I’ve read a ton of books this year and today, I want to share with you the reviews of those books. Not all of them because there are over 100. However, the highlights for sure.
First is the #buddyread I did with Iseult Murphy in January.
My review of The Rust Maidens by Gwendolyn Kiste
Something’s happening to the girls on Denton Street.
It’s the summer of 1980 in Cleveland, Ohio, and Phoebe Shaw and her best friend Jacqueline have just graduated high school, only to confront an ugly, uncertain future. Across the city, abandoned factories populate the skyline; meanwhile at the shore, one strong spark, and the Cuyahoga River might catch fire. But none of that compares to what’s happening in their own west side neighborhood. The girls Phoebe and Jacqueline have grown up with are changing. It starts with footprints of dark water on the sidewalk. Then, one by one, the girls’ bodies wither away, their fingernails turning to broken glass, and their bones exposed like corroded metal beneath their flesh.
As rumors spread about the grotesque transformations, soon everyone from nosy tourists to clinic doctors and government men start arriving on Denton Street, eager to catch sight of “the Rust Maidens” in metamorphosis. But even with all the onlookers, nobody can explain what’s happening or why—except perhaps the Rust Maidens themselves. Whispering in secret, they know more than they’re telling, and Phoebe realizes her former friends are quietly preparing for something that will tear their neighborhood apart.
Alternating between past and present, Phoebe struggles to unravel the mystery of the Rust Maidens—and her own unwitting role in the transformations—before she loses everything she’s held dear: her home, her best friend, and even perhaps her own body.
My review of Naked in Death by Nora Roberts
Here is the novel that started it all- the first book in J.D. Robb’s number-one New York Times-bestselling In Death series, featuring New York homicide detective Lieutenant Eve Dallas and Roarke.
It is the year 2058, and technology now completely rules the world. But New York City Detective Eve Dallas knows that the irresistible impulses of the human heart are still ruled by just one thing: passion.
When a senator’s daughter is killed, the secret life of prostitution she’d been leading is revealed. The high-profile case takes Lieutenant Eve Dallas into the rarefied circles of Washington politics and society. Further complicating matters is Eve’s growing attraction to Roarke, who is one of the wealthiest and most influential men on the planet, devilishly handsome… and the leading suspect in the investigation.
My Review of Mine Until Moonlight by Jennifer Bernard
It’s a fine line between feuding and flirting…
Ever since Megan Miller arrived in stunning Lost Harbor, Alaska, she’s been at odds with boat captain Lucas Holt. They’re opposites in every way. She’s a city girl, he’s from an Alaska homestead. She runs nature tours, he’s all about big-money charters. He’s also arrogant, annoying and oh yeah, wildly attractive. Lost Harbor would be the perfect escape from the tragedy that sent her running–except for her feud with the hottie captain.
Lucas Holt came home for one thing—settle his father’s affairs then hightail it back to Colorado. So why is he still here? Is it because there’s something fishy about his father’s death? Is it the endearingly eccentric locals and enchanting scenery? Or could it be Lost Harbor’s newest resident, a sassy scientist who’s as sexy as she is stubborn? Arguing with Megan is the best foreplay he’s had in years.
Until one of Lost Harbor’s dangerous storms tosses everything up in the air, and a feud turns to a passionate affair–with stakes higher than Megan ever imagined.
My review of Burn for Me by Lea Coll
We went from working on opposite sides of the courtroom to working for the same law firm. Working together reveals a whole new side to Logan Gray. Is he playing me or is he not the man I thought he was?
Now we’re in competition for the same promotion and nothing will stand in my way…not his sparkling blue eyes, cocky smirk, or those dimples.
He says I’m a challenge he can’t resist. The problem is…he’s gorgeous, charming, and irresistible…and he knows it.
Underneath the charming façade, Logan is a man I could fall for. As I get closer to him, I feel like I’m playing with fire and I’m going to get burned.
When the lines between us are blurred, are we competing for a job or each other’s hearts?
My review of Tempting Levi by Jules Bernard
Levi Cade’s firefighting career burned up after an accident on the job. Then his father died and left him in charge of the family’s multimillion-dollar resort. Now he’s forced to work with financially uptight advisors telling him what to do, and he needs someone he can trust at his side.
The perfect candidate walks through the door in her pencil skirt, fitted white blouse, and a mass of wavy blond hair she tries to contain.
The only problem? She’s his cheating ex’s younger sister.
Hell no. The last thing Levi needs is another Wright female in his life.
Then again, he always liked playing with fire.
My review of Common Ground by Jansen Schmidt
A woman destroyed his ability to trust. A man destroyed her ability to care. Can love unlock their fear and heal their wounded hearts?
His marriage over and his career in jeopardy, Trevor Donaldson seeks sanctuary at the Diamond D Ranch in Arizona. After gunning down the man who shot his partner, the accusations hanging over his head, the hounding media, and his own inner turmoil keep him awake at night.
Ketra Weston sought sanctuary at the Diamond D to escape the ugly backlash she suffered after a violent assault following a Good Samaritan act gone wrong. Time at the ranch promises to provide the peace and anonymity she needs to help her heal.
Trevor and Ketra are careful to keep their distance from one another. Trevor’s contempt for women, after his failed marriage, and Ketra’s skittishness after here brutal attack, leave them both wary of the opposite sex. But, everything changes when Trevor discovers that their lives are intertwined and he learns that her past just might hold the key to his exoneration.
My review of The Enchanted Land by Jude Devereaux
For beautiful Morgan Wakefield, that land lay west of the bluegrass splendor of her Kentucky home…and within the powerful embrace of Seth Colter–the handsome rancher with whom she had struck a bargain that would change her life. Beneath the star-studded New Mexico skies Colter awakened in Morgan a womans passion, stoking the sensuous fires of a bold tempestuous romance. Though fate would make them enemies, theirs was a love that would endure, never to be forsaken.
My review of Mack Harte Was Here by Barbara Park
How could someone like Mick die?
He was the kid who freaked out his mom by putting a ceramic eye in a defrosted chicken, the kid who did a wild dance in front of the whole school—and the kid who, if only he had worn his bicycle helmet, would still be alive today. But now Phoebe Harte’s twelve-year-old brother is gone, and Phoebe’s world has turned upside down.
With her trademark candor and compassion, beloved middle-grade writer Barbara Park tells how Phoebe copes with her painful loss in this story filled with sadness, humor—and hope. Chosen by “Publishers Weekly” as one of their Best Books of 1996. “A full-fledged and fully convincing drama.”—(Publishers Weekly)
My review of Gumshoe Blues: The Peter Ord Yarns by Paul D. Brazill
“The adventures of this PI feel like they rolled out of a Tom Waits song — crime with the feel of a shaggy dog story” — K A Laity.
“An original homebrew with a kick. Well worth sampling.” — Mark Ramsden.
Following the breakdown of his marriage, in a booze-addled flash of inspiration, Peter Ord decides to become a private investigator. Dark farce and tragicomedy soon ensue. Peter must tackle many challenging cases, and when he comes under the radar of a local crime lord, he may have bitten off more than he can chew. With sidekicks, like boozy hack, Bryn Laden, failure is not an option – it’s compulsory.
My review of Passenger by Alexandra Bracken
i. A brief section of music composed of a series of notes and flourishes.
ii. A journey by water; a voyage.
iii. The transition from one place to another, across space and time.
In one devastating night, violin prodigy Etta Spencer loses everything she knows and loves. Thrust into an unfamiliar world by a stranger with a dangerous agenda, Etta is certain of only one thing: she has traveled not just miles but years from home. And she’s inherited a legacy she knows nothing about from a family whose existence she’s never heard of. Until now.
Nicholas Carter is content with his life at sea, free from the Ironwoods—a powerful family in the colonies—and the servitude he’s known at their hands. But with the arrival of an unusual passenger on his ship comes the insistent pull of the past that he can’t escape and the family that won’t let him go so easily. Now the Ironwoods are searching for a stolen object of untold value, one they believe only Etta, Nicholas’ passenger, can find. In order to protect her, he must ensure she brings it back to them—whether she wants to or not.
Together, Etta and Nicholas embark on a perilous journey across centuries and continents, piecing together clues left behind by the traveler who will do anything to keep the object out of the Ironwoods’ grasp. But as they get closer to the truth of their search, and the deadly game the Ironwoods are playing, treacherous forces threaten to separate Etta not only from Nicholas but from her path home… forever.
My review of Killman Creek (Stillhouse Lake #2) by Rachel Caine
Every time Gwen closed her eyes, she saw him in her nightmares. Now her eyes are open, and he’s not going away.
Gwen Proctor won the battle to save her kids from her ex-husband, serial killer Melvin Royal, and his league of psychotic accomplices. But the war isn’t over. Not since Melvin broke out of prison. Not since she received a chilling text…
You’re not safe anywhere now.
Her refuge at Stillhouse Lake has become a trap. Gwen leaves her children in the protective custody of a fortified, well-armed neighbor. Now, with the help of Sam Cade, brother of one of Melvin’s victims, Gwen is going hunting. She’s learned how from one of the sickest killers alive.
But what she’s up against is beyond anything she feared—a sophisticated and savage mind game calculated to destroy her. As trust beyond her small circle of friends begins to vanish, Gwen has only fury and vengeance to believe in as she closes in on her prey. And sure as the night, one of them will die.
My review of Desperate Measures by Kat Lee and Elle Casey
Drawn together over a love of books, three women strike up an unlikely friendship, and end up forming bonds that move well beyond what any of them ever imagined possible. Desperate Measures serves up laughter, romance, cookies, tea – and a whole lot of love.
Aimee: A housewife left in the dust by her philandering husband, with an outdated high school education but a serious talent when it comes to confections…
Elizabeth: An accountant tired of crunching numbers for hundreds of clients with more money than they know what to do with…
Kiki: An exotic dancer who wants nothing more than to get out of the game…
Content warning: Due to sexy situations and content, this book is definitely not appropriate for younger readers.
A message from Elle about this book: Being a huge bookworm myself, the idea of writing a story about friends finding one another through books was really appealing to me. One thing I’ve learned about people who love books is that they come in all shapes and sizes and from all backgrounds and places, but the common ground of literature somehow makes everything work. When I was younger, I was the only bookworm I knew. Now that I’m an adult, I’ve found the joy of seeking others out and spending time with them. It’s like a whole new world has opened up to me, and so of course I wanted to write about it! Not that I have a former stripper in my book club or anything…
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