the santa suit by mary kay andrews

The Santa Suit

From May Kay Andrews, the New York Times bestselling author of Hello, Summer, comes a novella celebrating the magic of Christmas and second chances in The Santa Suit.

Ivy Perkins is moving on from Atlanta, her ex and her half of the business. Looking for a fresh start away from everything. She has pretty specific wants. A white farmhouse with land. So sight unseen, she purchases what looks like an adorable farmhouse in North Carolina.

Four Roses Farm must have used photoshop, because the house is going to need a lot of work. It looks as if the former owners just up and left everything behind.

As Ivy is clearing out, she finds a beautiful Santa suit. It’s old and well-made and in the pocket she finds a note from a little girl, written long ago. This little gem becomes a mission for Ivy. Who is this little girl? And why all the Christmas stuff?

The former owners, the Roses, were the town Santa and Mrs. for a long time. They did a lot to help the community and even though Ivy isn’t really a Christmas person, the town may change her mind.

With some help from a hot realtor and a new friend, she may find not only her purpose but love again.

A lovely Novella of the magic of Christmas and the enduring love of family. This really lifted my spirits at a time when we all need a little of that.

NetGalley/September 28th, 2021 by St. Martin’s Press

THE STOWAWAY by JAMES S. MURRAY and DARREN WEARMOUTH

The Stowaway

The Stowaway, a suspenseful masterpiece that leaves a cruise ship stranded at sea with a serial killer hiding aboard…

Sounds like a good premise. Stranded in the middle of the Atlantic with a serial killer. What better place? Like a buffet for serial killers.

This story begins with Maria Fontana. A single mother of two. Maria is on the jury of a sensational trial of alleged serial killer, Wyatt Butler, who reeks of guilt and disdain. As the final day of deliberations arrives, she is still torn over the evidence. Will she vote guilty?

Jump to a couple of years later and the media frenzy has died down, Maria has met a good man and they are going on a two week cruise across the Atlantic. Maria can’t help but look over her shoulder and hold her kids tight. And when people start dying, she is hypervigilant. Especially when there are children being killed in horrific ways and then posed with the next victims clothing. Everywhere she looks she sees Wyatt Butler.

While the Security Chief thinks she may be seeing things that aren’t there, Maria knows. A mother knows. Her children are not safe and neither is she.

It’s hard not to give anything away here. This was a fast-paced, well written thriller. I’m sure my heart rate was elevated the entire time. And that ending. Very nice.

NetGalley/ September 21st ,2021 by St. Martin’s Press

IRON WIDOW by KIRAN JAY ZHAO

While this draws on a few real characters in history, make no mistake, it is a Sci-Fy, Fantasy, Futuristic tale that touches on the place women still have in society. Second. Disposable.

And then it just dives right in to giant fighting machines called Chrysalises, transforming robots that battle with mecha aliens that have almost destroyed everything. The pilots are boys. The girls or concubine pilots give of their life force and no one seems to care that they lose their lives.

Except 18 -year-old Zetian. She has plans of revenge after her sister died during one of these fights. She doesn’t use normal weapons. She takes on her pilot with her mind and is the only one returning. With a nickname. Iron Widow.

She has turned the tables on the boys and will now use them as ‘fuel’. They are afraid of her and what she can do. They try pairing her with the strongest male pilot in Huaxia. But Zetian has tasted the power and she likes it. Now her mission is to find out why only girls are being used and disposed of.

She is one of the strongest characters I have seen. She has had enough and is not taking it anymore. This is not my usual genre but I am very glad I read it. I felt empowered and ready to fight.

Well Done.

NetGalley/September 21st, 2021 by Penguin Teen

HER PERFECT LIFE by HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN

Her Perfect Life

Meet Lily Atwood. Famous television reporter with everything going for her. Money, awards, a producer who does her every bidding and a seven-year-old daughter who is adorable! Her life is perfect. Maybe. But secrets have a way of coming out at the most inconvenient of times. And Lily is keeping some big ones.

Lily now has an anonymous source feeding her stories. The stories pan out but the source becomes questionable when he begins feeding Lily information about herself. Who is this person and what do they know about her?

It becomes clear that someone is playing with her life. Does it have anything to do with the disappearance of her sister years ago? Or maybe her child’s father come to haunt her? With literally no one to trust she will have to trust her gut and maybe one other person. Maybe.

This was a twisty one. A total mind screw. With Ryan, it’s always a thrill ride as you try and untangle the knots of intrigue!

NetGalley/September 14th, 2021 by Forge Books



SCANDAL IN BABYLON by BARBARA HAMBLY

Scandal in Babylon

The year is 1924. Emma Blackstone was barely married to her husband when he was shipped off to war and was killed. Followed by her brother and more tragedy with her parents deaths. So young for so much death.

Emma is a curious and scholarly sort. She cringes at the inaccuracies in the Roman piece they are filming.

While Emma is getting an education in America and Hollywood in particular, she has nothing to go back to in England. And things could be worse.

Such as Kitty’s first husband, Rex showing up unexpectedly in her dressing room with a bullet through the head. Kitty may be flighty and naughty but a killer she is not.

This being the twenties in Hollywood, there are gangsters, slick movie producers, shady cops and insane competition for the title of IT girl. Is that what this is about? A frame? Or has Kitty dallied with the wrong man?

I loved all of the old Hollywood gossip and petty jealousy. These women were so young and vulnerable. They worked hard hours and partied the rest of the time.

I enjoy Hollywood Historical Fiction. I liked Emma, although there was a bit too much quoting of Latin phrases. And I just didn’t feel we really knew her. I am sure she will grow and entertain us as the series goes on.

NetGalley/ September 7th, 2021 by Severn House Publishers

.

Whisper Cottage by Anne Wyn Clark

Whisper Cottage

How well do you know the woman next door? 



-Stina and Jack are expecting a baby. So they move out of the city to Avoncote. In a rather shabby but cute semi-detached cottage. There is a lot of work to be done on the cottage beginning with the re-thatching of the roof. And since they are joined to their elderly neighbor, Mrs. Barley, hers will be done as well.

It’s while the men work on the roof that they find a bizarre find in the chimney next door. mummified cats. And then the odd noises in the night begin. And the questions. Why is everyone in town afraid of Mrs. Barley? Is she just a nice old lady or is she something much worse? Is that a man Stina sees in her window? Is it the same man she keeps seeing outside, but no one else does?

For one, this story made me look at my neighbor a bit closer. Stina was just not a character I clicked with. I’m not fond of weak women. This is a good look at what secrets and rumors can do to a life and a town. And that was powerful.

,NetGalley/ September 2nd 2021 by Avon

MURDER MOST FAIR by ANNA LEE HUBER

Murder Most Fair (Verity Kent, #5)

A Verity Kent Mystery #5

It’s always a treat to catch up with Verity and friends. I love that each book picks up right where the other one left off.

It’s 1919 and Verity has spent November with Sidney relaxing and healing from their last adventure.

Hoping things have settled down with the war over, they look forward to some much needed together time.

Until Verity’s Great Aunt llse shows up with her maid from Germany. The same aunt who aided her in sneaking into Germany during the war. But the war hasn’t been good for Germans. They are turning on anyone who aided the enemy and Aunt llse looks to be in very delicate health. Someone is threatening her and she has returned to England hoping to recover and figure out why she is being targeted.

While the family heads to Verity’s parents in Yorkshire, her aunt is still experiencing hostility and someone may be looking to even the score. Using her Secret Service contacts Verity must find out if this is about aiding deserters or something else all together.

Alas, the ever-present Lord Ardmore is a suspect, because, well he usually is a suspect.

This is one of my favorite Historical Fiction writers. Her characters are strong women and men who respect them.

Well Done!

NetGalley/August 31st, 2021 by Kensington Publishing Corporation



CHASING THE BOOGEYMAN by RICHARD CHIZMAR

Chasing the Boogeyman

It’s summer in 1988 and recent grad, Richard Chizmar returns home. Only it’s not the home he knew. A string of girls go missing and then are found violently murdered.

Suddenly his hometown is full of police, reporters, and the town is scared. A curfew is in effect and information is scarce. But Richard is a journalist and begins digging into the story with a fellow journalist. This is his account of what happened during that time.

I’m going to go against a lot of people here. I was bored and in the end I felt cheated.

NetGalley/Gallery Books August 17th, 2021 by Gallery Books

CHAMELEON GIRL by LIZ FERRO

Chameleon Girl

Adapt and Thrive. This is the way of the chameleon.

And so we are introduced to Nora Horvath. A woman who is fighting demons from her past and yet still creates a life she loves. A life that she can manage. A life with enough. She loves her job and she is good at it. But she is also haunted by something just out of her grasp.

Her life is going as well as it can and she is okay with that.

As a firefighter, Nora is good at her job. Until one day when a horrifying rescue leaves her with brutal memories of an abusive past. Are these real memories? It would explain so much about the voices in her head. And she is one tough lady so she faces them head-on.

While Nora struggles to remember all of the horrible things she has endured, she is questioning her own sanity at points. But these things almost broke her. Almost.

And when everything comes out it is so horrible I don’t see how she stood it. This was such a small book but such large emotions. It doesn’t really have a genre. This feminine narrative is brilliant and heartbreaking and full of hope and courage.

Very well done debut novel!

BULLET TRAIN by KOTARO ISAKA

This contains an image of: {{ pinTitle }}

A dark, satirical thriller by the bestselling Japanese author, following the perilous train ride of five highly motivated assassinsβ€”soon to be a major film from Sony

This was a wild ride that I enjoyed from beginning to the end and will enjoy again when I watch the movie!

Five assassins are all on the same train. Nanao, who calls himself the unluckiest assassin in the world, has one task. Get on the bullet train in Tokyo and steal a suitcase and get back off the train.

Tangerine and Lemon are on the train as well. They have just rescued a powerful bad guy’s son and the suitcase full of ransom money. Their job is to get the boy and the money to the man who runs everything.

Kimura is on the train to kill one person. The boy who calls himself The Prince. He looks as innocent as a lamb, but Kimura’s son is on life support because “The Prince” tossed him off a roof. The Prince is a snot nosed little psychopath and is obsessed with control and mind games.

When they all discover they are on the same train things get deadly. The bag disappears, the bag reappears. The hostage is somehow dead and everyone is terrified of the same person. The Boss.

This book was a huge bestseller in Japan. You can not stop reading once you begin. There are so many double-crosses and plot twists that if you blink you miss something.

I will say this is the first time I’ve rooted for someone killing a teenager!

This is being made into a movie with big names. Brad Pitt, Lady Gaga and more. It was almost like keystone cops meet Reservoir Dogs.

August 3rd, 2021 by The Overlook Press