Friday, July 6, 2018

Review: The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1792 KB
  • Print Length: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Dutton (July 3 2018)
  • Sold by: Penguin Group USA
  • Language: English

Book Description

Two Truths and a Lie. The girls played it all the time in their tiny cabin at Camp Nightingale. Vivian, Natalie, Allison, and first-time camper Emma Davis, the youngest of the group. The games ended when Emma sleepily watched the others sneak out of the cabin in the dead of night. The last she--or anyone--saw of them was Vivian closing the cabin door behind her, hushing Emma with a finger pressed to her lips.

Now a rising star in the New York art scene, Emma turns her past into paintings--massive canvases filled with dark leaves and gnarled branches that cover ghostly shapes in white dresses. The paintings catch the attention of Francesca Harris-White, the socialite and wealthy owner of Camp Nightingale. When Francesca implores her to return to the newly reopened camp as a painting instructor, Emma sees an opportunity to try to find out what really happened to her friends.

Yet it's immediately clear that all is not right at Camp Nightingale. Already haunted by memories from fifteen years ago, Emma discovers a security camera pointed directly at her cabin, mounting mistrust from Francesca and, most disturbing of all, cryptic clues Vivian left behind about the camp's twisted origins. As she digs deeper, Emma finds herself sorting through lies from the past while facing threats from both man and nature in the present.

And the closer she gets to the truth about Camp Nightingale, the more she realizes it may come at a deadly price.

About the Author

Riley Sager is the pseudonym of a former journalist, editor and graphic designer who previously published mysteries under his real name.

Now a full-time author, Riley's first thriller, FINAL GIRLS, became a national and international bestseller and was called "the first great thriller of 2017" by Stephen King. Translation rights have been sold in more than two dozen countries and a film version is being developed by Universal Pictures.

Riley's next book, THE LAST TIME I LIED, will be published in July. It was inspired by the classic novel and film "Picnic at Hanging Rock" and one horrible week Riley spent at summer camp when he was ten.

A native of Pennsylvania, Riley now lives in Princeton, New Jersey. When he's not working on his next novel, he enjoys reading, cooking and going to the movies as much as possible. His favorite film is "Rear Window." Or maybe "Jaws." But probably, if he's being honest, "Mary Poppins."

Twitter: @Riley_Sager.

My Review

The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager is one of the best books I have read all year.

I have to admit that I was completely in the dark until the end. I could not put this book down. I needed to know what was going to happen next. Now I need to read Riley Sager's first book!

Most taking place at an exclusive summer camp in upstate New York, both 15 years ago and in the present day. Emma Davis was a camper 15 years ago and now she is back as an art instructor. She is hoping to get closure about the events 15 years ago when 3 campers disappeared. Instead of closure, she is beginning to think she is losing her mind.

15 years ago, Vivian ruled their cabin of 4. And now she still is, as Emma searches for clues as to what happened to the girls 15 years ago. Then 3 more girls disappear....

Such a lovely twisty book. Highly highly recommend The Last Time I Lied.

Review: The Disappearing by Lori Roy

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1493 KB
  • Print Length: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Dutton (July 17 2018)
  • Sold by: Penguin Group USA
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B076NRLQ5L

Book Description

Two-time Edgar Award-winning author Lori Roy spins a twisted, atmospheric tale about a small Southern town where girls disappear and boys run away.

When Lane Fielding fled her isolated Florida hometown after high school for the anonymity of New York City, she swore she'd never return. But twenty years later, newly divorced and with two daughters in tow, she finds herself tending bar at the local dive and living with her parents on the historic Fielding Plantation. Here, the past haunts her and the sinister crimes of her father--the former director of an infamous boys' school--make her as unwelcome in town as she was the day she left.

Ostracized by the people she was taught to trust, Lane's unsteady truce with the town is rattled when her older daughter suddenly vanishes. Ten days earlier, a college student went missing, and the two disappearances at first ignite fears that a serial killer who once preyed upon the town has returned. But when Lane's younger daughter admits to having made a new and unseemly friend, a desperate Lane attacks her hometown's facade to discover whether her daughter's disappearance is payback for her father's crimes--or for her own.

With reporters descending upon the town, police combing through the swamp, and events taking increasingly disturbing turns, Lane fears she faces too many enemies and too little time to bring her daughter safely home. Powerful and heart-pounding, The Disappearing questions the endurance of family bonds, the dangers of dark rumors and small town gossip, and how sometimes home is the scariest place of all.

About the Author

Lori Roy's debut novel, BENT ROAD, was awarded the Edgar Allen Poe Award for Best First Novel by an American Author. Her work has been twice named a New York Times Notable Crime Book and included on various best of lists and summer reading lists. UNTIL SHE COMES HOME was a New York Times Editors' Choice and a Finalist for the Edgar Allen Poe award for Best Novel. LET ME DIE IN HIS FOOTSTEPS was included among the top fiction of 2015 by Books-A-Million and named one of the best 15 mystery novels of 2015 by Oline Cogdill. LET ME DIE IN HIS FOOTSTEPS also received the 2016 Edgar Allen Poe Award for Best Novel, making Lori the first woman to receive an Edgar Award for both Best First Novel and Best Novel, and she is the third person to have done so. Her most recent work, THE DISAPPEARING, will hit shelves July 17, 2018.

My Review

The Disappearing by Lori Roy is the first book of Roy's that I have read and I am a fan! It was a terrific book.

Lane Fielding is back in her home town in Florida after being away 20 years. She has returned with her daughters after a divorce. She fled because of her family's history in town. Her family owns the Fielding Planation and her father had run the boy's reform school next door. There is massive baggage from that but when one of Lane's daughter's goes missing, old wounds surface.

A college student who had been working at the planation house goes missing then Lane's daughter.  A local resident is found dead and the town is in a panic. What is causing the girls to disappear?

I loved the twists in this book. Lori Roy is a fantastic writer. Well done!

Highly recommend The Disappearing by Lori Roy.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Review: Murder at the Mansion (Victorian Village Mysteries #1) by Sheila Connolly

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 4584 KB
  • Print Length: 328 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1250135869
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books (June 26 2018)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0785DV17F

Book Description

The first in a brand-new series from New York Times bestselling author Sheila Connolly!

Katherine Hamilton's goal in high school was to escape from her dead-end hometown of Asheford, Maryland. Fifteen years later she's got a degree in hospitality management and a great job supervising every aspect of the day-to-day operations of a high-end boutique hotel on the Baltimore waterfront. Then her high school best friend asks her to come talk with the town leaders of Asheford, but she won't say why. Kate can't cut her last link to her past, so she agrees to make the short trip across the state to Asheford.

Once Kate arrives, the town council members reveal that their town is on the verge of going bankrupt, and they've decided that Kate's skills and knowledge make her the perfect person to cure all their ills. The town has used its last available funds to buy the huge Victorian mansion just outside of town, hoping to use it to attract some of the tourists who travel to visit the nearby Civil War battle sites. Kate has less-than-fond memories of the mansion, for personal reasons, but to make matters worse, the only person who has presented a possible alternate plan is Cordelia Walker--Kate's high school nemesis, who had a hand in driving Kate away from Asheford so many years.

But a few days later Kate receives a call from the police--Cordelia has been found dead on the mansion property, and Kate is all-but certain that her name is high on the suspect list. She finds herself juggling the murder investigation and her growing fascination with the magnificent old house that turns out to be full of long-hidden mysteries itself. Kate knows she must clear her name and save her town--before she ends up behind bars.

About the Author

Sheila Connolly has taught art history, structured and marketed municipal bonds for major cities, worked as a staff member on two statewide political campaigns, and served as a fundraiser for several non-profit organizations. She also managed her own consulting company providing genealogical research services. Now a full-time writer, she thinks writing mysteries is a lot more fun than any of her previous occupations.

She is a member of Sisters in Crime-New England (president 2011), the national Sisters in Crime, and the fabulous on-line SinC chapter, the Guppies. She also belongs to Romance Writers of America and Mystery Writers of America.

Sheila is Regent of her local DAR chapter, and a member of the Society of Mayflower Descendants. She's also the grandchild of Irish immigrants (in case you're worried that she's a snob). In addition to genealogy, Sheila loves restoring old houses, visiting cemeteries, and traveling. She is married, and has one daughter and two cats.

She blogs with Poe's Deadly Daughters and Mystery Lovers' Kitchen on Fridays, and Killer Characters the 25th of each month.

My Review

Murder at the Mansion is the first in a new series by author Sheila Connolly. It is entitled the Victorian Village Mysteries series. There is nothing better than getting in on a series from the first book so I was thrilled to plunge right in.

The author of this series, Sheila Conolly, has written many cozy mysteries. I have read her books before and knew that Murder at the Mansion would be good.

Katherine Hamilton has had a very successful career in the hospitality industry. Recently out of a job, Kate returns to her hometown of Asheboro, Maryland to help with a new business venture. She is more than up to the job but what about the dead body! Lots of suspects and a good story.

Highly recommend Murder at the Mansion.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Review: Till Death Do Us Tart (A Bakeshop Mystery #8) by Ellie Alexander

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2148 KB
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks (June 26 2018)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B077XKS2SY

Book Description

Torte—the small-town bakeshop no one can resist—is hosting a midsummer night’s wedding . . . where merry-making and murder are served up in equal measure. Till Death Do Us Tart is Ellie Alexander's eighth delectable novel in the Bakeshop mystery series.
Jules Capshaw has too much on her plate—and she’s feeling the pinch: the whole town of Ashland, Oregon, is in on the surprise Elizabethan-themed wedding she’s planning for her mom and soon-to-be stepdad. But is her secret scheme half-baked? She’s hiding racks overflowing with sweet treats while Torte is topsy-turvy with a major remodel and the return of Jules’s estranged husband, Carlos. And until now, Jules had no clue about the bitter family feud that has her friend Lance frazzled and suspicious. But when a party crasher takes someone out with a serving of poisoned wine and Jules discovers the deadly cup was intended for her, it’s time to turn the tables on a killer.

For further information on the series:

About the Author

Ellie Alexander, author of the Bakeshop Mystery Series (St. Martin's Press), is a Pacific Northwest native who spends ample time testing pastry recipes in her home kitchen or at one of the many famed coffeehouses nearby. When she’s not coated in flour, you’ll find her outside exploring hiking trails and trying to burn off calories consumed in the name of research.

The 7th book in the Bakeshop Mysteries, ANOTHER ONE BITES THE CRUST, releases in January 2018, and be sure to check out Ellie's new beer series set in Leavenworth, WA, DEATH ON TAP.

Find out more about Ellie and her books by visiting her websites at: or following her on Facebook:

My Review

Till Death Do Us Tart is the 8th book in the A Bakeshop Mystery series. I have read the entire series as I find it quite delightful and well written. Till Death Do Us Tart is a great addition to the series.

Ashland, Oregon is the setting for this series. Ashland is a unique town in southern Oregon that hosts a Shakespeare festival every year. Many parts of the town follow this theme. Author Alexander brings Ashland alive for the reader.

Till Death Do Us Tart is centered around the surprise wedding ceremony of Jules' mother and the Professor. Between the secret wedding, Carlos and his son showing up and the remodel of the bakeshop, things are already hopping when a guest is served poisoned wine. The guest who is served the wine is a PI hired by Jules friend Lance to help with his estranged family. Lots going on in this book!

Great book! It looks like the next book in the series is out at the end of the year! Yippee!

Review: Bearskin by James A. McLaughlin

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1333 KB
  • Print Length: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Ecco (June 12 2018)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B072VCK61M

Book Description

Rice Moore is just beginning to think his troubles are behind him. He’s found a job protecting a remote forest preserve in Virginian Appalachia where his main responsibilities include tracking wildlife and refurbishing cabins. It’s hard work, and totally solitary—perfect to hide away from the Mexican drug cartels he betrayed back in Arizona. But when Rice finds the carcass of a bear killed on the grounds, the quiet solitude he’s so desperately sought is suddenly at risk.

More bears are killed on the preserve and Rice’s obsession with catching the poachers escalates, leading to hostile altercations with the locals and attention from both the law and Rice’s employers. Partnering with his predecessor, a scientist who hopes to continue her research on the preserve, Rice puts into motion a plan that could expose the poachers but risks revealing his own whereabouts to the dangerous people he was running from in the first place.

James McLaughlin expertly brings the beauty and danger of Appalachia to life. The result is an elemental, slow burn of a novel—one that will haunt you long after you turn the final page.


“One of the year’s most buzzy, fascinating thrillers. . . . A suspenseful, emotionally resonant journey into one man’s dark past.” (Entertainment Weekly)

“A journey into the wilds of Appalachia. . . . Tightly plotted and beautifully written, Bearskin marks an auspicious debut.” (Nylon Magazine)

“Bearskin—a gripping tale written in spare, beautiful prose—tells the tale of Rice Moore, a reluctant hero, competent, resilient, and utterly engaging.  McLaughlin is a gifted storyteller, and Bearskin is a remarkable debut.” (Scott Smith, NYT Bestselling author of A Simple Plan and The Ruins)

Bearskin is visceral, raw, and compelling—filled with sights, smells, and sounds truly observed.  It’s a powerful debut and an absolute showcase of exceptional prose.  There are very few first novels when I feel compelled to circle brilliant passages, but James McLaughlin’s writing had me doing just that.”  (C.J. Box, #1 NYT bestselling author of The Disappeared)

“A secret past, old foes, bloodthirsty locals, and the destruction of the natural world converge in McLaughlin’s debut novel. An intricately written thriller that explores the darkest parts of human nature against the beauty of unspoiled American wilds.” (Ace Atkins, New York Times bestselling author of Robert B. Parker’s Old Black Magic and The Sinners)

“At once brutal and beautiful, Bearskin is a tense, haunting thriller brought to life by McLaughlin’s deft and vivid rendering of the rugged mountain landscape and the beasts that dwell within. A powerful debut.” (Laura McHugh, author of The Weight of Blood and Arrowood

Bearskin is visceral, raw, and compelling—filled with sights, smells, and sounds truly observed.  It’s a powerful debut and an absolute showcase of exceptional prose.  There are very few first novels when I feel compelled to circle brilliant passages, but James McLaughlin’s writing had me doing just that.” —C.J. Box, #1 NYT bestselling author of The Disappeared

About the Author

James A. McLaughlin holds law and MFA degrees from the University of Virginia. His fiction and essays have appeared in The Missouri Review, The Portland Review, River Teeth, and elsewhere. He grew up in rural Virginia and lives in the Wasatch Range east of Salt Lake City, Utah.

My Review

Bearskin by James A. McLaughlin was a fantastic surprise of a book. It has flowing prose that is similar to my favorite James Lee Burke. This is McLaughlin's first book. I cannot wait for more.

Rice Moore has found the perfect job for a biologist who needs to hide from the Sinaloa cartel. He is the groundskeeper on an isolated nature reserve in Appalachian Virginia. The locals invade his world as they poach the bears on the reserve. Rice takes the protection of the bears very personally. 

The reader is taken into the magical, mystical world of Appalachia in Bearskin. You can feel everything that Rice is feeling and touch everything he is touching. McLaughlin is an amazing writer who had me spellbound throughout the book.

There is violence but it is not gratuitous, it is necessary to the story. I barely noticed it as I was so engrossed in the story. Great book!

Highly recommend Bearskin by James A. McLaughlin.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Review: A Gathering of Secrets (Kate Burkholder #10) by Linda Castillo

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Print Length: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books (July 10 2018)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B078H45Q6K

Book Description

A deadly fire exposes the dark side of Amish life in this harrowing new thriller in the New York Times bestselling series.
When a historic barn burns to the ground in the middle of the night, Chief of Police Kate Burkholder is called in to investigate. At first, it looks like an accident, but when the body of eighteen-year-old Daniel Gingerich is found inside—burned alive—Kate suspects murder. Who would want a well-liked, hardworking young Amish man dead?

Kate delves into the investigation only to find herself stonewalled by the community to which she once belonged. Is their silence a result of the Amish tenet of separation? Or is this peaceful and deeply religious community conspiring to hide a truth no one wants to talk about? Kate doubles down only to discover a plethora of secrets and a chilling series of crimes that shatters everything she thought she knew about her Amish roots—and herself.

As Kate wades through a sea of suspects, she’s confronted by her own violent past and an unthinkable possibility.

“Riveting...Castillo's sensitive handling of her subject matter builds a nuanced, often troubling picture of insular, patriarchal communities in which silence allows predators to thrive.”―Publishers Weekly

About the Author

Linda Castillo is the New York Times bestselling author of the Kate Burkholder series, including Sworn to Silence and Gone Missing, crime thrillers set in Amish country. Sworn to Silence was recently adapted into a Lifetime original movie titled An Amish Murder starring Neve Campbell as Kate Burkholder.

Castillo is the recipient of numerous industry awards, including the Daphne du Maurier Award of Excellence and the Holt Medallion, and she received a nomination for the Rita. In addition to writing, Castillo’s other passion is horses, particularly her appaloosa George. She lives in Texas with her husband and is currently at work on her next novel.

My Review

A Gathering of Secrets is the 10th Kate Burkholder mystery by author Linda Castillo. I have read many of the books in this series and found them all to be excellent. A Gathering of Secrets is a great addition to the series. It moved things along in Kate's life as well particularly in her relationship with John Tomasetti.

The book starts off with a young Amish man dying in a barn fire. The fire has been deliberately set. Who would want to kill a charming young Amish man? It turns out quite a few people!

A Gathering of Secrets is well written and has a great plotline. I really enjoyed the tale. It pulled at Kate in ways other cases have not before. It really hits home for her.

Hard to put down! Highly recommend A Gathering of Secrets. 

Monday, June 11, 2018

Review: Everyday Holy: Finding a Big God in the Little Moments by Melanie Shankle

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 696 KB
  • Print Length: 224 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0310346681
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Up to 5 simultaneous devices, per publisher limits
  • Publisher: Zondervan (April 10 2018)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B072TP57HT

Book Description

It seems to be a rite of passage for every woman: one day you wake up and think, “Wait. This is the life I signed up for?!?”

We’ve all been there. Melanie Shankle is just brave enough to say it out loud. And Everyday Holy is your invitation to re-examine your life and find the little pieces that create a beautiful picture of a big God.   

On any given day, you may be asking yourself:

Is Instagram making me crazy, or am I actually supposed to have a perfectly curated cup of coffee on my artfully rumpled throw blanket every morning?
Doubts about my faith are normal, right?
Is eating cookie dough straight from the fridge fine as long as it’s organic?
Could it be that loving my family well is my spiritual gift?

It’s a common theme: Am I okay? Is my life significant? And how do we measure significance, anyway? Melanie’s hilarious and poignant insight offers you the deep breath of relief that God is working in all the moments, no matter how big or how small. In 100 devotions, Everyday Holy: Finding a Big God in the Little Moments invites you to see your life as God intended: rich with opportunity, significance, and beauty, even on days that feel overwhelmingly ordinary.

If you’re looking for the line that connects the dots, Everyday Holy is for you. If you wonder where God is in this mess or how exactly He’s working behind the scenes, this book is for you. Whether you feel overwhelmed or disillusioned or frustrated by how your life feels, there’s room for you at this table. And here’s the best news: We’re all in this together.

About the Author

Melanie Shankle is a graduate of Texas A&M and lives in San Antonio, Texas with her husband, Perry, and daughter, Caroline. Melanie began blogging in July 2006 when she started her blog, Big Mama. She’s also a regular contributor to The Pioneer Woman blog. Her first book, Sparkly Green Earrings, came out in February 2013 and debuted on the New York Times Bestseller list. Her second book, The Antelope in the Living Room, was released on February 4, 2014 and also hit the New York Times list.

My Review

Everyday Holy: Finding a Big God in the Little Moments is the first book that I have read by Melanie Shankle.

Everyday Holy is a book of 100 devotions. It is a lovely volume. Perfect size to keep close by for reading your daily devotional. This book will challenge you. And it assists you in helping you appreciate what you already have. God's truth is right there waiting for little things and little moments. You don't need something big!

This lovely book would be a great gift to yourself or to someone you know that you could find it helpful. I think it is helpful for women no matter where they are in the their walk.

Highly recommend Everyday Holy: Finding a Big God in the Little Moments.