Brilliantly written, disarmingly funny, and deeply moving, The Bright Hour is about how to love all the days, even the bad ones, and it’s about the way literature, especially Emerson, and Nina’s other muse, Montaigne, can be a balm and a form of prayer. It’s a book about looking death squarely in the face and saying “this is what will be.”

Especially poignant in these uncertain times, The Bright Hour urges us to live well and not lose sight of what makes us human: love, art, music, words. 

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I love everything about this very long blurb; I think it tells you all you need to know in terms of what this book is about. And Nina’s writing absolutely delivered on sharing with us her very poignant, thought provoking, often laugh out loud funny answers to every single question listed in that blurb. Now that you’ve read the blurb and know what this phenomenal book is about, let me attempt to share with you why I loved it so much. I only hope I can do it justice.

When I pick up a memoir, which arguably isn’t often, it’s usually always something true crime. Last year I decided to branch out and read When Breath Becomes Air which was a truly remarkable story and challenged me to think about mortality for maybe the first time. So, The Bright Hour is being likened to When Breath Becomes Air which is possibly good and bad. Good because so many people LOVED WBBA (it made my top 10 reads of 2016 list) but bad because no one should for one second think…’Oh I’ve read one book about death and dying, I don’t want or need to read this one….’ This book is completely unique and I have to say struck me on a level that WBBA didn’t. I’m not sure if it’s because Nina was a mom of 2 boys who was dealing with life, marriage, dogs, female friendships, etc and I’m also at a similar point in my life, although my boys are older, but I just immediately connected with her voice and writing. From page one I felt like we were sitting having a glass of wine and she was telling me her story. Here’s just a sample of her down to earth yet gorgeous writing from page one…

   “Dying isn’t the end of the world’, my mother liked to joke after she was diagnosed as terminal…I never really understood what she meant, until the day I suddenly did….There are so many things that are worse than death: old grudges, a lack of self-awareness, severe constipation, no sense of humor, the grimace on your husband’s face as he empties your surgical drain into the measuring cup…”

Nina not only had her own diagnosis to come to terms with but she also had her mother’s. I really, really liked her mom! I laughed about some of their book club discussions and then cried when they questioned whether there’s book clubs in heaven…man, I really hope so! For me, this was the ultimate page turner that I never expected to be a page turner because once I started reading I didn’t stop until the last page was turned. And then I spent the next hour crying. And going back in my kindle and trying to find passages I may have forgot to highlight. So yes, tissues will be needed but I honestly wouldn’t have it any other way. I was sad in the end, yes, but I was also changed and inspired. When I pick up a book I do so in the HOPE I will in some way be moved and Nina Riggs achieved this with The Bright Hour, a heartfelt book about family, love, the power of words, living and dying.  This is absolutely going on my 5 star reads bookshelf at home and I can guarantee you it will be one of my top 5 reads of 2017.

Huge thanks to Simon & Schuster for my copy via Netgalley. I’m so happy to provide an honest review 

BUY HERE

 

         

REVIEW: THE SALT HOUSE By Lisa Duffy

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Publication Date June 13, 2017 by Touchstone 

In the coastal town of Alden, Maine, Hope and Jack Kelly have settled down to a life of wedded bliss. They have a beautiful family, a growing lobster business, and the Salt House—the dilapidated oceanfront cottage they’re renovating into their dream home. But tragedy strikes when their young daughter doesn’t wake up from her afternoon nap, taking her last breath without making a sound.

A year later, each member of the Kelly family navigates the world on their own private island of grief. Hope spends hours staring at her daughter’s ashes, unable to let go. Jack works to the point of exhaustion in an attempt to avoid his crumbling marriage. Their daughters, Jess and Kat, struggle to come to terms with the loss of their younger sister while watching their parents fall apart.
When Jack’s old rival, Ryland Finn, threatens his fishing territory, he ignites emotions that propel the Kelly family toward circumstances that will either tear them apart—or be the path to their family’s future.

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I was completely taken in by this cover and title, it was just perfect for my summer tbr.  When I read the description I was even more intrigued. While I’m a die hard mystery lover, some of my all time favorite books have been drama filled, character driven novels, so I was excited to give this one a go. It’s really no spoiler in the blurb that the family is dealing with the aftermath of the grief involved with losing one of their children…you find that out basically on page 1 and the novel begins a year after her death. I think it’s pretty accurate to say this is an in-depth look at grief and how it effects each member of a family.

I want to focus first on what worked for me. First and foremost, the setting was fantastic! The author did a wonderful job of bringing this small coastal town to life. I could picture the boats, marina, and most importantly The Salt House…the view sounded phenomenal. Speaking of The Salt House, this was the family’s dream house and renovations were almost complete when their daughter died. Hope and Jack had poured their love and time into getting the house ready for their family to move into when tragedy struck with Maddie’s death. Now, it literally stands at a crossroads along with each member of the family. Will they be able to move past their grief and continue on with their dreams of living in The Salt House or will Hope and Jack self-destruct bringing their daughters down with them? This central premise is what intrigued me initially and kept me reading after the fifty percent mark where I feel the plot started to meander and the pace somewhat lulled for me.

In terms of the narrative structure, the novel alternates between each family member’s perspective so we get an up close look at what Jack, Hope, Jess and Kat are all thinking and feeling. On one hand, this worked for me because surprisingly (to me) the character I most connected with was sixteen year old Jess. Initially, I thought it would be Hope but I really thought Jess’s voice came across better to me. I may be in the minority when I say this but I couldn’t connect at all with Jack. I understood him channeling his grief in a different way than Hope but there were so many parts that I just felt fed up with him. He often completely seemed to be lacking common sense and his withdrawal from the family somehow made me feel unsympathetic to him. Finally, the drama with Ryland Finn left me feeling underwhelmed; whereas when I started, I expected the second half to be drama FILLED. Not the case for me. I do want to say I think the author’s writing is top of the line and I’ll gladly read whatever she publishes next, this one just missed the mark overall for me. If you enjoy alternating perspectives without the flashback factor, an amazing setting, and can hang in there with characters feeling, at times, heavy grief I think you should definitely give this a try.

Many thanks to Touchstone Books via Netgalley for my copy. I’m happy to provide an honest review 

 

 

 

THROWBACK THURSDAY PICK OF THE WEEK

throwbackthursday

I began this Throwback Thursday meme as a way to share some of my old favorites as well as sharing books that I want to read that were published over a year ago. You know, the ones waiting patiently on my TBR list while I continue to pile more titles on top of them:)! I like that these older books are usually much easier than new releases to get a hold of at libraries and elsewhere. If you have your own Throwback Thursday recommendation feel free to jump on board, you’re welcome to use my pic as well. If you’d just link back to me I’d so appreciate it.

My PICK this week is:

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Published Aug 2005 by William Morrow 

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

Annabelle is tired of being the lone failure in a family of overachievers. She’s endured dead-end jobs and a broken engagement. Even her hair’s a mess! But that’s going to change now that she’s taken over her late grandmother’s matchmaking business. All Annabelle has to do is land the Windy City’s hottest bachelor as her client, and she’ll be the most sought-after matchmaker in town. Nothing is going to stand in her way — not the drunk lying comatose under her car, not her family’s disapproval, and certainly not the lingering effects of a broken heart.

With his money green eyes and calculated charm, Heath Champion is the best sports agent in the country. He’s wealthy, driven, and gorgeous, so why does he need a matchmaker, especially a red-haired screw-up like Annabelle Granger? True, she’s entertaining, and she does have a certain quirky appeal. But Heath is searching for the ultimate symbol of his success — the perfect wife. And to make an extraordinary match, he needs an extraordinary matchmaker, right?

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Every few months I need to change things up in terms of my dark reads and this weekend I was on the search for a fun, light ,yet well written chick-lit/romantic comedy   and my good friend Google came up with this book. I was specifically searching for books similar to Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie which I read last year and absolutely loved…so much so that it made my Top Reads of 2016! I seriously love Google because this was exactly what I needed and ticked all the boxes I was looking for. You’ve got Annabelle, a wannabe matchmaker who’s fun, witty and spunky but also…and this is a must for me in my chick-lit….LIKEABLE! I immediately connected with her humor and imperfectness and just plain liked her. When she meets dark and dreamy Heath, I was all smiles because I really liked him and better yet, I could PICTURE him😍. Chalk that up to the snappy, realistic writing of the author.

I honestly would’ve been happy with just their storyline but the author adds to that with Portia, Annabelle’s type A matchmaker competition, Bodie, Heath’s “supposed” bodyguard and really good friend as well as Annabelle’s overbearing family and her book club. There’s characters aplenty and every one is well-developed! Another factor that I look for in outstanding romantic comedies is excellent dialogue that flows and is realistic and this book had it in spades. Needless to say, I enjoyed this so much I stayed up super late to finish it. Add this to your TBR if you’re looking for an entertaining, feel good read for summer…now I need to head over to Goodreads and check out Susan Elizabeth Phillips other books.

HAPPY READING!

More Throwback Thursday Picks Around the Blogosphere 

Cathy at Between the Lines Book Blog

Jill at Jill’s Book Cafe

Deanna at DeesRadReads and Reviews

Rebecca at BoofsBooks

Nicki at The Secret Library

Amanda at Literary Weaponry

Susan at Susan Loves Books

Julie at Novel Thrills and Chills

Caryl at Mrs. Bloggs Books

Ann Marie at Lit Wit Wine Dine

 

TALKING BOOK HANGOVERS & MORE WITH AMY FROM @NovelGossip

I really wanted to do a fun discussion post on book hangovers and thought it’d be even better to chat with my friend Amy about her book hangovers as well as some other fun stuff.  I’ve gotten to know Amy through the world of blogging and over the past 8 months we’ve chatted about books, wine, kids, and our love of all things Bachelor and Bachelorette! Amy was SO helpful when I started blogging and knew nothing about WordPress, connecting with publishers etc and I’m so happy to be able to call her a friend. I decided to post our book hangover chat in June as it’s Amy’s 1 year Blogiversay 🎉🍾! If you haven’t already visited her blog NovelGossip you should absolutely check it out! Amy reviews a wide variety of books and she’s a speed reading wonder so there’s lots to choose from:) I hope you enjoy our chat and as always I’d love to hear all about the books that led to YOUR biggest book hangovers so please feel free to leave a comment! 

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 You’ve been featured on other posts so we know you are a speed reader and you love reality tv but share a couple other things we don’t know about you including….favorite Bachelor and favorite Bachelorette:)

Amy: Haha both of those are true! Hmm, things you don’t know…Ok, I danced from the age of 3 until I was 17 and really thought that would be my career but sadly, I got so burnt out and I quit. I did all kinds, ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop, lyrical, etc. I still remember some of my old dances too, my kids get embarrassed when I try to recreate my youth.

I’m trying to think of something else, is that sad that I have to think so hard? Don’t answer that. I’m at that stage in my life where I’m so defined by being a mom, maybe because my kids are so little still and need me for everything. Does that change as they get older? Your kids are teenagers…Anyway, I’m honestly so simple and get pleasure from small things. I am a homebody and prefer to be home with all of my kids and husband together. I’m pretty introverted but I do talk a lot. I’m a ball of contradictions!

Now the Bachelor question is tough! I could easily gab about who I hate much easier haha. I really liked Chris, something about the good old farmer made me swoon! I also really liked Andi, she was classy and smart. I predict I’ll love Rachel though she’s so great

Renee: Having teenagers is very different as they tend to try to pretend they don’t need you for anything…except money and rides to their friends:) My favorite Bachelor so far would have to be Ben, he was such a nice guy and fav Bachelorette is Rachel, but I also really liked JoJo.

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If you could spend an evening at your fav pub drinking wine with 1 author who would it be and why did you choose that person?

Amy: I actually just recently had a similar thought after reading one of Sue Watson’s books. It was hilarious and I imagine she must be funny as well to write that way. Plus, she’s published by Bookouture so I’m thinking in my fantasy I can get Kim Nash to meet us as well, I just adore that woman and would love to meet her one day! We have fantasized about a house swap. Except that doesn’t help us to actually meet.

Renee: I have to choose Jane Casey. I would love to find out how she creates such intricate mystery plots and also what she’s got in store for my book boyfriend Derwent

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Favorite summer reading spot and favorite drink for summer reading?

Amy: Always by the pool or on the beach. I don’t have a pool and I live in Arizona, so that doesn’t happen often, but occasionally! Favorite drink while reading is normally wine, but if I’m enjoying the beach I need some sort of fruity cocktail. We go to the same resort in Mexico every time we travel there and I love their pina coladas.

Renee: I second that…pool or beach is the best! I tend to stick with very cold Pinot Grigio but this summer I’m expanding my wine options to include Rose…crazy I know:)

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What book series do you predict will cause you the biggest book hangover when it ends?

Amy: Karin Slaughter’s Will Trent series. I’m SO invested in the characters lives that I don’t know how I’ll cope if I have to say goodbye! I’m in denial and convinced she’ll never choose to end the series.

Renee: I need to try that series then! Mine has to be Jane Casey’s Maeve Kerrigan series which I’ve recently binged. I feel like the characters are friends and I can’t imagine not hearing from them again

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What’s the first book that pops into your head when you think of having a book hangover in the past 6 months?

Amy: A Twist of the Knife. I’m sure everyone is sick of me blabbing on and on about this series (especially you Renee 😂) but I binge read it and didn’t want it to end. Luckily the series isn’t over yet, there’s just not another book out currently.

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Renee: Not at all, you’ve got me really wanting to read this series as well as the Will Trent one…I just need about 8 more hours in the day😂 For me it’s Sirens by Joseph Knox. That book had everything I love and I was so bummed to see it end, fingers crossed there may be a second book though

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So you read fast and you read tons BUT are there 3 books that you would say stand out in your mind over the last few YEARS that you automatically think of when we talk about book hangovers? What was it about each one that makes them unforgettable?

Amy: It Happens All the Time by Amy Hatvany was such an emotional read, heavy stuff, but so extremely important and relevant. It was hard for me to switch gears and read a new book after such a powerful read.

Behind Closed Doors by BA Paris was a book that left me breathless and had one of my favorite endings of all time.

Between You and Me by Lisa Hall had a stunning twist, it was just perfectly executed and looking back, I wonder how I missed it?! One of those that I want to reread at some point.

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Renee: A Little Life by Hanya Yangihara has given me my biggest book hangover to date ( 6 weeks!). I thought about the characters every moment when I wasn’t reading. It was raw and emotionally draining but I loved it

One Day by David Nichols was not only an unputdownable love story with characters I became invested in, it had such a big out of the blue twist that brought out many emotions in me…not all of them good

The Help by Kathryn Stockett was a book that sat on my shelf for months and then when I finally read it I didn’t want to say goodbye to that story or those characters.

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 We all look forward to our favorite author’s new releases every year…so that being said, what 3 authors do you know without a doubt would create a book hangover for you if you found out tomorrow they were never writing another book?

Amy: Harlan Coben because I already feel like I have to wait forever between his books sometimes. If took five years (I think??) for him to write a new book in his Myron Bolitar series and it was torture!

Angie Marsons because I’m addicted to her Kim Stone series and if it just stopped where it is now I would be crushed.

Jodie Picoult because her books are just so impressive and always leave me thinking on a profound level. She’s one of those authors who just speaks to me. Thinking now, her most recent book, Small Great Things, left me with a pretty epic book hangover.

Renee: I also say Harlan Coben but because of his standalones which I’ve read all and loved so many of them.

Sharon Bolton because I love both her standalones as well as her Lacey Flint series. I love that I can never figure out her mysteries

Dennis Lehane because there’s something magical about his writing and his ability to take the reader into a completely different world. No matter what he writes I’ll read it

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Top upcoming summer reads on your TBR that you’re hoping may lead to your next book hangover?

Amy: I’m really excited about Every Last Lie by Mary Kubica, her books are all amazing. Exquisite is another that I’m looking forward to, the early buzz is awesome. Kerry Lonsdale’s sequel to Everything We Keep is out in July and I can’t wait! Stranger in the House by Shari Lapena, Bring Her Home by David Bell, The Sunshine Sisters by Jane Green, I’ll stop there 😂

Renee: I’m super excited about The Fourth Monkey by J.D. Barker, Unsub by Meg Gardiner, Final Girls by Riley Sager, My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallant and The Force by Don Winslow

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How do you see the next year of your blogging life? Any changes you’d like to make? Types of books you’d like to read? 

Amy: I’m hoping to slow down as far as committing to specific dates, like blog tours. I’m trying to stick with Bookouture and Orenda who are both amazing publishers and who also took a chance on me as a new blogger, I’m so grateful for their support. I really want to read more of what I want when I want and I’m starting that in July. I read a pretty wide range of genres already but I do want to continue reading more historical fiction as it’s amazing.

Renee: I’m also limiting my blog tours in the future and have already started actually, I only have one this summer and it’s for Orenda who I agree have such consistently good books that I feel confident in whatever Karen publishes. I find that since I’m a mood reader I do better reading without deadlines, basically what I want when I want most of the time. In the future, I’d like to find more quality character driven books that make me really FEEL something, good or bad.

This has been so fun! Thanks so much for chatting Amy and I’m looking forward to talking with you about what books cause our future book hangovers:) 

What books have led to YOUR biggest book hangovers? 

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REVIEW: LET THE DEAD SPEAK By Jane Casey

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To be Published July 25th by Minotaur Books

When eighteen-year-old Chloe Emery returns to her West London home she finds her mother missing, the house covered in blood. Everything points to murder, except for one thing: there’s no sign of the body.

London detective Maeve Kerrigan and the homicide team turn their attention to the neighbours. The ultra-religious Norrises are acting suspiciously; their teenage daughter and Chloe Emery definitely have something to hide. Then there’s William Turner, once accused of stabbing a schoolmate and the neighborhood’s favorite criminal. Is he merely a scapegoat, or is there more behind the charismatic facade?

As a body fails to materialize, Maeve must piece together a patchwork of testimonies and accusations. Who is lying, and who is not? And soon Maeve starts to realize that not only will the answer lead to Kate Emery, but more lives may hang in the balance. 

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Over the last couple months I’ve developed a raging addiction to this series and Jane Casey’s writing! And Josh Derwent…but that’s a side thought.  I honestly never thought I’d love a detective series as much as I love the Lacey Flint series by Sharon Bolton but *gasp* I absolutely LOVE this series and I have to say Josh and Maeve now hold my top detectives spot, edging out Mark and Lacey…shocking but true!

Maeve and the gang are back in this 7th installment of the series and this time, she has been promoted which seems to have her a little off balance, especially as she has to mentor newcomer Georgia who appears to be lacking in the motivation department. Derwent is back from his holiday and has had some interesting changes in his life (Jane Casey you’re killing me with the new developments in Derwent’s life!) Una Burt is still in charge and I have to say, I’m not really missing Godley too much, I like Una, maybe because I truly think she has Maeve’s back, at the same time not letting Derwent get by with too much.

The blurb does a good job of laying the grounds for the mystery but what’s so great about Jane Casey’s plotting is that the missing mother, house covered in blood is just the tip of the mystery iceberg. There are layers to what appears to be a straightforward missing person who is most likely dead case and Jane Casey reveals those layers little by little in such a way that just when I thought I had my ‘what happened’ and suspect(s) set in stone, she throws in a new detail and the puzzle changes.

That’s the brilliance of the way each book in this series has been plotted and what makes it so fun and truly unputdownable for those of us mystery fanatics who want to try to solve these puzzles but in the end don’t really want to be right. Well, you’re a better detective than me if you can figure out the mystery in this one because not only are there layers, there are some delicious twists and they keep coming right up to the last page! Couple that with the fact that Casey writes such multidimensional, nuanced characters who I have to remind myself aren’t real because I kind of consider them my friends now…and Derwent…I STILL love him and feel that the current path he’s on might not be in his best interest…hint hint Jane Casey.

I don’t know how I didn’t know about this series 6 months ago but I’m thrilled I decided to listen to my fellow bloggers and try it. I don’t think I’m the first to say Jane Casey is one of the very best crime writers I’ve read in recent years and I literally can’t wait for Book 8 of this series. Let the book hangover begin. If you’re looking for a distinct, clever, addictive mystery with characters who continue to evolve then I’d highly recommend Let the Dead Speak.

**While this one can be read as a standalone, part of the fun of this series is seeing the progression of the relationships between characters. If you can’t commit to the whole series I suggest starting with Book 3, The Last Girl or even book 4, The Stranger You Know**

If you’re like me and don’t want to wait until July 25th for the US release of this, you can order from Book Depository.

THROWBACK THURSDAY PICK OF THE WEEK

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I began this Throwback Thursday meme as a way to share some of my old favorites as well as sharing books that I want to read that were published over a year ago. You know, the ones waiting patiently on my TBR list while I continue to pile more titles on top of them:)! I like that these older books are usually much easier than new releases to get a hold of at libraries and elsewhere. If you have your own Throwback Thursday recommendation feel free to jump on board, you’re welcome to use my pic as well. If you’d just link back to me I’d so appreciate it.

My PICK this week is:

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Published March 2010 By Dutton

My Rating: 4/5 Stars 

17 year-old Haley McWaid is a good girl, the pride of her suburban New Jersey family, captain of the lacrosse team, headed off to college next year with all the hopes and dreams her doting parents can pin on her. Which is why, when her mother wakes one morning to find that Haley never came home the night before, and three months quickly pass without word from the girl, the community assumes the worst.

Wendy Tynes is a reporter on a mission, to identify and bring down sexual predators via elaborate—and nationally televised—sting operations. Working with local police on her news program Caught in the Act, Wendy and her team have publicly shamed dozens of men by the time she encounters her latest target. Dan Mercer is a social worker known as a friend to troubled teens, but his story soon becomes more complicated than Wendy could have imagined.

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As we can safely say summer has arrived, I thought what better author to feature as a summer TBT recommendation than Harlan Coben…you can pretty much be guaranteed a page turner when you dive into one of his books and Caught is another one of my favorites of his. This book was reminescent of the TV show To Catch a Predator…that show was creepy, disturbing, and hard to stop watching once you started as you wondered if the predator would fall for the trap the show’s producers set up. Harlan Coben masterfully takes that concept and expands on it with this story, adding a missing teenager along with a do gooding social worker (or is he?) and a reporter with a serious agenda. As I’ve mentioned before, one thing I love about Harlan Coben’s writing is that he takes everyday people and puts them in extraordinary situations, making you think over and over again…“what would I do?” For me, that makes his books so accessible and also the perfect choice for a summer read. If you’re looking for a book that’ll keep you guessing and swiftly turning those pages, I think Caught would be a fantastic choice!

Happy Reading! 

More Throwback Thursday Picks Around the Blogosphere 

Cathy at Between the Lines Book Blog

Jill at Jill’s Book Cafe

Deanna at DeesRadReads and Reviews

Rebecca at BoofsBooks

Nicki at The Secret Library

Amanda at Literary Weaponry

Susan at Susan Loves Books

Julie at Novel Thrills and Chills