Out of the Dark by Gregg Hurwitz: Book Review

 

Out of the Dark By Gregg Hurwitz
Published: Jan 29, 2019 by Minotaur Books
400 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy on Amazon

From Publisher: Taken from a group home at age twelve, Evan Smoak was raised and trained as part of the Orphan Program, an off-the-books operation designed to create assassins. Evan was Orphan X. He broke with the Program, using everything he learned to disappear and reinvent himself as the Nowhere Man, a man who helps the truly desperate when no one else can. But now, someone at the very highest level of government has been trying to eliminate every trace of the Orphan Program by killing all the remaining Orphans and their trainers

My Thoughts: If I’m ever in trouble, I hope someone calls Evan Smoak for me! Orphan X is back in the 4th installment of this fast paced, fun thriller series and he’s going after his most hated opponent yet, the President of the United States. The prologue shows us a very interesting scene in Russia in which Evan is out on his first solo mission as a trained assassin for a dark black ops program the US government formed.  I really enjoyed getting a glimpse of Evan as a young man because, cut to current day, he’s now in what I guess to be his late 30s and he’s no longer in the program. He now spends his days being The Nowhere Man, carrying out his own brand of vigilante justice for those who call his super secret line and are in dire need of help. The two storylines run parallel to each other and the author pulls them off brilliantly.

While Evan is doing some serious scouting of the President’s agendas, day to day security details, life in and outside The White House , etc we are privy to some fascinating details about the life of The President which I’m assuming are true (at least most) and which seem very thoroughly researched. This was one of my favorite parts of the book actually! While Evan is deciding on his best course of action to assassinate the President, the President has called in Evan’s arch rival, Orphan A, to kill Evan. It’s all very cut throat, fast paced, and tension filled.

Along with these 2 main storylines, we also have Evan’s ongoing romantic involvement with his neighbor, single mom and prosecutor Mia, who, accurately enough, suspects that Evan isn’t living the most law abiding lifestyle (she has no idea how right she is) so she won’t allow herself or her son to become too invested in him. I love how Hurwitz has weaved this thread of Mia and Evan throughout all 4 books.

If this sounds like a lot going on in one book, it is but it all works. I’ve said it before, the Orphan X novels remind me of the Jason Bourne movies so if you like that type of fast paced, action filled thriller with a very smart good guy to root for, who let’s face it, seemingly can’t be killed and almost never sleeps, this is for you. Do you have to suspend disbelief in parts? Of course, but who cares because this story and these characters are just so well done.

I will say, I highly recommend starting with book 1, Orphan X, in order to get the full backstory of these characters but if you choose to start here, Hurwitz does a great job of providing just enough info about important events from the previous books so you won’t feel completely lost. If you’re in the mood for an action packed thriller, you can’t go wrong with this series and good news…. I read that there will be 3 more Orphan X books in the future so you have plenty of time to catch up!

Thanks to Minotaur Books via Netgalley for my copy in exchange for an honest review 

BLOG TOUR & REVIEW: KILLED By Thomas Enger, Translated By Kari Dickson

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Killed by Thomas Enger, published by the wonderful Orenda books and available Feb 28, 2018. 

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Henning Juul sits in a boat on a dark lake. A man with a gun sits opposite him. At the man’s feet is a body that will be soon be dumped into the water. Henning knows that the same fate awaits him. And he knows that it’s his own fault. Who started the fire that killed Henning’s young son? How is his sister, Trine, involved? Most importantly, who can be trusted? Packed with tension and unexpected twists, Killed is the long-waited finale of the internationally renowned series featuring conflicted, disillusioned but always dogged crime reporter Henning Juul, and one of the most chilling, dark and moving crime thrillers you may ever read.

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Killed is the fifth and final installment in Thomas Enger’s Henning Juul series and one I’ve been highly anticipating since the jaw dropping conclusion to last year’s Cursed . This series is some of the best Nordic Noir I’ve read and Henning Juul is one of my favorite protagonists. I first met Henning in the second book , Pierced, when he was still recovering from the aftereffects of being burned in a fire at his apartment – one in which his young son Jonas tragically died.

Killed continues with Henning’s long search to uncover and make pay those responsible for setting the fire and he’s ever so close to getting those answers. After years of using and honing his investigative journalist skills, Henning has managed to piece together most of the puzzle but time is running out because those he seeks also want to get to Henning and silence him once and for all. As you can guess, Killed is a skillful game of cat and mouse which kept me in suspense while shocking me with twists, surprises, and yes deaths of people I didn’t see coming! Thomas Enger really held nothing back in this story and I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough.

Of course, I won’t give anything away in regards to plot and the ending but I will say that while the author does a wonderful job of bringing new readers up to speed with the finer details of the story, I still highly recommend starting at the beginning of the series with either Burned or Pierced and continue in order to fully immerse yourself in the backstory as well as getting to know Henning. I did miss reading book 3 (Scarred) and I have a feeling that’s why I was a little confused about a particular aspect in Killed. That being said, if you like Nordic Noir and you haven’t yet tried this series, by all means give it a try, I think you’ll be happy you did.

Granite Noir Fest 2017

 

Thomas Enger (b. 1973) is a former journalist. He made his debut with the crime novel Burned (Skinndød) in 2010, which became an international sensation before publication. Burned is the first in a series of 5 books about

the journalist Henning Juul, which delves into the depths of Oslo’s underbelly, skewering the corridors of dirty politics and nailing the fast-moving world of 24-hour news. Rights to the series have been sold to 26 countries to date. In 2013 Enger published his first book for young adults, a dark fantasy thriller called The Evil Legacy, for which he won the U-prize (best book Young Adult). Enger also composes music, and he lives in Oslo.

For more information about KILLED or to book an interview with Thomas Enger, please contact Karen Sullivan: Karen@orendabooks.co.uk, 07702 628 230 or Sophie Goodfellow: SophieG@fmcm.co.uk, 07719 007146.

Don’t forget to stop by and check out other reviews on the tour!

Killed Blog Tour Poster

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’m FINALLY getting around to reading that were published months or years 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.

My Pick This week is….

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Published March 10, 2016 by Avon

You think you know who to trust? You think you know the difference between good and evil? You’re wrong…
The body of the head teacher of an exclusive Devon school is found hanging from the rafters in the assembly hall.
Hours earlier he’d received a package, and only he could understand the silent message it conveyed. It meant the end.
As Exeter suffers a rising count of gruesome deaths, troubled DS Imogen Grey and DS Adrian Miles must solve the case and make their city safe again.
But as they’re drawn into a network of corruption, lies and exploitation, every step brings them closer to grim secrets hidden at the heart of their community.
And once they learn what’s motivating this killer, will they truly want to stop him?

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I would never have picked this up based on the cover and title, neither are appealing to me. However, when my friend Annie at The Misstery suggested I give this detective series a try I immediately headed to the library to see if it was available. The murder mystery aspect of the story begins immediately with the killing of the head teacher of the school and from then on out, the bodies steadily keep dropping. All were killed by different means but all were given a warning that their time had come. Questions linger as to why and what, if anything, all these seemingly random people have in common?

Enter the detectives, DS Grey and DS Miles, two likable detectives who have obvious baggage from their pasts. I really really liked DS Miles, he was flawed but you could just tell he was a good guy. I also liked DS Grey and boy had she suffered some serious injuries in her past, not only physically but emotionally as well. I liked the respect and friendship these two had for each other as well as their intelligence in piecing together the puzzle. Speaking of puzzle, there are many subthreads to this story and while I did have the “who” figured out I didn’t have the “why” so I was happy about that. One very big word of warning for this book which is also at the bottom of the blurb on Goodreads….it’s most definitely NOT for the faint hearted! This is an overall dark themed book. The murders were gruesome, there were discussions of past abuse and torture…these were not images I particularly liked having in my head and reminded me of some of Karin Slaughter’s novels. Tough stuff. If you know that going in you’ll be better prepared. The best part of this book, for me, were the two detectives and the puzzle so if you’re looking for a new detective series why not give this one a try.

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

Cathy at What Cathy Read Next

Lynne at Fictionophile

Annie at The Misstery

Diana at A Haven for Booklovers

Mischenko at Read Rant Rock and Roll

THROWBACK THURSDAY…YOUR VOTE IS NEEDED

throwbackthursday

I began this Throwback Thursday meme as a way to share some of my old favorites as well as sharing books that I’m FINALLY getting around to reading 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 like to link back to me that’d be great as I really try my best to include everyone who’s participating week by week at the bottom of my post so all my readers can enjoy all the awesome Throwback picks!

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A THROWBACK THURSDAY VOTE?….Ok everyone, in an effort to change things up and give me a much needed kick to get back to reading off my own TBR weekly (those Advanced Copies just call to you don’t they?!) I’ve put together 3 of my top TBR picks and I’d LOVE it if you could all take a quick second and VOTE for what you would like to see me read for next week’s Throwback Thursday! Whichever book gets the most votes by midnight tonight (US Eastern Standard Time) will be the one I read and review for next Thursday so you’ll have to be sure to check back next week to see the winner! Thank you in advance for taking time to vote either by leaving a comment on this post or via Twitter @itsbooktalk.

THE THROWBACK NOMINEES….

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BLINDSIGHTED By KARIN SLAUGHTER

A small Georgia town erupts in panic when a young college professor is found brutally mutilated in the local diner. But it’s only when town pediatrician and coroner Sara Linton does the autopsy that the full extent of the killer’s twisted work becomes clear.

Why I want to read this.…this is the first book in the Grant County series that so many have RAVED about…it’s Karin Slaughter…I just read and loved The Good Daughter….I’m ready to binge read another series!!

 

 

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MY SISTER’S GRAVE By Robert Dugoni

Tracy Crosswhite has spent twenty years questioning the facts surrounding her sister Sarah’s disappearance and the murder trial that followed. She doesn’t believe that Edmund House — a convicted rapist and the man condemned for Sarah’s murder — is the guilty party. Motivated by the opportunity to obtain real justice, Tracy became a homicide detective with the Seattle PD and dedicated her life to tracking down killers.

Why I want to read this…I’ve heard this is a must read mystery…I’ve never read this author….I bought all the books in this series on Amazon so a binge is needed!

 

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RULES OF CIVILITY By Amor Towles

On the last night of 1937, twenty-five-year-old Katey Kontent is in a second-rate Greenwich Village jazz bar when Tinker Grey, a handsome banker, happens to sit down at the neighboring table. This chance encounter and its startling consequences propel Katey on a year-long journey into the upper echelons of New York society—where she will have little to rely upon other than a bracing wit and her own brand of cool nerve.

Why I want to read this….the cover is gorgeous….I love books set in NYC in the past…it touts intriguing characters and an “event” that happens meaning drama!

 

HAPPY READING & STOP BACK NEXT WEEK FOR THE WINNER!

More Throwback Thursday Picks Around the Blogosphere…

Jill at Jill’s Book Cafe

Deanna at DeesRadReads and Reviews

Amanda at Literary Weaponry

Cathy at Between the Lines

Julie at Novel Thrills and Chills

Susan at Susan Loves Books

Cathy at What Cathy Read Next

Noriko at Book Fiend

Amy at NovelGossip

Lynne at Fictionophile

Nicki atThe Secret Library Site

Mischenko at Read Rant Rock and Roll

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’m FINALLY getting around to reading 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 like to link back to me that’d be great as I really try my best to include everyone who’s participating week by week at the bottom of my post so all my readers can enjoy all the awesome Throwback picks!

My PICK this week is:

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Published Jan 2016 By Minotaur Books

The Nowhere Man is a legendary figure spoken about only in whispers. It’s said that when he’s reached by the truly desperate and deserving, the Nowhere Man can and will do anything to protect and save them.

But he’s no legend.

Evan Smoak is a man with skills, resources, and a personal mission to help those with nowhere else to turn. He’s also a man with a dangerous past. Chosen as a child, he was raised and trained as part of the off-the-books black box Orphan program, designed to create the perfect deniable intelligence assets—i.e. assassins. He was Orphan X. Evan broke with the program, using everything he learned to disappear.

Now, however, someone is on his tail. Someone with similar skills and training. Someone who knows Orphan X. Someone who is getting closer and closer. And will exploit Evan’s weakness—his work as The Nowhere Man—to find him and eliminate him.

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When I picked up the sequel to this book (The Nowhere Man) at the library the other day, I realized I haven’t featured this high impact fun action thriller on my Throwback Thursday. I’m not sure how this one slipped by me but now’s the time to spotlight it for sure. What’s unique about this thriller is the author took an idea…orphans recruited and trained to be assassins…and really put his own spin on it. Of course, right from the start I felt a connection to young Evan, the poor kid had no choice in the matter, and to say his childhood was like none other would be an understatement. When he breaks with the program and uses his assassin skills to help others in need, I just couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. Not only did I really want to know more about Evan and find out if the new personal connections that were causing him great distress would materialize into something more, but when it becomes clear that someone is after him, the suspense was almost too much!  I highly recommend this one if you’re in the mood for an action packed thriller with substance that also features some pretty fun and creative uses of gadgets. I hope to share my thoughts on the sequel in the coming weeks as well!

HAPPY READING!

Everyone, I can’t tell you how thrilled I am that SO many people are jumping on TBT every week! It’s so fun to read everyone’s picks and share all of these old favorites….your TBR may very well explode each week (mine sure does) but as we readers always say…what’s one more book…or 10!! Enjoy! 

More Throwback Thursday Picks Around the Blogosphere…

Jill at Jill’s Book Cafe

Deanna at DeesRadReads and Reviews

Amanda at Literary Weaponry

Cathy at Between the Lines

Julie at Novel Thrills and Chills

Susan at Susan Loves Books

Cathy at What Cathy Read Next

Noriko at Book Fiend

Amy at NovelGossip

Holly at Dressed to Read

Claire at I’m a Coffeeholic Bookworm

Lynne at Fictionophile

Nicki atThe Secret Library Site

Amy at Book Snail Reviews

Sam at Clues and Reviews

Abby at Crime By The Book

Mischenko at Read Rant Rock and Roll

 

 

BLOG TOUR & REVIEW: WOLVES IN THE DARK By Gunnar Staalesen

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Wolves in the Dark, published by the wonderful Orenda books and available now as an ebook and Oct 1 in paperback

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About the book

Reeling from the death of his great love, Karin, Varg Veum’s life has descended into a self-destructive spiral of alcohol, lust, grief and blackouts. When traces of child pornography are found on his computer, he’s accused of being part of a pedophile ring and thrown into a prison cell. There, he struggles to sift through his past to work out who is responsible for planting the material . . . and who is seeking the ultimate revenge. When a chance to escape presents itself, Varg finds himself on the run in his hometown of Bergen. With the clock ticking and the police on his tail, Varg takes on his hardest—and most personal—case yet. Chilling, shocking and exceptionally gripping, Wolves in the Dark reaffirms Gunnar Staalesen as one of the world’s foremost thriller writers.

REVIEW

Well, this is my second foray into the world of Varg Veum and I have to say I’ll officially follow him wherever he goes! I first met Varg in Where Roses Never Die (review here) and there was just something so compelling about his character that by the end of that book I felt like I’d found a new friend. I know many of you may see that this book is #21 in the series and may think you’re too far behind to give it a try but you can most definitely pick this up as a standalone as the author does a brilliant job of providing enough backstory for new readers as well as enticing established readers with a different side of Varg.

When Wolves in the Dark begins, Varg is in a much better place emotionally and physically than when we left him in Where Roses Never Die. After having been consumed by his grief over losing his love Karin, Varg had sought to drown his sorrows with copious amounts of alcohol, often blacking out and losing large chunks of time. In Wolves in the Dark, he’s in a stable relationship, sober, and feeling like he’s got a reason to be happy again. This new found happiness is short lived, however, as Varg soon finds himself implicated in a web of internet child pornography so intricate that he may never get himself out and clear his name. Who hates him so much they’d set him up in such a despicable way?  I absolutely loved how the author set this all up. In order to sift through possible suspects in terms of who had it in for Varg, he revisits some of his old cases which was a perfect way to help orient new readers to the bad guys from Varg’s past. Needless to say, there are plenty and soon we have many viable suspects. I have to say a quick point here about the subject matter involved in this story: child pornography. Now, part of me dreaded reading this because I didn’t know how I would get through those details and while it was certainly hard to read certain bits and pieces, overall the author kept the details to a minimum, allowing the subject matter to stay on the periphery of the story.

In terms of the pacing, I really loved how Staalesen upped the action in this story, especially about a third of the way in when Varg makes a snap decision to take matters into his own hands, going rogue so to speak! I loved this aspect as it made for suspenseful, action packed reading. Make sure to pay close attention though, as this is an intricate puzzle of a mystery that had me completely in the dark as far as ‘whodunit’ which, by the way, is exactly where I like to be. If you like gritty, noir mysteries with compelling, layered characters I think you should definitely put this book, or any of the other Varg Veum’s at the top of your tbr.

Gunnar Staalesen

 

About the Author

Gunnar Staalesen was born in Bergen, Norway in 1947. He made his debut at the age of 22 with Seasons of Innocence and in 1977 he published the first book in the Varg Veum series. He is the author of over 20 titles, which have been published in 24 countries and sold over four million copies. Twelve film adaptations of his Varg Veum crime novels have appeared since 2007, starring the popular Norwegian actor Trond Epsen Seim. Staalesen, who has won three Golden Pistols (including the Prize of Honour), lives in Bergen with his wife. When Prince Charles visited Bergen, Staalesen was appointed his official tour guide. There is a life-sized statue of Varg Veum in the centre of Bergen, and a host of Varg Veum memorabilia for sale. We Shall Inherit the Wind and Where Roses Never Die were both international bestsellers.

Many Thanks to Karen Sullivan and Anne Cater for my copy and for inviting me on the blog tour! I can’t wait to see what’s in store for Varg in the future

Be sure to stop by the other fantastic blogs on the tour!

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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

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.