Just a book blog

Just a book blog

I'm Jenn.

I like to read then blog about it :-)

Review
3 Stars
The Drowning
The Drowning - J.P. Smith

As the legend goes - every seven years a boy disappears from Camp Waukeelo. Eight-year-old Joey Proctor doesn't like deep water. He can't swim. This frustrates 18-year-old camp counselor Alex Mason who takes little Joey out to a raft in the middle of a lake and then accidentally forgets about him. Twenty years have passed and Joey has still never been found. Alex Mason is now a successful businessman. His wife, his daughters, his house, his car.. they're all beautiful. He's managed to keep what happened at Camp Waukeelo a secret. But now it seems like Joey Proctor is back for revenge.

This book was easy to read, it didn't take long to fly through the pages. That being said, the book was also quite boring. The whole time it felt like we were on the verge of something big happening, and although the story did get better the closer we got to the end, that "something big" never really happened. Even the ending left me unsatisfied. I appreciate the cleverness woven throughout the story and the blurb sounded promising but unfortunately it missed the mark with me.

Thank you to Netgalley and Sourcebooks Landmark for an ARC.

Review
4 Stars
The Escape Room
The Escape Room - Megan Goldin

Vincent, Jules, Sam and Sylvie are high-flyers in the cutthroat world of Wall Street finance. They'll do anything to get more money. They're called into an empty building on a Friday night under the guise of a compulsory team-building escape room exercise. These four ruthless individuals have to set aside their rivalries and work together to solve the clues that will release them from the elevator. Tempers fray and the clues aren't getting any easier. The final puzzle for them to solve - which one of them is a killer?

Ooh! This was fantastic! The very beginning grabs you and doesn't let go until the very end. It goes back and forth between four money/power-hungry people who work crazy hours and will do whatever it takes to keep living in the lap of luxury and Sara Hall who, once upon a time, worked with these people. What happened to her?! Both stories were excellent. They were so thick with tension. I didn't get far into the book when I just wanted it to be over - I couldn't stand not knowing anymore! Sara Hall tried her best to fit in and do a good job while also trying to do the right thing. I really liked her. She was thrown so many curveballs and worked so hard to overcome everything and stay on top. I hate to say this, but the last little chunk of the book when things unravel and we figure out what's going on is when the author lost me. I'm so disappointed I couldn't give this five stars, but it was a hell of a ride anyway!

Thank you to Netgalley and St. Martin's Press for a copy of this book.

Review
5 Stars
Dead as a Door Knocker
Dead as a Door Knocker - Diane Kelly

Whitney Whitaker loves turning an eyesore of a house into a beautiful piece of art. She's just been given the opportunity to purchase a charming old house for an amazing price. She can't wait to renovate the place and get it on the market, but she's going to have to because her cat, Sawdust, has just found a dead body in the flowerbed. This is Nashville Police Detective Collin Flynn's first murder investigation and Whitney doesn't think he's up to the job, obviously, because he wants to put her behind bars! Whitney needs to solve the case before she loses the money she put into the house, or worse, loses her life.

I love that cover. I was pleasantly surprised by this first book in a new series. I liked the main character, Whitney. She had her share of problems but always persevered. She was a hard worker, loved her family, friends and her little Sawdust and appreciated all they did for her. I love home renovations, flipping, interior decorating and everything else that goes along with making a house beautiful and homey and this book didn't disappoint. At first I groaned at Sawdust having his own chapters, but that was before I read a word of them - they're short and sweet, are totally adorable and added a huge dose of cuteness. I liked the mystery. I was convinced I had it figured out from the very beginning and I'm so happy I was wrong. A page-turner for sure. I can't wait for more!

Thank you to Netgalley and St. Martin's Press for an ARC.

Review
1 Stars
The Temp
The Temp - Michelle; Wise,  Barbara A.; Kelley-Arney,  Cathy; Ehrlich,  Ann; Schroeder,  Carol L.; Passanisi,  Cheryl; Campeau,  Frances E.; Fleitz,  Jeana Blesi

Carrie is a successful TV producer. She has a perfect husband and together they have a perfect life. Until they learn that Carrie is pregnant and wants to keep the baby. She's worried she'll lose her job and when a temp, Emma, is found to take over while she's on maternity leave Carrie becomes even more worried that Emma doesn't only want her job, but she wants her entire life.

Sometimes when I finish a book I wonder what it was about the blurb that drew me towards it in the first place. I guess going behind the scenes of a hit TV show sounds interesting and what is young Emma really after? Unfortunately, in this case, going behind the scenes wasn't interesting and I couldn't care less what Emma was doing. I didn't care about any of them. Dull, one-dimensional characters doing and saying the same things over and over and over. It was all so boring! Every bit of it, right from the very beginning, boring. It's slow and far-fetched. Just after the halfway point I started skimming. I was going to give the book two stars, but then we get to the "big twist" at the end and my eyes rolled into the back of my skull. Ugh! So much unbelievable shit happening there that just made me hate the whole book.

Thanks to Netgalley and Publishers Group Canada for a copy.

Review
4 Stars
Best Friends Forever
Best Friends Forever - Margot Hunt

Kat Grant is an artsy socialite. Alice Campbell is a struggling suburbanite. But these two women are best friends. So when Kat's husband, Howard, falls to his death from the second floor balcony of their mansion, Alice will be there for her. Howard wasn't a nice person. He was abusive, he was arrogant, a drunk, and according to police he was a murder victim. But Alice can't get a hold of Kat - no calls, no texts, and her wealthy family will not let Alice near their daughter.

This book kept me up into the early hours of the morning when I was already exhausted. That's a sign of a good book! Kat and Alice were real. They were interesting and frustrating. These two have lots of layers. We go back and forth from present day to three years ago when Alice and Kat first met. Great writing. Suspenseful. I did figure out a big part early on, which I'm no good at doing, so I don't know if that's why I felt underwhelmed with the ending or if there was a bit much going on or maybe it's a combination of both. But overall this was a compelling read that I wish I had've read sooner!

Review
4 Stars
Buy a Whisker
Buy a Whisker - Sofie Ryan

North Harbor, Maine, has been quiet since Sarah Grayson and her rescue cat, Elvis, solved a murder that cleared their friend's name. Sarah is happy giving items a second chance at her store Second Chance. But now there's controversy over developing the waterfront which the residents are all for - except for baker Lily Carter. So when Lily is found murdered in her bakery, everyone thinks it's over the development. But Sarah isn't so sure, and it's up to her and Elvis to find the motive and the murderer.

A fun follow-up to the first book, The Whole Cat and Caboodle. Once again we have great characters (I love Elvis!), and a great setting. I love the Second Chance shop and I love that the characters actually still do work there even though they want to solve the murder. The mystery was good. Some things were convenient but I suppose that's how it goes sometimes. I'm looking forward to book #3!

Review
4 Stars
The Whole Cat and Caboodle
The Whole Cat and Caboodle - Sofie Ryan

Sarah Grayson runs Second Chance - a shop in the oceanfront town of North Harbor, Maine, where she sells items that have been lovingly repurposed and refurbished. Elvis, the stray cat that has chosen Sarah as his companion, charms all the customers that come into the store. And when Sarah's elderly friend Maddie is found with the body of a dead man in her garden, it's up to Elvis and Sarah to clear the old lady's name and to make sure the real murderer doesn't get a second chance to kill again.

I have to mention Elvis first.. I love him. He has cattitude, but he's so charming and smart and you can't help but fall in love with him. At first I did have trouble keeping names straight since there are a few old women who hang out together in this story. But I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I liked the characters, the setting, the second hand store aptly named Second Chance, the mystery. I especially enjoyed the main character's reluctance to get involved with finding out who the murderer is - that was very refreshing! I feel like I have to mention that there were a lot of errors in chapter 15 and it was distracting. With that being said I still can't wait to read more in this series!

Review
1 Stars
The Perfect Liar
The Perfect Liar - Thomas Christopher Greene

Susannah is a young widow and single mother when she marries Max. Max is a charismatic artist and popular speaker whose career has taken their family to a quiet Vermont town. Susannah believes her life is going to be perfect, but instead she finds a note taped to their door - I KNOW WHO YOU ARE. Max thinks it's a prank. But after one of the couples in the neighbourhood comes to dinner, the husband dies in an accident while on a run with Max. Then another note is found on the door - DID YOU GET AWAY WITH IT? Both Susannah and Max are keeping secrets and someone else seems to know about them.

I'm sorry to say I ended up hating this book. There are no chapters and it makes for a long, drawn out story. I'm always wondering 'should I stop now?' And I didn't always know who was talking at first as there was no clear indication - I hope this is only in the ARC. It was so boring. None of it held my interest. I didn't like the characters. I was hoping it'd pick up. At 44% one of our unlikable main characters goes for a walk at night, picks up a dead fox and carries him home and begins slicing him up in great detail (or I think in great detail, I skipped the huge paragraph) After I skipped that paragraph, we went onto dead rabbits and that's when I decided I was done with the book. I love animals, I don't eat them, and I don't enjoy reading about them being hurt/killed/eaten in great detail. Nothing redeeming about the ending - it was anticlimactic and weird and I'm so happy I skipped all the shit in the middle, but disappointed I didn't start skipping earlier.

Thanks to Netgalley and St. Martin's Press for an ARC.

Review
5 Stars
Love & Gelato
Love & Gelato - Jenna Evans Welch

Sixteen-year-old Lina is spending the summer in Italy only because it was her mother's dying wish that she get to know Howard, a father she's never met. Lina just wants to go home, but once she's given a journal that her mother kept when she lived in Italy all those years ago, she seems to uncover the magical side of the country. But why did her mother write “I made the wrong choice”? Luckily she's not on her own to figure that out - her new (and cute) friend Ren is there with her to help her along the way.

A cute cover for a cute story. I inhaled this book. I loved the writing. Of course I loved the setting! Italy is so rich with history and gorgeous old buildings and art, and the food is the best. I found the characters to be real and believable. I can't even imagine being in Lina's shoes. I can't wait to get my hands on Love & Luck which is about Lina's best friend Addie.

Review
5 Stars
Death by Chocolate Lab
Death by Chocolate Lab - Bethany Blake

Daphne Templeton is a pet sitter. She has a soft spot for animals, but she doesn't have a soft spot for arrogant, womanizing Steve Beamus. He's the owner of Blue Ribbon K-9 Academy and Daphne's sister's ex-boyfriend. When she finds him dead on her sister's property while preparing for a dog agility trail, Daphne can think of a long list of people who didn't like Steve. She knows her sister didn't kill him, but the police think otherwise. Daphne, her basset hound sidekick Socrates, and a hyperactive chihuahua named Artie set out to clear her Piper Templeton's name.

I've read books two, three and four before reading this one which is the first in the Lucky Paws Petsitting series. While I did remember who was the murderer I thought that the whole mystery was well done to the point that I thought maybe I hadn't remembered correctly. It didn't take away from my enjoyment of the book, but I do recommend starting book one first. I like the characters, both human and canine, and I like Sylvan Creek. It's always fun spending time inside these pages and I will patiently wait for book number five!

Review
4 Stars
Wreath Between the Lines
Wreath Between The Lines - Daryl Wood Gerber

Jenna Hart loves the holidays. She's decorating the Cookbook Nook for Crystal Cove's festivities when her older sister makes an unexpected visit. But that's not the only thing on Jenna's plate - her father's good friend Jake shows up on her doorstep with news that his friend has been murdered. Jenna believes that Jake was the intended victim, so she makes a list of suspects and gets busy investigating but before she can come to any conclusions Jake is poisoned and nearly dies. Who wants Jake dead and why?

I was a little hesitant to read this since it's the 7th in a series even though it can be read as a standalone. But that cute cat in a Santa hat won me over! And I love the title of the book. Of course I would miss out on the depth of these character's stories and relationships but it didn't really bother me, it just made me want to pick up the others in the Cookbook Nook Mystery series. The writing was good, easy to read, never a dull moment. I liked the characters. The mystery itself was great. Crystal Cove sounds cozy with its charming, quaint decorated shops with their clever names. I'm glad I stumbled across this one and will definitely check out the other six!

Thank you to Netgalley and Beyond the Page for an ARC.

Review
3 Stars
In Peppermint Peril
In Peppermint Peril: A Book Tea Shop Mystery - Joy Avon

It'll soon be Christmas and Callie Aspen has returned to Heart's Harbor, Maine, where her great aunt runs a vintage tearoom aptly named Book Tea where every treat contains a bookish clue. Preparations are under way for a special tea party at Haywood Hall, the huge house of Heart's Harbor's oldest resident. Dorothea Finster is rich but widowed and has invited her estranged family to hear about her will. Callie's old friend Sheila complicates things by using the tea party to announce her daughter's engagement even though her daughter doesn't want to marry the young man her mother thinks is perfect for her. Everyone has their own agenda but Callie didn't think it would lead to murder.

I felt as though I was reading a book. It felt like I was dropped in a few pages after the story began. I didn't get to fully know Callie herself or her story. There wasn't a lot of depth to the characters. I wasn't excited to pick the book back up when I set it aside; in fact I was going to DNF at 39%, why I picked it back up after three months I don't know. There should have been more focus on the book and tea shop and the potential murder suspects in order for this book to be a standout for me. The mystery itself was just okay. Although things got a little better as the story progressed (I did come to like the victim), it's not a memorable book for me.

Thank you to Netgalley and Crooked Lane Books for an ARC.

Review
4 Stars
Claws of Death
Claws of Death - Linda Reilly

Deanna Daltry grew up in Whisker Jog, New Hampshire, before she became a famous actress. Now that she's older she wants to return home and does so by buying the stone mansion off Cemetery Hill. She has also just adopted two kittens from the High Cliff Shelter for Cats. However not everyone is a fan of the fading star. After being the target of some nasty pranks, Deanna finds herself the prime suspect in a murder investigation when a body is found on her property. Lara is on the hunt for another killer, with the help of a certain blue-eyed ragdoll.

I love the cover. I love cats, I love all animals. I love that Lara and aunt Fran run a shelter, along with their new employee Kayla, that provides the care and love the cats deserve until they can find their perfect home. But these people have their quirks and after reading book three then book one these quirks got on my nerves - the crying!! These people, all of them in the book!, are always crying!! And the abbreviated words got on my nerves. And Lara's childishness when it came to her relationship.. "we had a great night last night but when he text me today he didn't put a smiley face, which can only mean he doesn't like me anymore and wants to break up" Ugh. Otherwise it's another good book in the Cat Lady Mysteries. The mystery itself is well done. I look forward to a break from the people, I'll miss the cats, but I'll keep my eyes open for book four.

Review
5 Stars
Escape Claws
Escape Claws - Linda Reilly

Lara Caphart has returned to her hometown of Whisker Jog, New Hampshire, for the first time in sixteen years. Her estranged aunt Fran is having trouble looking after herself with two bad knees. Lara also gets to help out with her aunt's eleven cats. Lara loves her aunt and the cats, but what she doesn't love is someone trying to bully her aunt into selling her land. When Lara spots a ragdoll cat that she believes is the reincarnation of her childhood pet, Blue, she follows her to the edge of Fran's yard only to stumble upon the body of the town bully. Lara is determined to get herself and aunt Fran off the suspect list.. with the help of Blue, of course.

I read book three first and needed more. I inhaled this book. It's easy to get lost in. I love the cover. I have cats and would take in every cat that needed a home, in fact I would love to give every animal in the world a good home but now I'm getting off track.. it's refreshing to have people who want to help and love these little cuties and it just makes me so happy! I do find it annoying that these characters cry all the time and the abbreviated words kind of got on my nerves as well but even so, this book was still great. The mystery was clever and well done. And it was fun to learn how the High Cliff Shelter for Cats came to be. On to book two!

Review
5 Stars
Claws for Celebration
Claws for Celebration - Linda Reilly

In Whisker Jog, New Hampshire, everyone is getting ready for the town's annual holiday cookie competition. Lara Caphart tries to get a pet-friendly cookie category added, but sadly it's not going to happen this year. Lara and her aunt Fran run the High Cliff Shelter for cats. Pet-friendly cookies are the least of their worries, though, when a last-minute judge dies after sampling Santa cookies. The victim, an old home economics teacher named Gladys Plouffe, wasn't very well liked in the town. But the prime suspect happens to be the mother of Lara's best friend. Lara knows she didn't kill anyone, so with the help of a mysterious Ragdoll cat, Lara is going to stop the killer from getting away with the purrfect crime.

Ooh! I'm so happy I found this while browsing Netgalley! I love that cover. Although this is the third in the Cat Lady Mysteries it can be read as a standalone. I found it hard to put the book down. Lara and aunt Fran have lots of cats living in their house and I love it!! But these cuties are up for adoption and when that happened I felt that empty feeling, that sadness, that ache.. even though Lara and aunt Fran wouldn't let their furry friends go unless it was to a very good home. Christmas and cats made this an especially cozy mystery and the mystery itself was very well done. I even liked the human characters. I'll definitely read books one and two, and keep my eyes open for future books in the series.

Thank you to Netgalley and Kensington for an ARC.

Review
3 Stars
Murder in Her Stocking
Murder in Her Stocking - G.A. McKevett

It's Christmastime but things aren't as cheery as they could be in sleepy McGill, Georgia. Someone has vandalized the town's celebrated nativity display. And a scandalous resident has been found dead in an alley. The police are puzzled so Stella Reid decides it's time to stir the gossip pot to figure out who could've done such a thing. With her grandchildren in danger, as well as her best friend and neighbour in danger for different reasons, finding the suspect isn't going to be easy especially before Santa Claus comes to town.

I didn't realize this was a prequel series to the Savannah Reid series, which I've never read. It felt as though I should have known these characters right away and I didn't, so I don't know if that's why I never connected or really cared for any of them. It took me about halfway through to enjoy the book. Before that I didn't want to pick it back up when I set it down. It's more focused on Stella Reid and her seven grandkids who are poor Southerners with hearts of gold living in a small town where everyone gossips.. ugh, I have that here, I don't want to read about it too. The mystery itself was good. I guess that's why I enjoyed the last half, we were getting closer to solving the murder. And closer to the book ending. I'm glad it's over. It wasn't for me.

Thank you to Netgalley and Kensington for an ARC.