Monday, December 5, 2022

‘Tis The Season-a-thon Kickoff and Progress Post


Hey, Lovelies, the ‘Tis The Season-a-thon hosted by Heather over at Bookables on YouTube kicks off today and I’m so excited to be joining in this year.

 

Here’s what you need to know:

 

Date: December 5-11

Challenges

Read a book set in December

Read a book with snow on the cover

Read a book under 250 pages

Book you received as a gift

Make a holiday treat while reading

 

There’s also a bingo board.

 


Where will I post my updates? I’ll be updating my progress on this post as well as on Instagram @Simplyangelarenee


 

Thursday, November 17, 2022

2022 HoHoHo Read-a-thon

 


HoHoHo Read-a-thon hosted by Kimberly @Caffeinated Reviewer (find more about it HERE) starts tomorrow and I’m so excited to be joining this year. Sadly, I didn’t have time to work on a challenge, I’ll be better prepared next year.

 

What am I going to read? There’s so many great Holiday/Winter books on my TBR pile but I’m going to play most of it by ear as I am a mood reader but I do know that I want to start with There’s Something About Merry by Codi Hall (audiobook).  I’m a little nervous. I wasn’t a fan of the first book in the series (Nick and Noel’s Christmas Playlist) and ended up DNFing it but I’ve heard this one’s really good so I want to give it a go. I’m also a bit curious about the Holiday Brothers Series by Willa Nash.

 

What’s my goal? I’m not setting one this time so, that way, there’s no pressure.

 

Updates? My first update will be Monday and I’ll be updating on Instagram as well. I’m not sure if I’ll update on Wednesday or just check in on Friday, we’ll see how that goes.

 

In other notes, the blog is still undergoing some changes; please excuse my dust as I spruce it up!

Sunday, November 6, 2022

Sunday Post for 11/6/2022

The Sunday Post is a blog news meme hosted by Kimberly @ 
Caffeinated Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog and showcase books and things we have received. Share news about what is coming up on your blog for the week ahead. Join in weekly, bi-weekly or for a monthly wrap up.

Hey, Lovelies, happy Sunday! I hope you’re doing fantastic!

 

Before I get started, I want to apologize for the mess. The blog is currently getting a much needed update. Not only are the graphics changing, I’m changing up the format, updating different sections, and working on an author/series database. I’m also going to be adding new features as well. While I liked the look of the blog in the past, I never really felt the blog fit my vibe so it’s been fun playing around and seeing what really resonates with me. Pardon the dust for the next few weeks as I work to bring you a new chapter of the blog. I’m so excited to for the change!

 

Here’s what’s been going on…

 

Life-wise, October was a crazy busy month for me and I didn’t stop or slow down all month. Every day I had something going (a lot of time, I had multiple things going) plus work was extremely chaotic and I didn’t take timeout and ended up sick. I think it was a mixture of overdoing it, burnout, and the weather going back and forth. So, I ended my October feeling off and started November sick, which has now morphed into a sinus infection I can’t seem to shake. While I do have some work obligations, I’m going to take this week a bit slower.

 

Blog-wise, Blogtober was a bust. My wrist just wasn’t cooperating for me to type for long periods of time. Thankfully, it’s starting to feel normal again and I can type without it throbbing for hours afterwards. I’ll be posting my Fraterfest update this week and start back with reviews as well.

 

Reading-wise, it’s been great. I’m finally back into a steady reading groove. I’m just in that weird place where I still want to read Spooky Season books but my Christmas/Wintery tbr is tempting me with their amazing covers. I did start Special Delivery by Lauren Blakely on audio, so I am getting a bit Christmassy, but I’m not loving it on audio so I might pick up the ebook.

 

I also kinda want to start the Virgin River series and I might do that this week. I have the first seven books and I want to pick up the rest of the series but I want to make sure they’re in the new mass market size so they match on my shelf.

 




Other news, I’m so excited that my Harney and Sons tea order arrived. So I picked up some old favorites that I needed to restock and found some new ones to tryout.

 


I restocked:

-Hot Cinnamon Spice—if you love cinnamon, you’ll love this tea. It’s the perfect warming tea for those chilly Autumn and Winter days.

-Victorian London Fog—this is one of my favorite teas. It has that nice and creamy earl grey taste with an added bit of lavender.

 

New ones to try:

-Williamsburg Ginger Cake—this smells exactly like the ginger cakes they serve at Raleigh Tavern so I’m hoping it tastes the same. I’m eager to try this one.

-Disney Minnie Mouse Rose Scented Black Tea with Caramel—when they released their Disney collection, this tea didn’t strike my fancy. I picked up the Moana and Snow White teas and wasn’t going to pick up the others but, ultimately, I was intrigued by the blend of rose and caramel.

-White Peach Matcha—I’ve not had the best experience with flavored matcha tea, but I thought I’d take a chance on this one since it’s loose and not bagged (not a fan of bagged matcha). I haven’t opened this yet but there’s a strong peach scent wafting out of the caddy so this could be interesting.

-Amba Thieves—I have no idea about this tea but was intrigued by the origin story. Per the website: Amba Thieves Tea is a handmade brisk black tea with a storied past. Years ago at the Amba Tea Estate, all tea had to go to the owners. However, some ladies plucked the tea and then made a crude and strong black tea in their hut. They were "thieves."

 

 

What have I been loving this week?

 


-Sunrises—there’s nothing better than an Autumn sunrise. The entire sky is glowing and gorgeous.

-Doc Martin Season 10—this just dropped on Acorn and I’ve been loving this version of the Doc. It’s one of my favorite seasons so far.

-The Krewe of Hunters Series by Heather Graham—I picked up a few books for Fraterfest and forgot how much I love her writing so I’ve been gobbling them up. 

Sunday, October 16, 2022

The Sunday Post for 10/16/2022


The Sunday Post is a blog news meme hosted by Kimberly @ 
Caffeinated Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog and showcase books and things we have received. Share news about what is coming up on your blog for the week ahead. Join in weekly, bi-weekly or for a monthly wrap up.

Hello, My Fellow Spooky Season Lovers, happy Sunday, I hope you’re all doing fantastic!

 


We’ve finally reached Fall weather in Ohio and I’m loving it. The trees are starting to change, I can dress in layers, wear cute boots and fun hats, and I still haven’t turned my heat on. Honestly, I still have the AC running most nights. I’m such a Fall Soul and this weather is perfect. It’s also the perfect walking weather..

 

Here’s a quick recap of my week

 

Monday, I went on a local ghost walk with a dear friend of mine. It was a fun time, her dad and uncle were two of the ‘ghost’ and they made for rather lively ghosts.

Tuesday, Mum and I stopped in for a grand opening of a local small business. I had ordered an iced coffee glass, tumbler, and shirt for her birthday and we were finally able to pick some of the items up. It was a nice outing with just the two of us.

Tuesday night, I made a delicious sautéed seafood salad then ended up having a horrible allergic reaction, which was a bit scary. I had to take two Benadryl and ended up sleeping for 12 hours. I have a mild shrimp allergy but I’ve never been allergic to lobster or crab, which is what was in the salad.

Wednesday, I had another scan on my wrist. I tore tendons as well as fractured the base of my thumb. It’s been back and forth for almost two weeks. They said no surgery, then they said surgery, then they wanted me to wear a brace. Thankfully, the brace is working and no surgery is required.

Thursday, I was released for light typing as long as I wear my brace.  I spent the day working on a few blog things, a few planner things, and then spent the evening watching spooky shows.  

Friday was a lovely day. I went to Café 28 with a dear friend of mine and had a lovely time chatting. Then I spent the evening binge watching the first four episodes of The Watcher on Netflix.

Saturday started off with a fail. I had intended to make homemade cinnamon rolls but my dough went funky. Oh well, I’ll try another recipe that doesn’t require leaving the dough to rise overnight. I did read a huge chunk of Home Before Dark then I switched to the audio while making lunch.  I went on a walk with a friend and her little girl then I spent the evening finishing The Watcher. Yeah, the show was kind of a letdown although I had a feeling it was going in that direction.

 

On the blog front—I’ve not been able to type due to my wrist, so I’ve not been able to keep up with posting daily for Blogtober, which was a bummer, but there will be daily posts going forward, unless something changes with my wrist.

On the reading front—I’ve found my reading groove again. I’m not quite back up to where I was last year but I’m heading in the right direction.

Books Read

-Part of Your World by Abby Jimenez

-The Night They Vanished by Vanessa Savage

-Chaser by Kylie Scott

 

Book Mail

I’ve been good this month and only purchased 1 book and I picked it up from a used book shop online.  My thanks to the publishers and media groups that sent me the other books.

 


Crown & Sceptre by Tracy Borman (purchased)

Mirror in the Sky: The Life & Music of Stevie Nicks by Simon Morrison (publisher)

The Sporty One by Melanie C (publisher)

Mystery At Windswept Farm by Wendy Sand Eckel  (Meryl Moss Media)

Twin Crown by Catherine Doyle & Katherine Webber (Owl Crate)

Something in the Heir by Suzanne Enoch (publisher)

 

I was a ‘90s kid so, of course, I was a Spice Girls fan (don’t judge me, my taste in music has greatly improved) and I remember reading If Only by Geri Halliwell when it first came out—I think I was 13 at the time. There was a lot of interesting information in it, especially about the infighting and things that was going on behind the scenes. I’m curious what’s in The Sporty One. Do I think it will make my keeper shelf? No, but it will make an interesting read.

 

On the house front—I have half a porch. They did pour the cement and finish half of the steps but they haven’t set the support columns yet or installed the railing, which makes the porch unusable by city code.

 


What have I been loving this week? 

©     London Fogs with half a shot vanilla syrup and two shots of lavender—it’s been my ‘go-to’ drink when stopping in at the local café.

©     The Weather—I just love the cooler weather we’ve been having.

©     Nomad Cosmetics Hudson Valley Palette—the colors are gorgeous and perfect for Fall.

©     Reading in the mornings—there’s nothing better than a hot cuppa tea, a Fall-scented candle, and a good book to start the day.

©     Late night baths—I’ve been loving a hot bath before bed lately. It’s the perfect way for me to relax and unwind before climbing in bed. 



 

Friday, October 14, 2022

#FraterfestRAT Bingo Challenge


Hello, My Fellow Spooky Season Lovers, and welcome to the 2022 Fraterfest Bingo! *Cue the spooky music* I’m so excited to, once again, be a host for this year’s Fraterfest Readathon.

 

If you’ve been around for a bit, you probably know the rules but let me just give you a quick recap. Fraterfest is a thrilling read-a-thon hosted by Kimberly @ Caffeinated Reviewer. It runs from Friday, October 14th through Sunday, October 24th. The goal is to read or listen to as many Thrillers, Urban, Paranormal, Cozy, Suspense, Zombies, Horror, Dystopian, Ghosts, Serial Killers, Supernatural, novels, novellas, and/or graphic novels as you can during the challenge. All formats count and the fear level is up to you.

 

When sharing your progress on Twitter or Instagram, don’t forget to use #FraterfestRAT2022 

Welcome to the 2022 Hocus Pocus-Inspired Fraterfest Bingo!

 

 

It’s time to scour your shelves, e-readers, and audiobook collections for titles that coordinate with the bingo prompts.  Any type of bingo counts: horizontal, diagonal, vertical, or postage stamp. Or go wild and fill the entire card! The choice is yours. You do not have to read the book.

 

To enter, you must be signed up for the Fraterfest Read-a-thon. Please leave your answers in either the comment section below or post a link to your own post in the comment section.



The Prompts

 

Free Space—your choice

Salem—book set in Salem

Sanderson Sisters—book about Witches

Binx—black cat on cover

Billy—book with Zombies

It’s Been 300 Years—any historical that fits the them

Black Flame Candle—black on the cover

Boooook—your favorite spooky read

I Put A Spell on You—a book that held you under its spell and you couldn’t put it down.

Another Glorious Morning. Makes Me Sick—book with vampires

Come, We Fly—a book with a broomstick on the cover

It’s Just A Bunch of Hocus Pocus—orange, purple, or green on cover

When the Moon is Round—a book with werewolves or shapeshifters

Winnie—a suspense, thriller, mystery book

Sarah—a paranormal romance book

Mary—a cozy mystery book

Shove it, Satan— a book that’s dark themed, horror, occult

Hallowed Ground—a grave or cemetery in book or on cover

Circle of Salt—a book that contains ghost(s)

Old Salem Village—woods or forest in book or on cover

Calming Circle—short story or novella

All Hallows Eve—an atmospheric read

Hocus Pocus 2—second book in a series that fits Fraterfest theme

Trick or Treat—a book you’ve been wanting to read

Life Potion—a book about magic or had magic in the title

 


a Rafflecopter giveaway  

Terms and conditions: One lucky winner will be selected at random by Rafflecopter to win a $15 Amazon gift card. The giveaway is open international and runs October 14 through October 25th

The winner will be notified via email on October 25th  and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be selected. Must be 13 or older to enter or have your parents/guardians permission.



Thursday, October 13, 2022

2022 Fraterfest Participation Post


Hello, fellow Spooky Season Lovers, I just wanted to let you know that I will be joining the 2022 Fraterfest Read-a-thon, which starts at midnight tonight. I’m so excited; I just love a good Spooky Season read.

 

Quick side note, tomorrow I will also be hosting Fraterfest Bingo, so stop by and participate in all the Spooky goodness!

 

My goals….do I have goals? I don’t know, I’d like to finish at least 10 books by the end of RAT. Will that happen? I have no idea. You know what they say about mice, men, and best laid plans…

 

My TBR…do readers really plan these out and stick with them or are they just a lovely little dream of what might happen? I’ve been horrible at sticking to a set TBR because I’m a big mood reader. There are weeks where I’ll read nothing but thrillers and mysteries then for months I’ll read nothing but historical romances. It’s generally wherever my reading fancy takes me, so I’m not going to list a set TBR. My TBR for this RAT is going to be a floating TBR. I know some books/series I want to read but the others will be random based on my mood.

 

 

My plans…so Friday, Saturday, and Sunday I want to finish the books that I’ve started. That way I’ll have a clean slate going forward.

I need to finish:

-A Dark and Stormy Tea by Laura Childs (115 pages left)

-Home Before Dark by Riley Sager (284 pages left)

-The Southern Book Club’s Guide To Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix (214 pages left)

 

Yes, I’ve been reading The Southern Book Club’s Guide To Slaying Vampires for over a year now. Okay, I started it over a year ago during the last Fraterfest and completely forgot that I started it, so I’m going to force myself to finish it this year.

 

As for the rest of the RAT, I’m not really sure what books in particular I’ll be reading. I do know that I want to read a few books from the Krewe of Hunters Series by Heather Graham. There’s a few paranormal romances that have caught my eye and I have a few audiobooks that could make the cut. Other than that, I’m just going to wing it.

 

Updates…I will update the 17th, 19th, 21st, and 24th. I will also be posting on Instagram. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2022

The Cozy Autumn Book Tag


I am such an Autumn soul so when I found this Cozy Fall Book Tag, which was originally created by The Book Belle on YouTube, I knew it was the perfect book tag. So, I’m not going tag anyone in particular but, if you want to play along, feel free to leave your answers.

 

Here we go…

1. What book always reminds you of fall/autumn?

 


If I had to pick one book in particular, I would have to say Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. Every major event in Jane and Rochester’s lives happen during the autumn season.

 

If I had to pick a genre, it would have to be classic gothic literature. They offer the perfect Spooky Season vibes.

 

2. What is your favorite autumnal book cover?

 

There’s so many beautiful autumnal covers; this post would be a mile long if I listed them all. I’m going to pick from recent releases. My favorites have to be

 


Small Town Big Magic by Hazel Beck—it has a lovely cozy, witchy spooky season vibe.

 


At Home on Marigold Lane by Debbie Mason—this is the coziest autumnal cover that I’ve seen released this season.

 

3. What is your favorite autumnal drink to read with?

 

I’m more of a hot tea drinker but it really depends on my mood. Lately I’ve been leaning more towards a London Fog with a shot of lavender or a pumpkin spice chai. If I’m in a coffee mood, it’s a PSL or caramel pumpkin oat milk macchiato.

 

 

4. Do you prefer to read late at night or early in the morning?

 

It really depends; I will read in the morning but I tend to read more at night, which often results in a book hangover.

 

5. Halloween is coming! What is your favorite spooky read?

 

Again, this depends on my mood. I love classic gothics, paranormal romances, modern day thrillers or mysteries.

 

 

6. What is the ultimate comfort read for you?

 


I love small town romances that have a strong sense of family and community. The Swift River Valley series by Carla Neggers and the Highland Falls series by Debbie Mason are two of my favorites.

 


 

7. What is your favorite autumnal reading snack?

 

I love a good homemade pumpkin scone or a pumpkin spice teacake.

 

8. What is your favorite autumnal candle to burn whilst reading?

 

At the moment, I’ve been loving Pumpkin Pecan Waffles from Bath and Body Works although I tend to change my candle based on the book that I’m reading.

 

 

9. When you’re not reading, what is your favorite autumnal activity?

 

I love baking, taking walks, and leaf pepping.

 

10. What is on your autumn/fall reading list?

Oh my goodness, there’s so many that I’d like to get through this season but I’ll narrow it down to ten.

 


1-Spells For Forgetting by Adrienne Young



2-Small Town Big Magic by Hazel Beck



3-The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley



4-House of Hunger by Alexis Henderson



5-The Hacienda by Isabel Canas


6-Daisy Darker by Alice Feeney



7-Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman



8-Cackle by Rachel Harrison



9-The Lighthouse Witches by C.J. Cooke



10-In the Night Wood by Dale Bailey 

Monday, October 3, 2022

Blogtober Day 3

Hey, Lovelies, welcome to Day 3 of Blogtober! This one’s a little late-—and a little short— but I’m sticking to my goal of posting every day this October.

 


It’s been a very Monday Monday. I’ve been having some pain in my right wrist on and off for the last few weeks. I didn’t think anything of it, honestly, I thought that I just irritated it when I was lifting some heavy boxes. Well, I woke up this morning barely able to bend my wrist. Turns out, I’ve damaged a tendon and will need to wear a brace for two or more weeks. Bad news, the pharmacy is currently out of braces; hopefully they’ll have one in a few days. Good news, my wrist won’t require surgery and I’ve been told to take it easy so I’ll have a little more time to read this week than I expected.

 

Another bit of good news mixed with bad is that the contractor actually showed up yesterday and we were able to pick out the railings and columns for the porch. The bad news is he doesn’t know when he’ll be able to finish the porch.

 


I did manage a bit of reading today. Home Before Dark still isn’t thrilling me; I don’t want to DNF it but I’m not sure if it’s going to be my priority. I think I want something a little spookier.

 




I picked up Haunted House by Heather Graham and I’ve really been enjoying this novella. I also decided to give Evolve’s new bath bomb (Haunted) a go and it made for a lovely bath. Be aware; if you give one of their new bath bombs a try (Haunted or Black Pearl) be prepared to scrub your bath out afterwards as they do leave a dark stain.

 

That is all for day, my lovelies, I’ll see you tomorrow with a fun Fall-themed book tag.

Sunday, October 2, 2022

The Sunday Post, October 2, 2022

 Hello, Lovelies, I hope you’re all doing fantastic!

I’ve been a bit absent on the blog. To make a long story short, the contractor that was hired at the end of May to remodel my front porch scampered off with my money, the new contractor hasn’t shown up when he said he would, and the numerous lawyer appointments were a waste of time and even more money. At this point, I have no idea when the front porch will be finished and the building code inspector is getting a bit cranky. To say I’ve been stressed is an understatement. It’s been a bit hard to carve out time for blogging but, hopefully, Blogtober will get me back into the blogging grove.

 

Yesterday my town had a fun little Hocus Pocus Shop Hop and Adult trick or treating. I went with a dear friend of mine and her sweet little girl and we had a good time. I had intended to take pics for Instagram but most of them had my friend’s daughter in them and I’m not comfortable sharing photos of someone’s child. Here’s a few random ones I snapped.

 


setup inside local pizza place



I loved getting out and supporting the small businesses that’s popped up in town. I picked up a fun little Fall hat, a Hocus Pocus shirt, some fun bath bombs, and had a lovely white pumpkin latte from one of the local cafes. While I enjoyed the Shop Hop, I wish it hadn’t been so alcohol based, as a non-drinker it’s a bit of a turn off.

 

Today, if all goes well, I should be picking out the railings for my front porch—if the contractor shows up. He was a no-show last weekend. I also have a few errands that I need to run before the week starts; I’ve been rearranging things and decluttering so I need to pick up some storage totes and such and do a bit of grocery shopping.

 


On the reading front, I finally got my reading groove back. I wasn’t in a slump, I just wasn’t able to concentrate with everything going on. There’s a few books I need to finish, Chase Wilde Comes Home by Jennifer Ryan (I have a little over 3 hours left on the audiobook) and A Dark and Stormy Tea by Laura Childs (I’m about half way through). I’ll finish one of these today, probably Chase Wilde Comes Home as I’ll listen to it in the car. I’m just not feeling A Dark and Stormy Tea, I’m a bit bored with it to be honest. While I love the Tea Shop Mysteries, I’m feeling they’re a bit hit or miss with me lately. I also need to try to focus a bit more on Home Before Dark by Riley Sager to see if I can get into it. If you’ve read it, does it get any better or is it slow and choppy?

 

Work has been a bit crazy lately; I’m hoping that things slow down this week as I have some house things I need to get done at the start of the week. Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday my on-line book group is hosting a read-a-thon, sadly, I think it’s going to be our last one as things start getting back to normal and our work schedules have changed. I’m hoping I’ll be able to participate for two days. I’d like to do all three, I just don’t see that happening.

 

What are reading? What are you watching? Are you ready to get your Spooky Season on? I want to know what you’ve been up to!

 

I hope you all have a fantastic week!

The Sunday Post is a blog news meme hosted by Kimberly @ 
Caffeinated Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog and showcase books and things we have received. Share news about what is coming up on your blog for the week ahead. Join in weekly, bi-weekly or for a monthly wrap up.
 

Saturday, October 1, 2022

Welcome to Blogtober

 Hello, My Fellow Spooky Lovers, and Happy Saturday! Today is the first day of Blogtober as well as the official start of Spooky Season. If all goes well, fingers crossed, I will be posting on the blog everyday as well as fun daily updates on Instagram (@simplyangelarenee).

 


My official ‘Spooky Season’ started last night. I made a charcuterie board and settled in to watch Hocus Pocus 2—not sure what I thought about it yet, my review post will be up one day this week. I also read a bit of Home Before Dark by Riley Sager and I’m struggling to get into this book. I’m only on Chapter 3 and I’m hoping it picks up the pace because, to be honest, I’m a bit bored with it. I don’t know if I’m just not into the book or if I’m just not vibing with Riley Sager’s writing style.

 

If Home Before Dark fails to impress me, I do have a few spooky reads that I’ve recently added to my October TBR.

 


Daisy Darker by Alice Feeney—this is one of my most anticipated reads of 2022. I did receive a finished copy from the publisher but I really wanted to pick this one up on audio until I realized that Richard Armitage did not narrate it so hard copy it will be. While I do like Alice Feeney’s writing style, what intrigued me with this one was the And Then There Were None comparison this one received. I’ve read a lot of reviews saying that this was a brand new spin on the original, so I’m curious to see how it plays out.

 


Angelika Frankenstein Makes Her Match by Sally Thorne—I love Frankenstein (I’m considering giving it a re-read before starting this one) so this one has me curious as it delves into Victor’s sister creating her perfect man.

 


The Last House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward—I picked this up on audio on a whim. It released last year and, at the time, I heard so many mixed reviews I wasn’t sure if I wanted to try it but a friend recommended it to me so I’m going to give it a go.

 

While I have a ton of Spooky Reads I need to get through, I’m not sure what my October TBR is going to look like as of yet. I’m going to attempt to have a tentative TBR list for this month up by Friday but I’ve been such a mood reader lately I’m not sure how that’s going to work out.

 

I hope you all have a lovely and safe Saturday. I’m going to a town event today with a dear friend and her sweet daughter so keep an eye out on Instagram for all the spooky fun! 


Friday, May 27, 2022

Speed Reviews: Comfort Me with Apples by Catherynne M. Valente & Sleeping Dogs Lie by Samantha Downing

I have another round of speed reviews. In this one, we have a Comfort Me with Apples, which wasn’t for me, and Sleeping Dogs Lie, which I highly recommend.

Sophia was made for him. Her perfect husband. She can feel it in her bones. He is perfect. Their home together in Arcadia Gardens is perfect. Everything is perfect.

It's just that he's away so much. So often. He works so hard. She misses him. And he misses her. He says he does, so it must be true. He is the perfect husband and everything is perfect.

But sometimes Sophia wonders about things. Strange things. Dark things. The look on her husband's face when he comes back from a long business trip. The questions he will not answer. The locked basement she is never allowed to enter. And whenever she asks the neighbors, they can't quite meet her gaze...

Publisher: Tordotcom| Genre: Horror/Thriller | Source: Publisher  | Rating:0

 This was one of my most anticipated reads of 2021; it’s been labeled as a ‘tantalizingly crooked domestic mystery’, ‘a darkly elegant fairy tale-horror story’, and ‘a delectable, nefarious thriller’ just to quote a few. Sadly, this turned out to be one of the worst books I’ve read.

Here’s a quick rundown of what’s going on.

The book starts with the HOA rules for Arcadia Gardens then introduces Sophia, who seems to be the perfect woman, with the perfect husband living in a perfect house in a perfect community. Although things are not as they seem and soon

Sophia starts finding macabre items that has her questioning both her husband and her own happiness.

I thought this was going to be one of my top ten books of 2021 and it was utter nonsense. I did like that the start of the book, it read like a dark fairytale with a domestic thriller thrown in. Then things started going downhill and this ended up being a Biblical re-telling, which I did not appreciate. I don’t like it when an author rewrites events from the Bible.

Had I known what this book was about, especially the way it was handled, I never would have read it.



Shelby works as a dog walker in Northern California, and she’s just finished up her biweekly trip to the park with a husky named Pluto. When she brings him back to his house, she finds his owner—Todd Burke, a well-known local businessman and founder of an organic supplements company—dead on the bathroom floor. As a detective interviews Shelby, a medical examiner inspects the body, and more cops search Todd’s home, it becomes clear that the victim’s life was less picture-perfect than his clean-cut persona might lead you to believe.

 

Publisher: Audible | Narrators: Melanie Nicholls-King, Lindsey Dorcus | Length: 2 hrs 8 min | Genre: Contemporary Mystery/Thriller | Source: Publisher | Rating: 4 Cups

I wasn’t sure about this one. I’m never fully into Samantha Downing’s full-length novels; they just never thrill me, but I’ve been working my way through the short stories in the audible plus catalogue and this one popped up so I thought I would give it a listen.

I’m not going to talk too much about this one because I don’t want to spoil it but Here’s a quick rundown, Shelby’s a dog walker, when she goes to return Pluto to his owner she discovers him dead on his bathroom floor. As the police and detectives process the scene and speak to Shelby, it soon becomes apparent that nothing is as it seems.

This was super quick but the pacing was spot on, nothing felt rushed or left out. So, the plot of this one was something I’ve not read before and it was interesting seeing how everything played out. The ending was fantastic.

Overall, this made for a great listen while doing yardwork. 

Have you read any good short stories or novellas lately?

 

Thursday, May 26, 2022

The Night Thief by Joy Ellis

When a creepy burglar strikes the Fens stealing pictures of little boy Jackman and Evans are more the a little concerned although things take a sinister turn when an elderly lady ends up dead. Keep reading to hear my thought on the latest book in the Jackman and Evans Series.

When everyone is sleeping, he comes into their houses.

He takes one thing. A photo of their child.

A sinister thief on a power trip or something even darker and more sinister?

Detectives Jackman and Evans find themselves on the hunt for a highly unusual burglar who seemingly only steals photographs. But then, late one night, an elderly woman falls to her death after seeing someone in her home.

Did she really fall, or was she murdered?

And just how many mysterious intruders are there on the Fens?

With the body count rising, Jackman and Evans have their work cut out for them to track down the night thief - before it’s too late.

Series: Jackman & Evans #8 | Publisher: Audible  | Narrator: Richard Armitage  | Length: 11 hrs 10 min | Genre: Mystery/Thriller  | Source: Publisher  | Rating: 3 Cups

Someone’s been breaking into people’s houses, stealing pictures of young boys. Is a thief trying to spook people or something more dangerous? Jackman and Evans have been searching down every avenue looking for answers but coming up empty then an elderly woman falls to her death during a break-in leaving the detectives to wonder if it’s the same person and if they have now added murder to their list of crimes. Is there a connection between the missing pictures and the woman? Jackman and Evans must race to find a connection before the night thief strikes again.

I’m a bit on the fence about this one. It was good yet it was rather boring in some spots, I’m sorry to say. When this one was good, it was really good and had me eager to find out more but the boring bits nearly had me asleep.

Character-wise, I liked seeing more into the personal lives of Rowan Jackman and Ruth Evans—this one dealt with a lot of relationship type things—and we do get to see a decent amount of actual detective work. The villain in this one wasn’t as strong or as creepy as the previous ones, they just came off more unhinged than anything. So I was never really pulled into any twists or turns trying to figure out their thought process.

In this one, we have a thief breaking into people’s houses and stealing pictures of young boys. It seems like it’s random bits of weirdness then an elderly lady catches someone in her house and dies after falling down the steps. We also have Laura (she’s Jackman’s psychologist girlfriend) who is a little creeped out by her sleepwalking, sometimes blood covered patient. There’s a lot of are they are they not connected going on. A lot of time spent running around with the sleepwalker, some creepy bits with the thief but there’s not a lot actually happening. We’re going through the motions yet going back to the beginning.

This one is a little over 11 hours and, honestly, I think it was just a little too long. I really wish she would have stuck with the main aspect of the story—it would have held my attention better—rather than throwing in the red herrings that really didn’t make a lot of sense or go with the story. It seemed like it was just a hastily thrown together distraction rather than something that was plausible. The mystery itself was decent but it was too drawn out.

Overall, it was just okay. I do wish that this had been condensed; the mystery was intriguing and had me eager to see how it unfolded but I don’t think it had enough legs to stand on as a full-length novel—and the second longest in the series. This would have been so much more enjoyable as a novella.


Jackman & Evans Series (recommended listening order)

 

Their Lost Daughters

The Murderer's Son

The Fourth Friend

The Guilty Ones

The Stolen Boys

The Patient Man

They Disappeared

The Night Thief