Book Review – Apple Cider Slaying by Julie Anne Lindsey

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Synopsis

Apples are at the core of the family business run by Winona Mae Montgomery and her Granny Smythe. But this year’s crop is unseasonably ripe with murder . . .

ONE ROTTEN APPLE

Blossom Valley, West Virginia, is home to Smythe Orchards, Winnie and her Granny’s beloved twenty-five-acre farm and family business. But any way you slice it, it’s struggling. That’s why they’re trying to drum up business with the “First Annual Christmas at the Orchard,” a good old-fashioned holiday festival with enough delicious draw to satisfy apple-picking locals and cider-loving tourists alike–until the whole endeavor takes a sour turn when the body of Nadine Cooper, Granny’s long-time, grudge-holding nemesis, is found lodged in the apple press. Now, with Granny the number one suspect, Winnie is hard-pressed to prove her innocence before the real killer delivers another murder . . .

 

My Review
4 out of 5 stars

This is a promising start to a fun new cozy mystery series. I’m all about holiday settings so this book drew me in from the start. I enjoyed getting to know Winnie and her Granny. They have such a strong relationship. It really made me miss my Granny that I lost at a really early age.

Even though she could bit a bit overly emotional at times, I liked Winnie as a character. She was very hardworking and was willing to do whatever it took to make her dreams come true, while also helping out her Granny. I really admired her determination. I didn’t like Sheriff Wise very much at the beginning of the book, but he grew on me as the story progressed. However, I wish there wasn’t already a hint about a romance brewing between him and Winnie. It seems like more and more cozies now feature a romance. As much as I don’t like that in a cozy, it looks like I’m just going to have to get used to it.

I have to give major props to the author for the reveal of the killer. It was someone that wasn’t even on my radar, so that was a nice twist that I wasn’t expecting. I love when an author is able to stump me or take me by surprise like that.

There were several yummy sounding recipes at the back of the book that I am definitely going to give a try some time.

I’m looking forward to reading the next book in this series.

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review – The Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan

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Synopsis

Magnus Chase has seen his share of trouble. Ever since that terrible night two years ago when his mother told him to run, he has lived alone on the streets of Boston, surviving by his wits, staying one step ahead of the police and the truant officers.

One day, Magnus learns that someone else is trying to track him down—his uncle Randolph, a man his mother had always warned him about. When Magnus tries to outmaneuver his uncle, he falls right into his clutches. Randolph starts rambling about Norse history and Magnus’s birthright: a weapon that has been lost for thousands of years.

The more Randolph talks, the more puzzle pieces fall into place. Stories about the gods of Asgard, wolves, and Doomsday bubble up from Magnus’s memory. But he doesn’t have time to consider it all before a fire giant attacks the city, forcing him to choose between his own safety and the lives of hundreds of innocents. . . .

Sometimes, the only way to start a new life is to die.

 

My Review
5 out of 5 stars

It was so great diving back into the Riordanverse with another great series. I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about this series featuring Norse mythology since it took me a little bit to get into the Kane Chronicles (Egyptian mythology), but I absolutely loved this book.

I fell for Magnus right away. He was a good kid who was dealing with some sad circumstances. I loved his humor and sarcasm. There are a couple characters in this book that you aren’t sure if you can trust or not. I loved that because it added a bit of suspense and intrigue to the book. It really made you want to finish as quickly as possible so you could see how everything turned out. I really enjoyed meeting Magnus’ friends, Blitzen and Hearth, and eventually Sam as well. They each contributed to the story in their own way and I love them all so much!

It was fun seeing Riordan’s take on Loki and Thor. I’m looking forward to seeing more of them throughout the rest of the series. I enjoyed learning more about Norse mythology since I didn’t really know anything at all about it before reading this book.

I can’t wait to read the next book to see where the story goes from here.

Book Review – Meet Your Baker by Ellie Alexander

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Synopsis

Welcome to Torte-a friendly, small-town family bake shop where the treats are so good that, sometimes, it’s criminal…

After graduating from culinary school, Juliet Capshaw returns to her quaint hometown of Ashland, Oregon, to heal a broken heart and help her mom at the family bakery. The Oregon Shakespeare Festival is bringing in lots of tourists looking for some crumpets to go with their heroic couplets. But when one of Torte’s customers turns up dead, there’s much ado about murder…

The victim is Nancy Hudson, the festival’s newest board member. A modern-day Lady Macbeth, Nancy has given more than a few actors and artists enough reasons to kill her…but still. The silver lining? Jules’s high school sweetheart, Thomas, is the investigator on the case. His flirtations are as delicious as ever, and Jules can’t help but want to have her cake and eat it too. But will she have her just desserts? Murder might be bad for business, but love is the sweetest treat of all…

 

My Review
5 out of 5 stars

I am so, so glad I decided to start this series! I can tell already that this is going to become one of my favorites. I’m grateful that there are already several books out in this series, because that is going to give me plenty to read and binge my way through!

Ashland, Oregon sounds absolutely amazing and I definitely want to go there to visit sometime. Everything is described so well it’s almost like I’m there myself, which is the next best thing to actually being there. I am in love with Torte as well. I was practically drooling while reading this book with all of the delicious things that Jules creates for Torte. I’m definitely going to be trying out some of those recipes in the back of the book.

I really like that there is going to be a probably ongoing storyline in this series between Jules and Carlos. I’m looking forward to seeing where things go with that in the next book.

The mystery was very well written. I was completely stumped about who the killer was. Just when I thought I had narrowed down my suspicion on someone, things would be revealed and I would suspect someone else. I was shocked at the reveal since it wasn’t someone I had suspected at all!

I’ll definitely be picking up the next book in this series very soon!

Book Review – Neat by Kandi Steiner

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Synopsis

My life is over.

I swore I would never work at the whiskey distillery with my last name on it, that I would never be a part of my father’s legacy. But when I graduated with my art degree and realized there were no jobs, the devil appeared, and I sold my soul, agreeing to work in the family business if he’d give me the art studio I’d always dreamed of.

It can’t be that bad, I thought.

Until I realized my new boss was Logan Becker.

The Becker brothers have a reputation for being trouble, and since I love trouble, it’s no surprise to me that I’m infatuated by that forbidden fruit the first day I walk into the distillery. That lean, whiskey-eyed, too-hot-for-his-own-good man hates me — and I can’t blame him. His family has been at war with mine for decades, and for good reason.

The Beckers and the Scooters are the Montagues and Capulets of Stratford, Tennessee.

But if he’s Romeo, and I’m Juliet? Well… we all know how that story ends — and for that reason, I tell myself to steer clear.

Because if my father finds out I’m falling for Logan Becker, my life actually will be over.

And Logan’s will be, too.

 

My Review
4 out of 5 stars

Wow, this was a really emotional book! There was a lot of angst that had me clutching my chest at times. I’ve never really read a story with Romeo and Juliet vibes, so it was interesting to feel all of those emotions along with Mallory and Logan. I’ll tell you though… I didn’t really care for Mallory’s father to begin with from what I saw of him in the previous book, but this book really made me hate him.

I really enjoyed getting to know Logan more during this book. He definitely spoke to my nerdy, organization loving heart! He is so incredibly sweet. I also liked Mallory as well. I loved that she is so spunky and feisty. She does her own thing and doesn’t care. I loved how she owned up to things when she needed to apologize.

A new discovery pushed the mystery storyline a little further during this book and I am dying to know how that is all going to to turn out. I can’t wait to read Mikey’s (Michael) book next and get to know him better. My heart is hurting for him right now so I hope he is able to get a happy ending of his own.

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

 

 

Book Review – On the Rocks by Kandi Steiner

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Synopsis

Noah Becker is nothing but trouble.

That’s what Mama told me when I was a kid, kicking his pew in church and giggling at the games we’d play. It’s what the town said when his father died and the Becker brothers went wild. And it’s on repeat in my mind the day I walk into the whiskey distillery where he works to buy a wedding gift for my fiancé.

He’s trouble.
Dirty, sweaty, rude trouble.

No matter how many times I repeat it, I can’t escape Noah in our small Tennessee town. And the more I run into him, the more he infuriates me.

Because he sees what no one else does.

He sees me—the real me.

The me I’m not sure I’m allowed to be.

I’m Ruby Grace Barnett, the mayor’s daughter. Soon to be a politician’s wife, just like Mama and Daddy always wanted. Soon to fulfill my family’s legacy, just like I always knew I would.

Until the boy everyone warned me about makes me question everything, like whether the wedding I’m planning is one I even want.

Everyone says Noah Becker is nothing but trouble.

If only I had listened.

 

My Review
4 out of 5 stars

Noah and Ruby Grace’s story gave me all of the feels. There was humor, lovable characters, angst, and sweet moments. Noah was pretty much the perfect man and I swooned over him several times throughout the book.

I liked that this book is set in a town that is built around a whiskey distillery. That brought a unique element to the story and was really interesting to read about. I also enjoyed that, though this is a romance book, there is an underlying mystery about what happened to Noah’s dad that I’m pretty sure is going to run throughout the series. I’m looking forward to seeing what is (maybe) uncovered about that in the next book.

I enjoyed getting to know the Becker brothers as well. Noah is part of an amazing and loving family. I grew to love all of them throughout this book. I’m looking forward to reading Logan’s story next!

 

Review – Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover

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Synopsis

Sydney is living in an idyllic bubble—she’s a dedicated student with a steady job on the side. She lives with her best friend, has a great boyfriend, and the music coming from the balcony opposite hers is fast becoming the soundtrack to her life. But when Sydney finds out her boyfriend is cheating on her, the bubble bursts. The mysterious and attractive man behind the music, Ridge, gives Sydney hope that she can move on and they begin to write songs together. But moving on is harder than she expects, Sydney can only hope….

Maybe someday…

 

My Review
5 out of 5 stars

Slammed has been my favorite book by Colleen Hoover for several years, but this book just changed that. Maybe Someday is now at the top of my list of favorite Colleen Hoover books. I’m not ever going to be able to do this book justice with my words. Nothing I can say will be adequate enough to show my love for this book that I just finished.

This book has a soundtrack that goes along with it. In a note at the beginning of the book, Colleen says that this isn’t only a book, it’s an experience. I am so glad I decided to listen to the songs as they appeared in the book. That changed everything and made it that much more special to me. Reading the lyrics on the page is one thing, but to actually hear the songs that Ridge and Sydney were creating together…. oh my goodness, my heart is so full right now I’m waiting on it to burst!

I felt so many emotions while reading this book and the songs just enhanced that. I laughed, I was frustrated, I cried, and I felt so much angst that I just about couldn’t stand it.

I used to reread books but I don’t anymore because I have so many unread books on my shelves that I know I’ll probably never have the time to read them all. But this… *this* is a book that I can definitely see myself rereading over and over again. 

Review – Lock Every Door by Riley Sager

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Synopsis

No visitors. No nights spent away from the apartment. No disturbing the other residents, all of whom are rich or famous or both. These are the only rules for Jules Larsen’s new job as an apartment sitter at the Bartholomew, one of Manhattan’s most high-profile and mysterious buildings. Recently heartbroken and just plain broke, Jules is taken in by the splendor of her surroundings and accepts the terms, ready to leave her past life behind.

As she gets to know the residents and staff of the Bartholomew, Jules finds herself drawn to fellow apartment sitter Ingrid, who comfortingly, disturbingly reminds her of the sister she lost eight years ago. When Ingrid confides that the Bartholomew is not what it seems and the dark history hidden beneath its gleaming facade is starting to frighten her, Jules brushes it off as a harmless ghost story—until the next day, when Ingrid disappears.

Searching for the truth about Ingrid’s disappearance, Jules digs deeper into the Bartholomew’s dark past and into the secrets kept within its walls. Her discovery that Ingrid is not the first apartment sitter to go missing at the Bartholomew pits Jules against the clock as she races to unmask a killer, expose the building’s hidden past, and escape the Bartholomew before her temporary status becomes permanent.

 

My Review
4 out of 5 stars

This was my first book by Riley Sager and it definitely will not be my last. I was a little hesitant to read this book since it is incredibly hyped right now, but I am so glad that I took a chance on it.

I went into this book blind, but still knew a few small details from other people in the book community talking about it so much. For the most part though, I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book. Right from the start I was weary and creeped out from the offer that definitely sounded too good to be true. Desperation can lead you to making decisions that you may not have made otherwise though.

As the story progressed, I became more and more creeped out. There were several times that I got chills while reading. It’s been a long time since a book has creeped me out like that. I made the mistake of reading a good chunk of this book at night, alone, so that had my awareness hightened even more than usual while reading.

While I was able to correctly guess who couldn’t be trusted at the Bartholomew, the reason behind it took me by surprise. It was twisted for sure.

I liked that the ending tied up most of the questions a reader would have had at the end of the book but also left a couple other things open for you to wonder about on your own. Sometimes it’s nice to not have everything tied up in a neat little bow.

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. 

Book Review – The Woman in the Park by Teresa Sorkin and Tullan Holmqvist

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Synopsis
When Manhattanite Sarah Rock meets a mysterious and handsome stranger in the park, she is drawn to him. Sarah wants to get away from her daily routine, her cheating husband and his crazy mistress, her frequent sessions with her heartless therapist, and her moody children.

But nothing is as it seems. Her life begins to unravel when a woman from the park goes missing and Sarah becomes the prime suspect in the woman’s disappearance. Her lover is nowhere to be found, her husband is suspicious of her, and her therapist is talking to the police.

With no one to trust, Sarah must face her inner demons and uncover the truth to prove her innocence.
A thriller that questions what is real-with its shocking twists, secrets, and lies―The Woman in the Park will leave readers breathless.

 

My Review
4 out of 5 stars

4stars

Wow, I’m surprised to see that this is a debut novel. This story packed a pretty big punch and was a quick, twisty, suspenseful read!

The first part of this story sets everything in motion and the second half is when things really start to get moving and come together. I was flipping pages like crazy because I wanted to know what was going to happen next. At one point during the story, I felt like Sarah, where I wasn’t sure what was real and what wasn’t. There were several twists and I was left feeling like I didn’t know who, if anyone, I could trust!

I’m looking forward to reading future books from these authors.

*I received a copy of this book from Suzy Approved Book Tours and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review – Haunted House Murder by Leslie Meier

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**This is a collection of three novellas. I will put the synopsis and my review for each individual story in this collection below.**

 

HAUNTED HOUSE MURDER by LESLIE MEIER
Newcomers to Tinker’s Cove, Ty and Heather Moon have moved into a dilapidated house reputed to be a haven for ghosts. Now strange noises and flickering lights erupt from the house at all hours and neighborly relations are on edge. And when a local boy goes missing near the house, it’s up to Lucy Stone to unravel the mystery of the eccentric couple and their increasingly frightful behavior.

My Review
3 out of 5 stars
3stars

This was my first story by this author, so this little novella was a good way for me to get a feel for her writing style.

I enjoyed this story for the most part. There were instances were some of the characters grated on my nerves a little and acted over-the-top in some situations, but overall, this was a good story. While my feelings about Ty and Heather Moon were correct, the specific reason for why they acted the way they did was a surprise to me and added a nice twist to the story.

I am looking forward to reading other books by this author soon.

 

DEATH BY HAUNTED HOUSE by LEE HOLLIS
For the past two years, the house next door to Hayley Powell has sat abandoned after the owner died under mysterious circumstances. The Salinger family has recently taken possession of the property, but the realtor behind the deal has vanished—after a very public and angry argument with Damien Salinger. If Bar Harbor’s newest neighbors are murderers, Hayley will haunt them until they confess.

My Review
3 out of 5 stars
3stars

Even though this was a novella, this story packed a big punch and gave you the feeling of reading a whole book. I liked that there were two mysteries in this story. I was really curious about what the deal was with Hayley’s new neighbors. They came off really creepy for sure so I was turning pages to see if they were really as bad as they seemed. Then there was the mystery behind what happened to Wendy Jo. I was surprised to find out who was behind that.

The only down side to this story for me was the characters. A couple of the characters in this story were even more over the top than the characters in the previous story. Other than that, this was a pretty good story.

 

HALLOWED OUT by BARBARA ROSS
With its history of hauntings and ghost sightings, Busman’s Harbor is the perfect setting for Halloween festivities. But when a reenactment of a Prohibition-era gangster’s murder ends with a literal bang and a dead actor from New Jersey, Julia Snowden must identify a killer before she ends up sleeping with the fishes.

My Review
5 out of 5 stars
5stars

I really enjoyed this story. I loved the idea of a haunted house tour. That is something that I would be interested in going on myself! There was plenty of suspense and mystery in this story to keep me invested and wanting to know what would happen next.

The killer completely took me by surprise. It wasn’t who I was expecting it to be, so I love that the author stumped me.

I’m definitely interested in learning more about Julia and Busman’s Harbor so I will be going back and reading the books in the author’s Maine Clambake series for sure!

 


Overall, I give this novella collection a 4 out of 5 star rating!

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review – Murder Lo Mein by Vivien Chien

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Synopsis
Lana Lee’s stake in her family’s Chinese restaurant is higher than ever now that she’s been made manager. So when she enters Ho-Lee into Cleveland’s Best Noodle Contest, Lana makes it her business to win—at all costs. But when a local food critic receives a threatening note in a fortune cookie and is later found dead, face-down in a bowl of lo mein, all bets are off. . .

Now, along with her sweet-and-sour boyfriend Detective Adam Trudeau, Lana decides to take matters into her own hands and dig into the lives of everyone involved in the contest. But when she receives an ill-fated fortune, Lana realizes that in order to save the reputation of her restaurant, she needs to save herself first. .

 

My Review
5 out of 5 stars
5stars

The Noodle Shop series has quickly become my top favorite cozy mystery series ever. Lana is such a fun and relatable character. The setting is unique and even some of the secondary characters are starting to grow on me.

I was happy to see things progress with Lana and Adam in this book. I’m not usually a fan of romance in a cozy mystery, but the author is really able to make it work in this series and not have it take away from the mystery. I really appreciate that as a reader.

The mystery was very well done in this book. There were plenty of suspects to choose from and I was not able to guess the killer. I love when an author is able to stump me like that! That just goes to show how well the mystery was written in this book.